I suggest we have three “pairings” of people. In Russia, there’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. In the US, we have Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. In the EU, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. Of course, there’s also President Biden and Putin; the EU has no president, it only has von der Leyen. Likewise, you at times see Russian and American Defense misters, but the EU doesn’t have one of those either. It sort of makes do with Borrell.
For the three pairings, the job titles are different, but these are the people you see talking most when Ukraine is the topic. Certainly Lavrov, but also Zakharova, are diplomats. Blinken and Borrell like to call themselves that, but they are obviously not. The job of a true diplomat is to always leave channels open to talk with everyone, and never condemn or speak ill of, anyone -in public. It’s bad manners. But Blinken is a neocon who’s been cheering on various US invasions for 30 years, and that disqualifies him from diplomacy. As for Jean-Pierre, let’s not even discuss her. We don’t want to insult Zakharova by even trying to make a comparison.
Von der Leyen and Borrell have the disadvantage that their power is not genuine. They have never been elected to their posts, other than by a small group of insiders that are easily controlled. Moreover, the EU has no army, it depends 100% on the US, so independent decisions are out of the question. The EU is talking again about its own army, and even about building its own fighter jet, but each would cost at least 10 years, and thus be useless in the current situation.
Perhaps that’s why Von der Leyen and Borrell talk more, and more aggressively, than the others. But with that talk, along with the sanctions they have made the bloc’s policy, they have brought a lot of misery to the people in their member countries. Of course, they claim this is inevitable, and it’s all Russia’s fault, but that is merely a claim. Just like the idea that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was totally unprovoked. That practically no country outside the “collective west” think it’s true says a lot.
And the next colossal and fully unnecessary blunder appears to come next week, when the European parliament is poised to declare Russia a “Terrorist State”. What they hope to achieve by that, who knows? Bragging rights? Diplomats don’t do those. Even the US refuses to go there, because “none of these efforts at keeping some kind of potential negotiations open would be possible if the US slapped a ‘terrorist state’ label on Russia.” The ‘terrorist state’ label comes straight from Zelensky, and the EU appears set to still follow him closely. While the US is creating some distance from him. The talk in Turkey last week between the US and Russian intelligence chiefs should not be overlooked. And yes, that’s right, the EU doesn’t have an intelligence chief.
When Zelensky and Poland tried to lure the US into a NATO war against Russia in reaction to the “missile over Poland”, the US for the first time said a firm “NO”. A turning point? It’s the US making clear they will not enter the war. Because as Lidia Misnik wrote: ‘The US Won’t Sacrifice Chicago For Warsaw’What’s more, as Batiushka said, “In Kiev, Warsaw, the Baltics and in London, they should remember what the Americans did to [Saddam] Hussein and Bin Laden. They are quite capable of doing the same again, pulling the plug on them all.”
The best thing to do for the EU would be to get rid of both Borrell and von der Leyen, and adopt a less antagonistic and more diplomatic position vs Russia, but that may be hard to achieve, given the power structure in Brussels. Still, there must be a few French and German real diplomats left. But, ironically (?!), the US may not agree. They may want for the EU to continue it’s self-destructive path for a while, at the same time that the US washes its hands clean(er). European pain is American gain in many ways. Just look at EU purchases of weapons and LNG. Once Europe freezes over, this will not be a viable attitude, but for now…until Christmas…
The EU’s policies towards Moscow promoted by foreign policy chief Josep Borrell only deepen the divisions in the bloc, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday. Earlier this week, the top EU diplomat proposed six points to serve as guidelines for diplomacy towards Russia amid the Ukraine conflict. Commenting on Borrell’s plans, Zakharova said that while it is “too soon” to speak about what it may entail, Moscow “does not harbor any illusions” about the bloc’s political thinking. “Unfortunately, the ideas which are being sold to EU members by… Borrell do not contain even a hint of the EU’s strategic vision [regarding Russia].”
“They only work to deepen the … divisions in Europe,” the spokeswoman stated, adding that the EU has not proposed any measures to solve the numerous problems in bilateral relations. Revealing his six-point plan, Borrell described the stand-off with Russia as a “geopolitical battle,” and insisted that the EU should, among other things, isolate Russia internationally, hold it accountable for its alleged misdeeds, while cooperating with the bloc’s partners and supporting civil rights groups. While trying to root out any alternative points of view, the EU has fully embraced the idea of isolating Russia, Zakharova said, adding that “this is hopeless and will only impose costs on EU countries and their citizens, who are forced to pay out of their own pockets for the strategic blunders of their politicians.”
“It’s emblematic that most global capitals are not ready to follow … Brussels, which, in its medieval logic, is bringing the world back to the age of schism, high walls, and besieged fortresses,” she said. Her comments come as EU countries face protests over high energy prices and surging costs of living, which have been worsened by the sanctions on Russia. In late October, thousands of Czech citizens rallied in Prague to decry the rampant inflation, while calling on the government to begin direct talks with Moscow over gas imports.
EU member state Hungary has repeatedly spoken out against the sanctions. Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto claimed that they “have failed” and have only backfired on the EU and damaged the economy. Following the start of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, relations between the EU and Russia deteriorated rapidly as Western countries imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow. In June, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov claimed that EU-Russian ties had frayed to the point that it would be difficult to damage them any further.
You can just about watch the EU under the present “leadership” commit hara kiri in real time.
The European Parliament has prepared a resolution recognizing Russia as a “terrorist state” – to be subject of a vote held during a session in Strasbourg next week, according to a spokesperson’s briefing at a Friday news conference. The largely symbolic resolution was drafted by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and cites Russia’s “intimidation and destruction of Ukrainians as a nation,” according a draft previously seen by Euronews. The political blocs Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformists are also said to be backing a formal declaration which could come as early as next Wednesday.
While not legally binding, the resolution can be used for the EU to slap further sanctions on Moscow, and can create momentum for other countries like the UK to adopt the ‘terror state’ label for Russia. However, the UK has so far resisted these calls from some individual British politicians and officials. So far, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been the first to legally recognize Russia as a terrorist state. The Biden administration has also thus far resisted some isolated Congressional calls to do so, as the Kremlin has warned such a measure would destroy all ties and communications. It would make negotiated settlement in Ukraine almost an impossibility.
So far it’s especially been the Pentagon which has sought to keep an open line of communications. The CIA director William Burns was also in Turkey this week meeting with this Russian intelligence counterpart. But none of these efforts at keeping some kind of potential negotiations open would be possible if the US slapped a ‘terrorist state’ label on Russia. The US is also chiefly interested in pursuing prisoner swaps, with citizens like Brittney Griner now serving long prison sentences.
There are things shifting and moving, especially on the US side. It’s very much the question if that will happen fast enough for the people of Europe, who will be cold, and Ukraine, who will be cold and in the dark..
We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.
Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.
Joe Biden says the covid pandemic is over. Left wingers are going to be furious at him for this, but this is also interesting because less than a month ago he justified canceling a trillion dollars in student loans by citing his covid emergency powers. pic.twitter.com/gSxsrynGNi
U.S. Doctor testifies under oath that mRNA injections are killing children. Two teenage boys die after injection and the parents are horrified. He declares that all mRNA injections should stop immediately and be pulled from the market before more children die. pic.twitter.com/4n9aFgSxvd
Germany could soon cease to exist as a country amid the escalating energy crisis, former US president Donald Trump has suggested. During a rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday, Trump tore into his successor in the White House, taking aim at Biden’s energy policy and the so-called Green New Deal in particular. The Republican firebrand claimed that, although under his rule the US had become independent in terms of energy and on track to become “totally dominant in energy, bigger than Saudi Arabia and Russia combined,” Joe Biden has since reduced the US to “begging for energy.” Trump then went on to cite Germany’s sorry state of affairs in this area.
According to the ex-president, he warned then-Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was supposed to pump Russian gas to Germany, would make Berlin even more dependent on Russian energy exports. Trump said he had sent the “white flag of surrender” to Angela Merkel when she refused to ditch the project. “If you are getting 72% of your energy from Russia, here’s the white flag, because you will be surrendering very quickly,” the former US head of state recounted his own warning to Merkel. He proceeded to cite the “bad things” which have happened between Berlin and Moscow in the past as proof that Germany should not have relied so heavily on Russia. The former US president concluded by saying that “Germany now is going back to the old-fashioned stuff, including coal,” despite its previous pledges to go green.
“But they have no choice, they won’t have a country, they won’t have a country left,” Trump warned cryptically, before returning to the topic of domestic politics again. Gas prices in Europe soared dramatically soon after Russia launched its military offensive against Ukraine in late February, and have remained consistently higher than last year’s ever since. With both the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines now inoperative, either due to Berlin’s own or to Moscow’s decision, the German government has put in place emergency measures to stock up on gas. Multiple senior officials in Germany have warned that the coming winter is likely to be tough.
Yanis claims that Germany should have invested more in “clean energy”. First, there’s no such thing. And second, Germany invested more in what that is supposed to be than anyone else. And look where it is today.
Today, it is the Germans who are facing a wall of condescension, antipathy, and even mockery. Ironic as it may seem, no Europeans are better placed than the Greeks to understand that the Germans deserve better; that their current predicament is the result of our collective, European failure; and that no one – least of all the long-suffering Greeks, southern Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese (the PIGS as we were once called) – benefits from schadenfreude. The tables have been turned on Germany because its economic model relied on repressed wages, cheap Russian gas, and excellence in mid-tech mechanical engineering – particularly manufacturing cars with internal combustion engines.
This resulted in massive trade surpluses during four distinct post-World War II phases: under the US-led Bretton Woods system, which provided fixed exchange rates and market access to Europe, Asia, and the Americas; then, after the collapse of Bretton Woods, when the single European market proved highly lucrative for German exports; again following the introduction of the euro, when vendor financing opened the floodgates for both goods and capital flowing from Germany to Europe’s periphery; and, finally, when China’s hunger for intermediate and final manufacturing products took up the slack after the euro crisis dampened demand for German goods in southern Europe.
Germans are now slowly coming to terms with the demise of their economic model and are beginning to see through the multifaceted Big Lie their elites were repeating for three decades: Fiscal surpluses were not prudence in action, but rather a monumental failure, during the long years of ultra-low interest rates, to invest in clean energy, critical infrastructure, and the two crucial technologies of the future: batteries and artificial intelligence. Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and Chinese demand was never sustainable in the long term; and they are not mere bugs that can be ironed out. The claim that the German model was compatible with Europe’s monetary union is also being exposed as false. Lacking a fiscal and a political union, the EU was always going to saddle Club Med governments, banks, and corporations with unpayable debts, which eventually would force the European Central Bank to choose between letting the euro die and embarking upon a permanent bankruptcy-concealment project.
“a lot of economics is …. a mathematical interpretation of astrology .… we’ve developed an industry that allows that green growth metaphor to sound quite appealing. But when you unpick it, it completely unravels” pic.twitter.com/jPIGyiuqmF
In a recently revealed research report written by RAND, dated Jan. 25, 2022 and labeled CONFIDENTIAL, John Mark Dougan has released what may be one of most important motivations the United States may have in encouraging the conflict in Ukraine: maintaining power. The 6 page report published prior to any conflict beginning, but after the State Department’s ominous warning of “Russian sponsored false flag attacks”, appears to be a photocopy of an official RAND research product, meant for the White House and National Security community here in America. The distribution channels listed on the cover page include: WHCS, ANSA, Dept. of State, CIA, NSA & DNC.
That’s right, the Democratic National Committee is copied on a research report that’s been directed at the national security community and perhaps members of the Biden White House. WHCS and ANSA are mysteries to me, but I thought perhaps they led to the Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know in the comments. The second page includes the standard copyright attributions and language about the mission of Rand. On the third page is where we get to the good stuff! It’s unknown if the report extends beyond the 4 pages included in the Executive Summary, but the headings and text included in those 4 pages are damning. It appears that RAND has predicted that the United States economy is on the brink of collapse.
Rising debt and uncontrolled printing of cash as a result of the economic downturn brought on by the plandemic, has brought the United States to a precarious position. They predict the continued deterioration of the economy will likely lead to the defeat of the Democrat party in both Congress and the Senate, opening the door to an impeachment of Joe Biden in the next session of Congress. “The impeachment of the President cannot be ruled out under these circumstances, which must be avoided at all costs.” This passage alone demonstrates the partisan work being done by RAND and the coordinated tactics in use between the Democrat party and the National Security State, THE DEEP STATE. But what’s most shocking is the lengths they suggest going to in order to maintain control of the nation by both groups in order to protect Joe Biden and whoever is pulling his strings from behind the scenes.
The Executive Summary begins with the title: “Weakening Germany, strengthening the US”, with the ultimate goal being the infusion of cash into the banking system by European and NATO aligned nations. Hopefully being able to avoid significant military and political cost in the process. As RAND sees it, the greatest obstacle to achieving this goal is the ever growing independence of Germany. That problem seems to have been addressed with the war in Ukraine and the sanction on Russia, resulting in the killing of the Nordstream pipeline and the cutoff of natural gas from Russia into Germany. That alone will undoubtedly lead to Germany requiring assistance from other European nations if they hope to save their citizens when the heat turns off. Control of Germany and their governmental decision making process seems to be of chief concern to RAND, which predicts that the destabilization of the US would lead to a quickening of the independence of Germany and the inevitable end of US influence. Once that happens, RAND believes that France and Germany will align, along with other old European nations, creating an economic and political competitor to the United States. As long as these things can be staved off, the global dominance of America can be assured.
The Ukraine conflict could last until 2030 and the West is to blame for making it global rather than local in nature, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said, according to Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL). Orban was reportedly speaking at a closed-door event involving his ruling Fidesz party a week ago, with the details of his speech now being leaked to the media. The Hungarian leader allegedly told his supporters in the village of Kotcse on September 10 that he believed Ukraine may end up losing between one third and one half of its territory due to the conflict with Russia, RFE/RL reported on Friday, citing participants of the meeting. The fighting between Moscow and Kiev – which is being helped by the US, EU and some other countries – could continue all the way until 2030, Orban reportedly warned.
The crisis in Ukraine started as a local conflict but the involvement of the West has turned it into a global affair, the prime minister said. According to the report, Orban again lashed out at EU sanctions imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, saying the bloc had shot itself in the foot with those curbs. The energy crisis, which occurred as a result of those restrictions, could force 40% of European industry to shut down this winter, he reportedly added. In his speech, the Hungarian leader also allegedly revealed that European leaders are expected to decide on prolonging the sanctions for another six months later in autumn, insisting that an attempt should be made to prevent that extension.
The way things are going now, the eurozone and the EU itself could cease to exist by 2030, Orban was quoted as saying. Hungary has remained relatively neutral since the outbreak of fighting in Ukraine in late February. It has refused to send arms to Kiev and consistently criticized EU sanctions on Moscow. Budapest, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, was also able to negotiate an exemption for itself from the bloc-wide ban on Russian oil. Earlier this month, Mikulas Bek, the European affairs minister of the Czech Republic, which now presides over the EU Council, warned that Hungary’s stance on Russia could theoretically end up with it exiting the bloc.
Hungary can no longer be considered a fully-functioning democracy and should be regarded as a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy,” a report adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday stated. European lawmakers adopted a non-binding but significant resolution on Thursday by 433 votes to 123, which criticized democratic principles in Hungary. This resolution comes despite Hungary’s government securing a landslide election victory with a two-thirds majority in April of this year, representing one of the strongest democratic mandates in all of Europe. The election was also certified as free and fair by a range of independent election observers.
Nevertheless, in a press release following the vote, the European Parliament condemned the “deliberate and systematic efforts of the Hungarian government” to undermine European values and demands. Furthermore, it claimed the situation in Hungary has deteriorated to such an extent that it can only now be considered an “electoral autocracy.” It blames what it regards as a democratic “backslide” on both Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz administration, and the European Commission which it claims has exacerbated the situation through its omission to intervene. MEPs further called for EU recovery funds to continue being withheld from the Hungarian treasury “until the country complies with EU recommendations and court rulings.”
The continuous criticism of Hungary has been ongoing since 2018 when MEPs first triggered the Article 7 procedure, what some consider to be a nuclear option which can ultimately deprive a member state of its voting rights. The only other country to be subject to the Article 7 procedure is Poland, which also conveniently continues to elect a conservative national government, much to the dismay of federalist, pro-globalism officials in Brussels, many who occupy their positions with no democratic mandate.
The European Commission on Sunday proposed withholding $7.5 billion of funds allocated to Hungary, due to corruption concerns. The suspension is aimed at protecting the bloc’s budget, according to Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn. “Today’s decision is a clear demonstration of the Commission’s resolve to protect the EU budget, and use all tools at our disposal to ensure this important objective,” the commissioner told reporters. The money would come from thee “cohesion funds” granted to Hungary, which are intended to help EU countries bring their economies up to the bloc’s standards. If approved, the funding cut will be the first punitive measure of its kind under the EU’s rule of law mechanism, which gives Brussels the right to impose financial penalties on member states if their actions are seen as violating EU values.
Brussels triggered the unprecedented procedure against Hungary in April this year. According to Hahn, Budapest has since then announced a number of measures aimed at fixing the issues. For instance, the Hungarian government recently said it plans to create an anti-corruption authority to oversee the spending of EU funds by the end of September. However, Hahn said the timeline for Hungary to “accordingly” implement the necessary measures is “very tight.” “A risk for the budget at this stage remains, therefore we cannot conclude that the EU budget is sufficiently protected,” he stated.
The EU Council now has one month to decide whether to adopt the Commission’s proposal. Hungary will then be given one month to reply or request an extension, meaning the Commission could freeze the funds on November 19 at the earliest. Meanwhile, Hungary has said it will be ready to roll out most of its “remedial” measures by that deadline, with the government expected to propose a package of anti-corruption laws next week. Earlier this week, in a symbolic vote against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, members of the European Parliament said the country can no longer be considered a democracy, calling it instead a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” due to the alleged failure to uphold fundamental rights and the rule of law in the country.
“..the EU has opted to instead release a physical board game rather than a digital app or web game which, while antiquated, will at least ensure EU citizens are able to play the Commission’s latest release during a winter set to be plagued by rolling blackouts.”
Organised fun has once again come to the European Union, with the transnational bloc releasing a new propaganda board game centring around the rule of its Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen. The game — which was released ahead of von der Leyen’s state of the union address this week — is perhaps the latest of a long line of propaganda games released the world over, with North Korea and Communist China in particular being known for wacky authoritarian apps and video games pushing state ideals and ideology. However, unlike its propaganda publishing counterparts in East Asia, the EU has opted to instead release a physical board game rather than a digital app or web game which, while antiquated, will at least ensure EU citizens are able to play the Commission’s latest release during a winter set to be plagued by rolling blackouts.
Imaginatively titled “Von der Leyen Commission 101: Test your knowledge” the game centres around answering questions to do with Ursula von der Leyen’s over three years in office, the aim of the game is to answer as many questions correctly as possible to reach the finish line. A simple core concept, the game features rolling dice, using so-called “jolly” counters, as well as monitoring how many questions each individual player has gotten correct in a row. Despite that simplicity — and perhaps in a classic reflection of how the European Commission works — with padding, the rulebook for this basic game runs to over 100 pages in its English edition.
Although needlessly convoluted, the board game’s constant reference to EU achievements and talking points put it squarely in the realm of propaganda, the likes of which are well known in more authoritarian regimes throughout the world. The specific focus on von der Leyen recalls games published in China built around the cult of personality of Xi Jinping. One of these apps even involves the player trying to applaud the socialist leader as much as possible within 14 seconds, with users encouraged to rapidly tap their phone screens in praise of the head of state.
Major European ports have signaled their readiness to facilitate the export of Russian fertilizers, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview with RIA Novosti, published on Saturday. “We are… in contact with the ports. We have received positive signals from Rotterdam, from the Finnish port of Kotka. We are also in discussions with Antwerp and Hamburg. So we are very attentive to this problem and very committed to solving it,” the official said in response to a question on the export of Russian fertilizers. In July, a multilateral agreement was signed in Istanbul freeing up Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea and lifting restrictions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports.
While Western sanctions do not technically restrict the sale of Russian agricultural produce, the measures still affect shipping, posing problems to payments and insurance of Russian cargo, among other things. According to Russia, however, the promised lifting of restrictions on Russian exports has not come about yet, with tons of fertilizers currently amassed at EU ports. Guterres said he spoke with EU leaders this week and is certain that the situation will improve soon. “First of all, we are engaged in trying to convince those who put certain obstacles to remove them. This week I had an intensive series of contacts with the leaders of the EU. And I hope there will be a positive change with regard to the possibility of distributing Russian grain and fertilizers without obstacles through Europe to other markets,” Guterres stated.
Another reader of Gateway Pundit who wanted to stay anonymous has been doing extensive research regarding what is going on with the food supply. “I have created an interactive map that will let you click on (or hover over) an icon and it will provide all of the details of what happened at that location, including a link to the article,” she said. Below is the excerpt of the email she sent to Gateway Pundit: “If I had any doubts about this being on purpose, that is completely gone at this point. It’s almost terrifying seeing what is going on and the majority of people have no idea. Every day something else happens to add to this list. Things are happening so quickly now, that it is mind boggling. Big Tech is covering most of these up or burying them so far down the feed that most people never see them. I have investigative skills that I have used my entire career so I know how to get around all of that or I would never have found what I have.”
I had not heard of anyone looking up actual grocery store fires so that is what started me down this path. Once I saw how bad it was and the patterns that are happening it was clear what they are doing, and I am now convinced they are getting people to help with this just like they did with the election. I realize that not all of these are on purpose but once you see how big this is, it cannot be denied that something evil is going on and we are about to have our legs kicked out from under us…
I wanted to see if you could send out an update for the map? When you first posted my map, there were so many people going to it that they told me it was going to cost several thousand dollars for a certain amount of views. I told them I didn’t have money like that so I would make it private for myself only or try to find another company. Apparently word got around so fast from your article that people bombarded the map company and wanted it back up. They contacted me and told me they decided to leave it up so they could get some good publicity because at that point I think it had almost 200,000 (from people around the world!) views within a week or two.
Dr. Shoemaker: [Ivermectin is] the only medicine that helps you fight if you’ve got a vaccine injury. It’s the key to a vaccine injury protocol. It’s time. It’s time. This is over because the science is strong. The science is huge, that ivermectin is the thing that should always be available. But now that we’ve created this crisis, we need it even more. We need it even more in Canada, in everywhere. Dr. Shoemaker: I want ivermectin available for everybody. I don’t want you to have to go to the veterinary clinic or the veterinary store to get some of this medicine. It has to be made perfectly and ethically legal in all of your pharmacies.
Dr. Trozzi: For the treatment protocols, if like [Dr. Shoemaker], if you’ve had a couple of those injections or one of those injections and you got these spike proteins being produced by yourselves, go to the World Council for Health, go to the Spike Protein Detox Guide. Dr. Shoemaker is aware of that. The FLCCC do a great job [and] Canada Covid Care Alliance. These are very similar protocols. There’s a variety of things you can do, both natural and medicinal, including one of the safest, most effective medications in the history of mankind – ivermectin.
As many have noted, this period of national mourning has a peculiarly British tinge, with the rain, the queueing, the marmalade sandwiches. People stood through the night, in a miles-long line that ran through central London, to pay their last respects to the Queen, lying in state. The TV coverage was almost soothing in its bland repetition, and its sombre reverence unavoidable.
For those of us of a republican leaning, the whole thing can feel bizarre and alienating, but for many others, the depth of their feeling may have caught them by surprise. “We have a relationship with these public figures,” says Julia Samuel, a psychotherapist who specialises in bereavement. The Queen, in particular, has “been the backdrop of our lives and this connecting thread. She’s the symbol of the mother of the nation and symbol of this idea of predictability, in such a changing, turbulent world. So we have a feeling of loss.” Precisely because of the Queen’s unknowability, we project our emotions on to her. “There’s a feeling of security in having a relationship with someone, particularly if you don’t actually know them, because you can put on to them what you need,” says Samuel.
We have come to know this outpouring of public emotion as collective grief. “The thing about collective grief is that it can put you in touch with your own losses,” says Samuel. “It can be loss of a parent and it reminds you of your mum or dad dying, or it puts you in touch with your mortality. If you have unresolved losses, it can bring lots of other feelings that aren’t necessarily to do with the Queen, that can feel quite overwhelming because it goes to the same place.”
Grief can be comforting, she says, when we are “feeling it at the same time. People feel bonded and have this sense of social safety, and of it reinforcing social ties. I think that’s why in queueing for the vigil or going to the different palaces, people find that calming. What research shows is that having great experiences of loss, you do worse alone than when you have the love and connection to others.” In a close bereavement, you would want this to be with friends and family, says Samuel. “But I also think there is something about strangers feeling like they know each other when they’re coming to put flowers at Buckingham Palace.”
President Joe Biden said he believes the Covid-19 pandemic is “over” in an appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” but acknowledged the US still has a “problem” with the virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans. “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over,” Biden said. The US government still designates Covid-19 a Public Health Emergency and the World Health Organization says it remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. But the President’s comments follow other hopeful comments from global health leaders.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in a news briefing last week that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic was “in sight,” and that the world has never been in a better position to end the Covid-19 pandemic. “Last week, the number of weekly reported deaths from Covid-19 was the lowest since March 2020,” Ghebreyesus said. “We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic. We’re not there yet, but the end is in sight.” Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adjusted its Covid-19 guidance to urge the nation away from measures such as quarantines and social distancing and instead focus on reducing severe disease from Covid-19. But the agency says some people, including those who are older, immunocompromised, have certain disabilities or underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for serious illness, and may need to take more precautions.
There were about 65,000 new Covid-19 cases reported each day over the past two weeks, data from Johns Hopkins University shows, and reported cases are dropping in almost every state. Across the United States, about 400 people are dying every day from Covid-19. Although official case counts are far from representative of true levels of transmission, forecasts published by the CDC say that new hospitalizations and deaths will hold steady for the next month. For people hospitalized for Covid-19, the risk of dying fell to the lowest it’s ever been during the Omicron wave, according to a study published last week by the CDC.
The city Department of Education has axed another 850 teachers and classroom aides — bringing the total to nearly 2,000 school employees fired for failure to comply with a vaccine mandate increasingly struck down in court. About 1,300 DOE employees who took a year’s unpaid leave — with benefits — agreed to show proof of COVID vaccination by Sept. 5 or be “deemed to have voluntarily resigned.” Of those staffers, 450 got a shot by the deadline and “are returning to their prior schools or work locations,” DOE officials told The Post. They include some 225 teachers and 135 paraprofessionals. The 850 let go makes roughly 1,950 DOE staffers terminated since the vaccine mandate took effect on Oct. 29, 2021.
Rachelle Garcia, an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn for 15 years and mother of two, worked fully in person during the pandemic and never got sick, she said. But she refused to get vaccinated, finally taking leave after the DOE denied her requests for a religious exemption. “I really put my eggs in one basket, hoping and praying that at the last minute our mayor would turn everything around in time for me to go back to work,” she said. Mayor Adams never lifted the vaccine mandate, while other cities and states are dropping such requirements due to relaxed CDC guidelines. “I’m angry, I’m hurt, to be cast aside like I was nothing. Because I couldn’t give a proper goodbye to my students, other teachers told me they kept asking, ‘When is Ms. Garcia coming back?’ That made me cry so much.”
She is now applying for jobs on Long Island. In all, NYC has fired more than 2,600 municipal workers not fully vaccinated, according to City Hall tallies. But last week, a Manhattan judge ruled that an unvaccinated NYPD officer, one of the dozens terminated, can’t be fired because the city gave no explanation of why it rejected his religious exemption request.
The U.S. Marine Corps issued guidance to roll back its strict punishments for service members who are seeking COVID-19 vaccine exemptions. In guidance posted online on Sept. 14, the “Marine Corps will not enforce any order to accept COVID-19 vaccination, administratively separate, or retaliate against Marines in the class for asserting statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” That guidance was changed following a recent Florida federal court order that temporarily blocked the Marines from taking action against individuals who seek a religious exemption. The latest guidance posted by the Marines made reference to that order, which was handed down in August.
“Involuntary administrative separation processing of class members for refusing COVID-19 vaccination is suspended,” the memo also said, while it directs commanders to “pause all administrative actions related to the involuntary separation of a class member, regardless of the current status of the separation process.” Listing several examples, the Marine guidance added that “no orders will be given to receive the vaccine, no counselings will be issued for refusing the vaccine, no administrative separation boards will be conducted,” and no discharges will be issued. If the Florida judge’s order is vacated or expires, the Marines may still enforce punishment against those who don’t meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, a spokesperson told Fox News.
Last year, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin issued an order that mandated vaccinations for all members of the armed service. “The Marine Corps is aware of the class-wide preliminary injunction issued by a District Court judge for the Middle District of Florida preventing the Marine Corps from enforcing any order to accept the COVID-19 vaccine or administratively separating Marines who refused to receive the COVID vaccine after their religious accommodation appeal was denied,” Marine Corps spokesperson Maj. Jay Hernandez told the outlet. In recent months, reports have indicated that every branch of the U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits, triggering warnings from some members of Congress.
Some have flagged the Pentagon’s strict vaccine requirement while others have said it is because of the slow creep of “woke” diversity trainings and mandates into the military. And others say that high U.S. obesity rates may be a contributing factor, and others note that the pay is not adequate. “We are on the cusp of a military recruiting crisis,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) told Politico in July. “When Republicans take control of Congress in a few months,” he added, “averting the recruiting crisis will be a top priority of the Military Personnel Subcommittee.”
Climate experts have published peer-reviewed research in the journal European Physical Journal Plus that takes a wrecking ball to numerous unsubstantiated claims about ‘apocalyptic’ climate change that have flourished in the mainstream press. One such article comes from the New York Times in March 2022, which claimed that: “Scientists have been able to draw links between a warming planet and hurricanes, heat waves and droughts, but the same can’t be said for tornadoes yet.” But such presumptions are utterly demolished with data and fact-based analysis in the 2022 study, “A critical assessment of extreme events trends in times of global warming.” It disabuses readers of the fallacious argument that climate change poses an existential threat to human life and to the planet.
The first point of contention that the researchers analyze is whether the marginal increase in global temperatures has been accompanied by an increase in major hurricanes. “Historically, around 60% of all economic damages caused by disasters worldwide is the consequence of hurricanes in the USA, and more than 80% of this damage comes from major hurricanes,” the authors state. “It is therefore not surprising that hurricanes grab interest and attention. Due to their frightening destructive potential, it is also not surprising that hurricanes are a central element in the debate on climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.” “To date, global observations do not show any significant trends in both the number and the energy accumulated by hurricanes, as shown in Fig. 1 and as claimed in several specific papers for the USA, which report the trend dating back to over 160 years ago, or for other regions of the globe,” the authors note.
“Therefore, after adjusting the time series to take into account the smaller observational capacities of the past, there remains only a small nominally positive upward trend of the tropical storms from 1878 to 2006,” the authors observe. “Statistical tests indicate that this trend is not significantly distinguishable from zero.”
“a major breach of international law” that constituted “a violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty, of the human rights of dozens of individuals, including the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens, and of all the rules regarding the sanctity and inviolability of diplomatic missions.”
In 2021, over a year and half after the UC Global employees shared their experiences, Yahoo! News released a bombshell story based on former US government sources about the CIA’s “secret war plans against WikiLeaks.” The CIA received direct footage from within the embassy, plotted to kidnap Assange, and toyed with the idea of assassinating him. That US government sources have detailed CIA plots that mirror those of the UC Global witnesses presents fairly powerful corroboration of the most serious allegations. Yahoo’s investigation also stated the CIA covert operations escalated dramatically as Trump’s CIA chief, Pompeo, was incensed by the so-called Vault 7 disclosures, detailing highly classified CIA spying techniques.
This also lines up with the testimony of the UC Global employees who say the company’s actions ramped up considerably after Trump’s election. The pivotal moment, per Yahoo, in the CIA’s decision to consider kidnapping Assange came after they caught wind that Ecuador might make Assange a diplomat to another country. Assange’s legal team was willing to consider countries that struck a defiant posture against the United States, including Venezuela, Bolivia, or Cuba. The Ecuadorian government instead suggested Russia, which had granted Edward Snowden asylum. Assange rejected the idea, fearing it would fuel further conspiracy theories. UC Global captured footage and audio of the meeting where this was discussed, meaning it likely played a pivotal role in the CIA escalation of its covert campaign against Assange.
Faced with the claims of his former employees, UC Global owner Morales has denied working for US intelligence. Initially, he denied any surveillance took place at all. After that position became impossible to maintain, Morales switched his story, claiming it was authorized by Ecuador’s then ambassador to the UK, Carlos Abad. Abad passed away in November 2019, but Jacobin spoke to former Ecuadorian foreign minister Guillaume Long. Long has also testified before the Spanish criminal probe into Morales. Long explained how documents from Morales purporting to show Ecuador authorized the surveillance are forgeries, and crude ones at that. For example, they used the wrong email endings for Ecuadorian diplomatic officials. In addition to fake email addresses, the documents themselves also bore fake serial numbers.
“They [UC Global] were clearly intercepted by the CIA to spy on all of us, especially Assange,” Long told Jacobin. Long called the US-directed surveillance “a major breach of international law” that constituted “a violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty, of the human rights of dozens of individuals, including the human rights of Ecuadorian citizens, and of all the rules regarding the sanctity and inviolability of diplomatic missions.”
What “JB” fears, Mr. Philip says, is that his nemesis, Mr. Trump, following a decisive Red win in the 2022 midyears, will manage to get a few key states to de-certify their 2020 electoral college votes — based on proven ballot fraud — thus triggering a “contingency election” in the US House of Representatives, with one vote for each state, which Mr. Trump would likely win. Far out as it sounds, the machinery for all this is embedded deep in the constitution and federal statutory law. The so-called Deep State — yes, that one… the administrative Moloch that ate Washington — fears for its existence in such a seemingly far-out case. As it should. Because Mr. Trump would replace the sniveling tool Merrick Garland with an Attorney General interested in restoring the rule of law, which will necessarily require the imposition of said law on a large cast of sinister characters in the federal bureaucracy, plus not a few elected officials, who have engaged in systematic seditious treachery lo these many years.
Among these are the upper ranks of the FBI, whose multi-year illegal antics have climaxed in the August raid on Mar-a-Lago, and the September blitz of late-night, SWAT-team subpoena servings and phone-grabbings on Mr. Trump’s associates and lawyers. Seems the FBI might have been rope-a-doped on the Mar-a-Lago caper. What the FBI confiscated were reams of evidence of the agency’s own misconduct dating back through the RussiaGate op. Then they attempted to hide the list of all that material by redacting the affidavit that accompanied the search warrant. Their aim: to designate all that evidence inadmissible in future proceedings against them due to it being tagged to an “ongoing investigation” that will never end. This has been FBI Chief Chris Wray’s ploy every time he’s been faced serious questioning in Congress. I can’t speak about ongoing investigations….
Late Thursday, however, federal Judge Aileen Cannon blocked the FBI’s use of the seized material in any criminal probe against Mr. Trump, and, at his request, appointed a “Special Master” to sort out the true ownership and privilege status of the docs. The Special Master is one retired federal judge Raymond J. Dearie. Mr. Dearie has until November 30 to complete his review of the material. By then, of course, the midterm election will be over; the FBI and its parent agency, the DOJ, will be making plans to do some ‘splainin’ to the new Congress come January. Game, set… Mr. Trump. Match to-be-determined.
By most credible accounts, the recent Ukronazi+NATO attack in the Kharkov area was even more costly in KIA/MIA, wounded and lost hardware than the attack towards Kherson. The combined losses from these attacks are staggering. Yet there are all the signs that the Ukronazi+NATO forces are preparing for even more such attacks. The Ukronazi+NATO seem happy to trade human lives for territorial gains, no matter how small or how irrelevant that territory is. The Russians seem happy to trade space and time to protect the lives of their soldiers and equipment. We could say that the Ukronazi+NATO are trading bodies for shells. Let’s remember the two goals set by Putin for the SMO: denazify and demilitarize. Both of these goals are human-focused, not terrain-focused.
In other words, if a tactical-level withdrawal allows the Russian to kill scores of Ukronazi+NATO personnel and destroy their equipment, they will gladly accept the trade. The other goal was to protect the LDNR. Kherson is not part of the LDNR. Territory can be reconquered, equipment is hard to replace, especially complex weapon-systems. And soldiers cannot be resurrected. It is absolutely clear that Ukronazi+NATO are “betting the farm” into these offensives. Not only is the coming winter a major threat for them, but the political chaos in the EU and the US this fall and winter means that now is the time to try has hard as possible to conceal the magnitude of the disaster for the Ukronazi+NATO.
So, most of what is taking place now can be summed up in this simple question: who will run out of resources first: the Ukronazi+NATO in terms of manpower and equipment or the Russians in terms of firepower (mostly artillery, missiles and airpower)? I think that the answer is obvious.
Ze is keeping hungry people hostage. aBut we’ll keep blaming Putin, right?
Peter Dynes @PGDynes: “A huge percentage of the global food supply relies heavily on just one pipeline carrying ammonia gas from Russia to Odessa. This Artificial fertilizer indirectly feeds billions of people. The pipeline is currently shut.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will allow Russia to resume sending ammonia exports through his country, thus easing a global fertilizer shortage, only if Moscow releases Ukrainian prisoners of war, he told Reuters on Friday. “I am against supplying ammonia from the Russian Federation through our territory. I would only do it in exchange for our prisoners,” Zelensky told the outlet. “This is what I offered the UN.” The Kremlin quickly dismissed the offer. “Are people and ammonia the same thing?” spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded, as reported by the news agency TASS. While Zelensky has claimed Ukraine took hundreds of Russian troops as prisoners during its recent counter-offensive in Kharkov, he has acknowledged Russia holds more Ukrainian POWs.
The UN had suggested Russian fertilizer producer Uralchem pump ammonia gas by pipeline to the Ukrainian border, where it could be purchased by Trammo, a US-based commodities trader. The pipeline can pump as many as 2.5 million tons of ammonia per year from the Volga region to the port of Yuzhny on the Black Sea. However, the port has been closed since the start of Russia’s military offensive in February. Ammonia is a vital ingredient in nitrate fertilizer, and a shortage in supply threatens to compound the global food crisis, itself already exacerbated by the conflict as much of the world’s wheat comes from Ukraine and Russia. As many as 70% of European ammonia plants have reduced or halted production in recent months due to record-high energy prices, according to the Russian fertilizer industry.
Russia, Ukraine and Turkey signed a UN-brokered deal in July to resume grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to alleviate the shortage. However, Russia’s representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, recently blamed Western sanctions for holding up shipments of both grain and fertilizer. He accused EU officials of hypocrisy for blocking Russian shipments to Africa, Asia and Latin America while allowing the critical resources to reach the bloc’s own shores. Of the 136 ships that have left Ukrainian ports carrying grain, just six went to the poorest countries suffering food crises.
Russia is prepared to provide 300,000 tons of fertilizers currently amassed at EU ports due to Western sanctions to developing nations free of charge, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. Speaking at a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Uzbekistan, the Russian leader said he had discussed agricultural export issues with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “The day before yesterday I informed Mr. Guterres that 300,000 tons of Russian fertilizers had piled up in the European Union’s seaports,” Putin said, adding that Moscow is “ready to give them to developing countries for free,” and that such deliveries would be instrumental in alleviating the global food crisis.
In late July, Moscow and Kiev signed a deal unblocking Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea at UN-brokered talks in Istanbul. The agreement is also supposed to allow Russia to deliver fertilizers and food goods to global markets. However, Russian officials have repeatedly criticized the West for not honoring the deal. While Putin welcomed the decision to allow Russian fertilizers into the EU, he criticized Brussels for only allowing the bloc’s member states to buy them. “It turns out that only they could purchase our fertilizers. What about the developing countries, the poorest countries of the world?” he asked.
Putin asked the UN Secretariat to leverage the EU Commission so that “not in words, but in deeds, [it] demands the removal of these discriminatory restrictions against developing countries” by allowing Russian fertilizers to reach emerging markets. On Thursday, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said that the “illegal unilateral sanctions” the West has imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict are still blocking the export of Russian food products and fertilizers to global markets despite earlier agreements. He also accused EU officials of “selfishness, cynicism and hypocrisy” for prohibiting European carriers from transporting Russian fertilizers to Africa, Asia or Latin America, while allowing deliveries to EU countries.
“..in the event that the Russian pipeline were completely shut-off, Newtonian physics ( how ironic ) would not allow, for example, to suction nat-gas out of its current storage as a vacuum would be drawn making outflow impossible.”
The problem starts when ignorant fools dream up the idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – not a substitute of – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (European winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during low consumption season (European summer) could be added to help satisfying winter´s high demand. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of flowing feedstocks.
Obviously, it´s very hard to know exactly what type and practical-use nat-gas “storage” capabilities different European countries have available today. For sure, such nat-gas European storage facilities are heterogenous and also varying from country to country. And we also know that in this case high-school physics still do matter much. Accordingly, many / most above-ground atmospheric pressure nat-gas reserve tanks or highly pressurized subsurface caverns by themselves will not work as expected unless a backflow – even at very low flow rates and inflow pressures — is constantly maintained from the Russian pipeline source… thus pushing the stored nat-gas out. Otherwise, in the event that the Russian pipeline were completely shut-off, Newtonian physics ( how ironic ) would not allow, for example, to suction nat-gas out of its current storage as a vacuum would be drawn making outflow impossible.
So, as suction is impossible, once Russian pipeline nat-gas inflow stops dead (which Russia intends to do…) such European stored gas would not be naturally displaced or “moved along” to elsewhere it may be needed, be it for power generation or anything else. And if the Russian nat-gas backflow / push pressure were substituted by any other gas or mixtures thereof (air or otherwise) the Russian pure nat-gas already stored would soon inter-mix and dilute beyond possible practical use as European installations and equipment are contractually fine-tuned for pure Russian nat-gas, not anything else…
The proven “possible” partial solutions for this huge problem are 3 and only 3 but for which no need has ever existed to actually attempt full European daily supply. All three have serious problems, including the low volume of nat-gas that can be extracted daily does not anywhere meet current European consumption needs. So one possible solution is having a “piston-like” storage tank system whereby the nat-gas already stored is “pushed out” by a huge piston-like surface within a special “variable geometry” storage tank. We can’t know if these very special “syringe” facilities are already installed in the right places and working as needed, but most probably they are not. Usually such tanks are tiny small in comparison to what Europe now needs and only practical for occasional use in very specific industrial feedstocks. They are very rare, very small, expensive, unreliable… and difficult to operate.
Energy prices are expected to spike at the start of 2023, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned on Wednesday, noting that the costs of electricity on the European market could be ten times higher than they were last year. “Energy prices are rising. As for gas, the market has set the price for 2023 at five times the price of 2021,” the PM told a press conference. Earlier, French media reported that the wholesale price of electricity in France will hit record highs next year, exceeding €1,000 per megawatt-hour, which is ten times higher than a year ago.
On Wednesday, Borne announced new government steps to combat rising gas and electricity prices in France. The government has pledged to keep gas and electricity price increases at 15% in 2023, a move that is expected to cost the French budget €16 billion. Governments across Europe have already plowed hundreds of billions of euros into tax cuts, handouts and subsidies to tackle the energy crisis that is driving up inflation, forcing industries to shut production and hiking utility bills ahead of winter.
A Norwegian lawmaker has urged officials to share the country’s soaring gas profits with Ukraine, saying it would be “morally wrong” to gain from the military conflict raging in Eastern Europe. The government, however, insists its top priority is to boost output as other EU states look to curtail Russian energy imports. Former Green Party spokesperson and current MP Rasmus Hansson has floated a profit-sharing scheme to convert gas revenues into foreign aid for Ukraine, telling Politico that “Norway is being short-sighted and too selfish.” “We are getting a windfall profit which is very big, but the question is: does that money belong to us as long as the most obvious reason for that price increase and that extra income is the disaster that has befallen the Ukrainian people?” he added, referring to the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Hansson said experts with Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, which manages state energy profits, must determine a “normal” gas price, and that all earnings above that level should be donated to a “solidarity fund” for post-war rebuilding efforts in Ukraine. Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt pushed back against the wealth-sharing idea, however, saying the country’s main goal is to increase energy outputs to meet a growing supply crisis in Europe. “Norway has been asked by the EU and our European partners to step up its production to cover as much of the shortfall from Russia as we can and we have done our utmost to do so,” Huitfeldt told Politico. The FM went on to accuse Moscow of manipulating gas prices and reducing exports, despite a slew of EU states demanding outright embargoes on Russian energy and imposing rafts of economic sanctions on Russian oil and gas companies.
Still, as some regions face sevenfold price increases, Huitfeldt said “many suggestions” are now being considered to meet shortages, though refused to elaborate on any particular plans. “I’m hesitant to go into specific proposals at this time. One should carefully evaluate the implications of different measures so that the result is not a reduction of supply or less focus on energy savings,” she said. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store claimed that it is “not in Norway’s interest that we have these extraordinary gas price spikes,” following a meeting with gas companies on Thursday. The meeting was “useful” but brought no concrete results, according to Reuters, as Norwegian gas companies are hesitant to commit to any long-term deals with the collapsing European energy providers. Though the EU has floated a potential price cap for energy to limit the rising costs, Oslo was skeptical about the idea, arguing it would not solve supply shortages.
Investigators searching through a mass burial site in Ukraine have found evidence that some of the dead were tortured, including bodies with broken limbs and ropes around their necks, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said Friday. The site near Izium, which was recently recaptured from Russian forces, appears to be one of the largest of its kind discovered in Ukraine. Zelenskyy spoke in a video he rushed out just hours after the exhumations began, apparently to underscore the gravity of the discovery. He said more than 400 graves have been found at the site but that the number of victims isn’t yet known.
Digging in the rain, workers hauled body after body out of the sandy soil in a misty pine forest near Izium. Protected by head-to-toe suits and rubber gloves, they gently felt through the decomposing remains of the victims’ clothing, seemingly looking for identifying items. Associated Press journalists who visited the site saw graves marked with simple wooden crosses. Flowers hung from the markers on some of the graves, and some bore people’s names. Before exhumation, investigators with metal detectors scanned the site for explosives. Soldiers strung red and white plastic tape between the trees.
Clearly, the only certain thing in the Ukraine is that Western aggression is being ‘monsterminded’ centrally from the Pentagon and Brussels. The current counterattacks by NATO-guided, Western mercenary-led and Western-armed Kiev forces around Kharkov, Kherson and elsewhere in Eastern Ukraine against the Allies, the new attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenia, the new Special Forces exercises in southern Moldova, the new threat of war against Russia from Georgia ‘by referendum’, the new disloyalty to Russia by the Kazakh leader, the new friction on the Tadzhik-Kirghiz border on 14 September, the constant attacks on Russia and Russians in the Baltic States and all the ultra-aggressive word and actions of the US/UK/EU towards Russia, are not coincidental. They have led some to predict an imminent World War III and a nuclear holocaust.
Inside the Ukraine the war has been escalated by the West. Everyone since March has clearly seen that this is not a war between Russia and the Ukraine, but a proxy war between Russia and the West. The Ukraine is simply the battlefield and the excuse for Western aggression. Indeed, now that most of the elite of the Kiev Army are dead, disabled or captured, it is Western mercenaries and NATO Special Forces in Ukrainian uniforms who are doing the fighting. Every time the West escalates, so does Russia. The threat of the US to supply ATACMS ballistic missiles with a range of 300 km, will only escalate the conflict further. Russia, which has been remarkably restrained up till now, has been obliged for the first time to attack some general infrastructure, power stations, rail lines, roads. Soon Central and Western Ukraine, mainly untouched and peaceful so far, apart from the destruction of a few military installations, may be targeted. Maybe US spy satellites over the Ukraine will be targeted too. The US will have brought it on itself.
Is this what the West wants? The fact is that most of the world supports Russia, not least China. Did the West really think when it forced Russia into liberating Russian Ukraine from genocide on 24 February that the Russian government had not foreseen all the Western attack scenarios? They had eight years to prepare and expected all this. On 14 September the spokeswoman for the Russian government, Maria Zakharova, pointed out on Radio Sputnik that : “Making Western countries totally dependent, forcing them to continue to give such large-scale aid to the Kiev regime, is to burn them up with fire…Imagine, it is proposed to do this to States that are now thinking about how they can survive the winter… because… Washington teachers told the European Union how to live and what to do. And now, developed countries have at the same time fallen to the level of underdeveloped countries that do not know how to heat themselves”.
Germany is facing a wave of bankruptcies as a result of its sanctions policy regarding Russia, the chairman of the Bundestag committee on energy, Klaus Ernst, warned on Thursday. In a post on Twitter, the left-wing politician brought up previous statements by Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the sanctions should not hit Europe harder than the Russian leadership. “We have now imposed seven packages of sanctions and Gazprom is making record profits. At the same time, we are threatened with a wave of bankruptcies. Therefore: negotiate with Russia with an open mind,” Ernst urged. With gas and electricity prices soaring, Germany, the largest EU economy, is projected to contract in 2023.
According to the Munich-based think tank Ifo Institute for Economic Research, the energy crisis is “wreaking havoc”on the German economy and could lead to a 0.3% drop in GDP next year. Earlier this month, another left-wing German politician, Sahra Wagenknecht, slammed the government for managing to embroil the country in a full-blown “economic war” with its top energy supplier, Russia. She said while addressing the Bundestag that the sanctions on Russia are “fatal” for Germany itself. With energy prices out of control, the country’s economy will soon “just be a reminder of the good old days,” the MP warned, as she called for the restrictions to be canceled while engaging in talks with Moscow.
Amidst serious tremors in the world of geopolitics, it is so fitting that this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) heads of state summit should have taken place in Samarkand – the ultimate Silk Road crossroads for 2,500 years. When in 329 BC Alexander the Great reached the then Sogdian city of Marakanda, part of the Achaemenid empire, he was stunned: “Everything I have heard about Samarkand it’s true, except it is even more beautiful than I had imagined.” Fast forward to an Op-Ed by Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev published ahead of the SCO summit, where he stresses how Samarkand now “can become a platform that is able to unite and reconcile states with various foreign policy priorities.”
After all, historically, the world from the point of view of the Silk Road landmark has always been “perceived as one and indivisible, not divided. This is the essence of a unique phenomenon – the ‘Samarkand spirit’.” And here Mirziyoyev ties the “Samarkand Spirit” to the original SCO “Shanghai Spirit” established in early 2001, a few months before the events of September 11, when the world was forced into strife and endless war, almost overnight. All these years, the culture of the SCO has been evolving in a distinctive Chinese way. Initially, the Shanghai Five were focused on fighting terrorism – months before the US war of terror (italics mine) metastasized from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond.
Over the years, the initial “three no’s” – no alliance, no confrontation, no targeting any third party – ended up equipping a fast, hybrid vehicle whose ‘four wheels’ are ‘politics, security, economy, and humanities,’ complete with a Global Development Initiative, all of which contrast sharply with the priorities of a hegemonic, confrontational west. Arguably the biggest takeaway of this week’s Samarkand summit is that Chinese President Xi Jinping presented China and Russia, together, as “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity, and refusing the arbitrary “order” imposed by the United States and its unipolar worldview.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pronounced Xi’s bilateral conversation with President Vladimir Putin as “excellent.” Xi Jinping, previous to their meeting, and addressing Putin directly, had already stressed the common Russia-China objectives: “In the face of the colossal changes of our time on a global scale, unprecedented in history, we are ready with our Russian colleagues to set an example of a responsible world power and play a leading role in order to put such a rapidly changing world on the trajectory of sustainable and positive development.”
Putin: "We jointly advocate the formation of a just, democratic and multipolar world order based on int law,… attempts to create a unipolar world have recently taken an absolutely ugly shape and are totally unacceptable to the overwhelming number of states on the planet." pic.twitter.com/7GHweqCJp3
Most NATO member states have significantly depleted their own weapons stockpiles by supplying arms to Ukraine, the military bloc’s secretary general has acknowledged. Jens Stoltenberg urged the defense industry to help replenish the thinned-out armories. In an interview with CNN on Thursday, the official lauded the “unprecedented unity in the support to Ukraine” on the part of member states. However, this kind of defense aid for Kiev has until now been “taken from our existing stocks, so they are now running low,” Stoltenberg warned. He added that one of the alliance’s priorities was to “replenish those stocks.” “Therefore, one of the main focuses in NATO is to work with the defense industry to ramp up production,” the organization’s chief explained.
Stoltenberg said that additional ammunition and weapons would help maintain the current level of support to Ukraine while ensuring that states still have “deterrence and defense” tools at their disposal. According to the official, the issue will be high on the agenda of the alliance’s defense ministers meeting in October. Most NATO member states have been providing Kiev with weapons and ammunition since Russia launched its offensive in late February. Among the most generous donors are the US, the UK and Poland. Earlier this month, Germany’s defense minister, Christine Lambrecht, claimed that Berlin has already “handed over an unbelievable amount from the reserves of the Bundeswehr” to Ukraine.
She added though that they have now “reached the limit” in terms of what they can provide. Top Ukrainian officials, including the country’s acting ambassador in Berlin, Andrey Melnik, have repeatedly criticized the German government for its perceived inaction. Kiev insists that Berlin should supply yet more heavy weaponry, including modern battle tanks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to the media on Friday following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Earlier, he met with the leaders of China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia. In his first press conference since July, the president was asked about the conflict with the West, the ongoing military operation in Ukraine, and the energy crisis in the European Union, among other things. Here are some of the key moments from Putin’s press conference.
The West always strived to destroy Russia Destroying Russia and “disintegrating” it into a number of petty states has always been a top priority for the collective West, the Russian president said. Ukraine, in its modern state, has been selected to become an “anti-Russian enclave” and the main tool to achieve such goals, Putin believes. “The fact that they’ve always strived for the disintegration of our country is certain. It is only regrettable that at some point they decided to use Ukraine to achieve such goals,” Putin said. “In order to prevent such developments, we have launched the special military operation.”
Attitude towards Ukraine may change So far, Moscow has demonstrated a very reserved reaction to such actions by the Ukrainian authorities as attempts to target vital infrastructure on Russian soil or stage “terror attacks,” Putin said. “The special military operation is not a warning of some sort, but a special military operation. We’re witnessing attempts to stage terror attacks, attempts to damage our civilian infrastructure. We respond to this with restraint, but only for the time being,” Putin stated, warning that the approach may change in the future. “Quite recently, the Russian armed forces delivered a couple of sensitive strikes, let’s say they were a warning. If the situation continues to develop in such fashion, the response will be more serious,” he added.
No change in Ukraine conflict goals There will be no changes in the goals Russia is striving to achieve with its special military operation in Ukraine, Putin said. “There are no adjustments to the plan. The General Staff makes operational decisions in the course of the campaign as to what is considered a key objective,” the president stated. “The main goal is the liberation of the entire territory of Donbass. This work continues, despite the attempted counterattacks by the Ukrainian army,” Putin said, adding that it was too early to draw any conclusions from the ongoing counteroffensive by Kiev’s forces, and one should wait to see “how it ends.”
Prospects of peace talks with Ukraine are uncertain Russia was ready to agree to security guarantees for Ukraine proposal during Istanbul talks back in March, Russian president revealed. However, the negotiations were scuppered by Kiev. “The troops were withdrawn from Kiev in order to create conditions for the reaching of this deal. Instead of inking it, the Kiev authorities immediately abandoned all agreements. They announced that they would not seek any deals with Russia, but would seek victory on the battlefield. Well, let them,” Putin said. The prospects of further negotiations or personal talks between him and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky remain uncertain, Putin admitted. “First of all, they should agree [to hold the talks]. But they refuse. Zelensky declared that… he was not ready and not willing to talk with Russia. Well, if he’s not ready – there’s no need [for that],” Putin said.
Putin: The West has for decades sought to dismantle Russia and is now trying to use Ukraine as a tool for achieving this goal. pic.twitter.com/b4o9mznWiX
Do you remember Margaret Thatcher? And Indira Gandhi? Have you ever heard of Golda Meir? All three were “Iron Ladies” who as leaders of their countries and staunch defenders of national interests, truly made a difference. One may or may not agree with their political philosophies and opinions, but there is no denying these women were truly great politicians, outshining even most of their male contemporaries. Today there are seventeen countries where women lead governments. These include France, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Serbia, Iceland, New Zealand, Bangla Desh and Nepal. The president of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, also belongs in this list. In addition, there are fifteen countries where a woman is president.
Of today’s female politicians, perhaps only Cristina Fernandez of Argentina is made of the same stuff as her illustrious predecessors Thatcher, Meir and Mrs. Gandhi. Her actual stature might have been comparable if her country carried more weight in the world political arena. An influence comparable to that of Germany, until its imposition of suicidal economic policies earlier this year. Angela Merkel, the woman who presided over Germany’s fate for over sixteen years, had already done her best to destroy the social fabric of her country by opening the gates to millions of young single male foreigners who nurtured not an ounce of respect or sympathy for the nation that welcomed them with open arms.
In other words, although “das Merkel” (as her many detractors liked to call her) might, on account of her long reign and her grip on German politics be considered a peer to Thatcher, Gandhi and Meir, she has gloriously forsaken her duties. Even if she is not Germany’s actual butcher, Merkel has prepared her country for slaughter. The master butcher currently presiding over the killing of Germany is the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, a man. But rest assured, half of his cabinet are women. Some of the most pernicious, moronic and incompetent of these women have been put in charge of key ministries. Annalena Baerbock is Minister of Foreign Affairs and as such has been making public utterances that in terms of ignorance and sheer stupidity rival those of her British counterpart Liz Truss, who just a few days ago was anointed Prime Minister.
White House officials are losing confidence that Ukraine will ever be able to take back all of the land it has lost to Russia over the past four months of war, US officials told CNN, even with the heavier and more sophisticated weaponry the US and its allies plan to send. Advisers to President Joe Biden have begun debating internally how and whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should shift his definition of a Ukrainian “victory” — adjusting for the possibility that his country has shrunk irreversibly. US officials emphasized to CNN that this more pessimistic assessment does not mean the US plans to pressure Ukraine into making any formal territorial concessions to Russia in order to end the war.
There is also hope that Ukrainian forces will be able to take back significant chunks of territory in a likely counteroffensive later this year. A congressional aide familiar with the deliberations told CNN that a smaller Ukrainian state is not inevitable. “Whether Ukraine can take back these territories is in large part, if not entirely, a function of how much support we give them,” the aide said. He noted that Ukraine has formally asked the US for a minimum of 48 multiple launch rocket systems, but to date has only been promised eight from the Pentagon. And not everyone in the administration is as worried — some believe Ukrainian forces could again defy expectations, as they did in the early days of the war when they repelled a Russian advance on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan has remained highly engaged with his Ukrainian counterparts and spent hours on the phone last week discussing Ukrainian efforts to recapture territory with Ukraine’s defense chief and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, officials familiar with the call told CNN. The growing pessimism comes as Biden is meeting with US allies in Europe, where he will try to convey strength and optimism about the trajectory of the war as he rallies leaders to stay committed to arming and supporting Ukraine amid the brutal fight.
While the Biden administration is hoping and praying that someone – anyone – will watch the comical “Jan 6” kangaroo hearsay court taking place in Congress and meant to somehow block Trump from running for president in 2024 while also making hundreds of millions of Americans forget that the current administration could very well be the worst in US history, it is quietly preparing for the worst. As none other than pro-Biden propaganda spinmaster CNN reports, when it comes to what really matters (at least according to Gallup), namely the economy, and specifically galloping gasoline prices, the White House is in a historic shambles.
For an administration that ended last year forecasting a leveling off of 40-year high inflation and eager to tout a historically rapid recovery from the pandemic-driven economic crisis, there is a level of frustration that comes with an acutely perilous moment. Asked by CNN about progress on a seemingly intractable challenge, another senior White House official responded flatly: “Which one?” The suspects behind the historic implosion are well known: “soaring prices, teetering poll numbers and congressional majorities that appear to be on the brink have created no shortage of reasons for unease. Gas prices are hovering at or around $5 per gallon, plastered on signs and billboards across the country as a symbolic daily reminder of the reality — one in which White House officials are extremely aware — that the country’s view of the economy is growing darker and taking Biden’s political future with it.”
“You don’t have to be a very sophisticated person to know how lines of presidential approval and gas prices go historically in the United States,” a senior White House official told CNN. A CNN Poll of Polls average of ratings for Biden’s handling of the presidency finds that 39% of Americans approve of the job he’s doing. His numbers on the economy, gas prices and inflation specifically are even worse in recent polls. What CNN won’t tell you is that Biden is now polling well below Trump at this time in his tenure. The CNN article then goes into a lengthy analysis of what is behind the current gasoline crisis (those with lots of time to kill can read it here) and also tries to explains, without actually saying it, that the only thing that can fix the problem is more supply, but – as we first explained – this can’t and won’t happen because green fanatics and socialist environmentalists will never agree to boosting output.
Which brings us to the punchline: as CNN’s Phil Mattingly writes, “instead of managing an economy in the midst of a natural rotation away from recovery and into a stable period of growth, economic officials are analyzing and modeling worst-case scenarios like what the shock of gas prices hitting $200 per barrel may mean for the economy.” Well, in an article titled “Give us a plan or give us someone to blame”, this seems like both a plan, and someone to blame.
Getting all of the G7 to agree to a price cap still requires getting the rest of Europe as well as Japan, So. Korea and others to agree to that price capt as well. But isn’t Europe supposed to stop buying all Russian oil imports by end of 2022 per previous sanctions they’ve agreed to? Who believes the Europeans can agree to a price cap on Russian oil and implement that cap in three months (July-September)–and then for just three months more (October-December)? Europe can’t do anything in three months, or even six. Maybe the US and EU aren’t all that confident they can implement a full ban on Russian oil exports by December? But even this isn’t the most absurd aspect of the ‘price cap’ proposal.
Assuming Biden could get all the G7 to convince all of Europe’s 27 nations on a super discounted price, there’s still the ‘small problem’ of what Russia’s response might be to all that. The G7’s faulty logic is the deep discounted price Europe is only willing to pay for the oil would be at a price much lower than even the 30% discount that Russia is now selling oil to India, China and elsewhere. The G7 presumably would offer to buy Russian oil only at a 50% discount off current world prices maybe? That would put pressure, as the G7 argument goes, on Russian oil sales to India etc. The Indians would then demand Russia oil prices at the G7 lower 50% discount price. Russia would realize further reduced revenues from oil lower prices to India, China, the rest of the world as well as to G7 and Europe.
This is a proposal so ridiculous it’s almost embarrassing. The problem with the G7 ‘price cap’ idea is there’s no reason why Russia would want to sell any oil whatsoever to Europe at the G7’s deeply discounted price cap level. First, why should it when Europe says it plans to phase out all Russian oil by December anyway? Second, Russia has shown it is not concerned with reducing natural gas export revenues to Europe. It’s already cut cubic gas exports to Europe by one-third as part of its own economic response to Europe’s agreement with US sanctions on Russia and it’s warned Europe of another third soon. Economic warfare cuts both ways. So what’s to stop Russia from just cutting off all oil exports to Europe—and well before December? Third, Russia would have to be pretty dumb to agree to sell oil to Europe at the latter’s ‘price cap’ level which would be well below Russia’s already 30% discount oil price sales to India? It knows the likely knock on effect that would follow. India as a long term oil customer is far more important to Russia than Europe which says it’s ending as a customer in just six months.
Flailing in its effort to lower Russia’s oil profits, the US has put forward an idea for a price cap on Russian oil that is being considered by the G7. But the plan, first floated by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, doesn’t seem feasible as it requires cooperation from Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as China and India. The G7 hasn’t offered any detail on the plan, but the idea would be to limit Russia’s profits without taking its oil off the global market and raising prices. But there’s virtually no chance that Putin would agree to sell Russian oil at a price set by the US. If the West tried to enforce the cap, it’s likely Putin would just stop selling oil to Europe since the EU has agreed on a phased ban of the commodity for most of its members that will take effect by the end of the year.
Despite the Western sanctions, Russia is profiting more from oil now than it did before the war, thanks to an increase in prices and China and India significantly stepping up their purchases. China and India have already been buying Russian oil at a discount and are not likely to agree with any Western plans since they have ignored US pressure to curb their imports from Russia up to this point. In the unlikely event that Russia, China, and India agree to the price cap, it would likely raise global prices anyway. An artificially low price would mean more demand than what Russia could produce, which would lead to shortages of Russian crude.
Despite how unfeasible the plan is, the G7 sounds like it’s seriously considering it. Biden and the other G7 leaders said in a joint communiqué on Tuesday that they are considering a “range of approaches” on Russian oil, including banning its shipment “unless the oil is purchased at or below a price to be agreed in consultation with international partners.”
“I also said that for several years Ukrainians have been killing civilians in the Donbass, and that this is genocide. “And it turns out to be a crime for Germany, so they took 1,600 euro from my bank account and didn’t even tell me about it..”
GERMAN journalist Alina Lipp has said she faces three years in prison in her home country for her reporting from Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. The charges against her relate to coverage from her News from Russia Telegram channel where she shares information with its 175,000 subscribers in both German and Russian. In an interview with the Readonka World website, she explained that she is subject to criminal proceedings by the German federal government after receiving a letter from the prosecutor’s office. She is accused by the German authorities of supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine and faces three years in prison under article 140 of the constitution or a monetary fine.
“The letter says that, for example, I say in my Telegram channel that the population of Donbass supports the fact that Russia has launched a special operation. “I also said that for several years Ukrainians have been killing civilians in the Donbass, and that this is genocide. “And it turns out to be a crime for Germany, so they took 1,600 euro from my bank account and didn’t even tell me about it,” Ms Lipp said. German authorities also closed down her father’s bank account without warning, she claimed. Ms Lipp is a former Green Party politician who has been based in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region for six months.
She says she just films what she sees and doesn’t spread “fake information.” Despite the charges against her, she plans to continue reporting from Donetsk, which she said is being shelled daily by the Ukrainian armed forces. Reporting in Ukraine is tightly restricted and those who deviate from the Kiev line do so at serious risk to their safety. Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett, who has also been reporting from the Donbass region, says she has been placed on a government kill list.
The first decade of BRICS saw the member states establish or deepen cooperation in various fields, achieve convergence, and strengthen relations. On the financial front, the BRICS countries established the New Development Bank, providing infrastructure financing for member states and other emerging market and developing economies. [..] The NDB aims to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the BRICS member states as well as other developing countries, and supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for global development, and thus give BRICS a bigger say in global governance.
The “BRICS Plus” mechanism was introduced at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, Fujian province, in 2017. Although the global influence of the BRICS countries has increased significantly, given the trade war and the financial war launched by the United States, it may be a wise choice to turn BRICS into an open platform to forge cooperation across continents. That would be not only beneficial to the economic development of countries, but also help build a better world order, in which emerging market and developing economies can compete and coexist on an equal footing with their developed counterparts.
This year is ideal to talk BRICS’ expansion, because it’s been five years since China proposed to start the expansion process. Although explorations and procedures continue, unofficially the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Argentina and Thailand are among the countries that could join the grouping. All in all, BRICS’ importance to the global economy is noteworthy in terms of population (40 percent), GDP(25 percent nominal), land area (30 percent), world trade (18 percent), and foreign exchange reserves ($4 trillion). And BRICS enlargement will help the grouping more soundly steer global development toward a more fruitful and mutually beneficial new era.
The United States federal bodies responsible for the nation’s healthcare policies keep turning a blind eye to the devastating number of deaths and injuries associated with experimental gene therapeutics against Covid, aka Covid vaccines. All severe reactions to the shots are proclaimed “rare.” Steve Kirsch, California tech entrepreneur and founder of the Vaccine Safety Research Foundation (VSRF), has estimated that the shots have left as many as five million Americans unable to work, 30 million injured, and more than 750,000 dead, as of June 24, 2022. According to the latest survey conducted by Pollfish on behalf of the VSRF, vaccines are associated with a very high number of adverse reactions, including lethal and life-altering ones. That means that the vaccinations should be halted immediately.
Writes Kirsch, Our latest poll is devastating for the official narrative: 1. a 6.6% rate of heart injury, 2. 2.7% are unable to work after being vaccinated (5M people), 3. 6.3% had to be hospitalized, 4. you’re more likely to die from COVID if you’ve taken the vaccine. 5. Almost as many (77.4% to be more exact) households lost someone from the vaccines as from COVID. He went on to remind that, according to the official data, more than one million Americans have died “from COVID,” even though it is unclear whether Covid was the primary cause of death, since Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), admitted in January that 75 percent of Covid deaths occurred in people who had “at least four comorbidities.”
Kirsch continued: This survey indicates that over 750,000 people died from the vaccine…. Surprisingly, the ever-vigilant CDC hasn’t found anyone who has died from the mRNA vaccines. Not a single person. So that’s a gap of 750,000 people. That’s a big gap. Someone isn’t telling you the truth.” Presumably, Kirsch is being sarcastic, calling the CDC “ever-vigilant” in light of last week’s report revealing that the agency has not been analyzing its own database, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), specifically designed to detect safety signals for the vaccines. The other key takeaways from the poll include the following,
• Only 34 percent of Americans will be receiving more than two vaccine doses. That means that some 66 percent of the vaccinated are not listening to the government recommendation to stay “up-to-date” with the vaccination by taking additional doses, aka boosters. • Someone died from Covid in 2.63 percent of the households, as compared to 2.03 percent of the households reporting a vaccine-related death. “This is stunning because it shows that the vaccine has killed almost as many people as the COVID virus has,” concluded Kirsch, adding, “Computed another way, there are 123M households in the US. If 2% of those experienced just one vaccine death, then that is 2.4M deaths. Even if this is overestimated by a factor of 10X, this is devastating for the vaccine narrative.” • Of those over the age of 18 who received the vaccine, 2.7 percent have reported becoming unable to work. Extrapolated to the whole of the country, this translates to more than five million severely injured people.
At the same time, 16.7 percent of respondents believe they have been harmed by vaccines. On a national scale, this means that there are more than 30 million vaccine-injured people. • The survey shows a 6.6-percent rate of heart injuries post-vaccine, or 13.3 million injured Americans. “This is 1,000X higher than the CDC told us.… How could the CDC underestimate this severe adverse event by 3 orders of magnitude?!!?” wondered Kirsch. Then, 3.7 percent reported a person in their household with a heart condition due to the vaccine. Since there are 123 million households, this may represent as many as 4.5 million new heart conditions. • Potentially 18 million people — 9.2 percent of vaccine recipients — required medical attention for injuries. Additionally, 6.3 percent, potentially representing 12 million Americans, had to be hospitalized. • The vaccines are associated with the increased risk of Covid. Vaccinated people appeared to be 17 percent more likely to become infected, and were 72 percent more likely to die after getting the vaccine. “We were told the opposite by the government,” lamented Kirsch.
Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that he is back on Paxlovid, the antiviral medication, to treat COVID-19 after recovering from the virus only to test positive again days later in what is known as a “Paxlovid Rebound.” Fauci appeared virtually during an appearance at the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum and said the symptoms are “much worse.” He said he tested negative for three days before testing positive again. The Hill reported that a “rebound” infection does not mean an individual is “re-infected,” and can be part of the “natural history” of the virus. Fauci, 81, was a candidate for the Paxlovid treatment because of his age. Fauci said the day after he was diagnosed for a second time, he began to feel “really poorly,” and “much worse than in the first go around,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of the anti-viral under and Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of “mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults and children (12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds with a positive test for the virus that causes COVID-19, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, Pfizer said. Paxlovid could reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by 89 percent, UC San Diego Health said. Treatment should be initiated within five days of symptom onset and taken twice daily for five consecutive days. The school recently studied to see if the virus developed any drug resistance after these rebound cases began to emerge, and found that was not the case. The virus was still sensitive to the drug and showed no relevant mutations that would reduce the drug’s effectiveness, the school said.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen is no longer in possession of text messages that she exchanged with Pfizer chief Albert Bourla to seal a COVID-19 vaccine deal, the Commission said in a letter published on Wednesday. In an interview in April 2021, von der Leyen revealed she had exchanged texts with Bourla for a month when they were negotiating a massive vaccine contract.But in response to a public access request by a journalist because of the importance of the deal, the Commission did not share the texts, triggering accusations of maladministration by the EU’s ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly.
“The Commission can confirm that the search undertaken by the President’s cabinet for relevant text messages corresponding to the request for access to documents has not yielded any results,” the EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said in the letter to the ombudsman, an EU watchdog. In the letter, the Commission argues that text messages do not need to be registered and stored because they are treated as “short-lived, ephemeral documents.” The same exception to the general registration requirement applies to documents with no important information, the letter said. The deal, negotiated via text messages and calls, according to what von der Leyen herself said in her interview with the New York Times, was the biggest contract ever sealed for COVID-19 vaccines, with the EU committing to buy 900 million Pfizer-BioNTech PFE.N, 22UAy.DE shots, with an option to buy another 900 million.
The January 6 Committee geared up to deliver a potential bombshell on Tuesday with emergency testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to chief of staff Mark Meadows. But like most of the attempts to take down former president Donald Trump — from Russian collusion hoaxes to slimy porn lawyers — Hutchinson’s testimony quickly revealed itself as too good to be true. It quickly became clear that one of Hutchinson’s most shocking claims was either misremembered or an outright lie. She claimed that Tony Ornato, White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and Bobby Engel, who headed Trump’s security detail, told her that Trump had attempted to grab the steering wheel of a Secret Service vehicle to redirect it to the Capitol on January 6. When agents refused, Trump allegedly assaulted them.
Secret Service sources said that both the driver of the vehicle and Engel had heard this allegation for the first time during Hutchinson’s testimony and were prepared to testify under oath that it was not true. Fox News reported that a source close to Ornato said he was similarly shocked to hear Hutchinson’s account and would also confirm it was not true. A spokesperson for the Secret Service said that the January 6 Committee didn’t even bother to reach out to them to confirm the story before having Hutchinson testify publicly on Tuesday. If Hutchinson was able to get such a major allegation so totally wrong, how are we supposed to trust the rest of her testimony?
The answer, of course, is that we can’t. Hutchinson also testified that she wrote a note offering a potential statement for President Trump to release during the Capitol riot. Former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann said that was also a lie… because he was the one who wrote the note — and had told the committee so during his own testimony. Nonetheless, the “conservative” clapping seals who are always not-so-secretly rooting for Trump’s demise insisted that Hutchinson’s allegations were disqualifying — if not proof of criminality. A high-resolution photo of Hutchinson being sworn in graced the cover of the Wall Street Journal this morning. Readers weren’t informed that the Secret Service was prepared to reject parts of her testimony until ten paragraphs into the story.
The Washington Examiner editorial board insisted that the testimony proved that Trump was “unfit for power” because he was “unstable” and “unmoored,” repeating uncritically the story of “the president trying to grab the wheel of the car to force it to be driven to the Capitol and then violently reaching for the neck of Secret Service agent Bobby Engel.”
The January 6 Committee’s credibility has plummeted after claims by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that President Trump “lunged” for the steering wheel of his vehicle and demanded to be taken to the site of the riots were contradicted by the lead Secret Service agent. Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, the then-White House deputy chief of staff, told her that Trump said something like, “I’m the f-ing president, take me up to the Capitol now,” and had “reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel” before then using “his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” the the presidential driver. Despite the legacy media breathlessly reporting Hutchinson’s claims without much skepticism, the term ‘Amber Heard 2.0’ subsequently trended on Twitter as Hutchinson’s assertions were demolished.
Within hours, Peter Alexander of NBC News revealed that Engel was prepared to testify “under oath that neither man was assaulted and that Mr. Trump never lunged for the steering wheel.” Trump himself also asserted that the incident never happened. Hutchinson appears to be pursuing a personal vendetta against Trump because he “personally turned her request her down” when she tried to get a job at Mar-a-Lago. Hutchinson also apparently told another outright lie during her testimony when she claimed she had written a note of a statement for Trump to release on January 6.
The note was actually penned by Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann. “The handwritten note that Cassidy Hutchinson testified was written by her was in fact written by Eric Herschmann on January 6, 2021,” a spokesperson for Herschmann told ABC News Tuesday evening.It remains to be seen whether Hutchinson will face any consequences for apparently lying under oath, although the already dubious credibility of the January 6 Committee has taken a further massive blow. “The January 6 committee clowned itself,” summarized Tim Young.
Waited for 8 hours to give Texas Senate HHS report on safety data. Alarm bells went off Jan 22, 2021. Mouths dropped as the timeline burned into their consciousness and the Senate record FOREVER! Let history record it happened for all to see and hear–injured, disabled, dead. pic.twitter.com/T2SwFwcaKr
It’s worth paying attention to just how disordered Mr. Young’s thinking is because it summarizes everything that has gone awry on the political Left: He is wrong two ways: 1) morally, and 2) on the facts of the matter — which is as wrong as you can be. Like virtually everyone on the Democratic Party / Woke / Progressive axis, he is obviously in favor of suppressing free speech. Since when did that become okay for old hippies? If I remember correctly (cuz I was there) the youth movement of the 1960s was all about freedom to say pretty much anything, except yell “fire” in a crowded theater — based on the idea that ordinary people were equipped to sort out the truth. During the War in Vietnam, we hippies were especially averse to the official lying that emanated from the Department of Defense, the FBI, the CIA, and the White House under both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
We founded “alternative” newspapers in defiance of the establishment’s propaganda. We applauded Daniel Ellsberg’s purloined Pentagon Papers, revealing the mendacity of the war effort. Altogether, this activity made it more difficult for the government to prosecute that war, and to defend the strategy behind it. Today the Left is not only all-in on speech suppression, but also censorship of print and broadcasting, and is especially avid for the diverse punishments of cancellation — ruining careers, reputations, livelihoods, and families of anyone who opposes Woke right-think. Alternate views are not tolerated, labeled “unacceptable” (Mr. Young put it exactly that way), and flagged as “misinformation” (ditto Mr. Young). It’s gotten to the point where the word misinformation has acquired a distinct odor that signals bad faith in everyone who flogs it.
These days, the charge of misinformation is deliberate misinformation. Today, the Left is all-in for FBI home invasions, DOJ malicious prosecutions, CIA manipulations of public opinion, a fake president fronting for an unseen cabal, and a news media that wouldn’t know the actual shape and substance of reality if it jumped up and bit Jim Acosta on the lips. Ideas and principles don’t really matter to the Left; they’re just window-dressing for their sole interest, which is pushing other people around, in a word: coercion. That is the moral quagmire the Left is in and, having captured so many institutional transmitters of our polity, that is the nature of the evil they represent.
The director general of the World Health Organization thanked legendary musician Neil Young for taking a stand against Joe Rogan’s podcast and pulling his music from Spotify. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted his message to Young on Thursday. “[Neil Young] thanks for standing up against misinformation and inaccuracies around #COVID19 vaccination. Public and private sector, in particular #socialmedia platforms, media, individuals – we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic,” Ghebreyesus tweeted. Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify to choose between his music or Rogan’s incredibly popular podcast. Spotify didn’t need much time to decide in favor of Rogan.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” wrote Young in the open letter to his management team. “Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule.” He later deleted the letter from his website. Some surprising entertainers came to Rogan’s defense, including radio talk show host Howard Stern who said he didn’t agree with Rogan’s stance on vaccines but was against all censorship. Joy Behar cited the First Amendment right to free speech when she defended Rogan even as she supported labeling his podcasts as “misinformation.”
I was chatting with Lt. Col. Theresa Long about this after being tipped off by Pierre Kory who sent me the photos. This is the real deal. I got a text of images from Pierre Kory. He asked me to guess what he sent. I thought they were images from Ryan Cole. Nope. He said these were from an embalmer and referred me to Lt. Col. Theresa Long who knows the embalmer. Funeral Director and embalmer Richard Hirschman reveals, for the first time ever, arteries and veins filled with unnatural blood clot combinations with strange fibrous materials that are completely filling the vascular system.
He has gone from seeing 50% of his embalmed cases with these types of blockages rise to almost 80%. It only started happening after the vaccines were rolled out. This doesn’t happen to everyone. Only those who die after vaccination. So he can tell who was vaccinated. This tells you everything you need to know. Watch the video here:
[..] the push to authorize COVID vaccines for younger children could be tied to the fact that vaccine makers benefit from legal protections for childhood vaccines. Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, when CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices places a vaccine on the mandatory childhood vaccine schedule, vaccine makers are shielded from liability for injury claims. However, as long as its COVID vaccine for children remains under EUA, Pfizer will also benefit from liability protections provided under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act — so either way, the vaccine maker won’t be held accountable if its product harms young children.
While the U.S. pushes for COVID vaccines for children as young as 6 months, Sweden’s public health authorities this week announced they will not recommend the vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Britta Bjorkholm, an official with Sweden’s Health Agency, stated “[w]ith the knowledge we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don’t see any clear benefit with vaccinating them.” Norway opted to make COVID vaccines optional for children aged 5-11. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health stated the risk of severe illness in children that is brought on by COVID is small, and that as a result, the need for children to receive a COVID vaccine is limited. Norway’s announcement, in turn, prompted the Danish Pediatric Society to request that Denmark’s Health Authority revisit its decision to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for children in Denmark.
It’s over, okay? Israel is first, always. Other highly vaccinated and boosted countries are a few weeks behind, and their boosted patients may still have some partial protection against severe disease and death. (People who received two doses last winter or spring probably have none at this point, if the data out of Scotland and the United Kingdom are to be believed.) But that won’t last. The Israeli experience this month could not be clearer. A third dose does not provide long-term protection. When it fails, the boomerang effect is severe. Hospitals come under even more pressure than they would in a “natural” Covid wave, because the vaccine failure is highly synchronized – everyone becomes exposed at once. And so – insanity upon insanity – the Israelis are offering a fourth dose.
Why would anyone believe at this point that a fourth dose will help for more than a couple of weeks? Not months, weeks. The trend line was obvious even BEFORE Omicron arrived; and Omicron drives vaccine efficacy down even more quickly. In countries with good data, vaccinated people actually are more likely to be infected than the unvaccinated. Further, a fourth dose is likely to have MORE severe side effects – remember, the second and third doses produce notably increasing levels of heart inflammation in men, and mRNA therapeutics were repurposed as vaccines because of problems with toxicity after repeated dosing. It’s over. The vaccines have been proven ineffective for more than a few months against the wild-type virus. They appear to have negative efficacy against Omicron.
Forget all the black swans. Forget Marek’s. Forget antibody-dependent enhancement. Forget the strange rise in all-cause deaths last fall in highly vaccinated countries (which mercifully, seems to have stopped in the United Kingdom in the last couple of weeks – though that easing raises even more questions about why it happened at all). Forget the risk of long-term immunocompromise that might lead vaccinated people to be at higher risk for future Covid infections. Forget the nearly one million side effect reports now in the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. Judged SOLELY on the basis of the last year’s efficacy data, the mRNA vaccines are a failed product and should be withdrawn. Any future mRNA vaccines – against the Omicron variant or any other target- need to be tested for safety and efficacy in large-scale clinical trial for YEARS. Not months, years. This kind of billion-person experiment must never happen again. It’s over, okay? We didn’t get the Hollywood ending. Science didn’t win.
Covid-19 has finally exposed for everyone the scam that has been run on people for the last thirty years or more and you willingly bought into the con job, whether it be on masks or jabs. Masks were known one hundred years ago to be worthless against respiratory viruses; they were tried in 1918 and failed. Forty years ago in 1981 the Neil Orr study published which proved surgical masks worthless against wound infection in surgical suites where every single person using them was a trained professional and every item in the room was sterilized. Didn’t matter; the infection rate went down when masks were removed instead of up as expected. Today many school systems still insist on muzzling kids and the ******ned signs are still up in some stores and other businesses. Anyone stupid enough to think they should wear those ****ing things is too stupid to genetically pass to the next generation.
Masks are nothing more than performative art and might even spread infection by moving the virus from one place to another; if you like documenting that you’re ****ing stupid be my guest but that fact remains that if you wear one of these things to try to “protect others” you are stupid. Yes, an N95 might protect you provided you follow all of the rules. Nobody does or will in the general public because you can’t realistically do so. Without following all those rules (specifically, fit-testing, no re-use once removed, no leaving where you might have been exposed without replacement so you don’t bring the virus into each new potential risk area, treating of the mask as medical hazardous waste and time-in-use restrictions that typically are about 2 hours) even an N95 does nothing to protect you and even if you follow the rules it is personal protective equipment — it does not, because it cannot, protect others.
What’s likely far more effective is to stay the hell out of public restrooms since we know Covid-19 is in ****. We know its in there because cities are using sampling of the sewer to detect prevalence! I brought this up — that this had to be a primary vector source in March and April of 2020 after two highly-odd transmission events in the Far East which were only explained by the fact that the apartment buildings in question did not have P-traps on the sinks. Of course avoiding the restroom is not possible in a public setting, especially if you’re going to be there for more than a couple of hours or if you intend to eat or (especially) drink anything. Oh well. Humans are social animals. Facts don’t care about your feelings.
Nobody wants to face what we knew in the early months of this thing and which the CDC itself admitted along with multiple other sources (including Nashville) by the summer and fall of 2020: There were and are only two vectors that matter; first households which you obviously cannot cut off and second health care providers and facilities which is a very tough issue but we won’t and didn’t do anything effective about it despite my flagging it by May of 2020 as the decisive vector, based on data in multiple states when case counts were low enough that pegging how it was happening was possible. Statistically-speaking nothing else matters at all.
An official EU watchdog has slammed Ursula von der Leyen for keeping secret text messages with Pfizer’s CEO about purchasing Covid vaccine doses, saying it ‘constituted maladministration’. The EU ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, issued a formal recommendation telling von der Leyen’s office to search for and hand over the texts under a freedom of information request lodged by a journalist. In April last year, the New York Times revealed that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla had exchanged text messages and calls about vaccine procurements for EU countries. The European Commission chief used ‘personal diplomacy’ to secure the deal for 1.8 billion Pfizer vaccines via texts with the CEO, the paper revealed.
Journalist Alexander Fanta of news site netzpolitik.org then asked the Commission for access to the text messages and other documents, but the executive branch did not provide them. The commission rebuffed the freedom-of-information request, refusing to say whether the texts existed – even though von der Leyen had referred to them herself in a media interview. According to the ombudsman’s inquiry, the Commission did not clearly ask von der Leyen’s cabinet to look for the text messages. Instead, the Commission said the only information they had was an email, a letter and a press release. ‘This falls short of reasonable expectations of transparency and administrative standards in the Commission,’ O’Reilly said.
‘When it comes to the right of public access to EU documents, it is the content of the document that matters and not the device or form. If text messages concern EU policies and decisions, they should be treated as EU documents. The ombudsman said the commission should ask von der Leyen’s office to again look for the texts, and if it found them, ‘the Commission should assess whether public access can be granted to them’ in line with EU rules. ‘The EU administration needs to update its document recording practices to reflect this reality.’
The head of hospitals in Paris has raised the question of whether Covid patients who have refused to be vaccinated should be charged for emergency treatment if they become seriously ill with the virus. Martin Hirsch said the door to hospital treatment was open to all people but questioned whether this had to go hand in hand with “responsibility, allowing everyone to benefit,” in what he said was a “delicate debate”. “When a free prevention tool is available, can be used, is recognised as something useful by the scientific community, and you refuse it, do you do so without suffering any consequences? Or do we say we will treat you, but there is no reason why you should have no consequences when there will be for other patients who are having difficulty getting treatment and can do nothing about it,” Hirsch told the television programme C à vous.
His comments have provoked outrage and calls for his resignation, including from a number of candidates in the April presidential election. The Socialist party’s Anne Hidalgo said making the vaccine-hesitant pay for treatment was not the answer. “We have a strategy and we have to keep on educating people,” she said. Danièle Obono of the hard-left La France Insoumise (LFI), was among those calling for Hirsch to resign, saying vaccinated and unvaccinated people had each contributed financially to pay for the health system. Julien Aubert, an MP for the mainstream-right Les Républicains, accused Hirsch of “mixing politics with administrative functions”.
About 30,000 people are being treated for Covid in hospitals in France. Non-vaccinated Covid patients are reported to represent 70% of patients in intensive care in Paris and Bordeaux and more than 90% in Marseille and Nice, according to doctors. One day in intensive care is estimated to cost the French taxpayer about €4,628 (£3,850), while a vaccine dose costs the state €20 (£16.60).
You don’t have to be unvaccinated or a conspiracy theorist or even anti-government to be worried about what lies ahead. You just have to recognize the truth in the warning: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is not about COVID-19. Nor is it about politics, populist movements, or any particular country. This is about what happens when good, generally decent people—distracted by manufactured crises, polarizing politics, and fighting that divides the populace into warring “us vs. them” camps—fail to take note of the looming danger that threatens to wipe freedom from the map and place us all in chains. It’s about what happens when any government is empowered to adopt a comply-or-suffer-the-consequences mindset that is enforced through mandates, lockdowns, penalties, detention centers, martial law, and a disregard for the rights of the individual.
The slippery slope begins in just this way, with propaganda campaigns about the public good being more important than individual liberty, and it ends with lockdowns and concentration camps. The danger signs are everywhere. Claudio Ronco, a 66-year-old Orthodox Jew and a specialist in 18th-century music, recognizes the signs. Because of his decision to remain unvaccinated, Ronco is trapped inside his house, unable to move about in public without a digital vaccination card. He can no longer board a plane, check into a hotel, eat at a restaurant or get a coffee at a bar. He has been ostracized by friends, shut out of public life, and will soon face monthly fines for insisting on his right to bodily integrity and individual freedom.
For all intents and purposes, Ronco has become an undesirable in the eyes of the government, forced into isolation so he doesn’t risk contaminating the rest of the populace. This is the slippery slope: a government empowered to restrict movements, limit individual liberty, and isolate “undesirables” to prevent the spread of a disease is a government that has the power to lockdown a country, label whole segments of the population a danger to national security, and force those undesirables—a.k.a. extremists, dissidents, troublemakers, etc.—into isolation so they don’t contaminate the rest of the populace. The world has been down this road before, too. Others have ignored the warning signs. We cannot afford to do so.
A new court filing by special counsel John Durham reveals that Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz concealed crucial information from Durham in connection with the ongoing prosecution of Michael Sussmann, a former attorney to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. The filing also reveals that Horowitz failed to disclose that his office is in possession of two cellphones used by former FBI general counsel James Baker. The phones may contain information that’s important to the Sussmann case, as well as to a separate criminal leak investigation of Baker that Durham personally conducted between 2017 and 2019.
Horowitz first came to public prominence in June 2018 when he issued a report on the FBI’s actions leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Horowitz followed up in December 2019 with another report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the bureau’s pursuit of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Durham’s filing on Jan. 25 involves discovery issues surrounding Sussmann’s upcoming trial for allegedly making a materially false statement to the FBI’s then-general counsel James Baker. As part of Durham’s discovery obligations, the Special Counsel’s Office met with Horowitz and his team on Oct. 7, 2021, and subsequently requested any materials, including any “documents, records, and information” regarding Sussmann that may have been in the possession of the Office of Inspector General (OIG).
On Dec. 17, 2021, Horowitz’s office provided Durham with information that Sussmann had given the OIG information in early 2017, that an OIG “employee’s computer was ‘seen publicly’ in ‘Internet traffic’ and was connecting to a Virtual Private Network in a foreign country.” It isn’t clear what this information was about, why Sussmann would know about this information, or why he would have been interested in the internet activities of OIG employees. It also isn’t known why Sussmann, a private citizen, would have been seeking out the OIG shortly after he was pushing information detrimental to Trump to both the FBI and the CIA. At the time of the Dec. 17 disclosure, “the OIG represented to [Durham’s] team that it had “no other file or other documentation” relating to this cyber matter.”
However, last week, Sussmann’s attorneys informed Durham that there was additional information, including the fact that Sussmann had met with Horowitz in March 2017 to personally pass along the information about the OIG employee’s computer VPN use. This meeting between Horowitz and Sussmann hadn’t been disclosed by Horowitz to Durham during their previous meetings and interactions. It isn’t known why Horowitz would have taken a personal meeting from Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer. According to Bill Shipley, a former federal prosecutor, “[y]ou don’t generally just call the IG and get a meeting with him personally.” It also isn’t clear why Horowitz chose not to inform Durham of the meeting—particularly as it pertained directly to information that Horowitz’s office had been specifically requested to relay to Durham’s special counsel probe.
Staccato bursts of gunfire. Silence, darkness, beeping, flash, explosion. Dramatic music. Indistinct yelling. Volleys of artillery in the shadows. Jet fumes. Special forces operating in the dead of night. All put on display in the social media accounts of Forward Observations Group (FOG), which appear to be an uncontrollable oasis of military porn. “I’m beginning to think you aren’t in Paris?” read a screenshot of a text message the Group shared recently via Instagram stories, where they also happen to be broadcasting their current journey throughout eastern Ukraine. The conflict, often described as ‘frozen’, between government forces and separatists in the region, known as the Donbass, flared up in 2014, after violent street protests led to the Ukrainian government being overthrown.
Kiev sent troops to parts of the Russian-speaking Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which refused to recognize the new regime. The conflict had stalled by March 2015; however, sporadic fighting there has been occurring ever since. In recent months, Western leaders have been speculating that Moscow, which has been accused of controlling the separatists, is planning an all-out offensive against its neighbor. The allegations are based on the purported buildup of Russian troops close to the border. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusations. The US and UK began delivering ‘lethal aid’ to Ukraine last week in an effort to thwart supposed Russian aggression. Almost 100 tons of “lethal aid,” including ammunition intended for “the front line defenders of Ukraine,” were delivered on January 22, the US Embassy in Kiev said.
Given the circumstances, a string of photos from Donbass showing the group of Americans in combat gear holding firearms could not have gone unnoticed. Forward Observations, which apparently consists mostly of former American servicemen, came into the spotlight after Russian military-related social media communities started discussing their e-bravado over being in the conflict zone.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the “slightly imbalanced” coverage of the situation surrounding his country exhibited by some Western politicians and media. He was speaking to foreign reporters during a major press conference on Friday. The former entertainer particularly emphasised his concerns about press coverage, and political statements, concerning an alleged Russian military build up near his country’s frontier. “Today we are not seeing any greater escalation than it has been before. Yes, the number of servicemen has increased, but I spoke about that at the beginning of 2021 when they talked about the military exercises of the Russian Federation,” Zelensky stated. “From media coverage, it looks like we are at war already, that troops are already on the road, that there’s mobilization, people going somewhere. It’s not the case. We don’t need this panic.”
Overhyping the tensions around Ukraine has already had a heavy impact on its economy, Zelensky insisted. Billions have been withdrawn from the country, in recent times, he added, without specifying whether he was referring to the domestic Grivna currency, or those of foreign nations. The president also touched upon phone talks with his US counterpart Joe Biden, which took place earlier in the day. Zelensky dismissed media reports that they didn’t go well, insisting that that there were no disagreements with the US president. “We do not have any misunderstanding with the president of the United States. Simply, I deeply understand what is happening in my country, and he understands well what is going on in the US,” Zelensky explained.
Rona the red spike protein
Covid Vaccine Propaganda Exposed. Why did so many blindly get vaccinated without thinking? Popular culture, media, celebrities, politicians, athletes, social media creators, emotional appeals, & slogans. Spread fear, then offer the solution to freedom & getting your life back. pic.twitter.com/xK3fUhlfyE
The World Health Organization (WHO) has informed The Epoch Times that it has not documented any deaths from the Omicron variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19. According to the WHO, “for Omicron, we have not had any deaths reported, but it is still early in the clinical course of disease and this may change.” When reached for comment by The Epoch Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent its report on the Omicron variant in the United States from Dec. 1 through 8. It shows that there were no documented deaths from Omicron during that period. The WHO’s latest weekly epidemiological update for Dec. 7 showed that all 212 Omicron cases documented across eighteen European Union (EU) countries were either mild or asymptomatic.
“While South Africa saw an 82 percent increase in hospital admissions due to COVID-19 (from 502 to 912) during the week 28 November–4 December 2021, it is not yet known the proportion of these with the Omicron variant,” the report noted. Omicron has also been detected in the United States, first in California and later in Colorado, New York, Maryland, Utah, and many other states. The first American patient with the variant was identified in San Francisco, testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 29 after returning from a trip to South Africa on Nov. 22. Yet the California Department of Public Health has confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the variant was present in wastewater as early as Nov. 25.
Note the subtle lower placement of the Fluzone data graphs, making the mRNA product appear more effective than it is relative to the licensed traditional Fluzone graphs. In a sharp-eyed tweet, @RobertLKruse gets the gold star for pointing out this trick in Moderna’s slide comparing early efficacy data from its flu shot to a competitor. The y-axis being lower for Fluzone’s shot is lower makes it look worse (and $MRNA’s shot better) if glancing quickly and comparing the two graphs. For some reason, Moderna seems to have failed to perform statistical comparison of Fluzone versus Moderna flu jab data. Perhaps because they do not have enough capital to hire competent biostatisticians to run the numbers?
Panel B: Safety – Adverse events
This is the real bombshell! Note that the dose for Moderna’s COVID-19 jab is 100 micrograms, so focus on that column when comparing to placebo- 92% of patients >= 50 years old had adverse events, compared to 33% in the placebo. Even in 18 – 50 year olds – who really have no reason to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with these products- the data show a 90.5% adverse event rate compared to 30% in placebo treated patients. This does not look good. What we can infer from this is that the adverse event profile for the mRNA COVID-19 jabs that has so many of us (including myself!) alarmed is not just due to the Spike protein, but a significant proportion of the risk seems to be due to the artificial pseudouridine-containing mRNA combined with the novel synthetic cationic lipid (positively charged synthetic fat carrier molecule).
Japan announces that public and private sectors can not discriminate against those who refuse the experimental mRNA gene therapy injections. Japan is now labeling Covid “vaccines” to warn of dangerous and potentially deadly side effects such as myocarditis. In addition, the country is reaffirming its commitment to adverse event reporting requirements to ensure all possible side effects are documented. These efforts from Japan’s health authority are in stark contrast to the deceptive measures taken by other countries to coerce citizens into taking the injection, downplaying side effects, and discouraging proper adverse event reporting. Additionally, Japan is emphasizing informed consent and bodily autonomy. Until the coronavirus pandemic, the concept of “informed consent” was considered sacred to healthcare professionals in the West.
Japan is particularly raising concerns about the risks of myocarditis in young men injected with Pfizer or Moderna’s gene–therapy treatment. The country is enforcing a strict legal reporting requirement of side effects that must take place within 28 days of the injections. Three Covid-19 gene-therapy treatments are currently offered in Japan. They include the Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) and Takeda’s Moderna formulation. The product descriptions state that “this product contains an additive that has never been used in a vaccine before.” Furthermore, the pharmaceutical companies urge you to consult your doctor about the additive if you plan to be injected with it. In addition to the Pfizer and Moderna gene-therapies, Vaxzevria (formerly AstraZeneca) is also administered in Japan. However, Japan only recommends it to people 40-year-old and over. Reference is also made to the new type of additive in the Vaxzevria injections.
Japan’s Ministry of Health of health website encourages citizens to receive the “vaccine”; however, they stress it is not mandatory, “Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory. Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided.” In addition, the government recommends those who are considering taking the shot carefully consider both its effectiveness and side effects. “Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent.” Furthermore, they stress that businesses do not force employees to receive the experimental gene therapy. Nor should employees discriminate against those who refuse the injections,
The severity of Corona infection varies wildly across the population. Children have generally mild or asymptomatic infections, while adults having a wide range of responses. Everyone always assumed that cross-immunity was part of the answer to this conundrum. The problem, is that it is shaping up to be a not very reassuring part of that answer. The untrained, innate non-specific immune response of children looks more and more like a big part of the reason they are spared severe infection. Adults with immune systems tightly calibrated to the common human coronaviruses , meanwhile, often have more severe symptoms. They suffer from Original Antigenic Sin. Over 4.2 billion people across the earth have received at least one dose of vaccine against SARS-2.
The majority of these vaccines have elicited antibodies only against an early form of the spike protein that is no longer in circulation. This would seem to be one reason why many western countries with high vaccination rates appear to have locked themselves into an indefinite phase of heightened SARS-2 transmission. In the United Kingdom, 96% of adults have antibodies to the spike protein – most of these first acquired by vaccination. Shortly after they concluded their vaccination campaign, cases skyrocketed, and they have remained high ever since. Original Antigenic Sin is a real phenomenon. It seems not only to permanently influence the immune response to the spike protein itself, but also to inhibit the development of antibodies to other SARS-2 proteins.
A worst case scenario, would be a future spike mutation that entirely escapes the anti-spike antibodies elicited by our vaccines. In this case, it seems possible that many vaccinated people will be stuck with permanently suboptimal immune responses. If Omicron is indeed circulating primarily among the vaccinated, as some data shows, this would be a good reason why. These concerns are particularly acute in the case of children, who may well be exposed to the risk of very serious illness in the future, if vaccination permanently misdirects their immune system.
Frequent re-exposure solves the problem of a rapidly evolving virus by updating our immune system to recognize and neutralize closely related variants before we lose all our protective immunity from a previous infection. As long as the interval between exposures is not too long, you will still have cross-reactive immunity from your last exposure to protect you during your next “update”. Re-infection does not necessarily mean you will get sick. As long as it happens while you still have partial cross-reactive immunity, your “update” might be mild or you may not get any symptoms at all. In other words, we have to stop thinking of our immune systems as mere protective shields. They are much more than that.
We need to remind ourselves that our immune systems are self-improving protective shields that need frequent exercise in order to maintain and update their skillset to keep up with an evolving enemy. The propaganda during Covid has not denied this fact, it has merely distorted it to the point where many people have lost faith in their immune systems, have become terrified about every “variant of concern”, and have become fixated on vaccines as the only path to salvation. Fear doesn’t just blind us to what is standing before our eyes. It also makes us doubt our own senses and forget our long-established understanding of the world. Frequent re-exposure is nature’s solution to booster shots. Vaccine boosters make more sense for diseases in which re-exposure is so rare that immunity wears off entirely before you are likely to get a natural update.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that there are over 200 respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus and yet, despite the fact that they are permanently circulating in our communities, we do not get sick with dozens and dozens of colds and flus every year. Although we won’t be exposed to every single one of these 200 viruses every single year, we will cross paths with many of them. But as long as our immune systems have not been weakened by some serious pre-existing health condition (i.e. obesity, cancer, HIV, etc.) or by lifestyle choices that temporarily suppress our immune systems (i.e. poor sleep, lack of exercise, vitamin C or D deficiencies, stress, depression, isolation, etc.), most of these “updates” will merely be mild or asymptomatic infections because our immune systems encounter them so often.
At the end of August, a study was published showing that natural immunity provides much better protection against infection than the Pfizer vaccine. It was described by UCL’s Francois Balloux as “a bit of a bombshell”. Subsequent studies have compared natural and vaccine-induced immunity at the cellular level. One found that infection-induced antibodies “exhibited superior stability and cross-variant neutralisation breadth” than vaccine-induced antibodies, suggesting that people who’d already been infected had better immunity against the then-novel Delta variant. However, as I noted in my write-up of the “bombshell” study, its findings still needed to be replicated. After all, certain datasets or methods of analysis can sometimes yield quirky results, which don’t survive independent empirical tests.
Encouragingly, the findings now have been replicated – by another team of Israeli researchers, using a different dataset. In the latest study, Yair Goldberg and colleagues tracked all the individuals in their dataset (of people in Israel) who had tested positive or received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine before 1st July, 2021. They then compared the number of infections in previously infected versus vaccinated individuals from August to September of 2021. The researchers also examined the number of infections among those with so-called ‘hybrid immunity’ – i.e., previously infected individuals who got vaccinated. For each of the three groups, they counted the number of infections and the number of days ‘at risk’ (i.e., the total number of people multiplied by the number of days on which they were ‘at risk’ of becoming infected). Adjustments were made for age, sex, ethnicity, calendar week and a measure of risk exposure.
Results are shown in the chart below. Each bar corresponds to the infection rate per 100,000 ‘risk days’. The reason the researchers used ‘risk days’, rather than just ‘people’, is that the composition of each group changed over time. For example, some previously infected people chose to get vaccinated. Notice that the labels for the horizontal bars are not the same for each group. Since we want to compare apples with apples, look at the bars labelled “Recovered 6–8 months” and “Vaccinated 6–8 months”. This comparison shows that, 6–8 months after the corresponding event, infection rates were more than six times higher among vaccinated individuals – 89 per 100,000 versus only 14 per 100,000 among previously infected individuals.
Hardly anything is discussed as emotionally as concerns about children in the pandemic. The reasons for this could not be more different, there is only consensus that almost all parents feel abandoned by politics. Although the previous plans of the traffic light parties no longer provide for nationwide school closings, regionally these will also be possible in the future. Conditions that include alternating and distance lessons as well as distance rules are not expressly excluded. In some federal states, compulsory attendance has already been lifted and the first schools have been closed again.Many parents are now ready to accept further measures if only the educational institutions remain open this winter. At the same time, scenes are playing out in schools that would have sparked an outcry from society before the pandemic. There are boards with the vaccinated on one side and the non-vaccinated on the other, who then have to undergo regular tests in front of the assembled class.
There are teachers who call children individually and ask them about their vaccination status: those who are vaccinated receive applause, those who do not have to justify themselves. Adolescents remind their classmates of their “social responsibility” by mistakenly assuming that it is they who have a responsibility for adult society, not for them. The social division has long since reached schools. This is certainly not the case in all schools, but unfortunately they are not isolated cases either. The medical benefit of the vaccination for 12 to 17-year-olds is given, but limited, as Stiko member Rüdiger von Kries recently emphasized in an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk. Most young people are – and rightly so – not afraid of infection. Nevertheless, many would like to be vaccinated: because they want to live their youth, want to evade the pressure exerted on them and avoid the requirements that apply to those who have not been vaccinated.
The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) generally recommends vaccinating children and adolescents from the age of 12 against Covid-19, but has explicitly opposed vaccination for children and adolescents to participate in education, culture and other social activities is made dependent. So it says in the recommendation. But politics, with its sometimes disproportionate measures against this age group, prevents their social participation. So 2G is spreading even further for this age group. Children and adolescents from 12 (or 16) years of age no longer have access to public facilities in many places, regardless of their negligibly low risk of developing a serious disease. Von Kries calls such an obligation “simply absurd”. And now that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the vaccine for children under the age of 12, it must be feared that the younger ones will face the same threat.
A fact-based classification on the basis of scientific evidence no longer seems possible. The parents’ trust in political decisions for the benefit of adolescents has been lost. It seems as if it has been forgotten that the vulnerable group does not sit in kindergartens and schools.
In Germany, children are being forced “to go to the front of the class and state their vaccination status daily. Those who are vaccinated are applauded, those who are not have to explain why they are not.”pic.twitter.com/k9nmI4Smx4
Google translate. Note the neat trick: much of the correspondence is done with text messages, like Whats App. Which are not archived (“by their nature short-lived”), and therefore don’t exist, officially. Handy when an FOIA request comes in. Click here for the uncensured 104-page contract.
The European Commission does not want to make possible agreements between Ursula von der Leyen and the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer transparent. This emerges from a response from the Commission to the EU ombudswoman Emily O’Reilly, which netzpolitik.org has now published. Specifically, it is about messages that the EU Commission President is said to have exchanged directly with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla in order to thread a vaccine deal. The New York Times reported on the existence of the news in April. The deal involved 1.8 billion doses from Pfizer-BioNTech. The billion dollar deal for the vaccine was agreed this spring, when the great majority of Europeans were still unvaccinated, via the short official channel in calls and messages directly between Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, according to the report of the renowned US newspaper . The “text messages” referred to there can mean both SMS and messages via messengers such as Signal or WhatsApp.
Its vaccine Comirnaty makes the consortium of Pfizer and the German company BioNTech the most important vaccine supplier to the EU. But how it sets prices for its vaccines and which countries are preferred for delivery remains in the dark, according to an investigative research by the Financial Times. “How Pfizer is exercising its newfound power – and what the company is planning next – he is keeping top secret.” Despite criticism from MPs and NGOs who are calling for more transparency in EU billion-dollar deals, the EU Commission does not want to give any insight into the purchase of vaccines. As with contracts with other manufacturers, the Commission has disclosed a preliminary agreement and a purchase agreement for its business with Pfizer, but essential details such as the delivery price and liability issues have been blacked out in these.
Not only the contracts, even the initiation of the business remains in the dark. The EU Commission rejected a request for freedom of information from netzpolitik.org on the news between Commission chief Von der Leyen and Pfizer boss Bourla in July: “No documents could be found that fall within the scope of your request,” says the Answer by the Secretary-General of the Commission, Ilze Juhansone. In this case, netzpolitik.org lodged a complaint with the ombudswoman O’Reilly. As a result, there was recently a virtual meeting between seven top officials: from the Commission and five from the Ombudsman. In it, the Commission set out in detail how it deals with SMS or messenger services such as WhatsApp and Signal. Such messages are “by their nature short-lived” and are therefore neither used in formal decision-making nor do they produce binding commitments by the institution. As a result, SMS or messenger messages have never been filed in the Commission’s archive system.
Defense Department officials are reviewing whether to make a coronavirus booster shot mandatory for all active-duty and reserve troops, but have not come to any final decisions on the need yet, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday. “There are discussions in the department about the efficacy of a booster mandatory policy as well,” he told reporters during a press conference. “Should there be an addition to the [department’s] mandatory vaccine requirement, we will clearly communicate that and be transparent about it.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all Americans age 16 and older get both the initial two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (or the one-dose version produced by Johnson & Johnson) and a booster shot six months after completing the initial regimen.
Earlier this month, White House officials announced that all eligible Americans should get a booster shot “as soon as possible” to help counter the recent surge in COVID-19 variant cases spreading worldwide. The military services have required all active-duty troops to be vaccinated with the initial doses, and Guard and Reserve troops to get their shots by next summer. Kirby said that more than 96 percent of the active duty force has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, with 90 percent fully vaccinated. Guard and reserve numbers are significantly lower — for the military as a whole, the fully vaccinated rate is 74 percent. However, some of those numbers could be lower because of a lag in collecting and reporting information from guard and reserve units.
The Pentagon has disclosed details of the shipment of anti-tank missile systems and projectiles supplied to Kiev, as Moscow grows increasingly concerned about the prospect of a full-blown conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region. In a statement received by Russian news outlet TASS on Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semelroth said that “the $60 million package… included 30 Javelin command and control launchers, as well as 180 missiles.” According to him, the rocket launchers were delivered to Ukraine on October 23. “In 2021, the US allocated more than $450 million in aid to Ukraine for security tasks as part of our continued commitment to support the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the spokesman added.
Semelroth’s comments come amid warnings from Moscow over tensions in the war-torn region close to Russia’s borders. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “more and more forces and equipment are being accumulated on the line of contact in the Donbass, supported by an increasing number of Western instructors.” At the end of November, the top diplomat said that claims Ukraine’s troops had deployed American-made Javelin rocket launchers were a matter of grave concern and could lead to a full-blown offensive in the war-torn region. “In recent weeks, we have seen a stream of consciousness from the Ukrainian leadership – especially when it comes to the military – that is excessively inflamed and dangerous,” Lavrov said.
Just hours before, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, Kirill Budanov, revealed that advanced US-made Javelin systems had been tested by Ukraine’s troops and were being used by soldiers in the Donbass. Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, warned the White House earlier in November that supplying Ukraine with deadly armaments could diminish hopes for peace in the region, stating that Moscow believes “another opportunity to encourage Kiev to stop the war has been missed.”
A Chinese state-run media outlet has warned Washington that Beijing will not hesitate to strike US forces should they try to prevent China’s reunification with Taiwan, as promised recently by a top American official. The Global Times picked up on National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s statement on Tuesday, in which he said that the US was “going to take every action that we can take, from the point of view of both deterrence and diplomacy” to prevent a scenario where China takes over Taiwan militarily. The message was echoed the same day by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who warned China that a military scenario vis-a-vis Taiwan would be a “very serious mistake.”
However, the Chinese outlet surmised that Sullivan’s assurances should not be construed as a “manifesto of US policy,” as the “US simply cannot build a deterrent to prevent the Chinese mainland from carrying out reunification by force when necessary.” The op-ed goes on to claim that Washington does not really have the “will to defend Taiwan at all costs.” The article takes a yet more bellicose turn when it says it is “credible” that US troops, should they come to Taiwan’s rescue, would be “heavily attacked” by the People’s Liberation Army if “reunification by force” does happen. The Global Times predicts Sullivan would be likely to “recall or downplay” his statement later, since the “US cannot afford” to defend Taiwan “at the cost of a deadly war.”
The op-ed warns that “reunification by force will definitely happen” unless Washington convinces Taiwan authorities to accept the concept of ‘one country, two systems’ and engage with mainland China “on the path of peaceful reunification.” The article blames Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which came to power in 2016, for the escalation, adding that the situation has possibly already gone beyond the point of no return. The op-ed concludes by advising Sullivan to weigh his words carefully going forward and not to “have a big mouth,” lest he “create more embarrassment” for the US.
This happened on October 27. The High Court, when reading its verdict this week, undoubtedly knew about it.
Jeffrey Sterling @S_UnwantedSpy: “I can guarantee that in a US prison he would not receive medical attention. It took the attention of a US senator for me to receive proper medical attention. #Assange won’t have that “assurance”.
Julian Assange has had a stroke in Belmarsh Prison, his fiancee Stella Moris revealed last night. The WikiLeaks publisher, 50, who is being held on remand in the maximum-security jail while fighting extradition to America, was left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage. He believes the mini-stroke was triggered by the stress of the ongoing US court action against him, and an overall decline in his health as he faces his third Christmas behind bars. It happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link from Belmarsh in October. A ‘transient ischaemic attack’ – the interruption of the blood supply to the brain – can be a warning sign of a full stroke. Assange has since had an MRI scan and is now taking anti-stroke medication.
Ms Moris, 38, a lawyer, said: ‘Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on. ‘It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.’ She said he was kept in his cell for long periods and was ‘short of fresh air and sunlight, an adequate diet and the stimulus he needs’. Assange faced a major legal setback on Friday when the High Court overturned a judgment made this year preventing extradition to the US to face charges under the US Espionage Act.
His lawyers successfully argued he would be kept in conditions in the US that could lead to a serious risk of suicide. The High Court reversed the earlier ruling after the US government offered assurances about his potential imprisonment. But Ms Moris said: ‘I believe this constant chess game, battle after battle, the extreme stress, is what caused Julian’s stroke on October 27. He was feeling really unwell, far too ill to follow the hearing, and he was excused by the judge but could not leave the prison video room. ‘It must have been horrendous hearing a High Court appeal in which you can’t participate, which is discussing your mental health and your risk of suicide and in which the US is arguing you are making it all up. ‘He had to sit through all this when he should have been excused. He was in a truly terrible state. His eyes were out of synch, his right eyelid would not close, his memory was blurry.’
Freight shipments in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – fell 5.3% in June compared to June last year, after having fallen 6.0% in May, the seventh month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. This decline, along with other freight indicators, including orders for heavy trucks, now clearly outline the new Transportation Recession – number 2 since the Great Recession – in this very cyclical business. In terms of freight traffic by rail, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that in June overall, volume fell 6.3% from a year ago. The volume of intermodal freight – containers hauled by truck and then transferred to rail, or semi-truck trailers that piggyback on special rail cars – dropped 7.2% in June.
For the first half, overall freight volume by rail was down 3.2%, with all segments in the red, except Petroleum and Petroleum Products, which was up 23%! Intermodal was down 3.3%. The Cass Freight Index, which tracks shipments of consumer and industrial goods but not bulk commodities such as grains, has now fallen below the June 2014 level. June 2014 had set a record in shipments just before Transportation Recession 1 came along. The boom in 2018 broke the 2014 records, and by a big margin. And now the industry is back in its own recession. In the stacked chart below of the Cass Freight Index, the red line denotes 2019 through June, which has now dipped below June 2014 (green line). Note how much of an outlier the boom of 2018 (black line at the top) had been, though it faded sharply at the end of last year:
“Unlike its counterparts in the UK, the US and Japan, the European Banking Authority (EBA) does not itself calculate the impacts on banks of the adverse scenario; it leaves that up to the banks themselves.”
European bank stocks continue to get hammered near multi-decade lows by a slew of problems, including the ECB’s monetary policies, particularly its negative-interest-rate policy (NIRP), festering nonperforming loans, and a well-deserved lack of confidence by investors. This was just exacerbated by a scathing new report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA) highlighting a litany of problems and shortcomings with the European Banking Authority’s latest stress test. Among other things, the test ignored some of the most common factors that cause a bank to fail, excluded many of Europe’s most fragile banks, and used simulations that were a lot more benign than the last financial crisis.
Banking stress tests are supposed to gauge the resilience of a banking system by imposing a hypothetical shock — or “adverse stress scenario” — on a large share of the system’s banks. The problem in Europe is that the European Banking Authority’s stress tests have tended to ignore, rather than identify, many of the worst stress points in the banking system, which is probably why many of the Continent’s worst banking failures, including Bankia BFA, Dexia and Banco Popular, have happened shortly after the banks in question had passed a stress test. Unlike its counterparts in the UK, the US and Japan, the European Banking Authority (EBA) does not itself calculate the impacts on banks of the adverse scenario; it leaves that up to the banks themselves. It does not even corroborate the information provided or conduct on-site inspections.
A Boeing 737 Max due to be delivered to Ryanair has had the name Max dropped from the livery, further fuelling speculation that the manufacturer and airlines will seek to rebrand the troubled plane. Photos have emerged of a 737 Max in Ryanair colours outside Boeing’s manufacturing hub, with the designation 737-8200 – instead of 737 Max – on the nose. The 737-8200 is a type name for the aircraft that is used by aviation agencies. The Max aircraft remains grounded worldwide after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed a total of 346 people. Boeing has yet to convince regulators that modifications to its software are sufficient to ensure its safety.
Ryanair has 135 of the 737 Max models on order, the first five of which are due for delivery in the autumn, once regulators have declared it safe. The airline’s fleet order is comprised entirely of a larger version of the Max 8, with 197 seats, which it has until now referred to in official Ryanair announcements as the 737 Max 200. Neither Ryanair nor Boeing has commented on nor confirmed the substitution of the 737-8200 for the better known brand Max, as seen on the photographs taken at Renton in Washington, US, and posted on social media by Woodys Aeroimages. In previous photos from the same source, new Ryanair 737 Max 200 planes from Boeing are shown with 737 Max on its nose. It is understood that what is painted on the plane is a matter for the airline rather than the manufacturer. According to sources reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Max plane is unlikely to return to the skies before 2020.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for a coherent pre-election debate about the mother-of-all-issues facing this republic, namely, that we can’t afford the living arrangements Americans think of as “normal” anymore. This quandary has stalked us since the millennium turned. It thunders through all the activities of daily life, and the tensions emanating from it are so agonizing and difficult to face that our politics have deflected off into the kind of hysteria spawned by bad dreams. As the great Wendell Berry pointed out years ago, this is about the nation’s home economics: energy and resources in, production out, surplus wealth saved.
America had a brush with reality in 2008 when all the distortions of our home economics came together and whapped the country between the eyes with a two-by-four. Our energy-in was faltering. US oil production had fallen to a new low of under 4 million barrels a day and we were importing around 15 million. We papered over the problem with borrowed money in ever-larger amounts. This dynamic prompted ever riskier work-arounds on Wall Street, especially “innovations” in securitized debt, which invited criminal shenanigans. It blew up badly. Wealth vaporized. Industries collapsed. Homes and jobs were lost. Lives ruined.
The fairy-tale narrative since then is that technology rode to the rescue. The shale oil miracle “solved” the energy-in problem. Sure seems like it. But lots of things aren’t what they seem to be. Shale oil was a neat stunt. Turns out you can produce a helluva lot of it by paying more to pull it out the ground than you get from selling it. You can goose the process nicely by paying for it with borrowed money. And so it has gone. America now produces a new record of over 12 million barrels a day, and most of the companies doing it can’t make a red cent. And since it is increasingly obvious that they won’t ever pay back the money they borrowed before, they are unlikely to get new loans to continue their profitless operations.
Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen faces a make-or-break vote on Tuesday in her quest to be the European Commission’s first female leader, and a raft of promises made the previous day may help her win over skeptical European Union socialist and liberal lawmakers. To appease them, von der Leyen pledged more ambitious carbon dioxide emissions targets, a more growth-oriented fiscal policy and taxing big tech companies. She also vowed to create an additional comprehensive European rule-of-law mechanism that includes annual reporting, boost the EU’s border guards earlier than scheduled to deal with the migrant issue, and set a minimum wage for EU workers.
Von der Leyen also suggested scrapping unanimous agreement by all 28 EU countries on climate, energy, social and taxation issues and give Britain more time to negotiate its exit from the bloc. Her pledges came amidst anger among some EU lawmakers over her nomination by EU leaders and their rejection of the “spitzenkandidaten”, the main parliamentary groups’ candidates for the job. Von der Leyen will address the 751-member European Parliament at 0700 GMT, to be followed by a debate and a secret ballot at 1600 GMT. The assembly however is currently four members short which means she needs 374 votes instead of 376.
Lagarde’s greatest challenge is that she is replacing a man credited with saving the eurozone by means of policies that are no longer fit for purpose. If she departs from Draghi’s script, she will face fierce criticism. And if she does not, the eurozone’s never-ending crisis will spin further out of the ECB’s control. Draghi saved the eurozone by printing trillions of euros to fund the bankrupt banks and to allow Italy, Spain and other stressed states (though not Greece) to roll over their debts. To do this, he needed to skilfully subvert the eurozone’s rules which, in turn, required painstaking work to co-opt Germany’s Angela Merkel in his great clash with both the Bundesbank, Germany’s powerful central bank, and Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister.
While Draghi’s wall of money helped the eurozone perk up, it could not cure its underlying disease and had some pretty nasty side-effects. Stubborn negative interest rates continue to undermine pension funds and insurance companies in Germany and beyond. Rates remain negative because investment is woefully low due to investors’ self-fulfilling pessimism given the prospect of more austerity. This creates deflationary pressures that eat into the savings of the middle class, replace quality jobs with precarious ones and, thus, beget political monsters across Europe.
Two women who say they are victims of sexual misconduct by American financier Jeffrey Epstein on Monday urged a U.S. judge to keep him in jail while he awaits trial on charges of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls. “He’s a scary person,” one of the women, Courtney Wild, told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in federal court in Manhattan. Wild and another accuser, Annie Farmer, spoke at the end of a hearing in which prosecutors argued that Epstein, 66, posed an “extraordinary risk of flight” and danger to the community and must remain in jail. Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, has asked to be allowed to live under house arrest with armed guard at his expense in his mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, which is valued at $77 million.
The hedge fund manager had a social circle that over the years has included Donald Trump before he became U.S. president, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew. Berman said he would probably announce his bail decision on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT), saying he needed more time to absorb the case. Lawyers for Epstein said their client, who wore dark blue jail scrubs in court, has had an unblemished record since he pleaded guilty more than a decade ago to a state prostitution charge in Florida and agreed to register as a sex offender.
[..] One of Epstein’s lawyers, Martin Weinberg, told Berman on Monday that Epstein needed to be out of jail so he and his lawyers could prepare their defense. In 2016, Berman rejected a similar bail proposal from Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab to let him live in an apartment under the watch of privately funded guards, saying wealthy defendants should not be allowed to “buy their way out of prison by constructing their own private jail.” The judge expressed similar skepticism on Monday, noting that all defendants have the same right to prepare their defense as Epstein. “If that’s the standard, then what are we going to tell all those people who can’t make the $500 or $1,000 bail?” he said.
Enter the sordid case of Jeffrey Epstein, suddenly unearthed after a decade of corporate-media/elitist suppression. It’s laughable to see the corporate media’s pathetic attempts to glom onto the case now, after actively suppressing it for decades:Jeffrey Epstein Was a Sex Offender. The Powerful Welcomed Him Anyway. (New York Times) Where was the NYT a decade ago, or five years ago, or even a year ago? Of all the questions that are arising, the signal one is simply: why now? There are many questions, now that the dead-and-buried case has been dug up: where did Epstein get his fortune? Why did he return to the U.S. from abroad, knowing he’d be arrested? Why was the Miami Herald suddenly able to publish numerous articles exposing the scandalous suppression of justice after 11 years of silence?
Years later, victims recount impact of Jeffrey Epstein abuse. Here’s my outsider’s take: the anti-Neocon camp within the Deep State observed the test case of Harvey Weinstein and saw an opportunity to apply what it learned. If we draw circles representing the anti-Neocon camp and the moralists who grasp the state’s legitimacy is hanging by a thread after decades of amoral exploitation and self-aggrandizement by the ruling elites, we would find a large overlap. But even die-hard Neocons are starting to awaken to the danger to their power posed by the moral collapse of the ruling elites. They are finally awakening to the lesson of history, that the fatal danger to empires arises not from external foes but from inside the center of power as elite corruption erodes the legitimacy of the state.
The upstarts in the Deep State have united to declare open war on the degenerates and their enablers, who are everywhere in the Deep State: the media, the intelligence community, and on and on. Since the battle is for the legitimacy of the state, it must be waged at least partially in the open. This is a war for the hearts and minds of the public, whose belief in the legitimacy of the state and its ruling elites underpins the power of the Deep State. If this wasn’t a war over the legitimacy of the state, the housecleaning would have been discrete. Insiders would be shuffled off to a corporate boardroom or do-nothing/fancy title office, or they’d retire, or if necessary, they’d die of a sudden heart attack or in a tragic accident (if only they knew).
Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS reported on July 9 that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was spied on by a Spanish private defense and security firm called Undercover Global S.L., when he lived in the Ecuador embassy in the United Kingdom. The report was based on “documents, video, and audio material” that was “used in an extortion attempt against Assange by several individuals.” In May, Spanish police arrested journalist José Martín Santos, who had a record of fraud, and a computer programmer for their alleged involvement in an “attempt to make €3 million from the sale of private material.” Reporters for EL PAÍS found the spying on Assange’s legal defense meetings to be most significant.
They were stunned by the fact that Assange felt he had to hold meetings in the women’s bathroom if he wanted to ensure privacy. And they took note of U.C. Global’s “feverish, obsessive vigilance” toward “the guest,” which became more intense after Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador in May 2017. That is not how CNN viewed the same cache of information compiled by the private security company and eventually used to allegedly extort Assange. Although EL PAÍS makes no mention of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in its coverage, CNN approached the material like analysts at the CIA. They voraciously consumed logs hoping the documents would confirm Assange collaborated with Russian intelligence assets to release emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. Compare the two reports, as they appeared on the news organization’s websites:
CNN was unable to find concrete proof, and the words “potentially” and “possibility” do heavy lifting for the media organization. “New documents obtained exclusively by CNN reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 US election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” the CNN report reads. It adds, “The documents build on the possibility, raised by special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian meddling, that couriers brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy.”
Millions of kids today are on meds for conduct disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, mixed manias, social phobia and, of course, ADHD. But according to data from IMS health in a Wall Street Journal article, just as many kids are being treated for non-psychiatric conditions that were often considered “adult diseases.” In fact, 25 percent of children and 30 percent of adolescents now take at least one prescription for a chronic condition said Medco, a pharmacy benefit manager, making the kid prescription market four times as strong as the adult in 2009. Between 2001 and 2009, high blood pressure meds for kids rose 17 percent, respiratory meds 42 percent, diabetes meds 150 percent and heartburn/GERD meds 147 percent.
In one study, 18.6 million children’s doctor visits for sleep problems, resulted in sleeping med prescriptions 81 percent of the time. One reason for Pharma’s pediatric bonanza is kids have become more sedentary and likely to overeat, like their adult counterparts. Over a third of U.S. kids are overweight and 17 percent are obese — which for a 4-foot-10 inch child would be 143 pounds. Obesity predisposes children to diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal disorders. But rather than telling kids to unplug the TV or video games, go outside and don’t come back until dinner, parents and medical professionals enable the deleterious lifestyles with the easy out of a pill.
In fact, the Lipitor, already the world’s top selling medication in adults until it went off patent, was approved for US children in 2008 in a chewable form in Europe. Adults on statins are six times more likely to develop liver dysfunction, acute kidney failure, cataracts and muscle damage, says an article in the British Medical Journal. So, give them to kids? “Plenty of adults down statins regularly and shine off healthy eating because they know a cheeseburger and steak can’t fool a statin,” wrote Michael J. Breus, PhD on the Huffington Post. “Imagine a 10-year-old who loves his fast food and who knows he can get away with it if he pops his pills.”
The true cost of cheap, unhealthy food is a spiralling public health crisis and environmental destruction, according to a high-level commission. It said the UK’s food and farming system must be radically transformed and become sustainable within 10 years. The commission’s report, which was welcomed by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, concluded that farmers must be enabled to shift from intensive farming to more organic and wildlife friendly production, raising livestock on grass and growing more nuts and pulses. It also said a National Nature Service should be created to give opportunities for young people to work in the countryside and, for example, tackle the climate crisis by planting trees or restoring peatlands.
“Our own health and the health of the land are inextricably intertwined [but] in the last 70 years, this relationship has been broken,” said the report, which was produced by leaders from farming, supermarket and food supply businesses, as well as health and environment groups, and involved conversations with thousands of rural inhabitants. “Time is now running out. The actions that we take in the next 10 years are critical: to recover and regenerate nature and to restore health and wellbeing to both people and planet,” said the commission, which was convened by the RSA, a group focused on pressing social challenges. The commission said most farmers thought they could make big changes in five to 10 years if they got the right backing.
“Farmers are extraordinarily adaptable,” said Sue Pritchard, director of the RSA commission and an organic farmer in Wales. [..] Pritchard said the UK had the third cheapest basket of food in the developed world, but also had the highest food poverty in Europe in terms of people being able to afford a healthy diet. Type 2 diabetes, a diet-related illness, costs the UK £27bn a year, she said. The commission also said agriculture produced more than 10% of the UK’s climate-heating gases and was the biggest destroyer of wildlife; the abundance of key species has fallen 67% since 1970 and 13% of species are now close to extinction. To solve these crises, the commission said “agroecology” practices must be supported – such as organic farming and agroforestry, where trees are combined with crops and livestock such as pigs or egg-laying hens.