Aug 242023
 
 August 24, 2023  Posted by at 8:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Francesco Queirolo Il Disinganno, Naples, Sansevero Chapel 1753-1754

 

Trump: “There’s A Level Of Passion… And Hatred I’ve Never Seen” (ZH)
Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Ex-NATO General (RT)
Ukraine Must Seek Ceasefire With Russia Now – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)
US ‘Cannot Afford’ To Fund Ukraine War – Think-Tank Chief (RT)
Ending Ukraine Conflict Now Is ‘Smartest Thing We Can Do’- Macgregor (RT)
Ukraine Blames Foreign Journalists for Botched Counteroffensive (Sp.)
Russia’s Goal Is To End War That West Unleashed In Ukraine – Putin (TASS)
NATO Fighting ‘Full-Scale’ War Against Russia In Ukraine – Medvedev (TASS)
BRICS Should Set Up A Kiddie Table For Western Leaders Like Macron (Marsden)
Xi Laments ‘Cold War Mentality’ (RT)
Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart (Turley)
Rand Paul On Return Of COVID Measures: “These People Have No Shame” (SN)
Wagner Decries ‘Murder’ Of Prigozhin Amid Reports Missile Struck Plane (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Trump ad
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694136146987483643

 

 

Joe is lost

 

 

 

 

RFK

 

 

Renz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694131730171547815

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically… and he’s not exactly a triathlete.”

Trump: “There’s A Level Of Passion… And Hatred I’ve Never Seen” (ZH)

“It started with protests against you, then impeachment twice, and now indictments… Are you worried that they are going to try to kill you? Why wouldn’t they try to kill you?” Trump calmly responds: I’ve seen the lengths that they go to… when they make up the Russia, Russia, Russia collusion and that’s exposed… these are sick people. I think they hate our country.” On the indictments sending Trump’s poll numbers higher: “I think the people of this country don’t get enough credit for how smart they are… but they get it…” “…the people see it’s a fraud.”

On Biden: “Crooked Joe Biden is so bad, he’s the worst president in the history of our country. I don’t think he’s going to make it to the gate, but you never know.” “I think he’s worse mentally than he is physically… and he’s not exactly a triathlete.” “He’s both the most corrupt president we ever had and most incompetent.” On Biden’s links to China:”I actually believe he’s compromised… the Chinese have so much on him.” “He is in many ways a Manchurian candidate. “Do you think the rest of the world looks at Biden and thinks, somebody else must be running the government?” “well, somebody else has to be. I don’t think he’s capable of doing anything.”

Who is pulling the strings? We have a president that can’t put two sentences together, can’t speak, can’t walk, can’t talk. I don’t think he gets to the starting gate but these people do miracles… I mean he ran out of his basement and he got away with it because of COVID… and they cheated on the election…but they have people that are very smart, but they’re fascists and they’re radical left lunatics and they’re destroying our country.”

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“..fueling the expectations in the public opinion of a victory that is impossible on the ground. The Ukrainians will not prevail..”

Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Ex-NATO General (RT)

Ukraine will be unable to defeat Russia on the battlefield as Moscow has more men and an “impressive” advantage in firepower, retired Italian general Marco Bertolini has said. “The Ukrainian victory is inconceivable. We must take note of this fact and sit at the negotiating table,” said Bertolini, who headed Italy’s Joint Operations Command and the Folgore paratroopers brigade in the 2000s. “This war should’ve been stopped much earlier, but in recent months the rhetoric of ‘we will win’ has been cultivated, fueling the expectations in the public opinion of a victory that is impossible on the ground. The Ukrainians will not prevail,” he told Libero Quotidiano newspaper on Monday. Kiev’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, which started in early June, “proceeds slowly,” the retired general remarked.

He mentioned a report by the Washington Post last week, which cited a classified US intelligence assessment that concluded “Ukraine’s counteroffensive will fail to reach the key southeastern city of Melitopol,” and that the aim of severing Russia’s land bridge with Crimea would not be realized this year. According to Bertolini, this was “an acknowledgment that Kiev’s objectives can’t be achieved in the expected form and time frame.” “The Russians have an advantage in the number of men and firepower. The firepower unleashed by the Russians, especially when it comes to artillery, is superior and this is impressive considering the aid that has arrived in Ukraine from all over the West,” he said. The retired general suggested that there’s now an understanding in many circles that reclaiming territories captured by Russia from Ukraine is “unrealistic.” He also pointed out that “a ceasefire with the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, at any moment, and resuming hostilities won’t suffice for the Russians.”

“The conflict can only be ended through negotiations” in which the interests of both sides are respected, Bertolini said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week that Moscow remains ready for “meaningful dialogue” on Ukraine, but the prospects for negotiations with the West “are non-existent at this stage.” Kiev’s main backer, the US, which declared the goal of inflicting a strategic defeat to Russia in Ukraine, “has no intention of ending the conflict,” he insisted. Washington maintains that any negotiated settlement must be based on the so-called ten-point peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which calls for Russia to withdraw to borders claimed by Kiev, pay reparations, and submit to war crimes tribunals. Lavrov described this as a “pointless ultimatum.”

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“..the House [of Representatives] will not pass this $24 billion. They think the situation is at a complete impasse. That’s why Ukraine won’t get any money..”

Ukraine Must Seek Ceasefire With Russia Now – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)

Ukraine should hasten to end hostilities with Russia before the flow of American military and financial aid to the country dries up, a former aide to two Ukrainian presidents has said. In a video on his YouTube channel posted on Tuesday, Oleg Soskin, who served as an economic adviser to Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma in the 1990s, described the US as “the key country” in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, arguing that if it cuts off its military assistance to Kiev, the latter will sign some kind of agreement with Moscow “within days.” Against this backdrop, Soskin suggested that the US Congress may refuse to rubberstamp the request of US President Joe Biden to provide Kiev with an additional $24 billion in assistance, citing reports of growing reluctance among Republicans to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

“Basically, this means that the House [of Representatives] will not pass this $24 billion. They think the situation is at a complete impasse. That’s why Ukraine won’t get any money,” he said. If the US, which has already provided Kiev with tens of billions of dollars in various forms of aid, were to stop helping Ukraine, its NATO allies, including Germany, Britain and all other European countries, would follow suit, crippling Kiev’s military potential, the ex-official noted. “I think that [Ukraine] should stop before the US does that,” Soskin said, suggesting that “there should be a meeting of smart people in Ukraine who would be more forward-looking” than Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his small group of what he called “war chanters.”

Soskin also noted that the Ukrainian army has already lost the backbone of its seasoned troops, with replacements being prone to serious morale issues. He said that Kiev is forcibly drafting inexperienced soldiers who are reluctant to fight. “Ukrainians lack the motivation they had in the past year and a half,” he pointed out, suggesting that, under these conditions, Kiev stands little chance against the Russian army. The ex-official’s comments come on the heels of a recent Politico report that said “even pro-Ukraine Republicans are hedging against supporting” a new assistance package for Ukraine, with Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland noting that Kiev “can’t win the war and, therefore, the US should reconsider further stocking its defenses.”

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US Just Cannot Satisfy Ukraine’s Financial Hunger..

US ‘Cannot Afford’ To Fund Ukraine War – Think-Tank Chief (RT)

The US should reduce the assistance it’s providing to Ukraine because it cannot maintain its current level of support, the head of a leading conservative think tank has said. European nations need to do more so Kiev can keep fighting Russia, added Kevin Roberts, the president of the Heritage Foundation. He set out the case for stopping the flow of aid on Tuesday. The Washington-based think tank prides itself on its ties to the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Roberts said during an appearance on Fox News, but much has changed in America since he was in power. “The US is much weaker economically than it was. It’s impossible for us to prosecute military interventions in multiple places around the world,” he said.

Consequently, Reagan’s ‘peace through strength’ principle needs to be adapted to new realities, Roberts argued.“The US simply cannot afford the level of support that it is giving the Ukrainians. The American people are saying that,” he stated, citing recent opinion polls in the US, which indicated that the US public was turning against the continued bankrolling of Kiev. Earlier this month, the administration of President Joe Biden requested an additional $40 billion in funding from Congress, including $13 billion for Ukrainian military assistance and $7.3 billion for Kiev’s other needs. The proposal was tied to the provision of $12 billion for disaster relief in the US.

Roberts said he wanted the Ukrainians to “win” and urged Germany and France to “pull more of their own weight” to achieve that goal. When asked for his definition of a Ukrainian victory, he said he wanted “precious lives that are being lost to stop being lost today.” The Biden administration has stated that it was up to the Ukrainian government to decide how they should prosecute the war and what their end goal was. Kiev has declared that its only option is to seize all territory that it claims to be under its sovereignty, including Crimea. Moscow considers the conflict part of a US proxy war against Russia, which, it claims, Washington intends to wage “to the last Ukrainian.”

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Video is in Tuesday’s Debt Rattle.

Ending Ukraine Conflict Now Is ‘Smartest Thing We Can Do’- Macgregor (RT)

Washington needs to make every effort to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as Kiev’s counteroffensive has failed, and any Western intervention would be a disaster, a former Pentagon adviser has argued. Retired US Army colonel Douglas Macgregor told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday that claims of an imminent Ukrainian victory are a “lie” and that the latest campaign against Russian forces, launched in June, is “collapsing, because what is happening on the battlefield is horrific.” Ukraine may have lost “at least 40,000” servicemen over the past month, Macgregor claimed, while “Ukrainian hospitals are full,” and troops have been surrendering due to heavy losses and an inability to evacuate their wounded.

Moscow still has large personnel reserves and a steady supply of ammunition and missiles, Macgregor noted, warning that the West might not be able to keep up the current supply levels. “It will take us many, many months to come up to this kind of standard when we can compete in a high-end conventional warfare,” he said. The former Pentagon adviser predicted that any attempt to save Kiev from defeat might require direct Western intervention, which would have catastrophic consequences. “If we intervene…. the Russians will be ready for that. And the consequences for us and for NATO will be devastating, because we are not ready,” Mcgregor said. The US and its allies might eventually “fall back on the nuclear deterrent,” putting the world on the brink of all-out conflict.

“The smartest thing that we can do is end this war,” Macgregor concluded. The former adviser’s interview came more than two months into Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive, which has so far failed to bring any tangible results, while inflicting heavy losses on Ukraine. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Kiev’s forces have lost some 43,000 soldiers and 5,000 pieces of heavy equipment since early June.

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“Ukraine is failing in its offensive and they’re looking for somebody to blame instead of blaming themselves,” retired CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson said.”

Ukraine Blames Foreign Journalists for Botched Counteroffensive (Sp.)

Ukraine has reportedly banned foreign journalists from visiting frontline positions without any written permission by its Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny. Switzerland’s Le Temps newspaper reported that this act of censorship could be explained by Kiev’s reluctance to make huge losses public after its troops were unable to break through the Russian defense lines amid their counteroffensive. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar, for her part, earlier argued that Western media reports about the deployment of the elite 82nd Airborne Brigade had led to strikes on its positions. All this shows that “Ukraine is failing in its offensive and they’re looking for somebody to blame instead of blaming themselves,” retired CIA intelligence officer Larry Johnson said.

Referring to the counteroffensive, he said that Kiev is unwilling to “take responsibility for launching an attack that has no chance of succeeding.” He added: “Primarily because they lack air cover, they’re now trying to blame journalists or someone else.” “What’s so absurd about this? You remember we spent the first three months of 2023 hearing about Ukraine saying, ‘We’re going to attack or launch a counteroffensive’. I mean, who does that? If you’re going to launch an offensive, you’re going to sucker-punch people. You want to surprise them. You don’t want to announce it in advance. So this is just one more sign of Ukrainian failure,” Johnson underscored. The ex-CIA officer argued that even if Ukraine had “some extra reserves hanging around”, it would “not change the situation on the battlefield.” He also theorized over a hypothetical scenario assuming the Ukrainian military had gotten the better of Russian troops during Kiev’s counteroffensive.

“If Ukraine was winning, if Ukraine was defeating Russia, they [Kiev authorities] would have reporters out there on the front lines, they’d have cameras. They’d be doing live updates every 15 minutes, because there would be good news to tell. Well, there’s no good news. There’s very bad news. Ukraine is getting defeated and they’re trying to cover that up. And the only problem is as long as there are smartphones, government can’t cover up what’s happening on the ground,” Johnson concluded. The Ukrainian military launched its much-touted counteroffensive in early June after multiple postponements. Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored late last month that “the enemy was not successful in all directions of the fight.” According to him, “All counteroffensive attempts have been stopped, and the enemy has been pushed back with heavy losses.”

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“Russia has decided to support the people who are fighting for their culture, for their traditions, for their language and for their future..”

Russia’s Goal Is To End War That West Unleashed In Ukraine – Putin (TASS)

Russia’s special military operation pursues the goal of ending the war in Ukraine unleashed by a number of Western countries and their satellites, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of BRICS leaders. “Russia has decided to support the people who are fighting for their culture, for their traditions, for their language and for their future. Our actions in Ukraine have only one reason – to put an end to the war that was unleashed by the West and their satellites in Ukraine against the people living in Donbass,” Putin said. He stressed that it was the wish of a number of Western countries to preserve their hegemony in the world that “has led to the grave crisis in Ukraine.” Putin recalled that “first, with the help of the Western countries, an unconstitutional coup d’etat was carried out in that country, and then a war was unleashed against those people who did not agree with that coup.” “This brutal war, a war of extermination, had lasted for eight years,” Putin emphasized.

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“The Western world keeps falling into the same trap over and over again..”

NATO Fighting ‘Full-Scale’ War Against Russia In Ukraine – Medvedev (TASS)

NATO is fighting a full-scale war against Russia, using the Kiev authorities as proxies, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said in an op-ed dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and Russia’s recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which was published on the aif.ru website. The politician pointed out that “hostile observers” should have learned a lesson from those developments but “unfortunately, it did not happen.” “The Western world keeps falling into the same trap over and over again,” Medvedev said. “Our adversaries are up to their necks in the proxy war that NATO is fighting against us in Ukraine through the hands of the Kiev regime, which is a full-scale and deadly one,” he stressed.

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“..there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen..”

BRICS Should Set Up A Kiddie Table For Western Leaders Like Macron (Marsden)

There’s no ‘F’ (for France) in ‘BRICS’ but that didn’t stop French President Emmanuel Macron from trying to “F” it up. It wasn’t that long ago that Western leaders wouldn’t give the BRICS the time of day, treating the economic bloc like the girl next door who didn’t warrant even a second glance. But now that she’s all grown up and has a massive purchasing-power-adjusted GDP that’s set to beat that of the G7, according to the International Monetary Fund, it seems to have triggered Macron’s seduction instincts. And probably his gold-digging ones, too, particularly given the richness of natural resources of the BRICS member states and their partners, notably in Africa, and at a time when France and Europe face a greater lack of resources, due to misguided policies on everything from cutting off cheap Russian energy over the conflict in Ukraine to having the welcome mat yanked out from under them in Africa, with stability operations that resulted in a proliferation of coups.

If any Western leader was going to have the audacity to try getting into a summit led by countries that they’re constantly bullying – notably China and Russia – it makes sense that it would be Macron. The French President has a unique talent for speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time. On one hand, he caters to Washington’s agenda by toeing its party line on Russia and China, while at the same time he occasionally brings up the need to maintain strategic autonomy from Washington. But whenever there’s a choice to be made, Macron ultimately follows the Washington agenda, even when it’s to France’s and the EU’s economic detriment.

But the mere fact that he’d asked for an invite to the 15th BRICS summit this week allows Macron to lay claim to open-mindedness. He can say that, hey, he tried to reach out, but that his hand was pushed away – which is like badmouthing a girl and then telling everyone that she won’t go out with you when she turns you down. Anyone with half a brain would think that the best thing to do now would be to go away and start proving yourself through your actions before asking for another date. The good news for Macron is that there’s no better time for non-alignment, particularly since going all-in with the Western camp’s US-led agenda hasn’t worked out too well for the average French citizen suffering from a seemingly endless cost-of-living crisis.

Macron wants a date with the BRICS so badly that the bloc should really do with him and other Western leaders what Macron himself decided last year that the European Union should do with prospective members: set up a ‘kiddie table.’ The new ‘Baby BRICS’ summit could be the equivalent of Macron’s ‘European Political Community’ of countries seen as still having to prove themselves for EU membership, but who can still score an invite to a smaller summit alongside the ‘adult’ one, in the hope of being chosen for cherry-picked special trade relationships and customs arrangements of primary benefit to the EU.

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“There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be..”

Xi Laments ‘Cold War Mentality’ (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has condemned the “Cold War mentality” still “haunting our world,” as he laid out his geopolitical vision at the BRICS summit in South Africa on Wednesday. “We gather at a time when the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation,” Xi told the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa in Johannesburg. He added that the world “is undergoing major shifts, division and regrouping, leading to more uncertain, unstable and unpredictable developments.” “The Cold War mentality is still haunting our world, and the geopolitical situation is getting tense,” he continued, before restating China’s position on the Ukraine conflict: that the fighting began for “complex reasons,” and that “no one should add fuel to the fire and worsen the situation.”

The Chinese president has maintained for several years that American hegemony is in decline, and that a more multipolar world – in which Washington must treat “rising” powers like China as equals – is emerging. Xi has publicly celebrated the rebalancing of power, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin in March that both men were driving “changes, the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.” Behind closed doors, he has reportedly warned his military that the geopolitical shift may lead to “the outbreak of a war and its chain reactions.”To avert this, Xi declared on Wednesday that “BRICS countries need to champion the spirit of inclusiveness, advocate peaceful coexistence and harmony between civilizations, and promote respect of all countries in independently choosing their modernization paths.”

There are many civilizations and development paths in the world, and this is how the world should be,” he stated. The Chinese leader called for the strengthening of global institutions and the adoption of global rules based on the UN Charter, “rather than dictated by those with the strongest muscles or the loudest voice.” Beijing has repeatedly condemned the US for positioning itself as leader of the “rules-based international order,” while violating the same rules that it applies to others.

“BRICS countries should practice true multilateralism, uphold the UN-centered international system, support and strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, and reject the attempt to create small circles or exclusive blocs,” Xi said, calling for increased trade, financial, and development ties between the five-nation group. Xi was not the only BRICS leader to denounce Western hegemony at the Johannesburg summit. Addressing the conference by video link, Putin blamed the conflict in Ukraine on the West’s attempts to preserve its power, and declared that BRICS stands for “the formation of a multipolar world order, truly just and based on international law.”

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“While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.”

Joe Biden’s Ukraine Defense Falls Apart (Turley)

The Oct. 1, 2015, memo summarizes the recommendation of the Interagency Policy Committee that was handling the anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine: “Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee.” One senior official even complimented Shokin on his progress in fighting corruption. So Biden was told to deliver on the federal aid but elected to unilaterally demand Shokin be fired. When the firing occurred, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma Holdings, an energy firm that paid Hunter Biden a huge amount of money. The State Department had identified it as a corrupt company engaged in bribery. Recent testimony from Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden, revealed that Burisma executives made the removal of Shokin a top priority and raised it with Hunter.

He described how the need to neutralize Shokin was raised with Hunter and how “a call to Washington” was made in response. While Archer also said that “the narrative spun to me was that Shokin was under control,” he and others also heard concerns over Shokin and the risks of the investigation. President Biden has insisted, “I did nothing wrong. I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. And that’s what we should be focusing on.” Indeed, that will now be the focus, including the close correlation of the money and demands going to Hunter and the actions of his father. There is evidence the State Department was alarmed by Hunter’s work and its impact on anti-corruption efforts. While Joe was portraying his work as fighting corruption, some officials were warning the Bidens could be part of the problem, not the solution, in Ukraine.

Leading diplomat George Kent wrote then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, “The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior with the family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules.” As part of the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Democrats largely dismissed earlier accounts of these misgivings and portrayed Shokin as a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor perpetuating corruption. Biden’s Ukrainian Corn Pop story was celebrated as a gutsy moment of leadership.

During the impeachment, Kent said Biden’s demand was consistent with US policy. Yet we now know the State Department had found progress was being made on corruption and Shokin was praised in private correspondence. The demand for the replacement of the equivalent of the attorney general in another country is an extraordinary move. We give massive amounts of money to countries with rampant corruption and authoritarian records. But Biden decided Shokin had to go and used public money to make that happen.

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“We will fight back, and we will point out that they are making money off of this.”

Rand Paul On Return Of COVID Measures: “These People Have No Shame” (SN)

In response to reports of COVID restrictions, including social distancing and masking being reimplemented by colleges and offices, Senator Rand Paul asserted that those pushing the measures again “have no shame.” During a Fox News interview, Paul described the move as “hysteria” being pushed by the leftist media to financially benefit their corporate pharma owners. “These people are so conflicted,” Paul said, adding “It’s so dishonest to put people like that on the air to promote a product that they make more money from … promote this hysteria. This defies all logic. It defies science, and it defies common sense.” “To see this coming up again, these people have no shame,” Paul continued, pointing to Morris Brown College in Atlanta, a black private liberal arts college that has reinstated the measures as part of a “precautionary step.”

“That university that’s wanting to mask up and do all this testing — zero cases,” Paul urged, adding “But even worse than that, even when COVID was really more potent in 2020, the death rate for young, healthy people turned out to be close to zero.” “We don’t know for sure because the CDC won’t release it, but we do know that Germany released all of their data, and not one young, healthy person died. So, it’s a crime to mandate masks. It’s a crime to mandate vaccines, which do have some risks for young, healthy people,” Paul further noted. The Senator urged that Americans are “not going to lay down and take it again,”adding “there will be more resistance” this time. “We will fight back, and we will point out that they are making money off of this. These are not high-minded people. They are making money off of us and making money off of generating hysteria,” the Senator asserted.

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Easy to jump to conclusions..

Wagner Decries ‘Murder’ Of Prigozhin Amid Reports Missile Struck Plane (ZH)

The internet has exploded with an avalanche breaking reports that Wagner chief Yvgeny Prigozhin’s business jet has crashed over Russia’s Tver region, northwest of Moscow. Unconfirmed reports say anywhere from seven to ten people were on board, all presumed dead – but it was initially unclear if Prigozhin himself was on board at the time. Russian media sources are now confirming that he was on board the downed plane, and is presumed dead.
This has led to immediate speculation that the private plane could have been shot down upon Putin’s orders (or people in the military command placed a bomb?… or a sophisticated Western intel op?). Per FT’s Moscow correspondent: “Wagner-linked channels say Russian air defense *shot down the plane* – the same private jet Prigozhin regularly uses.”

The Kremlin has quickly issued confirmation that the aircraft did indeed belong to the controversial Wagner leader who led a mutiny against the defense ministry June 23-24. Per official news wires out of Russia
• RUSSIA SAYS 10 PEOPLE KILLED AFTER PRIVATE JET CRASHES IN TVER REGION NORTH OF MOSCOW
• RUSSIA SAYS EVGENY PRIGOZHIN COULD BE ON BOARD OF PLANE THAT CRASHED IN TVER REGION NORTH OF MOSCOW – TASS

Russian official sources are confirming, including RT… KOMMERSANT: • PRIGOZHIN HAS DIED IN THE PLANE CRASH IN RUSSIA’S TVER, RUSSIA’S FEDERAL AIR TRANSPORT AGENCY SAYS. State news outlet RT writes in an update: “A private jet traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg crashed on Wednesday in Russia’s Tver Region. The Russian Emergencies Ministry said all 10 people on board had died. Rosaviation has since said that Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company, was listed among the passengers.” And additional statements are emerging: Former Putin advisor Sergei Markov: “The murder of Prigozhin is the main achievement of Ukraine and all enemies of Russia will rejoice” — Al Jazeera

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Crustacean
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694275094825107944

 

 

Maui

 

 

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Aug 232023
 
 August 23, 2023  Posted by at 8:54 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  59 Responses »


Jessie Willcox Smith From The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald 1920

 

Trump to Miss Debate as There’s ‘Less to Lose by Not Showing Up’ (Sp.)
A Letter To Our Betters (Lundrum)
Biden’s Personal Interest in Firing Ukraine Prosecutor Targeting Burisma (Sp.)
McCarthy Threatens Impeachment Inquiry, Again (Manley)
The EU Doesn’t Know How To Not Be A Vassal Of The US Anymore (Blankenship)
West ‘Perplexed’ By Ukraine’s Strategy – NYT (RT)
Ukrainian Draft Dodgers Aggravating Troop Shortages – BBC (RT)
F-16’s For Ukraine Can’t Carry Storm Shadows (Sp.)
Putin: Russia Among World’s Top Five Economies, Overtakes Germany (Sp.)
De-Dollarization Is Irreversible – Putin (RT)
Fukushima Water Discharge ‘Irresponsible’ – China (RT)

 

 

 

 

Brink of War
https://twitter.com/i/status/1694143915602182430

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Myocarditis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1693744128314458248

 

 

Biological warfare
https://twitter.com/i/status/1693957169786294424

 

 

Escobar BRICS

 

 

 

 

If Trump is not there, nobody watches. If he IS there, nobody pays attention to the others. They can’t win.

No-one will watch a debate with Nikki Haley and Chris Christie. At the same time, Trump is on Tucker. A few hours later, he’s in Georgia.

Trump to Miss Debate as There’s ‘Less to Lose by Not Showing Up’ (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump had already planned to miss the first Republican primary debate since he is unquestionably the leading GOP candidate, but his impending arrest in Georgia the following day adds a new layer of volatility to the already-fragile state of US politics, a prominent commentator told Sputnik. The first Republican presidential primary debate for the 2024 US election race is set to air on Wednesday evening on Fox networks. Eight candidates are expected to attend the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, event, but missing will be the clear pack leader, former US President Donald Trump. The candidates expected to appear are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; North Dakota Governor Dough Burgum; former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; former US Vice President Mike Pence; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson; US Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina; and New York-based entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Just hours after the debate, Trump is set to surrender himself to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, in connection with federal charges that he illegally sought to overturn his loss in the Peach State in the 2020 election. Ajamu Baraka, international human rights activist, organizer, political analyst, and the national organizer for the Black Alliance for Peace, told Radio Sputnik on Tuesday that Trump’s absence could potentially be read as good or bad by his supporters, but that it was certainly bad for the legitimacy of the US political system for Trump to be facing such transparently political charges designed to stop his participation in politics. “There could be a backlash from either supporters of Trump if they believe this represents a certain kind of arrogance or it could be the opposite, that people believe that what the Republican candidates should do is to rally around the presumptive nominee of their party,” Baraka said.

“For Trump and his campaign, it’s understandable that he would not want to subject himself to the possibility of having to deal with some aggressive responses or comments coming from some of his opponents,” he noted. “There’s really a lot to lose in doing that and so they may have calculated that there’s less to lose by not even showing up.” Baraka said it was clearly “the predominant thinking within the Republican Party” that the nomination was Trump’s to refuse at this point, leaving little room for the other candidates to make a separate name for themselves at the Wednesday night debate. Indeed, the Iowa Poll, widely seen as the most reliable early poll for the primary race, found that Trump has by far the most solid support of any candidate: 68% said they won’t vote for anyone else.“What the Democrats seem not to understand is – the perception is that these prosecutions are politicized,” he explained.

“This is an attempt on the part of Democrats and Democratically-connected institutions and structures to undermine the ability of Donald Trump to run again. “I think that narrative is extending beyond the hardcore Trump supporters. People are raising questions around what appears to be a sort of piling-on, and indictments that have such a political character to them. We know they’re being framed as just some objective legal issues. And we know that the judge in Georgia, for example, claimed that she’s going to try this case without the politics. But very few people are in fact buying that. And it’s really a very dangerous situation because that perception is really helping to continue to undermine the legitimacy of US institutions.” “It’s a very dangerous strategy, but one in which Democrats believe that, in some kind of way, they’re going to create a condition or situation where someone, one of the Republican candidates, will then break from the pack,” he said. “That seems to be the thinking of many of the Democratic Party strategists.”

Baraka said that the Democratic officials in Georgia had displayed a “political inclination to make” Trump’s prosecution “into a spectacle” by treating him as if he is a flight risk and imposing limitations on his speech. “The main thing is: they want to degrade” Trump, he said. “They want those pictures, for example,” of Trump surrendering to authorities. “They have this belief that this is going to somehow undermine Trump. I think it’s going to have the opposite effect,” Baraka asserted. He accused them of having a kind of one-sided moral “blindness” that would inevitably lead to “political errors” on par with the second attempt to impeach Trump following the January 6, 2021, insurrection by his supporters at the US Capitol. “It’s all part of the process of the degeneration of politics in the US. It is incredibly dangerous because of the deepening economic crisis that we are facing. When you have the delegitimization of all of the US institutions then there’s no telling what may happen in terms of the politics here in this country. It’s very, very dangerous.”

Trump racism

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“President Trump’s only crime was to humiliate the lot of you, at every level and in both parties.”

A Letter To Our Betters (Lundrum)

To those who rule over us, though not by our own choice; To those who could not care less about this nation we call our home, but instead only care for their own power, glory, and enrichment; To those who consider themselves better than us, and view us with nothing but the utmost contempt: We know exactly who you are. Now, more than ever before, We The People have had the wool pulled from our eyes, due in large part to your own arrogance. You have ended up as our ruling class, through manipulation rather than merit, through deception rather than democracy, and through favoritism rather than free elections. And we know all this through the efforts of one man: The man that you are now attempting to sentence to hundreds of years in one of your gulags, all for the crime of exposing your treachery at the highest levels.

Most simply, Donald J. Trump committed a sin that, in your eyes, is far more egregious than such trivial crimes as bribery, sexual impropriety, abuse of power, or even outright treason. President Trump’s only crime was to humiliate the lot of you, at every level and in both parties. The damage to your ego is a far greater offense than any actual criminal wrongdoing committed by many career politicians of days gone by.That is why you now hunt the man with all the relentlessness of Ahab pursuing his White Whale. And that is why we are now more resolved than ever before to stop you. Quite simply, the fight to save Donald Trump is the fight to save America: His struggle now is unlike any smear, intimidation, and character assassination campaign faced by any other political figure in American history. And it is only so because you have made it so. The more viscerally you react to him, and the more deranged your attacks against him, the more determined his supporters become to stand by him through it all.

But this all goes far beyond President Trump. You dictate to us from your halls of marble, built ages ago by far greater men than you will ever be, and in so doing desecrate the memory of those who came before us. If our Founding Fathers could see the state of their nation today, they would either believe that the Revolution had failed; or, perhaps, they would even regret the Revolution altogether if this was the ultimate end result. You have actively led a widespread and systematic effort to erase our nation’s history, from the legacy of those very Founders to the statues and other monuments meant to stand through all of time as a tribute to their greatness. Whether by mobs of roaming thugs or by official decree, you have sought to tear down the very memory of those who built the nation that you now run.

You speak down to us from your houses of glass, eternally – and perhaps deliberately – oblivious to the two-tiered society you have created for your own benefit and at our expense. You claim to fight for “democracy,” and yet actively obstruct the will of we, the 63 million, from the moment our chosen leader laid his hand on the Bible. Your bureaucrats determined that an archaic “interagency consensus” should override the desires of the American people and their elected commander-in-chief. When he called out the corruption of one of your leading political puppets, and suggested that such corruption should be investigated, you responded by putting him through a nakedly political impeachment trial. You made a crime out of noticing a crime, even after the former Vice President quite literally confessed to committing the corrupt act to which President Trump was referring.

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Where does this leave Obama?

Biden’s Personal Interest in Firing Ukraine Prosecutor Targeting Burisma (Sp.)

New memos indicate that then-Vice President Joe Biden did not act in concert with the US government when he threatened to withhold $1 billion in Ukraine aid unless the Poroshenko government fired the prosecutor general who targeted Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian employer at that time. Joe Biden and Democrats have repeatedly stressed that his insistence on firing Ukrainian then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokhin back in December 2015 was consistent with the US policy of stamping out corruption in Ukraine. At the time, then-Vice President Joe Biden even went so far as to threaten then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that Washington would deprive Ukraine of a much-needed $1 billion loan guarantee in case the latter did not fire Shokhin. The conversation reportedly occurred in December 2015.

Biden openly bragged about the incident to the Council on Foreign Relations gathering in January 2018: “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.” However, memos by Treasury and Justice Department officials obtained by Just the News, an independent US media outlet founded by award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon, indicate that the US government held Shokhin in high regard at the time and concluded that Ukraine had made progress in fighting endemic corruption, thus deserving the loan guarantee.

“Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee,” read an October 1, 2015, memo by the Interagency Policy Committee (IPC), a Barack Obama task force. Moreover, Senior State Department officials sent Shokhin a personal note saying they were “impressed” with his office’s work and invited him and his staff to Washington for a January 2016 strategy session prior to his sacking. Remarkably, an audio tape from March 2016 which appeared to record Biden and Poroshenko’s conversation showed that the Ukrainian president pointed out that there was no evidence that Shokhin and his office were anyhow mired in corruption: “Despite the fact that we didn’t have any corruption charges, we don’t have any information about him doing something wrong, I especially asked him … No, it was the day before yesterday. I especially asked him to resign,” Poroshenko allegedly told Biden in a tape released in 2020 by then-parliamentarian Andrii Derkach.

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McCarthy is the GOP. Trump is not.

McCarthy Threatens Impeachment Inquiry, Again (Manley)

House Republicans have been calling for impeachment proceedings against US President Joe Biden for months over allegations of financial misconduct during the Obama years. While initial calls were dulled, new reports suggest the initiative may be picked up once Congress comes back in session. US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) threatened, yet again, on Tuesday to launch an impeachment inquiry in September if the Biden administration fails to turn over documents said to be tied to an alleged bribery scheme involving the Biden family. It’s not clear, however, which documents McCarthy is seeking, nor from whom. Additionally, reports have suggested the so-called ‘missing’ files were not exactly requested by lawmakers. “The thing that holds up whether we do impeachment inquiry, provide us the documents we’re asking,” McCarthy said in an interview with Larry Kudlow. “The whole determination here is how the Bidens handled this.”

“If they provide us the documents, there wouldn’t be a need for impeachment inquiry. But if they withhold the documents and fight like they have now to not provide to the American public what they deserve to know, we will move forward with impeachment inquiry when we come back into session,” he added. The House speaker did clarify that they were looking for bank statements, as well as credit card statements. “The bank statements, the credit card statements and others. Show us where the money went, show us were you taking money from outside sources? And that would clear most of this up, but they seem to fight it every step of the way,” he added. Republicans have for months been making calls for an impeachment inquiry against US President Joe Biden over a pay-to-play scheme that is alleged to have taken place when the commander-in-chief served as vice president under the Obama White House. It’s alleged Hunter Biden used his father’s role as a means to get kickbacks at the time.

When asked about the impeachment inquiry into the president, McCarthy reportedly raised several allegations about Biden’s involvement in his son’s business dealings. In addition, he also criticized the decision to appoint a special counsel to oversee the ongoing probe into Hunter Biden. Attorney for the District of Delaware, David Weiss, was earlier appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the Hunter Biden case, a move that has prompted GOP attacks against Weiss as a result. McCarthy is presently claiming that the US House could also push forward an impeachment inquiry into Biden should Weiss refuse to hand over certain information to Congress. It’s worth noting that prior to the appointment announcement, reports indicated that Weiss had initially been blocked from the post.

“If they use this special counsel to say that they can’t provide us the information, then it just shows more politics. And it will not stop us. Then we would move to impeachment inquiry and we would be able to still get the documents that we need as we move forward,” McCarthy explained. McCarthy first floated the idea of an impeachment inquiry against Biden in July, explaining then that the motive was rooted over allegations that the US president was a willing participant in financial misconduct. However, the early summer initiative only came after the House speaker initially opted to shut down earlier impeachment calls that were being encouraged by the hard-right Republicans of the House Freedom caucus.

CNN DOJ Biden

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“In 2008, the EU’s economy was somewhat larger than America’s: $16.2tn versus $14.7tn. By 2022, the US economy had grown to $25tn, whereas the EU and the UK together had only reached $19.8tn.”

The EU Doesn’t Know How To Not Be A Vassal Of The US Anymore (Blankenship)

In terms of hard numbers, Jeremy Shapiro and Jana Puglierin of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) think tank have stated: “In 2008, the EU’s economy was somewhat larger than America’s: $16.2tn versus $14.7tn. By 2022, the US economy had grown to $25tn, whereas the EU and the UK together had only reached $19.8tn. America’s economy is now nearly one-third bigger. It is more than 50 per cent larger than the EU without the UK.” The article goes on to describe a European Union that is dragging far behind the US and China in terms of quality universities, a less-than-pristine start-up environment, and lacking key benefits from its transatlantic peer – namely cheap energy. The Ukraine conflict has impacted the latter to the point that EU companies are paying three or four times what their American competitors are, with Washington being energy-independent and enjoying great domestic supplies. Meanwhile, energy from Russia is waning, European factories are closing in droves, and industry leaders are worried about the region’s future competitiveness.

The ECFR issued its own report on the matter in April, which is far blunter in describing the situation as a kind of “vassalization.” The summary of that report notes that the Ukraine war has exposed the EU’s key dependencies on the US, that over the course of a decade, the bloc has fallen behind the US in virtually every key metric, that it is deadlocked in disagreement and is looking to Washington for leadership. The ECFR noted two causes for this situation. Firstly, despite the widely understood decline of the US compared to the rise of China, the transatlantic relationship has been unbalanced in Washington’s favor over the last 15 years since the 2008 financial crisis. The Biden administration is keen to exploit this and assert itself in the face of a disjointed Europe. Secondly, no one in the EU knows what greater strategic autonomy could look like – let alone agree on it if they did. There exists no process to decide the EU’s future in an autonomous way given the current status quo, which means US leadership is necessary.

This paints quite an interesting picture. Many commentators, including myself, have long documented the decline of the US and attributed it to a number of factors: less of an attractive environment for foreign direct investment (FDI), financial instability, corruption, and internal political turmoil. This is, of course, relativized to China, which has seen immense economic growth since the founding of the People’s Republic and particularly over the past four decades. But under the smoke screen of a fumbling America and a growing China, the EU has likewise fallen in stature. As for the two causes noted by the ECFR, they seem to be intertwined. Many of the key issues that have faced the EU, from migration to the banking crisis to Covid-19, have stemmed directly from the non-federal nature of the EU.

And the current political crises are a result of Euroskepticism, i.e. a backlash against what is perceived as an overreach from Brussels by some political organizations within the bloc. The EU is a complicated and sometimes cumbersome bureaucracy that is cherished by some, reviled by others, and, under these assumptions, is an impediment to strategic autonomy. The ECFR essentially argues for the EU and Western European capitals to lean into the transatlantic partnership, but on terms favorable to themselves. This includes creating an independent security architecture within and complimentary to NATO, creating an economic NATO of sorts and even pursuing a European nuclear weapons program. At least the former two are acceptable, as abandoning the US outright would be politically foolish for the EU at this juncture. It certainly needs to develop a transatlantic free-trade agreement that puts an end to American trade protectionism.

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“even the most experienced units have been reconstituted a number of times after taking heavy casualties.”

West ‘Perplexed’ By Ukraine’s Strategy – NYT (RT)

Ukraine’s counteroffensive is struggling because some of Kiev’s best troops are “in the wrong places,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing senior US and UK officials speaking on condition of anonymity. The offensive’s main objective is to reach the Sea of Azov, cutting off Crimea from the Russian mainland, but Ukraine currently has more troops on the eastern front – facing Artyomovsk, also known as Bakhmut – than in the “far more strategically significant” south, according to the Times. “American planners have advised Ukraine to concentrate on the front driving toward Melitopol… and on punching through Russian minefields and other defenses, even if the Ukrainians lose more soldiers and equipment in the process,” the newspaper said.

The Russian Defense Ministry has estimated Ukraine had lost 45,000 dead and over 5,000 vehicles in the past two months of fighting, without going past the Russian screening line. “Only with a change of tactics and a dramatic move can the tempo of the counteroffensive change,” a US official told the newspaper, though others argued that even that may be too little, too late. Kiev’s insistence on keeping a large force in the east is particularly “perplexing” to American and British officials, as Western doctrine calls for commitment to a clear main effort. They argue that a smaller force could serve to pin down the Russian defenders, and while Ukraine theoretically has enough troops to retake Artyomovsk, doing so would “lead to large numbers of losses for little strategic gain.”

General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, his British counterpart Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Christopher Cavoli all urged Ukraine’s top general Valery Zaluzhny to focus on the southern front in the August 10 call, the Times said. Zaluzhny supposedly agreed. Just five days later, however, President Vladimir Zelensky was touring the “Soledar sector” near Artyomovsk, visiting the neo-Nazi ‘Azov’ unit and speaking about the importance of that front. According to the Times, Ukraine has started to redeploy some units to the south, but “even the most experienced units have been reconstituted a number of times after taking heavy casualties.”

Kiev is currently “tapping into its last strategic reserves,” and unnamed Western analysts worry that Ukrainian forces “may run out of steam” by mid-September, even before a change in weather turns the ground into impassable mud. The Times itself noted that US criticism comes from the perspective of officers “who have never experienced a war of this scale and intensity,” and that the US war doctrine “has never been tested in an environment like Ukraine’s, where Russian electronic warfare jams communications and GPS,” and there is no air superiority. Ukraine launched its much-hyped offensive in early June, but has so far failed to gain any significant ground, losing many Western-supplied tanks and armored vehicles in the process.

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“The groups exist throughout Ukraine and some have as many as 100,000 members..”

Ukrainian Draft Dodgers Aggravating Troop Shortages – BBC (RT)

Ukraine is struggling to reinforce its troop numbers due to “constant” heavy casualties suffered in the conflict with Russia and the population’s unwillingness to replace those no longer able to serve, the BBC reported on Tuesday. “The country constantly needs to replace the tens of thousands who’ve been killed or injured,” the British state broadcaster said, adding that many Ukrainian troops are exhausted following 18 months of hostilities with Moscow. According to the broadcaster, Ukrainians have formed mass chat groups on social media to share ways of dodging conscription, including providing tip-offs on Telegram of draft patrol officers’ routes. The groups exist throughout Ukraine and some have as many as 100,000 members, the BBC added.

Thousands have already fled Ukraine in an attempt to avoid the draft, while others are planning to do so, the BBC claimed. It said that those fleeing often bribe officials, including recruitment officers, to ensure safe passage abroad. Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky dismissed every single regional military official responsible for conscription following a series of corruption scandals. The Ukrainian authorities had previously opened 112 criminal cases against territorial draft center officials, Zelensky revealed at the time. Ukrainian defense officials have described the alleged offenses committed by those responsible for the draft campaign as “shameful and unacceptable.” Fired personnel will be replaced by combat veterans unfit for active duty, Zelensky said in early August, claiming that they had “no cynicism” and could be trusted.

According to the BBC, officers involved in the recruitment campaign stand accused of employing increasingly heavy-handed tactics. People have allegedly been summoned to recruitment centers for registration, often only to be seized on the spot and deprived of the chance to return home, the broadcaster claimed. Draft officials are also accused of using “harsh or intimidating tactics,” the British broadcaster said, while fresh recruits can reportedly find themselves on the front lines “with just a month of training.” The report comes as Kiev struggles with the much-hyped counteroffensive against Russian forces launched in early June. According to Moscow, Ukrainian troops have failed to make any significant progress, often only reaching the first line of Russian defenses.

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They find that out now?

F-16’s For Ukraine Can’t Carry Storm Shadows (Sp.)

According to reports in US media, the plan to supply Ukraine with US-made F-16 Falcon fighter jets has hit a snag, since the aircraft are not presently compatible with the British-made Storm Shadow cruise missiles previously given to Ukraine to enhance its long-range aerial strike capability. That has raised a new question among politicos: should the US send compatible cruise missiles to Kiev alongside the F-16, such as the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) with its 575-mile range? Alexander Mikhailov, head of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis, told Sputnik on Tuesday that the situation exposes the unplanned and haphazard way in which NATO is scrambling to send Kiev any weapons they can find, but especially older ones.

“It seems to me that both the British and aviation armaments [industries] will find a technical opportunity to place their missiles on the F-16,” he said. “I think the issue here is quite technically solvable. It seems to me that, in general, we need to wait for the delivery of aircraft.” “We are again dealing with promises to assist in the supply of weapons, promises to establish training for pilots. But we don’t see specific products,” he said. “This story is very similar to the story of American tanks, which started in November of last year, when the Americans first promised their Abrams tanks and simultaneously dragged European partners into these promises, then they themselves stalled the supply of tanks, citing a lack of a structural base, a lack of a repair base, a shortage of all this in Poland or on the territory of Ukraine,” Mikhailov noted.

“And at this time, the German Leopard tanks were already burning and the image of the German defense industry was burning and a lot of other troubles that Europe received which, as it were, followed the lead of the Americans with their eternal divorce.” “Now it’s a very similar story. The Americans would very much like European planes to fly to Ukraine. Moreover, the same Germans have third-generation Tornado aircraft, Europeans have Typhoons, Mirages, Rafales, and Gripens. And in principle, there is plenty to choose from, especially if the Europeans are more loyal. But the Europeans are no longer fooled by these American promises. Because after the story with the Abrams, when even the Challenger tanks arrived in Ukraine and several Leopards were sent to Ukraine and even participated in the hostilities, the Abrams did not appear in Ukraine.”

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PPP.

Putin: Russia Among World’s Top Five Economies, Overtakes Germany (Sp.)

Despite pessimistic forecasts, Russia is among the five largest economies in the world and has overtaken the Federal Republic of Germany, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Council on Strategic Development and National Projects. According to the World Bank, the Russian Federation “has moved ahead of the Federal Republic of Germany in terms of purchasing power parity, in terms of the size of the economy,” Putin added. The president highlighted that this is one of the most important indicators. The president stressed that the growth rates are steady, including in industry, while the current budget situation is stable and risk-free. “The current budgetary situation is generally stable and does not carry risks for macroeconomic stability. In the second quarter, the federal budget deficit decreased almost eight times compared to the first quarter and totaled 264 billion rubles. In July, the budget balance was 458 billion rubles better than a year ago,” Putin clarified.

For July-September the budget will be reported with a surplus, and by the end of the year the excess of expenditures over revenues will amount to the planned 2% of GDP, Putin noted. According to the president, in a year and a half, the ruble’s share of payments for Russian exports has more than tripled, from 12% to 42%, and “if we count it together with the currencies of friendly countries, this share reaches 70%”. Domestic manufacturers are quickly filling the niches of foreign companies that have left, and Russia will continue to do the same, the president emphasized. On August 4, Sputnik calculated using data from the World Bank that Russia’s GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP) in 2022 for the first time ever exceeded $5 trillion, allowing the country to remain the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Earllier Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the Russian economy had adapted to Western sanctions and was growing steadily, adding that, despite all attempts to cut it off from global production chains, logistics routes and financial systems, interest for the country’s economy was increasing. In early August, an American newspaper reported that the West’s strategy of imposing sanctions on Russian businessmen and their families proved to be ineffective. Russia’s ability to withstand the sanctions will be a subject for analysis in the future, according to the report.

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More PPP.

De-Dollarization Is Irreversible – Putin (RT)

The US dollar is losing its global role in an “objective and irreversible” process, the Russian president told participants at the BRICS Summit in South Africa on Tuesday. Vladimir Putin spoke by via videolink, after choosing not to attend the event in person.De-dollarization is “gaining momentum” he said, adding that members of the group of major emerging economies are seeking to reduce their reliance on the greenback in mutual transactions. The Russian leader said the five nations – Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa – are becoming the new world economic leaders, and that their cumulative share of global GDP has reached 26%. He noted that if measured by purchasing power parity, BRICS has already surpassed the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations – accounting for 31% of the global economy, compared to 30% for the G7.

Over the past 10 years, mutual investment between the BRICS member states has increased by six times. Their total investments in the world economy have doubled, while cumulative exports account for 20% of the global total, Putin said. Moscow is focusing on re-orienting its transport and logistics routes towards “reliable foreign partners,” including BRICS members, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of energy and food to the international market. Russia’s primary goals include developing the Northern Sea Route and the ‘North-South’ transport corridor, Putin stated. The first, passing through the Arctic Ocean, along Russia’s northern coastline, will ensure faster goods deliveries between Europe and the Far East. The second will connect Russia’s northern and Baltic ports to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, facilitating cargo movement between Eurasian and African nations.

“We are consistently increasing fuel, food and fertilizer supplies to the states of the Global South,” and actively contributing to global food and energy security, the Russian leader said. He blamed the current international food crisis on the West’s unilateral sanctions, describing them as “unlawful.” “Illegitimate sanctions… seriously weigh on the international economic situation,” and the “unlawful freezing of sovereign states’ assets” constitutes a violation of free trade and economic cooperation rules. The resource deficit and growing inequality worldwide are a “direct result” of such policies, the Russian president argued. He highlighted skyrocketing grain and food prices as the latest manifestation of this process, primarily affecting the most vulnerable nations.

Moscow is represented at the Johannesburg summit, which runs from August 22 to 24, by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Putin opted not to attend the event after a decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue a warrant for his arrest in March. The court based the order on Ukraine’s allegation that the Russian evacuation of children from the conflict zone amid hostilities between the two nations amounted to “unlawful population transfers.”South Africa is a signatory of the Rome Statute of the ICC, and the US and its allies had pressured it to detain Putin should he travel to the country. Moscow has repeatedly denied the ICC’s allegations and stressed that it does not recognize the court’s authority, declaring the warrant legally null and void. Although South African President Cyril Ramaphosa repeatedly stated that he would not carry out the order, claiming it would amount to a “declaration of war,” Moscow ultimately decided to send Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the BRICS summit to represent Russia.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1694133636101001423

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“IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi recently claimed the wastewater was safe enough for drinking and swimming. He did not respond to Beijing’s request to drink it himself, however.”

“..if the [..] water is truly safe, Japan wouldn’t have to dump it into the sea—and certainly shouldn’t if it’s not..”

Fukushima Water Discharge ‘Irresponsible’ – China (RT)

The Japanese government’s plan to discharge water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean is “extremely selfish and irresponsible,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday. “The ocean sustains humanity. It is not a sewer for Japan’s nuclear-contaminated water,” Wang told reporters at the daily press briefing, calling the Japanese plan “unjustified, unreasonable and unnecessary.” “Japan is putting its selfish interests above the long-term wellbeing of the entire humanity,” the spokesman added. “China is gravely concerned and strongly opposed to this.” Beijing intends to take all the necessary steps to “protect the marine environment, ensure food safety and safeguard people’s life and health,” Wang added, without adding specifics.

Earlier on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that the dumping of waste water into the Pacific Ocean would begin on August 24, “weather conditions permitting.” For the past two years, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has sought approval to start dumping the water from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The plant produces 100 cubic meters of radioactive water every day, to keep its reactors from melting down, and TEPCO is running out of storage on site. The company intends to release a total of one million metric tons of water, starting with around 7,800 cubic meters over 17 days.

Tokyo insists that the wastewater has been treated and poses no danger to humanity or marine life, but Japan’s neighbors disagree. The ocean dump proposal has been endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which said its impact on the environment would be “negligible.” According to the UN nuclear watchdog, the wastewater contains about 190 becquerels of tritium per liter, well below the 10,000 becquerel limit set by the World Health Organization. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi recently claimed the wastewater was safe enough for drinking and swimming. He did not respond to Beijing’s request to drink it himself, however.

“China and other stakeholders have pointed out on multiple occasions that if the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water is truly safe, Japan wouldn’t have to dump it into the sea—and certainly shouldn’t if it’s not,” Wang told reporters on Tuesday. While Beijing did not specify measures it intends to undertake in response, China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao have already said they would “immediately activate” import controls on Japanese seafood, covering live, frozen, refrigerated, and dried fish, as well as sea salt and seaweed.

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Mantis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1693928738835100023

 

 

Baby hippo

 

 

Monitor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1693897176311529493

 

 

Inca tern
https://twitter.com/i/status/1693973402183258421

 

 

 

 

Blue

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 032021
 


Vincent van Gogh Avenue of Poplars at Sunset 1884

 

Tucker Carlson Levels Fauci After FOIA Emails Connect The Dots (ZH)
Fauci’s Upcoming Book Scrubbed On Amazon, Barnes & Noble Amid Backlash (JTN)
Wuhan Lab Chief To NIH Conference: ‘No Regulation’ On Virus Manipulation (NP)
Israel: Likely Link Between Pfizer Vaccine And Myocarditis In Young Males (RT)
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett To Build New Kind Of Nuclear Reactor In Wyoming (R.)
Why The US Isn’t Going To Nuke Anyone From Orbit Anytime Soon (RT)
The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun (Greenwald)
Daniel Ellsberg Wants The US To Prosecute Him Under The Espionage Act (IC)
‘Dying for an iPhone’ (Chris Hedges)
China Rushes To Pull Back The Yuan From A Three-Year High (CNBC)
Olympics Will Go Ahead, Says Tokyo Games Chief (G.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker Berenson

 

 

An anagram for Dr Anthony Fauci is China Fraud Tony

 

 

“Fauci supported the grotesque and dangerous experiments that appeared to have made COVID possible.”

Tucker Carlson Levels Fauci After FOIA Emails Connect The Dots (ZH)

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson ripped “the utter fraudulence of Tony Fauci” Wednesday night, after BuzzFeed and the Washington Post obtained thousands of pages of emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, revealing that the nation’s top virologist was telling the public one thing, while furiously working on damage control and narrative-shaping as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. According to Carlson, Americans assumed “that the man in charge of protecting the US from COVID must be rational and impressive,” adding “We also assumed he must be honest. But we were wrong.

“It soon became clear that Tony Fauci was just another sleazy federal bureaucrat – deeply political and often dishonest. More shocking than that we then learned that Fauci himself was implicated in the very pandemic he’d been charged with fighting.” “Fauci supported the grotesque and dangerous experiments that appeared to have made COVID possible.” -Tucker Carlson. Fauci’s emails collectively show that “from the beginning, Tony Fauci was worried that the public might conclude COVID had originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” “Why would he be concerned that Americans would conclude that?” Tucker asked. “Possibly because Tony Fauci knew that he had funded gain-of-function experiments at that very same laboratory.”

“The emails prove that Fauci lied about this under oath,” said Tucker, who highlighted an email from scientist Christian G. Anderson to Fauci, saying that he and his fellow scientists felt the virus looked ‘potentially’ engineered, and that members of his team “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.” Fauci then sent an urgent email to his deputy – Hugh Auchincloss – with the subject “IMPORTANT,” and which read “Hugh, it is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on … You will have tasks today that must be done.”

Tucker Fauci

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Wonder why. Can’t be the negative publicity, there hasn’t been enough of that.

Fauci’s Upcoming Book Scrubbed On Amazon, Barnes & Noble Amid Backlash (JTN)

White House coronavirus adviser and long-time U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s upcoming book has been scrubbed from and altered on online listings, amid criticism that he is profiting from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The book, “Expect the Unexpected,” was earlier pegged for a November release, according to its Amazon listing. As of Wednesday morning, the book’s listing had been entirely scrubbed from Amazon. However, a cached version of the listing, still displayed the book’s promotional description and preorder status. A cached website also shows the book’s listing on Barnes & Noble’s website, though by Wednesday morning that listing was no longer live anymore. The book appeared to still be available for preorder on some lesser known vendors such as Booktopia.


The scrubbing of the book comes after backlash from critics who accused Fauci of profiting off of the deadly pandemic the U.S. response to which he has overseen. Among those criticizing Fauci is Fox News Channel contributor Joe Concha, who compared him to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing a seven-figure book deal about his efforts during the pandemic, which resulted in a high number of death among assisted-living residents. “If you look at the numbers again, you had Cuomo profiting off a pandemic, a government official,” said Concha, also a media reporter for The Hill newspaper. “Now we have Fauci doing it as well. I think this is appalling.”

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Why go to Wuhan? Well…

Wuhan Lab Chief To NIH Conference: ‘No Regulation’ On Virus Manipulation (NP)

The National Institutes of Health hosted Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers at a 2011 conference focusing on scientific research that could pose a “significant threat” to human health – including manipulation of bat coronaviruses. At the event, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Deputy Director repeatedly asserted that his controversial lab had “no regulation” on this form of risky research, The National Pulse can exclusively reveal. The 2011 event – Continuing the Global Dialogue with the Scientific and Science Policy Community with a Focus on Asia and the Western Pacific – was sponsored by the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and sought to provide participants with a “greater understanding” of Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).

Defined by the NIH as research “that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety,” DURC encompasses gain-of-function studies, which have come under increased scrutiny due to their role in potentially spawning COVID-19. Among the event participants were Wuhan Institute of Virology Deputy Director Yuan Zhiming, NIH Associate Director for Science Policy Amy Patterson, and top American researchers and scientific advisory board members. The NIH’s unearthed role in hosting the event follows National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci denying his agency’s relationship to the Wuhan lab.

While speaking at the event via telephone, Yuan Zhiming repeatedly emphasized that his lab and China lacked any meaningful regulation of dual-use research. “There’s no regulation in China, there’s no regulation on the identification of some dual-use research, and there’s no regulation on the classification of research or the classification of information,” he explained. “Even China, the biosafety and biosecurity philosophy is regulated by Chinese scientific community, but the dual-use research is not totally regulated. So we need to have some measure or some special program to raise the concern of principal investigators through training.”

Yuan reiterated the sentiment in his closing remarks to the conference, commenting “there’s no regulation on the dual-use identification and classification of some sensitive information, and I think maybe later the Chinese government and the Chinese scientific community will focus on the discussion in this matter.” Since the outbreak of COVID-19, however, Yuan has made rounds on American and Chinese state-run media outlets to discredit the possibility of the virus leaking from his lab.

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“The number of cases reported after the second shot was four times greater than those recorded after the first..”

Israel: Likely Link Between Pfizer Vaccine And Myocarditis In Young Males (RT)

A specially appointed epidemiological team has found “a likelihood of a link” between receiving the second dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine and the onset of myocarditis in young men, Israel’s Health Ministry said in a statement. The ministry says the team was set up following reports of cases of heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, among males aged 16 to 30 shortly after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered. The link was found to be stronger in people aged 16-19 relative to other age groups, and weakens as the age of the recipients increases. Most patients who experienced the problem spent up to four days in the hospital, and 95% of the cases were classified as mild, according to the ministry.

The Health Ministry commissioned the study after 275 cases of myocarditis were reported in Israel between December 2020 and May 2021. Nearly 150 cases were recorded after the vaccine was administered. The number of cases reported after the second shot was four times greater than those recorded after the first, the ministry said. Myocarditis is a condition characterized by chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, and can be caused by Covid-19, according to the ministry. While the type of vaccine in question is not directly mentioned in the statement, Israel relies almost exclusively on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it’s the only product mentioned on the vaccination information page of the Health Ministry website.

Pfizer said in a statement cited by Reuters that it has not recorded a higher rate of myocarditis than would normally be expected in the general population. The pharma giant added that it was aware of the Israeli observations of myocarditis but has not established a causal link to its vaccine. The Israeli Health Ministry says that given the findings, it will review the 12-15-year-old population’s eligibility for the vaccine. The shot was recently approved in the EU for people aged 12 and older.

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Oh, just lovely.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett To Build New Kind Of Nuclear Reactor In Wyoming (R.)

Power companies run by billionaire friends Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have chosen Wyoming to launch the first Natrium nuclear reactor project on the site of a retiring coal plant. TerraPower, founded by Gates about 15 years ago, and power company PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said on Wednesday that the exact site of the Natrium reactor demonstration plant was expected to be announced by the end of the year. Small advanced reactors, which run on different fuels to traditional reactors, are regarded by some as a critical carbon-free technology than can supplement intermittent power sources like wind and solar as states strive to cut emissions that cause climate change. “We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry,” Gates told a media conference to launch the project in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“This is our fastest and clearest course to becoming carbon negative,” Wyoming’s governor, Mark Gordon, said. “Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy” in Wyoming, the country’s top coal-producing state. The project features a 345 megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with molten salt-based energy storage that could boost the system’s power output to 500MW during peak power demand. TerraPower said last year that the plants would cost about $1bn. Late last year the US energy department awarded TerraPower $80m in initial funding to demonstrate Natrium technology, and the department has committed additional funding in coming years subject to congressional appropriations.

Chris Levesque, TerraPower’s president and chief executive, said the demonstration plant would take about seven years to build. “We need this kind of clean energy on the grid in the 2030s,” he told reporters. Nuclear power experts have warned that advanced reactors could have higher risks than conventional ones. Fuel for many advanced reactors would have to be enriched at a much higher rate than conventional fuel, meaning the fuel supply chain could be an attractive target for militants looking to create a crude nuclear weapon, a recent report said. Levesque said that the plants would reduce proliferation risks because they reduce overall nuclear waste.

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Not even the US is that crazy.

Why The US Isn’t Going To Nuke Anyone From Orbit Anytime Soon (RT)

Low-orbit space planes have been named as a possible carrier of American nuclear warheads. While theoretically possible, at current technology levels such weapons would be significantly more trouble than they are worth.
According to the director-general of Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey, Yan Novikov, the US has orbital bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Variants of the Boeing X-37 orbital test vehicle, launched in 2010 and officially used for scientific purposes, can theoretically carry up to six warheads, Novikov claimed during a virtual educational forum in Russia in May. In the words of Kyle Mizokami, who wrote an article on this for Popular Mechanics, “this isn’t even a good idea”.

While Mizokami’s take is titled “Don’t believe Russia”, and its main thrust is apparently that Mr. Novikov is hyping up the US orbital nukes threat to boost the sales of Almaz-Antey’s surface-to-space missiles, he does have some good points that explain why the dangers of orbital bombing are more than a little exaggerated. First off, putting nukes on an X-37 to then launch them from orbit will require extensive modification to the weapons, which will only allow two or, at best, three, to be taken on board – not nearly enough for an effective surprise attack. And to carry an element of surprise, it would have to approach Russia from a very specific direction to avoid the radars of early-warning systems – and even so, it won’t be able to hide from visual detection.

Aside from the lack of surprise, there is a long list of problems associated with space planes carrying nuclear payloads. “The idea of placing strategic nuclear weapons in low Earth orbit isn’t new. It emerged with the first successful launches of the Earth’s artificial satellites,” ex-chief of the General Staff of the Air Defense Forces, Honored Military Pilot, Colonel-General of Aviation Igor Maltsev says. According to him, for a number of reasons, space projects like this never went beyond concept or, at best, preliminary design. Why was that the case? Technically, the goal of putting these weapons in space is achievable, says Igor Maltsev. Anything can be launched to space. But when the idea is to create a strategic weapons system in orbit, there are a number of challenges that have, so far, prevented any significant progress along these lines.

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“..ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized.”

The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun (Greenwald)

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a new warning bulletin, alerting Americans that domestic extremists may well use violence on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. This was at least the fourth such bulletin issued this year by Homeland Security (DHS) warning of the same danger and, thus far, none of the fears it is trying to instill into the American population has materialized. The first was a January 14 warning, from numerous federal agencies including DHS, about violence in Washington, DC and all fifty state capitols that was likely to explode in protest of Inauguration Day (a threat which did not materialize). Then came a January 27 bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks” from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority” (that warning also was not realized).

Then there was a May 14 bulletin warning of right-wing violence “to attack higher-capacity targets,” exacerbated by the lifting of COVID lockdowns (which also never happened). And now we are treated to this new DHS warning about domestic extremists preparing violent attacks over Tulsa (it remains to be seen if a DHS fear is finally realized). Just like the first War on Terror, these threats are issued with virtually no specificity. They are just generalized warnings designed to put people in fear about their fellow citizens and to justify aggressive deployment of military and law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. A CNN article which wildly hyped the latest danger bulletin about domestic extremists at Tulsa had to be edited with what the cable network, in an “update,” called “the additional information from the Department of Homeland Security that there is no specific or credible threats at this time.”

And the supposed dangers from domestic extremists on Inauguration Day was such a flop that even The Washington Post — one of the outlets most vocal about lurking national security dangers in general and this one in particular — had to explicitly acknowledge the failure: Thousands [of National Guard troops] had been deployed to capitals across the country late last week, ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized. Once again on Wednesday, security officials’ worst fears weren’t borne out: In some states, it was close to business as usual. In others, demonstrations were small and peaceful, with only occasional tense moments.

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“The study shows American generals enthusiastically planning for the use of nuclear weapons against China.”

Daniel Ellsberg Wants The US To Prosecute Him Under The Espionage Act (IC)

“The whole idea is to kill the bastards,” Gen. Thomas Power, commander of America’s nuclear forces from 1957 to 1963, once said about the use of atomic weapons. “At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win.” The hold this nuclear lunacy had on the top of the U.S. government is terrifyingly illuminated in a top-secret study of U.S. war plans newly publicized by famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. The document, produced by the RAND Corporation and copied by Ellsberg at the same time he exfiltrated the Pentagon Papers from RAND, examines the U.S. response to the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis. The study’s contents were first reported on May 22 by the New York Times.

The crisis, now completely forgotten, began when China attempted to seize several small islands off its coast from Taiwan. The study shows American generals enthusiastically planning for the use of nuclear weapons against China. It is not simply that the officials looked with equanimity on the possibility of killing millions; rather, many seemed frustrated that there were any delays forced upon them by the rest of the government. If China had not changed course, civilization could have ended then and there. Ellsberg is now speaking out about the study, he said in a phone interview, for a straightforward reason: “I got scared.” The issues that led to the 1958 crisis between the U.S. and China have never been resolved; both countries are now ramping up confrontational rhetoric; and most importantly, the strategic rationale that led the U.S. to consider nuclear war then remains exactly the same today.

“You shouldn’t be confident that the current calculations are any less crazy,” Ellsberg said. His apprehension about the potential use of nuclear weapons is intimately linked to another of his key concerns: the Justice Department’s accelerating use of the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute leakers. Its chilling effect on potential whistleblowers makes it less and less likely that Americans will even know what their government is doing, much less be able to do anything about it. Ellsberg hopes his latest revelation will prompt a cultural and perhaps legal reckoning for the Act.

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“Workers are abused, underpaid and sickened from exposure to chemicals and toxins such as aluminum dust.”

‘Dying for an iPhone’ (Chris Hedges)

Global capitalists have turned back the clock to the early days of the Industrial Revolution. The working class is increasingly bereft of rights, blocked from forming unions, paid starvation wages, subject to wage theft, under constant surveillance, fired for minor infractions, exposed to dangerous carcinogens, forced to work overtime, given punishing quotas and abandoned when they are sick and old. Workers have become, here and abroad, disposable cogs to corporate oligarchs, who wallow in obscene personal wealth that dwarfs the worst excesses of the Robber Barons. In fashionable liberal circles there are, as Noam Chomsky notes, worthy and unworthy victims. Nancy Pelosi has called on global leaders not to attend the Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in Beijing in February, because of what she called a “genocide” being carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur minority.

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof in a column rattled off a list of human rights violations overseen by China’s leader Xi Jinping, writing “[Xi] eviscerates Hong Kong freedoms, jails lawyers and journalists, seizes Canadian hostages, threatens Taiwan and, most horrifying, presides over crimes against humanity in the far western region of Xinjiang that is home to several Muslim minorities.” Not a word about the millions of workers in China who are treated little better than serfs. They live separated from their families, including their children, and housed in overcrowded company dormitories, which sees rent deducted from their paychecks, next to factories that have round-the-clock production, often making products for U.S. corporations. Workers are abused, underpaid and sickened from exposure to chemicals and toxins such as aluminum dust.

The suffering of the working class, within and outside the United States, is as ignored by our corporatized media as the suffering of the Palestinians. And yet, I would argue, it is one of the most important human rights issues of our era, since once workers are empowered, they can fend off other human rights violations. Unless workers can organize, here and in countries such as China, and achieve basic rights and living wages, it will cement into place a global serfdom that will leave workers trapped in the appalling conditions described by Friedrich Engels in his 1845 book “The Conditions of the Working Class in England” or Émile Zola‘s 1885 masterpiece “Germinal.”

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Small moves so far, more like virtue signalling.

China Rushes To Pull Back The Yuan From A Three-Year High (CNBC)

China is trying to rein in the yuan as it surges to three-year highs against the U.S. dollar. A stronger yuan makes Chinese goods relatively more expensive to buyers overseas, and has spurred concerns about the competitiveness of Chinese exports — a major contributor to national economic growth. The Chinese yuan traded little changed against the U.S. dollar Thursday after the People’s Bank of China set the yuan’s daily midpoint at 6.3811 versus the greenback. That marked the second-straight day of weaker fixings, reversing six straight trading days of stronger fixings since May 24, according to data from Wind Information.

The PBOC has tried to allow the market to play a greater role in deter mining the yuan’s exchange rate. But the central bank retains some control through daily midpoint fixings against the dollar, allowing the yuan to move 2% higher or lower from that level. The weaker fix followed the central bank’s announcement late Monday that beginning June 15, financial institutions must increase the ratio of their foreign exchange deposits by 2 percentage points — to 7% from 5% currently. The hike forces banks to retain more of their foreign currency holdings, reducing the amount that could be used to influence foreign exchange rates.

It is the first such hike in 14 years since the previous change in May 2007 — before the financial crisis — economists pointed out. They estimate the move will reduce the amount of foreign currency available for long-term trading by $20 billion. Analysts said the exact dollar amount is less significant than the central bank’s message that the yuan will not move in a single direction of continued strengthening against the U.S. dollar.

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With 80% of Japanese against.

Olympics Will Go Ahead, Says Tokyo Games Chief (G.)

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, has said the Games will go ahead as planned, soon after the Japan’s most senior medical adviser said holding the event under current coronavirus conditions was “not normal”. “We cannot postpone again,” Hashimoto said an interview published on Thursday in the Nikkan Sports newspaper. Shigeru Omi, head of a panel of experts that has been advising the Japanese government on its Covid-19 response since the start of the pandemic, issued his strongest warning yet of the potential risks of holding the Games. “It’s not normal to have the Olympics in a situation like this,” Omi told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, adding that organisers should explain to a sceptical public why it was pushing ahead with preparations.

Most Japanese people do not want Tokyo 2020 to be held this summer, according to recent opinion polls. Medical journals have questioned the wisdom of allowing 90,000 athletes, media, sponsors, officials and support staff to enter the country in July, while medical unions say the Games will place additional pressure on health services. The public broadcaster NHK reported that about 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers who signed up to help during the Games have quit, but organisers said the lower numbers would not be “particularly problematic” since the decision had already been taken to ban spectators from overseas. “There’s no mistake that concerns over the coronavirus could have been a factor,” as well as scheduling conflicts due to last year’s postponement, the Nikkei business paper quoted Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto as saying.

[..] Tokyo and several other regions are under a state of emergency that is due to end on 20 June. While the rate of infections is falling in the capital, there is concern about the risks posed by new variants and Japan’s slow vaccine rollout. The vaccination programme has gathered pace in recent days, but only 2.7% of Japan’s 126 million population has been fully vaccinated. In an attempt to speed up the process with just 50 days to go before the opening ceremony, the government has said large companies and universities will be able to start inoculating staff and students from 21 June. Japan has avoided the large-scale infections suffered by many other countries, but serious cases have risen during the latest outbreak. It has reported more than 750,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and about 13,200 deaths, a relatively high number among Asian countries.

Read more …

 

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 November 21, 2020  Posted by at 11:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  15 Responses »


Salaì Penitent Magdalene 1515 to 1520

 

 

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Sanford Health CEO on COVID19 Hospitalizations: ‘There’s Not A Crisis.’ (AL)
More People Are Getting COVID19 Twice (AAAS)
How Pfizer Plans To Keep Its Vaccine At Deep-Frozen During Transport (CBS)
Trump Targets Medicare Drug Prices With Cost-cutting Measures (Fox)
61% Think Trump Should Concede to Biden (Rasmussen)
PBS Does A Deep Dive On Georgia’s Use Of Dominion Voting Systems Machines (GP)
Dominion Voting ‘Lawyers Up’, Abruptly Backs Out Of PA Hearing (Heine)
The Many Layers of Travail (Jim Kunstler)
Sidney Powell: Tucker Carlson Was ‘Insulting, Demanding, And Rude’ (WE)
The Pentagon and the CIA Are in Charge of Foreign Policy (FFF)
How ‘Western’ Media Select Their Foreign Correspondents (MoA)

 

 

 

 

BlackRock Bitcoin replacing gold
https://twitter.com/i/status/1329774212018475010

 

 

“For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I’m susceptible to infection or could transmit it.”

Sanford Health CEO on COVID19 Hospitalizations: ‘There’s Not A Crisis.’ (AL)

Sanford Health’s chief executive says South Dakota doesn’t need a mask-mandate, and the worst of the pandemic is days away from being in the rear-view mirror. Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sanford Health, told the Argus Leader in an interview Thursday his healthcare system is positioned well to handle the amount of COVID-19 patients coming through the door. Krabbenhoft, 62, said as of Thursday, Sanford Health’s network of hospitals in the region were caring for a 1,400 patients, 390 of which are hospitalized with COVID-19. And while that has put a large burden on front-line workers, he said Sanford has capacity to handle even more patients should hospitalizations continue to go up before mass vaccination begins in January. “At this point, we feel we’ve got this under control,” Krabbenhoft said. “There’s not a crisis.”

And though state health officials have previously stated vaccine doses would begin arriving in South Dakota sometime in December, Krabbenhoft said new information provided to him Thursday indicates Sanford’s first vaccine shipment could come even sooner than that. “I feel like with a vaccine — I’m told we’re about 10 days away from receiving it — it feels like the cavalry is coming,” he said. Krabbenhoft was reiterating comments he made the day prior in an email sent to all Sanford Health staff, in which he disclosed that he dealt with a COVID-19 diagnosis of his own earlier this year. In the Argus Leader interview, he said he contracted the virus while watching a football game on an outdoor patio with a friend who was asymptotic at the time.

He likened his case to that of a severe cold or the flu, having worsening symptoms for about a week before beginning to improve. Now that he’s had the virus, he presumes he’s immune to the virus for at least a few months and can’t spread it. That’s why Krabbenhoft told his employees in the email that he doesn’t always wear a mask when he’s in public settings. “The information, science, truth, advice and growing evidence is that I am immune for at least seven months and perhaps for years to come, similar to that of chicken pox, measles, etc,” he wrote in the email. “For me to wear a mask defies the efficacy and purpose of a mask and sends an untruthful message that I’m susceptible to infection or could transmit it.”

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“The bar is very high,” Moss says. “In many cases, the genetic material just isn’t there.”

More People Are Getting COVID19 Twice (AAAS)

In late June, Sanne de Jong developed nausea, shortness of breath, sore muscles, and a runny nose. At first, she thought it might be lingering effects from her COVID-19 infection in the spring. De Jong, 22, had tested positive on 17 April and suffered mild symptoms for about 2 weeks. She tested negative on 2 May—just in time to say farewell to her dying grandmother—and returned to work as a nursing intern in a hospital in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. But when her symptoms re-emerged, her doctor suggested she get tested again. “A reinfection this soon would be peculiar, but not impossible,” she told De Jong, who by then had again lost her sense of smell and had abdominal pains and diarrhea. The call from her municipal health service came on 3 July. De Jong had tested positive again. “You’re kidding me!” she recalls saying.

Scientists are keenly interested in cases like hers, which are still rare but on the rise. Reinfections hint that immunity against COVID-19 may be fragile and wane relatively quickly, with implications not just for the risks facing recovered patients, but also for how long future vaccines might protect people. “The question everybody wants to answer is: Is that second one going to be less severe most of the time or not?” says Derek Cummings, who studies infectious disease dynamics at the University of Florida. “And what do reinfections teach us about SARS-CoV-2 immunity in general?” South Korean scientists reported the first suspected reinfections in April, but it took until 24 August before a case was officially confirmed: a 33-year-old man who was treated at a Hong Kong hospital for a mild case in March and who tested positive again at the Hong Kong airport on 15 August after returning from a trip to Spain.

Since then, at least 24 other reinfections have been officially confirmed—but scientists say that is definitely an underestimate. To count as a case of reinfection, a patient must have had a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test twice with at least one symptom-free month in between. But virologist Chantal Reusken of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) explains that a second test can also be positive because the patient has a residue of nonreplicating viral RNA from their original infection in their respiratory tract, because of an infection with two viruses at the same time or because they had suppressed but never fully cleared the virus. So most journals want to see two full virus sequences, from the first and second illnesses, that are sufficiently different, says Paul Moss, a hematologist at the University of Birmingham.

“The bar is very high,” Moss says. “In many cases, the genetic material just isn’t there.” Even if it is, many labs don’t have the time or money to clinch the case. As a result, the number of genetically proven reinfections is orders of magnitude lower than that of suspected reinfections. The Netherlands alone has 50 such cases, Brazil 95, Sweden 150, Mexico 285, and Qatar at least 243.

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Why bother if other vaccines don’t require this?

How Pfizer Plans To Keep Its Vaccine At Deep-Frozen During Transport (CBS)

Pfizer is now the first company to apply for emergency authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, setting off a sprint by scientists at the Food and Drug Administration to approve it. About 25 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine may become available in December, 30 million in January and 35 million more in February and March, according to information presented to the National Academy of Medicine this week. Recipients will need two doses, three weeks apart. CBS News got an inside look at the logistical challenges of getting Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the public, including a required storage temperature you would find in the coldest places on Earth.

Colder than Antarctica in winter, dry ice – made from carbon dioxide – is crucial for moving and storing these vaccines. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be kept at 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Dry ice helps maintain the subarctic temperature during shipping. Pfizer developed a thermal shipper, which they call a “cool box,” for the trip. It’s about the size of a carry-on suitcase. “There’s dry ice that goes around it, and then it has actually a device within it that has a continuous GPS and temperature monitor,” said Tanya Alcorn, vice president of Pfizer’s BioPharma Global Supply Chain. Each “cool box” contains a minimum of about 1,000 vaccine doses, which poses a challenge for rural communities with no place to store them.


Tim Size, executive director of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, which represents 43 rural hospitals across the state, said, “I don’t think anybody wants to give a message that rural Wisconsin or rural America is second class.” “If you can ship 1,000, you can ship 200,” he added. “It’s more expensive. It’s more cumbersome, but it allows rural to be getting vaccinated at the same time urban’s getting vaccinated.”

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“..end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare..”

Trump Targets Medicare Drug Prices With Cost-cutting Measures (Fox)

The Trump administration on Friday announced three measures designed to cut prescription drug prices – with a particular focus on seniors – pursuant to executive orders signed earlier this year. “Together, these reforms will save Americans patients many, many billions of dollars every single year,” Trump said during a press conference at the White House. The first would end rebates paid to the so-called middlemen in Medicare, who are supposed to pass them on to commercial plans – though there is doubt over whether that happens. Instead, the discounts are expected to be offered to consumers directly at the pharmacy counter. There has been a concern that this policy could result in higher Part D premiums for beneficiaries.


The second action announced on Friday aims to make U.S. drug prices more competitive by linking prices paid for prescriptions under Medicare to prices charged for the same drugs in other countries. Trump said that Medicare will look at prices paid by other developed nations and instead of paying “the highest price on the list,” the program “will pay the lowest price.” Additionally, the administration said it would end the Unapproved Drug Initiative, which was designed to prevent the use of unapproved drugs, but instead has allowed drugmakers to exploit older drugs that have received renewed approval and exclusivity by hiking prices. One study found that prices were increased by as much as 1,644% after approval.

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30% of Democrats Believe Election Stolen from Trump

61% Think Trump Should Concede to Biden (Rasmussen)

Most voters now believe President Trump should admit that he lost the election, although they’re less certain their friends and neighbors would agree. They’re more closely divided, however, over whether the Democrats stole the election as Trump contends.The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters think Trump should concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. Just 33% disagree. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 84% of Democrats, 37% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party believe Trump should concede. 57% of Republicans disagree.

Among all voters, though, only 51% think their friends and neighbors believe Trump should concede. 30% suspect they would disagree, but 18% are not sure. 47% say it’s likely that Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win, but 50% disagree. This includes 36% who say it’s Very Likely and 41% who consider it Not At All Likely. The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted November 17-18, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Looking back at the presidential election, Trump voters overwhelmingly say they voted for the president, while a sizable number of Biden supporters admit they were voting against Trump rather than for the former vice president. The older the voter, the less supportive they are of Trump conceding the election to Biden. Whites oppose concession more strongly than blacks and other minority voters do. Even among those who Strongly Approve of Trump’s job performance, nearly one-in-four (23%) believe he should admit he lost. Of course, that compares to 93% of those who Strongly Disapprove of the job he’s been doing. 61% of Republicans say it’s Very Likely the Democrats stole the election, but just as many Democrats (61%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Among unaffiliateds, 29% feel it’s a stolen election; 45% do not.

80% of voters who do not believe Trump should concede yet think it’s Very Likely Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure that Biden would win. Fifteen percent (15%) of those who want Trump to concede agree. Trump’s job performance was the most important issue for Biden voters, closely followed by the coronavirus. For Trump voters, the economy came first and then how the president did his job. Just two weeks before this year’s Election Day, 94% said their vote would be correctly recorded and counted, with 73% who said it was Very Likely. Following the election, those findings fell to 71%and 47% respectively.

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PBS Went to Georgia One Week Before the Election

PBS Does A Deep Dive On Georgia’s Use Of Dominion Voting Systems Machines (GP)

One week before the 2020 election PBS went to Georgia to do a deep dive of their Dominion Voting Systems. One of their experts, Harry Hursti from Nordic Innovation Labs, told PBS the Georgia system does not seem to have any safeguards. Georgia’s vote tabulating system was a complex system of laptops, ipads, magnetic cards, touch screens, printers and scanners. Investigators found several troubling issues before the election. One expert said it would be easy to dublicate the ballot codes and make up new ballots.

PBS does a deep dive on Georgia’s use of Dominion Voting Systems machines.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1327329411805421570

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Not a great look.

Dominion Voting ‘Lawyers Up’, Abruptly Backs Out Of PA Hearing (Heine)

Dominion Voting Systems Thursday night abruptly backed out of attending a fact-finding hearing that was set for Friday morning with the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee. At a press conference Friday morning, State Govt Committee Chair Seth Grove said the 1.3. million Pennsylvanians who used Dominion’s voting machines have been “hung out to dry and slapped in their faces.” Pennsylvania lawmakers had scheduled the hearing with the voting machine manufacturer “to help identify and correct any irregularities in the election process,” according to the House Republican Caucus. “It is vitally important voters have faith in the machines they use to cast their ballots.

On the heels of Gov. Tom Wolf unilaterally decertifying every voting machine in the Commonwealth, we need to know whether these new machines met expectations, whether they are reliable and whether they are not subject to interference,” said Rep. Grove (R-York). Dominion had initially agreed to attend the hearing, before it “abruptly canceled,” Grove said. “I was impressed at what appeared to be the willingness that Dominion Voting Systems to address accusations and it would have put 1.3. million Pennsylvanians who used their machines at ease—including myself, thinking that Dominion was willing to publicly back up their product which PA taxpayers invested millions to purchase” he noted during the presser. “Unfortunately, last evening, Dominion Voting Systems lawyered up, and backed out of their commitment to the people of Pennsylvania to provide their input in a public format.”

Grove blasted the company for “retreating into the darkness,” rather than appearing at the hearing with “honesty and integrity.” The committee chair said he wanted to know why a company with nothing to hide would back out. “Why would a vender of public goods fear discussing their product sold to the public for the public good? If Dominion’s products were successful and operated as they were supposed to, why wouldn’t Dominion take the opportunity to publicly review its success?” Grove demanded. “How hard is it to say, ‘our ballot machines worked exactly as promised and they’re 100 percent accurate’?” “After weeks of accusations, why has Dominion Voting Systems not released any analysis of the success of its voting machines to the public in order to stop their accusers in their tracks? If they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding from us?” he asked.

John Oliver

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“..we’ll have to stand by like grownups and see how it all plays out in the courts.”

“(If I were her, I’d be deep into the George Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash by eight o’clock that night, Tucker Time.)”

The Many Layers of Travail (Jim Kunstler)

One thing you could say about the three Trump campaign lawyers’ joint press conference at high noon, Thursday: it sure wasn’t slick. But then, are we now such a nation of lobotomized chumps that our chief criteria for any public acting-out of an acute national melodrama is slickness of presentation? I guess we like our crises fluffed, like a Caitlin Jenner spot on The View. This one, though, is raw and savage.

And so there stood Rudy Giuliani in that cramped briefing room, with dark rivulets running down both temples as if he were sweating blood (more likely, hair dye), cracking jokes at times, and laying out some rather harsh predicates for pending election fraud lawsuits. Next up, the usually demure Sidney Powell appeared boiling over with grief and rage at the hijacking of American democracy, and the Deep State’s long-running connivance with all that, yielding nearly to tears at moments as she sketched out the sinister history and associations of the Dominion and Smartmatic vote systems — and the utter failure of public officialdom to monitor any of it for many years. Then Jenna Ellis, much in command of herself, emphasized perhaps half a dozen times, and quite sternly for the obdurately seditious news media, that the actual evidence would be revealed in court and that the day’s presentation was a mere overview. Got that? In court.

The news media didn’t get the message — on purpose, as usual — and so the stories flew all over the Internet’s gaslit echo chambers that the three lawyers failed to make a case. Later that night, Tucker Carlson piled on Sidney Powell for not sharing what she intends to present in a court of law. Apparently, she hung up the phone on him. Let’s face it, the lady has had a hard month, and a hard year, having to battle the malevolent and depraved Judge Emmet Sullivan over the dismissal of the case against General Flynn (as ordered by the DOJ), and now this colossal hairball of a momentous and historic election fraud case. (If I were her, I’d be deep into the George Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash by eight o’clock that night, Tucker Time.)

All right then, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have set the table for this epic political food-fight with just a few weeks to file and proceed, and we’ll have to stand by like grownups and see how it all plays out in the courts. There may be other sideshows and shenanigans in the various state legislatures over electoral college slates and such, along the way, but meanwhile I want to remind you that there are many other layers in this burgeoning mega-crisis worth being mindful of.

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“..As soon as he saw multiple states shut down the voting on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here.”

Sidney Powell: Tucker Carlson Was ‘Insulting, Demanding, And Rude’ (WE)

Sidney Powell, an attorney on President Trump’s election legal team, shot back at Fox News host Tucker Carlson the morning after he said she “got angry” and refused to provide evidence on his show for her claims of voting software flipping votes. “No, I didn’t get angry with the request to provide evidence,” the former federal prosecutor said Friday morning during an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. “In fact, I sent an affidavit to Tucker that I had not even attached to a pleading yet to help him understand the situation, and I offered him another witness who could explain the mathematics and the statistical evidence far better than I can. I’m not really a numbers person,” she added. “But he was very insulting, demanding, and rude, and I told him not to contact me again, in those terms,” Powell concluded.

Powell did not state whether it was Carlson or a member of his team she spoke to about appearing on his show. [..]On his show Friday night, Carlson said that he had made “a lot of requests” for Powell to provide evidence for the Trump campaign’s allegations of widespread voter fraud but was given “not a page.” “We took Sidney Powell seriously. We had no intention of fighting with her. We’ve always respected her work. We simply wanted to see the details. How could you not want to see them? So, we invited Sidney Powell on the show. We would’ve given her the whole hour. We would’ve given her the entire week, actually, and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. That’s a big story. But she never sent us any evidence, despite a lot of requests — polite requests. Not a page,” Carlson said.

After Powell told Carlson to stop contacting her, he said that his team “checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority,” who said that “Powell had never given them any evidence either.” Carlson’s show followed a wild press conference featuring Powell and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in which they laid out their claim of a “massive” vote-rigging scheme, laying much of the blame on Dominion Voting Systems. “We have one very strong witness who has explained how it all works,” Powell said. “His affidavit is attached to the pleadings of Lin Wood and the lawsuit he filed in Georgia. … As soon as he saw multiple states shut down the voting on the night of the election, he knew the same thing was happening here.”

Dinesh D’Souza

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Not the President.

The Pentagon and the CIA Are in Charge of Foreign Policy (FFF)

President Trump has announced that he is ordering a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq during the waning days of his administration. Why only partial? And why now in the waning days of his presidency? After all, when Trump campaigned in 2016. his expressed aim was to bring all the troops home from those two countries. He repeatedly vowed to bring an end to America’s “forever wars.” There is a simple explanation for Trump’s failure, one that unfortunately so many Americans are loathe to consider: It’s not the president who is in charge of foreign policy. Instead it is the Pentagon and the CIA that are in charge. Trump had four years to bring home those troops. Clearly he wanted to. The reason he didn’t – the reason he still can’t – is because the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA won’t let him.

Longtime readers of my blog know that I have periodically referenced a book titled National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, who is a professor of law at Tufts University and served as counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He knows what he is talking about. I highly recommend his book.Glennon’s thesis is a simple one: The real power of the federal government lies with the national-security establishment – namely the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. They permit the president, the Congress, and the Supreme Court to maintain the veneer of power. That veneer is unimportant to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. What’s important to them is who holds the power, not who appears to hold the power.

Trump’s inability to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq provides confirmation of Glennon’s thesis. Trump wanted to bring them home. He vowed to bring them home. He had four years to bring them home. He was unable to do so. The Pentagon and the CIA simply would not permit it. In his Farewell Address in 1961, President Eisenhower warned about the danger to America’s democratic processes from what he called the “military-industrial complex.” That was almost 60 years ago. As we have seen with President Trump, the national-security state has grown ever more powerful since then.

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What the NYT has become.

How ‘Western’ Media Select Their Foreign Correspondents (MoA)

Did you ever wonder why ‘western’ mainstream media get stories about Russia and other foreign countries so wrong? It is simple. They hire the most brainwashed, biased and cynic writers they can get for the job. Those who are corrupt enough to tell any lie required to support the world view of their editors and media owners. They are quite upfront about it. Here is evidence in form of a New York Times job description for a foreign correspondent position in Moscow:

To be allowed to write for the Times one must see the Russian Federation as a country that is ruled by just one man. One must be a fervent believer in MI6 produced Novichok hogwash. One must also believe in Russiagate and in the multiple idiocies it produced even after all of them have been debunked. One must know that vote counts in Russia are always wrong while U.S. vote counting is the most reliable ever. Russian private military contractors (which one must know to be evil men) are ‘secretly deployed’ to wherever the editors claim them to be. Russia’s hospitals are of cause always much worse than ours. Even when it is easy to check that Vladimir Putin (the most evil man ever) is at work in the Kremlin the job will require one to claim that he is hiding in a villa.

Most people writing for the Times will actually not believe the above nonsense. But the description is not for a position that requires one to weight and report the facts. It is for a job that requires one to lie. That the Times lists all the recent nonsense about Russia right at the top of the job description makes it clear that only people who support those past lies will be considered adequate to tell future lies about Russia. No honest unbiased person will want such a job. But as it comes with social prestige, a good paycheck and a probably nice flat in Moscow the New York Times will surely find a number of people who are willing to sell their souls to take it.

Interestingly the job advertisement does not list Russian language capabilities as a requirement. It only says that ‘Fluency in Russian is preferred’. ‘Western’ mainstream media are filled with such biased, cynic and self-censoring correspondents who have little if any knowledge of the country they are reporting from. It is therefore not astonishing that ‘western’ populations as well as their politicians have often no knowledge of what is really happening in the world.

Read more …

 

 

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson Galileo

 

 

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Oct 302020
 


Minor White Windowsill Daydreaming Rochester NY 1958

 

A Fake Persona Laid The Groundwork For A Hunter Biden Conspiracy Deluge (NBC)
NY Post’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Hunter Biden Email 100% Authentic (DC)
Joe Biden’s Biggest Problem Is That There Is No Vaccine For Trumpism
‘We’ve Got To Stop The Bleeding’: Democrats Sound Alarm In Miami (Pol.)
Glenn Greenwald Leaves The Intercept After Editors Refuse Biden Criticism (ZH)
The ‘Censored’ Biden Story That Made Glenn Greenwald Quit The Intercept (ZH)
FBI Initially Turned Down Purported Hunter Biden Laptop (JTN)
UPS Suddenly Locates “Lost” Biden Evidence, Returns Docs To Tucker Carlson (ZH)
Western Rewriting History Of WW2 Has Incensed Russians (Robinson)
US GDP Booms At 33.1% Rate In Q3 (CNBC)
COVID Measures ‘Monument Of Collective Hysteria And Folly’: Ex-Judge (G.)

 

 

 

 

Someone said on Twitter yesterday: “You two are creating a world characterized by illogic, distrust and uncertainty. It’s a world no one wants our kids to grow up in. It’s sad that you do this. Here’s the absurdity behind the false Christopher Balding story:”

I am one of the two this person talks about, don’t know who the other is. (S)he is referring to an NBC article yesterday, “How A Fake Persona Laid The Groundwork For A Hunter Biden Conspiracy Deluge”.

It is about the report Christopher Balding published on Oct 22, (see here), but NBC’s criticism of the “Balding report” does not address its contents, only its shape, and calls it “FAKE”. That is, Balding and others invented a person who was cited as the author of it. And yes, that is a peculiar way to publish something, but Balding has always said the real author needs protection.

Then the NBC piece attempts to mix the report with other stories, the ones derived from the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. But there is hardly any overlap. It appears to be a intentional confusion, so people will believe everything regarding Hunter Biden accusations is fake. But at the same moment, the Daily Caller reports that forensic analysis proves “NY Post’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Hunter Biden Email 100% Authentic”. And that in turn comes one day after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said all Bobulinski material has been verified.

Christopher Balding has reacted on Twitter, his entire reaction thread is here.

Balding reacts

 

 

A Fake Persona Laid The Groundwork For A Hunter Biden Conspiracy Deluge (NBC)

One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden’s laptop, a fake “intelligence” document about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and business in China. The document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake “intelligence firm” called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents. The author of the document, a self-identified Swiss security analyst named Martin Aspen, is a fabricated identity, according to analysis by disinformation researchers, who also concluded that Aspen’s profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator.

The intelligence firm that Aspen lists as his previous employer said that no one by that name had ever worked for the company and that no one by that name lives in Switzerland, according to public records and social media searches. One of the original posters of the document, a blogger and professor named Christopher Balding, took credit for writing parts of it when asked about it and said Aspen does not exist. Despite the document’s questionable authorship and anonymous sourcing, its claims that Hunter Biden has a problematic connection to the Communist Party of China have been used by people who oppose the Chinese government, as well as by far-right influencers, to baselessly accuse candidate Joe Biden of being beholden to the Chinese government.

The document and its spread have become part of a wider effort to smear Hunter Biden and weaken Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, which moved from the fringes of the internet to more mainstream conservative news outlets. An unverified leak of documents — including salacious pictures from what President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and a Delaware Apple repair store owner claimed to be Hunter Biden’s hard drive — were published in the New York Post on Oct. 14. Associates close to Trump, including Giuliani and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, have promised more blockbuster leaks and secrets, which have yet to materialize. The fake intelligence document, however, preceded the leak by months, and it helped lay the groundwork among right-wing media for what would become a failed October surprise: a viral pile-on of conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden.

The Typhoon Investigations document was first posted in September to Intelligence Quarterly, an anonymous blog “dedicated to collecting important daily news,” according to its “about” section. Historical domain records show the blog was registered to Albert Marko, a self-described political and economic adviser, who also lists the blog on his Twitter bio. When asked about the provenance of the document, Marko said he received it from Balding. Balding, previously an associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam who studied the Chinese economy and financial markets, posted the document on his blog on Oct. 22, seven weeks after it was initially published.

Logan Hall NBC

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“Graham said the only way the email could have been faked is if someone hacked into Google’s servers, found the private key and used it to reverse engineer the email’s DKIM signature.”

NY Post’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Hunter Biden Email 100% Authentic (DC)

An email Hunter Biden received in April 2015 from a Burisma executive discussing an introduction to then-Vice President Joe Biden, which lies at the heart of a New York Post investigation, is unquestionably authentic, a cybersecurity expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday. The DCNF obtained a full copy of Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday. The DCNF provided Robert Graham, the founder of the cybersecurity firm Errata Security, with a copy of the email and its metadata for forensic analysis. Graham, who has been cited as a cybersecurity expert in The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Wired, Engadget and other news and technology outlets, told the DCNF that he used a cryptographic signature found in the email’s metadata to validate that Vadym Pozharsky, an advisor to Burisma’s board of directors, emailed Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015.

In the email, Pozharsky thanked Hunter Biden for “inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.” The New York Post first reported the email in October, describing it as a “smoking-gun” showing that Hunter Biden had introduced his father to the Burisma executive in 2015. The email was sent less than a year before Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor who was reportedly investigating the gas company in return for a $1 billion loan guarantee. Graham previously told the DCNF that emails sent from Gmail, such as Pozharski’s message to Hunter Biden, can be “absolutely verified beyond a shadow of a doubt” by testing its contents against the unique DKIM signature found in its metadata.


Graham used the DKIM signature within the email to verify with a private key on Google’s servers that the sender, recipient, subject, date and body of the message that the DCNF obtained from Giuliani were unchanged from when the email was originally sent in April 2015. Graham said the only way the email could have been faked is if someone hacked into Google’s servers, found the private key and used it to reverse engineer the email’s DKIM signature.

Daily Caller vs NBC

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“America is past the “I have a plan” phase. A sizable contingent of regular citizens have decided either that the disease is a “hoax,” or that it’s not worth altering their everyday lives for in any major way.”

Joe Biden’s Biggest Problem Is That There Is No Vaccine For Trumpism

As the 2020 presidential election hurls itself at us, there is one thing upon which the far right and far left agree: The COVID-19 pandemic should be over within days after Nov. 4. The right says the “deep state” is holding on to a secret vaccine that it will introduce to the world once Donald Trump is thrown out of office. The left says that Trump is the primary cause of the virus’ spread, and that with the biological weapon in chief out of office, people will soon be out safely ingesting each other’s disgusting germs.Alas, despite these extremes being so far out there that they meet again in the back, neither is right. Trump is not entirely to blame for the virus’ spread, and Joe Biden’s election will not be a panacea in stopping it.

Sure, Biden has a “plan” to solve COVID-19, and it contains all the commonsense proposals: vaccine funding, paid leave, more protective equipment and more funding for testing. But America is past the “I have a plan” phase. A sizable contingent of regular citizens have decided either that the disease is a “hoax,” or that it’s not worth altering their everyday lives for in any major way. In other words, COVID-19 is a cultural problem, not a governmental one. It is the cultural component in which Trump has failed America the most. Over the summer, it appeared the virus was waning — businesses had quickly ramped up production of masks and ventilators needed in hospitals and emergency rooms and limited state shutdowns were being enforced. Infection rates were dropping around the country.

Then, in the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd’s at the hands of police, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest, effectively signaling the end of lockdowns. Science professionals who urged staying home were silent on the protests, leading those on the right to throw up their hands and say, “Well, I guess lockdown is over.” That is where Trump’s mismanagement has cost America. In the early days of the virus, Trump said all the wrong things, telling Americans it was just “one person coming in from China” and it would “disappear one day, it’s like a miracle.” And speaking of miracles, he vowed to have churches open for Easter.

Say we were to give Trump some benefit of the doubt — in the early months of the spread, everyone was still figuring out what was happening, and rapid spread would have occurred under any president. [..] Unless Biden can legislate trust in the media and politicians, the pandemic will stretch well into his presidency. The reality is a sizable portion of America is carrying on, waiting for a vaccine — which, ironically, many of them won’t take because it will probably be Joe Biden at the helm of the country when it is released. And sadly, there is no vaccine for Trumpism.

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“To date, Republicans have turned out 59 percent of their voters in Miami-Dade and Democrats have turned out 53 percent, a 6-point margin. That’s twice the margin Republicans had at this point in 2016..“

‘We’ve Got To Stop The Bleeding’: Democrats Sound Alarm In Miami (Pol.)

Democrats are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican showing is endangering Joe Biden’s chances in the nation’s biggest swing state. No Democrat can win Florida without a huge turnout and big winning margins here to offset losses elsewhere in the state. But Democrats are turning out at lower rates than Republicans and at lower rates than at this point in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by 29 percentage points here and still lost the state to Donald Trump. One particular area of concern is the relative share of ballots cast by young voters of color and less-reliable Democratic voters.

Part of the problem, according to interviews with a dozen Democratic elected officials and operatives, is the Biden campaign‘s decision to discourage field staff from knocking on doors during the pandemic and its subsequent delay in greenlighting — and funding — a return to door-to-door canvassing. “We did not get the kind of funding for different vendors who would do that type of work until late in the campaign,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson, a party institution who represents Miami’s heavily Black congressional district. Wilson said the good news is that Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, is working with her on a turnout event for this weekend geared toward young Black men.


But the veteran congresswoman said there are still skilled operatives in her district who excel at turnout work who have yet to get approved by the campaign, a puzzling delay for an operation that raised a record $363 million the month before. “I screamed. Hollered. I called. I lobbied from the top to the bottom,” Wilson said of her efforts to get turnout operations started in the community, including sending written proposals to Biden’s campaign and having virtual Zoom meetings with his advisers.

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The election, actually the entire Trump presidency, has brought out the best and the worst in US journalism. It will never be the same.

Glenn Greenwald Leaves The Intercept After Editors Refuse Biden Criticism (ZH)

The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald resigned from the outlet on Thursday, after ‘editors censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.’ Greenwald writes at his new home (greenwald.substack.com):”The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.


I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.”Apparently he’s also blocked from publishing the article elsewhere, though he’s “asked my lawyer to get in touch with FLM to discuss how best to terminate my contract.”

People who quit
https://twitter.com/APompliano/status/1321915427522576384

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“Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.”

The ‘Censored’ Biden Story That Made Glenn Greenwald Quit The Intercept (ZH)

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family’s pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories. One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.

After the Post’s first article, both that newspaper and other news outlets have published numerous other emails and texts purportedly written to and from Hunter reflecting his efforts to induce his father to take actions as Vice President beneficial to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board of directors Hunter sat for a monthly payment of $50,000, as well as proposals for lucrative business deals in China that traded on his influence with his father. Individuals included in some of the email chains have confirmed the contents’ authenticity. One of Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bubolinski, has stepped forward on the record to confirm the authenticity of many of the emails and to insist that Hunter along with Joe Biden’s brother Jim were planning on including the former Vice President in at least one deal in China.

And GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who appeared in one of the published email chains, appeared to confirm the authenticity as well, though he refused to answer follow-up questions about it. Thus far, no proof has been offered by Bubolinski that Biden ever consummated his participation in any of those discussed deals. The Wall Street Journal says that it found no corporate records reflecting that a deal was finalized and that “text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture.”

But nobody claimed that any such deals had been consummated — so the conclusion that one had not been does not negate the story. Moreover, some texts and emails whose authenticity has not been disputed state that Hunter was adamant that any discussions about the involvement of the Vice President be held only verbally and never put in writing.

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And then sat on it for a year.

FBI Initially Turned Down Purported Hunter Biden Laptop (JTN)

The family of the Delaware shop owner who says he came into possession of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden first tried to turn over the computer to the FBI in summer 2019 but was rebuffed, only to have agents return months later during President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, his lawyer said Thursday night. In a lengthy statement to Just the News, attorney Brian Della Rocca provided a detailed timeline of the actions his client, John Paul Mac Isaac, says he took in trying to get authorities to investigate the laptop. The lawyer also decried public figures on both sides of the aisle for politicizing the episode and for attacking the Delaware computer repairman without having the facts.

Mac Isaac “unwittingly became the target of a smear campaign by doing what he thought was right,” Della Rocca said. “John Paul is not a right-wing fanatic, nor is he a Russian hacker.” In the statement that was originally drafted to be an op-ed, Della Rocca made several new revelations about the laptop that has stirred worldwide political intrigue on the eve of the American presidential election, an FBI investigation, and a news media and social media censorship campaign. Among the revelations: • A man claiming to be Hunter Biden dropped off three laptops on April 12, 2019 to Mac Isaac’s shop to be repaired, and returned two days later with an external hard drive. The man believed to be Hunter Biden eventually abandoned one of the laptops and the external hard drive without paying for them. • Mac Isaac’s father, a retired Air Force colonel, first tried to provide a copy of the laptop to an FBI office in Albuquerque, N.M., in summer 2019, but the bureau turned him away.


• FBI agents from Albuquerque, N.M., contacted the father in October 2019, as impeachment proceedings were ongoing in Washington, to discuss the laptop and then to interview the younger Mac Isaac in Delaware. A few weeks later, FBI agents in Delaware seized the original laptop from Mac Isaac. • On Oct. 13 of this year, Hunter Biden’s attorney contacted Mac Isaac to discuss the hard drive and followed up with an email but no further action. Three people familiar with the matter told Just the News on Thursday that the FBI has an ongoing investigation into business transactions involving firms associated with Hunter Biden and other business associates. The investigation began in 2019 around the time the FBI followed up on Mac Isaac’s concerns and has since expanded to issues raised by an IRS whistleblower complaint filed a year ago. The probe got new evidence in recent days when Hunter Biden’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski turned over documents and other materials during an FBI interview, one person with knowledge of the case said.

Read more …

This story just gets crazier.

UPS Suddenly Locates “Lost” Biden Evidence, Returns Docs To Tucker Carlson (ZH)

Delivery giant UPS confirmed Thursday it found a lost trove of documents that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said would provide revelations in the ever-growing scandal involving Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his overseas business dealings. UPS Senior Public Relations Manager Matthew O’Connor told Business Insider on Thursday afternoon that the documents are located and are being sent to Carlson. “After an extensive search, we have found the contents of the package and are arranging for its return,” he said in a statement. “UPS will always focus first on our customers, and will never stop working to solve issues and make things right. We work hard to ensure every package is delivered, including essential goods, precious family belongings and critical healthcare.”

It came after Glenn Zaccara, UPS’s corporate media relations director, confirmed Carlson used the company to ship the materials before they were lost. “The package was reported with missing contents as it moved within our network,” Zaccara said before they were located. “UPS is conducting an urgent investigation.” During his Wednesday night broadcast, Carlson said that a UPS employee notified them that their package “was open and empty … apparently, it had been opened.” “The Biden documents never arrived in Los Angeles. Tuesday morning we received word from our shipping company that our package had been opened and the contents were missing,” Carlson also remarked. “The documents had disappeared.”


On Tuesday night, Carlson interviewed former Hunter Biden associate Tony Bobulinski, who claimed that the former Democratic vice president could be compromised by the Chinese Communist Party due to Hunter and brother James Biden’s business dealings in the country. Joe Biden has not responded to Bobulinski’s allegations. Last week during his debate with President Donald Trump, he said he had “not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.”

Read more …

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa. He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics.

Western Rewriting History Of WW2 Has Incensed Russians (Robinson)

It used to be simple: The Nazis and their allies were the bad guys, and the Americans, British, and Soviets were the good guys. Then contemporary politics took over and the narrative around WW2 became a modern battleground. The conflict ended 75 years ago. But the struggle over its history has perhaps never been as intense as it is today. In the first few decades after the war, the interpretation of it was fairly clear, and almost universally accepted: The war was a product of German aggression and the extreme ideology of the Nazis. The Germans were the criminals; and the peoples of the Allied powers were the victims. Quantitatively, the largest group of these victims was in Eastern Europe – Jews and citizens of the Soviet Union, who the Nazis killed in the millions.

From the mid-1980s, a new narrative began to creep into public discourse in the West. This maintained that Nazism was not uniquely evil nor solely responsible for the war. Rather Nazism and communism were equally morally repugnant, and Germany and the Soviet Union were mutually responsible for the tragedy. The USSR, rather than being a victim of aggression, was itself one of the prime aggressors of the era. At first, this revisionist view was restricted to a narrow group of academics. Most notable was the German historian Ernst Nolte, who in 1986 provoked the Historikerstreit (‘Historians’ Dispute’) in what was then West Germany, by suggesting that the genocidal campaign of the Nazis was just one of many such campaigns by other states, most notably the Soviet Union, in an overall ‘age of genocide’.

This theme was then popularized by certain other historians of an anti-Soviet, and later anti-Russian, bent. But what really gave it legs was the collapse of communism and the rise of nationalism among states of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. In countries such as Poland, Latvia, and post-2014 Ukraine, nationalist leaders have sought to promote their own legitimacy by adopting a strong anti-Russian line, and historical revisionism has proven to be an essential part of their toolkit. As part of this process, history has been rewritten to portray the Soviet Union as having occupied and oppressed the nations of Eastern Europe during World War II, to suggest a moral equivalence between the Nazis and the communists, and in extreme cases to portray locals who fought alongside the Germans as heroes rather than collaborators. For instance, in Ukraine.

[..] It was in this context that Russian President Vladimir Putin this week denounced any attempt to equate the USSR and Nazi Germany. This followed a complaint by Elena Yampolskaya, a member of the Russian parliament, who noted that two books had recently been published in Russia which suggested similarities between Nazism and communism, and in one case argued that “the Soviets were worse than the Nazis.” Putin agreed with Yampolskaya’s complaint that this was “absolutely unacceptable.” The Russian Federation should pass legislation similar to that of other countries which criminalizes denial of the Armenian genocide, Putin said, adding that, “We will not allow this heroic page in history to be crossed out.”

Read more …

Good for Trump in the election?

US GDP Booms At 33.1% Rate In Q3 (CNBC)

Coming off the worst quarter in history, the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace ever in the third quarter as a nation battered by an unprecedented pandemic started to put itself back together, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Third-quarter gross domestic product, a measure of the total goods and services produced in the July-to-September period, expanded at a 33.1% annualized pace, according to the department’s initial estimate for the period. The gain came after a 31.4% plunge in the second quarter and was better than the 32% estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones. The previous post-World War II record was the 16.7% burst in the first quarter of 1950.

Markets reacted positively to the news, with Wall Street erasing a loss at the open and turning mostly positive. “It’s obviously good news that the economy bounced back in the third quarter,” said Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein. “There’s still a lot of work to do here and the pace of improvement … is going to slow. The stimulus programs that provided much of the economic lift last quarter have expired or are expiring. Fiscal support is diminishing. That is part of the reason that the pace of growth is going to slow from here.” Increased consumption along with sold gains in business and residential investment as well as exports fueled the third-quarter rebound. Decreases in government spending following the expiration of the CARES Act rescue funding subtracted from GDP.

The powerful growth pace came after states across the country shut down large swaths of activity in an effort to stem the spread of Covid-19, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11. [..] While the news on Q3 was good for the $21.2 trillion economy, the U.S. faces a tougher road ahead as coronavirus cases increase and worries grow over the health and economic impacts. Nearly half the 22 million jobs lost in March and April remain unfilled and the unemployment rate remains at 7.9%, more than double its pre-pandemic level as 12.6 million Americans are still out of work.


“This is going to be seized upon by both ends of the political spectrum as either evidence of the strength of the post-lockdown economic rebound or a cursory warning that the gains could be short-lived,” said James McCann, senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “The reality is that the GDP numbers demonstrate that the U.S. economy did indeed rebound strongly as lockdown measures were lifted.”

Read more …

Jonathan Sumption, former British supreme court justice, slams ‘cavalier use of coercive powers’ and ‘loss of freedom’.

COVID Measures ‘Monument Of Collective Hysteria And Folly’: Ex-Judge (G.)

The government has deliberately stoked fear over coronavirus while behaving like an authoritarian regime relying on police state tactics, according to the former supreme court justice Jonathan Sumption. In his most forceful critique to date of the government’s handling of the pandemic, the outspoken lawyer condemned the way “the British state exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted”. Delivering the Cambridge Freshfields annual law lecture, Lord Sumption said: “The ease with which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence … came as a shock to me in March 2020.”

He is not the only former judge recently to lament the loss of effective parliamentary scrutiny of emergency Covid powers. Last month Lady Hale, former president of the supreme court, alleged that MPs and peers had surrendered their role during the coronavirus pandemic.In his address Sumption said the emergency measures were “the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country”. He stated: “I do not doubt the seriousness of the epidemic, but I believe that history will look back on the measures taken to contain it as a monument of collective hysteria and governmental folly.”

The government, he noted, had already tried to avoid parliamentary scrutiny during Brexit by proroguing parliament, a procedure subsequently ruled unlawful by the supreme court last year. “Governments hold power in Britain on the sufferance of the elected chamber of the legislature,” Sumption argued. “Without that we are no democracy. The present government has a different approach. It seeks to derive its legitimacy directly from the people, bypassing their elected representatives.” Sage, the government’s panel of expert scientific advisers, he said, had this year noted: “Citizens should be treated as rational actors, capable of taking decisions for themselves and managing personal risk.” That warning, Sumption said, had been ignored.

[..] The police had repeatedly exceeded their powers, he suggested. “When I ventured to criticise them in a BBC interview for acting beyond their powers I received a letter from the Derbyshire police commissioner objecting to my remarks on the ground that in a crisis such things were necessary. The implication was that in a crisis the police were entitled to do whatever they thought fit, without being unduly concerned about their legal powers. That is my definition of a police state.” By using “propaganda”, he said, the government had “to some extent been able to create its own public opinion – fear was deliberately stoked up by the government”.

Read more …

 

 

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Taiwan COVID
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Oct 292020
 
 October 29, 2020  Posted by at 9:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  20 Responses »


Gustav Klimt Pine forest II 1901

 

Senate Committee: All Bobulinski Materials Reviewed To Date Legitimate (DC)
Tucker Carlson: Bobulinski Documents Intercepted and Removed (sundance)
Zuckerberg: ‘I Would Guess That Our Employee Base Skews Left-Leaning’ (JTN)
Gundlach: Trump Will Win Next Week, “Some Sort Of Revolution” By 2027 (ZH)
Professor Deliberately Catches COVID19 To Test His Immune Response (ST)
Cable News October Ratings Explode As Fox News Hits Historic Highs (Hill)
CNN Won’t Run Trump Ad Warning Biden Will Raise Taxes On Middle Class (Hill)
‘Anonymous’ Anti-Trump Official Revealed As CNN Pundit Miles Taylor (Fox)
ALICE Doesn’t Work Here Anymore (CHS)
The Fed MUST Have Inflation (Rickards)
Ornstein: Impeach Amy Coney Barrett (Turley)
Bellingcat Smears OPCW Whistleblower, Journalists With False Letter (Maté)
Greece Has Protected Its Jobs Better Than The Rest Of The EU (K.)
Jack Dorsey Hires Homeless Man To Fill In For Him At Senate Hearings (BBee)

 

 

“If you can’t expose crime in the government you don’t really have a government. You have a dictatorship that is dressed up like a government.”

– Joe Rogan

 

 

Joe Rogan Greenwald

 

 

“I appreciate that the FBI has a job to do, and I am glad they are finally taking an interest in these concerning financial matters that our Committees have been investigating for months..”

Senate Committee: All Bobulinski Materials Reviewed To Date Legitimate (DC)

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been successful in verifying all materials reviewed so far from Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner Tony Bobulinski, the Daily Caller has learned. Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson will not call Bobulinski to testify before the November 3 elections, as the committee is working to review all the information provided to the committee by Bobulinski. The information has to be verified, as it is subject to the same false information to Congress laws that verbal or written testimony does. However, a Johnson spokesperson told the Caller that all the material provided by Bobulinski that has been reviewed so far has turned out to be legitimate. The committee has “also” not come across any “signs” or evidence to suggest the content is false, the spokesperson added.


Bobulinski, who said Tuesday he believes “Joe Biden and the Biden family are compromised” in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, has turned over evidence to the FBI alleging he met twice in the past with the former vice president in regards to business with his son Hunter. The Biden family has not yet disputed this information. [..] Johnson had the chance to interview Bobulinski on Friday and released a statement shortly after saying: “I appreciate that the FBI has a job to do, and I am glad they are finally taking an interest in these concerning financial matters that our Committees have been investigating for months,” Sen. Johnson said. “I expect that Mr. Bobulinski will speak with our committee as soon as possible and fully share his insights into the Biden family’s business dealings.”

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Strange story. He has copies.

Tucker Carlson: Bobulinski Documents Intercepted and Removed (sundance)

Tucker Carlson revealed this evening that someone intercepted an envelope containing documents of evidence supporting the claims by Tony Bobulinski. The documents were mailed by a “well known overnight transport” company and mysteriously were removed in transit from New York to LA. I have a hunch what happened…. but first, WATCH:

Tucker missing documents

I review this story from a position that I cannot fully explain. However, I have personal experience -recent experience- with a similar and rather unusual situation that cannot be explained by any method other than DHS surveillance. So here’s what I think took place. The package, likely a Fed-X delivery, was intercepted by FBI agents using mechanisms for tracking and surveillance that open targeting through portals connected to DHS. As an outcome of the U.S. Patriot Act, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has an agreement in place with mail shipping companies, public/private services, that essentially allows them a portal to track all in-state and interstate mail deliveries.

The FBI has access to this data network in the same way the FBI has access to federal transportation records. Just like when you book a flight and DHS portals are open that allow FBI to track your movements domestically. This type of portal is also accessed in private company transportation like Uber, Lyft etc. DHS, and as a consequence the FBI, can easily track your whereabouts. Without much hesitation I will bet the FBI was monitoring the communication of Bobulinski, and by extension the entire Tucker Carlson production network. Once the shipment was known to be taking place, the DHS portals are opened; the package is tracked; and the FBI moves in to intercept the delivery.

The transport company doesn’t need to be participating because they are essentially unneeded. Their system network is connected to the FBI. That’s the likely scenario. Wanna bet?

Read more …

Every time these people come in for questioning, nothing happens.

Zuckerberg: ‘I Would Guess That Our Employee Base Skews Left-Leaning’ (JTN)

Under questioning from Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that the employees at his company “skew left-leaning.” “Would you say that the political ideology of the employees at your company is, let’s say, 50:50, conservative versus liberal progressive or do you think it’s closer to 90% liberal and 10% conservative?” Johnson asked during a hearing with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. “I don’t know the makeup of our employees because it’s not something we ask or focus on,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded. “It’s not something I look for.”

In response to the same question, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said more than 50% of Google’s 100,000 employees are from outside of California. “It does tend to be proportionate to the areas that we are in,” he said. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “I don’t know the exact number but I would guess that our employee base skews left-leaning.” According to OpenSecrets.org, the employees of Facebook, Google and Twitter favored Democrats over Republicans with political contributions in this election cycle. Johnson also asked Dorsey and Zuckerberg if they had “any evidence” that the New York Post’s recent reporting on content from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden was based on Russian disinformation.

“We don’t,” Dorsey said. Later in the hearing, GOP Sen. Roger Wicker, the committee chairman, asked Zuckerberg if he has evidence that Russia was the source of the information in the New York Post’s reporting. “I would rely on the FBI to make that assessment,” Zuckerberg said but added that he personally does not have that evidence. “I do not, myself.”

@tedcruz and @jack

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“Some people will hedge their bets and split their vote towards retaining the Republican Senate because they view Biden as risky..”

Gundlach: Trump Will Win Next Week, “Some Sort Of Revolution” By 2027 (ZH)

Back at the start of 2016, when nobody else would even consider such an outcome, DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeff Gundlach shocked the economic, financial and political establishments when during the January Barron’s roundtable of that year, he predicted that Donald Trump would become the next US president. He was right. Fast forward to today when one week before the elections, and in an environment when most polls predict that Biden will crush Trump and where Nate Silver gives Trump just as 13% chance of defeating Trump, Jeffrey Gundlach is predicting another victory for President Donald Trump.


As Financial Advisor magazine reported, during a Tuesday webcast as part of Schwab’s 2020 IMPACT conference, Gundlach said that despite polls, analysis and betting odds that suggest otherwise, Trump is likely to outpace former Democratic vice president Joe Biden in the contest. “The polls right now say he isn’t going to win, but they said that four years ago,” said Gundlach referring to the following chart. “Mind you, my conviction is way lower than it was four years ago. But back in [that period], when Trump was little more than an asterisk in the betting odds, I predicted he was going to win. This one is much more murky, but in my eyes, it favors a Trump win.”

Addressing the elephant in the room, Gundlach said that public political polls are often “designed to create impressions” rather than illustrate reality, said Gundlach, and shouldn’t be trusted. He also argued that many Trump voters are unwilling to engage with pollsters and the media because they fear retribution for their political beliefs, also known as the “shy voter” phenomenon according to which “Over 10% Of Trump Voters Won’t Admit Preferences To Pollsters.” Biden also faces an enthusiasm problem, said Gundlach. Gundlach then went on to crush hopes of a Blue Wave, arguing that Republicans will likely keep the Senate regardless of who wins – mainly because of uncertainty around Biden.


“Some people will hedge their bets and split their vote towards retaining the Republican Senate because they view Biden as risky,” said Gundlach, who noted that Trump is often portrayed as riskier than Biden. And yet, in the four years of his presidency, there have been no international conflicts, despite some outrageous and bellicose language. “You might dislike Trump or some of his policies, but risk is not what you’re getting with him, particularly compared to turning the presidency over to another party, and particularly when that party’s candidate isn’t saying what some of his policy positions are.”

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“His conclusion is that there will be no collective immunity to coronavirus despite earlier hopes. The virus is here to stay for a long while, and while vaccines may give immunity this is likely to be temporary.”

Professor Deliberately Catches COVID19 To Test His Immune Response (ST)

Alexander Chepurnov had already recovered once when he re-infected himself in an experiment. The virologist experimented with his own health to check how long the body’s immune response lasted after his first bout of COVID-19. A former researcher at the Vector Centre of Virology and Biotechnology who currently works at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Chepurnov was first infected at the end of February 2020. ‘I was on my way to a skiing holiday from Siberia to France with a stopover in Moscow,’ he said. ‘After getting to the mountains I felt unwell with a high fever and sharp chest pain. My sense of smell has gone, too.’ It was impossible back then to do a COVID-19 test in Europe, he told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in Novosibirsk.

He cut the holiday short, returned home to Novosibirsk, and was promptly diagnosed with double pneumonia. A month later in March he did a test which showed antibodies to Covid, confirming that he had been infected with the new virus. ‘I was the first in my team who had COVID-19,’ he said. ‘We started to follow the way antibodies ‘behaved’, how strong they were, and how long they stayed in the body. ‘The observation showed that they were fast to decrease. By the end of the third month from the moment I felt sick the antibodies were no longer detected.’ The scientist, 68 when he was first hit by COVID-19, said that he wanted to study the probability of getting re-infected.

To test the strength of his own immune response, Chepurnov deliberately exposed himself to COVID-19-positive patients wearing no protection. ‘My body’s defence fell exactly six months after I got the first infection. The first sign was a sore throat. The nasopharyngeal PCR smear immediately showed a positive reaction to COVID-19 on the 27th cycle, and two days later already on the 17th cycle, which corresponds to a high viral titre’, Chepurnov said of the second bout. The second illness was more acute, with Chepurnov needing hospitalisation after his saturation fell below 93. ‘For five days, my body temperature remained above 39C,’ he said. ‘I lost the sense of smell, my taste perception changed.

‘On the sixth day of the illness, the CT scan of the lungs was clear, and three days after the scan the X-ray showed double pneumonia. ‘The virus went away rather quickly – after two weeks it was no longer detected in the nasopharyngeal or in other samples.’ His conclusion is that there will be no collective immunity to coronavirus despite earlier hopes. The virus is here to stay for a long while, and while vaccines may give immunity this is likely to be temporary. ‘We need a vaccine that can be used multiple times, a recombinant vaccine will not suit,’ he said. ‘Once injected with the adenoviral vector-based vaccine we won’t be able to repeat it because the immunity against the adenoviral carrier will keep interfering.’

Read more …

I’d be more interested in seeing these numbers for social media.

Cable News October Ratings Explode As Fox News Hits Historic Highs (Hill)

Cable news ratings exploded in October across Fox News, CNN and MSNBC as all three networks saw record numbers for the month, with Fox News having the highest-rated month in cable news history, according to Nielsen Media Research. The month included a positive coronavirus test for the president, who was briefly hospitalized, and a fever pitch on the presidential campaign trail. The month also included a presidential debate, a vice presidential debate and multiple town hall events. Fox News led the way with a whopping 4.9 million total viewers in prime time, the highest number in the history of cable news dating back 40 years. MSNBC was second with 2.7 million viewers, followed by CNN with 2.4 million.


The top five shows for the month included Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with an average of 5.3 million viewers, followed by “Hannity” with 5.2 million and “The Five” with 4.1 million despite airing before prime time in the 5 p.m. EDT slot. “The Ingraham Angle” delivered an average of just over 4 million total viewers, finishing fourth overall, with MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” rounding out the top five with 3.7 million. All three of the major cable news networks also saw substantial growth when compared to the same month last year. Fox News was up 83 percent year-over-year in total viewers and 139 percent in the key 25-54 demographic that advertisers covet most in prime time. CNN saw a 98 percent increase in total viewers when compared to October 2019, and a 116 percent jump in the demographic, while MSNBC is up 38 percent in total viewers and 45 percent in the younger category.

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“..the ad has been approved to run on ABC, AMC, Cooking, CBS, Comcast, DIY, Discovery, ESPN, Food Network, Fox, HGTV, History, Lifetime and The Weather Channel.”

CNN Won’t Run Trump Ad Warning Biden Will Raise Taxes On Middle Class (Hill)

CNN has informed the largest outside group supporting President Trump’s reelection that it will not run one of its new ads, saying the ad is false because it warns Democratic nominee Joe Biden will raise taxes on the middle class and implies that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports socialist policies. The ad, from America First Action (AFA), says Biden “sided with socialists,” while showing pictures of Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The narrator of the ad also warns that Biden will “raise taxes on the middle class” and that “his liberal agenda will cost millions of jobs.” America First Action says the ad has been approved to run on ABC, AMC, Cooking, CBS, Comcast, DIY, Discovery, ESPN, Food Network, Fox, HGTV, History, Lifetime and The Weather Channel.

But in an email, an account executive at Warner Media said the clearance team rejected it. “WarnerMedia Commercial Clearance has not accepted America First Action’s advertisement ‘We Are America’ for its networks as the ad does not meet its commercial clearance standards,” the email states. “Specifically, the ad asserts that Biden will raise taxes on the middle class. That claim is not adequately substantiated and has been judged false by independent fact-checkers. The advertisement also mischaracterizes Nancy Pelosi as a socialist.” [..] In a letter to lawyers at Warner Media, an attorney representing AFA accused the media company of censoring normal political speech that is “at the very least a matter worthy of debate.”

“While AFA’s opponents are, of course, permitted to purchase air time to try to rebut AFA’s claims, it is not the job of your network to censor a statement that is factually supported and relates to an important issue in the upcoming election,” wrote Stephen Kenny of Jones Day. “Indeed, every other cable network is currently airing AFA’s ad. If you continue to decline to air the ad, please let us know why the factual support outlined above is insufficient.”

Read more …

The New York Times offers anonymous editorial space to complete nobodies these days. Sweet Jesus. Anything to smear Trump.

‘Anonymous’ Anti-Trump Official Revealed As CNN Pundit Miles Taylor (Fox)

The anonymous senior Trump administration official who authored the infamous New York Times op-ed in 2018 declaring to be part of the “resistance” revealed himself on Wednesday to be former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor. Taylor, who previously came forward as a critic of President Trump and a supporter of Joe Biden in August, explained that he wrote his 2019 book “A Warning” as Anonymous as a “caution to voters that it wasn’t as bad as it looked inside the Trump administration – it was worse.” “While I claim sole authorship of the work, the sentiments expressed within it were widely held among officials at the highest levels of the federal government,” Taylor wrote in a statement published on Medium. “In other words, Trump’s own lieutenants were alarmed by his instability.”

Taylor was hired by CNN as a contributor in September. However, it is now known that he lied to the network by denying authorship of the op-ed during an Aug. 21 interview with his now-colleague Anderson Cooper. “There was an op-ed, there was a book by someone calling themselves ‘Anonymous.’ Are you aware of who that is?” Cooper asked. “I’m not,” Taylor responded. “Look, that was a parlor game that happened in Washington D.C. of a lot of folks trying to think of who that might be. I’ve got my own thoughts about who that might be, but-” “You’re not Anonymous,” Cooper interjected. “I wear a mask for two things, Anderson: Halloweens and pandemics. So, no,” Taylor answered.

[..] According to CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who broke the news on his network on Wednesday afternoon, “We did not know this until today. [..] White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement knocking Taylor as a “low-level, disgruntled former staffer,” as well as “a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading. “He was ineffective and incompetent during his time as DHS Chief of Staff which is why he was promptly fired after only serving in this role for a matter of weeks,” McEnany added. “It is appalling a low-ranking official would be granted anonymity and it is clear the New York Times is doing the bidding of Never-Trumpers and Democrats.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also piled on the former Trump official. You have got to be kidding me. Miles Taylor? That’s who the New York Times granted an anonymous editorial article? I’ve seen more exciting reveals in Scooby-Doo episodes. What a monumental embarrassment,” Meadows tweeted.

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“ALICE will never go back to her insecure, low-wage job, ever.”

ALICE Doesn’t Work Here Anymore (CHS)

Meet ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, at least she was employed until the pandemic presented impossible choices between taking care of her children and their education, and her aging parents, and keeping her demanding, low-wage job. Though it doesn’t fit in with the cute mythology of “capitalism” that apologists love to promote, ALICE wasn’t working to get ahead–she was working to barely survive in an economy where wages have stagnated for decades and recently lost ground at an alarming rate as costs for everything from rent to childcare to utilities have soared while her hours have been cut.

This is the neofeudalism I’ve often described here: the modern-day equivalent of the landless (i.e. owns no capital) serf is a landless (i.e. owns no capital) debt-serf with student loans, an auto loan and credit card debt and income that is constrained by globalization, financialization and the scarcity of high-paying work that isn’t reserved for insiders and the privileged few who chose their wealthy, well-educated, socially connected parents wisely. Lacking capital and any realistic means of acquiring any, the debt-serf has only labor to sell, and in a globalized world in which everyone selling their labor is competing globally for work producing tradable goods and services, ordinary labor has lost purchasing power for the past 45 years (see charts below).

The dominance of Big Tech monopoly platforms has created new fields for the exploitation of ordinary labor in the low-paid gig economy and fulfillment centers. The traditional neofeudal fiefdoms (retail outlets, hospitality and restaurants) have been hit by the pandemic pullback in consumer spending, and the other low-wage fiefdoms (fast food and domestic service) have been in structural decline for years. Meanwhile, the owners of the Financial Nobility’s fiefdoms and Big Tech monopolies have enjoyed unprecedented gains in income and wealth (see charts below) as wages’ share of the economy has declined for decades, in effect transferring trillions from labor to the Financial Nobility.

This neofeudal arrangement is about to change as Universal Basic Income (UBI) or its equivalent becomes the accepted status quo solution to neofeudalism’s soaring inequality. Since there’s no limit to how much currency can be created by the Federal Reserve, then why not distribute enough “free money” to the serfs to tamp down the brewing revolt? What the political class and the Financial Nobility don’t yet grasp (due to their complete disconnect from neofeudal daily life) is that ALICE will never go back to her insecure, low-wage job, ever. No matter how meager the UBI, permanent unemployment, stimulus or whatever the political class calls the distribution of “Fed free money,” ALICE will find a way to escape the bonds of neofeudal serfdom.

Read more …

But can’t create it, or print it. I’m not a fan of using all sorts of different kids of inflation, but in this case the point remains the same.

The Fed MUST Have Inflation (Rickards)

The Fed says that “price stability” is part of their dual mandate and they are committed to maintaining the purchasing power of the dollar. But the Fed has a funny definition of price stability. Common sense says price stability should be zero inflation and zero deflation. A dollar five years from now should have the same purchasing power as a dollar today. Of course, this purchasing power would be “on average,” since some items are always going up or down in price for reasons that have nothing to do with the Fed. And how you construct the price index matters also. It’s an inexact science, but zero inflation seems like the right target. But the Fed target is 2%, not zero. If that sounds low, it’s not. Inflation of 2% cuts the purchasing power of a dollar in half in 35 years and in half again in another 35 years.


That means in an average lifetime of 70 years, 2% will cause the dollar to 75% of its purchasing power! Just 3% inflation will cut the purchasing power of a dollar by almost 90% in the same average lifetime. But for the Fed, there’s a problem: They can’t produce 2% inflation. Inflation depends on consumer psychology. We have not had much consumer price inflation, but we have had huge asset price inflation. The “inflation” is not in consumer prices; it’s in asset prices. The printed money has to go somewhere. Instead of chasing goods, investors have been chasing yield. Inflation would help diminish the real value of the debt, but central banks have obviously proved impotent at generating inflation. Now central banks face the new depression and more deflation with few policy options to fight it.

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” There is not a single case in history where such a recusal of the justice has occurred under this type of flimsy claim.”

Ornstein: Impeach Amy Coney Barrett (Turley)

My column this morning in the Hill discussed a call by columnist and professor Norm Ornstein to impeach Amy Coney Barrett if she does not yield to a demand to recuse herself from any election challenge before the Court. A demand for such recusal was filed yesterday in the Supreme Court. Ornstein’s call for impeachment is the latest unhinged response to Barrett nomination and further decouples our national debate from any sense rationality and restraint. Ornstein declared on Twitter: “If Amy Coney Barrett goes on the Court and immediately votes for PA voter suppression, she should quickly be impeached. Trump asked her openly to act to tilt the scales of the election.”

I have already addressed the recusal calls as entirely baseless. Recusal under these circumstances would create a dangerous precedent for future nominees who are pressured to recuse solely to influence the outcome of pending or expected cases. There is not a single case in history where such a recusal of the justice has occurred under this type of flimsy claim. Barrett has no personal, professional, or financial interest in pending election cases. We have had only one justice ever impeached in our history. That was Samuel Chase in 1804 and he was acquitted by the Senate in 1805.

The Chase case is a telling point of comparison. Like today, the politics of the time were lethal and hysterical. Chase was a highly partisan Federalist who was tainted by the use of the Alien and Sedition Acts to attack political critics during the Administration of John Adams. The impeachment, supported by Thomas Jefferson, was based on Chase’s presiding on controversial trials for figures like James Callender. Despite the Federalist being in the minority in the Senate, the senators overwhelmingly rejected the case against Chase. It remains to be seen if we have a bipartisan majority of senators equally committed to the integrity of the Court and the Constitution today.

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Bellingcat is a dangerous arm of US, UK intelligence. We will see that soon again in the MH17 mess.

Bellingcat Smears OPCW Whistleblower, Journalists With False Letter (Maté)

Bellingcat, the NATO member state-funded website that has participated in a propaganda effort to accuse Syria of a chemical weapons attack in April 2018 and justify the US-led bombing that followed, has published a new falsehood-ridden attack on an OPCW whistleblower whose suppressed findings exposed the pro-war deception. According to Bellingcat, a leak that it has obtained not only “proves that a chemical attack did occur,” in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018, but also, “shows that any notion of a cover-up at the OPCW is false.” Contrary to Bellingcat’s account, the website has only added a new chapter to the OPCW cover-up scandal by publishing an article beset with multiple demonstrable falsehoods and outlandish or unsupported claims.

It also features a malicious effort to dox and discredit a veteran, highly-regarded OPCW inspector who challenged the censorship of his team’s investigation. The anonymously authored Bellingcat article’s problems begin with its very premise, which turns out to be a blatant falsehood. The article is based on excerpts of a leaked draft letter that, Bellingcat claims, was sent in June 2019 by OPCW Director General Fernando Arias to Brendan Whelan, a member of the OPCW’s Douma team. However, The Grayzone can reveal that the text that Bellingcat published was never actually sent to Whelan. Indeed, the text of the letter featured by Bellingcat was actually an unsent draft that Whelan never received. This fact dismantles the heart of the NATO state-backed website’s argument.

Dr. Whelan, a 16-year OPCW veteran, first challenged the censorship of his team’s investigation in June 2018, weeks after the OPCW team returned from Syria. A series of leaks show that Whelan and the other OPCW inspectors who deployed to Syria found evidence that undermined allegations of a chemical attack in Douma. Yet their data was suppressed, and, when the censorship was challenged, the inspectors were removed from their own investigation. The cover-up coincided with pressure on the OPCW from the U.S. government, which had bombed Syria, along with the UK and France, in April 2018 based on the pretext that the Syrian government was culpable. The OPCW’s final report in March 2019 omitted the suppressed findings and strongly implied Syrian government guilt.

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Well, it’s something.

Greece Has Protected Its Jobs Better Than The Rest Of The EU (K.)

The Greek government’s measures to protect workers from the effects of the pandemic have served as a shield against unemployment, according to the course of the jobless rate in Greece and the rest of the European Union as revealed by Eurostat figures. In the second quarter of the year, when most of the bloc was in lockdown, the share of workers in Greece who lost their job was below 2% of those employed, against over 6.5% in Spain and between 3.5% and 5% in Italy. Across most EU countries, that rate ranged between 2% and 3.5%, according to an experimental study by the bloc’s statistical service.


Greece achieved that thanks to the introduction of contract suspensions and the subsidy of 534 euros per month to each worker furloughed, which is continuing for more than 160,000 recipients. This puts this country among the member-states that proved best at protecting jobs in the April-June period. On Thursday 116,860 workers will receive the special-purpose compensation for September, adding up to €58 million, and another 41,504 will collect a total of €10.6 million through the Syn-Ergasia labor subsidy program.

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“Don’t harsh my mellow, man. I’m doing this for a couple bags of blow and a $20, man. You suck!”

Jack Dorsey Hires Homeless Man To Fill In For Him At Senate Hearings (BBee)

Jack Dorsey was summoned to the Senate’s hearing on Big Tech today, but he was tripping on acid with the spider-monkeys off the southern coast of St. Bart’s, so he quickly called up his office and had his people hire a homeless man hanging out in front of Twitter’s headquarters to fill in for him. The hobo was holding up a sign reading “Will Go to Senate Hearing for Crack,” and Dorsey’s assistants quickly hired him for the hearing. “Yeah, uh, censorship, I like that. That’s good stuff,” said the hobo to the confused panel. “The apocalypse is coming, man. The signs are all around us!”

“Sorry, Mr., uh, Dorsey, we were expecting a professional-looking CEO, but you’re clearly just a hobo off the streets of San Francisco,” said Senator Mike Lee. “Couldn’t you at least have taken a shower before talking to the United States Senate?” “Hey, bro, chill out,” the hobo responded. “Don’t harsh my mellow, man. I’m doing this for a couple bags of blow and a $20, man. You suck!” For his part, Mark Zuckerberg programmed a lookalike android to testify.

Ron Johnson @jack

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