Jan 202024
 January 20, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  52 Responses »

Jackson Pollock Man with knife 1938-40


Dems Have Resurrected Law as a Weapon that Serves Power (Paul Craig Roberts)
Fani Willis: Wife of Lover an Adulterer and Political Conspirator (Turley)
Atlanta DA Fani Willis Just Stepped on a Rake (CTH)
Georgia Prosecutors Should Go, But That Won’t End the Trump Case (Turley)
Trump’s Lawyers Warn Of Nationwide ‘Chaos’ (RT)
Trump Warns Of Years Of Trauma If Presidents Don’t Have Total Immunity (Hill)
Gaza Will Be The Grave Of The Western-Led World Order (Takahashi)
Houthis Declare Safe Passage For All Russian, Chinese Ships In Red Sea (ZH)
Russia and the US Are Set For A Long Confrontation (Sushentsov)
The Ukraine Charade, Revisited (Pepe Escobar)
Western Mercenaries Used To Fill Kiev’s Expertise Gaps – Larry Johnson (RT)
French Mercenaries Dying For A Nazi Regime – Russia’s Top MP (RT)
Americans Enslaved Themselves to the State When They Accepted Income Tax (PCR)
The Biden Laptop is Proven Authentic as Past Deniers Double Down (Turley)
The Goddess of the WEF (Kunstler)











Tucker Robbins








We may be in for a full year+ of this. Why would it stop on November 8?

Dems Have Resurrected Law as a Weapon that Serves Power (Paul Craig Roberts)

Fani Willis, the incompetent and apparently corrupt black female Atlanta district attorney reportedly put in office by George Soros’ billions, is in more hot water than Trump is in from her fabricated case against him. Fani appointed Nathan Wade, who is believed to be her lover, special prosecutor to aid in Trump’s kangaroo trial. According to county records reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County paid Wade $654,000 in tax payers’ money since January 2022. The money appears to be what financed the couple’s lavish vacations. The white liberal Democrats are disturbed that Willis was so stupid as to damage her case against Trump by destroying her credibility and public perception of her integrity. Fani’s defense is, of course, that the race card is being played against her as she and her lover are black. There are two ways you can look at her self-justification.

One is that blacks have learned from Jews that a claim of victimhood is a shield against being held accountable. The other is that she has no comprehension of acceptable behavior for public officials. We have an interesting situation in which the prosecutions at the state and county level against Trump are in the hands of black women put in office by George Soros. Why is Soros doing this? Some people think that Soros himself got away with stealing his billions from the Bank of England via his manipulation of the British currency. Where was James Bond when the British needed him? Criminal justice in America is in a serious situation when one billionaire can staff up state and local district attorneys with blacks taught to hate “white exploiters” who are sicced on Trump, his attorneys, and his supporters. The trials are unconstitutional, because a black jury consisting of people taught to hate “white racists” does not constitute a “jury of peers” for a white person.

What happened to the justice system that a president of the US finds himself the target of weaponized law used for racial, ideological, and political reasons, and there is not a peep from law schools, bar associations, judges, or media? How can citizens have confidence in the veracity of prosecutions, the veracity of judges, law schools, bar associations? “Fulton County Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade allegedly did not disclose payments he received from working on the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump to his wife, leaving her without financial support throughout their divorce proceedings, according to a court document obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Wade, who was appointed to work on Trump’s case by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, is allegedly romantically involved with her and used the compensation he received from his position to take her on cruises and vacations, according to a motion filed Monday by a Trump co-defendant.

In separate filings for his divorce case obtained by the DCNF, Wade’s wife alleges he did not disclose to her over $700,000 in earnings from the county. “Wade’s wife alleges he has continued to draw from her bank account, leaving it “routinely overdrawn” despite “the clear inequity in financial circumstances.” His wife has been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and relied on Wade for support during the course of their marriage, according to the filing. “Willis was subpoenaed earlier this week to testify in Wade’s divorce proceedings, according to CNN. “Wade filed for divorce on November 2, 2021, the day after his contract with Willis began, according to court filings. He had his divorce case sealed on February 10, 2022, according to the Monday motion filed by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman.

“Republican US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sent a criminal referral Wednesday to Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr asking for an investigation into Willis and expressing “serious concerns” about the allegations. Greene suggested Willis could have violated a number of Georgia statutes, including violations of public oath, bribery, improper influence of a government official and more.”

Read more …

A DA should not be throwing mud.

Fani Willis: Wife of Lover an Adulterer and Political Conspirator (Turley)

In an surprising filing, Fulton County’s district attorney Fani Willis has accused the estranged wife of her alleged lover of conspiring to undermine the Trump prosecution by seeking her deposition in the messy divorce case of Nathan Wade. Willis, again, does not deny having an affair with Wade, who she appointed lead prosecutor in the case. Instead, she accuses Joycelyn Wade of an affair that broke up the marriage and suggests that she is coordinating with Trump forces to interfere with the prosecution. Willis is accused of major ethical violations in appointing her alleged lover to the position as she went on lavish vacations with him. She previously denounced those raising obvious ethical concerns as being racist due to the fact that both Willis and Wade are black. She did not, however, deny the intimate relationship or the allegation that Wade paid for her vacation expenses.

At issue in the filing is the demand for a pretrial deposition in the divorce case of Nathan and Joycelyn Wade on January 23. Willis’ counsel leveled a full attack on the motivations and associations of Joycelyn Wade. She accused Joycelyn Wade of having an adulterous relationship with a longtime friend of Nathan Wade’s. Willis’ counsel Cinque Axam then added that Joycelyn Wade “has conspired with interested parties in the criminal election interference case to use the civil discovery process to annoy, embarrass and oppress District Attorney Willis.” The filing noted that the allegations against Willis were used by Trump codefendant Mike Roman to seek judicial review and remedy for the alleged conflict of interest. A hearing has now been set by the court for Feb. 28th.

Willis bases her conspiracy theory on the fact that, on January 8, Roman’s filing was made public and on the same day, she was served a subpoena and Merchant moved to unseal the Wades’ divorce case. That certainly makes this all a bit different from the usual “other woman” element in the divorce case. However, it is not a smart move. The level of animus and vexatious language in the filing only magnifies the concern over the Willis-Wade relationship. By attacking the estranged wife of her alleged lover, Willis only increases concerns over the professional separation between Willis and Wade in making decisions in the case. Accusing the estranged wife of your alleged lover of being a political conspirator is about as compelling at accusing people raising ethical concerns of being virulent racists.

For example, if Wade were to exceed his authority or act unprofessionally in the case, Willis would be forced to take action against not only an alleged lover but someone she has had to defend as the ideal choice for the position. Their personal relationship would presumably weigh in the balance in any supervisory review or decision. Likewise, if Willis was taken on vacations by Wade and their relationship is continuing, the termination of his contract could have an economic impact on Willis. In the end, the accusatory motion was a mistake in my view. Willis could have objected to the necessity of the deposition on factual and legal grounds (as she does) without escalating the rhetoric and recriminations.

Read more …

”The scale of Lawfare stupid, perhaps driven by hubris and/or an entitled sense of just being above the rules, is simply off-the-charts. Crazy stuff.”

Atlanta DA Fani Willis Just Stepped on a Rake (CTH)

Boy howdy… when things get interesting, they REALLY get interesting. In an effort to deflect attention from the gross corruption she initiated in the prosecution of Donald Trump, Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis stepped into the middle of a contentious divorce between Willis’s married lover and appointed Special Prosecutor, Nathan Wade, and his wife, Joycelyn Wade. After discovering details of the relationship between Nathan Wade and Fani Willis, lawyers representing Mrs. Joycelyn Wade wanted a deposition of Fani Willis. At issue are the finances in the marriage and Mrs. Wade’s discovery that her husband, Nathan Wade, and Fani Willis had been living a life of indulgence from the marital income received (more than $650, 000) as a result of DA Willis hiring Nathan Wade to prosecute Donald Trump.

In an over-the-top court filing trying to avoid the deposition, the Fulton County’s district attorney accused the estranged wife of conspiring to undermine the Trump prosecution by seeking her testimony. Fani Willis does not deny the affair; instead, she accuses Joycelyn Wade of coordinating with Trump people and co-defendants to interfere with the prosecution. (VIA AJC Politics) – “Fulton County’s district attorney on Thursday fired back at allegations she has engaged in an “improper” relationship with her top deputy, accusing his estranged wife of trying to obstruct her prosecution of Donald Trump and his allies.” That approach by Fani Willis opened up a can of worms the district attorney likely didn’t expect. Because Mrs. Jocelyn Wade has credit card statements and receipts showing how her husband booked and paid for lavish travel, expenses and indulgences using Fani Willis’s real name as his companion.

The details and credit card statements are attached to the filing, which substantiates and supports the originating court filing by one of the co-defendants who made the allegation against Fani Willis and Nathan Wade. (via AJC Politics) […] “The records have emerged as part of the Wades’ contentious divorce proceedings in Cobb County Superior Court and have rocked Fulton’s sweeping racketeering case against the former president and 14 remaining defendants. One defendant is seeking to disqualify Willis and her office because of her alleged “improper, clandestine personal relationship” with Wade.”

[..] Nathan Wade was a lawyer specializing in family matters prior to being appointed by District Attorney Fani Willis. Mr. Wade never prosecuted a single felony case in his legal career. Judge Scott McAfee ordered District Attorney Fani Willis to file a written response by Feb. 2. He said he will hold a hearing on the allegations on Feb. 15.

Additionally, according to White House visitor logs, Mr. Nathan Wade visited White House lawyers prior to the indictment of President Trump. Also, DA Willis met with staff (Mary McCord) from the January 6 Committee prior to the indictment. The Georgia prosecutor meeting with Biden lawyers, prior to the indictment against Biden’s political opposition, is a big issue that has yet to surface in front of Judge McAfee. Something is going to change in this case as a result of these explosive findings. I suspect by Monday of next week Ms. Fani Willis will have to remove herself from any involvement in the case. Something substantive is going to change in Atlanta as a result of the discovery of her grossly inappropriate/unethical conduct, and the now exposed financial and personal relationship with the prosecutor she hired, Nathan Wade. The scale of Lawfare stupid, perhaps driven by hubris and/or an entitled sense of just being above the rules, is simply off-the-charts. Crazy stuff.

Read more …

“If these allegations are true, Willis is not just outside of the ethical navigational beacons. She is off the map.”

Georgia Prosecutors Should Go, But That Won’t End the Trump Case (Turley)

Chris Christie once said that Donald Trump is often portrayed by legal counsel as “the unluckiest S.O.B. in the world.” Perhaps, but when it comes to his enemies, Trump sometimes seems to find advantages despite his worst efforts. Many of us have criticized Trump for his personal attacks on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as being racist and unethical; he even accused her of having an affair with a gang member, a claim that was widely contested as unfounded and denied by key figures. This month, however, Willis has seemingly imploded with an ethical scandal which, unlike Trump’s prior claims, appears perhaps to be more well-founded, as it appears in an official court filing. It involves reports of an intimate relationship with Nathan Wade, appointed by Willis as lead prosecutor in the Trump case.

While a recusal or removal of Willis may delay the case, it will not end the legal threat for Trump. Willis is accused of having a romantic relationship with Wade when she appointed him in this historic prosecution of a former president. Wade has no experience in racketeering law, yet he reportedly was paid more than an expert on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) cases. Willis and Wade allegedly went on lavish vacations together, and the costs allegedly were covered by Wade, who has received nearly $654,000 in legal fees since January 2022 — approved, ultimately, by Willis. Wade has presented himself as the “only individual in the DA’s office who had authority to enter into agreements pertaining to the investigation.” Wade also has been held in contempt in his messy divorce.

The Georgia courts have established that a district attorney should be disqualified when there is a personal interest in the defendant’s conviction (Whitworth v. State, 275 Ga. App. 790, 793, 622 S.E.2d 21 [2005]). In this instance, Willis has staked much of her career on this case and appointed a prosecutor who’s alleged to be romantically involved with her; likewise, if the allegations are true, Willis may have an interest in furthering Wade’s career and benefits. Of course, Trump, the other defendants, and the public are entitled to disinterested prosecutors in this major case. Moreover, the Fulton County Code of Laws § 2-66 bars conflicts of interest “in fact and in appearance.” It expressly states that no “officer or employee shall, by his or her conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or her, or unduly enjoy his or her favor, in the performance of any official acts or actions.”

These provisions are in addition to prohibitions on the receipt of gifts due to one’s office, such as possibly receiving alleged lavish vacations paid for by your subordinate. These are just some of the grounds supporting a motion by Michael Roman, one of the defendants in the massive racketeering case brought by Willis. If these allegations are true, Willis is not just outside of the ethical navigational beacons. She is off the map.

Read more …

“..if other states follow Colorado’s lead, it would “unleash chaos and bedlam.”

Trump’s Lawyers Warn Of Nationwide ‘Chaos’ (RT)

Donald Trump’s lawyers have warned that the entire entire US could be plunged into chaos if the country’s Supreme Court upholds the state of Colorado’s decision to remove the republican presidential frontrunner from its ballot. Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Trump ineligible to run for re-election and removed him from the ballot for the presidential primary on March 5. The court cited the 14th Amendment, which bans insurrectionists from holding public office. Trump’s lawyers argued again on Thursday that the former president had not instigated the riot on January 6, 2021. The Colorado ruling, which was the first of its kind, has been left in limbo pending a decision by the US Supreme Court, with the first oral arguments in the case set for February 8.

“The court should put a swift and decisive end to these ballot-disqualification efforts, which threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. They added that, if other states follow Colorado’s lead, it would “unleash chaos and bedlam.” The former president’s legal team also noted that the piece of legislation invoked by the Colorado Supreme Court can only be applied to an “officer of the United States,” which Trump is not. The attorneys insisted that the Republican firebrand was not inciting insurrection when he called on his supporters to “fight like hell” on January 6, and was merely “raising concerns about the integrity of the recent federal election.”

According to Trump’s defense team, he used the phrase strictly metaphorically, not expecting his supporters to interpret it as a call for violence. They added that, as events began to unfold on Capitol Hill that day, Trump “repeatedly called for peace, patriotism, and law and order.” House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and several other Republican lawmakers have also called on the US Supreme Court to void Colorado’s “insurrectionist ban.” A number of GOP secretaries of state also warned the judges that Trump’s potential removal from ballots would lead to a “foreseeable and unfortunate parade of horribles.” On January 6, the Maine secretary of state passed a tentative ballot ban similar to that in Colorado, with multiple lawsuits filed in other states as well. The final say, however, rests with the US Supreme Court.

Read more …

“..full immunity, without which it would be impossible for him/her to properly function. Any mistake, even if well intended, would be met with almost certain indictment by the opposing party at term end..”

Trump Warns Of Years Of Trauma If Presidents Don’t Have Total Immunity (Hill)

Former President Trump said there would be “years of trauma” if presidents are not awarded total immunity from prosecution for their actions in the White House — even if those actions “cross the line.” “A president of the United States must have full immunity, without which it would be impossible for him/her to properly function. Any mistake, even if well intended, would be met with almost certain indictment by the opposing party at term end,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post early Thursday morning, writing in all capital letters. “Even events that ‘cross the line’ must fall under total immunity, or it will be years of trauma trying to determine good from bad,” he added. “There must be certainty.”

Trump compared the president to a police officer, who Trump argued should not be stopped from “doing the job of strong and effective crime prevention” simply because of a “bad apple,” adding, “Sometimes you just have to live with ‘great but slightly imperfect.’” Trump’s comments come one week after his attorney, John Sauer, made a similar case before a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals for a motion from Trump’s team to toss his election interference federal charges. During the hearing, the judges appeared skeptical of the argument that presidents could only be prosecuted if they had already been impeached and convicted by the Senate.

When asked whether a president who directed SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent would then be immune from prosecution for that action, Sauer answered with a “qualified yes,” unless the president was convicted by the Senate first. One judge on the panel noted that, under that framework, a president could take any action on his or her last day in office without fear of criminal prosecution or simply resign shortly thereafter — preventing Congress from impeaching and convicting in time.

The appeals court seems poised to reject Trump’s argument in the case, and Trump has signaled his intention to appeal an unsatisfactory ruling to the Supreme Court. Trump again hinted at his intention to appeal to the high court in his post Thursday. “All presidents must have complete & total presidential immunity, or the authority & decisiveness of a president of the United States will be stripped & gone forever,” Trump wrote. “Hopefully this will be an easy decision. God bless the Supreme Court!” he added.

Read more …

“..However, it is too little, too late. Western credibility has been shredded irrevocably..”

Gaza Will Be The Grave Of The Western-Led World Order (Takahashi)

No matter how it concludes, South Africa’s lawsuit in the International Court of Justice arguing Israel has violated the Genocide Convention will go down in history. It will either be remembered as the first step towards finally holding a rogue state accountable for repeated, longstanding violations of international law; or as the last, dying breath of a dysfunctional, Western-led international system. For the hypocrisy of Western governments (and the Western political elite as a whole) has finally brought the so-called “rules-based world order” they purport to lead to the point of no return. Full-throttled Western support for Israel’s genocidal rampage in Gaza has truly exposed the double standards of the West with regard to human rights and international law. There is no turning back, and the West has only its own arrogance to blame.

The litany of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza are clear as the light of day for anybody who has access to a smartphone. Social media feeds are overflowing with videoclips of hospitals and schools being bombed, fathers pulling out the lifeless bodies of their children from under destroyed buildings, mothers crying over the corpses of their babies. And yet, the reaction of Western governments – besides seemingly limitless military and political support – has been to label any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism and attempt to ban outright any expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Regardless of this oppression, tens of thousands of people are coming out on the streets day after day expressing their disgust at Israeli atrocities and Western complicity. Desperate to regain some semblance of credibility, Western governments (including the US) have recently started to be marginally critical of Israeli attacks. However, it is too little, too late. Western credibility has been shredded irrevocably.

Of course, Western hypocrisy is nothing new. According to Western governments, the world should be up in arms about Russian aggression but should be perfectly happy with Israeli brutality and flouting of international norms. Ukrainians who throw Molotov cocktails at Russian occupation forces are heroes and freedom fighters, while Palestinians (and others) who dare to speak out against Israeli apartheid are terrorists. White-skinned refugees from Ukraine are more than welcome, while black and brown-skinned refugees from conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa (most of which the West are behind) can sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The Western attitude has truly been: rules for thee, not for me. The Western position towards China exhibits the same insincerity. China is virtually encircled by American and allied military bases, armed to the hilt. Yet it is China that is guilty of… what? Unable to point to any concrete infraction, Western governments and media can only accuse China of “increased assertiveness”, ie, not knowing its assigned subjugate place in the Western hegemonic order.

International justice has become a sick joke. Were the International Criminal Court (ICC) functioning effectively, Israeli leaders would be on trial even as we speak, and there would have been no need for South Africa to approach the ICJ. As it stands, though, the ICC only indicted Africans until 2022, when it announced an investigation into the Russian invasion of Ukraine less than a week after its start. The ICC issued indictments, including for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in less than a year. Conversely, it took over six years for the ICC to open an investigation into the situation in Palestine, and even now, years later, meaningful action has yet to be taken. While Israel continued its orgy of violence against the people of Gaza, Karim Khan, the British Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, visited Israel and stressed the need for Hamas’s crimes to be prosecuted, while going soft on Israeli crimes. Little wonder many civil society organisations are calling for him to be fired.

Read more …

“It represented pressure on Israel only, it did not represent pressure on any country in the world.”

Houthis Declare Safe Passage For All Russian, Chinese Ships In Red Sea (ZH)

In a remarkable development, and at a moment European retailers and factories are beginning to bear the brunt of the global shipping chaos and soaring Red Sea transit risk, the Houthis have declared safe passage for Russia and China. A senior Houthi official, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, mentioned these US rivals by name in an interview with the Russian outlet Izvestia on Friday. “As for all other countries, including Russia and China, their shipping in the region is not threatened,” he said, stipulating this will remain as long as they are not linked to Israel or its supporters. “Moreover, we are ready to ensure the safe passage of their ships in the Red Sea, because free navigation plays a significant role for our country,” he added, but then underscored that attacks on ships will continue if they are “in any way connected with Israel.”

The spokesman went on to blame the Red Sea crisis on Israel’s (and its backers) refusal to reverse course in Gaza, given its aerial and ground campaign as continued. “Ansar Allah [the group’s formal name] does not pursue the goal of capturing or sinking this or that sea vessel,” he claimed. “Our goal is to raise the economic costs for [Israel] in order to stop the carnage in Gaza.” Some of the vessels which have come under attack thus far actually have connection to dozens of countries, but ships with Russian or Chinese ownership, or deep ties, have yet to be attacked. Another Houthi official told Reuters separately that the group doesn’t seek to expand its campaign, after a fragile peace took effect with Saudi Arabia and the EUA concerning the Yemeni civil war:

Yemen’s Houthis have said they do not intend to expand their attacks on shipping in and around the Red Sea, beyond their stated aims of blockading Israel and retaliating against the US and Britain for airstrikes. In an interview with Reuters, spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam, who is also the chief Houthi negotiator in peace talks over Yemen’s decade-old civil war, said the group had no plans to target its longstanding foes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “We do not want the escalation to expand. This is not our demand. We imposed rules of engagement in which not a single drop of blood was shed or major material losses,” said Abdulsalam. “It represented pressure on Israel only, it did not represent pressure on any country in the world.”

Read more …

“.It was that the West would deal Russia a quick defeat, a lot of economic resources would be freed up, and relations with Moscow would be rebuilt on a different platform, more favorable to the EU..”

Russia and the US Are Set For A Long Confrontation (Sushentsov)

Relations between Russia and the United States have entered a prolonged phase that can be described as a “long confrontation.” If the interaction between Moscow and Washington were still the central process of international life, as was the case during the Cold War, this new phase might be considered temporary. But the Moscow-Washington confrontation is now one of many. More importantly, it is taking place in conditions that occur once every few centuries – a period of global redistribution of power and resource potential. This process affects our country and the US only in part. Within a few decades, the center of global production and consumption will finally shift to Asia, and the center of world economic gravity will be on the border of India and China. In this context, the long-standing Russian-American confrontation will remain one of the main fault-lines, but certainly not the only one.

Why do I think this confrontation will be protracted? Despite significant resource advantages and strong positions in key areas, the US finds itself in a situation where its pursuers are catching up fast. Washington is faced with an increasingly dense international environment that poses obstacles to previously unfettered American action. The four US strengths that underpin its offensive strategy are: first, its still-advanced military power; second, its central global financial system, which provides an international settlement infrastructure and a convertible currency; third, its strong position in a number of technological fields; and fourth, its ideology and values platform, which, together with the other three dimensions, provide what can be tentatively called a “pyramid of credibility” for American strategy in the world.

This pyramid exists in the economic and financial spheres as well as in foreign policy. Trust explains the irrational behavior of some European states. Incapable of a balanced analysis of the consequences of their decisions, for example on the Ukraine crisis, they are now forced to ask themselves, as the German magazine Der Spiegel does: “What if the United States has no permanent allies? Western Europeans trusted the logic offered by the United States, they literally ‘bought’ the proposal. It was that the West would deal Russia a quick defeat, a lot of economic resources would be freed up, and relations with Moscow would be rebuilt on a different platform, more favorable to the EU. The belief was that it would be an effective strategy.”

Read more …

“..There is no “Biden”. Just Team Biden: a corporate combo featuring low-rent messengers such as de facto neocon Little Blinkie..”

The Ukraine Charade, Revisited (Pepe Escobar)

Selected players scattered around the Beltway silos of power, diligently working as messengers for the people who really run the show in the Hegemon, have concluded that a no holds barred confrontation with Russia would lead to the collapse of all of NATO; undo decades of US iron grip on Europe; and ultimately cause the Empire’s downfall. Playing brinkmanship games sooner or later would meet the indestructible red lines inbuilt in the unmovable Russian object. US elites are smarter than that. They may excel on calculated risk. But when the stakes are this high, they know when to hedge and when to fold. The “loss” of Ukraine – now a graphic imperative – is not worth risking the loss of the whole Hegemonic ride. That would be too much for the Empire to lose.

So even as they get increasingly desperate with the accelerated imperial plunge into a geopolitical and geoeconomic abyss, they’re frantically changing the narrative – a domain in which they excel. And that explains why discombobulated European vassals in NATO-controlled EU are now in total panic. Davos this week offered bucketloads of Orwellian salad. The key, frantic messages: War is peace. Ukraine is not (italics mine) losing and Russia is not winning. Hence Ukraine needs way more weaponizing. Yet even Norwegian Wood Stoltenberg was told to toe the new line that matters: “NATO is not moving into Asia. It’s China that is coming close to us.” That certainly adds a new wacky meaning to the notion of moving tectonic plates. There is a total void of “leadership” in Washington.

There is no “Biden”. Just Team Biden: a corporate combo featuring low-rent messengers such as de facto neocon Little Blinkie. They do what they’re told by wealthy “donors” and the financial-military interests that really run the show, reciting the same old cliché-saturated lines day after day, bit players in a Theatre of the Absurd. Only one exhibit suffices. Reporter: “Are the airstrikes in Yemen working?” The President of the United States: “Well, when you say working, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they gonna continue? Yes.” The same in what passes for “strategic thinking” applies to Ukraine. The Hegemon is not being lured into fighting in West Asia – as much as the genocidal arrangement in Tel Aviv, in tandem with US Zio-cons, wants to drag it into a war on Iran.

Still, the imperial machine is being steered to keep the Forever Wars engine running, non-stop, at varying speeds. The elites in charge are way more clinical than the whole Team Biden. They know they will not win in what will soon be country 404. But the tactical victory, so far, is massive: enormous profits out of the frantic weaponizing; totally gutting European industry and sovereignty; reducing the EU to the sub-status of a lowly vassal; and from now on plenty of time to find new proxy warriors against Russia – from Polish and Baltic fanatics to the whole Takfiri-neo ISIS galaxy.

Read more …

“I think Russia sent a very clear message in killing these mercenaries: If you are going to send them over here, if you are going to send that materiel, we’re gonna kill you..”

Western Mercenaries Used To Fill Kiev’s Expertise Gaps – Larry Johnson (RT)

Ukraine is probably experiencing a shortage of soldiers who can handle complex Western weapons systems, former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has told RT. A Russian report this week about a strike on “French mercenaries” in Kharkov may be a warning to would-be clandestine arms technicians that Paris plans to supply, he believes. France has denied having mercenaries in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world, responding to the statement by the Defense Ministry of Russia. Moscow said some 60 foreign fighters, most of them French, died in the long-range attack. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to supply additional air-launched SCALP cruise missiles to support Kiev’s fight.

“I strongly suspect that many of those French ‘mercenaries’ – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brits and Americans scattered in there as well – are being brought in to help operate systems that they’ve been trained on previously in prior military careers,” Johnson said. He named the US-made long-range Patriot anti-aircraft missile and the Storm Shadow, the British counterpart to SCALP, as examples of donated arms that may require competent foreign staff to deploy. France is making itself a target by openly arming Kiev, Johnson told the broadcaster, contrasting current events with how the US acted in the past, when it sought to undermine the USSR. “When the US ran covert operations through the CIA to fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets, it was done with some measure of secrecy and at least keeping up a pretense that we were not directly in conflict,” he pointed out.

“I think Russia sent a very clear message in killing these mercenaries: If you are going to send them over here, if you are going to send that materiel, we’re gonna kill you,” the analyst added. Johnson believes that Moscow could have acted in a far bolder manner in targeting Ukraine’s foreign donors, and that its reluctance to do so has been taken in the West as a sign of weakness. “It’s not that, but the West has a track record of misinterpreting Russia on many points,” he commented.

Read more …

“There was a time when our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought together against fascism. Now, it turns out that French mercenaries are dying for the Nazi regime in Ukraine..”

French Mercenaries Dying For A Nazi Regime – Russia’s Top MP (RT)

The French public and lawmakers should be aware that their compatriots are fighting and dying as mercenaries in Ukraine, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said on Friday. The senior lawmaker was commenting on an announcement by the Defense Ministry in Moscow earlier this week, which said some 60 foreign fighters, most of them French citizens, were killed by a Russian long-range strike on the city of Kharkov on Tuesday. The Russian military described them as “mercenaries,” although the French Foreign Ministry disputed this description, insisting that Paris “has no ‘mercenaries’ either in Ukraine or anywhere else.”

In a post on social media, Volodin said the lower chamber of the Russian parliament will soon consider a formal request to French lawmakers about the incident. “There was a time when our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought together against fascism. Now, it turns out that French mercenaries are dying for the Nazi regime in Ukraine,” he stressed. On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned French Ambassador to Moscow Pierre Levy in connection with the incident. Ukrainian officials have denied the veracity of the Russian military’s announcement and have claimed that Moscow’s forces only hit civilian targets in Kharkov on Tuesday.

Last summer, the Le Monde newspaper reported that French national intelligence estimated the number of its nationals fighting in Ukraine at 320. The overall pool of would-be recruits was put at 800, including 120 identified as far-right and 40 deemed ultra-left in terms of ideology. Overwhelmingly, they wanted to fight for Kiev rather than Moscow. The report followed the arrest in April of two men who had returned to Paris from Ukraine, illegally carrying assault rifle magazines and optical sights. The local press described them as far-right individuals who were previously known to the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI). Both were sentenced to 15 months in jail, nine of which were suspended.

Read more …

“A “free American” has ceased to exist. Such an American predates 1913..”

Americans Enslaved Themselves to the State When They Accepted Income Tax (PCR)

It was not until 1913, 137 years after the Declaration of Independence established a free people who are no longer free, that there was an income tax. Years ago I researched and wrote the story of how it happened. It exists somewhere in print. In the old analogue, library card file days, it would have been easy to find. The income tax required a Constitutional Amendment. I remember some of the story. What I remember is this: The threshold for being subject to income tax was high, and the first rate was 1%. The Georgia legislature voted to ratify the amendment because as one legislative leader concluded, “there’s no one in Georgia with an income high enough to be subject to the tax. Let the Yankees tax themselves. Why should we object.” There was no vision of the future. 1913 was also the year that the Federal Reserve, with its policy of depression, inflation, recession, and inflation, was established and unleashed on America, and it was also the year that World War I and its inflation was about to be launched by the French, Russian, and British Governments.

War and inflation quickly brought income tax home to insouciant Americans who thought they were exempt.In 1963 prior to the Kennedy tax rate reductions the top tax rate was 91% on incomes above $200,000. Kennedy left it at 70%. Reagan left it at 50%. Today it is 39.6%, or with rounding 40% The highest medieval tax rate on serfs was 30%. Anything higher and they revolted and killed the feudal lords. 50% was the highest tax rate on cotton plantation slaves. The other 50% of their work went for their food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. What is indisputable is that for more than a hundred years the tax rate on American citizens has been higher or equal to the tax rate on medieval serfs and 19th century plantation slaves. What does this mean? It means that Americans and the entirety of Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders are slaves in the same sense that blacks were slaves on southern cotton plantations.

The historical fact is that a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Just as a slave does not own his own labor, neither does any person who is subject to income tax. In the anti-South propaganda in the 19th century, such as the propagandistic “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” southern slave owners are portrayed unrealistically as demoralizing their work force and destroying their capital investments in human labor by demoralizing and alienating their slaves by separating families and whipping, beating, and raping their work force. A slave was expensive. To abuse him or her is the equivalent of abusing an expensive piece of machinery. It makes no sense for an owner to abuse his own resources. Yet southern planation owners are portrayed as people who ran torture prisons.

Neither the South nor the United States are responsible for black slaves in America. The slaves that came to the New World came from the Black Kingdom of Dahomey’s slave wars. The captured slaves were carried to the New World in ships often financed by Jews. The southern plantations were not responsible for the origin of their work force. Indeed, it was an inherited institution. For decades as April 15 approached, I pointed out that it is today’s white people who pay the income taxes who are the real victims of slavery. Even after the Reagan marginal tax rate reductions, Americans pay a higher rate of tax, that is, they are more enslaved, than medieval serfs and are almost exploited by “their government” to the same extent as 19th century black slaves. So what is “white privilege”? It is to be a slave owned by Washington, used to support privileged people of color, including millions of immigrant-invaders settled by Democrats on American slaves who pay for their upkeep?

A “free American” has ceased to exist. Such an American predates 1913. The American liberal-left doesn’t mind being enslaved to a good cause–the coercive use of American citizens to support causes that the people reject, such as the normalization of sexual perversion, the genocide of the Palestinians, the demonization of white people, the use of the “justice system” to destroy ideological and political opponents. Today the insouciant American people are enslaved for causes that are to their detriment, unlike the plantation’s agenda of growing cotton. The American people voluntarily accepted slavery, because they thought it would apply to others–the rich. But as multi-billionaire Warren Buffet has said, his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.

Read more …

“I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen.”

The Biden Laptop is Proven Authentic as Past Deniers Double Down (Turley)

After years of suppressing the story and casting doubts over its authenticity, many in the media in the last year have belatedly and reluctantly acknowledged that the Hunter Biden laptop is real. Some of us reached that conclusion years ago due to the self-authenticating emails confirmed by third parties. However, the denials and doubts have continued, including most recently by Rep. Dan Goldman (D., N.Y.) in hearings. The Justice Department has now again confirmed the authenticity and added details on why these denials are unsupported. This week, the Justice Department confirmed that the laptop was authenticated through forensic examination and a search warrant on Hunter’s Apple iCloud. Hunter’s electronic devices were backed up on the Cloud and “the results of the search were largely duplicative of information investigators had already obtained from Apple.”

That is only the latest such confirmation, but some have continued to desperately cast doubts the laptop, which Hunter himself said might be the product of Russian intelligence. Once again, the last dogs in this fruitless fight are the most partisan among us. Rep. Goldman, for example, recently lambasted witnesses who referenced the laptop and challenged the credibility of a journalist who cited the laptop. Goldman attacked Journalist Michael Shellenberger and declared “You have no idea, you know hard drives can be manipulated. Hard drives can be manipulated by Rudy Giuliani or Russia. There is actual evidence of it, but the point is it’s not the same thing.” Goldman has never revealed the “actual evidence” showing that the laptop is fake or why the Justice Department and FBI are making the same false claim in court if such evidence exists.

The same week that the Biden Administration again confirmed the authenticity of the laptop, one of the loudest laptop deniers wrote a telling column on why the public should avoid researching such questions on their own. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has repeatedly pushed false stories from Lafayette Park to Russian collusion to the laptop. Even after many in the media admitted that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Recently, in response to a column on these false claims, the Post remarkably declared that Bump’s original claims on Lafayette Park, the Hunter Biden laptop, and Russian collusion were true and they stand by them. This week, Bump warned citizens that they needed to continue to get their news from the media and not try to learn the truth on their own.

In a column titled “Doing your own research is a good way to end up being wrong,” Bump states without an sense of self-awareness that citizens will often “embrace dubious information supporting their belief than information that corroborates the allegations” — precisely what critics have accused Bump of doing for years on the laptop and other false stories. Bump’s column is a must read for understanding the sense of entitlement of columnists in today’s age of “advocacy journalism.” It is consistent with what Bump said in an interview last year before he walked out after being confronted about false stories. In a podcast interview with Noam Dworman, Bump became exasperated and said “I’m gonna lose my mind” when Dworman offered facts contradicting his view. Ironically, when Dworman noted that half of the country does not believe his positions, Bump shot back “I know, because half the country doesn’t actually dig into the issues.”

However, Bump does not believe that they should actually dig into the issues but accept his view. He chastised Dworman and the public “because you don’t listen to the press. I’m sitting here and I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen … you refuse to listen to what I’m saying to you. You asked me on to present evidence. I keep telling you.” Indeed, Bump and others kept telling people that the laptop was a “conspiracy theory” and possible Russian disinformation. Now, he is reminding people not to do their own research as the Post expressly declared that the prior false claims in his columns were actually true. This is why, at the start of our Republic, alternative media sprang up with pamphleteers like Thomas Paine. Citizens rejected the state-supporting media and searched for their own sources. Today citizen journalists can be found on the Internet in blogs and other sites that carry opposing views or accounts.

The media is already moving to be sure that the public is limited in what they are allowed to see or hear. After Donald Trump won the Iowa caucuses, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained to viewers that the network had decided that they should not hear Trump’s victory speech because he would only tell them “untrue things.” As noted by Bump, citizens are much safer to just accept what they are given and avoid the temptation to do their own research. Censorship is now actually proclaimed as a form of virtue signaling, assuring viewers that they will not have to hear certain opposing views or figures. There is little tolerance for those who insist on seeking out such news. After all, as the Post’s Bump explained, “I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen.”

Read more …

“.. the loving smile of the life-giver caressing humanity like a spring zephyr wafting through the piney Schwarzwald on a June morning..”

The Goddess of the WEF (Kunstler)

Tell me: is there a fairer grandmotherly face than this in all of Western Civ? Does it not seem to radiate eons of aggregate wisdom, maternal kindness, bountiful nurture, caring, and healing, and even a hint of fun in the nursury. . . the rectified essence of Teutonic beauty, fertility, vitality, and virtue. . . the loving smile of the life-giver caressing humanity like a spring zephyr wafting through the piney Schwarzwald on a June morning? That is exactly why Ursula von der Leyen was (s)elected President of the European Commission, and why she was sent out to front the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week in her keynote speech to the assembled global grandees of Davos in the dead chill of January. It’s one thing when a cadaverous goblin such as Yuval Noah Harari tells you to eat bugs, and quite another thing when Oma Ursula tells you Keine Sorge, Kinder. Alles ist gut.

Ursula did offer us children-of-the-world one wee note of caution, though, as every good “grammy” might give to the global kindergarten: watch out for misinformation and disinformation on the internet! Like the evil imps of the Germanic Märchen, these wicked forces lurk and propagate on the internet — waiting to dash all of the WEF’s benevolent plans for our utopian future. That’s why, she explained, the European Commission has drawn up the Digital Services Act — because misinfo and disinfo can fluoresce into hate speech, the most dangerous thing in the world. It must be stomped out! Ground into the dirt under a boot heel! Misinfo and disinfo about what, exactly? Ursula omitted to specify, but we can guess, can’t we? For instance, about how more and more every year the WEF seems to operate like a global racketeering operation, seeking the levers of control in all the naughtiest sovereign nations of the earth overpopulated with “useless eaters” who are remorselessly busy wrecking the climate to enjoy, say, in the case of the USA, their loathsome motor-sports, mega-churches, gun shows, hot-tubs, and Golden Corral All-You-Can-Eat buffets!

The WEF, a racket? A cabal of haughty control freaks? What a hateful thing to say, after everything kindly onkel Schwabenklaus has done for mankind! It hurts our feelings to hear this! Yet, why do scores of billionaires flock to the yearly Davos meet-up and coordinate their funding streams into countless NGOs and shadowy activist organizations aimed at manipulating the activities of governments around the world? I assure you it’s hardly for the fabulous hors d’oeuvre platters or the even more fabulous on-call hookers. (The nabobs of finance must be satisfied with the services of their personal chefs and masseuses.) Ursula says the WEF notables meet annually “because our democracies and our businesses have interests that align: creating prosperity, wealth and security for people, creating a stable environment to unlock innovation and investment, and creating equal opportunity and freedom.”

I have some disappointing news for you: grandmother Ursula is lying (alas, we live in time of epic disappointments). If the WEF wanted “stability” you would not see Alex (and papa George) Soros pouring money into every county DA election from Maine to California to make sure that looting, car-jacking, and mayhem go unpunished. . . or that men of military age from every failed state on the planet get flown across the oceans to NGO-supported waystations in Central America so that the cartels of Mexico can take over the final leg of their illegal entry into the USA. . . or ditto the boats ferrying Africans and Arabs across the Mediterranean to overwhelm the societies of Europe — including especially Grammy Ursula’s Germany.

Read more …





Ruyi bridge









“One of the best examples of cryptic plumage and mimicry in Australian birds is seen in the tawny frogmouth, which perch low on tree branches during the day camouflaged as part of the tree”

Meet my mum





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






Mar 012021

Lucien Hervé The Accuser, Delhi, India 1955



As I was trying to get this article together, I read something in the Greek press just now, and wondered how far one can move goalposts without it being noticed:

A Return To Normalcy Seen In November

Experts say the return to normalcy will happen when “herd immunity” is achieved. For that to happen, they say, 70% of the population must be vaccinated. Then, of course, there are questions of how long the immunity lasts, whether the disease will recur, and so on. According to a team of researchers at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki who have developed a Covid-19 risk evaluation model, the vaccination of 70% of the population, and thus herd immunity, will be achieved in November, provided there are 1 million vaccinations per month.

[..] By the end of May, a “wall of immunity” for the most vulnerable groups – the elderly and those suffering from serious underlying diseases – will have been built, the researchers say. “[The wall] doesn’t mean complete freedom but at least means the likelihood of lockdown becomes remote,” says Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, professor of environmental engineering at Aristotle University.

Now, a year ago, there also was a lot of talk about herd immunity. But that had nothing to do with the “vaccines”, because none of them existed back then. Way back when, “herd immunity” meant that enough people had been infected, and not gotten sick. Some estimates said 20% would be enough, others said 70%. But none talked about vaccines. And now all of a sudden it’s all about vaccines? For which the companies that produce them say there is no evidence that they protect the vaccinated from getting infected, or them from infecting others? Excuse me?

There already is a huge amount of herd immunity. 90-95% of people do not get sick, period. Because they have strong enough immune systems of themselves, or because they’re young, or any combination of factors. It would seem very irresponsible to claim all of these people should be jabbed before there can be herd immunity. It’s just shoddy science, or, rather, shoddy masquerading as science.



I want to return to a topic I covered a month ago in The One Year Emergency, That is, “emergency”, and its legal implications. Much of the world lives under some State of Emergency, at least a Public Health Emergency. There appears to be a State of Emergency that allows for lockdowns and facemasks to be forced on populations, and a second State of Emergency that lets governments force PCR tests, mRNA “vaccines” and tentatively, vaccine passports upon their citizens. Or is it all the same?

First, from a Dr. David Martin piece I posted a few days ago:

The fact is that a PCR test is not going to make or not make a confirmed diagnosis of anything because PCR tests cannot confirm a diagnosis. [..] The only reason we are using PCR tests is that governors and the Department of Health and Human Services are maintaining a state of emergency. The second that that state of emergency is lifted in any state or in the country, the PCR test won’t be allowed to be used.

We’re maintaining a state of emergency so that manufacturers can keep selling a thing that would never be approved if it was subject to a clinical trial. It goes for what’s being called vaccines too. The gene therapy that Moderna and Pfizer are doing, both of those would be suspended immediately if the state of emergency got lifted. People don’t understand that if you lift the state of emergency, the whole house of cards falls.

And remember that the man who got a Nobel Prize for inventing the PCR test, Kary Mullis, repeatedly stated it should never be used for the purpose we are now using it for. Mullis died in 2019, but if he were still alive, he would most likely have been very vocal, and not in a positive sense, about what is going on today.

A few days ago, I asked a question at the Automatic Earth comments section, and received some nice replies from two responders, Doc Robinson and Herr Werner. I thought I’d share some of those. My question:

Q: In most, if not all, states/countries where the vaccines are administered, this goes through some form of Emergency Use Authorization (because they haven’t been properly tested), which is mostly only possible if there is some sort of State of Emergency. If countries now want to open up again, it would appear that they -legally- have to lift their State of Emergency. But then they can no longer allow people to be vaccinated with the vaccines, can they?



Doc Robinson: Q: …If states/countries now want to open up again, it would appear that they -legally- have to lift their State of Emergency. But then they can no longer allow people to be vaccinated with the vaccines, can they?

In the US, a Determination of Public Health Emergency is used to justify the Emergency Use Authorization of some vaccines, but travel restrictions are not necessarily required during the Public Health Emergency.


If there is no Public Health Emergency, then there can be no Emergency Use Authorization, and the Covid vaccines could not be widely distributed until getting FDA approval after years of testing.

Even if there is a Public Health Emergency, the Covid vaccines could not obtain Emergency Use Authorization if an effective treatment is acknowledged to be available.

With a Public Health Emergency in place, the PREP act (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19) provides liability immunity to both public and private distribution channels for the vaccines, including those who prescribe, dispense, and administer the vaccines.

“Liability immunity” means that the “covered person is immune from suit and liability under Federal and State law with respect to all claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration or use of a covered countermeasure [such as a vaccine].”

In addition, “to the extent that any State law that would otherwise prohibit the employees, contractors, or volunteers who are a “qualified person” from prescribing, dispensing, or administering COVID-19 vaccines or other Covered Countermeasures, such law is preempted.”




Ilargi: Ok, so no travel restrictions in the US. But how about other countries, what do their laws say? Anybody looking at that? Can the government here in Greece, for example, invite tourists back in while still in a Public Health Emergency? Tourists that could bring in the very virus the emergency is meant to fight?

Also, this is of course pivotal: “Even if there is a Public Health Emergency, the Covid vaccines could not obtain Emergency Use Authorization if an effective treatment is acknowledged to be available.”

Pivotal, because no government, at least in the west, has done any widespread application of vitamin D, ivermectin or HCQ programs. Are these substances “effective”? The reason we don’t know is that although there is plenty literature to suggest they might be, they were never tested. So are the current “vaccines” effective (and safe)? We don’t know that either. There’s a big sales job going on about them, but that’s it.



Doc Robinson: In the US, the emergency declaration can be renewed. An EUA is in effect for one year, or shorter if the emergency declaration is no longer in effect. The EUA can be revoked if the criteria are no longer met (such as, the requirement that “there is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition.”)

Criteria for EUA Authorization—The FDA will issue an EUA if the FDA commissioner finds all of the following:
• The CBRN agent specified in the declaration of emergency can cause a serious or life-threatening disease or condition.
• Based on the scientific evidence available, it is reasonable to believe that the product may be effective in diagnosing, treating, or preventing the disease or condition specified in the declaration of emergency or caused by another medical product to diagnose, treat, or prevent a disease or condition caused by the specified agent.
• The known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of the product when used to diagnose, prevent, or treat the serious or life-threatening disease or condition that is the subject of the declaration.
• There is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition.

The EUA is in effect for one year from the date of issuance or for as long as the HHS secretary’s §564 emergency declaration is in effect, whichever is shorter. The emergency declaration can be renewed. The EUA can be amended and may be revoked earlier if the criteria for issuance are no longer met or revocation is appropriate to protect public health or safety.




Ilargi: Some story, basically: “[If] There is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing, preventing, or treating the disease or condition.”

“Effective, adequate, approved, and available alternative..” How does one determine these terms? Especially if those alternatives are not tested?

But sure, as long as a government can waive the “Emergency” flag in your face, what are you going to do?



Doc Robinson: Yesterday, Pfizer and Moderna got their Covid vaccine EUA reissued by the FDA, and the duration of the EUA can last until the emergency declaration is “terminated.”

IV. Duration of Authorization
This EUA will be effective until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biological products during the COVID-19 pandemic is terminated under Section 564(b)(2) of the Act or the EUA is revoked under Section 564(g) of the Act.




Ilargi: A year, and then we add on another year, and before you know it we need to look up the definition of “emergency” in a dictionary.

Then this from commenter “Herr Werner”, which is a bit long, but interesting:



Herr Werner: I have had a very straightforward question to ask about the safety of covid vaccines, in particular the mRNA ones. The question has nagged me for months, and I spent time this week working on it. It was a difficult question to answer. I wrote this up with the idea of talking within my circle of ppl, I thought the TAE community might find it of interest. Kind of long, apologies –

As I write this, over 200MM people have received covid vaccine doses. While there is more than one vaccine out there, the two available in the West currently are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. (The JnJ vaccine – based on a more conventional technology – will likely be available in early March, but going forward if you show up for the shot, you are not likely to know ahead of time which one you’ll get.) Both Pfizer and Moderna’s are based on mRNA, a topic of much study but little widespread deployment. In the US both are released on an Emergency Use Authorization or its equivalent in other nations, and full approval is not expected until early 2023. Nevertheless the media, the CDC, and political and medical “authorities” are unanimous and incessant in the message that it is “safe and effective.”

Dissenting views on safety are relegated to the fringes, and the existence of vaccines other than just the two mRNA ones (with different, more conventional modes of action) is never mentioned in the Western media. There are several promising aspects to mRNA technology, and still more unknowns about it, particularly long-term effects which most likely would manifest as autoimmune disorders. Being a new technology, early animal studies were often plagued with unexpected negative results as the methods and delivery agents were refined. So where are we in our knowledge and expertise as a species with mRNA, now that we are jabbing tens of millions of people with these vaccines?

The straightforward questions I have are, “How do we know how safe mRNA vaccines are? How well-studied are their long-term effects?”

Those two questions do not yield to an interwebs search. Even an in-depth search mostly returns mostly self-referential information, or secondhand info repackaged and parroted by an authority figure whose motives are unclear (or simply dubious.) Specifically for the covid mRNA vaccines, no long-term data exist, as even the earliest human trials began only in late 2020. At best, we can only infer from other studies done using mRNA technology. A strong case for safety of mRNA could be made if there is a large base of data – say 200 studies, ending over 5 or (better yet) 10 years ago, and a total of a few million people involved in the trials. Even with a large database, there are unknown unknowns once you move outside the confines of clinical study and enter the real world with its long (statistical) tails. Still, large studies with years of follow-up would suggest confidence in their safety.

On the other hand, if there turned out to be just a few studies, or they don’t cover much time history, or include only a small sample of people, that would not support a strong case for mRNA safety. If the latter is the case, then – being generous here – it would be “risky” at best to be giving millions of people a vaccine with this new technology. Severity matters too in the risk/reward calculation: if a disease like Ebola or Lhasa takes hold, they are so deadly and the situation so dire that greater risks are worth taking – including a vaccine with side-effects or other measures that cause harm.

My approach was to answer 3 questions that follow from the first ones –
1) HOW LONG have mRNA interventions been tested on humans?
2) HOW MANY people have been tested (thousands? millions, tens of millions?)
3) …and from 1 and 2, do THOSE numbers suggest that vaccinating large numbers of people with an unapproved mRNA product is safe?

For a starting point I used a Forbes article “What Are The Long-Term Safety Risks Of The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 Vaccines?” It was published in Dec 2020 and, unsurprisingly, concludes that they are safe. (In fact the article leads off with a strawman, perhaps an attempt at humor, the author’s husband asking if these vaccines are going to turn us into zombies.) The author is Ellen Matloff, in her bio a certified genetic counselor, and she also runs a company that “specializes in scalable, updating, digital genetic counseling.” She is coauthor of several papers in genetics, including subjects related to gene therapy and patient advocacy. It is safe to say she knows what she’s talking about on the topic. Like many authorizes it is equally safe to assume she has a vested interest – both financially and as a personal belief system – in promoting genetic technology.

Spoiler alert: If you want to skip the rest, here’s the answer: about 1,675. That’s the number of people enrolled in (completed) mRNA clinical trials (32 of them) that ended before 2017. Keep in mind the number that received the mRNA treatment-under-study is about half that; most of these are blinded studies and half of them got a placebo. Of those, only 8 studies were conducted on an mRNA treatment against an infectious agent (HIV, rabies) a more realistic comparison which brings the number down to 985 persons. So the size of the database (hundreds) relative to the number of people now receiving doses of the technology (tens of millions) is quite small.

Matloff first discusses the Pfizer vaccine trial and its ability to identify short-term effects “Pfizer vaccine clinical trial study explain[s] that their data show a greater than 83% likelihood of finding at least one adverse, or undesirable, event, if the true incidence of that event is 1 in 10,000. However, the study does not include enough participants, nor has it followed them for enough time, to reliably detect adverse events that are rarer than 1 in 10,000.” That refers to the clinical trials conducted and self-reported by the producer of the vaccine. Assuming their studies are honest and well-run, that covers short-term risks. And it seems to be borne out thus far in the frenzy of arm-jabbing between the end of 2020 and now. We seem to be “in the clear” on short-term effects – safety seems to be on par with any other vaccine, if not a bit better. Though it does suck to be one of those few hundred (?) worldwide that reacted severely and died after the first or second jab, or someone close to them.

On long term risks, the article suggests ‘safe and effective’ though both the article and scientific evidence become decidedly hazy. In Forbes she writes “Of course, the only way to know what, if any, long-term side effects result from the use of these mRNA vaccines is to follow the participants of the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials, vaccinate and study many more people, and then follow all of them for several years. That effort is well underway.” By way of supporting the long-term knowledge, she mentions “mRNA vaccines are not as new as you may think. In fact, mRNA vaccines have been studied over the past two decades and have shown great promise for both infectious disease and cancer.” She links to several sources and particularly calls out an mRNA rabies vaccine trial to support her case. No adverse events are noted in the study. This trial involved 101 participants and ended in 2017. It is neither a large study (many participants to extrapolate the lessons out to millions of people) nor an old study (completed just four years ago.)

The rest of this analysis looks only at numbers; the number people enrolled in mRNA studies and when. This research was performed with data from the US gov’t clinical trials database. One unknown about mRNA or any vaccine is the length of time for long-term effects, if any, become evident. Pulling a number out of the air, let’s look at three years of follow up. That should be enough time for side effects, such as exposure to the infectious agent that the vaccine targets. Let’s round that up to four, that allows for lag of ending the study and publishing out results. This is Feb 2021 so I looked at studies ending before Jan 2017.

Searching on mRNA returns 103 studies. This includes all studies most of which (like the 20 Covid-related ones) are ongoing. All of those studies in total have 90,000 participants. Filtering out incomplete or terminated studies, and ones newer than that arbitrary point in time, gives 32 studies and 1,675 persons. As I mentioned above the number that received the mRNA treatment-under-study is about half that; most of these are blinded studies and half of them got a placebo. Of those, only 8 studies were conducted on an mRNA treatment against an infectious agent (HIV, rabies) a more realistic comparison which brings the number down to 985 persons. Quite a small population to draw conclusions of long-term safety from – that entails extrapolating to a population four orders of magnitude larger.

BTW my approach is admittedly coarse. And I want to emphasize, it does *not* suggest that mRNA technology is dangerous. The approach simply looks at how large the database is that supports how “safe and effective” mRNA vaccines are. Questions such as long-term follow-up, adverse events, and other factors from the individual studies are outside my area of expertise, and unlikely to be found in publicly available sources. We are vaccinating large numbers of people (tens of millions) based on an experience of small size (hundreds) and not much history (going back 1-5 years in most cases.) Again, it does not suggest that mRNA technology is dangerous – it suggests that we do not have enough data. I find insufficient evidence to support the assertion that mRNA technology is “safe and effective” – we SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW.



Ilargi: And then Doc Robinson’s reply to that:



Doc Robinson: HerrWerner: “She links to several sources and particularly calls out an mRNA rabies vaccine trial to support her case. No adverse events are noted in the study. This trial involved 101 participants and ended in 2017.”

If that’s what she wrote, then she’s not a trustworthy source of information (for whatever reasons). No adverse events?

Actually, 78% reported systemic adverse events in that trial. And 10% reported “Grade 3 events — which means the reaction is severe enough to cause hospitalization, and/or is disabling (but not immediately life threatening.)

Safety and immunogenicity of a mRNA rabies vaccine in healthy adults: an open-label, non-randomised, prospective, first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial The Lancet, September 2017

…we enrolled and vaccinated 101 participants... 50 (78%) of 64 intradermally vaccinated participants and 29 (78%) of 37 intramuscularly vaccinated participants reported solicited systemic adverse events, including ten grade 3 events… intradermal or intramuscular needle-syringe injection was ineffective, with only one participant (who received 320 μg intradermally) showing a detectable immune response.



1 year into the pandemic, we are still stuck with facemasks that, according to physics, appear to have very little effect. We’re stuck with lockdowns that already have destroyed millions of businesses and jobs, for not terribly obvious purposes. Does locking down entire countries or cities prevent a virus from spreading? Not that we know. Here in Athens, this has been in effect since early November, and guess what, numbers are rising again…

How can you force these kinds of things on people if you refuse to try and boost their immune systems? If the only things you do is force them to stay indoors, inarguably a riskier environment, and then tell them to take an untested “vaccine”, or else?

It makes less sense all the time, going forward. And I don’t think it’s because of some great evil plan, there are simply too many people having to make too many decisions they are not at all qualified to make. So they follow “the science”. What else do you do when you’re way out of your league? Virus? Ask a virologist, or epidemiologist. But those people cover only a very small part of the issue. They are clueless when it comes to economic apocalypse, and yet they are in charge of decisions that feed it.

Look, if you put an elephant in a circus, you have a traumatized animal. Which will somehow adapt perhaps, since there’s life around him/her, feeders, audience, and nowhere to go, but still a walking trauma. Inmates will bond with fellows to an extent, there’s life around them, but they’re still traumatized.

And now we’ve excluded millions upon millions of people from their social contacts, the life their ancestors always had, and we’re telling them that a jab of some experimental substance will make it good. Even though we all know there is no guarantee of that whatsoever. None.

We lost our way, and our heart, and your brains. We lost what it means to be human. And mRNA vaccines are not human.



Here’s another interview with PCR inventor Kary Mullis, A controversial guy, for sure, but he did invent it. And maybe that merits a listen:

Kary Mullis




We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.



Support the Automatic Earth in 2021. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.


Mar 072017
 March 7, 2017  Posted by at 9:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  1 Response »

Edward Steichen Marlene Dietrich 1932


The World Economy Can’t Handle Even One US Rate Hike (CNBC)
Wall Street Investors Make $3 Trillion Since Trump Election Victory (Ind.)
China Banking System Overtakes Eurozone To Become Biggest In The World (Ind.)
The Finance Curse (Renegade)
Money and the Government – Ann Pettifor (Vogue)
Great Expectations -Not- (Jim Kunstler)
Manufacturing Consent: The Movie – Journalism Cannot Be A Check On Power (RS)
66 Of Government’s 100 Largest Contractors Violated Federal Labor Laws (Ibt)
UK Housing Benefit Cuts ‘Put Young People At Risk Of Homelessness’ (G.)
Trump’s New Travel Ban Is Much Narrower – And Possibly Courtproofed (Vox)
America Has Locked Up So Many Black People It Warps Our Sense Of Reality (WaPo)
Greek Economy Performed Even Worse Than Expected At The End Of 2016 (BI)
US Ambassador Pyatt Concerned About “Accident” Between Greece And Turkey (KTG)
War-Scarred Syrian Children May Be ‘Lost To Trauma’ (AFP)



What comes after the bubble. Overblown?

The World Economy Can’t Handle Even One US Rate Hike (CNBC)

Even one small interest rate increase by the Fed could have a sweeping impact on U.S. and world economies, Komal Sri-Kumar told CNBC on Monday. “I think they are going to hike” on March 15, Sri-Kumar said on “Squawk Box,” echoing a theory shared by many analysts. “But that is going to prompt capital outflows from the euro zone, especially with the political risk. It is going to increase the capital outflow from China, and the U.S. economy will feel the impact.” These moves would strengthen the dollar against other currencies, putting downward pressure on the euro, said Sri-Kumar, president of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies. He acknowledged that some of that pressure “is probably good for the European economy from a trade perspective” because European exports would become cheaper to foreign partners.

“The problem is in terms of capital outflows,” he said, cautioning that divestment in Europe could raise risk in overseas markets. “These economies, despite some positive numbers, … they are not in strong enough shape to take an increase in interest rates on the part of the United States.” The reason for this weakness in global markets stems from a long period of liquidity, or market price stability, according to Sri-Kumar. “We have had too long a period of excessive liquidity,” he said. “The markets have been distorted. The bond yields are very, very low, much lower than they would have been in the absence of quantitative easing and zero interest rate policy.” As a result, small changes in the U.S. economy reverberate worldwide, Sri-Kumar said, adding that had the Fed started hiking rates as the country emerged from the 2008 financial crisis, the United States may have been better off.

Read more …

That’s going to hurt. Who’s going to be bailed out?

Wall Street Investors Make $3 Trillion Since Trump Election Victory (Ind.)

Wall Street investors have cashed in big on US President Donald Trump’s election victory. Stocks have added nearly $3 trillion to their paper value since Mr Trump’s election as measured by the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index. The index, made up of more than 3,000 stocks, including an assortment of big companies, mid-sized businesses and small ones, has gained about 12% since the election. This means the overall increase in market capitalisation of all the US companies in the index jumped $3 trillion between 8 November through 3 March. Mr Trump’s unexpected victory has prompted the steepest rally from election day to inauguration for a first-term president since John F. Kennedy won the White House in 1960.

Last week, the Dow pierced the 21,000 mark for the first time ever after Mr Trump’s measured tone in his first speech to Congress lifted optimism and reassured some investors who had been disconcerted by his aggressive tone and divisive policies. It was just over one month ago that the index surpassed the 20,000 milestone for the first time in its history. The three main stock indexes surged more than 1.3% after the 1 March speech to close at record highs, according to Reuters data. Bank stocks have enjoyed particularly dramatic gains, but other sectors have rallied hard too, spurred by hopes of major tax cuts, regulatory roll-backs and bumper infrastructure spending. Neil Wilson, a market analyst at ETX Capital, last week said that this is the fastest time ever in which the Dow index has risen 1,000 points after a Presidential election.

Read more …

As measured in ‘assets’.

China Banking System Overtakes Eurozone To Become Biggest In The World (Ind.)

China’s banking system is now the biggest in the world, new analysis has shown. The country’s banks have more assets than those of the eurozone for the first time, the Financial Times found. China’s GDP surpassed that of the EU’s economic bloc in 2011 but its banks have taken more time to catch up, helped by a huge explosion in lending since the 2008 global financial crisis. Beijing launched a vast programme of fiscal stimulus in order to combat the effects of economic slowdown, but this has caused concern among some economists that a dangerous debt bubble has formed.

“The massive size of China’s banking system is less a cause for celebration than a sign of an economy overly dependent on bank-financed investment, beset by inefficient resource allocation, and subject to enormous credit risks,” Eswar Prasad, economist at Cornell University and former China head of the IMF, told the FT. Some analysts have said the stimulus has led to wasteful investments, overcapacity in certain industries and unsustainable debt levels. Chinese local governments have financed large infrastructure projects, mostly through debt. Three of the world’s four largest banks by assets are now Chinese. The total assets of the country’s banking system were $33 trillion at the end of 2016; more than the eurozone’s $31 trillion for the eurozone and more than double the US’ $16 trillion. The value of China’s banking system is more than 3.1 times the size of the country’s annual economic output, compared with 2.8 times for the eurozone and its banks, the FT said.

Read more …

Excellent Richard Werner, especially the 2nd part, from 16:00 min on. How do banks create money? And how do you solve the problems that rise from that?

“The City of London is not part of the UK. The Queen can’t enter withour permission.”

The Finance Curse (Renegade)

For many years, we’ve been told that finance is good and more finance is better. But it doesn’t seem everyone in the UK is sharing the benefits. On this program, we ask a very simple question – can a country suffer from a finance curse? Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by City veteran David Buik and the man who coined the term Quantitative Easing, International Banking and Finance Professor Richard Werner.

Read more …

“A well-managed economy has the means to fund any priority it holds dear.”

Money and the Government – Ann Pettifor (Vogue)

Let’s start with the obvious question: What is money?As the economist Joseph Schumpeter said, money is nothing more than a promise, a promise to pay. It’s a social construct. Coins, checks, the credit card you hand over at the till—they’re representative of those promises. We’re trained to think of money as a commodity, something there’s a limited supply of, that you can either spend or save, but in fact we’re creating money all the time, by making these promises. When you use a credit card, you’re not handing over your card to the shopkeeper or the waiter to keep, you’re just showing them a piece of plastic that says, “this person can be trusted.” We make myriad uses of these arrangements every day. And there’s far more of those promises in circulation at any given time than there is hard money sitting in vaults, or in people’s wallets, or wherever.

And what does understanding money-as-promise have to do with feminism? Most orthodox economists would have you think of money as finite, like a commodity. Which makes it very easy for politicians to say, when you come asking for paid maternity leave, or government-subsidized childcare, Sorry, ma’am, there’s no money in the budget for that. But you’ll note that they don’t reach for that excuse when they have other priorities—when they want $54 billion for military spending, for instance, or a trillion dollars to bail out the banks, suddenly the money is magically available. A well-managed economy has the means to fund any priority it holds dear.

But surely the government runs a budget, and the government we elect sets priorities for how to spend the money that it has. And some governments prioritize military spending, and others prioritize childcare . . . I’ll give you an example of what I mean. When the Federal Reserve decided to bail out AIG in 2008, a lot of journalists were asking Ben Bernanke: Hey, are you spending taxpayer money on this? And his answer was, no, we’ve just entered this $85 billion into their account. In exchange, AIG had to put up collateral, as you do when you take out a mortgage, but fundamentally, all the Fed was doing was typing some numbers into a computer that said: This belongs to AIG. Where taxpayers come into this is the Fed’s ability to make sure that $85 billion loan is backed by the money people pay to the U.S. government in taxes. Not what the government has on hand now, but what it anticipates taking in next year, five years, 100 years from now.

And there you have two issues: The issue of a well-managed economy, and the issue of how a government is different from an individual or a family where budgets are concerned. Politicians who advocate for austerity measures—cutting spending—like to say that the government ought to run its budget the way women manage our households, but unlike us, the government issues currency and sets interest rates and so on, and the government collects taxes. And if the government is managing the economy well, it ought to be expanding the numbers of people who are employed and therefore paying income tax and tax on purchases—purchases that turn a profit for businesses which then hire more employees, and on and on it goes. That’s called the multiplier effect, and for 100 years or so, it’s been well understood. And it’s why governments should invest not in tax breaks for wealthy people, but in initiatives like building infrastructure.

Read more …

“..around June sometime the country won’t be able to pay invoices, issue salaries, send out entitlement checks, or do anything, really. It means pure government paralysis.”

Great Expectations -Not- (Jim Kunstler)

Halloween’s coming super-early this year and it will be a shocking surprise to those currently busy looking for Russians behind every potted plant in Washington DC. First, accept the premise that your country has lost its mind. This is what happens when societies (and individuals) can’t face the true quandaries of a particular moment in their history. All of their attention gets channeled into fantasy: spooks, sexual freakery, conspiracies, persecution narratives, savior fairy tales. It’s been quite a cavalcade of unreality for the past six months, with great entertainment value for connoisseurs of the bizarre — until you’re reminded that the fate of the nation is at stake. The questions Americans might more profitably ask ourselves: can we continue living the way we do? And by what means?

These matters of home economics have been sequestered in some forgotten storage unit of the collective mind for at least a year while a clock ticks in the time-bomb that sits on the national welcome mat. That bomb is made of financial plutonium and it’s getting ready to blow. When it does, all the distracting spookery and freakery will vaporize and the shell-shocked citizens will have a clear view of the bleak, toxic, devastated landscape they actually inhabit. March 15 is when the temporary suspension of the national debt ceiling — engineered in a 2015 deal between Barack Obama and then House Speaker John Boehner — finally expires, meaning the government loses its authority to continue borrowing money. The chance that congress can pass a bill raising the debt ceiling to enable further borrowing is about the same as the chance that Xi Jinping will send every American household a dim sum breakfast next Sunday morning by FedEx.

The US treasury will then be left with around $200 billion in walking-around money, at a burn rate of about $90 billion a month — meaning that that around June sometime the country won’t be able to pay invoices, issue salaries, send out entitlement checks, or do anything, really. It means pure government paralysis. It means no infrastructure spending jamboree, no “great” wall, no military shopping spree, none of the Great Expectations sewn into the golden fleece of Trumptopia. Meanwhile, over the next few weeks, Janet Yellen and her crew of economic astrologasters at the Federal Reserve will have to put up or shut up vis-à-vis raising the interest rate on the basic overnight lending rate. The Las Vegas odds of it being raised currently stand at around 95%.

So, they will be running that play around the time that the debt ceiling issue materializes into a live-action event. Of course, the Fed could welsh on its carefully-scripted previous hints and utterances and do nothing. But that option would probably extinguish the last remaining shreds of the Fed’s credibility, since they’ve been jive-talking about raising rates since they began “tapering” the QE bond-buying spree in the spring of 2013, i.e., a long time ago. The Fed’s credibility is synonymous with the dollar’s credibility. Look out below.

Read more …

“Democracy is staged with the help of media that work as propaganda machines.”

Manufacturing Consent: The Movie – Journalism Cannot Be A Check On Power (RS)

Nearly 30 years before President Trump’s press gaggle last Friday, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman authored ‘”Manufacturing Consent“, a book that radically redefined mass media’s relationship with the state. Now, in the age of fake news and alt facts, Democracy Now! co-founder Amy Goodman and animator Pierangelo Pirak have teamed up to give new life to the world renowned linguist and media analyst’s famed work. “Propaganda,” Goodman begins in her narration of the cartoon. “Many use the word when talking about countries like North Korea, Kazakhstan, Iran, Countries viewed as authoritarian through the lens of the western media. ‘Press freedom’. ‘Freedom of thought’. People use those terms when talking about countries like the United States, France, Australia. ‘Democracies’.”

In 1988, “Manufacturing Consent” “blasted apart the notion that media acts as a check on political power,” Goodman explains as a myriad of mouthy orange villains murmur ominously in a machine-like universe. “That media inform the public, serve the public so that we can better engage in the political process,” Goodman continues. “In fact, media manufacture our consent. They tell us what those in power need them to tell us … so we can fall in line. Democracy is staged with the help of media that work as propaganda machines.”

Read more …

This happened in 8 years of Obama. Calling on Trump now seems a bit strange in that light. First ask yourself: why did Obama fail so badly?

66 Of Government’s 100 Largest Contractors Violated Federal Labor Laws (Ibt)

Federal contractors, who employ about 20% of all American workers and receive $500 billion in taxpayer funds annually, have been stealing wages and endangering workers despite Obama administration policies designed to protect workers, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in releasing a report Monday. The report comes as the Trump administration prepares to slash regulations, and the Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on repealing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order issued by former President Barack Obama, which would make it easier for federal contractors to hide labor law violations and make it harder for companies following the rules to do business with the government, Warren said. “All Americans deserve a safe workplace and fair pay for a day’s work,” Warren, D-Mass., said. “But too often, federal contractors break labor laws while continuing to suck down millions in taxpayer dollars.

Instead of making it easier for companies to cheat their employees or threaten workers’ health and safety, President Trump and Republicans in Congress should join Democrats in standing up for the hardworking Americans who do important jobs for our country.” The report indicates 66 of the largest 100 federal contractors have violated federal wage and hour laws, and a third of the largest penalties levied since 2015 were imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Some violations have been fatal, including four in a single year at Goodyear. [..] The employer with the most wage and hour violations nationwide was AT&T with nearly 30,000, the report said. Another major violator was private prisons operator Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic, with more than 21,000 violations. When it came to federal contracts specifically, Manpower Group racked up the most violations with 19,838, followed by USProtect Corp. with 7,263 and Management & Training Corp. with 5,519.

Read more …

The UK as a caring society does not exist anymore. The sick, the old, the young, all the most vulnerable groups are targeted.

UK Housing Benefit Cuts ‘Put Young People At Risk Of Homelessness’ (G.)

The government’s move to exclude young people from receiving housing benefit could bar most of them from the private rental market, a landlords’ association has warned, as charities said the decision could leave thousands at risk of homelessness. Amid widespread anger among charities at the decision to strip housing benefit entitlement from single people aged 18 to 21, the National Landlords Association (NLA) said one effect would be to put off most of its members from housing young tenants on benefits. “The message that will go out from these changes is that 18- to 21-year-olds don’t have automatic entitlement to housing benefit,” said Richard Lambert, the NLA’s chief executive. “Yes, there are all these exceptions in the actual policy, but the nuances won’t cut through. I wouldn’t go as far to say young people will be totally excluded, but they’re going to find it very, very difficult.”

The change, first mooted under David Cameron in 2012 and outlined in the 2015 Conservative party manifesto, was pushed through without fanfare in a ministerial directive to parliament late on Friday. It means that from 1 April, new single claimants aged 18 to 21 will not be entitled to the housing element of universal credit unless they fall into certain categories. The exceptions include people with children, or those where to continue living with their parents would bring a “serious risk to the renter’s physical or mental health” or would otherwise cause “significant harm”. While such categories are broad, homelessness charities warned that to prove such potential harm would be so difficult that many young people would instead opt to sleep rough or sleep on friends’ sofas instead.

“As we’ve seen before, the bureaucracy of the welfare state is not good at capturing people in delicate situations,” said Kate Webb, head of policy for Shelter. “This is particularly so if we’re talking about 18- or 19-year-olds who have suffered really unpleasant, very personal things at home, and don’t want to disclose that to someone.” Webb said that even those who wished to claim the exception would struggle to find a landlord willing to take them on. “If you’re a landlord now, every 18- to 21-year-old is a risk,” she said. “You have no reason to believe that someone will be eligible for an exemption. The idea this is going to work in practice is fanciful. “It’s a real worry – there is no way this isn’t going to lead to an increase in rough sleeping.”

Read more …

Good and detailed overview. It’s going to be a legal fight every step of the way.

Trump’s New Travel Ban Is Much Narrower – And Possibly Courtproofed (Vox)

The first version of President Donald Trump’s refugee and visa ban — the one he signed on January 27, in place for only a week before federal courts put it on hold — was an ambitious disaster. It attempted, literally overnight, to prevent people who had already bought plane tickets from entering America. It posed a substantial problem for people currently living in the US who might want to travel abroad. And it turned preference for “persecuted religious minorities” into a cornerstone of US refugee policy. The latest version of the executive order, signed by Trump Monday, does none of those things. It all but admits that the administration overreached the first time, provoking a legal and political backlash that could have been avoided.

What it offers, instead, is a much more narrowly tailored and thoughtfully considered version of the ban — one that’s much more likely to stand up in court. The administration has done basically all it can to judgeproof the new executive order. It was a foregone conclusion that immigration advocates and Democratic prosecutors would sue to stop the 2.0 executive order just as they stopped the first one, but it’s a lot less clear that they’ll succeed this time around. The first version of President Donald Trump’s refugee and visa ban — the one he signed on January 27, in place for only a week before federal courts put it on hold — was an ambitious disaster. It attempted, literally overnight, to prevent people who had already bought plane tickets from entering America. It posed a substantial problem for people currently living in the US who might want to travel abroad.

And it turned preference for “persecuted religious minorities” into a cornerstone of US refugee policy. The latest version of the executive order, signed by Trump Monday, does none of those things. It all but admits that the administration overreached the first time, provoking a legal and political backlash that could have been avoided. What it offers, instead, is a much more narrowly tailored and thoughtfully considered version of the ban — one that’s much more likely to stand up in court. The administration has done basically all it can to judgeproof the new executive order. It was a foregone conclusion that immigration advocates and Democratic prosecutors would sue to stop the 2.0 executive order just as they stopped the first one, but it’s a lot less clear that they’ll succeed this time around.

If Trump officials could only make everyone forget that the first version of the executive order existed at all, they’d be golden. Unfortunately for them, they can’t. Between the chaos of the first executive order and the internal tussles over the drafting of the second, “travel ban 2.0” is already associated in the public mind with its more aggressive predecessor. And federal judges may be similarly disinclined either to forgive or forget.

Read more …

Obama had 8 years to do something about this. What happened?

“America has locked up so many people it needs to rethink how it measures the economy…”

“Black Americans are twice as likely as whites to be out of work and looking for a job — the same ratio as in 1954..”

America Has Locked Up So Many Black People It Warps Our Sense Of Reality (WaPo)

For as long as the government has kept track, the economic statistics have shown a troubling racial gap. Black people are twice as likely as white people to be out of work and looking for a job. This fact was as true in 1954 as it is today. The most recent report puts the white unemployment rate at around 4.5%. The black unemployment rate? About 8.8%. But the economic picture for black Americans is far worse than those statistics indicate. The unemployment rate only measures people who are both living at home and actively looking for a job. The hitch: A lot of black men aren’t living at home and can’t look for jobs — because they’re behind bars. Though there are nearly 1.6 million Americans in state or federal prison, their absence is not accounted for in the figures that politicians and policymakers use to make decisions. As a result, we operate under a distorted picture of the nation’s economic health.

There’s no simple way to estimate the impact of mass incarceration on the jobs market. But here’s a simple thought experiment. Imagine how the white and black unemployment rates would change if all the people in prison were added to the unemployment rolls. According to a Wonkblog analysis of government statistics, about 1.6% of prime-age white men (25 to 54 years old) are institutionalized. If all those 590,000 people were recognized as unemployed, the unemployment rate for prime-age white men would increase from about 5% to 6.4%. For prime-age black men, though, the unemployment rate would jump from 11% to 19%. That’s because a far higher fraction of black men — 7.7%, or 580,000 people — are institutionalized. Now, the racial gap starts to look like a racial chasm. (When you take into account local jails, which are not included in these statistics, the situation could be even worse.)

“Imprisonment makes the disadvantaged literally invisible,” writes Harvard sociologist Bruce Western in his book, “Punishment and Inequality in America.” Western was among the first scholars to argue that America has locked up so many people it needs to rethink how it measures the economy. Over the past 40 years, the prison population has quintupled. As a consequence of disparities in arrests and sentencing, this eruption has disproportionately affected black communities. Black men are imprisoned at six times the rate of white men. In 2003, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that black men have a 1 in 3 chance of going to federal or state prison in their lifetimes. For some high-risk groups, the economic consequences have been staggering. According to Census data from 2014, there are more young black high school dropouts in prison than have jobs.

Read more …

A Greek recovery is not possible. All this is theater. Tsipras said Greece was back to growth, about half an hour before this report came out.

Greek Economy Performed Even Worse Than Expected At The End Of 2016 (BI)

Greece’s economy performed much worse than forecast in the final quarter of 2016, according to the latest data from the country’s statistical service Elstat. GDP shrank 1.2% in Q4 of 2016 — marking the worst quarterly performance for the stricken southern European economy since the heart of its debt crisis in the summer of 2015. A previous first estimate of GDP in the quarter suggested that the economy shrunk just 0.4%, but the final figure is significantly worse. The data comes just days after the country’s central bank governor Yannis Stournaras said that international lenders should lower the country’s fiscal targets from 2021 onwards to help boost its growth potential.

“The easing of the primary surplus targets, together with the implementation of the agreed structural reforms, would put the necessary conditions in place for a gradual lowering of tax rates, with positive multiplier effects on economic growth,” Stournaras said at an event over the weekend. Greece is in the middle of a major tug of war between its creditors over how its current bailout packages are handled. A second review of its bailout has dragged on for months, mainly due to differences between the EU and the International Monetary Fund over Greece’s fiscal targets in 2017, when its current bailout programme expires. The IMF favours a softer approach to fiscal conditions, saying in a report in February that additional austerity measures and spending cuts would not improve Greece’s financial prospects in the longer term.

Read more …

Never trust Pyatt.

US Ambassador Pyatt Concerned About “Accident” Between Greece And Turkey (KTG)

US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt expressed concern about the possibility of an “accident” between Greece and Turkey due to the increased activity in the Aegean Sea in recent weeks. At the same time, Pyatt praised the Greek government’s responsible attitude at a time of heightened tension and for the financial contributions of the indebted state to the NATO. Pyatt made these remarks speaking to a journalist at the side of the Delphi Economic Forum over the weekend. Regarding on the Cyprus issue, meanwhile, he said the new U.S. administration will continue its efforts for a solution. Turning to economic affairs and the role of the IMF, the ambassador said that he had not observed any change in the attitude of the new U.S. leadership, expressing U.S. support for growth in Greece.

Pyatt also referred to the importance of transatlantic relations, with emphasis on NATO and bilateral ties. “I want to see Greece play an even greater role as a pillar of regional stability,” he added. “Economic stability and prosperity are important elements of any effort to broaden Greece’s role in this region and in Europe. And, therefore, my number one priority is to sustain the U.S. effort to spur growth and support economic recovery in Greece,” the ambassador said, “As Greece demonstrates its commitment to reform and builds additional trust with its creditors, I am convinced that new investments, both by foreign investors and domestic ones, will buoy the economy and create new jobs,” he added. Pyatt said that the U.S. government was eager to see U.S. companies expand existing investments and invest in new ventures in Greece.

Read more …

“Children wish they were dead and that they would go to heaven to be warm and eat and play..”

War-Scarred Syrian Children May Be ‘Lost To Trauma’ (AFP)

Syrian children terrified by shelling and airstrikes are showing signs of severe emotional distress and could grow up to be a generation “lost to trauma,” Save the Children warned Monday. Interviews with more than 450 children and adults showed a high level of psychological stress among children, with many suffering from frequent bedwetting or developing speech impediments. At least three million children are estimated to be living in Syria’s war zones, facing ongoing bombing and shelling as the conflict heads into its seventh year. Two-thirds of those interviewed by the aid organization have lost a loved one or had their house bombed or shelled, or suffered war-related injuries themselves.

“After six years of war, we are at a tipping point,” said the report entitled “Invisible Wounds” on the war’s impact on children’s mental health. “The risk of a broken generation, lost to trauma and extreme stress, has never been greater,” it said. A staggering 84% listed bombing and shelling as the number one cause of stress in children’s daily lives. About 48% of adults reported that children had lost the ability to speak or developed speech impediments since the start of the war. Some 81% of children have become more aggressive while 71% suffer from frequent bedwetting, according to the research. Half of those interviewed said domestic abuse was on the rise and one in four children said they don’t have a place to go or someone to talk to when they are scared, sad or upset.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Syria director, cited instances of attempted suicide and self-harm. In the besieged town of Madaya, six teenagers – the youngest a 12-year-old girl – have attempted suicide in recent months, said Khush. The report quoted a teacher in Madaya who said children there were “psychologically crushed and tired.” “They draw images of children being butchered in the war, or tanks, or the siege and the lack of food.” “Children wish they were dead and that they would go to heaven to be warm and eat and play,” said Hala, another teacher in Madaya.

Read more …

Nov 252014
 November 25, 2014  Posted by at 9:49 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »

John Vachon Rain. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Jun 1941

US Q3 GDP was revised up by the BEA to 3.89%, but that’s no longer what financial markets react to. They sit and wait for more QE somewhere on the planet to be doled out. Will Americans, if they see this at all, take those numbers, add them to the sweet drop in prices at the pump and spend what they save on more holiday purchases? I’m not saying I know, but I do see that US consumer confidence is down, as is global business confidence – the latter at a five year low.

The Case/Shiller index reports a “broad-based slowdown” for US home prices, and that in the rear view mirror that looks at Q3. So that’s not where those 3.89% came from, it wasn’t housing (wonder what it was). The Gallup Christmas survey lost 8% of exuberance in one month. What this adds up to is that Americans may not spend all of that saved gas money, and that means there’s a real danger of deflation coming to America too – as if Japanese and European attempts to export their own were not enough yet.

While the media continue to just about exclusively paint a picture of recovery and an improving economy, certainly in the US – Europe and Japan it’s harder to get away with that rosy image -, in ordinary people’s reality a completely different picture is being painted in sweat, blood, agony and despair. Whatever part of the recovery mirage may have a grain of reality in it, it is paid for by something being taken away from people leading real lives. US unemployment numbers are being massages three ways to Sunday, as is common knowledge, or should be; the amounts of working age people not working, and not being counted as unemployed either, is staggering.

But there’s a very large, and growing, number of people who do work, but find it impossible to sustain either themselves or their families on their wages. That’s how the recovery, fake as it even is, is paid for. And this will have grave consequences for many years, if not decades, to come.

If a government would come clean with its citizens, explain the overwhelming debt situation a nation is in, that everyone will have to do with less at least for a while, and then openly start restructuring the debts, those consequences would be much less damaging. But all governments choose to talk about only recovery and growth, and to let their people suffer the consequences of the policies enacted to achieve these goals, even if after 6-7 years of crisis and dozens of trillions in stimulus, we’re no closer to either. Quite the contrary. We’re not in ‘drive’, we’re stuck in ‘reverse’. We’re backing up. We’re moving backwards.

Lance Roberts at StreetTalkLive provides stats on how many Americans have been made dependent on some sort of handout:

The Dismal Economy: 148 Million Government Beneficiaries

.. the Federal Reserve has stopped their latest rounds of bond buying and are now starting to discuss the immediacy of increasing interest rates. This, of course, is based on the “hopes” that the economy has started to grow organically as headline unemployment rates have fallen to just 5.9%. If such activity were real then both inflation and wage pressures should be rising – they are not. According to the Congressional Budget Office study that was just released, approximately 60% of all U.S. households get more in transfer payments from the government than they pay in taxes.

Roughly 70% of all government spending now goes toward dependence-creating programs. From 2009 through 2013, the U.S. government spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs. In fact, today, the percentage of the U.S. population that gets money from the federal government grew by an astounding 62% between 1988 and 2011. Recent analysis of U.S. government numbers conducted by Terrence P. Jeffrey, shows that there are 86 million full-time private sector workers in the United States paying taxes to support the government, and nearly 148 million Americans that are receiving benefits from the government each month.

Yet Janet Yellen, and most other mainstream economists suggests that employment is booming in the U.S. Okay, if we assume that this is indeed the case then why, according to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, are well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Importantly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare. (Here are the numbers for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare: More than 64 million are receiving Social Security benefits, more than 54 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare and more than 70 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid.) Furthermore, how do you explain the chart below? With roughly 45% of the working age population sitting outside the labor force, it should not be surprising that the ratio of social welfare as a percentage of real, inflation-adjusted, disposable personal income is at the highest level EVER on record.

Tyler Durden addresses deteriorating wages in America with a great metaphor:

The Mystery Of America’s “Schrodinger” Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go Extinct

On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT’s report: “Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class.” Some excerpts:

For nearly 20 years, Darrell Eberhardt worked in an Ohio factory putting together wheelchairs, earning $18.50 an hour, enough to gain a toehold in the middle class and feel respected at work. He is still working with his hands, assembling seats for Chevrolet Cruze cars at the Camaco auto parts factory in Lorain, Ohio, but now he makes $10.50 an hour and is barely hanging on. “I’d like to earn more,” said Mr. Eberhardt, who is 49 and went back to school a few years ago to earn an associate’s degree. “But the chances of finding something like I used to have are slim to none.” Even as the White House and leaders on Capitol Hill and in Fortune 500 boardrooms all agree that expanding the country’s manufacturing base is a key to prosperity, evidence is growing that the pay of many blue-collar jobs is shrinking to the point where they can no longer support a middle-class life.

In short: America’s manufacturing sector is being obliterated: “A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past.

Perhaps even more significant, while the typical production job in the manufacturing sector paid more than the private sector average in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, that relationship flipped in 2007, and line work in factories now pays less than the typical private sector job. That gap has been widening — in 2013, production jobs paid an average of $19.29 an hour, compared with $20.13 for all private sector positions. Pressured by temporary hiring practices and a sharp decrease in salaries in the auto parts sector, real wages for manufacturing workers fell by 4.4% from 2003 to 2013, NELP researchers found, nearly three times the decline for workers as a whole.

How is this possible: aren’t post-bankruptcy GM, and Ford, now widely touted as a symbol of the New Normal American manufacturing renaissance? Well yes. But there is a problem: recall what we wrote in December 2010: ‘Charting America’s Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society:”

.. one of the most important reasons for lower pay is the increased use of temporary workers. Some manufacturers have turned to staffing agencies for hiring rather than employing workers directly on their own payroll. For the first half of 2014, these agencies supplied one out of seven workers employed by auto parts manufacturers. The increased use of these lower-paid workers, particularly on the assembly line, not only eats into the number of industry jobs available, but also has a ripple effect on full-time, regular workers. Even veteran full-time auto parts workers who have managed to work their way up the assembly-line chain of command have eked out only modest gains.

And that’s not some isolated incident, as the Guardian makes clear, it’s the same thing in Britain.:

Record Numbers Of UK Working Families In Poverty Due To Low-Paid Jobs

Insecure, low-paid jobs are leaving record numbers of working families in poverty, with two-thirds of people who found work in the past year taking jobs for less than the living wage, according to the latest annual report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The research shows that over the last decade, increasing numbers of pensioners have become comfortable, but at the same time incomes among the worst-off have dropped almost 10% in real terms. Painting a picture of huge numbers trapped on low wages, the foundation said during the decade only a fifth of low-paid workers managed to move to better paid jobs. The living wage is calculated at £7.85 an hour nationally, or £9.15 in London – much higher than the legally enforceable £6.50 minimum wage.

As many people from working families are now in poverty as from workless ones, partly due to a vast increase in insecure work on zero-hours contracts, or in part-time or low-paid self-employment. Nearly 1.4 million people are on the controversial contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours, most of them in catering, accommodation, retail and administrative jobs. Meanwhile, the self-employed earn on average 13% less than they did five years ago, the foundation said. Average wages for men working full time have dropped from £13.90 to £12.90 an hour in real terms between 2008 and 2013 and for women from £10.80 to £10.30.

Poverty wages have been exacerbated by the number of people reliant on private rented accommodation and unable to get social housing, the report said. Evictions of tenants by private landlords outstrip mortgage repossessions and are the most common cause of homelessness. The report noted that price rises for food, energy and transport have far outstripped the accepted CPI inflation of 30% in the last decade. Julia Unwin, chief executive of the foundation, said the report showed a real change in UK society over a relatively short period of time. “We are concerned that the economic recovery we face will still have so many people living in poverty. It is a risk, waste and cost we cannot afford: we will never reach our full economic potential with so many people struggling to make ends meet.

And it’s even worse in Greece and Spain and Italy, all so northern Europe and the Brussels politicos can keep alive the idea that Germany and Holland are doing well, and overall growth is almost at hand. That southern Europe must suffer for that idea has been justified away for years now, and it’s not even an issue deemed worth discussing anymore.

And that attitude will blow up in their faces, it’s inevitable that it will. Very few people understand how dangerous the games are that our governments and central banks play. And when the effects do play out, they will be blamed on other causes. Debt and propaganda rule our world supreme.

Excellent writer and great friend Jim Kunstler shows how simple the entire facade is to fathom, and how the next step away from the mess we’re in is so painfully obvious: downscale.

Buy the All Time High

Wall Street is only one of several financial roach motels in what has become a giant slum of a global economy. Notional “money” scuttles in for safety and nourishment, but may never get out alive. Tom Friedman of The New York Times really put one over on the soft-headed American public when he declared in a string of books that the global economy was a permanent installation in the human condition. What we’re seeing “out there” these days is the basic operating system of that economy trying to shake itself to pieces. The reason it has to try so hard is that the various players in the global economy game have constructed an armature of falsehood to hold it in place — for instance the pipeline of central bank “liquidity” creation that pretends to be capital propping up markets.

It would be most accurate to call it fake wealth. It is not liquid at all but rather gaseous, and that is why it tends to blow “bubbles” in the places to which it flows. When the bubbles pop, the gas will tend to escape quickly and dramatically, and the ground will be littered with the pathetic broken balloons of so many hopes and dreams. All of this mighty, tragic effort to prop up a matrix of lies might have gone into a set of activities aimed at preserving the project of remaining civilized. But that would have required the dismantling of rackets such as agri-business, big-box commerce, the medical-hostage game, the Happy Motoring channel-stuffing scam, the suburban sprawl “industry,” and the higher ed loan swindle.

All of these evil systems have to go and must be replaced by more straightforward and honest endeavors aimed at growing food, doing trade, healing people, traveling, building places worth living in, and learning useful things.

All of those endeavors have to become smaller, less complex, more local, and reality-based rather than based, as now, on overgrown and sinister intermediaries creaming off layers of value, leaving nothing behind but a thin entropic gruel of waste. All of this inescapable reform is being held up by the intransigence of a banking system that can’t admit that it has entered the stage of criticality. It sustains itself on its sheer faith in perpetual levitation. It is reasonable to believe that upsetting that faith might lead to war.

But that’s not yet where we are, though Ferguson sure looks close to that war Jim talks about. Our leading classes will not let us downscale, no matter how much sense that makes for the ‘lower’ 95% of the population, because that would risk their leading positions. And so we’ll have to deal with a lot more misery before the whole edifice finally blows up, and we’ll end up with huge swaths of traumatized people. In a great article, Lynn Stuart Parramore describes how that works:

So Many People Are Badly Traumatized by Life in America: It’s Time We Admit It

Recently Don Hazen, the executive editor of AlterNet, asked me to think about trauma in the context of America’s political system. As I sifted through my thoughts on this topic, I began to sense an enormous weight in my body and a paralysis in my brain. What could I say? What could I possibly offer to my fellow citizens? Or to myself? After six years writing about the financial crisis and its gruesome aftermath, I feel weariness and fear. When I close my eyes, I see a great ogre with gold coins spilling from his pockets and pollution spewing from his maw lurching toward me with increasing speed. I don’t know how to stop him. Do you feel this way, too?

All along the watchtower, America’s alarms are sounding loudly. Voter turnout this last go-round was the worst in 72 years, as if we needed another sign that faith in democracy is waning. Is it really any wonder? When your choices range from the corrupt to the demented, how can you not feel that citizenship is a sham? Research by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page clearly shows that our lawmakers create policy based on the desires of monied elites while “mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” Our voices are not heard.

When our government does pay attention to us, the focus seems to be more on intimidation and control than addressing our needs. We are surveilled through our phones and laptops. As the New York Times recently reported, a surge in undercover operations from a bewildering array of agencies has unleashed an army of unsupervised rogues poised to spy upon and victimize ordinary people rather than challenge the real predators who pillage at will. Aggressive and militarized police seem more likely to harm us than to protect us, even to mow us down if necessary.

Our policies amplify the harm. The mentally ill are locked away in solitary confinement, and even left there to die. Pregnant women in need of medical treatment are arrested and criminalized. Young people simply trying to get an education are crippled with debt. The elderly are left to wander the country in RVs in search of temporary jobs. If you’ve seen yourself as part of the middle class, you may have noticed cries of agony ripping through your ranks in ways that once seemed to belong to worlds far away.

[..] A 2012 study of hospital patients in Atlanta’s inner-city communities showed that rates of post-traumatic stress are now on par with those of veterans returning from war zones. At least 1 out of 3 surveyed said they had experienced stress responses like flashbacks, persistent fear, a sense of alienation, and aggressive behavior. All across the country, in Detroit, New Orleans, and in what historian Louis Ferleger describes as economic “dead zones” — places where people have simply given up and sunk into “involuntary idleness” — the pain is written on slumped bodies and faces that have become masks of despair. We are starting to break down.

When our alarm systems are set off too often, they start to malfunction, and we can end up in a state of hyper-vigilance, unable to properly assess the threats. It’s easy for the powerful to manipulate this tense condition and present an array of bogeymen to distract our attention, from immigrants to the unemployed, so that we focus our energy on the wrong enemy. Guns give a false sense of control, and hatred of those who do not look like us channels our impotent rage. Meanwhile, dietary supplements and prescription painkillers lure us into thinking that if we just find the right pill, we can shut off the sound of the sirens. Popular culture brings us movies with loud explosions that deafen us to what’s crashing all around us.

The 21st century, forged in the images of flames and bodies falling from the Twin Towers, has sputtered on with wars, financial ruin and crushing public policies that have left us ever more shaken, angry and afraid. At each crisis, people at the top have seized the opportunity to secure their positions and push the rest of us further down. They are not finished, not by a long shot.

Trauma is not just about experiencing wars and sexual violence, though there is plenty of that. Psychology researchers have discussed trauma as something intense that happens in your life that you can’t adequately respond to, and which causes you long-lasting negative effects. [..] trauma comes with a very high rate of interest. The children of traumatized people carry the legacy of pain forward in their brains and bodies, becoming more vulnerable to disease, mental breakdown, addiction, and violence. Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, an expert on trauma, emphasizes that it’s not just personal.

Trauma occupies a space much bigger than our individual neurons: it’s political. If your parents lost their jobs, their home or their sense of security in the wake of the financial crisis, you will carry those wounds with you, even if conditions improve. Budget cuts to education and the social safety net produce trauma. Falling income produces trauma. Job insecurity produces trauma.

There’s much more at the link, and every word is worth reading. The mental consequences of the gutting of our societies by governments and the financial industry does not get nearly enough scrutiny. We act, or politicians and media do, as if millions of people losing their jobs, and over half of young people in certain nations never having had a chance of a job, is just a matter of numbers, of mere statistics.

And then all sorts of ‘experts’ claim it’s all just the price to pay for technological progress, that will make everything so much better for everyone some sunny day soon. But that sunny say will never come, the techno happy ideal version of the future has already died with the debt incurred to facilitate it. We need to take a step backwards, or we’ll continue to drive backwards. Or be driven, to be more precise, since we’ve handed over the steering wheel to people who have no intention of taking us where we want to, and should, go. They are only intent on taking us where they can squeeze us most.

Thing is, there’s precious little left to squeeze. And they know that much better than most of us do. That’s why it’s imperative that we should get rid of these clowns, or there’ll be a whole lot more trauma. We can organize our societies, and we can even organize ways to downscale them peacefully . But not with those at the helm who see us only as mere entities to draw blood from.

We need to be a whole lot more assertive about this; we shouldn’t want to be surrounded by traumatized friends and family members and neighbors There’s nothing good for us in that. It’ll be used against us in increased surveillance and clampdowns and all that comes with it.

We can have good jobs for everyone, all it takes is to have what we need, produced in our own communities and societies, instead of having it shipped over from China. It’s not rocket science. It’s just that there’s a certain segment in society, which unfortunately happens to be the most powerful one, that doesn’t want us to do that. They want more and bigger, not smaller and better.

Until we solve that issue, things will keep getting worse. And not just a little bit. We need to find leaders that actually represent us, our needs and desires and ideas, and we need to find ways to elect them. If we don’t, we face a very bleak future in which there won’t be much left for us to choose. Or enjoy. We live in a pivotal moment in time, but we don’t recognize it for what it is. We seem to think it’s all some minor hiccup. We are dead wrong.