Feb 262022
 
 February 26, 2022  Posted by at 9:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  72 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Guitar 1925

 

Ukraine’s Deadly Gamble (Lee Smith)
Biden Admin Tells Zelenskyy to Stop Negotiating Meeting With Russia (CTH)
From the Black Sea to the East Med, Do Not Poke The Russian Bear (Escobar)
The Party of Chaos Blows Its Cover (Kunstler)
Why Putin Went to War (Lauria)
EU ‘Moving Forward’ On Russia SWIFT Shut-Out, ‘Not Nuclear Option’ (ZH)
Here’s Why the Russian Sanctions Are a Dud (Martens)
‘This War Will Last’ – Macron (AFP)
Sean Penn Making Documentary In Ukraine (RT)
Granny Gets Her Gun – From A Bunch Of Shameless Neo-Nazis (Peter Hitchens)
Institute On Claims Vaccine Side Effects Massively Underreported (Eugyp)

 

 

 

 

The primrose path

 

 

@PandaTribune: Under Trump, Putin wasn’t Putin troops in Ukraine. Putin was Biden his time until 2020. He knew that the Dem strategy of Putin Biden in a basement (instead of Putin America first) would get Biden Putin the WH. Maybe in ’24 we can Putin a new POTUS, but it might be too late Biden!

 

 

Stephen Cohen

 

 

MPN

 

 

Lukashenko

 

 

“.. exposing the national security establishment’s role in two separate, destructive coups: the first, in 2014, targeting the government of Ukraine, and the second, starting two years later, the government of the United States.”

Ukraine’s Deadly Gamble (Lee Smith)

Russian President Vladimir Putin chose this war, Joe Biden said in his Thursday afternoon speech to America regarding the conflict in Ukraine. That is true, but U.S. elites also had something to do with Putin’s ugly and destructive choice—a role that Democrats and Republicans are eager to paper over with noble-sounding rhetoric about the bravery of Ukraine’s badly outgunned military. Yes, the Ukrainian soldiers standing up to Putin are very brave, but it was Americans that put them in harm’s way by using their country as a weapon, first against Russia and then against each other, with little consideration for the Ukrainian people who are now paying the price for America’s folly.

It is not an expression of support for Putin’s grotesque actions to try to understand why it seemed worthwhile for him to risk hundreds of billions of dollars, the lives of thousands of servicemen, and the possible stability of his own regime in order to invade his neighbor. After all, Putin’s reputation until this moment has always been as a shrewd ex-KGB man who eschewed high-risk gambles in favor of sure things backed by the United States, like entering Syria and then escalating forces there. So why has he adopted exactly the opposite strategy here, and chosen the road of open high-risk confrontation with the American superpower? Yes, Putin wants to prevent NATO from expanding to Russia’s border. But the larger answer is that he finds the U.S. government’s relationship with Ukraine genuinely threatening.

That’s because for nearly two decades, the U.S. national security establishment under both Democratic and Republican administrations has used Ukraine as an instrument to destabilize Russia, and specifically to target Putin. While the timing of Putin’s attack on Ukraine is no doubt connected to a variety of factors, including the Russian dictator’s read on U.S. domestic politics and the preferences of his own superpower sponsor in Beijing, the sense that Ukraine poses a meaningful threat to Russia is not a product of Putin’s paranoia—or of a sudden desire to restore the power and prestige of the Soviet Union, however much Putin might wish for that to happen. Rather, it is a geopolitical threat that has grown steadily more pressing and been employed with greater recklessness by Americans and Ukrainians alike over the past decade.

That Ukraine has allowed itself to be used as a pawn against a powerful neighbor is in part the fault of Kyiv’s reckless and corrupt political class. But Ukraine is not a superpower that owes allies and client-states judicious leadership—that’s the role of the United States. And in that role, the United States has failed Ukraine. More broadly, the use of Ukraine as a goad against enemies domestic and foreign has recklessly damaged the failing yet necessary European security architecture that America spent 75 years building and maintaining. Why can’t the American security establishment shoulder responsibility for its role in the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine? Because to discuss American responsibility openly would mean exposing the national security establishment’s role in two separate, destructive coups: the first, in 2014, targeting the government of Ukraine, and the second, starting two years later, the government of the United States.

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“The U.S. wants President Zelenskyy to leave Ukraine, so the State Department can take full control over the narrative. Zelenskyy is refusing to leave.”

Biden Admin Tells Zelenskyy to Stop Negotiating Meeting With Russia (CTH)

Unfortunately for Zelenskyy, an end to the fighting would be against the interests of the Biden administration. Highlighting the point, the U.S. State Department does not want Zelenskyy and Putin to meet. The Biden administration conveys a very telling message, from their perspective, saying only the United States is permitted to negotiate with Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Zelenskyy needs to stay out of it. “WASHINGTON: Russia’s offer for talks with Ukraine is an attempt to conduct diplomacy “at the barrel of a gun”, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday (Feb 25), saying Russia must stop its bombing in Ukraine if it is serious about diplomacy. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Friday that Russia was ready to send a delegation to the Belarusian capital Minsk for talks.

Russia had attempted to engage in “a pretense of diplomacy” even as it prepared to invade Ukraine this week, Price told reporters at a news briefing. “Now we see Moscow suggesting that diplomacy take place at the barrel of a gun, or as Moscow’s rockets, mortars, artillery target the Ukrainian people,” he said. “This is not real diplomacy. Those are not the conditions for real diplomacy.”

[…] Responding to reports that the US government had ordered officials to stop most contacts with Russia, Price said the invasion of Ukraine had “fundamentally changed” Moscow’s relationship with Washington and other nations. But US officials would continue to engage with their Russian counterparts on important national security issues, including the talks to return to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, he said. The arrogance and controlling attitude by the U.S. State Dept tells us all we really need to know. The Biden administration has created this crisis between Russia and Ukraine for a convenient purpose, and the White House is not about to let Zelenskyy screw it up and create peace. The U.S. wants President Zelenskyy to leave Ukraine, so the State Department can take full control over the narrative. Zelenskyy is refusing to leave.

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“History loves playing tricks: what was a “gift” to Ukraine in 1922 may become a parting gift a hundred years later.”

From the Black Sea to the East Med, Do Not Poke The Russian Bear (Escobar)

This is what happens when a bunch of ragged hyenas, jackals and tiny rodents poke The Bear: a new geopolitical order is born in breathtaking speed. From a dramatic meeting of the Russian Security Council to a history lesson delivered by President Putin and the subsequent birth of the Baby Twins – the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk – all the way to their appeal to President Putin to intervene militarily to expel the NATO-backed Ukrainian bombing-and-shelling forces from Donbass, it was a seamless process. The (nuclear) straw that (nearly) broke the Bear’s back – and forced its paws to pounce – was Zelensky the Comedian, back from the Russophobia-drenched Munich Security Conference where he was hailed like a Messiah, saying that the 1994 Budapest memorandum should be revised and Ukraine should be nuclear-rearmed.

That would be the equivalent of a nuclear Mexico south of the Hegemon. Putin immediately turned Responsibility to Protect (R2P) upside down: an American concept invented to launch wars in MENA (remember Libya?) was retrofitted to stop a slow-motion genocide in Donbass. First came the recognition of the Baby Twins – Putin’s most important foreign policy decision since going to Syria in 2015. That was the preamble for the next game-changer: a “special military operation (…) aimed at demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine”, as Putin defined it. Up to the last minute, the Kremlin was trying to rely on diplomacy, explaining to Kiev the necessary imperatives to prevent heavy metal thunder: recognition of Crimea as Russian; abandon any plans to join NATO; negotiate directly with the Baby Twins – an anathema for the Americans since 2015; finally, demilitarize and declare Ukraine as neutral.

Kiev’s handlers, predictably, would never accept the package – as they didn’t accept the Master Package that really matters: the Russian demand for “indivisible security”. The sequence, then, became inevitable. In a flash, all Ukrainian forces between the so-called line of contact and the original borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were boxed in as the occupying force of territories of two Russian allies that Moscow had just sworn to protect. So it was Get Out – Or Else. “Or else” came as rolling thunder: the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense were not bluffing. Timed to the end of Putin’s speech announcing the operation, the Russians decapitated with precision missiles everything that mattered in terms of the Ukrainian military in just one hour: Air Force, Navy, airfields, bridges, command and control centers, the whole Turkish Bayraktar drone fleet.

And it was not only Russian raw power. It was the artillery of one of the Baby Twins, the DPR, that hit the HQ of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donbass, which actually housed the entire Ukrainian military command. This means that the Ukrainian General Staff instantly lost control of all its troops. [..] We could soon witness the birth of an independent Novorossiya – east of the Dnieper, south along Sea of Azov/Black Sea, the way it was when attached to Ukraine by Lenin in 1922. But now totally aligned with Russia, and providing a land bridge to Transnistria. Ukraine, of course, would lose any access to the Black Sea. History loves playing tricks: what was a “gift” to Ukraine in 1922 may become a parting gift a hundred years later.

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“..what goes on there is none of our business, and never was, until we started meddling in it in 2014.”

The Party of Chaos Blows Its Cover (Kunstler)

[..] here is what I think is happening and will happen in Ukraine. The Russian aim is to neutralize Ukraine’s military capability — the means for harassing the eastern provinces known as the Donbas. That has been accomplished. Ukraine no longer has an air force, a navy, or a whole lot of weapons and munitions. It is surely in Russia’s interest to complete this operation in as few days as possible to minimize harm to civilian lives and property. The Ukrainians appear to understand that, too. The politicians and NGO organizations groomed by American sponsorship in Ukraine will be deactivated, relieved of their responsibilities, and put out of business. If Mr. Putin is prudent, he will not murder or persecute them. A regime friendly to Russia will eventually be installed.

Keep in mind, Ukraine had been a province of Russia one way or another for more than two hundred years — except for the calamitous past thirty years — and Ukraine doesn’t really represent much more than an administrative and fiscal challenge. Russia’s ultimate interest in this matter is to stabilize its border. We in the USA perhaps can’t appreciate that because our current government shows no interest in stabilizing our own border. (We will in the future, when the Party of Chaos is swept out of power.) I’ll refrain from speculating much on the broader geopolitical repercussions of Russia’s Ukraine operation, since it’s not over and there is still a chance for much to go awry. The general proposition that it represents a milestone in America’s loss of global power and credibility is probably correct.

We have spent the last thirty years since the fall of the USSR invading and harassing one country after another, not always with altogether bad intentions, but always with disastrous results. It looks like we will have to take a break from that activity. We have too much to look after and clean up with our own act. The Ukraine blow-up is more a humiliation for “Joe Biden” and his faction than for the US per se, for the truth is that we have scant interest in that corner of the world and what goes on there is none of our business, and never was, until we started meddling in it in 2014.

In the awakening underway here and now, Americans will see how so many of the ills and derangements of recent years are products of our own Deep State aligned with a perfidious party of the Left and other global actors. We have harmed ourselves terribly and can’t seem to stop — and we must stop it, beginning with calling off the Covid-19 “vaccine” crusade. That will come any day, I predict, and then the people who brought all of this grief on are going to have to answer for it.

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“We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.”

Why Putin Went to War (Lauria)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV address Thursday morning that the goal of Russia’s military operation was not to take control of Ukraine, but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” the country. Moments after he spoke, explosions were heard in several Ukrainian cities. The Russian Defense Ministry said these were “precision” attacks against Ukrainian military installations and that civilians were not being targeted. It said Ukraine’s air force on the ground and its air defenses had been destroyed. [..]

In his 3,350-word speech, Putin laid out in full detail the reasons he decided to take military action and what he hopes it will achieve. The speech is a devastating critique of U.S. policy toward Russia over the past 30 years, which no doubt will fall on deaf ears in Washington. Western media is so far ignoring the speech or superficially dismissing it. But it has to be carefully studied if anyone is interested in understanding why Russia launched this military operation. Just calling Putin “Hitler,” as Nancy Pelosi did Wednesday night, won’t do. Hitler in fact features in Putin’s address. For instance, addressing the Ukrainian military, Putin said: “Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.”

He linked the Nazis’ invasion of Russia to NATO’s threat today, saying this time there would be no appeasement: “Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late. As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war.

“The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.”

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Hot air.

EU ‘Moving Forward’ On Russia SWIFT Shut-Out, ‘Not Nuclear Option’ (ZH)

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, is the financial-messaging infrastructure that links the world’s banks. The Belgium-based system is run by its member banks and handles millions of daily payment instructions across more than 200 countries and territories and 11,000 financial institutions. Iran and North Korea are cut off from it. So, given all that, Goldman Sachs’ Allison Nathan asked the question on everyone’s lips: “The removal of Russia from SWIFT – the global electronic payment-messaging system – has been referred to as the “nuclear option” for sanctions. Do you agree with that characterization?”

Eddie Fishman – the former Russia and Europe Lead in the US State Department’s Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation – responded in a fascinating way: “No – it’s not even close to being the nuclear option… SWIFT is just a messaging service. If the US and Europe decided to cut Russians banks off from SWIFT without imposing full-blocking sanctions on them, they could still transact with US and European financial institutions – they just couldn’t use SWIFT to do so.” Fishman went on to point out a potentially even bigger blowback consequence for the West’s actions: “…and in a perverse way, that may actually increase the demand for SWIFT alternatives, such as Russia’s own System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).”

Russia could also be tempted to move to China’s financial messaging system, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters on Thursday. “Suspending Swift “would hurt Russia less than the European Union,” he said. Interestingly, given Germany’s prior comments against SWIFT termination, Bloomberg reports that Germany’s finance minister shocked more than a few marketwatchers this afternoon by saying that ‘we are open to cutting Russia off SWIFT’ with a German government advisor telling RND that “banning Russia from SWIFT is manageable.”

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Big banks.

Here’s Why the Russian Sanctions Are a Dud (Martens)

While Ukrainian children sleep with their pets in the subways, living in terror of the bombs raining down on them from their Russian invaders, wealthy Russian oligarchs are being comforted by “relationship managers” at banks owned by the very nations that say they are going to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine. Noticeably missing from President Biden’s press conference yesterday on expanded sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine was any mention of how the U.S. and its allies were going to deal with the big foreign global banks that conduct banking business for thousands of Russian corporations and millions of Russian individuals. Biden only mentioned sanctions on Russian banks.

That sent a loud message to the MOEX Index at the Moscow Stock Exchange, which as of 2:49 p.m. today in Moscow (6:49 a.m. in New York) had rallied into positive territory from a loss of as much as 45 percent yesterday, when the precise nature of the expanded sanctions were as yet unknown. One of the global foreign banks with large operations in Russia is the French global bank Societe Generale’s Rosbank. According to its website, it has 5 million individual clients in Russia and 9,000 large corporate clients. It posted a reassuring notice to its customers on its website this morning, stating that it “continues to operate in a routine manner.” It noted the following:

“Rosbank retail and corporate clients have full access to financial assets and financial banking services. We are confident in our ability to provide continuous and quality customer service and adapt where necessary, while complying with all applicable regulations.” Another large foreign bank with large operations in Russia is Austria’s Raiffeisenbank, which has been operating in Russia since 1996. It notes on its Russian website that it is “one of 13 systemically important banks in Russia,” that it ranks number 10 by assets and number 8 by the number of retail customers. Its reginal network in Russia includes five branches and 116 outlets. Italy’s UniCredit also has large operations in Russia. A bank spokesperson told Reuters yesterday that it “had very high provisions against possible loan losses and was ‘very liquid and self-funded.’ ” Reuters reports that UniCredit’s Russian bank is the 12th largest bank in the country with 7.8 billion Euros in customer loans at the end of last year.

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Why would he say that? Is it what he wants? Oh wait, elections in April.

‘This War Will Last’ – Macron (AFP)

The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow launched an invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday. “I can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last,” Macron’s told France’s annual agriculture fair. “This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences,” Macron added, warning: “We must be prepared”. Macron cut short his visit to the agriculture fair, usually one of the main fixtures on the French political calendar, in order to return to dealing with the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.


“War has returned to Europe, this was chosen unilaterally by President (Vladimir) Putin, with a tragic humanitarian situation, a (Ukrainian) people who are resisting and a Europe that is there and resisting by the side of the Ukrainian people,” said Macron. Macron has again called an emergency defence council of top ministers and military security officials to discuss the situation in Ukraine which will take place at 1600 GMT, the Elysee said. With the war and sanctions against Russia risking damage for specific sectors in France, notably the wine industry, Macron vowed a “plan of resilience” to help them cope. The French leader was a key figure in efforts to avert conflict, repeatedly speaking to Putin and seeking in vain to broker a summit between the Russian leader and US President Joe Biden. The war has also broken out as the clock ticks down to France’s presidential elections in April.

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What on earth is he doing there? California not in bad enough shape?

Sean Penn Making Documentary In Ukraine (RT)

Penn arrived in Kiev on Thursday to “tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion” of its neighbor, with the Office of the President of Ukraine announcing the actor’s arrival. Penn was seen at a press briefing in the presidential office in Kiev on Thursday, and was also briefly featured in an Instagram story posted by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Ukrainian government has expressed gratitude to Penn, writing in a statement: “The director specially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country. Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”


The statement went on to contrast Penn’s “bravery” against the inactivity of some of Ukraine’s Western partners in the face of the military operation launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Penn had previously visited Ukraine back in November 2021 to work on another documentary about the Donbass and “Russian aggression.” Back then, he visited the eastern regions of the country and spoke to servicemen. Photos of Penn’s trip were released at the time by the Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation Press Service, where he could be seen dressed in combat gear while filming with his crew.

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From last Sunday.

Granny Gets Her Gun – From A Bunch Of Shameless Neo-Nazis (Peter Hitchens)

If the BBC found a group of neo-Nazis among some student Tories, or among Trump supporters in the USA, they would surely tell us about it, hot and strong. Quite right too. In fact, the Corporation’s horror and disgust at such people is one of the few things I absolutely share with them. So why did they last week repeatedly broadcast an entire news item, featuring a group of undoubted, shameless neo-Nazis, actually wearing SS insignia on their clothes – and not even notice? The film starred a sweet old great-grandma, Valentina Konstaninovska, in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. She was getting lessons from soldiers in how to fight off the Russians with an AK-47 burp gun. Pictures of the doughty 78-year-old also featured in several newspapers last Monday.

But it was only in the film that you could see the shoulder-flashes worn by the soldiers. These display a sinister, jagged symbol called the ‘Wolfsangel’. This is an explicitly Nazi emblem, originally used by Hitler’s ‘Das Reich’ Waffen SS division. This unit is still famous for murdering 200 people in Serbia, for a massacre of 920 Jews in Minsk, now in Belarus, for hanging 99 people in retaliation for French Resistance operations in Tulle. But above all it is notorious for the mass murder in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in which the SS men machine-gunned or burned to death 642 civilians, including women and children. The Wolfsangel can be seen in archive pictures of the Das Reich division’s tanks.

The patches worn by their Ukrainian fans also carry the word ‘Azov’ and so proclaim that they are members of the ‘Azov Battalion’. Who? An FBI investigator said in 2018 that the Azov Battalion was a ‘paramilitary unit… known for its association with neo-Nazi ideology and the use of Nazi symbolism’. Its defenders now bleat that it has been absorbed into the Ukrainian National Guard. This was the pathetic excuse offered by the BBC when I asked them how they had come to fail to report the truth. Bilge. If these men are permitted to wear this repulsive, shameful badge it is easy to work out who is the boss in this relationship. If they were even slightly under the control of civilised people, they would certainly not be allowed to do so, even if their shaven heads were still full of poison and filth.

No proper army would have them at all, even in the direst need. Is it really possible that, in the BBC’s vast and costly apparatus of reporters, editors, producers, fact-checkers and bureaucrats, not one person spotted the problem? If so, we are dealing with Olympic-level incompetence. But it is my suspicion that something else is going on. The generation that kept the BBC relatively impartial is fast dying off. Those who remain have accepted a large number of contentious opinions as facts. One of these opinions is the ridiculous cartoon idea that Russia is like Mordor in Lord Of The Rings, an utterly evil country ruled by a Dark Monster. And that Ukraine, its current enemy, is by contrast a shining Utopia, pluckily defending itself against the orc-like hordes of Moscow. This explains why the BBC were so keen to use this film, in which a Brave Granny Gets Her Gun.

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Not much Covid today.

Institute On Claims Vaccine Side Effects Massively Underreported (Eugyp)

The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Germany’s vaccine regulator, has responded to Andreas Schöfbeck’s letter (translated here), suggesting on the basis of BKK billing data that officially acknowledged rates of adverse vaccine reactions substantially understate the risk of vaccination. It is not a good response. [..] The argument throughout is that only a subset of vaccine reactions are subject to mandatory reporting requirements, and thus Schöfbeck’s higher numbers, derived from billing data, are unremarkable. This is a very strange and yet also typical bureaucratic response. We want to know whether the vaccines are safe or not, but the PEI functionaries only care about making it clear they haven’t done anything wrong.

Beyond that, I very much doubt we are talking about all that many “local and transient general reactions” here. By definition, these are reactions for which BKK insured sought medical treatment from their doctors. Many of these diagnoses would have been obtained by people who were too unwell to work, and needed to receive physician-certified sick leave.

“The Paul Ehrlich Institute has also begun planning a non-interventional study to comprehensively investigate the long-term safety of the only COVID-19 vaccines available in the EU and thus also in Germany. In the study, which is also supported and funded by the BMG, diagnostic data from the billing data available to the health insurance funds are to be evaluated and linked at the Paul Ehrlich Institute with the vaccination data of the Digital Vaccination Rate Monitoring (DIM data). The study is to be launched in the near future.”

Oh, excellent, so the PEI has begun to plan a study that will look into the issues Schöfbeck has raised. They can force vaccines upon millions of people who don’t want them, and maybe at some point in the future they will begin to think about planning a study on what adverse effects these vaccines might inflict. Public health regulators with something to hide just love studies. You can design them however you want, include whatever data you want, omit whatever you want, so it ends up saying just what you want it to and no more. What they don’t like, is openly available raw data that anyone can study and interpret.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Rogan maims Bill Gates
https://twitter.com/i/status/1497300890226610182

 

 

Jon Stewart MMT

 

 

Highest Ground

 

 

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Feb 252022
 
 February 25, 2022  Posted by at 9:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , ,  109 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Face female study 1925

 

Why I Blame The Arrogant, Foolish West (Peter Hitchens)
Russia Wanted Peace With Ukraine (Batko Milacic)
Moscow Claims This Is Culmination Of 8 Year Ukrainian War (RT)
Ukraine: What Will Be Done And What Should Be Done? (Palley)
US Biolabs in Ukraine (WarClandestine)
Another Biden/Blinken Blunder (Percy Allan)
How Ukraine Fits Into The Global Jigsaw (MacLeod)
Biden Reveals Update On Russia and SWIFT (RT)
COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Jump Among Vaccinated: CDC Data (ET)
US Vaccination Rates Collapse As Omicron Subsides (ZH)
‘Scientific Fraud’: Drs. Robert Malone, Ryan Cole React To CDC Hiding Data (WND)

 

 

 

 

Dowd Highwire
https://twitter.com/i/status/1497025785307279362

 

 

What The Media Isn’t Telling You About Ukraine

 

 

‘We are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.’

Why I Blame The Arrogant, Foolish West (Peter Hitchens)

We have been utter fools. We have treated Russia with amazing stupidity. Now we pay the price for that. We had the chance to make her an ally, friend and partner. Instead we turned her into an enemy by insulting a great and proud country with greed, unearned superiority, cynicism, contempt and mistrust. I have to endure, often several times a day, listening to people who are normally perfectly sensible and reasonable, raging wildly against Russia and Russians. Once, I was just like them. I had the normal anti-Russian prejudice of so many Western people. But, by great fortune, I am not like them now. I lived in Russia, I knew Russians as friends. I learned to distinguish between what was Russian and what was Communist. And I saw something most people will never see – a pivotal event in history, when we could have changed the world for the better.

[..] Interestingly the leading protesters against this Nato expansion were not Russian nationalists but highly intelligent and experienced independent figures. One was the Russian liberal politician Yegor Gaidar, a man Western leaders claim to have admired. He prophesied with total accuracy that the policy would strengthen hardliners and nationalists in the Kremlin. Then came the brilliant American diplomat George F. Kennan, a man nobody could accuse of being soft on Communism. But, unlike so many others, he could tell the new transformed Russia apart from the old USSR. Kennan had been architect of the USA’s policy of containment of the USSR. He came out of retirement to deplore Bill Clinton’s support for pushing Nato east. I quote his prediction at length because he was so right.

‘I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War,’ said Mr Kennan. ‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. ‘I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. ‘This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. ‘We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. ‘[Nato expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs. ‘What bothers me is how superficial and ill-informed the whole Senate debate was.’ He added: ‘I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe.

‘Don’t people understand? Our differences in the Cold War were with the Soviet Communist regime.’ Exactly. After 1991 Russia had, for the first time since the Bolshevik putsch of 1917, got the chance to build a new and free society. As Mr Kennan put it, Nato expansion was an insult to Russian democrats. ‘We are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.’ He asked why East-West relations should ‘become centred on the question of who would be allied with whom – and by implication against whom – in some fanciful, totally unforeseeable and most improbable future military conflict’. These questions demanded an answer, and never got one.

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Via the Saker.

Russia Wanted Peace With Ukraine (Batko Milacic)

Ukraine has been firmly in the U.S. geopolitical orbit since violent neo-Nazi protests in Kyiv’s Maidan Square resulted in the 2014 overthrow of the allegedly pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Yet, Russia did not attempt to help the then-Ukrainian leader stay in power. As a result, anti-Russian forces came to power in Kyiv, leading the people of the Donbass region to vote in favor of leaving Ukraine. In 2014, Russia also recognized the results of the Ukrainian presidential election, organized by the post-Maidan authorities. Mr. Lavrov even called newly elected President Petro Poroshenko the “best chance” for Ukraine. Eight years later, Russia has completely changed its rhetoric on Ukraine. “I don’t think anyone can claim that the Ukrainian regime, since the 2014 coup d’état, represents all the people living on the territory of the Ukrainian state,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on February 22.

The reason for this change in Russian attitude is the acts that the Ukrainian government is committing against Russians and all other citizens who speak Russian in Ukraine. Ukraine waged a kind of “jihad“ against the Russian language and culture. From January 16, 2020, Ukraine translated all its services into Ukrainian by force of law. So: all shops, cafes and restaurants, banks and pharmacies had to comply with this shameful law. All employees have become obliged to communicate with customers – guests and clients – exclusively in Ukrainian. The Russian language has become completely banned. The mass media also came under attack from Ukrainization. Now, 75 percent of programs on national television are broadcasted in the Ukrainian language, and by 2024, the obligation will be – 90 percent.

All these actions of the Ukrainian government, which have clear elements of fascism, forced pro –Russian forces in Ukraine to react. That is why there were riots in Ukraine with the desire to separate large parts of the territory from Ukraine. It is clear to all analysts dealing with Ukraine that today’s Ukraine is United States instrument against Russia. The fact that Kiev received at least $200 million in U.S. “lethal aid” as well as other Western-made weapons over the past two months, means that Kiev rejects a peaceful solution. And Russian President Vladimir Putin has been offering this peaceful solution for years.

Such an operation undoubtedly means war. But war is inevitable, one way or another. Russia has deployed troops to the newly recognized Donbass republics. If Ukrainian forces do not end hostilities, the Russian Army is will to engage in a direct confrontation against Ukrainian army, in order to protect the innocent citizens of DNR and LNR. Sooner or later, the Donbass conflict will escalate. Shelling has increased along the entire front line, which seems to be part of preparations for a military offensive.

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Seems obvious.

Moscow Claims This Is Culmination Of 8 Year Ukrainian War (RT)

The West spent eight years ignoring the “sea of blood” in Donbass while arming Ukraine, and now claims Moscow is the aggressor when it stepped in to end the conflict, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RT on Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, claiming it was necessary to “demilitarize and de-nazify” the neighbor. Kiev accused Russia of aggression, while the US, EU and NATO have called it an “unprovoked” invasion. Moscow insists this is not the case. In announcing the operation, Putin said the “main objective is to stop the escalation of the war that’s been going on for eight years, and to stop the war,” Zakharova told RT in an exclusive interview.

“Russia did not commit aggression of any kind,” Zakharova insisted. “This did not start yesterday. There’s a sea of blood that’s appeared over the past 8 years,” she added, referring to the conflict in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which Russia on Monday recognized as independent states. The main aim is to stop the escalation of the war that’s been going on for eight years, to stop this war Donetsk and Lugansk broke away from Ukraine in 2014, after the West-backed coup ousted the democratically elected government in Kiev. Zakharova noted that the two self-proclaimed republics held a referendum eight years ago, saying they did not want to remain in Ukraine, but both Moscow and the West rejected this and tried to put the “broken” country back together.

When asked about President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement that Ukraine wanted peace, Zakharova wondered why Ukraine was arming itself and refusing to negotiate with the Donbass. “If Ukraine wanted peace, why did they get all these weapons” from all over the world, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told RT, adding, “It was clear that these were offensive weapons. Who were they fighting? Their own people in southeast Ukraine, and spoke often about seizing Crimea.” The peninsula voted to rejoin Russia in March 2014, but Ukraine and its Western backers have refused to recognize this, calling it an “annexation.” Zakharova also noted that the top Ukrainian officials have openly and publicly brought up the idea of obtaining nuclear weapons in recent weeks, pointing out this was a fact and not something claimed by Russian intelligence.

Divisions in Ukraine go beyond Donetsk and Lugansk, Zakharova added, accusing armed groups with Nazi-era symbols – such as the notorious Azov Battalion – of having influence over much of the country. For years, she said, Western media so concerned over human rights in places like South Sudan and Myanmar kept silent on all this, ignoring that more than 13,000 people have died in the Donbass – many of them civilians. While Russia provided them with humanitarian aid, Kiev besieged them by cutting off trade, finance, and even utilities. Zakharova noted that the water canal towards Crimea is now once again operational after Ukraine “criminally” shut it off years ago.

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“The Western media is now focusing attention on Russia’s invasion. Built into that focus is a tacit remaking of history. US Neocons want history to begin with the invasion.”

Ukraine: What Will Be Done And What Should Be Done? (Palley)

The starting point is recognizing that there is no going back in time. New facts have been created. They were created by NATO’s eastward expansion, by the 2014 US sponsored coup in Ukraine, by Russia’s reoccupation of Crimea, and now by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Next, there is need for a fundamental change of mind set that requires acknowledging Russia is not the Soviet Union. It is a weak economy with a declining population, and it has neither the capacity nor the desire to rule former Warsaw pact countries. With those two building blocks in place, the way forward can be mapped out. Ukraine must agree to permanently being a neutral state, as were Finland and Austria in the Cold War.

The US must stop arming Poland which is an intolerant nationalist polity that is likely to be a future source of major trouble. And the US must stop upgrading the military capabilities of the Baltic states which is an aggressive provocation. The European Union must build trade and commerce with Russia. That is an economic marriage made in heaven. Russia has resources and needs technology and capital goods. Europe has technology and capital goods and needs resources. Even better, by diminishing the threat against President Putin, such partnership will promote internal political improvement in Russia. Authoritarian regimes clamp down when threatened. They are more tolerant when unthreatened.

Now for the difficult part. The Ukraine should be reconstituted as a federal state, and it may even need to be partitioned given the new facts that have been created. With US encouragement, Ukraine played with fire and it has gotten burned. Lastly, there is need to build a Western European defense force and to diminish US military presence and influence in Western Europe. The US military was an essential presence in the Cold War when Western Europe lacked the capacity to deter the combined power of the Warsaw Pact. Those conditions are long gone. The Warsaw Pact no longer exists, and Russia is a shadow of the Soviet Union. Western Europe now dwarfs Russia in both economic and demographic terms, and it can (and should) look after itself.

[..] The Western media is now focusing attention on Russia’s invasion. Built into that focus is a tacit remaking of history. US Neocons want history to begin with the invasion. All else that went before is to be swept into Orwell’s “memory hole”. That means forgetting the injuries and threats the US has heaped on Russia for thirty years; forgetting how the US helped loot Russia after the fall of the Berlin Wall, forgetting the promise made not to expand NATO eastward, forgetting the threat posed by putting missile defense and launch capabilities close to Russia’s borders, and forgetting the fateful 2014 US sponsored coup in Ukraine.

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The Twitter account has apparently been suspended, but this thread remains.

US Biolabs in Ukraine (WarClandestine)

HOLY SHIT! I think I may be onto something about #Ukraine. Zelensky said the Russians are firing at “military installations”. How broad is that term? I am seeing speculation that could include US installed biolabs. At first I was like no way. Then I started digging. First I checked if the US even have biolabs in Ukraine. Turns out… we do. And in classic US fashion, it’s marketed as “defense”. “Biological Threat Reduction Program in Ukraine”. Studying the “most dangerous viruses in the world” at Russia’s border. Okay so we are studying the world’s most deadly pathogens at Russia’s border. It’s just for defense. Not that big of a deal right? WRONG. I didn’t know this until today, but Russia has been accusing US of creating “bio-weapons” at their border. WHAT!

And they have good reason to believe that, as the US NIH funded gain of function in Wuhan, then C19 “got out” and it ruined the world. Russia AND CHINA asked the UN for the US/allies to be “checked and limited” in bio capabilities 4 months ago! WHAT! DO YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?! China and Russia indirectly (and correctly) blamed the US for the C19 outbreak, and are fearful that the US/allies have more viruses (bioweapons) to let out. THIS IS MASSIVE. Yet I’m disturbed that I had didn’t known about this 4 months ago. So how does that pertain to Ukraine? Well where in Ukraine are the “explosions” taking place.

Here’s a reported explosion in Lutsk. This is 75 miles inland in far western Ukraine. The opposite border of Russia… What does this have to do with Crimea/Donetsk in the east? Reportedly Kiev has seen missile strikes as well. At their airports and military installations. Kiev is also on the western side of Ukraine. Also a city the US GOV have confirmed the US have built biolabs in. Putin also continues to call it a “special military operation”. Says he wants to demilitarize and “denazify” the country but not occupy it. What does he mean by that? What is he really targeting? Yes, I know he targeted airports and military capabilities; but if Putin really believes, as his admin has stated publicly multiple times, that the US are creating bio weapons at Russia’s borders, then this entire situation could be WAY bigger.

[..] Here’s an overlap of reported missile strike locations and the biolab locations. Since the top map was made, more missiles hit Lviv as well. It certainly appears Putin is targeting the cities and locations with #USBiolabs present. He is 100% going after the alleged bioweapons.

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“The US and NATO refused to commit to defending Ukraine yet let the issue of NATO membership fester for 14 years.”

Another Biden/Blinken Blunder (Percy Allan)

As I expected, Russia has invaded Ukraine because both Ukraine and the West refused to preclude its membership of NATO. This has been a festering security issue for Russia since Ukraine applied for NATO membership in 2008 and George Bush Jnr supported its request. Since Ukraine is a bulwark between Russia and NATO Europe, its refusal to commit to being a neutral country like Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, and Cyprus (each of whom belong to the EU, but not NATO) looks now to have consigned it to being a client state of Russia like Belarus. The US and NATO refused to commit to defending Ukraine yet let the issue of NATO membership fester for 14 years. Also, Ukraine never gave the two eastern provinces (parts of which broke away) the self-governing autonomy they were promised in the Minsk Agreements.

Biden and Blinken (an appropriate surname) will now notch up their second humiliating defeat following the US rout in Afghanistan. Ukraine could have become a Finland, but now is likely to end up being subjugated, or at least that half of it east of the Dnieper River. All very sad and avoidable if Russia’s fundamental grievance over NATO expanding to its border had been addressed. Putin’s aspiration for Ukraine re-joining Mother Russia is for domestic consumption, not its prime concern which was always security related. Thomas Friedman in a New York Times article titled “US not blameless in Putin’s war” quotes George Kennan, the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union, telling him that NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe (while refusing Russian membership) was a mistake because it provoked a post-communist Russia to feel besieged.

Also, it amounted to overreach as NATO does not have the resources nor the intention to protect these states. When Cuba wanted to join the Warsaw Pact 60 years ago, America attempted an invasion (Bay of Pigs) and then threatened Russia with WWIII if it did not withdraw its missiles and armed forces. Now Russia is doing the same over Ukraine joining NATO, but Biden unlike Khrushchev did not heed the warning. The Democrats will pay a big electoral price on insisting Ukraine’s right to join NATO when they never had the intention of enforcing it. Sanctions are a bad joke, Russia has huge foreign exchange reserves, a big budget surplus and can get anything it needs from or through China. The only thing that might move Putin is the seizure of properties that Russian oligarchs own in London.

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Mackinder’s World Island.

How Ukraine Fits Into The Global Jigsaw (MacLeod)

Ukraine is part of a far bigger geopolitical picture. Russia and China want US hegemonic influence in the Eurasian continent marginalised. Following defeats for US foreign policy in Syria and Afghanistan and following Brexit, Putin is driving a wedge between America and the non-Anglo-Saxon EU. Due to global monetary expansion, rising energy prices are benefiting Russia, which can afford to squeeze Germany and other EU states dependent on Russian natural gas. The squeeze will only stop when America backs off. Being keenly aware that its dominant role in NATO is under threat, America has been trying to escalate the Ukraine crisis to suck Russia into an untenable occupation. Putin won’t fall for it. The danger for us all is not a boots-on-the-ground war — that’s likely to only involve the pre-emptive attacks on military installations Putin initiated last night — but a financial war for which Russia is fully prepared.

Both sides probably do not know how fragile the Eurozone banking system is, with both the ECB and its national central bank shareholders already having liabilities greater than their assets. In other words, rising interest rates have broken the euro system and an economic and financial catastrophe on its eastern flank will probably trigger its collapse. The developing tension over Ukraine is part of a bigger picture — a struggle between America and the two Eurasian hegemons, Russia and China. The prize is ultimate control over Mackinder’s World Island. Halford Mackinder is acknowledged as the founder of geopolitics: the study of factors such as geography, geology, economics, demography, politics, and foreign policy and their interaction.

His original paper was entitled “The Geographical Pivot of History”, presented at the Royal Geographical Society in 1905 in which he first formulated his Heartland Theory, which extended geopolitical analysis to encompass the entire globe. In this and a subsequent paper (Democratic Ideals and Reality: A study in the Politics of Reconstruction, 1919) he built on his Heartland Theory, and from which his famous quote has been passed down to us: “Who rules East Europe commands the World Island [Eurasia]; Who rules the World Island rules the World”. Stalin was said to have been interested in this theory, and while it is not generally admitted, the leaders and administrations of Russia, China and America are almost certainly aware of Mackinder’s theory and its implications.

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Moscow will not be cut off. How would Germany pay for its gas?

Biden Reveals Update On Russia and SWIFT (RT)

Speaking to the press after announcing new economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday, US President Joe Biden said that cutting Moscow off from the SWIFT payment system was not an action being taken at this time, adding that the latest measures were potentially of “more consequence.” “The sanctions that we have imposed on all their banks are of equal consequence or maybe more consequence than SWIFT, number one,” Biden said in response to a question about the proposal. “Number two, it is always an option but right now that is not the position the rest of Europe wishes to take,” he added.


Numerous calls have been made for Russia to be disconnected from the system – a key mechanism in facilitating financial transactions between banks around the world – particularly in the wake of Moscow’s attack on Ukraine on Thursday. Earlier in the day, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new wide-ranging sanctions against over 100 Russian individuals and entities, and said London was working with its NATO allies to cut Russia off from SWIFT.

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A long term trend by now.

COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Jump Among Vaccinated: CDC Data (ET)

COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates increased among people who got a COVID-19 vaccine following the emergence of the Omicron virus variant, according to newly published data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the data, which is submitted to the CDC by health departments across the country, the COVID-19 case rate in fully vaccinated people rose by more than 1,000 percent between Dec. 11, 2021, and Jan. 8, 2022. Fully vaccinated refers to people who received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC doesn’t count a person as fully vaccinated until 14 days have elapsed from his or her final shot.


The case rate among those who also received a booster dose skyrocketed as well, rising some 2,400 percent between the same dates. While cases also rose among the unvaccinated, the jump in infections among the vaccinated closed the gap between the populations. As a result, people who haven’t received a vaccine were just 3.2 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 in January. COVID-19-associated hospitalizations also increased among the vaccinated, from 1.4 per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated for the week ending Dec. 18, 2021, to 35.2 per 100,000 in the week ending Jan. 8, according to data from a surveillance system managed by the CDC.

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What is supposed to be the reason to get jabbed by now?

US Vaccination Rates Collapse As Omicron Subsides (ZH)

As cases of the already-more-mild Omicron strain of Covid-19 subside, vaccination rates in the United States are collapsing, according to AP, which reports that the vaccination drive in the US is ‘grinding to a halt,’ and ‘demand has all but collapsed’ – particularly in rural areas. At present, the average number of Americans getting their first dose is down to around 90,000 per day – the lowest point since the first few days of the vaccination campaign in December 2020 – while the outlook for any sort of substantial increase has largely evaporated. AP of course acts like this is a national tragedy led by toothless rednecks in ‘deeply conservative’ parts of the country, suggesting a ‘losing battle to get people vaccinated’ in rural Alabama – but of course the reality goes unmentioned… that the vaccine largely evades Omicron – which is far less deadly than previous strains, and is only marginally effective in keeping medically at-risk people from dying.


Even the Washington Post noted on Wednesday: “Coronavirus vaccine protection was much weaker against omicron, data shows.” “While coronavirus shots still provided protection during the omicron wave, the shield of coverage they offered was weaker than during other surges, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The change resulted in much higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death for fully vaccinated adults and even for people who had received boosters.” -WaPo Meanwhile, government vaccination incentive programs that gave away cash, beer, sports tickets and other prizes have also disappeared – while governnment and employer vaccine mandates have suffered blows in court. “People are just over it. They’re tired of it,” said Judy Smith, administrator for a 12-county public health district in northwestern Alabama.

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“We physicians and scientists have one responsibility, and one responsibility only, and that is the health and wellness of humanity..”

‘Scientific Fraud’: Drs. Robert Malone, Ryan Cole React To CDC Hiding Data (WND)

Urging CDC scientists to speak out, Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Ryan Cole reacted Monday to the news reported by the New York Times that agency officials admit they have withheld COVID data broken down by age, race and vaccination status because the American people might misinterpret it. “This meets the criteria of scientific fraud,” said Malone, the key inventor of the mRNA technology platform used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. “Withholding data is scientific fraud.” Cole, a Mayo Clinic-trained pathologist who runs a major diagnostic lab in Idaho, said that as “an ethical physician who took oaths to the human race, this is incredibly disturbing.” “These are the people that are entrusted to tell us the truth,” he said of the CDC officials.

The two outspoken medical scientists were featured at four sold-out events Sunday and Monday near Seattle hosted by a non-profit called One Washington that is helping equip parents, lawmakers and activists to counter moves by the state Board of Health to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the required shots for public school children. The Times reported the CDC “has been routinely collecting information since the Covid vaccines were first rolled out last year,” but the agency “has been reluctant to make those figures public, the official said, because they might be misinterpreted as the vaccines being ineffective.” The report said that “[t]wo full years into the pandemic, the agency leading the country’s response to the public health emergency has published only a tiny fraction of the data it has collected,” citing “several people familiar” with the withheld data.

“Much of the withheld information could help state and local health officials better target their efforts to bring the virus under control,” the Times said. Malone noted the Times quoted Samuel Scarpino, managing director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute, saying the CDC “is a political organization as much as it is a public health organization.” He said the steps that it takes to get the data released “are often well outside of the control of many of the scientists that work at the C.D.C.” Malone said that what Scarpino essentially is saying is “that the governmental leadership of the CDC has stifled CDC scientists, in preventing them from disclosing key information to the public about the risks of the vaccine.”

“That is stunning,” he said. Malone said it’s “way past time” for CDC scientists and physicians to “come clean” and speak out. Cole agreed that they have “an ethical responsibility to humanity” to tell the American people what is going on. Last month, he testified with Malone and other physicians and scientists at a panel convened by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., called “COVID-19: A Second Opinion.” Cole testified that he has observed in his lab over the past year a startling uptick in incidences of clotting, auto-immune diseases and cancers. “We physicians and scientists have one responsibility, and one responsibility only, and that is the health and wellness of humanity, no matter the inconvenient cost of telling that truth,” he said.

Kory/Alexander

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Pfizer 2007

 

 

 

 

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

 

Feb 172022
 


Edouard Manet Osny, The road-menders, Rue de Berne 1878

 

Trudeau’s Full-Fledged Financial Warfare on Freedom Convoy Protesters (CHD)
Canada Says ‘Freedom Convoy’ Seeks Regime Change (RT)
Police Give Ultimatum To Freedom Convoy Truckers (RT)
Trudeau’s Emergency Powers Endanger Everyone’s Rights (Turley)
Legal Voices Have Big Concerns With What Trudeau Has Done (Furey)
16 Governors, 2 Canadian Premiers: Reinstate Truckers’ Vaccine Exemptions (JTN)
Russian Government Mocks Incursion Rumors On Twitter (JTN)
Putin Warns Of ‘Genocide’ (RT)
Kremlin Teases ‘Alternatives’ To SWIFT If Sanctioned, Including Crypto (ZH)
There Was No Exit Plan from “Slow the Spread” (Blumen)
Covid Vaccines During Pregnancy Impact Newborns (RT)
Ivermectin Bill Advances To South Dakota Senate After Passing House (DNN)
Idaho Bill To Protect Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists On Covid Guidelines (ICS)
US Trending Toward China’s Social Credit System, Enabled by Big Tech (ET)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oz camp

 

 

“If this is happening in your country, “you [clearly] don’t live in a free country..”

Trudeau’s Full-Fledged Financial Warfare on Freedom Convoy Protesters (CHD)

In a move that gives him “sweeping powers,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked — for the first time in history — Canada’s Emergencies Act in response to what political commentator Krystal Ball characterized as a “pretty much completely peaceful” protest. Those powers include giving Canadian banks the ability, without a court order, to “immediately freeze or suspend accounts” of any Canadians’ who have donated $25 or more to the trucker convoy fundraising accounts. In an episode of “Breaking Points With Krystal and Sagaar,” Ball’s co-host, Saagar Enjeti, said the Canadian government also will be “seizing any funds that go towards the protests, including cryptocurrency.”

With the powers granted to the government by the Emergencies Act “they can not only seize and suspend your driver’s license forever, they can also go and take money out of the owner of the truck’s bank account,” Enjeti said. “So we are looking at full-fledged financial warfare on the truckers.” Not all Canadian leaders are on board with this drastic move, said Ball, pointing to a Reuters report that the premiers of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan opposed the move. Quebec’s Premier François Legault also opposed the move, stating he feared it would “throw oil on the fire,” according to the Montreal Gazette.

Canada’s War Measures Act, the predecessor to Trudeau’s Emergencies Act, was last used in 1970, when Quebec separatists kidnapped French and Canadian diplomats and murdered one of them. “So that was the last time anything similar to this was invoked,” Ball said. “You have here the Canadian Prime Minister, who is our neighbor to the north, invoking the Emergencies Act, declaring all out financial warfare on his own citizens and suspending civil liberties … in a supposedly free and open society,” Enjeti said. If this is happening in your country, “you [clearly] don’t live in a free country,” he argued.

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Very dangerous bullshit.

Canada Says ‘Freedom Convoy’ Seeks Regime Change (RT)

A senior Canadian security official has said the anti-vaccine-mandate ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest is driven by a desire to overthrow the government, disputing demonstrators who insist they are fed up with the country’s pandemic restrictions. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino questioned the protesters’ motives, suggesting that outrage over ongoing vaccine mandates is merely cover for a more sinister agenda. “There have been those who have tried to characterize these illegal blockades about vaccines and mandates and fatigue with the pandemic,” he said. “That is not what is driving this movement right now.”

What is driving this movement is a very small, organized group that is driven by an ideology to overthrow the government. While thousands of protesters have descended on the capital city of Ottawa and elsewhere to peacefully demand an end to the mandates, Mendicino cited a group of 11 demonstrators at a border crossing in Coutts, Alberta who were found to be carrying firearms and ammunition, calling the incident a “cautionary tale.” “The seizure of a significant number of illegal firearms by a group that is very committed to the cause is something that we need to be very sober about,” said Mendicino, an ex-federal prosecutor. The 11 individuals were reportedly taken into custody and charged with weapons offenses on Monday.

The minister’s warning of coup plotters comes one day after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in its history to crack down on the “illegal” protest, which some officials have described as a “blockade.” The Act grants authorities a number of temporary powers, including to compel tow-truck companies to remove the large numbers of semi-trucks now parked across the Canadian capital. To date, some firms have refused to haul away the vehicles.

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“..The official reason police cited for removing the truckers is that they are committing “mischief” by denying the people of Ottawa “the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property..”

Police Give Ultimatum To Freedom Convoy Truckers (RT)

On Wednesday, police in the Canadian capital Ottawa handed out flyers to the ‘Freedom Convoy’ truckers, ordering everyone to “leave now” or face arrest under PM Justin Trudeau’s emergency declaration. The truckers and their supporters have demonstrated for almost three weeks, demanding an end to strict Covid-19 mandates. “You must leave the area now. Anyone blocking streets, or assisting others in the blocking of streets, are committing a criminal offense and you may be arrested,” Ottawa police announced shortly before noon on Wednesday. Officers handed out fliers with the same message to the protesters and put them on the windshields of vehicles parked in front of the Canadian parliament.


Protesters face arrest, fines, jail, and could have their commercial or even private drivers’ licenses revoked, the police said. While the warning is almost the same as the one the city’s police issued last Wednesday, the new announcement includes language specifically referring to travel restrictions in the Federal Emergencies Act. The law was invoked by Trudeau on Monday, for the first time in Canadian history – and the law it replaced had only been used during the two world wars and a 1970 terrorism crisis. The crackdown comes just a day after Ottawa Police chief Peter Sloly resigned. The official reason police cited for removing the truckers is that they are committing “mischief” by denying the people of Ottawa “the lawful use, enjoyment and operation of their property” and “causing businesses to close.”

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“..it should not matter if you agree or disagree with the underlying cause..”

Trudeau’s Emergency Powers Endanger Everyone’s Rights (Turley)

For the first time in history, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act to crackdown on what he has described as an attack on democracy itself in Canada. While civil libertarians in Canada have condemned the move as threatening core free speech and associational rights in the country, the American media and legal commentators have largely supported Trudeau in the use of these extreme measures. Indeed, I triggered a tsunami of outrage in stating that Canada could have used such powers to cut off donations for the Civil Rights Movement and arrest Martin Luther King today for such protests. Partly this was due to the distortion of my comments on MLK ever being arrested (as opposed to being subject to arrest under this law).

However, there was also an objection that there is no equivalency between the truckers and the Civil Rights Movement. Again, that is not the point of the reference: it should not matter if you agree or disagree with the underlying cause. The concern is that the Canadian government could declare such an emergency to crackdown on any group engaging in civil disobedience through blockades or occupation protests. It could even happen to Dr. King today if marchers sought to repeat historic marches in Canada. Without meaningful limits under the law, they could also be unilaterally declared threats to Canadian “sovereignty, security and territorial integrity” by Trudeau for acts of civil disobedience.

With the emergency powers, Trudeau can now prohibit travel, public assemblies, conduct widespread arrests, and block donations for the truckers. This also includes freezing bank accounts and ramping up police surveillance and enforcement.

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“..until it decided to invoke the Act, the federal government — along with their provincial and municipal counterparts — failed to do very much at all to attempt to disperse the Ottawa protest..”

Legal Voices Have Big Concerns With What Trudeau Has Done (Furey)

There is no downplaying the magnitude of the decision made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act. It’s a move that’s never been done before, and it’s not a decision to be made lightly. And yet a growing chorus of legal analysis suggests that the PM did in fact make the decision lightly — that the situation just didn’t warrant it. “The federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act,” said a statement by Nao Mendelsohn Aviv, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). “This law creates a high and clear standard for good reason: the Act allows government to bypass ordinary democratic processes. This standard has not been met.” The CCLA added: “Emergency legislation should not be normalized. It threatens our democracy and our civil liberties.”

There are those who claim that civil liberties won’t be violated by Trudeau’s decision because any measures undertaken are subject to the Charter. But that’s not as reassuring as it may first sound. Now that the Emergencies Act has been invoked, a motion to confirm the emergency needs to appear before Parliament within seven sitting days. Until that time, there’s really nothing stopping Trudeau and cabinet from interpreting their new powers however they please. Here’s one of the new things Trudeau can now do: “Regulating and prohibiting public assemblies, including blockades, other than lawful advocacy, protest or dissent.” Now, whatever this means to you is irrelevant; it’s how Trudeau and the Prime Minister’s Office choose to interpret it that matters.

There’s no immediate adversarial review, and there’s no upfront judicial restraint. For example, the new powers Trudeau has given himself to mess with people’s banking who are suspected to be involved in the protests don’t require a court order like they would during usual times. It’s troubling that Trudeau would so readily reach for this lever. “The use of the Act is intended for crises where there are no other options on the table,” explains Aaron Wudrick, a lawyer who works with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. “Yet until it decided to invoke the Act, the federal government — along with their provincial and municipal counterparts — failed to do very much at all to attempt to disperse the Ottawa protest, making it hard for them to claim they have exhausted all alternatives.”

“Wait, how would the Canadian government, let alone a Canadian bank, know if you voted for Donald Trump? How deep is this rabbit hole Trudeau just put a spotlight on?”

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Zero chance, and that is worrisome. For one thing, all these people have been elected too..

16 Governors, 2 Canadian Premiers: Reinstate Truckers’ Vaccine Exemptions (JTN)

Two Canadian premiers and 16 American governors asked President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday to reinstate the vaccine and quarantine exemptions for cross border truck drivers. “We understand the vital importance of vaccines in the fight against COVID-19 and continue to encourage eligible individuals to get vaccinated,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wrote in the letter. “However, we are deeply concerned that terminating these exemptions has had demonstrably negative impacts on the North American supply chain, the cost of living, and access to essential products for people in both of our countries.”

Sixteen Republican governors signed the letter along with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. The U.S leaders who signed were Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

“The timing of your decision to terminate the vaccine and quarantine exemptions could not have been worse as North America already faces grave supply chain constraints,” the letter said. “These constraints, combined with increasing inflation, place significant burdens on the residents of Canada and the United States. Furthermore, transportation associations have informed us that the lack of exemptions will force thousands of drivers out of the trucking industry, which is already facing a significant workforce shortage. The removal of these exemptions is ultimately unnecessary, and we cannot afford to lose any more truck drivers who transport food and other vital supplies across the border.”

Doug Ford

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“See for yourselves what the collective Western media and officials’ words are worth.”

Russian Government Mocks Incursion Rumors On Twitter (JTN)

The Russian government has taken to Twitter to mock rumors that the country would invade Ukraine on Wednesday. While the Kremlin claimed it would withdraw some troops from near the border of Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said that Russia has actually deployed about 7,000 troops to the border in addition to the estimated 150,000 already stationed there. The Embassy of Russia in South Africa tweeted a GIF of John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction” looking around an empty front St. Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, with the caption: “16 February 2022. Meanwhile in Ukraine.”

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted another GIF Wednesday of a tumbleweed. “Today we mark another day of the ‘start of war with Ukraine,’ which did not happen again, to the Western media outlets’ regret, no matter how hard they whip up the hysteria,” the ministry captioned the GIF. “See for yourselves what the collective Western media and officials’ words are worth.” The Foreign Ministry tweeted a photo with a “FAKE” stamp over a collage of websites claiming that Russia would invade Ukraine. “This week we witnessed the culmination of misinformation campaign, launched by the West, on Russia’s mythical ‘invasion’ of Ukraine,” the ministry wrote. “Meanwhile, [NATO] continues to pump weapons into Ukraine under the information cover they’ve created.”

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“..parliamentarians push for the Kremlin to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk.”

Putin has resisted this so far. Because of Minsk. But now Ukraine wants to change Minsk. Time for Berlin and Paris to speak out very clearly.

Putin Warns Of ‘Genocide’ (RT)

Fierce fighting that has killed thousands of people in eastern Ukraine, home to a large number of ethnic Russians, constitutes a genocide, President Vladimir Putin has claimed as parliamentarians push for the Kremlin to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Lugansk. Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference at the end of crunch talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Russian leader weighed in on the heightened tensions unfolding in the war-torn region. “I can only add that what is happening in Donbass is genocide,” he said. When asked by reporters about whether the push for the recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics was guided by public opinion and sympathy from Russians, and how such a move could impact a major peace plan, Putin said it was still possible to solve the problems in the region by applying the Minsk agreements.


“We have to do everything to resolve the problem of Donbass, but do it first and foremost based on the possibility of implementing the Minsk agreements,” he explained, adding that he hoped Berlin and Paris would be able to encourage Kiev to fulfill their side of the deal. Scholz, however, expressed concern at the prospect of Donetsk and Lugansk’s recognition, claiming that such a move would violate the protocols and lead to a “political catastrophe.” Putin’s remarks come shortly after lawmakers in his country’s parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution, originally put forward by the Communist Party, calling for Putin to recognize the independence of the two regions. MPs said that the move would set the framework for ensuring guarantees and protecting the population, where ethnic Russians make up a large minority, from external threats.

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Russia has been preparing for this for decades.

Kremlin Teases ‘Alternatives’ To SWIFT If Sanctioned, Including Crypto (ZH)

NATO is now talking about Russia’s failure to withdraw troops from near Ukraine even though on Tuesday the Kremlin had announced the start of a draw down of some military units in the south. “Russia’s failure to withdraw can be confirmed through commercial satellite imagery,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. His statement comes less than 24 hours after President Biden addressed the Ukraine situation in a televised speech wherein he alleged that a Russian attack on Ukraine is “still very much a possibility” and that the troop reduction is “not verified yet”. Biden took the opportunity to again warn of “overwhelming international condemnation” and unprecedented sanctions, including “export controls…methods we did not pursue when Russia took Crimea in 2014.”

As part of the “decisive response” the administration has said it has in its arsenal as a maximalist ‘nuclear option’ which would see Russia off from the international SWIFT payment settlement system. But Moscow was quick to respond Wednesday, with Finance Minister Anton Siluanov reaffirming his country has “prepared alternatives” which ensure such US sanctions while yet “unpleasant” would remain “not fatal”. He assured in an online briefing that Russia will fulfill all settlements, and further that “Any restrictions on energy exports will be compensated by corresponding price growth.” “Thank god we have enough forex liquidity and enough forex reserves,” Siluanov told reporters in the briefing. “They say we have a financial shield in the form of gold and forex reserves, budget surplus and [budget] rule, low debt.”

When it comes to the scenario of being cut off from SWIFT, which is being reported as possibly part of a sweeping sanctions package under preparation by US and European officials, Siluanov referenced the his country being able to withstand it, with plans being readied for a “Fortress Russia” approach: “We expect the country’s financial system to continue to focus inwards as part of the “Fortress Russia” strategy and advance digital and fintech sovereignty.” It was reported that as of early February, Russia possesses nearly $635 billion in gold and forex reserves. On the energy question, he affirmed that Russia stands ready to re-route to other markets. The comment about advancing “digital and fintech sovereignty” is particularly interesting in light of President Putin’s October 2021 statements wherein he rattled American financial officials after hinting that cryptocurrencies could be ‘weaponized’ as a dollar replacement.

https://twitter.com/crypto_relevant/status/1493969205523222530

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“..can’t work out what we’re even doing here, but he wants us to keep doing it.”

There Was No Exit Plan from “Slow the Spread” (Blumen)

If we are to believe that a worldwide pandemic grew from an outbreak of twelve people in Wuhan, China to infect nearly the entire world (even indigenous tribes in the Amazon jungle who are by definition quarantined) why would it not do the same when we emerged from our underground fallout shelters? What if through assiduously standing in small circles painted on the floor in grocery stores and wearing underwear on our faces, we succeeded in driving the number of Covid infections down to a very small number? To pick a number, for example, twelve people. Why would the contagion not, in the absence of broader acquired immunity, spread again from that new base of twelve, until eventually reaching all of those remaining uninfected?

It took me some time to give it a name. I settled on “suppression.” The fundamental reason that suppression is not a policy is that it has no exit. For a thing to work it must work within a limited time. If the measures to slow the spread succeeded in slowing it, then what? The nature of the off ramp is the answer to the question, “What happens when we stop doing it?” If the answer is, “It would go right back to what it was doing before,” then there is no exit. During 2020 I had people tell me that we could not end the lockdown because the epidemic would pick up right where it left off and millions would die AND (sometimes the same people ) that if we keep up the restrictive measures for a while then we could stop because the virus would not come back. A bit logic rules out the possibility that the virus could both come back and not come back.

Do we then spend the rest of our lives acting out Covid theater? Dr. Fauci said that he would never shake hands again. Blue check marks fret about quarantining their children. Jenin Younes reflected on a survey in which hypochondriac epidemiologists who are afraid to open their mail explain that they now consider a normal life to be dangerously reckless. Substack author Eugyppius writes about a medical journal editor who “can’t work out what we’re even doing here, but he wants us to keep doing it.”

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CDC claims vaccines protect the unborn.

Covid Vaccines During Pregnancy Impact Newborns (RT)

Babies born to mothers who took the Covid-19 vaccine during their pregnancy are likely to have some form of immunity against the virus, according to the latest research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published on Tuesday. Researchers analyzed data from 379 hospitalized infants – 176 suffered from Covid-19 and 203 were admitted for other reasons. The children were all under six months old between July 2021 and January 2022. Their study found that hospitalization risks were reduced by 61% in children whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy. Protection increased to 80% when the mothers got their jabs later in their pregnancy (21 weeks to 14 days before delivery).


The effectiveness of the vaccinations dropped as low as 32% for babies whose mother was inoculated earlier during pregnancy. The authors cautioned people not to read too much into the study, given the small sample size used. “Right now we want to ensure that we are protecting both the mom and the infant,” CDC’s Dana Meaney-Delman told reporters. “So, as soon as a pregnant woman is willing to be vaccinated, she should so ahead and do so.” The CDC says that pregnant women are at greater risk of developing complications due to Covid-19, including risks to their own health, as well as preterm births and stillbirths. It is recommended that anyone expecting a baby or trying to get pregnant should keep up to date with their Covid shots.

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“Supporters say the bill doesn’t mandate medical professionals to prescribe ivermectin, just gives them permission to do so.”

Ivermectin Bill Advances To South Dakota Senate After Passing House (DNN)

The South Dakota House has passed a bill to allow medical professionals to prescribe ivermectin to patients suffering from COVID-19. House Bill 1267 passed Monday on a vote of 40 to 28, South Dakota Broadcasters Association Reports. Its prime sponsor is Rep. Phil Jensen (R, Rapid City). The bill gives medical professionals permission to prescribe ivermectin in accordance with accepted medical standards. If ivermectin is prescribed, medical professionals must provide patients with an information sheet about the drug and subsequent healthcare information.


Opponents of the bill argue the legislature should not be telling doctors what they can or cannot prescribe for their patients. Supporters say the bill doesn’t mandate medical professionals to prescribe ivermectin, just gives them permission to do so. Ivermectin is typically used to kill parasites in animals. Some have advocated for the drug to be used to treat COVID-19. However, the FDA says ivermectin should not be used in this way. The bill will go forward in the legislative process and will next be heard on the Senate floor.

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“.. the pandemic has made off-label use of ivermectin and other unproven drugs a matter of politics and, now, policy.”

Idaho Bill To Protect Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists On Covid Guidelines (ICS)

A bill in the Idaho Legislature would protect the licenses of doctors, nurses and pharmacists who prescribe or dispense unproven medications for COVID-19. Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, presented the legislation Friday to the House Business Committee. The committee voted by a voice vote to introduce the bill. The bill would prohibit licensing boards from taking disciplinary action against doctors, physician assistants and advanced-practice registered nurses when the action is “based solely” on their recommendations to patients regarding COVID-19, including prescribing drugs that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat the coronavirus disease. The bill also says pharmacists could not “block or attempt to block” a patient’s access to that unapproved drug.


If a pharmacist does not want to dispense the medication, they could direct the patient to a willing pharmacist, the bill says. Pharmacists’ licenses couldn’t be jeopardized by dispensing the drugs, the bill says. In addition, the bill orders Idaho hospitals, nursing facilities and residential care or assisted living facilities to allow a patient to take the unapproved treatment “if a patient has requested and is prescribed” that drug. The FDA has approved some drugs for other uses — ivermectin for intestinal parasites, for example — but not for COVID-19. While “off label” prescribing is sometimes done by health care providers for other ailments, the pandemic has made off-label use of ivermectin and other unproven drugs a matter of politics and, now, policy.

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“It’s that integration of the government and big tech companies to police speech that I think is troubling and very evocative of the coming totalitarianism..”

US Trending Toward China’s Social Credit System, Enabled by Big Tech (ET)

Big tech companies are doing the bidding of the U.S. government in actions that mirror China’s social credit system, and Americans must recognize what’s happening and take action, according to Kara Frederick, a former Facebook intel analyst and a research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Frederick recently authored a Heritage Foundation report titled, “Combating Big Tech’s Totalitarianism: A Road Map,” which details how Big Tech has wielded its power to censor Americans. The report proposes a range of actions Americans can take to counter the situation. “It’s that integration of the government and big tech companies to police speech that I think is troubling and very evocative of the coming totalitarianism,” Frederick said on EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. She calls it a “symbiosis between the government and tech companies.”

She cited a few examples, including in earlier February, when White House press secretary Jen Psaki, at a press conference, urged Spotify and other major tech platforms to take further action to stamp out what the Biden administration deemed as “COVID-19 misinformation.” It’s not the first time Psaki told big tech companies what to do, Frederick noted. In July 2021, Psaki and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at a press conference urged social media companies to combat what the Biden administration called “health misinformation.” At the time, Psaki singled out 12 people whom she said were “producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms.”

“All of [the 12 people] remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including Facebook—ones that Facebook owns,” Psaki said at the time. A day later, Psaki said, “You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others … for providing misinformation out there.” Frederick noted that within a month, all of the users and accounts were booted off the Facebook platform.

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No Spying

 

 

 

 

Mascot
https://twitter.com/fun4laugh/status/1493830290040844288

 

 

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

 

Jan 192022
 
 January 19, 2022  Posted by at 9:36 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  63 Responses »


Alfred Sisley Snow at Louveciennes 1878

 

US Daily COVID Cases Drop By 47% And Deaths Fall By 38% Week-on-week (DM)
‘Much Brighter Than Before’: COVID-19 Cases Plunge Across US (ET)
The Narrative Is Falling Apart, Piece By Piece (Kirsch)
US Faces Wave Of Omicron Deaths In Coming Weeks, Models Say (AP)
New Research: Covid Less Deadly Than Thought In 1st Year Of Pandemic (JTN)
The Last Days of the Covidian Cult (CJ Hopkins)
Calls Grow To Ditch Compulsory Covid Jabs Law For NHS Staff (DM)
Observations From An Experienced Nurse About The Covid Vaccines (Kirsch)
Think About What Denying Health Care To The Unvaccinated Means (Vezina)
Nicola Sturgeon Announces Lifting Of Omicron Restrictions In Scotland (G.)
New Zealand Closes Borders To New Arrivals Over Omicron Risk (G.)
Grocery Stores Could Close If Labour, Product Shortages Worsen (CP)
Ghislaine Maxwell Ends Fight To Keep Eight ‘John Does’ Secret (CTV)
Western Governments Drop Plans To Cut Russia Off From SWIFT – Media (RT)
5G Network Deployment In The US Spawns A Cluster Of Disruption (TAC)
Multiple Flights to US Suspended Over 5G Fears (RT)

 

 

 

 

Dr. Bowden Houston Methodist

 

 

“The virus is better at immunising than the vaccine”.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1483485364065116163

 

 

That’s a lot.

US Daily COVID Cases Drop By 47% And Deaths Fall By 38% Week-on-week (DM)

Covid infections are falling in the U.S. for the first time since the Omicron variant erupted at the end of 2021. The nation recorded 721,651 new cases on Monday, a steep fall from the 1.364 million cases reported last Monday. America’s new daily case average has also dropped 10 percent over the past seven days, from 766,939 to 684,457. A DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins University data found there were 717,874 new cases recorded between midnight Monday and midnight Tuesday. Monday is often the day when reported case counts are highest as lagging figures from the weekend are finally reported. Last week’s 1.364 million cases recorded on Monday was the highest single day case total the nation ever recorded.

This week’s total was affected by the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, where many local governments and municipalities were closed and did not fully report cases. It is likely that some cases shift to Tuesday this week instead. But Covid cases have been plunging for days in those states hardest hit by Omicron when it first arrived in the US in early December, suggesting the latest phase pandemic could really be drawing to a close. Two-week case averages are generally the most stable figures and can smooth out single day outliers. Over the past 14 days, overall cases in the U.S. are up 40 percent, though that figure is expected to decline further in the coming days as many previous Covid hotspots in the U.S. are now seeing case counts trend in the right direction.

As of Tuesday morning, Johns Hopkins University reports that the U.S. has logged 66,456,516 cases and 851,730 deaths since the pandemic first began. That means there has been one reported Covid case for every five Americans so far – with the figure likely being even higher due to the mass underreporting of cases and test shortages that have been a problem during different waves of the pandemic.Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, put a fly in the ointment after warning that yet another new variant could emerge – and that it could resist existing immunity in those infected or vaccinated.

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As predicted.

‘Much Brighter Than Before’: COVID-19 Cases Plunge Across US (ET)

COVID-19 case counts have dropped across the United States in recent days, stoking optimism that the Omicron-fueled wave is subsiding. 34 states have recorded a decrease in cases in recent days, not including states that reported a single-day drop, according to an Epoch Times analysis. That includes some of the states that saw huge Omicron-fueled increases, including New York, California, and Florida. Other states that have seen fewer cases recently include Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. States in every region of the country have reported fewer cases, and a smaller number have also seen a lower number of people being admitted to hospitals with or for COVID-19.

Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant, which dominated the United States for months last year. However, it causes a smaller percentage of cases that require hospital care or lead to death. States saw a significant increase in positive tests with the emergence of Omicron late last year, in part because the COVID-19 vaccines provide little protection against infection from the strain. Cases in New York shot above 90,000 on Jan. 7, but have since dropped sharply, hitting 26,772 on Monday. Hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 have also gone down in the northeastern state in recent days. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, worries that hospital admissions may go back up in the near future, “but overall, the prognosis, the forecast, for COVID is much brighter than it had been before.” “The COVID clouds are parting,” she told reporters in Latham last week.

[..] Overall, the number of new cases nationwide dropped from 1.3 million on Jan. 10 to the mid-800,000s in the following days, according to data reported by states to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. health officials have said the drop in cases could come quickly, similar to the plunges seen in South Africa and other countries that dealt with earlier Omicron waves.

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“I’m now hearing a lot from prominent formerly pro-vax docs that they are turning on the vaccine. This is great news. Nobody is going public yet, but they are all pissed and realize they have been misled.”

The Narrative Is Falling Apart, Piece By Piece (Kirsch)

Here are some narrative pieces that have been falling apart that were recently brought to my attention. Here are the four new truths:

1/ The vaccines make you more likely to get COVID: It was supposed to make things better, but we’re basically mandating you get a shot that makes you more likely to get infected. That is totally insane, but that’s what we are doing. Check out the graphs here. No age confounding this time: UK Government Data proves the Covid-19 Vaccines DOUBLE your chances of catching Covid-19.

2/ The vaccines aren’t safe: I’m now hearing a lot from prominent formerly pro-vax docs that they are turning on the vaccine. This is great news. Nobody is going public yet, but they are all pissed and realize they have been misled. It will not be pretty. This is of course great news.

3/ Cloth masks don’t work: The CDC finally admits that cloth masks that they said worked before and that everyone wore (including Rochelle Walensky) don’t actually work. The other mask types don’t work either, but it will take them longer to figure out the obvious. P100 respirators do work but only a small percentage of people know that. I can’t wait to see Rochelle Walensky wear a P100 respirator; after all, she should be modelling best practices.

4/ Kids shouldn’t have boosters shots: Top WHO scientist finally admits that kids shouldn’t get boosted!!!! Yet the US colleges and universities aren’t going to back off. Someone is very wrong here and for once it isn’t the WHO.

Here are some older truths that should have been realized by now, but are still going on:

1/ Remdesivir is killing patients, not saving them: RDV is standard operating procedure in the US, but everyone I talk to says it doesn’t work and is much more likely to kill patients than save them. Doctors are forced to give it by hospital policy.

2/ Social distancing doesn’t work: The MIT study came out in April, 2021 that showed social distancing makes no difference. 6 feet or 60 feet made no difference. People still haven’t figured this out.


P100 mask

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There we go again. Omicron deaths, in waves.

US Faces Wave Of Omicron Deaths In Coming Weeks, Models Say (AP)

The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, but COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing and modelers forecast 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans could die by the time the wave subsides in mid-March. The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has been trending upward since mid-November, reaching nearly 1,700 on Jan. 17 — still below the peak of 3,300 in January 2021. COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents started rising slightly two weeks ago, although still at a rate 10 times less than last year before most residents were vaccinated. Despite signs omicron causes milder disease on average, the unprecedented level of infection spreading through the country, with cases still soaring in many states, means many vulnerable people will become severely sick. If the higher end of projections comes to pass, that would push total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 over 1 million by early spring.


“A lot of people are still going to die because of how transmissible omicron has been,” said University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi. “It unfortunately is going to get worse before it gets better.” Morgues are starting to run out of space in Johnson County, Kansas, said Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of the health department. More than 30 residents have died in the county this year, the vast majority of them unvaccinated. But the notion that a generally less severe variant could still take the lives of thousands of people has been difficult for health experts to convey. The math of it — that a small percentage of a very high number of infections can yield a very high number of deaths — is difficult to visualize. “Overall, you’re going to see more sick people even if you as an individual have a lower chance of being sick,” said Katriona Shea of Pennsylvania State University, who co-leads a team that pulls together several pandemic models and shares the combined projections with the White House.

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Ioannidis.

New Research: Covid Less Deadly Than Thought In 1st Year Of Pandemic (JTN)

COVID-19 was less lethal across nearly every age group in its first full year than previously thought, according to an updated review of global research from Stanford University’s Meta-Research Innovation Center (METRIC). Between summer and Christmas 2021, METRIC’s estimates of deaths from infection fell by half in multiple age groups, including young people, and less sharply in others. The international estimates, which have not been peer-reviewed, are not substantially different from the CDC’s own “best estimate” of COVID mortality in the U.S., last updated in March. They use different age ranges, making exact comparisons difficult. The findings raise questions about ongoing COVID restrictions and mandates, particularly for schoolchildren and college students, who remain at the lowest overall risk from infection.

The risk-benefit ratio of vaccine boosters is also under scrutiny, with international authorities souring on their wide deployment and a new Israeli study finding that a fourth dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines doesn’t stop the Omicron variant. METRIC codirector John Ioannidis, credited by one medical publisher as having “practically invented” the field of meta-research, warned early in the pandemic that available infection data were “utterly unreliable.” His ongoing tracking of “seroprevalence,” which measures COVID infection rates using the presence of antibodies in blood samples, has made him controversial in scientific circles. Ioannidis led a study in Stanford’s backyard that estimated a much higher infection rate than local authorities were reporting in spring 2020, leading to criticism of his methods. The revised paper was published last spring in an Oxford medical journal.

He has also consistently emphasized that mortality risks for the non-elderly were “very small” even in COVID “hotbeds.” A June 2020 review of seroprevalence studies determined a median “infection fatality rate” (IFR) of 0.26% overall and 0.04% for everyone under 70. [..] The Greece-born Ioannidis told the Greek Reporter this week that he believes the earlier Delta variant is responsible for a substantial portion of recent COVID deaths in the U.S. and Europe, with infections predating the Omicron wave. “Omicron has the characteristics of an endemic wave,” he said, echoing South African research on Omicron infection providing some protection against Delta infection.

The milder variant has a “seasonal appearance, high rates of transmission, [and] disproportionately low death burden in a setting where there is very high background immunity due to prior infection and/or vaccination,” Ioannidis said. The chief epidemiologist at Denmark’s State Serum Institute made the same claim earlier this month, telling Danish TV 2 that “we will have our normal lives back in two months.” Tyra Grove Krause said her organization found the hospitalization risk from Omicron was half that of Delta. It welcomed the spike in cases in recent weeks, saying the “massive spread” of a mild variant will put the country “in a better place than we were before.’

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“And now the clock is running down, and the resistance isn’t crushed … on the contrary, it is growing..”

The Last Days of the Covidian Cult (CJ Hopkins)

This isn’t going to be pretty, folks. The downfall of a death cult rarely is. There is going to be wailing and gnashing of teeth, incoherent fanatical jabbering, mass deleting of embarrassing tweets. There’s going to be a veritable tsunami of desperate rationalizing, strenuous denying, shameless blame-shifting, and other forms of ass-covering, as suddenly former Covidian Cult members make a last-minute break for the jungle before the fully-vaxxed-and-boosted “Safe and Effective Kool-Aid” servers get to them. Yes, that’s right, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the official Covid narrative is finally falling apart, or is being hastily disassembled, or historically revised, right before our eyes.

The “experts” and “authorities” are finally acknowledging that the “Covid deaths” and “hospitalization” statistics are artificially inflated and totally unreliable (which they have been from the very beginning), and they are admitting that their miracle “vaccines” don’t work (unless you change the definition of the word “vaccine”), and that they have killed a few people, or maybe more than a few people, and that lockdowns were probably “a serious mistake.” I am not going to bother with further citations. You can surf the Internet as well as I can. The point is, the “Apocalyptic Pandemic” PSYOP has reached its expiration date. After almost two years of mass hysteria over a virus that causes mild-to-moderate common-cold or flu-like symptoms (or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever) in about 95% of the infected and the overall infection fatality rate of which is approximately 0.1% to 0.5%, people’s nerves are shot.

We are all exhausted. Even the Covidian cultists are exhausted. And they are starting to abandon the cult en masse. It was always mostly just a matter of time. As Klaus Schwab said, “the pandemic represent[ed] a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.” It isn’t over, but that window is closing, and our world has not been “reimagined” and “reset,” not irrevocably, not just yet. Clearly, GloboCap underestimated the potential resistance to the Great Reset, and the time it would take to crush that resistance. And now the clock is running down, and the resistance isn’t crushed … on the contrary, it is growing.

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“..more than 80,000 – 6 per cent of the workforce – remain unvaccinated..”

Calls Grow To Ditch Compulsory Covid Jabs Law For NHS Staff (DM)

Ministers are under pressure from Tory MPs to scrap a law requiring all NHS staff to have a Covid jab as bosses prepare to start sacking 80,000 in a fortnight. All frontline workers must have had two doses of the vaccine by April 1, meaning the first must have been administered by February 3. But more than 80,000 – 6 per cent of the workforce – remain unvaccinated despite repeated efforts to boost take-up. New NHS guidance to employers says staff who have not been jabbed should start being called into formal meetings from February 4 and warned they face dismissal with the notice period ending on March 31. But the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have urged ministers to delay the rules, saying they could have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on the delivery of services.


And Mark Harper, the chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Conservative MPs, yesterday urged No 10 to reconsider its approach. He said: ‘The Government is still ploughing on, regardless of the consequences on staffing levels. It’s nonsense. Ministers must change course.’ He posted a link to the Government’s own impact assessment, which says 73,000 NHS staff in England could be lost because of the rules. He added: ‘Here are the stark numbers – which let’s not forget are real people with real families – behind this policy.’ Health Secretary Sajid Javid last week told the Commons the Government remained committed to the plans.

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“It’s time for us to admit that we’ve been completely deceived.”

Observations From An Experienced Nurse About The Covid Vaccines (Kirsch)

One of my nurse friends forwarded this note to me. It was originally written by a nurse, but the source is unknown, probably out of fear of retribution. Among all the vaccines I have known in my life (diphtheria, tetanus, measles, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis, meningitis, flu, and pneumonia, and tuberculosis) I have never seen a vaccine that forced me to wear a mask and maintain my social distance, even when you are fully vaccinated. I had never heard of a vaccine that spreads the virus even after vaccination. I had never heard of rewards, discounts, incentives to get vaccinated. I never saw discrimination for those who didn’t. If you haven’t been vaccinated no one has tried to make you feel like a bad person. I have never seen a vaccine that threatens the relationship between family, colleagues and friends.

I have never seen a vaccine used to threaten livelihoods, work or school. I have never seen a vaccine that would allow a 12-year-old to override parental consent. After all the vaccines I listed above, I have never seen a vaccine like this one, which discriminates, divides and judges society as it is. And as the social fabric tightens… It’s a powerful vaccine! It does all these things except IMMUNIZATION. If we still need a booster dose after we are fully vaccinated, and we still need to get a negative test after we are fully vaccinated, and we still need to wear a mask after we are fully vaccinated, and still be hospitalized after we have been fully vaccinated, it will likely come to “It’s time for us to admit that we’ve been completely deceived.”

I think she forgot to mention that she’s probably also never seen: • a vaccine which makes it more likely you’ll be infected by the virus they are trying to protect you from (after a brief efficacy period). See Incriminating evidence for all the studies showing this. • a vaccine which helps other latent viruses or cancers to re-emerge with a vengeance. • a vaccine which has killed at least 150,000 previously healthy Americans • a vaccine with over 20,000 deaths reported into VAERS and the CDC can’t find a single death that was due to the vaccine • lockdowns for the unvaccinated that can last for years to come

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“..be careful about deciding what medical ethics we are prepared to amend or abandon in order to “get life back to normal.”

Think About What Denying Health Care To The Unvaccinated Means (Vezina)

Once again, the calls to systemically deny or restrict health care to the unvaccinated are surging, opening the Pandora’s box of changing modern biomedical ethics. Many people are saying it is time for our leaders to have, as they phrase it, the difficult conversation. There are two assumptions made in this. The first is that we have decided a medical system which — overtly and in full view — places certain people’s lives above others is tolerable. It’s true we already have other systems which do this indirectly and subtly. There is no rule, for example, that explicitly states the rich are treated better than the poor, but in practice they are, for numerous reasons. The second assumption is that it is permissible to trade not just the quality of life, but lives themselves, especially in the short term, for securing critical infrastructure.

This is also already the case in our society although, again, it is done indirectly. For example, safeguarding economic infrastructure takes priority over extending people’s lives. Greater priority is given to safeguarding Canadian banks than to affordable housing. The poor are given limited public assistance so that the cost of living does not increase even faster for everyone else. Whether any of this is good or bad is irrelevant. It is simply what happens. But going beyond that, with the Pandora’s box of changing medical ethics having been opened, the following strategies can be considered, all doable and each with its own risks and benefits.

1. Deny health care to the unvaccinated. Benefits: Opens up significant ICU and hospital space; removes people who disagree with modern medical science from the population; perhaps gets us through the COVID-19 pandemic faster. Risks: Potential for widespread civil unrest; long-term effects on medical ethics with a precedent having been set; disproportionate impact on workers and industries required to keep critical infrastructures operational. External control measures, such as business closures and public gatherings would need to be maintained, or vaccinated patients might fill ICUs with uncontrolled Omicron spread.

2. Deny ICU health care to all COVID-only patients, regardless of vaccine status. Benefits: Can restart surgeries rapidly; difficult but easier to ethically justify than the first option; perhaps get through COVID-19 faster. Risks: Easy to abuse in terms of preferential treatment on an individual basis; difficult to implement in terms of practicality; potential staffing shortages, with some frontline health-care workers viewing this as the “last straw” ethically and quitting. With this strategy, external control measures are separated from hospital ICU capacity. Once everyone (of all ages) has an available vaccine to control their personal level of risk, removing control measures and allowing people to decide their risks for themselves becomes more attractive.

3. Reach endemic status rapidly, to decrease hospital load over the long term. By delaying the onset of COVID-19 infections and having hospitals at or exceeding capacity for long periods of time, cancer and many other life-saving surgeries are being further delayed. If the assumption is that everyone will get the virus eventually anyway, then a rapid endemic strategy would be to encourage people to become infected as quickly as possible, through the immediate removal of all external control measures to contain the pandemic. This includes allowing all businesses to reopen at full capacity and removing all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public and private events, as well as in people’s homes. Benefits: Reaches COVID endgame much more quickly, the load on hospital infrastructure recedes much faster, cancer and other life-saving surgeries can be resumed much earlier. Risks: Over the short term, a scenario from hell with increased deaths, the hospital system strained beyond maximum capacity during this period; increased chances of a new Canadian variant developing; it will appear to the public as if governments are abandoning frontline health care. In all of these strategies, the ability or inability of society to recover ethically from what has been done, once the immediate pandemic crisis is over, would be on the table. So be careful about deciding what medical ethics we are prepared to amend or abandon in order to “get life back to normal.”

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People who know more than they tell.

Nicola Sturgeon Announces Lifting Of Omicron Restrictions In Scotland (G.)

Restrictions brought in before Christmas to stem the Omicron surge across Scotland are to be lifted from next Monday, Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said. Nightclubs will reopen, there will be an end to social distancing and to a three-household limit indoors, Sturgeon said, adding that the country had “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”. But Sturgeon urged the public to remain “cautious” about socialising in larger groups, while government guidance remains to work from home wherever possible and use face coverings, with vaccine passports still in place for large-scale events. Sturgeon said in her regular statement at Holyrood that the data suggested Omicron peaked in Scotland in the first week of January and that “we are now on the downward slope of this wave of cases” as hospital and intensive care admissions were falling.


Cases were down from 36,526 new cases on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of last week to 20,268 cases reported this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. She said that, after discussion with her cabinet, the remaining statutory measures introduced in response to Omicron – limits on indoor public events; the requirement for one-metre physical distancing between different groups in indoor public places; the requirement for table service in hospitality premises serving alcohol on the premises; and the closure of nightclubs – would be lifted from next Monday, 24 January. From that day, the guidance asking people to stick to a three-household limit on indoor gatherings will also be lifted.

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Locking people out of their own country, and home, should be a no-go.

New Zealand Closes Borders To New Arrivals Over Omicron Risk (G.)

New Zealand has temporarily cut off the only pathway home for overseas citizens and visa holders, citing the risk of the Omicron variant. Officials announced on Tuesday evening that new spaces in the country’s managed isolation and quarantine system (MIQ) would not be released. The Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, said on Wednesday that while the pause was “temporary” there was no date for when spaces would again be available – meaning New Zealand’s border would be closed for an indeterminate time to citizens without an existing booking. “Pausing the next MIQ lobby is a temporary position while MIQ is under extreme pressure from New Zealanders returning with Omicron,” he said.

“No decisions have been made on the date, sequence and conditions for the border reopening and cabinet will consider options within the next couple of weeks based on the most up to date advice. Until then, we are not in a position to release more MIQ rooms.” The MIQ head, Chris Bunny, said there had been an “unprecedented number of Omicron cases coming into New Zealand and MIQ”, with a tenfold increase in cases at the border compared with December, and a seven day rolling average of 33. On Wednesday, New Zealand recorded 24 new cases in the community. One of those cases has been confirmed as Omicron, a household contact of an MIQ worker. Separately, an airport worker tested positive on Wednesday.

New Zealand’s tough border restrictions have been crucial to its avoiding an Omicron outbreak and keeping Covid cases extremely low – but they are also a source of increasing heartache and rage for those who have found themselves locked out, often in extremely difficult personal circumstances. Other than the risky path of chartering a boat across the Tasman sea, securing a spot in MIQ is the only way into New Zealand. Competition for the rooms, which are released via a lottery system, is fierce. At the last release in early January, a queue of 16,000 people were vying to book one of 1,250 available rooms.

For those stranded overseas, the cancellation of future releases was distressing. Maxine Strydom, a member of Grounded Kiwis, which advocates for stranded New Zealanders, said she was stuck in Perth with her two children, and had been unable to secure a spot, despite her job and tenancy in Australia ending. “All of us stranded overseas are affected. We’re all going through mental and emotional stress,” she said. “Soon I’m going to have no money, no house, and no help in a foreign country.” Claire, a New Zealander in San Diego, said: “I feel like every shred of hope has been stripped away … There is no end in sight, it’s just demoralising.” Claire asked to be referred to by first name only amid concerns about criticism by fellow New Zealanders, most of whom have favoured border restrictions.

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Canada screwing up royally.

Grocery Stores Could Close If Labour, Product Shortages Worsen (CP)

Grocery stores are struggling with rising labour and product shortages that could threaten Canada’s food security, experts say. Employee absenteeism due to workers calling in sick and COVID-19 protocols has hit about 30 per cent at some stores and is continuing to rise, Gary Sands, senior vice-president of public policy with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, said Tuesday. Without access to rapid testing in many provinces, he said workers are repeatedly forced to isolate for a week or more after an exposure to COVID-19. If the situation worsens, some grocery stores won’t be able to stay open _ threatening food security in rural and remote areas that rely on a sole independent grocer, Sands said. “If we have to keep sending people home, at a certain point stores are not going to be able to operate,” he said. “We’re very frustrated with the lack of rapid test kits for grocers.”


Health Canada has made some rapid test kits available directly to companies in critical sectors, including the food industry, with 200 or more employees. But many independent grocery stores don’t meet that threshold, putting those kits out of reach, Sands said. Yet many grocers cannot obtain rapid tests through provinces either, he said. “Independent grocers are in a myriad of communities in this country where there is no other grocery store,” Sands said. “If those stores close, you’ve got a food security issue.” Meanwhile, stores are also experiencing a shortage of goods stemming from supply chain issues, including a shortage of truckers, packaging and processing delays and the Canadian winter. Grocers rely on “just in time” delivery, meaning even transient issues like inclement weather can cause delays and shortages, Retail Council of Canada spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen said.

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How many will be famous?

Ghislaine Maxwell Ends Fight To Keep Eight ‘John Does’ Secret (CTV)

Ghislaine Maxwell will no longer fight to keep the names of eight ‘John Does’ secret and will leave it to the court to decide whether the names should be unsealed, according to a Jan. 12 letter to federal Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York. The documents containing the names are connected to a 2015 defamation case brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who claimed Epstein sexually abused her while she was a minor and that Maxwell aided in the abuse. The case was settled in 2017. Maxwell, 60, faces up to 65 years in prison after she was found guilty last month in a New York federal court on five federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor. The charges were related to her role in Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls between 1994 and 2004.

“After careful review of the detailed objections submitted by Non-Party Does 17, 53, 54, 55, 73, 93 and 151, counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell writes to inform the Court that she does not wish to further address those objections,” Maxwell attorney Laura Menninger wrote. “Each of the listed Does has counsel who have ably asserted their own respective privacy rights. Ms. Maxwell therefore leaves it to this Court to conduct the appropriate review.” Giuffre’s attorney had filed a brief on Wednesday, arguing for the names to be revealed. “[G]eneralized aversion to embarrassment and negativity that may come from being associated with Epstein and Maxwell is not enough to warrant continued sealing of information. This is especially true with respect to this case of great public interest, involving serious allegations of the sex trafficking of minors,” Guiffre attorney Sigrid McCawley wrote.

“Now that Maxwell’s criminal trial has come and gone, there is little reason to retain protection over the vast swaths of information about Epstein and Maxwell’s sex-trafficking operation that were originally filed under seal in this case.” McCawley said the court has already rejected similar arguments for anonymity and the same standard should apply to the eight ‘John Does’ who still remain anonymous in court documents.

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“Germany would have no way of paying Moscow for its natural gas contracts”

Western Governments Drop Plans To Cut Russia Off From SWIFT – Media (RT)

German newspaper Handelsblatt has reported that Western leaders have ruled out the possibility of disconnecting Russia from the global banking interchange SWIFT. However, the US government has contradicted the assertion. “No option is off the table,” a spokesperson for Washington’s National Security Council told reporters on Monday. The denial comes after Handelsblatt claimed that the US had, in fact, given up on the threat of removing Russia from SWIFT in talks with the German government. If the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication cuts ties with Russian banks, Germany would have no way of paying Moscow for its natural gas contracts. It could also unleash a catastrophic rise in oil and food prices.


Instead, the Düsseldorf-based business daily reported that the US and German governments are discussing “targeted” sanctions against Russia’s largest banks in the event that Moscow “invades” Ukraine. US intelligence has claimed for several weeks now that Russia is preparing an attack on its neighbor. Moscow has rejected the insinuations as “fake news.” Germany has insisted that any sanctions include exceptions so that the import of oil and gas from Russia can continue, according to Handelsblatt. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the sanctions proposal with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the paper added.

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“PULL UP WHOOP WHOOP DON’T SINK TOO LOW GEAR”

5G Network Deployment In The US Spawns A Cluster Of Disruption (TAC)

Something is going on with Runway 10L at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. Last week, a Bombardier-built CRJ200 regional jet on final approach had the strangest thing happen. The aircraft’s radar altitude abruptly ran down to zero, causing repeated loud aural warnings: PULL UP WHOOP WHOOP DON’T SINK TOO LOW GEAR. The flight landed without incident in good weather, but it wasn’t the first time. “Exact same location multiple times the past two weeks,” the pilot, who was on the flight deck for both anomalies, told The Air Current.

The incidents were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s not known definitively if the radar altimeter behavior was related to pre-deployment testing of 5G telecommunication technologies, but the unexplained incident underscored the fears of aviators, as well as the confusion and increasing disruption that is now befalling U.S. commercial aviation. International airlines like Emirates, Air India, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways have cancelled flights to select cities, citing the 5G C Band interference risk to their aircraft. Boeing on Monday night sent a so-called multi-operator message to carriers flying 777 and 747-8s and “recommends operators do not operate 777 airplanes on approach and landing to U.S. runways” with 5G C Band notices starting on January 19 unless there is an alternative means of compliance with FAA directives, according to guidance reviewed by The Air Current.

“The above recommendation has been determined through the Boeing Safety Review Board and engineering pilot evaluation based on the uncertainty of the 5G operating environment,” the company wrote. The review board meeting was held on January 15. “Boeing recommends that operators develop contingency plans for their operations.” Boeing referred comment to the FAA after saying, like Airbus, it was working with an industry coalition to address the 5G deployment issue with U.S. regulators. The FAA did not respond to questions about the reported incident in Palm Beach.

5G

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Y2K?

Multiple Flights to US Suspended Over 5G Fears (RT)

Prominent airlines from Japan, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have suspended flights to airports across the United States after expressing concern over the deployment of 5G. Emirates, Air India, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways canceled flights to New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Seattle, among other US cities. Air India announced on Tuesday that it would no longer operate flights the next day to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport “due to deployment of the 5G communications in USA.”


On the same day, Emirates canceled flights to at least nine US cities, again “due to operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the U.S,” while Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways canceled at least 13 flights. Airlines and the FAA previously repeatedly voiced concerns about C-band 5G potentially disrupting airplane instruments, namely radio altimeters. So far, the US aviation body cleared less than a half of the nation’s commercial fleet for low-visibility landings at the airports potentially affected by 5G interference. International airlines were also seriously affected, with All Nippon Airways saying that while its Boeing 787 aircraft could operate under the new guidelines, 777’s could not. In response to concerns, AT&T and Verizon postponed the Wednesday rollout of 5G service near some airports, but not all.

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Rogan McMaster

 

 

 

 

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Jun 012021
 
 June 1, 2021  Posted by at 8:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Pablo Picasso La lecture 1932

 

3 Leaks that Sink the Covid Narrative (OffG)
Thanks For The Labels (Denninger)
After COVID-19 Successes, Push For mRNA Vaccines For Other Diseases (Nature)
Former National Security Advisor: ‘I Think We Can’ Find Covid-19 Origin (Hill)
Peru Surges To Highest Covid Death Toll Per Capita (Axios)
EU Plans To Lift Covid Quarantine Rules For Vaccinated From 1 July (G.)
The Three Rivers of Angst (Kunstler)
US Caught Spying On EU ‘Allies’ Again…What Is Europe Going To Do About It? (RT)
Russia May Be Cut Off From SWIFT Banking Payment System (RT)
EU Set To Unveil Plans For Bloc-Wide Digital Wallet (R.)
Just 7% of UK Shop Payments Predicted To Be In Cash By 2024 (G.)

 

 

 

 

German department of the interior report: “The danger is obviously no greater than that of many other viruses.”

3 Leaks that Sink the Covid Narrative (OffG)

The science of the coronavirus is not disputed. It is well documented and openly admitted: Most people won’t get the virus. Most of the people who get it won’t display symptoms. Most of the people who display symptoms will only be mildly sick. Most of the people with severe symptoms will never be critically ill. And most of the people who get critically ill will survive. This is borne out by the numerous serological studies which show, again and again, that the infection fatality ratio is on par with flu. There is no science – and increasingly little rational discussion – to justify the lockdown measures and overall sense of global panic. Nevertheless, it’s always good to get official acknowledgement of the truth, even if it has to be leaked. Here are three leaks showing that those in power know that the coronavirus poses no threat, and in no way justifies the lockdown that is going to destroy the livelihoods of so many.

1. “IT’S ALL BULLSHIT!” On May 26th Dr Alexander Myasnikov, Russia’s head of coronavirus information, gave an interview to former-Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak in which he apparently let slip his true feelings. Believing the interview over, and the camera turned off, Myasnikov said: “It’s all bullshit […] It’s all exaggerated. It’s an acute respiratory disease with minimal mortality […] Why has the whole world been destroyed? That I don’t know,”

2. “COVID-19 CANNOT BE DESCRIBED AS A GENERALLY DANGEROUS DISEASE” According to an e-mail leaked to Danish newspaper Politiken, the Danish Health Authority disagree with their government’s approach to the coronavirus. They cover it in two articles. There’s a lot of interesting information there, not least of which is the clear implication that politicians appear to be pressing the scientific advisors to overstate the danger (they did the same thing in the UK), along with the decision of some civil servants to withhold data from the public until after the lockdown had been extended. But by far the most important quote is from a March 15th e-mail: The Danish Health Authority continues to consider that covid-19 cannot be described as a generally dangerous disease, as it does not have either a usually serious course or a high mortality rate,” On March 12th the Danish parliament passed an emergency law which – among many other things – decreased the power of the Danish Health Authority, demoting it from a “regulatory authority” to just an “advisory” one.

3. “A GLOBAL FALSE ALARM” Earlier this month, on May 9th, a report was leaked to the German alternate media magazine Tichys Einblick titled “Analysis of the Crisis Management”. The report was commissioned by the German department of the interior, but then its findings were ignored, prompting one of the authors to release it through non-official channels. The fall out of that, including attacks on the authors and minimising of the report’s findings, is all very fascinating and we highly recommend this detailed report on Strategic Culture. We’re going to focus on just the reports conclusions, including [our emphasis]:

The dangerousness of Covid-19 was overestimated: probably at no point did the danger posed by the new virus go beyond the normal level. The danger is obviously no greater than that of many other viruses. There is no evidence that this was more than a false alarm. During the Corona crisis the State has proved itself as one of the biggest producers of Fake News. After being attacked in the press, and suspended from his job, the leaker and other authors of the report released a joint statement, calling on the government to respond to their findings.

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“Took the stab? You’re off the marriage-potential list permanently. Why? Potential life-long medical complications, that’s why.”

Thanks For The Labels (Denninger)

One of the latest bits of insanity: Dating apps are allegedly asking if you’ve taken the Covid stab and displaying a “badge” if you have. I haven’t verified this personally since I have no use for such things, but it’s allegedly either there or being rolled out. To which, if I was single and younger, especially of potential child-siring age, I’d say “thanks for the warning.” Indeed, the malicious (or shall we say, “predatory”) men out there just got fair warning of who is a **** ’em and leave “fun” date. Took the stab? You’re off the marriage-potential list permanently. Why? Potential life-long medical complications, that’s why. Do I want to marry someone who may have given themselves an auto-immune disease three or five years down the road? Oh Hell No. But if she’s cute, well, the bed awaits — for now.

When Lupus or similar “screw you” lifetime medical issues make their appearance she can enjoy the company of her cats — that wasn’t a random chance thing we all are forced to face as adults and is always part of the deal it was self-inflicted stupidity and her other half didn’t get a vote. Never mind the rather clear problem that is presented to anyone (of either sex) contemplating a permanent relationship with someone who is willing to stab themselves with an experimental drug. There’s a legitimate reason to do it, by the way: You already know you’re at very high risk of a respiratory virus killing you, so despite the unknowns the math pencils out. Ok, thanks for the warning again; you aren’t in good health and don’t expect to remain that way. Is that person marriage and child-raising material? Naw, but a **** is all good.

Then there’s those who can be bribed cheap — you know, with a donut, or a lottery ticket? That’s great marriage material too, right? I mean, let’s face facts: A healthy 20-something person has a statistical zero risk of being killed by Covid and half of them probably already had it and may not even know so they didn’t take the shot to protect their own health after careful deliberation and an antibody test first, right? How does this relate to long-term relationships? Simple: There’s always some ******* who is richer, no matter how much you have and she just branded herself as willing to sell her future cheap. VERY cheap. Thanks for the warning; it’s a hell of a lot better for a guy to conclusively find this out before he needs a divorce lawyer! Make sure the rubbers stay in your wallet so she can’t “pin” them before use and for the love of God flush the damn thing after you’re done so she can’t fish it out of the trash can!

It’s even worse from the male future family evaluation side. Some guys do want families. Was there permanent damage done to that capability in terms of bearing kids? We know that those nice mRNA shots show up in the ovaries. Oh, chick-a-dee didn’t know that before rolling up her sleeve? Well, that’s what haste gets you — not bothering to wait for the science to figure it out. I have no idea and neither does she if that’s a problem but she took the stab voluntarily. So about that willingness to have said family and put your relationship in front of preening around virtue-signaling on Instabitch and Facesucker, eh? Maybe that will all work out ok, but it seems to me that by the time we will know with reasonable certainty the window will be closed on the baby factory as only high-risk (for both woman and child) and maybe even IVF, if any, pregnancies will be possible. Again: No thanks; I’ll take the woman who didn’t deliberately risk permanent compromise of her reproductive capacity so she could get into Lollapalooza.

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21st century Frankenstein?

After COVID-19 Successes, Push For mRNA Vaccines For Other Diseases (Nature)

When the broad range of vaccines against COVID-19 were being tested in clinical trials, only a few experts expected the unproven technology of mRNA to be the star. Within 10 months, mRNA vaccines were both the first to be approved and the most effective. Although these are the first mRNA vaccines to be approved, the story of mRNA vaccines starts more than 30 years ago, with many bumps in the road along the way. In 1990, the late physician-scientist Jon Wolff and his University of Wisconsin colleagues injected mRNA into mice, which caused cells in the mice to produce the encoded proteins. In many ways, that work served as the first step toward making a vaccine from mRNA, but there was a long way to go—and there still is, for many applications.

Traditional vaccines use a weak or inactive form of a microorganism to turn the immune system against the disease. After a person is given injection of an mRNA vaccine, their cells make part or all of a protein that causes an immune response, including the production of antibodies. Although the most widely known examples are the mRNA-based vaccines from BioNTech–Pfizer and Moderna directed against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19, that is just one small part of this field—and those vaccines were not the first efforts that used mRNA. Despite the many benefits of using this molecule as the basis of a vaccine, it comes with fundamental challenges: it is not very stable inside cells, and mRNA is not efficiently translated into proteins when used as a gene-delivery tool. Today, mRNA can be engineered to battle many diseases, but it will not work with all of them.

German biotechnology company BioNTech’s chief medical officer Özlem Türeci—physician, immunologist and entrepreneur—says that “mRNA has a couple of interesting features that make it attractive for vaccines.” Adaptability serves as this molecule’s key feature in this application and beyond. mRNA can be engineered not only to make antigens for vaccines but also to encode antibodies, cytokines and other proteins related to the immune system. “The versatility of mRNA creates a huge design space,” she explains. The scientists at BioNTech spent years researching and developing techniques to get full command over mRNA, including optimizing its non-coding parts, designing specific sequences, developing manufacturing processes and more.

Türeci describes the results of those efforts by saying, “We have a diversified toolbox and by mixing and matching the modules in this toolbox, we can design mRNA with the features that we need for a particular purpose.” She adds that “it is a bit like writing code—by mastering a programming language [that] is rich in terms, one can give any instruction one wants.” With the BioNTech toolbox, the scientists can control how much protein is produced and for how long, the route of administration of the mRNA, which cells express the protein and if the mRNA creates a precise activation or suppression of the immune system.

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Does Biden really want to find out?

Former National Security Advisor: ‘I Think We Can’ Find Covid-19 Origin (Hill)

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger said that he believes it is possible to ascertain the origins of COVID-19 during a discussion of the Wuhan lab origin theory on Sunday. “I think there’s a lot that can be learned in 90 days,” Pottinger told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on NBC, referring to President Biden’s recent call for a 90-day report on the origins of COVID-19 from the U.S. intelligence community. “It’s conceivable that we’ll have an answer and even if we come up short with a definitive answer, what we’re gonna have is a foundation for additional revelations to come out from scientists around the world who are now going to be emboldened because they know that this is a priority of the United States,” Pottinger added.


Todd asked Pottinger if he believed a “definitive answer” about the origins of COVID-19 could be found even if the Chinese government is uncooperative. “I think we can. It might take more than 90 days, but look, … China has incredible and ethical scientists, many of whom in the early stages of the pandemic came out to say that they suspected that this was a lab leak,” Pottinger said. “So those people have been systematically silenced by their government,” he added, saying a U.S.-led global effort to find the origins of COVID-19 may embolden these scientists to come forward.

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With or from Covid?

Peru Surges To Highest Covid Death Toll Per Capita (Axios)

Peru officials revised the country’s COVID-19 death toll Monday from 69,342 to 180,764 after a review. The almost tripling of the number listed Sunday means the country has the worst pandemic death rate per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Per Johns Hopkins, Hungary previously had the highest coronavirus death toll per capita —about 300 per 100,000 people. With its revised toll, Peru stands at over 500 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people. Officials said that the undercounting was partially down to “a lack of testing that made it difficult to confirm whether a person had died due to the virus or some other cause,” Reuters reports. Experts had long raised concerns that the official death toll had been undercounted, as hospitals packed out with coronavirus patients and oxygen ran short, the news agency notes.

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It will get dangerous once they claim enough people have bee jabbed. We’re not there yet.

EU Plans To Lift Covid Quarantine Rules For Vaccinated From 1 July (G.)

The starting pistol has been fired on a “relaxing” summer holiday season for people living in the EU from 1 July, as Brussels proposed lifting all quarantine obligations on those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. From Tuesday, a system will be ready to allow member states to issue a digital Covid passport to citizens proving their status and freeing them up to travel. With infection rates on a downward trajectory across the bloc, a deadline has been set for 1 July for all 27 EU countries to accept the documentation as sufficient proof of vaccination for restrictions to be lifted. A negative test or proof of having recovered from infection will confer the same rights on the holder of a certificate.

The European Commission has proposed a standard validity period for tests: 72 hours before travel for PCR tests and 48 hours for rapid antigen tests. The children of those who are fully vaccinated will also be exempt from quarantine under the proposal and as a minimum no one under six years of age will need to take a test. Many countries are likely to set a higher age threshold for the testing of minors. The intention is that fully vaccinated UK travellers will benefit from the Covid passport system but, in light of the emerging variant first identified in India, EU governments may still impose restrictions on people arriving from the UK including testing and quarantine obligations.

From Monday, entry to France has been limited to EU nationals, French residents, and those travelling for essential purposes. People arriving from the UK must have tested negative and quarantine for seven days. While a sudden deterioration in the Covid infection rates in the EU could lead to the use of an “emergency brake” on the lifting of restrictions within the bloc, the intention is to reintroduce free movement as the summer tourism season begins.

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“..the whole sorry episode looks like an act-of-war but carried out with America’s foolish willing collaboration..”

The Three Rivers of Angst (Kunstler)

Three rivers of angst flow out of Memorial Day 2021, and it is possible to imagine how they will meet later this year and join in a mighty flood of woe over the country. The first is the toxic stream of Wokery saturating just about every institution in the USA from the armed services, to the DOJ, to education both public and private, to organized sports, to the corporate C suites and, of course, to the transmission of current events in news and social media. Despite the torrents of mendacious narratives and fogs of gaslight deployed in this campaign, a substantial chunk of the public resists suffocation and has finally begun to fight back, especially at the grass roots local level against the dogma-driven school boards out to cancel Western Civ.

Expect this to ramp up as the spring semester closes out and the schools must set the terms for resuming classes in the fall. The kids themselves are bucking the mask mandates while the parents tangle with the more vexing problems of Woke racist curricula and insane sexual propaganda. It’s going to get ugly. Another stream of angst is the River of Covid-19. The tide has just turned on the question of where it came from, namely, the Wuhan Lab, but it’s hard to game-out both what we might do about that concerning the CCP’s role in it – plus, the roles of Dr. Fauci and our own National Institutes of Health – and whether the depraved administration of China Joe Biden can even acknowledge the facts. That is to say: the whole sorry episode looks like an act-of-war but carried out with America’s foolish willing collaboration.

But then a whole raft of really deadly additional questions overrides even the quandary of who’s responsible, and I refer to the future course of the disease itself, whether another wave comes back, what new variants might emerge, and the extremely spooky issue of what the long-term effects of the experimental vaccines might be. Since the news media is so untrustworthy, and these are such troubling threats, it will be very hard to locate the truth about the medical concerns.

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They’ll throw some big words at it, that’s it.

US Caught Spying On EU ‘Allies’ Again…What Is Europe Going To Do About It? (RT)

The espionage dynamic ultimately ties into the same mindset: The United States sees the European Union more as an economic competitor than as a friend and does not in any respect want it to get ahead of them or gain “advantage” in any specific area. The F-16 story above reveals how US intelligence in fact serves the interests of the military industrial complex, seeking out the secrets of Europe’s own defence industry and ensuring America always has the competitive edge, even to the point of making national intelligence agencies betray their own countries. As Edward Snowden stated in an interview in 2014, the US engages in constant industrial espionage against big German companies such as Siemens, stating: “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interests – even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security – then they’ll take that information nevertheless.”

In line with this, Angela Merkel, as a very Eurocentric leader who has a maverick approach to foreign policy and Germany’s place in the world, is unsurprisingly a frequent target of American intelligence activities. Washington is constantly wondering what she is thinking, intending and doing, not least regarding China and Russia where they do not see eye to eye. She is perhaps a “frenemy” to the US, a de facto ally and enemy simultaneously. But this all boils down to the big question as stated above, what is Europe going to do about it? Or can they do anything about it? The EU’s response to such unending controversies seems to be to make a small protest in the heat of the moment, but otherwise forget it and do nothing, passively tolerating American infiltration designed to undermine European interests and competitiveness across the board.

If Europe is serious about upholding its own “strategic clout” it has to be prepared to take bigger risks and stop being pressed into line under the obligation of “transatlaticism” and get tougher on the “American problem.” The bloc should take a leaf out of its rhetoric toward China and demand “reciprocity” in its relations with the United States, that it ceases espionage against them, seeks to curtail excessive “American influence” operations undermining their foreign policy and strategic independence and that it treats the continent as an equal and fair partner. Surely one would think ‘enough is enough’ but of course there is little reason to think anything will change. In a world where US surveillance is intrusive and rampant, America still surprisingly gets away with accusing everyone else of “spying.”

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By now, Russia is well prepared.

Russia May Be Cut Off From SWIFT Banking Payment System (RT)

Russian banks may be blocked from using SWIFT, a payment system that enables reliable and secure financial transactions, as part of restrictions against Moscow, in what one official has called a potential “spiral of sanctions.” “It’s no secret that there are threats, primarily from the United States, to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT system,” said Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Economic Cooperation Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Speaking on RIA Novosti on Monday, the diplomat noted that Russia has concerns that SWIFT could get caught up in a “spiral of sanctions,” led by Washington. However, the senior official doesn’t think America will act on this threat any time soon.

“I’m actually confident that we won’t be disconnected from SWIFT anytime soon, and maybe never,” he said, noting that Russia would be able to come to payment agreements with their trading partners anyway. “Since 2014, Russia has been working on its own payment system. This system already exists,” he explained. “We all use the MIR card. It is also accepted in a number of neighboring countries and in Turkey. Negotiations are also underway with other partners.” Last month, politicians from the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution to condemn what they called Russia’s “military posturing close to the country’s border with Ukraine.” The MEPs agreed that, “should military build-up lead to an invasion,” Moscow should be excluded from SWIFT, along with other economic measures.

Proposals to cut Moscow off from the world’s leading international payment system are not new. After seven years of threats, Russia is now in a position where losing access to SWIFT would no longer be a disastrous blow. The country has created its own alternative, called SPFS, which works domestically, and Moscow is looking to expand the system internationally.

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Scary.

EU Set To Unveil Plans For Bloc-Wide Digital Wallet (R.)

The European Union (EU) is set to unveil plans for a bloc-wide digital wallet on Wednesday, following requests from member states to find a safe way for citizens to access public and private services online, the Financial Times reported. The app will allow citizens across the EU to securely access a range of private and public services with a single online ID, according to the FT report on Tuesday. The digital wallet will securely store payment details and passwords and allow citizens from all 27 countries to log onto local government websites or pay utility bills using a single recognized identity, the newspaper said, citing people with direct knowledge of the plans.


The EU-wide app can be accessed via fingerprint or retina scanning among other methods, and will also serve as a vault where users can store official documents like the driver’s licence, the newspaper reported. EU officials will enforce a structural separation to prevent companies that access user data from using the wallet for any other commercial activity such as marketing new products. Brussels is engaged in talks with member states to provide guidelines on technical standards for rollout of the digital wallet, which is expected to be fully operational in about a year, according to the newspaper.

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Cash is freedom.

Just 7% of UK Shop Payments Predicted To Be In Cash By 2024 (G.)

Just 7% of in-store purchases in the UK could be made in cash by 2024, a report has forecast, after the coronavirus pandemic fuelled the switch to cards and mobile payments. While cash accounted for 27% of in-store transactions in 2019, the latest global payments report from processing company Worldpay found that had fallen to 13% last year. The report predicts usage will continue to drop over the next three years. International figures showed that in several other countries, including Sweden, Canada and Australia, already less than one in 10 shop payments are made in cash. It predicted Sweden would be “almost cashless” by 2024, with 0.4% of transactions paid for with money, down from 15.2% in 2019 and 8.8% last year.


Consumers and businesses were already moving away from cash payments before the pandemic hit, but early concerns that Covid-19 could spread via surfaces led some companies to switch to contactless methods. The increase in the contactless limit on cards, and mobile payment services with no cap on spending have accelerated the switch away from cash. Worldpay said that by 2024 it expected mobile to make up a third of payments. Pete Wickes of Worldpay said: “This research shows the speed and scale of the transformation in consumer behaviour in just 12 months. “The decline in the use of cash in the UK has accelerated, and while this opens up new opportunities for businesses to optimise and drive efficiencies, we need to be mindful that important parts of the economy continue to rely on cash, such as charity donations and restaurant tip jars, while there are many in society who remain underbanked.”

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Apr 292021
 
 April 29, 2021  Posted by at 8:06 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  84 Responses »


James McNeill Whistler Miss Ethel Philip Reading 1894

 

Science Catches Up – And Burns You All (Denninger)
Legal Worries On EU’s ‘Green Certificates’ For Covid Travel (EUO)
NHS App To Be Used As Coronavirus Passport For International Travel (Sky)
UK Councils Are Recruiting Armies Of New Covid Marshals (DM)
Separating Rumor From Fact On Covid-19’S Origin (Sharyl Attkisson)
US Rejected Russian Offer for Complete Reset In Relations (RT)
EU Seeks SWIFT Shut-Off For Russia “If Ukraine Aggression Continues” (ZH)
The MH17 Trial: The Dangers of Presuming (MPN)
The CIA Has Been Taking Over for Decades (MPN)
The Scarcity of Money Myth (Cullen Roche)
In Praise of Bitcoin (Ben Hunt)
Deutsche Bank Warns Soaring Food Prices Will Lead To Social Unrest (ZH)
Scientists Find Way To Remove Polluting Microplastics With Bacteria (G.)
Revealed: UK Campaign to Force Assange From Ecuadorian Embassy (CN)

 

 

Richard Werner @scientificecon:
BREAKING: There is, after all, now a reason for social distancing: Organic humans may wish to stay away from the vaccinated GMOs because of the risk of “shedding” adverse vaccination effects from the vaccinated (genetically modified people) to the unvaccinated (organic people).

 

 

 

“Short-term prevention of “infection” among the 81% of those with existing T-cell recognition to the nucleocapsid proteins is not only stupid it is likely to kill people over the intermediate and longer term..”

Science Catches Up – And Burns You All (Denninger)

From the Nature study: “Taken together, SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes enabled detection of post-infectious T cell immunity in 100% of individuals convalescing from COVID-19 and revealed pre-existing T cell responses in 81% of unexposed individuals.” Now we know what Diamond Princess happened the way it did. It was never possible for more than 20% of the people on that ship to get seriously-symptomatic Covid-19 despite being cooped up in close quarters for weeks with an aerosol-spread disease and cruise passengers generally being wildly-overrepresented for various morbidity factors. It also completely explains why one of two people quarantined in the same cabin got sick and the other did not.

We also know why my friend’s grandfather was killed by it but his equally-morbid grandmother was not touched symptomatically even though she tested positive despite literally sleeping in the same bed with him until he wound up in the hospital and ultimately expired. We also know why there is no place on the planet that has seen >20% of people with significant, symptomatic disease from Covid-19. Not a single place has had that happen, even where sanitation is crap and people spread it like crazy (e.g. Iran where they lick monuments sequentially — literally.) This study explains every single example seen everywhere in the world, including high-concentration examples, of infection with Covid-19 back to the start of the pandemic.

We now know why no more than 20% of any exposed population has ever exhibited materially-serious disease — it simply was not possible as no more than 20% of the population was potentially susceptible to serious disease. Ever. Period. [..] “Short-term prevention of “infection” among the 81% of those with existing T-cell recognition to the nucleocapsid proteins is not only stupid it is likely to kill people over the intermediate and longer term since those who are not vaccinated and get infected with partial resistance build additional and durable immunity via said low-symptom and asymptomatic infections which do not materially harm them and blocking that process is harmful, not helpful. This group includes nearly all young adults and children for which people are trying to force vaccination.”

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Ciarán McCollum: “..the DGC certificates are useless as proof of whether you are infected, or can or cannot spread the virus.”

Legal Worries On EU’s ‘Green Certificates’ For Covid Travel (EUO)

An instrument of unusual significance is quietly on its way to becoming law in Europe: the proposal for a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ (DGC). Up for a vote in the European Parliament’s plenary on Wednesday, it erects a “universal framework” for the control of disease within the Schengen area. The EU Commission has presented it as a return to freedom of movement, essentially suspended by member states since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. However the DGC, which creates certificates for Europeans showing the bearer has been vaccinated, tested or achieved immunity, is already beginning to lose its sheen. Last week, the WHO asked that any plans for making proof of vaccination a condition of entry be abandoned, after the US ruled out enforcing vaccination cards on its territory.

So is it wise for Europe to continue with its own? Freedom of movement is perhaps the European Union’s most cherished achievement, certainly among northerners seeking a visa-free sun holiday. In my home of Northern Ireland, with our ever-fragile cross-border peace agreement, we have a special appreciation for the importance of keeping borders open. The recent EU threat to impose a ‘vaccine border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic imperilled that peace. The EU can’t afford another blunder on borders, so it’s in its own interest that the DGC does what it says on the tin. However a cursory glance at the contents suggests a case of mislabeling or at least a lack of legal certainty. The commission assures us that the DGC will not restore (or entrench) border controls.

But “universal framework” can only be read as a euphemism for checks within the Schengen zone. It is article 3 of the DGC that creates certificates of vaccination, testing and immunity. Border guards will have to inspect these. As it’s put in Article 3(1), there will be “cross-border verification”, performed by the member state “authorities” mentioned in Article 9(2). In the absence of such checks, the certificates would be useless and the “universal framework” would not exist. With vaccinated Europeans travellers separated from non-vaccinated, infected from non-infected, and immune from non-immune—the DGC, if applied, would be a guarantee of discrimination within the EU.

This is simply not permissable under the Schengen Code. Chapter II of the Schengen Borders Code allows for the temporary reintroduction of internal borders in some circumstances, but that does not include a public health emergency. The whole endeavour is even more absurd if one acknowledges the scientific certainty that being vaccinated does not mean that one cannot be a carrier of the virus, nor infect others. We already know from the European Medicines Agency and WHO, confirmed by a decision this month of the Conseil d’État (France’s Supreme Court), that no proof exists of vaccination halting the spread of Covid-19. Meanwhile, in the last months many courts including the Lisbon Court of Appeal and Administrative Court of Vienna have held that PCR testing is unreliable and cannot be relied on for determining infection; a physician must perform a proper medical diagnosis. Thus the DGC certificates are useless as proof of whether you are infected, or can or cannot spread the virus.

Read more …

 

They even have several different passport apps.

NHS App To Be Used As Coronavirus Passport For International Travel (Sky)

Britons will find out which countries they will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to this summer “in the next couple of weeks” – as the transport secretary confirmed an NHS app will be used as a COVID passport for travel abroad. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, international travel without one of the current exemptions – which exclude holidays – will not be allowed any earlier than 17 May. Ministers have set out plans for a “traffic light” system to be used this summer to categorise different destinations. And, speaking to Sky News on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed “in the next couple of weeks” he will be able to give details on which countries have made it on to the “green list”.


These will be destinations where Britons will be able to travel without having to quarantine on their return, although they will still need to undergo a COVID test before their departure, as well as on their return to the UK. Mr Shapps also confirmed an NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether they have had a COVID jab, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad. “It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,” he added. “I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised.” Government sources clarified the app would not be the NHS COVID app – currently used to “check in” to venues such as pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes – but would instead be the NHS app used to book general appointments.

Read more …

70% of the population allegedly has antibodies.

UK Councils Are Recruiting Armies Of New Covid Marshals (DM)

Armies of new Covid marshals are being hired across the country for jobs that could last for another two years despite lockdown restrictions being set to end in eight weeks’ time. Councils in England are in the process of recruiting a new legion of marshals who are expected to take to the streets from July this year despite Government plans to lift remaining coronavirus restrictions on June 21. It comes as data revealed nearly 40 million Britons now live in practically ‘Covid-free’ areas following the UK’s hugely successful vaccine rollout and continued lockdown measures. Hertfordshire County Council is among those advertising for Covid marshals, with the local authority offering a contract worth an estimated £3 million to a provider that can supply 60 marshals from July 1 until January 31 next year.

The contract also comes with a possible one-year extension to 2023. In its description of the marshals’ duties, the contract notice reads: ‘Provide practical support to aid and encourage compliance, such as dedicated staff in public areas, business support, or support for individuals.’ It continues: ‘Introduce measures to aid public and business awareness and understanding of regulations and guidance.’ Hertfordshire County Council defended its decision to recruit marshals, saying it is ‘not indicative of any increases in restrictions from July 2021 onwards’. Jim McManus, director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council, said: ‘In line with the Government’s projections for the roadmap out of lockdown, we are working towards restrictions being eased by 21 June 2021, but we know that the virus is still circulating and will be for some time.

‘We know from last year that numbers of infections can change rapidly, and Government are very clear that we should plan in case a third wave arises. ‘It would be a dereliction of duty not to prepare for a third wave, at the same time as doing all we can to prevent it happening by keeping infections as low as possible so we can enjoy summer with no restrictions.

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“It Was Uncle Tony All Along..”

Separating Rumor From Fact On Covid-19’S Origin (Sharyl Attkisson)

When the former head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, recently said Covid-19 likely leaked from a Chinese research lab, news headlines called it “shocking.” Dr. Robert Redfield on CNN: “I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory— you know, escaped.” That was followed by a flurry of media reports ridiculing the notion; insisting that Covid-19 probably jumped from bats to people through an unexplained, natural route. But there’s new information that hasn’t been widely reported. A sizable segment of the research community has formed the same opinion as Dr. Redfield: that Covid-19 leaked from experiments at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. Jamie Metzl, World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing:

“There are scientists all around the world who have told me that they believe the most likely origin of COVID-19, of the pandemic, is an accidental lab leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Jamie Metzl is a member of the World Health Organization International Advisory Committee on Human Genome Editing. Sharyl (to Metzl): “What have you been told, and what have you found about scientists who feel like they can’t step forward?” Metzl: “Many of these people are afraid to step forward. They’ve called it career suicide, because there are so many contentious issues, because the stakes are so high. Because the Chinese government, in collaboration, or conjunction, or maybe not even association, but with some very high-level and prominent scientists have put forward this story that I think is wrong.”

Two scientists with knowledge of the matter told me the U.S. government conducted genome sequencing almost immediately in the pandemic. Among other things, they say Covid-19 shows clear hallmarks of man’s intervention. French virologist Luc Montagnier, a Nobel Prize recipient, arrived at the same conclusion a year ago. He says Covid-19’s genetics reveal “manipulation.” “Someone added sequences,” he said. “It’s the work of professionals, of molecular biologists…a very meticulous work.” Genetic analysis alone isn’t 100% conclusive, because results must be compared to viruses from the Wuhan lab. And sources confirm: “We never got the sample from China.” But scientists who spoke with me say genome sequencing, coupled with what’s known about research conducted by a U.S.-Chinese partnership, leaves them with little doubt that Covid-19 is a product of experiments.

Read more …

After Biden Inauguration.

US Rejected Russian Offer for Complete Reset In Relations (RT)

The Kremlin proposed a complete reset in the strained relationship between Moscow and Washington after the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, but it was turned down by the White House, Russia’s chief diplomat said on Tuesday. Speaking to journalist Dmitry Kiselyov, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained that Russia wants to get back on a sound footing in its relationship with the US. “If it only depended on us, we would return to normal relations,” Lavrov explained, noting that the first step would be to cancel the expulsions of Russian diplomats from Washington, and US diplomats from Moscow. “We offered this to President Biden’s Administration as soon as he took all the necessary oaths and assumed power,” he continued. “I mentioned this to Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken.”


According to Lavrov, the crisis began when former President Barack Obama took measures against Russia prior to his leaving office. After the election of Donald Trump, Moscow remained patient and waited for the new administration to reverse the “excesses” of the outgoing president, but it never happened. “I very much hope that Washington, as we do, recognizes their responsibility for stability in the world,” Lavrov continued. “There are not only problems between Russia and the US that complicate the lives of our citizens… but also disagreements that put international security at serious risk, in the broadest sense of the word.” In recent weeks, relations between Moscow and Washington have become even more strained.

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“Russian officials have recently called Ukraine’s lobbying to get Russia banned from SWIFT “a declaration of war”…”

EU Seeks SWIFT Shut-Off For Russia “If Ukraine Aggression Continues” (ZH)

Days after President Putin warned the West of a “harsh” and “asymmetrical” response if it crosses Russia’s ‘red line’ concerning NATO troop positioning and the recently renewed Ukraine standoff, the European Parliament in Brussels has proposed a new resolution to disconnect Russia from the SWIFT payment system. Dated Wednesday, April 28, it’s entitled, “European Parliament resolution on Russia, the case of Alexei Navalny, the military build-up on Ukraine’s border and Russian attacks in the Czech Republic.” The over 50 European Parliament lawmakers cited “aggression and continued destabilization of Ukraine, hostile behavior towards and outright attacks on EU member states and societies.” It further appears a ‘preventative’ and threatening measure in the instance of any future scenario of major Russian troop build-up in Crimea and along Ukraine’s border such as occurred over the last month.

Despite the Kremlin last week ordering a troop draw down after the conclusion of Black Sea military drills, the EU is clearly seeking to drastically beef up the “cost” automatically imposed on Russia for “threats” against Ukrainian sovereignty. Here’s what the key section of the new punitive resolution says on SWIFT: “…Underscores that if such a military build-up were in the future to be transformed into an invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the EU must make clear that the price for such a violation of international law and norms would be severe; insists, therefore, that in such circumstances imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled;”

It’s certainly not the first time that Western allies have threatened such. The threat to cut off Russia from the global system for financial messaging and cross-border payments which acts as the protector of the dollar reserve system has lingered for the past half-decade, since the initial Crimea crisis and the start of war in eastern Ukraine. Russian officials have recently called Ukraine’s lobbying to get Russia banned from SWIFT “a declaration of war”…

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“..the proceedings and the trial, arguing that from the start Russia’s guilt has been presumed while never proven..”

The MH17 Trial: The Dangers of Presuming (MPN)

Only one of the four men charged – Oleg Pulatov – will be represented in court, although he himself will remain in Russia. At the time of writing, it is not certain that his attorneys will have had an opportunity to visit him. Russian law does not allow the extradition of its citizens for hearings outside of Russia. Russia’s offer to hold the trial in Russia was rejected, predictably. But there are far more significant flaws to the proceedings as currently constituted. One member of the JIT — Malaysia, headquarters of the owner of MH17, the flag carrier Malaysia Airlines — was not admitted to the JIT until 2015, months after it had been constituted, and has rejected the findings of the JIT.

The prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, professed considerable skepticism about the proceedings and the trial, arguing that from the start Russia’s guilt has been presumed while never proven. Western mainstream media coverage of the incident — fed with a narrative prepared within six hours of the crash by the Ukrainian intelligence service (SBU), whose business is the protection of Ukrainian national interests — presumed Russian guilt from day one, best exemplified by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and the headline of its most popular British newspaper, The Sun: “Putin’s Missile,” on the morning after the crash.

[..] The presumption of Russian guilt in the shooting down of MH17 on July 17, 2014 is extremely convenient to the government of Ukraine. Which is why it is so very problematic that Ukraine, which suffered no loss of life in MH17, has been one of the five nations represented on the Dutch-led JIT while Russia is not a member, and that most of the evidence collected by the JIT has come from Ukrainian intelligence (SBU), a body that exists solely to serve the interests of Ukraine and that has been implicated by MH17 blogger and analyst Hector Reban in theft, torture and murder. Much of the information most sensitive to the case — notably concerning the “Buk route” (the route it is alleged a Buk unit followed to travel from Russia to Donbass and back), intercepted communications, text and visual postings on social media, and the supply of witnesses — comes from the SBU and much of it, by its very nature, is highly susceptible to malpractice or other forms of contamination. The JIT has warmly thanked the SBU for its collaboration and for many months the JIT worked in close proximity to the SBU in Kiev.

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“This particular report from the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was written in consultation with the CIA, the FBI, the DIA, the DHS, and a partridge in a pear tree…”

The CIA Has Been Taking Over for Decades (MPN)

December 22, 1963 — exactly one month after President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, former President Harry S. Truman published an op-ed in the Washington Post that most people, especially our perfumed ruling elite, wanted to ignore. Truman, who signed the CIA into existence just after World War II, wrote: “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—the CIA. […] For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. …There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”

Not only did that adorn the pages of the Washington Post one month after JFK’s death, Truman hand wrote the first draft just one week after JFK met up with a bunch of bullets in Dallas. Sure, one may wish Harry had sent his thoughts to John a month before the President’s televised execution. Maybe he could’ve sent a singing telegram or something. But let’s at least give Truman partial credit for the belated message. Before his death, President Kennedy also held no love for the Central Intelligence Agency. Following the calamitous Bay of Pigs invasion, Kennedy said he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.” Point being, clearly Truman, who created the CIA, and Kennedy, who met a mysterious untimely end by professional killers, knew the agency had run amok.

Yet the CIA is still here, bigger and filled with more Bond villains than ever, and now they have a whole cavalcade of other intelligence agencies working with them. The Intelligence Community just recently put out a report that showed that their component agencies are indeed working to surveil, harass, and attack an assortment of U.S. citizens. This particular report from the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was written in consultation with the CIA, the FBI, the DIA, the DHS, and a partridge in a pear tree. (An evil, kinda dastardly partridge. Not a good partridge at all. Like the kind of partridge that would eat the last pickle and then put the jar back in the fridge, so that later when you’re excited to grab a delicious crispy pickle, there’s nothin’ there but a jar full of pickle urine. So yeah, the worst partridge.)

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“..this is basically all the modern economy is. It’s a bunch of people making promises to make things (mostly homes, to be honest) in exchange for some amount of deposits that they conjured up from nothing in the form of a contract.”

The Scarcity of Money Myth (Cullen Roche)

“money” is really just a bunch of contractual agreements. It’s “I’ll give you 25 apples at this time next year and this monetary note will settle that debt”. Loans create deposits. Deposits are money. Anyone who’s read this website for 10 minutes probably knows that. But all those loans, all that money, is just an agreement between two parties. It’s just a contractual agreement created from thin air. The government didn’t need to be involved (though that could certainly help in lots of ways). We didn’t need gold bars or physical coins or anything “natural” here. We just needed two people to make an agreement denominated in some specific terms. In its simplest sense, that’s really all money is – an agreement between two people that other people ultimately exchange in the meantime for all sorts of other stuff of relative value.

The key point here is that that money has value because someone has strong demand for it, presumably because there’s the promise of valuable goods and services attached to it. I want those 25 apples in the future and so do lots of other people so the demand for that money is strong because it’s a claim on real resources (assuming of course the 25 apples actually come into existence). And this is basically all the modern economy is. It’s a bunch of people making promises to make things (mostly homes, to be honest) in exchange for some amount of deposits that they conjured up from nothing in the form of a contract.

The more important key point is that money is elastic. This means that we can create more of these agreements as needed to meet the demands of the economy. A lot of us have been trained to believe that more money is necessarily bad/inflationary. But this need not be true so long as we produce the corresponding real resources to support the demand for that money. In fact, this is a good thing because it provides us with a monetary system that can flexibly react to the needs of its users. And this is what all credit based monetary systems are – flexible systems that can expand and contract financial assets as needed. Within the piping of the existing system banks are the primary issuers of the loans that supply that needed liquidity.

The alternative is some sort of fixed money supply that relies on relative price changes and the kindness of rich people to lend some of that money. While this could work in theory, it doesn’t work in reality because the system just isn’t dynamic enough. And this is the primary reason why we end up with what people refer to as “fractional reserve” style systems. In other words, someone (or something) tries to fix the money supply using gold or reserves or some other fixed supply asset. And credit markets naturally build off of these systems because the fixed supply system isn’t elastic enough. This is good as it allows us to grow more apples and build more houses on demand, as needed to meet our needs.

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Long diatribe from Ben. Bitcoin as an art form.

In Praise of Bitcoin (Ben Hunt)

Because the artistic Bitcoin identity I admire and value has been subverted by the neutering machine of Wall Street and the regulatory panopticon of the US Treasury Dept. Because what made Bitcoin special in the first place is nearly lost, and what remains is a false and constructed narrative that exists in service to Wall Street and Washington rather than in resistance. Yes, the Nudging State and the Nudging Oligarchy strike back. They always do when it comes to money. Not with imperial stormtroopers or legislative sanction, but with golden handcuffs and administrative surveillance. It’s not that the State and the status quo institutionalization of capital – call it Wall Street, for short – have any desire to ban Bitcoin. Why would they do that?

No, far better to accommodate and swallow Bitcoin, like they have every other financial “innovation” for the past 1,000 years. Far better to neuter the censorship-resistant and anonymity-preserving aspects of Bitcoin, and turn it into another gaming table in the Wall Street casino. In my dystopian vision, Bitcoin isn’t banned or criminalized. Pfft. That’s a rookie, weak State move. No, I see a future where everyone buys Bitcoin. Where you are encouraged to buy Bitcoin. Where Bitcoin is sold to you morning, noon and night. Where normie economists get on conference calls late at night because they’re Bitcoin price-curious. Except it’s not really Bitcoin.

Instead, it’s Bitcoin!™ — a cartoon version of the OG Bitcoin, either a Wall Street-abstracted representation of the price of Bitcoin or a government-painted version of Bitcoin in Dayglo orange. Either way — abstracted or painted — your Bitcoin!™ is trackable and traceable, fully KYC and AML and FBAR and SWIFT and every other US Treasury acronym-compliant. Either way, your Bitcoin!™ has all the revolutionary potential of a bumper sticker and all the identity signaling power of a small tattoo on your upper arm. Bitcoin!™ doesn’t stick it to the Man … Bitcoin!™ IS the Man. Welcome to the MMXXI Hunger Games.

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Where all the stimulus ends up.

Deutsche Bank Warns Soaring Food Prices Will Lead To Social Unrest (ZH)

Yesterday we explained why with prices already soaring, global inflation was about to go into overdrive as the leading food price indicator that is the Bloomberg Agri spot index hit the highest level in six years. In a nutshell, this is a problem since food is a large component of CPI baskets in Asia, and “this large inflationary impulse in the region that houses more than half the world’s population should result in higher wage costs in the factory base of the world. As CPI and PPI rise in Asia, it will feed through globally in the months ahead.” Today, DB’s Jim Reid picked that chart as his “Chart of the day”, repeating what readers already know, namely that Bloomberg’s agriculture spot index has risen by c.76% year-on-year, noting that “that’s the biggest annual rise in nearly a decade, and there are only a couple of other comparable episodes since the index begins back in 1991.”

Like us, Reid then patiently tries to explain to all the idiots – like those employed in the Marriner Eccles building – that the importance of this record surge “extends far beyond your weekly shop, as there’s an extensive literature connecting higher food prices to periods of social unrest.” Indeed, you’ll notice from the chart that the last big surge from the middle of 2010 to early 2011 coincided with the start of the Arab Spring, for which food inflation is regarded as a contributing factor. While this is hardly new [..] Reid also reminds us that emerging markets are more vulnerable to this trend, since their consumers spend a far greater share of their income on food than those in the developed world.


The DB strategist then goes all-in and says what everyone is thinking, namely that “this trend of higher food prices leading to social unrest extends far back into history and surrounds many key turning points. The French Revolution of 1789, which overthrew the Ancien Régime, came after a succession of poor harvests that led to major rises in food prices. It was a similar story at the time of Europe’s 1848 revolutions too, which followed the failure of potato crops in the 1840s and the associated severe famine in much of Europe. And the 1917 overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia took place in the context of food shortages as well.” So while it remains to be seen what the consequences of today’s surge in food prices could be, Reid cautions that “given the hardship that’s already occurred thanks to the pandemic, a fresh wave of unrest would be no surprise on a historical basis.”

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Bit too positive? Stop using the word “sustainable” for these things, it makes me cringe.

Scientists Find Way To Remove Polluting Microplastics With Bacteria (G.)

Microbiologists have devised a sustainable way to remove polluting microplastics from the environment – and they want to use bacteria to do the job. Bacteria naturally tend to group together and stick to surfaces, and this creates an adhesive substance called “biofilm” – we see it every morning when brushing our teeth and getting rid of dental plaque, for example. Researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) want to use this sticky bacteria property and create tape-like microbe nets that can capture microplastics in polluted water to form an easily disposable and recyclable blob.

Although these findings, presented on Wednesday at the Microbiology Society’s annual conference, are still preliminary, this invention could pave the way for sustainably lowering plastic pollution levels in the long run by simply using something found in nature. “It is imperative to develop effective solutions that trap, collect, and even recycle these microplastics to stop the ‘plastification’ of our natural environments,” said Sylvia Lang Liu, microbiology researcher at PolyU and lead researcher on this project. Microplastics are the plastic fragments, usually smaller than 5mm, which are accidentally released into the environment during production and breakdown of, for example, grocery bags or water bottles – or during everyday activities such as washing synthetic clothes such as nylon or using personal care products with scrubbing microbeads in them.

Although they are tiny, the risk they post to the environment is huge. Microplastics are not easily biodegradable, so they stick around for long periods of time and they also absorb and accumulate toxic chemicals. They disperse into wastewater and into the oceans, endangering marine animals who end up eating them and eventually trickling into the food chain and harming human health too. Microplastics had been found in more than 114 aquatic species in 2018, according to the International Maritime Organization, and they have been found in salt, lettuce, apples, and more. Yet, there are not any sustainable, one-size-fit-all ways to eliminate microplastics.

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People should go to jail for these things. They never do.

Revealed: UK Campaign to Force Assange From Ecuadorian Embassy (CN)

The UK government paid £8,330 in November 2018 to bring Ecuador’s defence minister Oswaldo Jarrín to Britain, two months before the planned seizure of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, it can be revealed. It is unusual for foreign ministers to have their trips to the UK paid by the British government, and the week-long visit came after Prime Minister Theresa May had been told to “butter up” Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, in order to get Assange expelled from the embassy. The new information comes from UK Foreign Office documents released to Declassified, as well as the recently published diaries of former foreign office minister, Sir Alan Duncan, who was a key player in the Assange negotiations.

The documents note that “the main objective” of the November 2018 visit was Jarrín’s “participation” at an annual national counter-terrorism exercise that rehearses the government’s response to a major terrorist attack. The exercise is organised by the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, a part of the Home Office which “oversees the Security Service [MI5] and police counter-terrorism operations in the UK”. It is unclear why Ecuador’s defence minister was chosen to attend a counter-terrorism exercise as the South American nation is not a target of terrorist groups. The documents note that “one of the main meetings” was with then armed forces minister Mark Lancaster, after which the Ministry of Defence reported the two countries were “strengthening our ties”. Jarrín also visited the Foreign Office’s “crisis centre” and met with the head of UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor.

Two months before Jarrín’s visit, in September 2018, the UK government had spent another £12,806 facilitating a three-day visit by Ecuadorian officials concerned with fighting corruption and money laundering in the country. The evaluation of the trip noted that it helped the UK government to “build strong relationships” and that “the UK was subsequently commended as a partner of choice to President of the Republic [Lenín Moreno]”. A Foreign Office spokesperson told Declassified: “The Foreign Office regularly arranges meetings with ministers and officials from other countries to encourage closer engagement with our international partners and help achieve our foreign policy objectives.” She added: “As part of this work, some of the costs of these visits are occasionally covered by the Department or by Posts. These are carefully considered on a case by case basis, and only when resources are available.”

British security officials also visited Ecuador in the build-up to Assange’s exit from the embassy, government records show. In July 2018, Philip Barton, then director general of security at the Foreign Office, flew to Ecuador for “short notice bilateral meetings” with its foreign ministry. A week after his return he travelled to Cheltenham for “meetings at GCHQ”, the UK’s largest intelligence agency, government travel logs show. Then, two weeks before Assange was expelled from the embassy, on March 27, 2019, Britain’s then deputy national security adviser for intelligence, Richard Moore, spent £4,469 on a business-class flight to Ecuador, the logs show. Moore was appointed chief of MI6, Britain’s external intelligence agency, just over a year later. Barton now runs the Foreign Office.

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“I’ve got the world in my window.”

Michael Collins (died yesterday at 90) snapped this photo of the lunar module returning to the command module after landing on the Moon. With the Earth in the background, all of humanity is in this photograph, save Collins himself.

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 222021
 
 April 22, 2021  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Giotto Lamentation 1306

 

Unvaccinated Worker Starts Outbreak In Mostly Vaccinated Nursing Home (NYT)
Mass Vaccination Sites Are Shutting Down Over ‘Decreased Demand’ (F.)
COVID Vaccine Blood Clot Risk Was Known, Ignored & Buried (Hudak)
Boris Johnson Says UK Will Have To ‘Learn To Live With Virus’ (RT)
The Covidian Cult – Part II (CJ Hopkins)
The Unraveling of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)
US Sanctions Only Make Russia’s Economy Even More Self-Sufficient (RT)
Putin Says Russia Developing High-Tech Nuclear & Laser Weapons (RT)
Prague Gives Moscow Ultimatum To Let Czech Diplomats Return (Y!)
Ukraine Encourages Western Allies To Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT (EurActiv)
Georgia & Ukraine Launch ‘Remarkable’ Attack On Academic Freedom (RT)
USPS ‘Covert Operations Program’ Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts (Y!)
In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite (AT)

 

 

 

 

Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi on blood clotting (full video below)

 

 

Sweden’s continuing success story.

 

 

If you can set off an outbreak where 90% is vaccinated, how can the answer be more vaccination and masks? Obviously, the vaccine doesn’t work as advertized.

And didn’t Pfizer-BioNTech say their contraption was 95% effective? Why then only 66% for these residents?

Note: The New York Times used the term “immunized” for the residents, but that doesn’t seem to be the same as “vaccinated”. Not anymore, at least.

Unvaccinated Worker Starts Outbreak In Mostly Vaccinated Nursing Home (NYT)

An unvaccinated health care worker set off a Covid-19 outbreak at a nursing home in Kentucky where the vast majority of residents had been vaccinated, leading to dozens of infections, including 22 cases among residents and employees who were already fully vaccinated, a new study reported Wednesday. Most of those who were infected with the coronavirus despite being vaccinated did not develop symptoms or require hospitalization, but one vaccinated individual, who was a resident of the nursing home, died, according to the study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Altogether, 26 facility residents were infected, including 18 who had been vaccinated, and 20 health care personnel were infected, including four who had been vaccinated. Two unvaccinated residents also died.

The report underscores the importance of vaccinating both nursing home residents and health care workers who go in and out of the sites, the authors said. While 90 percent of the 83 residents at the Kentucky nursing home had been vaccinated, only half of the 116 employees had been vaccinated when the outbreak was identified in March of this year. The study, released in tandem with one involving Chicago nursing homes, underscored the importance of maintaining measures like use of protective gear, infection control protocols and routine testing, no matter the level of vaccination rates. The rise of virus variants also has increased concerns. Resistance to vaccines has been steep among nursing home staffs nationwide, and the low acceptance rates of vaccination increase the likelihood of outbreaks in facilities, according to the authors, a team of investigators from the C.D.C. and Kentucky’s public health department.

“To protect skilled nursing facility residents, it is imperative that health care providers, as well as skilled nursing facility residents, be vaccinated,” the authors of the Kentucky study wrote. The outbreak involved a variant of the virus that has multiple mutations in the spike protein, of the kind that make the vaccines less effective. Vaccinated residents and health care workers at the Kentucky facility were less likely to be infected than those who had not been vaccinated, and they were far less likely to develop symptoms. The study estimated that the vaccine, identified as Pfizer-BioNTech, showed effectiveness of 66 percent for residents and 75.9 percent for employees, and were 86 percent to 87 percent effective at protecting against symptomatic disease.

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The video is hilarious. Fauci claims that Texas is doing so well without lockdown because Texans behave so much better than locked down Michiganians.

Other than that, he doesn’t answer Jordan’s question, but the chairman says he did anyway. “Your time is up.” It’s like comedy hour.

Mass Vaccination Sites Are Shutting Down Over ‘Decreased Demand’ (F.)

Mass vaccination sites across the U.S. have announced plans to shut down in recent days due to insufficient demand, even though all U.S. adults are now eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines. Palm Beach County, Florida, is shutting down three mass vaccination sites in favor of new mobile vaccination efforts, the Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday, after the sites were operating at only 50% capacity this week. Mass vaccination sites in Clarkesville, Georgia, and North Carolina will shut down by the end of May, officials announced this week, and Summit County, Ohio, canceled a planned mass vaccination clinic on April 27 citing “decreased demand.”

Several Texas mass vaccination sites in Williamson and Galveston counties are shutting down, and Galveston officials asked the state not to send the county any vaccine next week as the number of residents making vaccine appointments declines. Waukesha County, Wisconsin, will likely shut down its mass vaccine site to new first doses by the end of the week, as the county hits its target of 60% of eligible residents being vaccinated. Some vaccination locations have made plans to close before this week: Sites in Las Vegas and Cascade County, Montana, were announced to be shutting down last week, for instance, while Mercer County, Ohio, shuttered their drive-through mass vaccine clinic earlier in April.

Officials are reporting noticeable decreases in the number of people getting inoculated in areas where sites are not closing, including in Texas, Idaho, Missouri, Alabama, Maine and Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan predicted Wednesday the state would be shutting down mass vaccination sites “at some point soon.” 3.02 million. That’s the seven-day average of Covid-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. each day as of Wednesday, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data analyzed by the New York Times. That average has been steadily declining in recent days after peaking at approximately 3.3 million shots per day last week.

Jim Jordan Fauci

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Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: all of its symptoms seem to be identical to what we are told COVID-19 symptoms are.

COVID Vaccine Blood Clot Risk Was Known, Ignored & Buried (Hudak)

Joining us today is Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi, here to discuss the ‘dangerous mRNA vaccines’ and how he and his organization warned about the blood clots (and much else now coming to pass) that we are now seeing from the COVID-19 injections, months before they began. He stresses that it is important that we come to understand what Cerebral Venous Thrombosis is, and why all of its symptoms seem to be identical to what we are told COVID-19 symptoms are.

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So much for the vaccine success.

All of a sudden dexamethasone pops up again. Ivermectin next?!

Boris Johnson Says UK Will Have To ‘Learn To Live With Virus’ (RT)

The UK will be hit by yet another wave of Covid infections later this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said as he revealed that the government was looking into treating people with tablets against the disease. “The majority of scientific opinion in this country is still firmly of the view that there will be another wave of Covid at some stage this year and so we must as far as possible learn to live with this disease,” he told a news briefing on Tuesday. The PM added that with record infection levels around the world, “we cannot delude ourselves that Covid has gone away.” He also said he saw nothing in the data to suggest the UK would have to deviate from its “cautious but irreversible” roadmap out of lockdown.


Johnson also announced the creation of a new antivirals taskforce to help with the search for new medicines and support their development in clinical trials in order to make them available by the autumn. He said the treatments could include a tablet that would stop people with Covid-19 becoming severely ill, or a pill to prevent someone contracting the virus from close contacts who are infected. The PM did not say if such treatments were currently being trialled. The UK was the first country to repurpose dexamethasone to treat Covid-19, Johnson said. The drug is usually used to treat severe allergies, skin conditions and inflammation.

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“..society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape.”

The Covidian Cult – Part II (CJ Hopkins)

How did we ever get to this point … to the point where, as I put it in The Covidian Cult, “instead of the cult existing as an island within the dominant culture, the cult has become the dominant culture, and those of us who have not joined the cult have become the isolated islands within it?” To understand this, one needs to understand how cults control the minds of their members, because totalitarian ideological movements operate more or less the same way, just on a much larger, societal scale. There is a wealth of research and knowledge on this subject (I mentioned Robert J. Lifton in my earlier essay), but, to keep things simple, I’ll just use Margaret Singer’s “Six Conditions of Mind Control” from her 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst, as a lens to view the Covidian Cult through.

Six Conditions of Mind Control

1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step by step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. Looking back, it is easy to see how people were conditioned, step by step, to accept the “New Normal” ideology. They were bombarded with terrifying propaganda, locked down, stripped of their civil rights, forced to wear medical-looking masks in public, to act out absurd “social-distancing” rituals, submit to constant “testing,” and all the rest of it. Anyone not complying with this behavioral-change program or challenging the veracity and rationality of the new ideology was demonized as a “conspiracy theorist,” a “Covid denier,” an “anti-vaxxer,” in essence, an enemy of the cult, like a “suppresive person” in the Church of Scientology.

2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time. For over a year now, the “New Normal” authorities have controlled the social/physical environment, and how New Normals spend their time, with lockdowns, social-distancing rituals, closure of “non-essential” businesses, omnipresent propaganda, isolation of the elderly, travel restrictions, mandatory mask-rules, protest bans, and now the segregation of the “Unvaccinated.” Basically, society has been transformed into something resembling an infectious disease ward, or an enormous hospital from which there is no escape. You’ve seen the photos of the happy New Normals dining out at restaurants, relaxing at the beach, jogging, attending school, and so on, going about their “normal” lives with their medical-looking masks and prophylactic face shields. What you’re looking at is the pathologization of society, the pathologization of everyday life, the physical (social) manifestation of a morbid obsession with disease and death.

3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. What kind of person could feel more powerless than an obedient New Normal sitting at home, obsessively logging the “Covid death” count, sharing photos of his medical-looking mask and post-“vaccination” bandage on Facebook, as he waits for permission from the authorities to go outdoors, visit his family, kiss his lover, or shake hands with a colleague? The fact that in the Covidian Cult the traditional charismatic cult leader has been replaced by a menagerie of medical experts and government officials does not change the utter dependency and abject powerlessness of its members, who have been reduced to a state approaching infancy. This abject powerlessness is not experienced as a negative; on the contrary, it is proudly celebrated. Thus the mantra-like repetition of the “New Normal” platitude “Trust the Science!” by people who, if you try to show them the science, melt down completely and start jabbering aggressive nonsense at you to shut you up.

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“War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities [..] descends into a quagmire.”

“All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it.”

The Unraveling of the American Empire (Chris Hedges)

America’s defeat in Afghanistan is one in a string of catastrophic military blunders that herald the death of the American empire. With the exception of the first Gulf War, fought largely by mechanized units in the open desert that did not — wisely — attempt to occupy Iraq, the United States political and military leadership has stumbled from one military debacle to another. Korea. Vietnam. Lebanon. Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Libya. The trajectory of military fiascos mirrors the sad finales of the Chinese, Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian, French, British, Dutch, Portuguese and Soviet empires. While each of these empires decayed with their own peculiarities, they all exhibited patterns of dissolution that characterize the American experiment.

Imperial ineptitude is matched by domestic ineptitude. The collapse of good government at home, with legislative, executive and judicial systems all seized by corporate power, ensures that the incompetent and the corrupt, those dedicated not to the national interest but to swelling the profits of the oligarchic elite, lead the country into a cul-de-sac. Rulers and military leaders, driven by venal self-interest, are often buffoonish characters in a grand comic operetta. How else to think of Allen Dulles, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Trump or the hapless Joe Biden? While their intellectual and moral vacuity is often darkly amusing, it is murderous and savage when directed towards their victims.

There is not a single case since 1941 when the coups, political assassinations, election fraud, black propaganda, blackmail, kidnapping, brutal counter-insurgency campaigns, U.S. sanctioned massacres, torture in global black sites, proxy wars or military interventions carried out by the United States resulted in the establishment of a democratic government. The two-decade-long wars in the Middle East, the greatest strategic blunder in American history, have only left in their wake one failed state after another. Yet, no one in the ruling class is held accountable.

War, when it is waged to serve utopian absurdities, such as implanting a client government in Baghdad that will flip the region, including Iran, into U.S. protectorates, or when, as in Afghanistan, there is no vision at all, descends into a quagmire. The massive allocation of money and resources to the U.S. military, which includes Biden’s request for $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022, a $11.3 billion, or 1.6 percent increase, over 2021, is not in the end about national defense. The bloated military budget is designed, as Seymour Melman explained in his book, The Permanent War Economy, primarily to keep the American economy from collapsing. All we really make anymore are weapons. Once this is understood, perpetual war makes sense, at least for those who profit from it.

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For decades now.

US Sanctions Only Make Russia’s Economy Even More Self-Sufficient (RT)

As Washington threatens to impose more sanctions on Russia, analysts expect Moscow’s response to be the same as usual – speeding up the drive to make the nation’s economy more self-sufficient. “The Americans are saying: be careful or we could do more, but Russia is just going to continue down the path toward economic autarky,” the deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance in Washington, Elina Ribakova, told Bloomberg. The administration of US President Joe Biden on Sunday warned of “consequences” if opposition activist Alexey Navalny were to die in prison. The warning followed the introduction by Washington of new economic penalties over claims of Russian hacking and election interference. The measures include a ban on purchases of bonds on Russia’s primary market.

However, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday that the fundamentals of the Russian economy were unaffected by the move. “Macroeconomic stability is fully ensured,” Peskov said, “and the efficiency of our economic bloc is recognized internationally. We have no reason to doubt this state of affairs.” International rating agencies confirm that Russia is well positioned for a near-term market disruption because it has a high cash buffer and demand from local banks is robust, according to Fitch. Moody’s said on Monday that Russia’s financial reserves will allow the country to cope with the negative effects of the sanctions. Ratings agency S&P also noted that the sanctions will not have a significant impact on the replenishment of the Russian budget and will not undermine the stability of the country’s financial markets.

Experts point out that during the seven years of Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, the Russian government and central bank reduced the country’s exposure to dollars, shifted assets out of the US, and sold a smaller share of its debt to foreigners. Russia has been reshaping its international holdings, cutting the share of the US dollar in favor of other currencies and gold. The country’s foreign reserve holdings have been steadily growing in recent years, and amounted to $580.5 billion as of April 9. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the reserves surged by over $40 billion last year. The share of gold in Russia’s forex reserves jumped above dollars for the first time on record in 2020. The precious metal made up 24% of the central bank’s stockpile as of the end of September. The share of dollar assets was 22%, down from more than 40% in 2018.

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“I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

Putin Says Russia Developing High-Tech Nuclear & Laser Weapons (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the vast majority of the country’s Soviet-era atomic stockpile will soon be replaced by modern weapons, warning that Moscow is intent on defending itself against foreign aggression. Speaking as part of his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said that his government “wants to have positive relationships with everyone on the international stage, including those with whom relations have broken down recently. We really don’t want to burn bridges.” At the same time, however, he cautioned that “those who mistake this stance for weakness need to know that Russia’s response [to any aggression] will be asymmetrical, swift and harsh.”

Those planning provocations, he said, “will regret their deeds in a way they have not regretted anything else for a long time.” As part of the country’s plans to defend itself, he said, its stockpile of strategic weapons is currently being overhauled, updating older Soviet-era equipment in favor of next-generation technology, such as “hypersonic and laser” armaments. Among the overhaul, he revealed that the advanced RS-28 Sarmat missile will be delivered to troops in the field from 2022. A heavy intercontinental ballistic rocket, it boasts up to 15 nuclear warheads which can be directed against individual targets and each deliver 350 kilotons of atomic hellfire. Ship-mounted missiles and other, “next-generation” projectiles are also slated for deployment in the near future.

According to the president, more than two-thirds of Russia’s military equipment will be “modern” at the end of the next three years, while more than 88% of nuclear weapons will be this year as well. Putin also referenced the Peresvet, a secretive laser cannon that is said to have the potential to shoot down both enemy aircraft and incoming missiles. The weapon has reportedly already been deployed to installations across the country. “We have patience, self-confidence and righteousness on our side,” Putin added. “I hope no one will think of crossing red lines in their relations with Russia. Where that line sits is ours to determine.”

The US is currently reportedly developing a $100 billion ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile system to replace its Cold War-era Minuteman-III rockets. However, it has come under criticism from experts, with the Federation of American Scientists arguing that the program has been driven by industry lobbying rather than a genuine need for the launch complex “in a post-Cold War security environment.”

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“We suggest Prague leave ultimatums for communication within NATO,” said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “With Russia such a tone is unacceptable.”

Prague Gives Moscow Ultimatum To Let Czech Diplomats Return (Y!)

The Czech government on Wednesday warned Moscow it might expel more Russian diplomats unless the 20 Czech nationals ejected from Russia were allowed to return to work within a day. Moscow responded by saying the ultimatum was “unacceptable”. On Saturday, Prague expelled 18 Russian embassy staff in a row over Russia’s alleged role in an explosion that killed two people in the Czech Republic in 2014. Moscow sent back the Czech diplomats in retaliation on Monday. “The Russian Federation has until 1200 tomorrow (1000 GMT) to allow the return of all expelled diplomats back to the Czech embassy in Moscow,” Jakub Kulhanek, the new Czech foreign minister, told reporters. “If they cannot return, I will cut the number of Russian embassy staff in Prague so it would correspond to the current situation at the Czech embassy in Moscow,” he added.

After summoning Russian ambassador Alexander Zmeyevski, Kulhanek said Moscow’s retaliation had been “disproportionate and it in fact paralysed the embassy”. The Russian foreign ministry condemned the Czech position. “We suggest Prague leave ultimatums for communication within NATO,” said spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “With Russia such a tone is unacceptable.” The Czech ambassador would be summoned on Thursday, she added. Prague currently has five diplomats and 19 technical staff at the embassy in Moscow, far fewer than the Russian workforce in Prague. “The expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats in turn did not jeopardise the functioning of the Russian embassy,” said Kulhanek, who was only appointed as minister on Wednesday.

The EU backed the Czech Republic as its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc stood “ready to support its further efforts to bring those responsible to justice”. “The EU condemns the disproportionate reaction and subsequent threats of Russian Federation towards the Czech Republic,” Borrell said in a statement, vowing “the staunchest resolve” in addressing disruptive acts by Russian intelligence on EU soil. Czech officials, including Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, who was standing in as foreign minister until Kulhanek’s appointment, said Tuesday that they might aim to reset relations with Russia — and that this could involve the expulsion of all Russian diplomats in Prague. [..] Hamacek also said that Prague would no longer consider buying Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19.

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Creating chaos through proxies.

Ukraine Encourages Western Allies To Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT (EurActiv)

Ukraine on Wednesday (21 April) urged Western allies to show they were prepared to punish Moscow with new sanctions, including kicking Russia out of the global SWIFT payments system, to deter the Kremlin from resorting to more military force against Ukraine. In an interview with Reuters, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said while Kyiv had no new information indicating that Russia had decided to take new military action against Ukraine, it was important for the West to act now to prevent that happening.Ukraine is trying to shore up international support in its standoff with Moscow over a build-up of Russian troops on its eastern border and in Crimea. “I have no information to state that the decision to launch a military operation against Ukraine has already been taken. So it can go in either direction now,” Kuleba said.

“And this is why the reaction of the West, the consolidated reaction of the West, is so important now, to prevent Putin … from making that decision.” Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame for a collapse in the ceasefire in the eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a conflict Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014. Kuleba said he asked Washington to supply “powerful means of electronic warfare” to counter Russia’s capacity to jam Ukrainian communications when he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week. He also revealed he had urged a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Monday to consider “banning Russia from SWIFT” as part of a package of new economic sanctions if Russia escalated the situation.

[..] Putin on Wednesday warned the West not to cross Russia’s “red lines”, saying Moscow would respond swiftly and harshly to any provocations. “I read the message of President Putin the following way: ‘we will be crossing your red lines, but you are not allowed to cross our red lines, and we will be defining where our red lines are,’” Kuleba said.

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The University’s riposte is great.

Georgia & Ukraine Launch ‘Remarkable’ Attack On Academic Freedom (RT)

A professor from Ireland’s Dublin City University has lambasted a “remarkable attempt to undermine academic freedom” from the embassies of Georgia and Ukraine after they complained about a course he teaches at the institution. Donnacha Ó Beacháin is an internationally-respected professor with extensive experience teaching students about politics in the countries that once formed the Soviet Union. He was targeted by two diplomats who claimed that his program, named ‘Russia and the post-Soviet space’, was spreading “disinformation and Russian propaganda narratives.” Georgia and Ukraine, who both have strained relationships with Moscow, are covered in the course.

In particular, Ó Beacháin was accused of inviting a “well-known Russian propagandist” to speak. In fact, the person in question was Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow at the Washington-based think tank CSIS, which receives funding from the US government. Ó Beacháin described him as “probably the leading authority in Russia on conflicts in the Caucasus.” As well as inviting Markedonov, the professor also pointed out that the course has had a guest speaker from Ukraine, and he even asked the current Georgian ambassador to address the students. “The module is called ‘Russia and the Former Soviet Space,’ but if the Georgia/Ukraine diplomats had their way, the only view we wouldn’t get is from Russia,” Ó Beacháin wrote on Twitter.

In a letter to the embassies, the university’s president, Dáire Keogh, stressed the importance of “academic freedom” and noted that the professor had “invited guests from different backgrounds to expose students to their points of view.” “Those invited to contribute to the module include speakers from Georgian and Ukrainian backgrounds, including former officials,” the letter said. Speaking to Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTE, Ó Beacháin’s colleague John Doyle blasted the complaints as “absolutely unprecedented,” noting that there has never been another issue when an embassy not only complained to a university professor, but also contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs – presumably attempting to create a diplomatic incident.

Read more …

The Postal Service? What’s next, the supermarket?

USPS ‘Covert Operations Program’ Monitors Americans’ Social Media Posts (Y!)

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News. The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies. “Analysts with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) monitored significant activity regarding planned protests occurring internationally and domestically on March 20, 2021,” says the March 16 government bulletin, marked as “law enforcement sensitive” and distributed through the Department of Homeland Security’s fusion centers. “Locations and times have been identified for these protests, which are being distributed online across multiple social media platforms, to include right-wing leaning Parler and Telegram accounts.”


A number of groups were expected to gather in cities around the globe on March 20 as part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy, to protest everything from lockdown measures to 5G. “Parler users have commented about their intent to use the rallies to engage in violence. Image 3 on the right is a screenshot from Parler indicating two users discussing the event as an opportunity to engage in a ‘fight’ and to ‘do serious damage,’” says the bulletin.

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Hacking the hackers turns out to be easy.

In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite (AT)

For years, Israeli digital forensics firm Cellebrite has helped governments and police around the world break into confiscated mobile phones, mostly by exploiting vulnerabilities that went overlooked by device manufacturers. Now, Moxie Marlinspike—creator of the Signal messaging app—has turned the tables on Cellebrite. On Wednesday, Marlinspike published a post that reported vulnerabilities in Cellebrite software that allowed him to execute malicious code on the Windows computer used to analyze devices. The researcher and software engineer exploited the vulnerabilities by loading specially formatted files that can be embedded into any app installed on the device. “There are virtually no limits on the code that can be executed,” Marlinspike wrote.

He continued: “For example, by including a specially formatted but otherwise innocuous file in an app on a device that is then scanned by Cellebrite, it’s possible to execute code that modifies not just the Cellebrite report being created in that scan, but also all previous and future generated Cellebrite reports from all previously scanned devices and all future scanned devices in any arbitrary way (inserting or removing text, email, photos, contacts, files, or any other data), with no detectable timestamp changes or checksum failures. This could even be done at random, and would seriously call the data integrity of Cellebrite’s reports into question.”

Cellebrite provides two software packages: The UFED breaks through locks and encryption protections to collect deleted or hidden data, and a separate Physical Analyzer uncovers digital evidence (“trace events”). To do their job, both pieces of Cellebrite software must parse all kinds of untrusted data stored on the device being analyzed. Typically, software that is this promiscuous undergoes all kinds of security hardening to detect and fix any memory-corruption or parsing vulnerabilities that might allow hackers to execute malicious code. “Looking at both UFED and Physical Analyzer, though, we were surprised to find that very little care seems to have been given to Cellebrite’s own software security,” Marlinspike wrote. “Industry-standard exploit mitigation defenses are missing, and many opportunities for exploitation are present.”

Read more …

 

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Jul 192019
 
 July 19, 2019  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Marie-Thérèse Walter 1937

 

Trump Denounces ‘Send Her Back’ Chant About Rep. Ilhan Omar (BI)
US Navy Ship ‘Destroyed’ An Iranian Drone – Trump (CNN)
Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Says Tehran Has Not Lost Any Drones (R.)
Rand Paul Angles To Become Trump’s Emissary To Iran (Pol.)
Manhattan and DC Brace For Epstein Impact (VF)
Beijing’s Credibility and the Baoshang Bank Dilemma (RG)
Obscure Data Suggests China Housing Bubble Has Burst (ZH)
Boeing Takes $4.9 Billion Charge As 737 Max Fiasco Drags On (ZH)
Congress Must Not Cede Its Authority To Raise Debt (Hill)
Russia Offers To Join European SWIFT-Bypass (ZH)
More Puerto Rico Protests Planned As Governor Resists Calls To Resign (R.)
US Lawmakers Urge Trump To Sanction Turkey (R.)
Cyprus: American Promises, Turkish Arms, Russian Money And Missiles (Helmer)
Merger Mania: the Military-Industrial Complex on Steroids (Hartung)
IUCN Red List Reveals Wildlife Destruction From Treetop To Ocean Floor (G.)

 

 

Of course people will see he didn’t really denounce it, or not fast enough or strong enough, but he did say it. Whatever you think of this, Trump got what he wanted: the Dems have moved hugely to the left. And he thinks they’re much easier to defeat in elections now. They can pick Biden or Kamala, but from now on in, it’ll be: yes but what do AOC and Omar think?

Trump Denounces ‘Send Her Back’ Chant About Rep. Ilhan Omar (BI)

President Donald Trump is distancing himself from attendees at his North Carolina rally on Wednesday who chanted about “send her back” Rep. Ilhan Omar, a US citizen who has been a strident Trump critic. In the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump said he “disagreed” with the chants, was “very unhappy” with them, and would try to stop them in the future. Omar came to America as a refugee from Somalia in the 1990s, and is a US citizen. At the rally, Trump went on an extended monologue criticizing Omar and falsely linking her to terrorism and accusing her of supporting al-Qaeda, drawing loud boos from the audience. The crowd broke into “send her back” chants after Trump accused her of “launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds.” But if Trump was unhappy with the chants, he didn’t show it.

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But have they?

US Navy Ship ‘Destroyed’ An Iranian Drone – Trump (CNN)

President Donald Trump said Thursday that the USS Boxer downed an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 yards of the Navy ship and ignored “multiple calls to stand down” — marking yet another escalation in the already tense situation playing out between Washington and Tehran. Speaking at the White House, Trump said the drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew” in the Strait of Hormuz and was “immediately destroyed.” The drone was destroyed using electronic jamming, according to a US defense official. The crew of the Boxer took defensive action after the drone came within a threatening distance of the US ship, the official said.


“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump added. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interest and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.” He called on other countries to condemn Iran’s action and protect their own vessels.

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“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] by mistake!..”

Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Says Tehran Has Not Lost Any Drones (R.)

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi denied on Friday that Iran had lost a drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the United States said that a U.S. Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone. “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] by mistake!,” Araqchi said on Twitter, referring to a U.S. warship in the strategic waterway. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the drone had flown to within 1,000 yards (meters) of the USS Boxer and had ignored “multiple calls to stand down” in the latest episode to stir tensions in the Gulf.

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Much better than Bolton or Pompeo.

Rand Paul Angles To Become Trump’s Emissary To Iran (Pol.)

Over a round of golf this past weekend, Sen. Rand Paul asked President Donald Trump’s blessing for a sensitive diplomatic mission. Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four U.S. officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea. With Zarif in New York City this week for U.N. meetings and private sitdowns with journalists and think-tank experts, the prospect of the dovish Kentucky senator serving as the administration’s chief diplomatic emissary has rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul’s intervention threatens to scuttle the president’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

It is unclear whether the senator will meet with Zarif. He and his office declined multiple requests for comment. But the president’s willingness to tap Paul as the go-between with a top Iranian official is a demonstration both of his unorthodox approach to foreign affairs and his continuing desire, even as his aides threaten to squeeze Iran until it capitulates to U.S. demands, to entice the Islamic Republic’s leaders to the negotiating table. Trump has been attempting to start negotiations with Iran for months, a campaign that has included letters to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, an attempt to use Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an emissary to Tehran, and public comments expressing his desire to talk. Some Iranian officials have said that they are open to negotiations, but only after the administration removes sanctions. Khamenei, however, has likened talking with the U.S. to drinking “poison.”

Paul, along with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), played a round of golf with the president on Saturday at his club in Sterling, Va. The libertarian-leaning Paul has long been wary of U.S. foreign intervention, and he’s clashed with Trump administration officials over the possibility of a military conflict with Iran. When Trump last month called off retaliatory military strikes against Iran after an Iranian military official downed a U.S. drone over international waters, Paul went on the president’s favorite television network to offer unqualified praise. “It really takes a statesman to show restraint amidst a chorus of voices for war,” Paul told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.

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How wise is Epstein’s web?

Manhattan and DC Brace For Epstein Impact (VF)

The Jeffrey Epstein case is an asteroid poised to strike the elite world in which he moved. No one can yet say precisely how large it is. But as the number of women who’ve accused the financier (at least, that’s what he claimed to be) of sexual assault grows to grotesque levels—there are said to be more than 50 women who are potential victims—a wave of panic is rippling through Manhattan, DC, and Palm Beach, as Epstein’s former friends and associates rush to distance themselves, while gossiping about who might be ensnared. Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, architect of the original 2007 non-prosecution agreement that let Epstein off with a wrist slap, has already been forced to resign.

The questions about Epstein are metastasizing much faster than they can be answered: Who knew what about Epstein’s alleged abuse? How, and from whom, did Epstein get his supposed $500 million fortune? Why did Acosta grant Epstein an outrageously lenient non-prosecution agreement? (And what does it mean that Acosta was reportedly told Epstein “belonged to intelligence”?) But among the most pressing queries is which other famous people might be exposed for committing sex crimes. “There were other business associates of Mr. Epstein’s who engaged in improper sexual misconduct at one or more of his homes. We do know that,” said Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Courtney Wild, one of the Epstein accusers who gave emotional testimony at Epstein’s bail hearing. “In due time the names are going to start coming out.”

Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel’s ruling. The documents were filed during a civil defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago locker-room attendant, against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell. “Nobody who was around Epstein a lot is going to have an easy time now. It’s all going to come out,” said Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies. Another person involved with litigation against Epstein told me: “It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers.”

Read more …

Free markets? Nah…

Beijing’s Credibility and the Baoshang Bank Dilemma (RG)

Baoshang Bank’s seizure by regulators on May 24 has created structural liquidity distribution problems in China’s interbank money market, which is vital to the financial system’s overall function. The market’s liquidity chain, with money lent from policy banks and large banks to small banks and then to non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), remains ruptured, even as the central bank tries to piece it back together. However, authorities did not act capriciously, even if the Baoshang failure seems to have been foisted upon Chinese regulators at an awkward time.


The central bank chose explicitly to impose haircuts or discounts on corporate and interbank Baoshang depositors even while guaranteeing household and small deposits: they did not choose to fully support all depositors. By addressing some systemic risks officials necessarily create new counterparty credit risks: breaking moral hazard is difficult to do. Beijing cannot drive the probability of bank defaults back to zero, nor do they want to. Additional bank defaults have to be possible if system-wide risk taking is to be managed. The dilemma is fundamental: Does Beijing want the market to price the risk of potential bank failures, or do authorities want “stable” production of riskier and riskier forms of credit? Beijing can have one or the other, not both.

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Intriguing.

Obscure Data Suggests China Housing Bubble Has Burst (ZH)

[..] there was a delightful surprise to appease those who are wondering whether record credit injections and more easing measures than during the financial crisis had any effect at all. To wit, China retail sales and industrial production rebounded handsomely with the former spiking 9.8% YoY – the most since March 2018. There’s just one thing though – the entire surge in retail sales (and industrial production) seems to have been triggered by an almost unprecedented sudden surge in auto sales to – who else – the government itself, in the form large, state-owned enterprises. Think Cash for Clunkers on steroids – if the clunkers belonged to the Federal Government, and the new cars purchased were made by the Government.

Yet there was one critical data set in China’s manipulated economic data spreadsheet, which failed to get the royal goalseek treatment, one with dramatic implications for the broader market. According to Commodore Research, Chinese June data showed that furniture sales in China totaled only 18.4 billion yuan last month. This marks a year-on-year decline of 14% from the 21.3 billion yuan in sales that was reported last year for June 2018’s furniture sales. This is puzzling in light of the official Chinese data according to which the local housing market continues to hum along, firing on all cylinders, with the average, 70-city primary market property price rising 10.5% Y/Y in May.

Alas, that does not seem feasible when one considers that furniture sales in China have now contracted on a year-on-year basis for eighteen straight months. What does this mean? As Commodore Research concludes, “we continue to believe that there is a good chance that the ongoing plummet in furniture sales in China is pointing to much greater weakness existing in the Chinese housing market than is generally being recognized.”

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So: $100 million for the victims and $5 billion for the airlines. Yeah, makes perfect sense.

Boeing Takes $4.9 Billion Charge As 737 Max Fiasco Drags On (ZH)

In a long-overdue step that suggests Boeing is eager to put the 737 MAX debacle behind it, the Seattle airplane company announced it would take a $4.9 billion charge in Q2 related to the grounding of the 737 Max aircraft, which represents that troubled aircraft maker’s first estimate of the cost of compensating airlines for schedule disruptions and delays in aircraft deliveries. The charge will result in a $5.6 billion hit to pre-tax earnings when the company reports earnings on July 24, the company said in a statement issued on Thursday. There is just one problem: there is no assurance Boeing’s 737 MAX woes will end in Q2, with media reports suggesting the grounding of the jet may last into 2020.


That scenario is not being contemplated by the world’s largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, which said it assumes regulatory approval will be granted for the Max to return to global skies in the fourth quarter of this year. “This assumption reflects the company’s best estimate at this time, but actual timing of return to service could differ from this estimate,” the company said. To address the possibility of an extended grounding, Boeing said that although the charge equal to $8.74 per share, would be taken in the second quarter, the company said it expects “potential concessions or other considerations” would come “over a number of years”. As the FT notes, “concessions in such circumstances often take the form of price cuts on aircraft orders rather than cash payments.”

Read more …

History lessons.

Congress Must Not Cede Its Authority To Raise Debt (Hill)

Last Friday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked Congress to increase the debt limit. And so begins another contentious debate. Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have had a love-hate relationship with the national debt. Alexander Hamilton insisted that debt was the price of liberty. Without it, the young country would be unable to protect itself from foreign threats. Yet, throughout much of U.S. history, many Americans regarded debt itself as a threat, to individual freedoms. The ability to raise debt was linked directly to power, and debt issued to finance the nation’s defense was viewed as particularly dangerous—a way to enrich “monied interests” and increase the power of government at the expense of everyone else.

To impede this potential for abuse, the Constitution vested the power to take on debt and regulate currency with the people—through Congress. As a Congressman during the 1790s, James Madison argued that debt and spending were equally important issues and should be debated separately, rather than rolled together in a single bill. Moreover, he felt that to not manage debt would have be an abdication of Congress’s role representing the people. During our nation’s first 130 years, Congress authorized debt as needed to meet the challenges of the day. Government debt financed revenue shortfalls derived from wars, economic recessions or even infrastructure investments. The big difference from modern times is that, back then, once the challenge precipitating the debt was resolved, Congress turned its attention to debt eradication.

President Andrew Jackson believed that repaying debt was a symbol that the nation could sustain independence. After the Civil War, Congress turned to paying off the national debt, which eventually fell from 32 percent of GDP in 1869 to 5 percent in 1916. But America’s aversion to government debt changed throughout the 20th Century. At the forefront of this change were three major developments: the enactment of the first permanent income tax; the creation of the Federal Reserve and the onset of World War I.

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As I wrote a few weeks ago, can’t use a reserve currency as a military tool.

Russia Offers To Join European SWIFT-Bypass (ZH)

Three weeks after a meeting between the countries who singed the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was ditched by US, French, British and German officials said the trade mechanism which was proposed last summer – designed to circumvent both SWIFT as well as US sanctions banning trade with Iran – called Instex, is now operational. And while we await for the White House to threaten Europe with even greater tariffs unless it ends this special purpose vehicle – it already did once back in May when it warned that anyone associated with the SPV could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect – a response from the US is now assured, because in the biggest attack on the dollar as a reserve currency to date, on Thursday, Russia signaled its willingness to join the controversial payments channel, and has called on Brussels to expand the new mechanism to cover oil exports, the FT reported.


Moscow’s involvement in the Instex channel would mark a significant step forward in attempts by the EU and Russia to rescue a 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has been unravelling since the Trump administration abandoned it last year. ““Russia is interested in close co-ordination with the European Union on Instex,” the Russian foreign ministry told the Financial Times. “The more countries and continents involved, the more effective will the mechanism be as a whole.” … and the more isolated the US will be as a currency union meant to evade SWIFT and bypass the dollar’s reserve currency status will soon include virtually all relevant and important countries. Only China would be left outstanding; after the rest of the world’s would promptly join.

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Wednesday’s protest, the biggest so far, included singer and actor Ricky Martin and reggaeton artist Bad Bunny.

More Puerto Rico Protests Planned As Governor Resists Calls To Resign (R.)

Massive and at times violent protests in Puerto Rico showed no sign of stopping as labor unions on Thursday organized a Friday march to keep up pressure on the governor to resign, while dozens of guns were stolen in a raid on police firearms center. Thousands of protesters have jammed streets in San Juan since Saturday, calling on Governor Ricardo Rossello to step down after the leak of a raft of controversial and vulgar text messages between him and his closest allies. The scandal comes on the heels of a federal probe into government corruption on the bankrupt island. The guns were stolen from a police station in the coastal city of Guayama, which was vandalized with graffiti calling for the governor to resign or face bullets, according to a Thursday police statement. The FBI was investigating, it said.


The political turmoil comes at a critical stage in the U.S. territory’s bankruptcy. It has also raised concerns with U.S. lawmakers who are weighing the island’s requests for billions of federal dollars for healthcare and for recovery efforts following devastating hurricanes in 2017. “Like never before, all factions of the country agree that Ricardo Rossello has to go,” Juan Cortés, president of the Central Federation of Workers, a public- and private-sector union, said in a statement. Rossello said on Thursday he continued to ask for forgiveness for what he has called “improper” but not illegal acts on his part, while affirming his commitment to remain in office.

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He’ll wait.

US Lawmakers Urge Trump To Sanction Turkey (R.)

Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers pressed President Donald Trump on Thursday to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defence system, saying he should follow a law mandating penalties for doing business with Russia’s military. Republican Senators Rick Scott and Todd Young introduced a resolution calling for sanctions after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defence system last week, prompting the White House to announce it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme.


Separately, Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said removing Turkey from the jet programme was not enough. “The law clearly mandates sanctions penalties for ‘significant transactions’ with the Russian Federation’s defence and intelligence sectors, which would clearly include the delivery of an S-400 system,” he said in an emailed statement. But Trump’s administration has stopped short of imposing sanctions on Turkey, despite the sweeping 2017 sanctions law, known as CAATSA. Trump has not been clear on whether his administration is considering doing so.

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And here’s why he’ll wait…

Cyprus: American Promises, Turkish Arms, Russian Money And Missiles (Helmer)

This week a group of US senators has proposed to leave Turkey in control of the northern part of Cyprus, and force the Greek Cypriots to choose between the US and Russia for the economic and political future of the south of the island. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed by a large bipartisan majority on June 25 to put into law a new Eastern Mediterranean strategy. If the bill is enacted, Cyprus will be required to decide that in exchange for American protection from Turkish military threats, including Russian-made S-400 missiles to be based in southwestern Turkey, the Cyprus Government must not allow Russian naval vessels to dock at Cypriot ports, and should block all Russian money and investments on the island.


At the same time, Greece has been told the US military intends to expand its occupation of Crete around the Souda Bay base; at Larissa Air Force Base, midway between Athens and Thessaloniki; and at other Greek locations. The proposed new law is the most comprehensive plan for American military occupation of Cyprus and Greece since the Greek civil war of the 1950s. The US plan also establishes State Department censorship of the Greek-language media in Cyprus and Greece, and threatens US sanctions against the Orthodox Church bishops of the two countries. Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, initiated the new policy as an amendment to Senate Bill No. 1102, “to promote security and energy partnerships in the Eastern Mediterranean, and for other purposes.”

Menendez chaired the Foreign Relations Committee until the Republicans won control of the Senate last November. He has made a long record of legislating sanctions against Russia, while he himself has been under FBI investigation for corruption. [..] US policy in the region should be aimed, the Bill declares, at backing the development of the Cyprus offshore gas deposits, as well as future regional pipelines and liquefaction plants, in order to compete against Russian gas supplies to southern Europe. Without naming Turkey, which is currently threatening Cypriot gas exploration at sea with drilling vessels of its own, the Bill claims that Cypriot seabed exploration “must be safeguarded against threats posed by terrorist and extremist groups, including Hezbollah and any other actor in the region.”

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The real giant squid.

Merger Mania: the Military-Industrial Complex on Steroids (Hartung)

Raytheon, already one of the top five U.S. defense contractors, is planning to merge with United Technologies. That company is a major contractor in its own right, producing, among other things, the engine for the F-35 combat aircraft, the most expensive Pentagon weapons program ever. The new firmwill be second only to Lockheed Martin when it comes to consuming your tax dollars — and it may end up even more powerful politically, thanks to President Trump’s fondness for hiring arms industry executives to run the national security state.

Just as Boeing benefited from its former Senior Vice President Patrick Shanahan’s stint as acting secretary of defense, so Raytheon is likely to cash in on the nomination of its former top lobbyist, Mike Esper, as his successor. Esper’s elevation comes shortly after another former Raytheon lobbyist, Charles Faulkner, left the State Department amid charges that he had improperly influenced decisions to sell Raytheon-produced guided bombs to Saudi Arabia for its brutal air war in Yemen. John Rood, third-in-charge at the Pentagon, has worked for both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, while Ryan McCarthy, Mike Esper’s replacement as secretary of the Army, worked for Lockheed on the F-35, which the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has determined may never be ready for combat.

[..] Fifty years ago, Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire identified the problem when he noted that: “the movement of high ranking military officers into jobs with defense contractors and the reverse movement of top executives in major defense contractors into high Pentagon jobs is solid evidence of the military-industrial complex in operation. It is a real threat to the public interest because it increases the chances of abuse… How hard a bargain will officers involved in procurement planning or specifications drive when they are one or two years away from retirement and have the example to look at of over 2,000 fellow officers doing well on the outside after retirement?”

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You are part of a death cult.

IUCN Red List Reveals Wildlife Destruction From Treetop To Ocean Floor (G.)

From the tops of trees to the depths of the oceans, humanity’s destruction of wildlife is continuing to drive many species towards extinction, with the latest “red list” showing that a third of all species assessed are under threat. The razing of habitats and hunting for bushmeat has now driven seven primates into decline, while overfishing has pushed two families of extraordinary rays to the brink. Pollution, dams and over-abstraction of freshwater are responsible for serious declines in river wildlife from Mexico to Japan, while illegal logging is ravaging Madagascar’s rosewoods, and disease is decimating the American elm.

The red list, produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the most authoritative assessment of the status of species. The list published on Thursday adds almost 9,000 new species, bringing the total to 105,732, though this is a fraction of the millions of species thought to live on Earth. Not a single species was recorded as having improved in status. A landmark planetary health check published in May concluded that human civilisation was in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems. Wildlife populations have plunged by 60% since 1970 and plant extinctions are running at a “frightening” rate, according to scientists.

[..] Humanity’s thirst for fresh water, particularly for farming, is having an especially big impact on river and lake wildlife. The red list update reveals that more than half of the freshwater fish in Japan and over a third in Mexico are now threatened with extinction. Recent research found two-thirds of the world’s great rivers no longer flow freely. “The loss of these freshwater fish species would deprive billions of people of a critical source of food and income, and could have knock-on effects on entire ecosystems,” said William Darwall, head of the IUCN freshwater biodiversity unit.

Read more …

 

Twitter had restored the Unity4J account that supports Assange. How Pyrrhic is that victory?

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 022018
 
 October 2, 2018  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Children’s games 1560

 

US Gross National Debt Hits $21.5 Trillion in Fiscal 2018 (WS)
Average Stock Is Overvalued Somewhere Between Tremendously And Enormously (MW)
A Three-Way Train Wreck Is About to Derail the Markets (Rickards)
China Says Its Economy Is Slowing. PBOC May Be Preparing To Intervene (CNBC)
China Blocks Bad Economic News As Economy Slumps (ZH)
Real Estate Rage Signals Turn in Chinese Housing Market (IICS)
Di Maio Accuses EU Of Market ‘Terrorism’ Over Italy Budget (R.)
Greece Tests Creditors And The Markets With Its 2019 Spending Plans (CNBC)
Iran “Finalizing” Mechanism To Bypass SWIFT In Trade With Europe (ZH)
Alex Jones Sues Paypal For Infowars Ban (ZH)
The Woman Who Accuses Ronaldo of Rape (Spiegel)

 

 

They are only boom times BECAUSE the debt rises so fast.

US Gross National Debt Hits $21.5 Trillion in Fiscal 2018 (WS)

But wait — these are the Boom Times!

The US gross national debt jumped by $84 billion on September 28, the last business day of fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department reported Monday afternoon. During the entire fiscal year 2018, the gross national debt ballooned by $1.271 trillion to a breath-taking height of $21.52 trillion. Just six months ago, on March 16, it had pierced the $21-trillion mark. At the end of September 2017, it was still $20.2 trillion. The flat spots in the chart below, followed by the vertical spikes, are the results of the debt-ceiling grandstanding in Congress: These trillions are whizzing by so fast they’re hard to see. What was that, we asked? Where did that go?

Over the fiscal year, the gross national debt increased by 6.3% and now amounts to 105.4% of current-dollar GDP. But this isn’t the Great Recession when tax revenues collapsed because millions of people lost their jobs and because companies lost money or went bankrupt as their sales collapsed and credit froze up; and when government expenditures soared because support payments such as unemployment compensation and food stamps soared, and because there was some stimulus spending too. But no – these are the good times.

Over the last 12-month period through Q2, the economy, as measured by nominal GDP grew 5.4%. “Nominal” GDP rather than inflation-adjusted (“real”) GDP because the debt isn’t adjusted for inflation either, and we want an apples-to-apples comparison. The increases in the gross national debt have been a fiasco for many years. Even after the Great Recession was declared over and done with, the gross national debt increased on average by $954 billion per fiscal year from 2011 through 2017.

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Katsenelson.

Average Stock Is Overvalued Somewhere Between Tremendously And Enormously (MW)

Here’s another, called the “Buffett Indicator.” Apparently, Warren Buffett likes to use it to take the temperature of market valuations. Think of this chart as a price-to-sales ratio for the entire U.S. economy, that is, the market value of all equities divided by GDP. The higher the price-to-sales ratio, the more expensive stocks are.

This chart tells a similar story to the first one. Though I was not around in 1929, we can imagine there were a lot of bulls celebrating and cheerleading every day as the market marched higher in 1927, 1928, and the first 10 months of 1929. The cheerleaders probably made a lot of intelligent, well-reasoned arguments, which could be put into two buckets: First: “This time is different” (it never is). Second: “Yes, stocks are overvalued, but we are still in the bull market.” (They were right about this until they lost their shirts.)

I was investing during the 1999 bubble. I vividly remember the “This time is different” argument of 1999. It was the New Economy vs. the old, and the New was supposed to change or at least modify the rules of economic gravity. The economy was now supposed to grow at a much faster rate. But economic growth over the past 20 years has not been any different than in the previous 20. Actually, I take that back — it’s been lower. From 1980 to 2000 the U.S. economy’s real growth was about 3% a year, while from 2000 to now it has been about 2% a year.

Finally, let’s look at a Tobin’s Q Ratio chart. This chart simply shows the market value of equities in relation to their replacement cost. If you are a dentist, and dental practices are sold for a million dollars while the cost of opening a new practice (phone system, chairs, drills, x-ray equipment, etc.) is $500,000, then Tobin’s Q Ratio is 2.0. The higher the ratio the more expensive stocks are. Again, this one tells the same story as the other two charts: U.S. stocks are extremely expensive — and were more expensive only twice in the past hundred-plus years.

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China foreign reserves under threat.

A Three-Way Train Wreck Is About to Derail the Markets (Rickards)

The U.S. trade war with China and China’s daunting debt problems are well understood by most investors. Coming U.S. sanctions on Iran and Iran’s internal economic problems are also well understood. What is not understood is how these two bilateral confrontations are intimately linked in a three-way tangle that could throw the global economy into complete turmoil and possibly escalate into war. Untangling and understanding these connections is one of the most important tasks for investors today. Let’s begin with the China debt bomb. As is apparent from the chart below, China has the largest volume of dollar-denominated debt coming due in the next 15 months.

The chart shows China with almost $100 billion of external dollar-denominated liabilities maturing before the end of 2019. But this debt wall is just the tip of the iceberg. This chart does not include amounts owed by financial institutions nor does it include intercompany payables and receivables. China’s total dollar debt burden is over $200 billion and towers over other emerging-market economy debt burdens. This wall of maturing debt might not matter if China had easy access to new finance with which to pay the debt and if its economy were growing at a healthy clip. Neither condition is true.

China has entered a trade war with the U.S., which will reduce the prospects of many Chinese companies and hurt their ability to refinance dollar debt. At the same time, China is trying to get its debt problems under control by restricting credit and tightening lending standards. But this monetary tightening also hurts growth. Selective defaults have already emerged among some large Chinese companies and certain regional governments. The overall effect is tighter monetary conditions, reduced access to foreign markets and slower growth all coming at the worst possible time.

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Yeah, sure, the PBOC may cut reserve requirement ratios, but there’s a reason for those requirements: shaky banks.

China Says Its Economy Is Slowing. PBOC May Be Preparing To Intervene (CNBC)

Beijing will likely take steps to mitigate the impact of the trade war with the U.S. as recent economic indicators from China point to a slowdown, an economist said on Monday. “We were calling for some slowdown, but the degree is much more than what we expected,” said Jeff Ng, chief economist for Asia at Continuum Economics, a research firm. Over the weekend, a private survey showed growth in China’s factory sector stalled after 15 months of expansion, with export orders falling the fastest in over two years, while an official survey confirmed a further manufacturing weakening. The official manufacturing index fell to a seven-month low of 50.8 in September, from 51.3 in August and below a Reuters poll forecast of 51.2.

That index has stayed above the 50-point mark for 26 straight months. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that signals contraction. But the Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell more than expected to 50.0 in September, from 50.6 in the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 50.5 on average. “I think we are expecting some more triple-R cuts by the end of the year … I think one more triple-R cut by end of the year,” Ng said, referring to possibility that the People’s Bank of China may cut reserve requirement ratios for banks in order to boost liquidity and growth.

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That should help.

China Blocks Bad Economic News As Economy Slumps (ZH)

China’s Shadow-banking system is collapsing (and with its China’s economic-fuel – the credit impulse), it’s equity market has become a slow-motion train-wreck, its economic data has been serially disappointing for two years, and its bond market is starting to show signs of serious systemic risk as corporate defaults in 2018 hit a record high. But, if you were to read the Chinese press, none of that would be evident, as The New York Times reports a government directive sent to journalists in China on Friday named six economic topics to be “managed,” as the long hand of China’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ have now reached the business media in an effort to censor negative news about the economy.

The New York Times lists the topics that are to be “managed” as: • Worse-than-expected data that could show the economy is slowing. • Local government debt risks. • The impact of the trade war with the United States. • Signs of declining consumer confidence • The risks of stagflation, or rising prices coupled with slowing economic growth • “Hot-button issues to show the difficulties of people’s lives.”

The government’s new directive betrays a mounting anxiety among Chinese leaders that the country could be heading into a growing economic slump. Even before the trade war between the United States and China, residents of the world’s second-largest economy were showing signs of keeping a tight grip on their wallets. Industrial profit growth has slowed for four consecutive months, and China’s stock market is near its lowest level in four years. “It’s possible that the situation is more serious than previously thought or that they want to prevent a panic,” said Zhang Ming, a retired political science professor from Renmin University in Beijing. Mr. Zhang said the effect of the expanded censorship strategy could more readily cause people to believe rumors about the economy. “They are worried about chaos,” he added. “But in barring the media from reporting, things may get more chaotic.”

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The Chinese think their property should hold value or gain. And of not, Beijing should make it.

Real Estate Rage Signals Turn in Chinese Housing Market (IICS)

Chinese homebuyers have demanded to return their housing in 2008, 2011 and 2014: each time the market price declined, but real estate rage first appeared in 2011. There was a report of real estate rage in Shanghai. The developer had slashed prices by one-third and homebuyers who purchased days or weeks responded by smashing up the sales office. “My house’s value has dropped by as much as one-third, and we have lost some 10,000yuan,” a homeowner surnamed Yang told Shanghai Daily. Real estate rage returned in early 2014. Angry homeowners in Hangzhou were upset for the same reason as those in Shanghai: the developer slashed prices. They flooded the developer’s office, but police were quickly on the scene.

“In 2008, 2011, 2014, there were three rounds of very obvious check-outs in the country. As long as the house price fell, the pre-purchasers began to reduce their prices.” Chongyuan Real Estate pointed out that the phenomenon of price reduction “rights” It has appeared from time to time, with 2011 being the most typical. According to public information, since September 2011, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Ningbo and other places have continued to reduce prices and defend their rights. The sales offices of various projects such as Vanke, Longhu and Hesheng have been destroyed, and some project owners have also physical conflict with security guards.

In September, there were several reports of “real estate rage” across the country. Instead of smashing offices, homeowners are protesting outside to “protect their rights” but the cause of their anger is the same: developers slashing prices to move inventory. While this evidence is anecdotal, there have been many reports about developers moving inventory to recoup cash. More importantly, both the 2011 and 2014 “real estate rage” incidents were coincident indicators of a housing market top.

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He’s at least partly right.

Di Maio Accuses EU Of Market ‘Terrorism’ Over Italy Budget (R.)

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio on Monday accused European Union officials of deliberately upsetting financial markets by making negative comments about Italy’s budget plans. “Some European institutions are playing … at creating terrorism on the markets,” said Di Maio, who is the head of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement. He specifically took aim at European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, saying he had deliberately “upset the markets” with earlier comments on Italy.

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Pension cuts may not be needed, but the IMF demands them regardless.

Greece Tests Creditors And The Markets With Its 2019 Spending Plans (CNBC)

Greece could be about to start another fight with its creditors and the financial markets. The government unveiled last evening the first draft of its 2019 budget plan in which two scenarios were put forward for its spending plans and economic targets for the coming year. One of them included planned and pre-legislated pension cuts, in line with its creditors’ expectations. The other spending plan does not include pension cuts, however, indicating that the Greek government is willing to make changes to reforms that it had previously agreed with its creditors.

The pension cuts were due to start in January and were one of the most difficult reforms to come to an agreement. Potential changes to pensions, or to other reforms, could spark confrontations with European institutions and the IMF. The IMF said last month that the 2019 pension cuts are part of the reforms that the Greek government agreed to, and that Greece needs to show it is investor-friendly. The 2019 budget is the first in nearly a decade without Greece being subject to a bailout program. Nonetheless, Athens promised on Monday to stick to fiscal targets that had agreed with its creditors. In fact, Greece has said it will over-deliver when it comes to its primary budget surplus.

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Iran gets desperate. But this may still work.

Iran “Finalizing” Mechanism To Bypass SWIFT In Trade With Europe (ZH)

Just days after Europe unveiled a “special purpose vehicle” meant to circumvent SWIFT and US monopoly on global dollar-denominated monetary transfers – and potentially jeopardizing the reserve status of the dollar – Iran said it was finalizing mechanisms for the oil trade to bypass US sanctions against the country, said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. According to RT, Araghchi said that Tehran is not ruling out the possibility of setting up an alternative to the international payments provider SWIFT to circumvent sanctions imposed by Washington. “As we know, Europeans are also trying to see how SWIFT can continue working with Iran, or if a parallel [financial] messaging system is necessary… This is something that we are still working on,” Araghchi said.

According to the Iranian diplomat, the independent equivalent of the SWIFT system that was earlier suggested by the EU to protect European firms working in Iran from US sanctions will be available for third countries. “This is the important element in SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) that it is not only for Europeans but other countries can also use this. We hope that before the re-imposition of the second part of the US sanctions [from November 4], these mechanisms can be in place and be functional,” said the official. One can see why: the Iranian economy has been hit hard in recent days, and the Rial has plunged to all time lows, amid fears that the sanctions will cripple Iran’s most valuable export resulting in a shortage of hard currency, eventually leading to a replica of Venezuela’s economic collapse.

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Points also to Paypal’s de facto monopoly.

Alex Jones Sues Paypal For Infowars Ban (ZH)

Alex Jones’s company, Free Speech Systems, LLC, has sued PayPal for the its ban of Infowars because the controversial website “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.” In the complaint filed by Jones’s lawyers, Marc Randazza Legal group, they accuse PayPal of banning Infowars “for no other reason than a disagreement with the message plaintiff conveys” and call ban “unconscionable” because PayPal has never advised users that “it might ban users for off-platform activity.”

“It is at this point well known that large tech companies, located primarily in Silicon Valley, are discriminating against politically conservative entities and individuals, including banning them from social media platforms such as Twitter, based solely on their political and ideological viewpoints,” Jones’ lawyers claim in the 15-page complaint. Jones claims PayPal’s decision was based purely on “viewpoint discrimination.” He also says the decision was made based on conduct that “had nothing to do with” the PayPal platform, which purportedly violates Infowars’ contract with the payment-processing giant. If PayPal’s decision were allowed to stand, it would set “a dangerous precedent for any person or entity with controversial views,” the lawsuit alleges.

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A few days old, and an odd one out for a Debt Rattle, I know. But Las Vegas police have yesterday involved re-opened the file. This comes after Ronaldo called the Spiegel article fake news, and one of the journalists posted 24 tweets detailing their investigation, saying they worked on it with 20 people for a long time, and have a strong legal team. Spiegel first opened the case in 2009, but the woman didn’t want to talk. She refused to name Ronaldo to police at the time as well.

The Woman Who Accuses Ronaldo of Rape (Spiegel)

She was supposed to be invisible, damned to silence. Forever. Nobody was to ever learn about that night in Las Vegas back in 2009, especially not her version of events. She even signed a settlement deal and received a payoff ensuring that she would never give voice to the accusations. She signed, she says, out of fear for herself and her family. And out of impotence, the inability to stand up to him. And out of the hope that she could finally put the incident behind her. But, says Kathryn Mayorga, she was never able to close that chapter. The American is a slender 34-year-old with long, dark hair and green eyes. Until recently, she worked at an elementary school. But she quit, she says, “because I need all my strength now.”

She needs the strength to stand up to the man who she accuses of having raped her nine years ago — accusations that he denies. The man isn’t just anybody. It is Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best soccer player in the world, with vast amounts of success, money and adoration from the fans. An anonymous woman versus Ronaldo — the discrepancy could hardly be greater. They met on June 12, 2009 in a Las Vegas nightclub. Ronaldo was there on vacation with his brother-in-law and cousin. It was the summer when the star, then 24, would transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid for a then-record sum of 94 million euros.

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Sep 262018
 
 September 26, 2018  Posted by at 9:14 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Five women 1907

 

Europe, Russia And China Join Forces To Dodge Iran Sanctions (CNBC)
Europe Unveils “Special Purpose Vehicle” To Bypass SWIFT (ZH)
Fed Likely To Raise Rates, Possibly End ‘Accommodative’ Policy Era (R.)
Free-Riding Investors Set up Markets for a Major Collapse (Rickards)
Corbyn Vows To End ‘Greed-is-Good’ Capitalism In UK (G.)
Why Corbyn Is Promising A “Green Jobs Revolution” (NS)
Brexit Agreement Could Come In October – Merkel (CNBC)
1000s Told To Flee As Florence-Triggered Floods Wash Into South Carolina (R.)
Global Waste Could Increase By 70% By 2050 – World Bank (WEF)
The Man Who Beat Monsanto: ‘They Have To Pay For Not Being Honest’ (G.)
Monsanto’s Glyphosate Linked To Global Decline In Honey Bees (ZH)
IRC Warns Of Mental Health Crisis On Lesbos As Greece Moves Asylum Seekers (R.)
Ending Decades Of Doubt, ‘Biggest Bird’ Dispute Put To Nest (AFP)

 

 

Not much on the Kavanaugh front right now, other than the same voices saying more of the same. We don’t expect that to last through the day today. We expect mayhem. But first, some economy:

Europe, Russia And China Join Forces To Dodge Iran Sanctions (CNBC)

In the latest sign of the growing divide between Washington and its allies, the European Union’s foreign policy chief announced Monday that the bloc was creating a new payment mechanism to allow countries to transact with Iran while avoiding U.S. sanctions. Called the “special purpose vehicle” (SPV), this mechanism would aim to “assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran,” according to a joint statement released by the remaining members of the Iran nuclear deal — France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.

“This will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with EU law and could be open to other partners in the world,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The technical details will be worked on by experts in future meetings, she said. American sanctions have already been imposed on a number of Iran’s industries — including aviation, metals, automotives and its ability to trade gold and acquire dollars — as a result of President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. On November 4, a second round of penalties will fall on Iran’s massive oil sector, which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s exports. Iran is the world’s seventh-largest oil producer.

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More detail on the above.

Europe Unveils “Special Purpose Vehicle” To Bypass SWIFT (ZH)

Germany, France and the U.K. would set up a multinational state-backed financial intermediary that would deal with companies interested in Iran transactions and with Iranian counter-parties. Such transactions, presumably in euros and pounds sterling, would not be transparent to American authorities. European companies dealing with the state-owned intermediary technically might not even be in violation of the U.S. sanctions as currently written. And, in a potentially massive development, the system would be likely be open to Russia and China as well as it would enable the world’s economies to trade with each other, fully independent of SWIFT.

Europe would thus provide an infrastructure for legal, secure sanctions-busting — and a guarantee that the transactions would not be reported to American regulators. That said, Washington would not be without recourse, although at that point, all the U.S. could do is sanction the participating countries’ central banks or SWIFT for facilitating the transactions (if the special purpose vehicle uses SWIFT, rather than ad hoc messaging).

That, Hellman and Batmanghelidj wrote, would be self-defeating: “There are two possible outcomes if these institutions proceed to work with Iran despite U.S. secondary sanctions. Either U.S. authorities fail to take enforcement action given the massive consequences for the operations and integrity of the American financial system, serving to “defang” the enforcement threats and reduce the risk of European self-sanctioning on the basis of fear, or U.S. authorities take such an enforcement action, a step that would only serve to accelerate European efforts to create a defensible banking architecture that goes beyond the Iran issue alone.”

Europe, naturally, needs a “neutral” pretext to implement this SPV, and that would be Brussels’ desire to continue transacting with Iran: “We are not backing down [on the Iran nuclear agreement],” said a European diplomat. He said the speeches of European leaders at a Security Council meeting Mr. Trump is hosting on Wednesday on nonproliferation, including Iran, will reflect the Monday night statement. Additionally, as basis for the potentially revolutionary development, the participants of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, “underlined their determination to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran.”

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There’s one thing only that keeps the wheeels turning: cheap debt. They’re about to take that away. I added the graph.

Fed Likely To Raise Rates, Possibly End ‘Accommodative’ Policy Era (R.)

With the Federal Reserve widely expected to raise interest rates on Wednesday, financial markets are focused on whether signs of an acceleration in U.S. economic growth will prompt the central bank to ramp up the pace of monetary policy tightening. This week’s two-day policy meeting could mark the formal end of the “accommodative” level of rates the Fed has used to support the American economy since the onset of the 2007-2009 recession. The Fed’s current policy statement has included that description of loose policy as a staple element in recent years, though officials recently have described it as out of date and likely to be removed, either this week or in the near future.

The probability the Fed will raise its benchmark overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, in what would be its third hike this year, is nearly 95 percent, based on an analysis of fed fund futures contracts by CME Group. The larger question is whether the Fed reshapes its monetary policy outlook for the next few years to factor in stronger GDP growth or whether concerns about a possible global trade war or economic slowdown cause it to stick close to its current view.

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Jamie Dimon as a parasite.

Free-Riding Investors Set up Markets for a Major Collapse (Rickards)

The biggest free riders in the financial system are bank executives such as Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan. Bank liabilities are guaranteed by the FDIC up to $250,000 per account. Liabilities in excess of that are implicitly guaranteed by the “too big to fail” policy of the Federal Reserve. The big banks can engage in swap and other derivative contracts “off the books” without providing adequate capital for the market risk involved. Interest rates were held near zero for years by the Fed to help the banks earn profits by not passing the benefits of low rates along to their borrowers. Put all of this (and more) together and it’s a recipe for billions of dollars in bank profits and huge paychecks and bonuses for the top executives like Dimon.

What is the executives’ contribution to the system? Nothing. They just sit there like parasites and collect the benefits while offering nothing in return. Given all of these federal subsidies to the banks, a trained pet could be CEO of J.P. Morgan and the profits would be the same. This is the essence of parasitic behavior. Yet there’s another parasite problem affecting markets that is harder to see and may be even more dangerous that the bank CEO free riders. This is the problem of “active” versus “passive” investors. An active investor is one who does original research and due diligence on her investments or who relies on an investment adviser or mutual fund that does its own research.

T he active investor makes bets, takes risks and is the lifeblood of price discovery in securities markets. The active investor may make money or lose money (usually it’s a bit of both) but in all cases earns her money by thoughtful investment. The active investor contributes to markets while trying to make money in them. A passive investor is a parasite. The passive investor simply buys an index fund, sits back and enjoys the show. Since markets mostly go up, the passive investor mostly makes money but contributes nothing to price discovery.

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That’ll be good for a whole lot more smear. The Telegraph runs a we ad right now that says: “We must ditch Chequers or be condemned to a crazed Corbynista takeover”. And a photo of Hitler accompanied by: “The Nazis were socialists”.

Corbyn Vows To End ‘Greed-is-Good’ Capitalism In UK (G.)

Jeremy Corbyn will on Wednesday attack the “greed-is-good” capitalism that he claims has resulted in large swaths of the UK being left behind, promising a raft of new policies including a “green jobs revolution” that will create 400,000 new positions. The Labour leader will attempt to reset the theme of the Labour conference which has so far been dominated by deep divisions over its Brexit stance and return to his core argument about the failure of the broken economic system. Corbyn will use his main conference speech to set out his plans to change the direction of the economy, following a week in which his shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, laid out a series of redistributive policies.

The Labour leader will say: “Ten years ago this month, the whole edifice of greed-is-good, deregulated financial capitalism, lauded for a generation as the only way to run a modern economy, came crashing to earth, with devastating consequences.” ”But instead of making essential changes to a broken economic system, the political and corporate establishment strained every sinew to bail out and prop up the system that led to the crash in the first place. “People in this country know – they showed that in June last year – that the old way of running things isn’t working any more. That’s why Labour is offering a radical plan to rebuild and transform Britain.” Corbyn will announce plans for a rollout of green technologies including 13,500 onshore and offshore wind turbines, solar panels on thousands of roofs and wide-scale home insulation.

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Well, he doesn’t hold back.

Why Corbyn Is Promising A “Green Jobs Revolution” (NS)

A Labour government would “kickstart a green jobs revolution” in a bid to radically overhaul the economy after Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn will say in a conference speech that implicitly criticises the last Labour government tomorrow. Laying out his party’s vision to reduce carbon emissions and create 400,000 new skilled jobs by 2030, the Labour leader will tell delegates in Liverpool that his government will return “skills and security to communities held back for too long” with a large-scale programme of investment in green infrastructure and training. Sources close to Corbyn have described the speech as a direct pitch to communities that voted for Brexit – “the millions of people who have been most directly affected by deindustrialisation and austerity” – and its policy platform as a bid to remedy to its root economic causes.

Corbyn will announce plans to reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2030, and to zero by 2050, through a large-scale programme of public sector investment and sweeping changes to planning regulations. A Labour government would seek to increase offshore wind power by seven times, double onshore wind, treble solar panel, and would launch a £12.8 billion home insulation programme. An independent panel of researchers said that the plans – which would involve both public and private sector investment – would create some 400,000 skilled jobs. Corbyn will describe the plans as a “radical plan we need to rebuild and transform Britain”, adding: “The old way of running things isn’t working anymore.”

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If May gives in enough, it could come later today.

Brexit Agreement Could Come In October – Merkel (CNBC)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that a Brexit agreement between the European Union and the U.K. is possible in October, but it is not yet clear what the British government wants. Speaking at a conference in Germany, Merkel said the U.K. cannot choose to be part of the single market — the European common area where goods, services and people move freely — without respecting all its principles. The U.K. government wants to control the number of European citizens moving to the U.K. During a cabinet meeting Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government agreed that EU workers should face the same immigration rules as non-EU citizens. Some have argued that restricting the number of low-skilled EU migrants will hurt the U.K. economy.

Merkel also said Tuesday that European businesses need clarity, which demands “hard work” from Brexit negotiators in the next six to eight weeks. There have been repeated comments from both sides of the English Channel that negotiations need to be intensified to reach a deal by no later than November. However, many analysts are sceptical that a Brexit agreement will be reached. “We have highlighted for some time that the risks of ‘no deal’ are appreciably high,” Dean Turner, economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a note Tuesday morning. “We don’t believe that this will happen by design, as it is in neither sides’ interests to generate the kind of economic disruption that would likely ensue. But with every day that passes without progress, the risks grow that such an outcome could occur by accident.”

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Two weeks on…

1000s Told To Flee As Florence-Triggered Floods Wash Into South Carolina (R.)

Thousands of people in the Georgetown, South Carolina, area were urged to evacuate their homes on Tuesday as rainwater unleashed by Hurricane Florence surged down rivers, threatening to submerge some neighborhoods under 10 feet of water. Georgetown, which sits at the confluence of the Waccamaw, Great Pee Dee and Sampit rivers, was largely spared the initial fury of Florence, which came ashore on Sept. 14 as a Category 1 hurricane, killing 46 people in three states. But the port city of more than 9,000 stands in the path of what the National Weather Service has said could be significant flooding as water dumped by the storm system drains to the ocean.

“We are urging people to take this event seriously. We expect the flooding to be worse than Hurricane Matthew a couple years ago,” said Randy Akers, deputy public information officer for Georgetown County. “We always urge people to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Akers said between 6,000 and 8,000 people have been exhorted to leave, but it was not clear how many had done so as of Tuesday evening. He said the county lacked authority to mandate evacuations.

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They blame it on mismanagement. Not on producing the waste in the first place. World Bank.

Global Waste Could Increase By 70% By 2050 – World Bank (WEF)

Global waste could grow by 70 percent by 2050 as urbanisation and populations rise, said the World Bank on Thursday, with South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa set to generate the biggest increase in rubbish. Countries could reap economic and environmental benefits by better collecting, recycling and disposing of trash, according to a report, which calculated that a third of the world’s waste is instead dumped openly, with no treatment. “We really need to pay attention to South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, as by 2050, South Asia’s waste will double, sub-Saharan Africa’s waste will triple,” said Silpa Kaza, World Bank urban development specialist and report lead author.

“If we don’t take any action it could have quite significant implications for health, productivity, environment, livelihoods,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Belarus. The rise in rubbish will outstrip population growth, reaching 3.4 billion tons by 2050 from around 2 billion tons in 2016, according to the report. High-income countries produce a third of the world’s waste, despite having only 16 percent of world’s population, while a quarter comes from East Asia and the Pacific regions, it said. While more than a third of waste globally ends up in landfill, over 90 percent is dumped openly in lower income countries that often lack adequate disposal and treatment facilities, said the report.

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“This guy is dealing with the reality of his mortality..”

The Man Who Beat Monsanto: ‘They Have To Pay For Not Being Honest’ (G.)

Regardless of the outcome, Johnson v Monsanto was always going to be a newsworthy trial, because the judge allowed the cancer patient’s legal team to bring scientific arguments to the courtroom. The proceedings further shined a light on internal Monsanto emails over the years that Johnson’s attorneys said showed how the company had repeatedly rejected critical research and expert warnings. Some evidence suggested that Monsanto had also strategized plans to “ghostwrite” favorable research. Monsanto, which was bought by pharmaceutical giant Bayer earlier this year, has continued to argue that Roundup does not cause cancer and that critics are “cherrypicking” studies while ignoring research that showed its products were safe.

The jury disagreed. They ruled that Johnson also deserved $250m in punitive damages and $39.2m for losses. When the verdict was announced, Johnson said his body briefly went into a kind of shock. “I felt like all the fluids went out of my body and rushed back in,” he recalled. The jury’s unanimous decision said Monsanto’s products presented a “substantial danger” to people and the company failed to warn consumers of the risks. “They have been hiding for years and getting away with it,” Johnson said. “They have to pay the price for not being honest and putting people’s health at risk for the sake of making a profit.”

Prior to the verdict, Johnson said he had no expectations about the outcome. “I never really discussed winning or money or amounts with the legal guys,” he said, adding that he did fear the implications of a Monsanto win: “If we lose, the facts won’t keep coming out. That would be the worst part.” Pedram Esfandiary, one of Johnson’s lawyers, said he was consistently impressed with Johnson’s ability to remain optimistic and focused on exposing the facts and protecting others from Roundup hazards. “This guy is dealing with the reality of his mortality,” he said. “His life is on the line because of what happened … He was concerned about getting the truth out.”

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Time for a boycott. Demand labels that say whether glyphosate was used in crops.

Monsanto’s Glyphosate Linked To Global Decline In Honey Bees (ZH)

In recent times, US beekeepers have reported a massive loss of bees or CCD. Millions of bees mysteriously disappeared, leaving farms with fewer pollinators for crops. Officials have been baffled, and the media has been quite about the bee population collapse. Explanations for the phenomenon have included exposure to pesticides or antibiotics, habitat loss, and bacterial infections. The latest study now adds herbicides to the list as a possible contributing factor. “It’s not the only thing causing all these bee deaths, but it is definitely something people should worry about because glyphosate is used everywhere,” said Motta.

And that, researchers, believe, is evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to the collapse of honeybees around the world. The Western honeybee, the world’s premier pollinator species, has been in high demand for its services on fruit, nut, and vegetable farmers. Among the nuts, almond growers have the largest need for bee pollination. Bee pollination is worth $15 billion to the US farming industry.

Any sharp change in global bee populations could affect the beef and dairy industries. Bees pollinate clover, hay, and other forage crops. As the bee population dwindles, it increases the cost of feedstock. That forces inflation into beef and milk prices at the grocery store and ultimately hurts the American consumer. This could then lead to increased imports of produce from foreign countries where bee populations are healthy, further widening the trade deficit. Couple this with the current trade war and this particular “black swan” – or rather “black bee” – problem, may be just the tipping point that finally forces the US economy to catch down to the rest of the world.

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EU starts investigating abuse of funds. Been going on for years now. 30% of people have attempted suicide.

IRC Warns Of Mental Health Crisis On Lesbos As Greece Moves Asylum Seekers (R.)

Greece moved another 400 people from its biggest migrant camp on Tuesday as the International Rescue Committee (IRC) charity warned of a mental health emergency there with 30 percent of people having attempted suicide. The government, under pressure from aid groups and local authorities, has said it will transfer 2,000 people from Moria camp on Lesbos to the mainland by the end of the month. In a report published on Tuesday, the IRC said asylum-seekers in Moria, most of whom are Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan, were under “enormous mental strain”. Citing testimonials of patients who have visited its own clinic on the island, IRC said that in addition to the 30 percent of people who had attempted suicide about 60 percent had contemplated it.

“Several times I have attempted suicide,” it quoted Ahmad, a 35-year-old Iraqi single father of four children as saying. “The only reason I am glad I didn’t succeed is because of the children.” Asylum seekers were living in conditions that did not meet humanitarian standards, IRC said. Eighty-four people shared one shower and 72 shared one toilet. “The sewage system is so overwhelmed that raw sewage has been known to reach the mattresses where children sleep, and flows untreated into open drains and sewers,” IRC said. Moria, in a disused military base, now holds nearly three times as many people as it was designed to, according to government figures, forcing hundreds to spill over in tents in an olive grove.

Close to 900 people were moved between Sept. 10-20 and a another 1,000 will be transferred this week, Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas said on Monday. Most are taken to facilities in northern Greece.

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Oh, to once have met one, just the once.

Ending Decades Of Doubt, ‘Biggest Bird’ Dispute Put To Nest (AFP)

[..] scientists said Wednesday they have finally solved the riddle of the world’s largest bird. For 60 million years the colossal, flightless elephant bird — Aepyornis maximus — stalked the savannah and rainforests of Madagascar until it was hunted to extinction around 1,000 years ago. In the 19th century, a new breed of buccaneering European zoologist obsessed over the creature, pillaging skeletons and fossilised eggs to prove they had discovered the biggest bird on Earth. But a study released Wednesday by British scientists suggests that one species of elephant bird was even larger than previously thought, with a specimen weighing an estimated 860 kilogrammes (1,895 pounds) — about the same as a fully grown giraffe.

“They would have towered over people,” James Hansford, lead author at the Zoological Society of London, told AFP. “They definitely couldn’t fly as they couldn’t have supported anywhere near their weight.” In the study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Hanson examined elephant bird bones found around the world, feeding their dimensions into a machine-learned algorithm to create a spread of expected animal sizes. Until now, the largest-ever elephant bird was described in 1894 by the British scientist C.W. Andrews as Aepyornis titan — a larger species of Aepyornis maximus. But a French rival of Andrews dismissed the discovery of titan as just an outsized maximus specimen, and for decades the debate remained deadlocked.

Hanson said his research proved titan was indeed a different species. But he also found that its bones were so distinct from other elephant bird specimens that titan was in fact an entirely separate genus. Named Vorombe titan – Malagasy for “big bird” – the creature would have stood at least three metres (10 feet) tall, and had an average weight of 650 kilogrammes, making it the largest bird genus yet uncovered. “At the extreme extent we found one bone that really pushed the limits of what we now understand about bird size,” said Hanson, referring to the 860-kilogramme specimen. “And there were some that led up to that too, so it’s not an outlier — there was a range of masses that are extraordinarily large.”

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