Thomas Cole The Course of Empire – The Savage State 1834
I had some discussion with Andrew about this article, since the December 2022 WaPo article he refers to was not the first time Kiev’s plans to blow up the dam were mentioned. There was this, for instance, 2 months earlier. Then again, Andrew is right in saying that the WaPo piece is the first where people other than Zelensky mention it. And we agree that now blaming the attack on Russia is really out of left field. Those darn Russkies keep on aiming for their own feet. And that’s the only thing(s) they can hit.
“Kovalchuk considered flooding the river. The Ukrainians, he said, even conducted a test strike with a HIMARS launcher on one of the floodgates at the Nova Kakhovka dam, making three holes in the metal to see if the Dnieper’s water could be raised enough to stymie Russian crossings but not flood nearby villages. The test was a success, Kovalchuk said, but the step remained a last resort. He held off.”
The abovementioned explanation isn’t as far-fetched as some might initially think either. After all, one of complexity theory’s precepts is that initial conditions at the onset of non-linear processes can disproportionately shape the outcome. In this context, the first failed phase of Kiev’s counteroffensive risked ruining the entire campaign, which could have prompted its planners to employ Kovalchuk’s “last resort” in order to introduce an unexpected variable into the equation that might improve their odds.
Russia had over 15 months to entrench itself in Ukraine’s former eastern and southern regions that Kiev still claims as its own through the construction of various defensive structures and associated contingency planning so as to maintain its control over those territories. It therefore follows that even the most properly supplied and thought-out counteroffensive wasn’t going to be a walk in the park contrary to the Western public’s expectations, thus explaining why the first phase just failed.
This reality check shattered whatever wishful thinking expectations Kiev might have had since it showed that the original plan of swarming the Line of Contact (LOC) entails considerable costs that reduce the chances of it succeeding unless serious happens behind the front lines to distract the Russian defenders. Therein lies the strategic reason behind partially destroying the Kakhovka Dam on Tuesday morning exactly as Kovalchuk proved late last year is possible to pull off per his own admission to WaPo.
The first of Kiev’s goals that this terrorist attack served was to prompt global concern about the safety of the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which relies on water from the now-rapidly-depleting Kakhovka Reservoir for cooling. The International Atomic Energy Agency said that there’s “no immediate nuclear safety risk”, but a latent one can’t be ruled out. Should a crisis transpire, then it could throw Russia’s defenses in northern Zaporozhye Region into chaos.
The second goal is that the downstream areas of Kherson Region, which are divided between Kiev and Moscow, have now been flooded. Although the water might eventually recede after some time, this could complicate Russia’s defensive plans along the left bank of the Dnieper River. Taken together with the consequences connected to the first scenario, this means that a significant part of the riparian front behind the LOC could soon soften up to facilitate the next phase of Kiev’s counteroffensive.
In fact, the geographic scope of Kiev’s “unconventional softening operation” might even expand to Crimea due to the threat that Tuesday morning’s terrorist attack could pose to the peninsula’s water supply via its eponymous canal. The regional governor said that sufficient supplies remain for now but that the coming days will reveal the level of risk. While Crimea still managed to survive Kiev’s blockade of the canal for eight years, there’s no doubt that this development is disadvantageous for Russia.
The fourth strategic goal builds upon the three that were already discussed and concerns the psychological warfare component of this attack. On the foreign front, Kiev’s gaslighting that Moscow is guilty of “ecocide” was amplified by the Mainstream Media in spite of Kovalchuk’s damning admission to WaPo last December in order to maximize global pressure on Russia, while the domestic front is aimed at sowing panic in Ukraine’s former regions with the intent of further softening Russia’s defenses there.
And finally, the last strategic goal that was served by partially destroying the Kakhovka Dam is that Russia might soon be thrown into a dilemma. Kiev’s “unconventional softening operation” along the Kherson-Zaporozhye LOC could divide the Kremlin’s focus from the Belgorod-Kharkov and Donbass fronts, which could weaken one of those three and thus risk a breakthrough. The defensive situation could become even more difficult for Russia if Kiev expands the conflict by attacking Belarus and/or Moldova too.
To be absolutely clear, the military-strategic dynamics of the NATO-Russianproxywar in Ukraine still favor Russia for the time being, though that’s precisely why Kiev carried out Tuesday morning’s terrorist attack in a desperate attempt to reshape them in its favor. This assessment is based on the observation that Russia’s victory in the Battle of Artyomovsk shows that it’s able to hold its own against NATO in the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” that the bloc’s chief declared in mid-February.
The military-strategic dynamics described in the preceding two paragraphs will inevitably doom the West to defeat in the New Cold War’s largest proxy conflict thus far unless something major unexpectedly happens to change them, which is exactly what Kiev was trying to achieve via its latest terrorist attack. The reason why few foresaw this is because Kovalchuk admitted to WaPo last December that his side had previously planned to blow up part of the Kakhovka Dam as part of its Kherson Counteroffensive.
It therefore seemed unthinkable that Kiev would ultimately do just that over half a year later and then gaslight that Moscow was to blame when the Mainstream Media itself earlier reported the existence of Ukraine’s terrorist plans after quoting the same Major General who bragged about them at the time. Awareness of this fact doesn’t change what happened, but it can have a powerful impact on the Western public’s perceptions of this conflict, which is why WaPo’s report should be brought to their attention.
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James Comer, Chair of House Oversight, says 9 of the 10 whistleblowers that they’ve identified are missing! They’re either currently in court, they’re currently already jail, or they’re missing. He also says he knows who is intimidating them. pic.twitter.com/Uow0XEnPaa
In late January, with his mercenary forces dying by the thousands in a fight for the ruined city of Bakhmut, Wagner Group owner Yevgeniy Prigozhin made Ukraine an extraordinary offer. Prigozhin said that if Ukraine’s commanders withdrew their soldiers from the area around Bakhmut, he would give Kyiv information on Russian troop positions, which Ukraine could use to attack them. Prigozhin conveyed the proposal to his contacts in Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, with whom he has maintained secret communications during the course of the war, according to previously unreported U.S. intelligence documents leaked on the group-chat platform Discord. Prigozhin has publicly feuded with Russian military commanders, who he furiously claims have failed to equip and resupply his forces, which have provided vital support to Moscow’s war effort. But he is also an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who might well regard Prigozhin’s offer to trade the lives of Wagner fighters for Russian soldiers as a treasonous betrayal.
The leaked document does not make clear which Russian troop positions Prigozhin offered to disclose. Two Ukrainian officials confirmed that Prigozhin has spoken several times to the Ukrainian intelligence directorate, known as HUR. One official said that Prigozhin extended the offer regarding Bakhmut more than once, but that Kyiv rejected it because officials don’t trust Prigozhin and thought his proposals could have been disingenuous. A U.S. official also cautioned that there are similar doubts in Washington about Prigozhin’s intentions. The Ukrainian and U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. In an interview with The Washington Post this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would not confirm the contacts with Prigozhin. “This is a matter of [military] intelligence,” he said. The Ukrainian leader also objected to airing classified information publicly and said he believed that the leaks had benefited Russia.
The Washington Post deleted a portion of an interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he accused the paper of helping Russia by posing a question about information contained in leaked classified documents. The interview was conducted on May 1 and published on Saturday. An archived version of the interview shows a testy exchange between Zelensky and the Post, which was later deleted. The Post asked Zelensky about documents they obtained that they said showed members of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, known as HUR, had “back-channel contact” with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary force Wagner Group. Zelensky appeared to think the Post received the information from a Ukrainian and demanded the paper reveal its source.
“I would also like to ask you a question: With which sources from Ukraine do you have contact? Who is talking about the activities of our intelligence? Because this is the most severe felony in our country. Which Ukrainians are you talking to?” he said. The Post said the information “did not come from Ukraine” and that it was part of the Discord leaks, which revealed information that was obtained by the US spying on Zelensky. The Post said the documents showed Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, informed Zelensky about a “Russian plan to destabilize Moldova with two former Wagner associates.” The Post added: “Budanov informed you that he viewed the Russian scheme as a way to incriminate Prigozhin because ‘we have dealings’ with him.
You instructed Budanov to inform Moldovan President Maia Sandu, and Budanov told you that the GUR [HUR] had informed Prigozhin that he would be labeled a traitor who has been working with Ukraine. The document also says that Budanov expected the Russians to use details of Prigozhin’s secret talks with the GUR [HUR] and meetings with GUR [HUR] officers in Africa.” Zelensky responded by asking if the paper wanted the help Russia. “You are releasing some sort of information that does not help our state to attack and does not help us to defend our state. So, I don’t quite understand what you are talking about. I don’t quite understand your goal. Is your goal to help Russia?” he said. When the Post responded by saying it didn’t want to help Russia, Zelensky replied, “Well, it looks different.”
It’s not clear why the Post deleted the portion of the interview, but it could have been done at the behest of the Ukrainian government, which had previously pressured CBS News to remove a documentary on military aid to Ukraine. On Sunday night, the Post published a report on the HUR’s alleged contacts with Prighozhin. The report said Prighozhin, who is known to speak out against Russian military leadership, offered to give Ukraine information on Russian troop positions if Ukrainian forces withdrew from Bakhmut. But the report said US and Ukrainian officials thought the proposal was disingenuous. Prigozhin on Sunday made light of the allegations about his contacts with the HUR. According to the Post, he met with Ukrainian intelligence officials in an unnamed country in Africa. “Yes of course I can confirm this information, we have nothing to hide from the foreign special services. Budanov and I are still in Africa,” Prighozhin wrote on Telegram.
The Washington Post has deleted a large tract of an interview with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in which he lashed out at alleged “traitors” in his ranks. RT is publishing the entire section that the US newspaper would rather keep hidden. The following section appeared in an interview with the Ukrainian president published on Saturday. By Sunday it had been removed with no explanation. After discussing a trove of recently leaked Pentagon documents, which revealed – among other things – that the US monitors Zelensky’s communications, the newspaper presented him with a fresh allegation that has not yet been reported in the US media. Note that Evgeny Prigozhin is the founder and head of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company currently fighting in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
WaPo: The documents indicate that GUR, your intelligence directorate, has back-channel contact with Evgeny Prigozhin that you were aware of, including meeting with Evgeny Prigozhin and GUR officers. Is that true?
Zelensky: This is a matter of [military] intelligence. Do you want me to be convicted of state treason? And so, it’s very interesting, if someone is saying that you have documents, or if someone from our government is speaking about the activities of our intelligence, I would also like to ask you a question: With which sources from Ukraine do you have contact? Who is talking about the activities of our intelligence? Because this is the most severe felony in our country. Which Ukrainians are you talking to?
WaPo: I talked to officials in government, but these documents are not from Ukraine, they are from…
Zelensky: It doesn’t matter where the documents are from. The question is with which Ukrainian official did you talk? Because if they say something about our intelligence, that’s treason. If they say something about a specific offensive plan of one general or another, this is also treason. That’s why I asked you, which Ukrainians are you talking to?
WaPo: About these specific documents? You are the first person I am talking to about them.
WaPo: And I can read you what information exactly there is about Prigozhin and the GUR. On February 13, Kirill Budanov, chief of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, informed you about a Russian plan to destabilize Moldova with two former Wagner associates. Budanov informed you that he viewed the Russian scheme as a way to incriminate Prigozhin because “we have dealings” with him. You instructed Budanov to inform Moldovan President Maia Sandu, and Budanov told you that the GUR had informed Prigozhin that he would be labeled a traitor who has been working with Ukraine. The document also says that Budanov expected the Russians to use details of Prigozhin’s secret talks with the GUR and meetings with GUR officers in Africa…
Zelensky: Listen, to be honest, well, you just read something, you say something. I just don’t understand where you get it, whom you talk to and so on. You talk about how I met with Budanov. This suggests that you – how do you put it? It looks like you have people who have some records or you have some evidence or you have something, because that’s what it looks like. You are again doing, I apologize, what you were doing before. You are releasing some sort of information that does not help our state to attack and does not help us to defend our state. So, I don’t quite understand what you are talking about. I don’t quite understand your goal. Is your goal to help Russia? I mean, that means we have different goals. If I’m not sitting at the same table with them, I don’t quite understand what we’re talking about. Each of these inquiries simply demotivates Ukraine, demotivates certain partners to help Ukraine. Well, one way or another, I just don’t understand your goal.
WaPo: Our goal is not to help Russia.
Zelensky: Well, it looks different.
WaPo: No one gave us this information personally. These were in the leaked documents, which do indicate, as I said earlier, that the United States is listening in on you.
The West could sabotage Ukraine’s much-hyped anticipated counteroffensive against Russia by piling up too much pressure on Kiev, a retired US general has warned. In an interview to Business Insider released on Thursday, Ben Hodges, former commander of US Army Europe, cautioned that portraying Ukraine’s push to reclaim lost territories as a make-or-break offensive could set a dangerous precedent and derail it even before its starts. “The only thing I think that can screw this up is if the West exerts so much pressure on Ukraine and it causes them to stop short of a total victory,” he told the outlet. Echoing remarks by some top Ukrainian officials, Hodges went on to say that he would “reject the talk that Ukraine’s only got one shot” at the offensive, and if it fails to “achieve a knockout blow,” then its Western backers would stop supporting Kiev.
This narrative is promoted by those who “don’t want to see Ukraine win,” he added. Hodges also noted that many top White House officials “are not committed to Ukraine absolutely winning,” rebuking the administration of US President Joe Biden for failing to clearly define its strategic objectives in the conflict. With speculation rampant in recent months about an imminent spring push, in late March Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba attempted to downplay its significance, saying that “we should counter by all means the perception of the counteroffensive as the decisive battle of the war.”
Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that Kiev was ready for the offensive, but still needed a bit more time for the conditions to become optimal and for the groundwork to be laid so as to avoid “unacceptable” losses. However, in late March General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced skepticism about the planned offensive, warning that Ukraine would have a hard time “kicking every Russian out” of the territories it claims as its own. In April, commenting on the potential move by Kiev, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian military “thoroughly tracks all the relevant information.”
Ukraine has de-facto turned into a “state-sponsor of terrorism,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. The official made the remarks in an interview with journalist Pavel Zarubin that aired on Sunday. The spokesman was asked for comments about a recent pledge by Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kirill Budanov, who vowed to “keep killing Russians anywhere” across the globe. Despite their explosive nature, the remarks did not face any criticism from Kiev’s Western sponsors, Peskov noted. “The statement is unprecedented in its essence. And of course, it will be strange not to hear any words of condemnation from European capitals and from Washington. Logic says it’s impossible to do without condemnation,” he said. Budanov’s admission was yet further proof that Kiev has been directly orchestrating terrorist attacks against Russians, Peskov added.
The spokesman said that Russia’s “special services know what to do after such statements,” but did not elaborate on the potential countermeasures against such activities. “It’s evident that the Kiev regime is behind the killings, not only sponsoring them, but organizes, incites and carries them out. De-facto, we’re talking about a state-sponsor of terrorism.” The controversial remarks were made last week by the boss of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) in an interview with Yahoo News. Budanov boasted that “we’ve been killing Russians” and will “keep killing Russians anywhere on the face of this world until the complete victory of Ukraine.” The statement came in response to a question whether the GUR had anything to do with last year’s murder of Darya Dugina, a journalist and daughter of prominent Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin. Budanov dismissed accusations of engaging in terrorism, stating that what Russia calls “terrorism, we call liberation.”
The terrorist activities that Moscow has attributed to Kiev have picked up in recent months. In April, for instance, Russian military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky was killed in St Petersburg with an improvised explosive device that had been concealed in a statuette handed to him during an event. The blast killed the blogger on the spot and injured over a dozen others. Russia’s Security Service (FSB) has blamed the blast on “Ukrainian special services and their agents, including fugitive members of the Russian opposition.” Last week, Russian author and political activist Zakhar Prilepin was targeted in a car bombing near the city of Nizhny Novgorod. The blast left Prilepin critically injured, and killed his close associate, who was inside the vehicle at the moment of the attack.
In a speech to black college graduates on Saturday, US President Joe Biden labeled ‘white supremacy’ the most dangerous terrorist threat to the US. The statement – which is contradicted by crime statistics – was condemned by conservative pundits. “White supremacy… is the single most dangerous terrorist threat in our homeland,” Biden told graduates from Howard University, a historically black university (HBCU) in Washington DC. “I’m not just saying this because I’m at a black HBCU. I say this wherever I go,” Biden continued. “Fearless progress toward justice often means ferocious pushback from the oldest and most sinister of forces. That’s because hate never goes away… it only hides under the rocks.”
Throughout his time in office, Biden has often talked up the threat of white supremacy, claiming that belief in the superiority of the white race motivated former President Donald Trump’s supporters to riot at the US Capitol in January 2021, and declaring last year that black people live in fear of being “gunned down by weapons of war deployed in a racist cause.” In mid-2021, the Biden administration published the US government’s first ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism, which named “racially motivated violent extremists” and anti-government extremists as “the two most lethal elements of today’s domestic terrorism threat.”
According to FBI crime statistics, the average Howard University graduate is 11 times more likely to be murdered by a member of their own race than a white perpetrator. While African-Americans commit the majority of all violent crime in the US, most crime – whether committed by white or black Americans – is intraracial. Biden’s statement was condemned by conservative pundits, who accused the president of using divisive rhetoric to solicit votes. “The Democratic Party spent most of the 19th Century and much of the 20th using overt racism to win elections,” libertarian activist Jon Miltimore tweeted, adding that “They are doing it again in the 21st century. The racism just looks a lot different than the 19th century version.” Journalist Julie Kelly called Biden a “pathological liar” and accused him of fueling “dangerous racial division.”
On Sunday, 14 May 2023, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky will receive the Charlemagne Prize for “exceptional work performed in the service of European unity.” The Prize will be given to Zelensky himself and to the Ukrainian people. The official citation is full of praise, lofty terms and high ideals, but somehow there is a ring of insincerity about it. Obviously, the Prize is given because eight years after starting a war against what it claims to be its own citizens, the Ukraine is now engaged in a real battle with its Russian neighbor. After shelling cities of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, killing at least some 15,000 civilians and wounding countless others, Ukrainian soldiers and their NATO mentors now have to face a real enemy.
With European nations, as members of NATO and US vassal states, participating in brutal killing sprees in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and given the violent past of nations like England, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden and Denmark, what right do they have of lecturing Russia? The citation speaks of “an unspeakably brutal Russian war of aggression that contravenes international law, directed against the European Social Order, Security Order and Peace Order, with the objective of destabilising the European community of peoples…” As for upholding the principle of sovereignty that the EU supposedly holds so high and for which Zelensky is being praised to the skies, like everything else in the citation, it is a cynical sham. If the Ukraine is entitled to sovereignty and independence, what about Catalonia?
The last time the Catalans, who since the 17th century have desperately wanted to be sovereign and independent, tried to achieve this peacefully, they were brutally repressed by the government in Madrid and the unelected apparatchiks in the European Commission in Brussels. The European values defended by the guy with the hoarse voice and the olive green t-shirt are actually the same as those of the years 1941-45 when all of Europe was in the East trying to defeat the Red Army. Nevertheless, the Charlemagne Prize citation says about Zelensky and the Ukraine: “His country is defending Western values, unassailable principles of coexistence, peace and freedom, and therefore precisely what the European Union stands for politically.” All of it pure baloney.
Since 1950, the German city of Aachen has been giving the annual prize for helping to promote “European unity.” In 1955, it was given to Sir Winston Churchill who, only eleven years before, had in fact been responsible for flattening the ancient city with all its priceless monuments and killing almost two thousand of its citizens. Apparently, the Prize Committee believed that killing men, women and children with aerial bombardments was “exceptional work performed in the service of European unity.” The Committee still held that view half a century later when it gave the Charlemagne Prize to Tony Blair (1999), Bill Clinton (2000) and Javier Solana (2007). In their respective functions as British Prime Minister, US President and NATO Secretary General, this trio was responsible for destroying the European nation of Yugoslavia and bombing the European nation of Serbia, killing thousands of Serbian men, women and children. Many of those who escaped NATO bombs were contaminated by radioactive material from the depleted uranium munitions dropped on Serbia. Indeed, “exceptional work performed in the service of European unity.”
The G7 and EU will ban Russian gas imports on routes where Moscow has cut supplies, according to officials involved in the negotiations, the first time pipeline gas trade has been blocked by Western powers since the invasion of Ukraine, Report informs via the Financial Times. The decision, which is to be finalized by G7 leaders at a summit in Hiroshima next week, will prevent the resumption of Russian pipeline gas exports on routes to countries such as Poland and Germany, where Moscow cut off supplies last year and triggered an energy crisis across Europe. Western powers want to ensure that Russia does not receive a boost to its energy revenues as they attempt to raise economic pressure 15 months after Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
One of the officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said the move was “to make sure that partners don’t change their mind in a hypothetical future”. A draft G7 statement seen by the Financial Times said that the group of leading economies would further reduce their use of Russian energy sources “including preventing the reopening of avenues previously shut down by Russia’s weaponization of energy” at least until “there is a resolution of the conflict”. While the measures are unlikely to affect any immediate gas flows, it underscores a deep determination in Brussels to make permanent the rapid and painful pivot away from decades of reliance on Russian energy. The ban is highly symbolic because, at the start of the war, the EU had avoided targeting pipeline flows given their huge dependence on Moscow’s gas. Russia went ahead and cut supplies anyway, sparking a surge in gas prices to more than 10 times their normal level.
But in recent months prices have fallen substantially as Europe successfully cut demand over winter, accelerated the roll out of renewable energy and sourced alternative supplies such as seaborne cargoes of LNG. Moscow’s share of the European gas imports has fallen from more than 40 percent to less than 10 percent, and a mild winter has boosted gas storage in the EU. Officials are confident that gas storage, which is already some 60 percent full compared with roughly 30 percent at the same time in 2022, will reach capacity long before the next winter arrives. Oil pipelines where Russia has cut supplies, including the northern leg of the Druzhba line that supplies refineries in Germany and Poland, could also be blocked under EU measures to prevent a resumption in flows.
The embargo is being discussed by diplomats as part of the EU’s 11th sanctions package. The commission said it would not comment on sanctions discussions or leaks. One EU diplomat said that the proposal needed more clarification from Brussels to show how the “status quo” would change, particularly as some oil from Kazakhstan flows through Druzhba. “It has to be clear exactly how it would work,” they said. Berlin and Warsaw, despite having an exemption from sanctions on Russian oil, said that they would voluntarily end deliveries of crude through Druzhba last year although Poland continued to receive supplies until Russia cut off flows in February. German refineries stopped ordering Russian crude from the beginning of this year.
The CW card is a complete dud. That Western media are playing it shows that their role is as sinister as mass drug-dealing. Western media are now accusing Russian forces of preparing to use chemical weapons (CW) of mass destruction in Ukraine, thereby making the case for greater NATO military intervention. The CW card is a complete dud. That Western media are playing it shows they are also complete duds, and that their role is as sinister as mass drug-dealing. Deliberate provocation by Western powers is the watchword. Britain this week supplying long-range missiles, as well as depleted uranium artillery shells, and drone attacks on the Kremlin are part of a sequence to solicit never-ending escalation. Accusing Russia of planning to use chemical weapons of mass destruction, as with earlier claims of Russia willing to use nuclear weapons, is all part of the orchestrated provocation.
The degradation of Western media standards has become so bad that they can get away with retailing such nonsense to consumers of this “information”. First of all, Russia does not have any chemical weapons. As a signatory to the international treaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention (1997), the Russian Federation verifiably destroyed all of its arsenals as per its signatory obligations. The complete decommissioning of these weapons by Russia in 2017 was verified by the Organization for the Prohibition on Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The United States is the only major power that has not fully implemented the CW convention by retaining stockpiles of these weapons. Not only is speculation about Russian forces possibly using CW in Ukraine baseless, but the Western media are also deploying the shoddy lie used earlier against Syria. Incredibly, for anyone cognizant of the facts, such calumny is still peddled to blame the wrong people when the real perpetrator in Syria was Western-backed militants and their CIA and MI6-sponsored media accomplices, the so-called White Helmets.
Western media continue to claim that the Syrian government forces of Bashar al Assad used CW against civilians during the decade-old civil war in the Arab country. Russia supported the Syrian army to defeat NATO-backed radical extremists. Now the Western media are moralizing that the United States and other Western powers took no punitive action against Syria over CW which, it is contended, is acting as a precedent for Russia to use these weapons in the Ukraine conflict. Euronews quotes Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former British military intelligence officer, as saying: “The international community needs to reaffirm that any use of chemical or biological weapons would not be acceptable in any shape or form… I’m sure NATO and the West would act if they [Russia] used chemical weapons in Ukraine. But having said that they stood by when Assad used such weapons in Syria and that might embolden Putin.”
This is an outrageous lie being propagated by the Western media. It has been documented by independent investigations that the CW attacks in Syria were actually carried out by NATO-backed mercenaries in false-flag operations to provoke Western military intervention. One of those false flags in the city of Douma in April 2018 succeeded in its nefarious aims. Following the incident – dutifully amplified at the time by Western media for gaslighting the Western public – U.S. President Donald Trump bombed Syria “in revenge” along with British and French allies. However, it turned out later that Syria, Russia and Iran were vindicated in their initial claims that the CW incidents in Syria were false-flag stunts. Indeed, it was shown that personnel in the UN watchdog, the OPCW, engaged in a cover-up to implicate the Assad government when the real perpetrator was the jihadists backed by the West, as reported by Aaron Maté and other independent journalists.
“Because he can.” That’s the answer one has to give to those who ask how Alvin Bragg, a local district attorney in office by the slimmest of margins—and then only because of a huge subsidy from the anti-American billionaire George Soros—can get away with antics like indicting Donald Trump, a former (and, possibly, future) president of the United States, and, now, with charging former Marine Daniel Penny with manslaughter because he (along with at least two others) intervened to stop Jordan Neely from attacking fellow passengers on a New York subway. Because he can. As a friend remarked when digesting the spectacle of Penny being led away in handcuffs, totalitarian movements often start slowly, almost timidly, but as they gain power, they become more brazen. After a certain point, they do outrageous things just to intimidate the public and demonstrate their power.
We now know that the FBI, the CIA, and other elements of America’s security apparatus intervened directly in the decision making of Twitter and other social media companies to influence the course of the 2020 election. One part of that intervention had to do with organizing 51 senior former intelligence figures to sign a letter declaring that Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation.” That was a lie. They knew it was a lie. It didn’t matter. They did it because they knew they could get away with it. The United States is on the verge of being inundated with thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens. Many are from South or Central America. Hundreds are from China, even though they are crossing that notional line we used to be able to call, without irony, our southern border. Why did the Biden Administration decide to enact a real-life Camp of the Saints invasion of the United States? Because it could. There was no immediate price to pay.
In her classic study, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt makes several observations that bear on our current situation. “There is no doubt,” she observes, “that the elite was pleased whenever the underworld frightened respectable society into accepting it on an equal footing. The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it. They were not particularly outraged at the monstrous forgeries in historiography of which all totalitarian regimes are guilty and which announce themselves clearly enough and totalitarian propaganda.”
John Maynard Keynes did the world a disservice with his offhand dismissal of Say’s law. Consequently, economists have lost the true relationship between production and consumption. And we have lost our understanding of the true role of currencies as a medium of exchange. Nearly all our economic errors have flowed from this dismissal. In order to understand the seriousness of it with respect to the dollar today, the denial of Say’s law is no less than a denial of the division of labour. Yet, plainly, the division of labour is the basis of all human economic activity. Without having something to sell, we cannot buy the things we need which we are unable to provide for ourselves efficiently or easily. Where we differ from other animals is that we develop our personal skills to maximise the value of our specialised production so that we can increase our wider consumption for the greatest relief of our needs and desires.
Our individual skills are the key that provides our wealth. And it is the role of currency as a medium of exchange which allows us to turn our production into our consumption. Several things follow from this truism. One is that if we reduce our total production, we reduce our total consumption, because the former leads to the latter. No, say the Keynesians, who put it the other way round. They say that if we reduce our consumption there will be a general glut of goods on the market and then prices will fall, leading to unemployment. The error is to not understand that first we must produce in order to consume, so that there cannot be a general glut, only changes in the level of productive output which are broadly matched by changes in overall consumption.
Surely, this can be easily understood even by non-experts. But this deliberate error — for that is what it can only have been — has led to a misunderstanding of the role of the medium of exchange. It provides the means to exchange goods of unequal value: for example, a cobbler makes shoes and boots, whose unit value will be greater than the individual food items he requires daily to feed his family. It also provides producers with the credit required to finance production, paying costs incurred before a final product is sold and creditors repaid. This is the essence of trade. And so long as transacting individuals only produce to consume, the expansion and contraction of the sum total of money and credit purely in connection with that trade cannot alter their value in terms of goods and services generally. Not so, say Keynes’s macroeconomists, now joined in chorus by the monetarists. They claim that expansion of money and credit alters the general price relation. Both believe in manipulating credit to this end.
Lest we get too comfortable once again and forget that only a couple years ago the western world was on the verge of perpetual medical tyranny, it is important to look back at the massive media disinformation campaign concerning the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of the pandemic mandates and the mRNA vaccines. Only two years ago, the public was bombarded by possibly the most aggressive global propaganda attack in modern history. And, this campaign was a conjoined effort between national governments, global institutions and corporations.
Keep in mind, all the hysteria was generated over a virus with a median official Infection Fatality Rate of only 0.23%. That’s right, all the fear mongering featured in the video below was in reaction to a “pandemic” that 99.8% of the population would easily survive, and this death rate was known only months after the spread started. Also keep in mind that essentially every single claim made by the media concerning covid featured below ended up being false. In many cases, the media knew that scientific evidence ran contrary to their narrative, but they promoted that narrative anyway. Enjoy this flashback of corporate media covid fear mongering, and never forget…
A WikiLeaks fundraising organization has hired Squire Patton Boggs to lobby the Justice Department on behalf of the site’s publisher, Julian Assange, amid his espionage charges, according to public records and three sources familiar with the matter. German foundation Wau Holland has paid Squire at least $1.2 million since last October to push DOJ on journalists’ rights to publish classified information, federal disclosures show. The sources said the global law and public policy firm has been seeking a meeting with the department to discuss how the espionage case against Assange holds up in light of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s recent policy to protect journalists from enforcement actions.
The hiring of one of Washington’s most storied and influential firms marks an escalation of a years-long public advocacy campaign. Advocates haven’t yet succeeded in persuading the Biden administration to abandon the Trump-era prosecution of Assange for publishing classified war documents. There’s no sign the two Squire attorneys listed on the lobbying disclosures—both former government lawyers—have made headway in convening with DOJ officials to understand how Assange’s charges mesh with Garland’s press-friendly approach. But their campaign on behalf of someone condemned by members of both political parties, which hasn’t been previously reported, represents the Big Law firm’s most lucrative federally-disclosed work over the past six months.
Assange is a polarizing figure due to his high-profile national security breaches and publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails in 2016. He was arrested in 2019 in London on a US warrant and remains detained as he fights his extradition. Squire’s efforts align with press freedom and civil liberties groups, major news outlets, and the House’s progressive wing, who have warned that extraditing Assange from the UK and putting him on trial in US court would threaten First Amendment rights. [..] Squire received $600,000 from the Wau Holland Foundation in each of the prior two quarters starting in October 2022, according to lobbying filings disclosed in mid-April. The foundation, a longtime Assange and WikiLeaks financer, enlisted the firm to lobby DOJ on “First Amendment issues related to the publication by journalists of classified information,” Squire said in the filings.
Well, what happened was that, as I’ve described in Super Imperialism, when the United States went off gold, foreign central banks didn’t have anything to buy with their dollars that were flowing into their countries – again, mainly from the US military deficit but also from the investment takeovers. And they found that these dollars came in, the only thing they could do would be to recycle them to the United States. And what do central banks hold? They don’t buy property, usually, back then they didn’t. They buy Treasury bonds. And so, the United States would be spending dollars abroad and foreign central banks didn’t really have anything to do but send it right back to buy treasury bonds to finance not only the balance of payments deficit, but also the budget deficit that was largely military in character. So, dollar hegemony was the system where foreign central banks keep their monetary and international savings reserves in dollars and the dollars are used to finance the military bases around the world, almost eight hundred military bases surrounding them. So, basically central banks have to keep their savings by weaponizing them, by militarizing them, by lending them to the United States, to keep spending abroad.
This gave America a free ride. Imagine if you went to the grocery store and you just paid by giving them an IOU. And then the next week you want to buy more groceries and you give them another IOU. And they say, wait a minute, you have an IOU before and you say, well just use the IOU to pay the milk company that delivers, or the farmers that deliver. You can use this as your money and just you’ll as a customer, keep writing IOU’s and you never have to pay anything because your IOU is other people’s money. Well, that’s what dollar hegemony was, and it was a free ride. And it all ended last Wednesday when the United States grabbed Russia’s reserves having grabbed Afghanistan’s foreign reserves and Venezuela’s foreign reserves and those of other countries.
And all of a sudden, this means that other countries can no longer safely hold their reserves by sending their money back, depositing them in US banks or buying US Treasury Securities, or having other US investments because they could simply be grabbed as happened to Russia. So, all of a sudden this last week, you’re seeing the world economy fracture into two parts, a dollarized part and other countries that do not follow the neoliberal policies that the United States insists that its allies follow. We’re seeing the birth of a new dual World economy. MF: Wow, there’s a lot to unpack there. So, are we seeing then other countries starting to disinvest in US dollars? You’ve written about how the treasury bonds that these central banks buy up have been basically funding our domestic economy. Are they starting to shed those bonds or what’s happening?
MH: No, they haven’t been funding our domestic economy because the Federal Reserve can create its own money to fund the domestic economy. We don’t need to borrow from foreign countries to fund our economy. We can print it ourselves. What the dollar hegemony does is fund the balance of payments deficit. It funds our spending in other economies, our spending abroad. It doesn’t help our economy, but it does help us get a free ride from other countries. The more dollars we spend in making a military base, all these military expenditures get turned over to the local Central Bank that turns and sends them back to the Federal Reserve or deposits them in US bank accounts. So, it’s the international free ride we get, not a domestic free ride.
Mariupol, the strategic Sea of Azov port, remains in the eye of the storm in Ukraine. The NATO narrative is that Azovstal – one of Europe’s biggest iron and steel works – was nearly destroyed by the Russian Army and its allied Donetsk forces who “lay siege” to Mariupol. The true story is that the neo-Nazi Azov batallion took scores of Mariupol civilians as human shields since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, and retreated to Azovstal as a last stand. After an ultimatum delivered last week, they are now being completely exterminated by the Russian and Donetsk forces and Chechen Spetsnaz. Azovstal, part of the Metinvest group controlled by Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, is indeed one of the biggest metallurgic plants in Europe, self-described as a “high-performance integrated metallurgical enterprise that produces coke and sinter, steel as well as high-quality rolled products, bars and shapes.”
Amidst a flurry of testimonials detailing the horrors inflicted by the Azov neo-Nazis on Mariupol’s civilian population, a way more auspicious, invisible story bodes well for the immediate future. Russia is the world’s fifth largest steel producer, apart from holding huge iron and coal deposits. Mariupol – a steel Mecca – used to source coal from Donbass, but under de facto neo-Nazi rule since the 2014 Maidan events, was turned into an importer. Iron, for instance, started to be supplied from Krivbas in Ukraine, over 200 kilometers away. After Donetsk solidifies itself as an independent republic or, via referendum, chooses to become part of the Russian Federation, this situation is bound to change.
Azovstal is invested in a broad product line of very useful stuff: structural steel, rail for railroads, hardened steel for chains, mining equipment, rolled steel used in factory apparatus, trucks and railroad cars. Parts of the factory complex are quite modern while some, decades old, are badly in need of upgrading, which Russian industry can certainly provide. Strategically, this is a huge complex, right at the Sea of Azov, which is now, for all practical purposes, incorporated into the Donetsk People’s Republic, and close to the Black Sea. That implies a short trip to the Eastern Mediterranean, including many potential customers in West Asia. And crossing Suez and reaching the Indian Ocean, are customers all across South and Southeast Asia.
So the Donetsk People’s Republic, possibly part of the future Novorossiya, and even part of Russia, will be in control of a lot of steel-making capacity for southern Europe, West Asia, and beyond. One of the inevitable consequences is that it will be able to supply a real freight railroad construction boom in Russia, China and the Central Asian ‘stans.’ Railroad construction happens to be the privileged connectivity mode for Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And, crucially, of the increasingly turbo-charged International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC). So, mid-term, Mariupol should expect to become one of the key hubs of a boom in north-south routes – INSTC across Russia and linking with the ‘stans’ – as well as major BRI upgrades east-west and sub-BRI corridors.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday, where he said the two are carving a path towards a ‘fairer world order.’ The meeting between Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, marks the first visit to a key ally since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, according to The Economic Times. The two countries will work to achieve “a multipolar, fair, and democratic world order,” Lavrov said, speaking from the Chinese city of Tunxi located in the eastern inland Anhui Province. In a video released by the Russian foreign ministry ahead of a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Lavrov said the world was “living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations”.
At the end of this reshaping of global relations “we, together with you, and with our sympathisers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order”, Lavrov said. -Economic Times” Lavrov and Yi were seen on Chinese state TV in face masks bumping elbows in front of their national flags shortly before the meetings – which Lavrov will attend – to discuss ways to help Afghanistan. Both the US and the Taliban are expected to be in attendance. US officials have grown frustrated with Beijing’s refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, and have accused China of signalling a “willingness” to provide both economic and military aid to Russia. According to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency, Wang said that despite “new challenges” to relations between China and Russia, “the will of both sides to develop bilateral relations has become even stronger.” Earlier this month Wang said that China’s relationship with Russia is “one of the most crucial bilateral relationships in the world,” and is “ironclad.”
“..Because the Ukrainian forces kind of wanted to give up, SMS messages come that say that ‘you can give up and nothing will happen to you’. So, they want to surrender, and Azov starts shooting at them..”
US Navy veteran and independent journalist, Patrick Lancaster, has been making regular reports from Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis. His reports reveal that what is happening on the ground is not what Western corporate media would have you believe. “Over the 8 years of the Ukraine War I made more video reports in anti-Ukraine Government (Donetsk People’s Republic) controlled territory than any other western journalist,” he says. In his report on Friday, Lancaster interviewed residents of the ethnic Greek village of Sartana, one of the villages surrounding Mariupol, Ukraine. “This is right on, what you could say is the frontline now. Nobody knows exactly where the frontline starts and ends at this point there’s just so much information and [ ] minute by minute the lines are changing,” Lancaster said.
Eight years ago, a referendum was held and “mostly people asked for Russian language. But they decided to Ukrainise us, so that everybody speaks Ukrainian … It was forbidden to speak Russian in the store. There was some tension. Employees paid fines for not saying ‘Good afternoon’ in Ukrainian in stores,” one resident explained. “Today I’m trying to find guys from Mariupol to find out how things are there. My parents stayed there. But they say that everything is very sad. Today I heard another story that the Ukrainian armed forces started shootings with Azov. Because the Ukrainian forces kind of wanted to give up, SMS messages come that say that ‘you can give up and nothing will happen to you’. So, they want to surrender, and Azov starts shooting at them. And they [Ukrainian forces and Azov] are at war with each other.” another resident said.
Earlier this month members of the Azov Battalion, a self-declared neo-Nazi former paramilitary group that is now a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine, bombed the village most likely aiming for a church. Village residents also believe it was Azov who bombed the school. “Ukrainians say it’s only Russia who shoots now. – They always say so. It’s their policy. A dirty policy,” the second resident said. Other interviewees explained that Ukrainians bombed Mariupol to create a panic: “So that people leave, and they use them as a human shield. And now all people are there. And they’re holding them at gunpoint, don’t let them go. Literally shoot them if they run away,” they said.
Not long ago, candidate Joe Biden’s most troubling behavioral tendency was the surprise outburst of belligerence. Campaigning, he’d challenge questioners to push-up contests, jam fingers in the sternums even of supporters, and plunge into rambling monologues about leg hairs and chain-fights. Now, the president’s face is often a mask of terror, like a man unsure of how he came to be standing in the middle of an intersection. Mental cars racing past, he met the press Monday, to clarify a statement made last week about Vladimir Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Many interpreted this as a call for regime change. Not at all, Biden said, reading from a large-print cheat sheet — this reportedly happened — that reminded him to say he was merely expressing “moral outrage,” and “not articulating a change in policy.”
When he ran out of pre-prepared remarks, he drifted back to danger, saying: “It’s more an aspiration than anything. He shouldn’t be in power.” The AP writeup offered help: “He said he was expressing an ‘aspiration’ rather than a goal of American foreign policy.” (I’m sure nuclear-armed Putin appreciated the semantic difference). When Biden moved more toward candor, saying he made “no apologies” for his remarks, another reporter quickly tried to guide him back to a safe harbor: Q: Your personal feelings, sir? Your personal feelings? THE PRESIDENT: Personal. My personal feelings. Biden even offered his Princess Bride/Vizzini-esque analysis that “the last thing I want to do is engage in a land war… with Russia”:
Although administration mouthpieces Tony Blinken and Jen Psaki scrambled to reassure a nervous world that the U.S. is not intent on “doing regime change” in Russia, officials everywhere have been telling reporters the opposite on background. This cat was out of the bag weeks ago. As Joe Lauria at Consortium points out, Biden was asked on February 24th, at the start of the invasion, what sanctions would accomplish if they hadn’t prevented war. His answer: No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. That has to sh- — this is going to take time. And we have to show resolve, so he knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them. That’s what this is all about. Biden said virtually the same thing in Brussels last week:
“Sanctions never deter… The maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain … we will sustain what we’re doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That’s what will stop him.” We heard this more explicitly from Boris Johnson on March 1st, “The measures we are introducing, that large parts of the world are introducing, are to bring down the Putin regime,” Johnson said. Lauria points out this was two days after British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey wrote in the Telegraph that “His failure must be complete… the Russian people empowered to see how little he cares for them. In showing them that, Putin’s days as President will surely be numbered… He’ll lose power and he won’t get to choose his successor.”
The Federal Election Commission has fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for lying about the funding of the infamous, and discredited, Russian “dossier” used in a smear attempt against Donald Trump weeks before he shocked the world with his 2016 presidential victory. The election agency said that Clinton and the DNC violated strict rules on describing expenditures of payments funneled to the opposition research firm Fusion GPS through their law firm. A combined $1,024,407.97 was paid by the treasurers of the DNC and Clinton campaign to law firm Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s information, and the party and campaign hid the reason, claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.
Instead, the DNC’s $849,407.97 and the Clinton campaign’s $175,000 covered Fusion GPS’s opposition research on the dossier, a basis for the so-called “Russia hoax” that dogged Trump’s first term. The memo said that the Clinton campaign and DNC argued that they were correct in describing their payment as for “legal advice and services” because it was Perkins Coie that hired Fusion GPS. But the agency said the law is clear and was violated. It added that neither the campaign nor the party conceded to lying but won’t contest the finding. “Solely for the purpose of settling this matter expeditiously and to avoid further legal costs, respondent[s] does not concede, but will not further contest the commission’s finding of probable cause to proceed” with the probe, said the FEC.
The FEC, in a memo to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which filed its complaint over three years ago, said it fined Clinton’s treasurer $8,000 and the DNC’s treasurer $105,000. The memo, shared with Secrets, is to be made public in a month. Dan Backer, who brought the complaint on behalf of the foundation, which focuses on free speech and the First Amendment, told Secrets, “This may well be the first time that Hillary Clinton — one of the most evidently corrupt politicians in American history — has actually been held legally accountable, and I’m proud to have forced the FEC to do their job for once. The Coolidge Reagan Foundation proved that with pluck and grit, Americans who stand with integrity can stand up to the Clinton machine and other corrupt political elites.”
[..] Backer, with Washington’s Chalmers & Adams law firm, held out hope for further action against the former first lady. He said, “Hillary Clinton and her cronies willfully engaged in the greatest political fraud in history — destroying our nation’s faith in the electoral process, and it’s high time they were held accountable. I hope this is only the beginning.”
Recent emails unearthed by the U.K. Daily Mail and the National Pulse reveal that during the last decade, Hunter Biden seemed to have a keen interest in pathogen research in Ukraine and using it as a tool for geopolitical affairs in that country. It just so happens to be that a pathogen connected to gain-of-function research destroyed the world, and then the next “big current thing” on the geopolitical stage was none other than Ukraine. Shouldn’t the American people get some answers as to why our government was so heavily involved – via the vice president’s son – in both pathogen research and Ukraine and to make sure Ukraine is not Wuhan 2.0?
Earlier this month, I detailed the known connections between biotech firm Metabiota Inc., responsible for the pathogen research in Ukraine, the DOD, and EcoHealth Alliance, along with the Wuhan lab most likely responsible for the leak of SARS-CoV-2. I also noted that Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners (RSTP), a subsidiary of the Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz-founded Rosemont Capital, gave Metabiota, a company accused of dangerous lab protocols during the African Ebola pandemic, its first infusion of cash a decade ago. Now, new emails from Hunter’s laptop demonstrate that his involvement in Metabiota and pathogen research in Ukraine was much deeper than just an initial investment.
[..] After receiving 18.4 million from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) between February 2014 and November 2016, with $307,091 earmarked for “Ukraine research projects,” “Metabiota has worked in Ukraine for Black & Veatch, a US defense contractor with deep ties to military intelligence agencies, which built secure labs in Ukraine that analyzed killer diseases and bioweapons,” according to the Daily Mail. “It raises the question, what is the real purpose of this venture? It’s very odd,” said former senior CIA officer Sam Faddis in an interview with the Daily Mail. “His father was the Vice President of the United States and in charge of relations with Ukraine. So why was Hunter not only on the board of a suspect Ukrainian gas firm, but also hooked them up with a company working on bioweapons research?”
Biden was so involved in Metabiota that one email written that same month in 2014 reveals that he and his business partner Eric Schwerin discussed subletting their office space to the San-Francisco-based biotech firm. So, what exactly were they working on? Last week, the National Pulse reported that a feature in the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine’s 2016 Annual Report recounts an October 2016 meeting involving U.S. military officials and their Ukrainian counterparts together with Black & Veatch and Metabiota staff to discuss the lab work. The discussion centered around “existing frameworks, regulatory coordination, and ongoing cooperative projects in research, surveillance and diagnostics of a number of dangerous zoonotic diseases, such as avian influenza, leptospirosis, Crimea Congo hemorrhagic fever, and brucellosis.”
Gaetz and Nadler?!
BOMBSHELL: Matt Gaetz officially enters Hunter Biden’s laptop from HELL into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD as Democrats literally SCREAM pic.twitter.com/n7RHyco4cd
The Washington Post on Wednesday became the second major news outlet to reverse course and admit that emails from the infamous Hunter Biden laptop are authentic — nine months after it obtained them and a year and a half after the New York Post first reported on them. The paper said two security experts used cryptographic signatures from Google and other technology companies to validate nearly 22,000 emails from 2009 to 2019, including messages related to Hunter Biden’s controversial overseas business dealings. Some verified emails involved a deal President Biden’s son pursued with the CEFC China Energy conglomerate for which he was paid nearly $5 million, according to the Washington Post. Other verified emails related to his work for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, for which Hunter Biden was paid as much as $83,333 or a month, or $1 million a year.
In October 2020, the New York Post exclusively revealed the existence of Hunter Biden’s emails after being given a copy of the hard drive from a damaged MacBook Pro laptop that the owner of a repair shop in the Biden family’s hometown of Wilmington, Del., said was dropped off in April 2019 and never retrieved. Following the expose, the Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” feature said the paper “has not been able to verify or authenticate these emails” and said there were “fears that the emails could be part of a broader disinformation campaign” by Russia. Washington Post op-eds also called the emails “unverified” and said they “have never been authenticated,” and a news analysis dismissed the New York Post’s reporting as “sketchy.”
On Wednesday, the Washington Post said it was given a copy of the hard drive in June by Republican activist Jack Maxey, who previously worked as a researcher for the “War Room” podcast run by Steve Bannon, a former adviser to ex-President Donald Trump. The paper said it spent months reviewing the data and making two copies of the hard drive so they could be analyzed by Matt Green, a Johns Hopkins University security researcher, and Jake Williams, a forensics expert and former National Security Agency operative. Both experts concluded that the verified emails carried cryptographic signatures that would be hard to fake, even for the best computer hackers. Earlier this month, the New York Times said it had obtained emails that appeared to have come from the laptop and which were authenticated by people familiar with them and the federal tax probe of Hunter Biden that he publicly acknowledged in December 2020.
The Times buried its verification of the emails in the 24th paragraph of a 38-paragraph story that said Hunter Biden had paid off a significant tax debt to the IRS, potentially making it harder for prosecutors to win a conviction or a long sentence against him for tax fraud. US Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) — who, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has been investigating Hunter Biden’s overseas business deals — responded by accusing the Gray Lady of “finally, quietly, covering its tracks.” “I am just amazed that the New York Times just now came to the conclusion that the Hunter Biden laptop was genuine,” Johnson told WABC 770 AM’s “The Cats Roundtable” last week.
In a bold, but clearly disingenuous, statement from its famed editorial board, “a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate, and certain longstanding values,” The New York Times issued a cautionary statement: “For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.” The editorial board pounded the point home: “People should be able to put forward viewpoints, ask questions and make mistakes, and take unpopular but good-faith positions on issues that society is still working through — all without fearing cancellation …. Freedom of speech requires not just a commitment to openness and tolerance in the abstract. It demands conscientiousness…
“We believe it isn’t enough for Americans to just believe in the rights of others to speak freely; they should also find ways to actively support and protect those rights.” Of course, The New York Times should be leading by example. In fact, it has not supported free speech, protected the First Amendment, or allowed honest debate. It has not allowed competing perspectives about the most important issues of the day. Instead, it has been a mouthpiece for greedy corporations and corrupt government officials. In support of the newspaper’s interests, and at the expense of the interests of American citizens, The New York Times censored Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s latest book, “The Real Anthony Fauci,” in every conceivable way.
It ranked the book No. 7 on its non-fiction bestseller list even though the book outsold any other book in America that week by thousands of copies. Then it refused to allow Skyhorse Publishing to place an advertisement for the book because its censorship division, ironically called “Standards Management,” decided the book itself constituted misinformation — despite the paper’s stated policy that “Standards” only looks into whether an ad itself is “non-defamatory and accurate.” The New York Times followed up with a scathing hit piece targeting Kennedy as “a leading voice in the campaign to discredit coronavirus vaccines and other measures being advanced by the Biden White House to battle a pandemic that was … killing close to 1,900 people a day.”
The Times accused Kennedy of circulating “false information” — without indicating what that information was or explaining why it was false — and of comparing the government pandemic response to the Holocaust, even though he didn’t do that. Finally, The New York Times refused to review “The Real Anthony Fauci” or so much as comment on its historic grassroots success, even though it’s become a cult classic, selling more than 1 million copies in just four months, and launching a worldwide movement against government corruption and corporate greed. “Despite all the lying, or maybe in reaction to it,” Tucker Carlson told me, “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is becoming a legitimate folk hero.”
PM Justin Trudeau is giving himself and every MP a raise on April 1 — the same day he’s set to hike the carbon tax, leaving gas even less affordable. As of April 1, Trudeau’s estimated salary will be $379,404, a $21,604 pay increase. Simultaneously, Ministers will see their salaries rise by an additional $15,865, while backbenchers and senators will be receiving a $10,802 pay hike — more than enough to keep politicians comfortable as inflation skyrockets. Of course, the vast majority of Canadians are totally against this — but it will happen anyway. According to a Canadian Taxpayers Federation Leger poll, 79 per cent of Canadians (nearly 8-in-10) are opposed to MPs receiving a third pay raise since the pandemic started.
“It’s wrong for politicians to pocket bigger paycheques while the people they represent suffer through a pandemic, pay cuts, job and business losses,” said Federal Director of the CTF Franco Terrazzano. “It shouldn’t be rocket science for MPs to do the right thing and stop taking bigger salaries during the pandemic.” He further calls the pay raise a “slap in the face” to all the Canadians who’ve struggled throughout the pandemic. Of course, politicians aren’t the only government employees to receive raises throughout the pandemic. As the Western Standard reported in January, 528, 347 federal and provincial government employees received raises since the pandemic began, all while restrictions were decimating small businesses. “We’ve seen a tale of two pandemics: one full of private sector pain and the other full of financial gain for bureaucrats and politicians,” Terrazzano said at the time.
Six international organisations for the freedom of the press have published a report accusing Greece’s ruling New Democracy party (EPP) of trying to control media. While the report raises the alarm over a “systemic press freedom crisis”, the government replies that people are still free to opt on what media to follow. In an interview with EURACTIV last week, Pavol Szalai, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Head of EU/Balkans Desk, said, “The situation of press freedom in Greece is becoming comparable to the one in Hungary”. “We can see a deliberate political will to reduce press freedom. And at the same time, there are other dangerous situations linked to organised crime, which is probably behind the murder of Georges Karaivaz, who is one of the two EU journalists murdered last year”, he added.
The report was drafted following a December 2021 visit to the country. The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) report noted that the systemic crisis affecting press freedom in Greece has been exacerbated by the New Democracy government’s attempts to “control the message” and minimise critical and dissenting voices. “Newspapers and individual journalists that are ideologically on the side of the opposition or take a neutral stance are singled out by the government for unequal treatment that undermines their journalistic activities. This has been further compounded by a lack of transparency around the allocation of state advertising and its distribution based on established partisan lines,” the report added. The report also says journalists covering migration issues such as pushbacks is becoming “increasingly difficult”.
“The press freedom violations faced by journalists doing so are linked to the government’s restrictive migration policy and an unwillingness to accept public scrutiny of it leading to obstructions to reporting such as arbitrary arrest and detention, restriction of access, surveillance and harassment”. Without replying to any element of the report, New Democracy issued a statement saying the freedom of the press in Greece is institutionally guaranteed. “Every citizen can be freely informed, at any time, through the media of his choice”, the conservative party said. “The report highlights how Greece is becoming a problematic country on issues of press freedom and democracy,” main opposition leader and former PM Alexis Tsipras tweeted.
According to the latest UK Government figures, most triple vaccinated people in England have now lost 80% of their immune system capability compared to the natural immune system capability of unvaccinated people, meaning they are now down to the last 20% of their immune system for fighting viruses, bacteria, disease and cancer. But this disaster isn’t only occurring in the UK. Official Government of Canada data shows that on average, triple vaccinated Canadians have now lost 75% of their immune system capability compared to the natural immune system capability of unvaccinated Canadians. Meaning they are now down to the last 25% of their immune system for fighting viruses, bacteria, disease and cancer.
And the picture is also the same in New Zealand, with official Government data showing that on average, fully vaccinated people in New Zealand have lost 74% of their immune system capability. In short, because authorities in the UK, Canada and New Zealand have done such a good job at collating and publishing data on Covid-19 by vaccination status, they have exposed the fact that the triple vaccinated population are rapidly developing some new form of Covid-19 vaccine induced Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The body’s immune system primarily defends one’s body against infections like bacteria, viruses and parasites. There are two broad categories of immune deficiency: those that one is born with, and those that are acquired after birth .
Immune deficiency syndrome refers to a broad range of medical disorders that prevent your body from protecting itself from illnesses such as viruses and bacteria. There are a number of different types of congenital and acquired immune deficiency syndromes that can impact the body in a variety of ways. Secondary (acquired) immune problems can result from many causes, including viral infections, malnutrition, metabolic disorders (like kidney disease), and cancer treatments or other medications. Unfortunately, official data from around the world now strongly suggests the Covid-19 vaccines should be added to the list of causes of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
Jim Rickards @JamesGRickards
Brexit never had to happen except David Cameron called a referendum and lost. Freedom Convoys never had to happen except Trudeau and Fascist Freeland refused to listen. The coming general strike and supply chain collapse is on them. The elites sure are dumb.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice asked self-custody wallet provider @nunchuk_io to disclose user information and freeze user’s bitcoin. This was the team’s response.
Bill Gates: Sadly
“Sadly, the virus itself – particularly the variant Omicron – is a type of vaccine. That is, it creates both B cell and T cell immunity. And it’s done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.” – Bill Gates Sadly?pic.twitter.com/BJR0WECwDr
Dana (@DLoesch / @DanaLoeschRadio) talks with Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche (@GVDBossche on Twitter, and @GVandenBossche on GETTR), who has a PHD in virology – Certified Expert in microbiology and infectious diseases – with a long standing career in human vaccinology, and Dr. Vanden Bossche talks about the fact that it isn’t even necessary to inject children with this mRNA ‘vaccine’, as the FDA and Dr. Fauci (along with the pharmaceutical companies) want to do. He has previously pointed out that this virus is an infection in children, like the flu – and not a disease. By vaccinating children with this mRNA ‘vaccine’, you are actually suppressing their own robust immune system, making them vulnerable to other diseases.
Dr. Vanden Bossche mentions that these vaccinations will not – and CANNOT – eliminate a virus, but that our own immune systems CAN. The worldwide government push to inject these people, is actually making people more vulnerable, and any mandate needs to stop immediately. Governments doing this, are actually forcing this virus to evolve and avoid elimination, which certainly keeps the virus going indefinitely.
Given the high and steadily increasing vaccine coverage rates in large parts of the world and the ongoing mass vaccination of children and continuation of booster campaigns, I am of the opinion that Omicron has the capacity to evolve into a much less benign variant, regardless of whether or not infection prevention measures are relaxed or lifted.
A coronavirus (CoV) can only replicate and mutate. The widely held belief that during the course of a pandemic viruses tend to become more infectious but less virulent is a myth—one kept alive by those who don’t understand the evolutionary dynamics of a pandemic. The latter are fully dependent upon the outcome of the interplay between the virus and the host immune system at a population level. Abiding by this ‘rule’ is the sole qualifier necessary to be an expert of viral pandemics. For several months I’ve been warning that continued mass vaccination and high vaccine coverage rates would prevent SARS-CoV-2 (SC-2) from generating sufficient herd immunity to control, let alone end, the current pandemic. The advent of Omicron hasn’t changed my mind, on the contrary!
Now that mass vaccination campaigns have quickly rendered the virus resistant to the adaptive immune response (cfr. Omicron), I am fearful that this may have a snowball effect. I’ve been postulating that the mechanism of innate immune adaptation to viral exposure (i.e., through a process of epigenetic changes referred to as ‘training’) is compromised in the vaccinated population and I am now predicting that the resulting burden of infectivity will cause massive population-level immune pressure on Omicron. In an attempt to overcome high immune pressure on Omicron’s infectiousness, natural selection of viral mutants that are capable of resisting both the acquired SC-2-specific and the CoV-reactive innate immune response in vaccinees is likely to occur.
Pathologists who examined the autopsies of two teenage boys who died days after receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine concluded the vaccine caused the teens’ deaths. The three pathologists, two of whom are medical examiners, published their findings Feb. 14 in an early online release article, “Autopsy Histopathologic Cardiac Findings in Two Adolescents Following the Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose,” in the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The authors’ findings were conclusive. Two teenage boys were pronounced dead in their homes three and four days after receiving the second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 dose. There was no evidence of active or previous COVID-19 infection. The teens had negative toxicology screens (i.e. no drugs or poisons were present in their bodies).
These boys died from the vaccine. Histopathological examination of their cardiac tissue revealed an important new finding: Neither heart demonstrated evidence of typical myocarditis. Instead, the authors found evidence of microscopic changes consistent with a different form of heart injury called toxic cardiomyopathy. They wrote: “The myocardial injury seen in these post-vaccine hearts is different from typical myocarditis and has an appearance most closely resembling a catecholamine-mediated stress (toxic) cardiomyopathy.” [..] The pathologists determined there was a different mechanism of heart injury at play in these two boys, distinct from a purely infectious process that would result directly from a viral infection like COVID-19.
This is an important finding. There may be a way to distinguish cardiac injury resulting from a SARS-COV-2 infection from cardiac injury where the vaccine predisposes the patient to stress cardiomyopathy before contracting COVID-19. However, the authors are careful not to assume that cardiac injuries from COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines can always be sorted out under the microscope. They explain that stress cardiomyopathy, or “broken heart syndrome,” may also occur in a rare hyperinflammatory state that is known to occur in COVID-19 infection as well: “This post-vaccine reaction may represent an overly exuberant immune response and the myocardial injury is mediated by similar immune mechanisms as described with SARS-COV-2 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) cytokine storms.”
Dr. Yeadon petitioned the EMA on a pregnancy caution given the anticipated interaction between the Spike protein and syncytium, particularly the S2 component with is fully synthesized in the pregnant woman after taking it. Here is the rationale. pic.twitter.com/9AoxDEeMdP
Dr. Yeadon indicates three reasons to defer in this situation: 1) no assurances on teratogenicity or birth defects, 2) no reproductive toxicology, 3) low-risk target group can be easily treated if high risk features to the respiratory illness. pic.twitter.com/KNCZFPmi4z
The beautiful people get all the breaks. A new study finds an interesting link between how attractive someone is and the strength of their immune system. A team at Texas Christian University found that when people had to rate a group of photos based on the attractiveness of each person’s face, they consistently rated individuals with stronger immune health as more attractive than other photos in the study. Although beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, researchers say there has been a historical link between what societies consider attractive and reproductive success. The TCU team theorized that, because certain evolutionary traits tie into more mating success, people who seem more attractive to others may also appear healthier to the opposite sex.
To test that theory, researchers gathered 159 men and women and photographed each one without makeup and while displaying a neutral expression on their face. Study authors then took blood samples from each person to measure their levels of white blood cells — which battle disease and infections. The team then brought in 492 other people to rate members of the opposite sex in these photos based on their attractiveness. The volunteers did not have any information on each person’s immune health and only had that one neutral photo to base their rating on. Results show people with stronger immune systems were rated as being more attractive by the 492 volunteers.
“The current research suggests that a relationship between facial attractiveness and immune function is likely to exist,” corresponding author Summer Mengelkoch and her team write in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Interestingly, the study finds men and women have very different ideas about what makes a face attractive and healthy. Researchers found that, on average, women rated men with higher levels of NK (natural killer) cells as more attractive. These cells play a key role in fighting off and killing bacteria. Men, on the other hand, found women with lower NK cell levels in their blood more attractive. Study authors believe the reason for this is women with lower NK levels generally have higher estrogen levels — a hormone important to sexual reproduction.
As for which features are likely to stand out and attract attention, researchers found a not-so-surprising list of qualities people look for in a pretty face. “Features such as clear skin, prominent cheekbones, bright eyes, and full, red lips have been deemed attractive throughout recorded human history,” the researchers write.
The need for control is a reaction to fear. What does the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fear so much that he invoked the first ever declaration of the Emergency War Measures Act? A group of middle class Canadians who challenged him. That’s it. That’s the sum total of the Trudeau justification. Need proof? Well, here’s the lead organizer of the Trucker rebellion, Tamara Lich, who triggered the declaration of a national emergency and invocation of the federal Emergency Act. What heinous crime against the state was she charged with? “Counseling to Commit the Offense of Mischief“. Think about it.
No, seriously, think about it. It is true that she may later be charged with removing mattress tags. However, for right now, the biggest domestic terrorist in the history of Canadian politics is currently charged with the same offense as if she stole the lids off the shampoo bottles at the hotel where the Liberal Party of Canada was holding their national convention. If the charge of “mischief” rings a bell for some of you, it’s likely because a very famous duo was previously charged with the same criminal offenses.
The Canadian Parliament is currently debating whether or not the members within government will support the use of the Emergency Act. The members of Parliament are spending hours waxing philosophically, with tremendous seriousness, about the need to support the same declaration that is used when Canada would decide to go to war with another country. And they are doing this because blue collar workers have infiltrated the capital city with a demand to remove COVID mandates. The crimes against the truckers are so serious, they require the invocation of the most massive weapon that can be deployed to remove the constitutional freedoms of Canadian citizens, in an effort to protect them from grave and serious harm stemming from… …. people charged with “MISCHIEF”.
It would be nice if someone, anyone, in the Canadian Parliament stood up and made this simple point. “Um, hey folks… ahem… I don’t mean to be all captain obvious and stuff… and I certainly do not want to deflate your sense of self-importance…. or the seriousness of the debate. However, that said, y’all do realize we are talking about invoking the Emergency War Measures Act against people charged with mischief, right?“
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his UCP government are so disgusted by the federal Liberals’ imposition of the Emergencies Act to end the truckers’ blockade of downtown Ottawa that they will file a legal challenge in Federal Court in Ottawa early next week to end Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s arbitrary and high-handed action. In an exclusive interview with Postmedia, Kenney said the use of Canada’s most powerful law was “unjustified in the circumstances,” an “overreach,” a violation of due process and “an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction.” As a consequence, lawyers representing the Alberta government will be asking judges not to overturn the act, but rather to suspend its use in the current situation.
The premier doesn’t want anyone to misunderstand his motives. “The situation in Ottawa is serious. Law and order has to be restored.” Protesters cannot be allowed to blockade the core of any Canadian city, much less our capital, Kenney explained, no matter what their cause. “But the Emergencies Act was designed to come into effect at the failure of the state,” at a time when it was possible our democratic institutions might fall. “However, there is no insurrection or coup,” Kenney said pointedly. “Police services already have all the powers they need through provincial authority. All the tools already exist” to clear the blockade and restore order, Kenney believes. The feds, for instance, don’t need the power to “seize and freeze” people’s bank accounts and other assets.
The banking provisions of the Emergencies Act were, according to Kenney, “designed to interrupt terrorism financing,” to choke off the money supply of radical cells plotting attacks within Canada. Now, according to the premier, the Trudeau government is instead using those provisions to harass “people whose opinions they disagree with.” Federal Justice Minister David Lametti even hinted on CTV that the feds are even considering having financial institutions freeze the accounts of anyone who used a credit card to donate a few dollars to the convoy.Kenney thinks if the Trudeau-ites are allowed to get away with freezing the finances of their political opponents, even if only for a few days “it sets a very dangerous precedent.” “Let’s stick to the basics here — the basics of law enforcement.”
The “People’s Convoy,” a U.S. trucker protest against COVID-19 mandates, is set to begin on Wednesday in California. Inspired by the Canadian truckers’ “Freedom Convoy,” the People’s Convoy is expecting about 1,000 trucks to start the journey east, with more joining along the way. “We’re going to be starting the convoy out of Barstow, California,” Maureen Steele, the national organizer of the movement, told Newsmax, explaining that the exact location will be announced closer to the start of the event because of the “paramount” concern for operational security. “The Canadian convoy was pretty organic when it happened,” Steele said. “Ours, they had a month’s notice, so our concern is disruptive groups coming in. We’re trying to just prepare for counter-protests and to take safety precautions for that.”
Truckers can register with their license plates on the organizers’ website “so we know exactly who is in the convoy and to make sure that it’s going to be a safe ride,” she explained. According to the website, the organization is calling for the “declaration of a national emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic be lifted immediately and our cherished Constitution reign supreme.” The website has its own donation link instead of using GoFundMe or other crowdfunding services. Steele clarified that donations for the convoy will be held with a private bank to prevent them from being frozen by governmental opposition. “So our funds should not be able to be frozen or hijacked, and all the money is being held by this third-party firm, so we can assure that it absolutely gets to the truckers and it’s clean,” she said.
“That’s why it took so long. We have such an infrastructure built for this operation. It took us a while before we could come out.” The towns where the convoy plans to stop will be announced about 24 hours prior to their arrival for precautionary purposes, Steele said, but she did confirm that they will stop in Arizona and Texas. A few trucks will be ahead of the convoy “just to check in with law enforcement in towns ahead of the convoy, that if we’re going to be marshaling there that evening, to make sure they’re prepared for a massive convoy to roll into town,” Steele said.
A newly discovered document from March 1991 shows US, UK, French, and German officials discussing a pledge made to Moscow that NATO would not expand to Poland and beyond. Its publication by the German magazine Der Spiegel on Friday comes as expansion of the US-led bloc has led to a military standoff in Eastern Europe. The minutes of a March 6, 1991 meeting in Bonn between political directors of the foreign ministries of the US, UK, France, and Germany contain multiple references to “2+4” talks on German unification in which the Western officials made it “clear” to the Soviet Union that NATO would not push into territory east of Germany.
“We made it clear to the Soviet Union – in the 2+4 talks, as well as in other negotiations – that we do not intend to benefit from the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe,” the document quotes US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada Raymond Seitz. “NATO should not expand to the east, either officially or unofficially,” Seitz added. A British representative also mentions the existence of a “general agreement” that membership of NATO for eastern European countries is “unacceptable.” “We had made it clear during the 2+4 negotiations that we would not extend NATO beyond the Elbe [sic],” said West German diplomat Juergen Hrobog. “We could not therefore offer Poland and others membership in NATO.”
The minutes later clarified he was referring to the Oder River, the boundary between East Germany and Poland. Hrobog further noted that West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher had agreed with this position as well. The document was found in the UK National Archives by Joshua Shifrinson, a political science professor at Boston University in the US. It had been marked “Secret” but was declassified at some point. Shifrinson tweeted on Friday he was “honored” to work with Der Spiegel on the document showing that “Western diplomats believed they had indeed made a NATO non-enlargement pledge.”
“The concept of escalation dominance refers to the ability to increase military pressure and possibly resort to limited use of force, based on the logic that the stakes can be continuously increased until the other side is compelled to capitulate.”
Russia has laid down its red lines, insisting that NATO expansion towards its borders poses an unacceptable challenge to its policy of so-called “indivisible security.” As the US-led military bloc insists it exists solely to defend its members, Moscow’s requests for mutual security assurances have revealed the two sides no longer even speak the same language. Western governments committed themselves to a new defensive doctrine in all the main pan-European security agreements signed in the 1990s. The principle of “indivisible security” was explicitly defined in these agreements as the “commitment not to pursue national security interests at the expense of others,” which reflected the larger objective of ending the dividing lines in Europe.
Although, Russia was weak in the 1990s and the West could ignore these security guarantees by expanding NATO. Russia has now recovered, established firm red lines, and has demanded security guarantees based on these existing pan-European security agreements. The US and NATO, however, insist that “indivisible security” is interpreted as the right to choose alliance membership freely. The creative re-interpretation of very specific agreements does not clarify how the expansion of Cold War military alliances would achieve the overarching objective of ending the Cold War legacy of dividing lines in Europe.
[..] not long ago, it was commonplace across the West to argue that President Trump could start a major war with another great power. More recently, US Senator Roger Wicker casually suggested that America could engage in a war with Russia over Ukraine, in which even the use of nuclear weapons should not be taken off the table. Evelyn Farkas, the former US deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia in the Obama administration, and former senior adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander in NATO, also penned an op-ed in which she argued that “The US Must Prepare for War Against Russia over Ukraine.”
Even if Washington would not follow the reckless advice of going to war with Russia, the growing US military presence along Russian borders can give the US escalation dominance. The concept of escalation dominance refers to the ability to increase military pressure and possibly resort to limited use of force, based on the logic that the stakes can be continuously increased until the other side is compelled to capitulate. With the knowledge that the US could defeat Russia in a war, the US could use its ability to escalate tensions to compel Russia to capitulate on strategically important issues.
“..hundreds of millions of dollars in NATO lethal aid is being sent, supposedly for defense, but which Vershinin said could be intended instead for an offensive that could potentially set a trap for Russia.”
Yes. But Putin has seen this coming from miles away, too.
The U.S. began in November to portray the Russian troop deployment as an invasion force and has since worked its message into a crescendo of daily warnings of an imminent attack. In Spring 2021, Russia made a similar deployment near the Ukraine border and yet there were no Washington cries of invasion then. So what changed? This time the Russian troop movement coincided with Moscow presenting draft treaty proposals to the U.S. and NATO drawing a deep redline after decades of objecting to the Western military alliance moving ever closer to Russia, a country that was invaded by and defeated the largest European powers of the 19th and 20th centuries. The U.S. reacted to these bold proposals by changing the subject. They moved from the defensive to offense with a supreme distraction: the maniacal mantra of “the Russians are coming.”
NATO routinely carries out military deployments and exercises near Russia’s borders. Moscow never screams “invasion” when U.S. war planes practice cruise missile strikes at the Russian frontier. Instead Russia presented proposals that would see: • NATO roll back forward troop deployments from former Warsaw Pact states, now NATO members; • NATO would not admit Ukraine and Georgia as members and • The U.S. would remove long-range missiles in Romania and Poland and not deploy new ones in Ukraine. The U.S. and NATO have so far rejected the Russian draft treaties out of hand, except on the missile issue, which Washington is ready to negotiate (Joe Biden has promised not to deploy missiles in Ukraine.)
The New York Times could not, however, stop itself from mocking Russia on Thursday with a story, which it seems to have just discovered, headlined, “On the Edge of a Polish Forest, Where Some of Putin’s Darkest Fears Lurk: A U.S. missile facility in Poland is at the heart of an issue animating the Kremlin’s calculations over whether to go to war against Ukraine.” Instead of withdrawing forward NATO deployments from Eastern Europe, the U.S. delivered a slap in the face by sending more NATO troops to the east. This was supposed to be in response to the alleged Russian threat to Ukraine, where no U.S. or NATO troops are being deployed.
Instead hundreds of millions of dollars in NATO lethal aid is being sent, supposedly for defense, but which Vershinin said could be intended instead for an offensive that could potentially set a trap for Russia. In Blinken’s scenario, “The government will issue proclamations declaring that Russia must respond to defend Russian citizens or ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Next, the attack is planned to begin.” If Russian regular units enter Donbass to protect ethnic Russians and Russian citizens there from the offensive, that would be the invasion the U.S. is screaming about. It would unleash the “mother of all sanctions,” as a U.S. Senate sanctions bill against Russia has been called.
Ukraine has been under the rule of the successive US-EU friendly governments of Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky since the 2014 Euromaidan, a CIA and MI6-orchestrated regime change operation launched in response to then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s November 2013 decision to suspend an EU trade deal in favour of pursuing closer ties with the Russian Federation. With the ongoing collapse of the global COVID-19 media narrative following the highly coincidental timing of last month’s World Economic Forum Davos Agenda virtual event, a hypothetical Russian invasion of Ukraine has now taken centre stage amongst corporate media outlets with a track record of promoting war and regime change in countries refusing to kowtow to the demands of the US-NATO hegemony.
A media narrative which has seen thousands of US and British troops being deployed to Eastern Europe as a result – a highly provocative action and one, that should even a minor miscalculation occur amidst the current tensions, could easily escalate into a full-blown military conflict between East and West. Recent comments by current Ukrainian President Zelensky however, in which he poured cold water over the idea of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the recent supply of over 90 tonnes of weaponry to Kiev by the United States amidst the current tensions, and US President Joe Biden stating himself that Washington would not engage militarily with Russia, would suggest that although the possibility of the current crisis inadvertently spiralling into a global conflict between Russia and NATO remains, that that is not the current intention of the West.
Rather, a plan seemingly exists to provoke Russia into intervening in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine to protect the predominantly ethnic Russian inhabitants of the breakaway Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, before drawing Moscow into a wider guerrilla conflict in the rest of Ukraine, the second-largest country in Europe, with the intentions of tying Russia down for the foreseeable future in an Iraq-style military quagmire.
The Washington Post has always been a CIA asset. The CIA used the Washington Post to orchestrate the Watergate narrative used to drive President Nixon out of office. The CIA wanted Nixon gone, because Nixon was threatening the military/security complex’s budget and power by making arms control agreements with the Soviets and by opening to China. The CIA was afraid to assassinate Nixon because of the suspicion it was under for assassinating President Kennedy and Senator Kennedy. So the CIA used the Washington Post to assassinate Nixon politically. The entire history of the Washington Post is one of fake news. The latest fake news from the disinformation sheet claims that the Russian troop pullback is a “deliberate ruse to mislead the United States and other world powers” about Russia’s planned invasion of Ukraine. “Anonymous US intelligence sources” (the CIA) are cited as the source.
First of all, the Russian troops were part of an exercise, not an invasion plan. But push this fact aside and ask yourself what is the point of Russia concealing its plans? If Russia wants to invade Ukraine, no one on earth can do anything whatsoever about it. So why hide it? Indeed, with satellites overhead a force concentrated for invasion cannot be hidden. The presstitute who wrote the story and the CIA that dictated it are thinking in WW II terms when modern surveillance capabilities did not exist. Ask yourself also why Russia needs to create a false flag attack in order to justify invading Ukraine. If Russia wants Ukraine, Russia has plenty of up front reasons.
One is to prevent Ukraine from being a NATO member and hosting US missile bases on Russia’s border. Another is that Ukraine is part of Russia and had been for 300 years until the Americans broke it off from Russia when Russia was to weak to do anything about it. Another reason is that Ukraine has violated the Minsk Agreement and continues to attack the Russian population in the Donbass region. In actual fact, Russia doesn’t need any excuse, because no one can stop them. Also ask yourself what is the point of an excuse. No matter how good it is, Washington and NATO would not believe it. The excuse would do no good and serve no purpose. In fact an excuse would be worse than no excuse, because the excuse would simply result in the endless refutation of the excuse. If I were Putin and I wanted Ukraine, I would just take it. I would say, you Americans took Iraq and Libya. The Israelis stole Palestine. I’m taking Ukraine.
A “one-of-a-kind case.” Judge Amit Mehta’s description of the litigation against four principal speakers at the Jan. 6 Trump rally may have been as much a prayer as a portrayal. As famed Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Hard cases make bad law” — and the litigation against President Trump and his associates is a hard case that just proved Holmes right. In consolidated cases brought by Democratic members of Congress and Capitol Police officers, Judge Mehta ruled on motions to dismiss by the former president, his son Donald Jr., former Trump counsel Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), as well as several extremist groups like the Oath Keepers. The judge dismissed the claims of a violent conspiracy against Trump Jr. and Giuliani, and he invited Brooks to file a motion to dismiss on the same grounds. He rejected arguments that their speeches at the rally caused the subsequent rioting in the Capitol.
Yet, while admitting that the case raised difficult constitutional questions, he declined to dismiss the claim against Trump. The ruling will now allow a long-awaited appeal on core constitutional questions, including the protections for inflammatory speech. Most analysts expected that groups like the Oath Keepers would likely remain in the lawsuit, given their active role in the rioting and the recent charges of seditious conspiracy filed against them. The most controversial parties were the speakers at the rally near the White House before the riot. The judge’s 112-page opinion makes easy work of dismissing the claims against the other speakers. These speeches were reckless but constitutionally protected. Giuliani’s declaration — “Let’s have trial by combat” — has been cited by some critics as a clear incitement to an insurrection, but the judge found such arguments were implausible and that Giuliani’s words “were not likely” to cause a riot.
He also found that Trump Jr.’s comments on the election were “protected speech,” and he rejected claims that Brooks urging Trump’s supporters to “start taking names and kicking ass” could be the basis for liability. I previously wrote that the claims against these four Jan. 6 speakers might find “a sympathetic trial judge” but that “they will likely fail on appeal, even if they survive the trial level litigation.” All but one of those claims are now dismissed on the trial level. Moreover, Judge Mehta’s opinion seems to reinforce the view that Trump’s speech was protected, too. The judge could well be reversed on the threshold question of immunity, raised by Trump, that presidents cannot be sued for speaking on matters of public interest. Mehta was honest in saying that “this is not an easy issue” and that “the alleged facts of this case are without precedent.”
Delays, breakdowns, cancellations… For years, ETR 470 trains were the biggest headache of the Swiss railways. In the end, the Swiss sent them for scrap. But the Italian railways — which has been running all Greek passenger trains since 2017 — presented the very same trains as state-of-the-art. “Stay away from these trains,” say executives who know them first hand. So why is this train — that has repeatedly put passengers in danger in the past — getting a new lease of life? Twenty years ago, the Swiss press dubbed the ETR 470 train — serving the Milan-Switzerland route — ‘Pannenzug’, meaning ‘breakdown train’. Meanwhile, the website that documented its problems was named CessoAlpino, meaning (in elegant translation) ‘Alpine toilet’.
Two former officials familiar with this train, who were contacted by Investigate Europe and Reporters United, find it hard to believe that the five remaining ETR 470s not sent to the scrapyard are now being touted as the future of the Athens-Thessaloniki rail link — the most important route in the Mediterranean country. “The advice from Switzerland: hands off these trains,” says Walter Finkbohner, former secretary of the board of directors of Cisalpino AG, the subsidiary of Italian and Swiss railways that bought the ETR 470s from the manufacturer, Fiat Ferroviaria in the 1990s. “Buy proven trains or new trains. There is nothing for free in life,” he adds. But Greece is not in a position to accept such recommendations, nor to choose which rolling stock circulates on its tracks, since its railways were fully privatised five years ago, as required by its creditors.
The Italian state company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FSI) bought 100% of TRAINOSE, the Greek rail operator, for a mere €45 million. The privatisation contract remains secret, but people familiar with its terms, such as the current vice-minister for infrastructure and transport, Giorgos Karayannis, dub it “colonial”. This is unusually strong language from a member of a conservative government. The Greek transport ministry has agreed to subsidise the Italian company to the tune of €50 million a year to run certain routes, as outlined in a Public Service Obligations (PSO) contract.
Once the world’s sixth largest firm with a valuation of over $1 trillion, Facebook’s parent company Meta finished Thursday’s trading with a value of $565 billion. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the social media giant has tumbled out of the world’s 10 largest companies by market value, hammered by its worst monthly stock decline ever.
The stock rout has placed Mark Zuckerberg’s company in 11th place behind Chinese Tencent Holdings. Chip giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) holds the ninth spot. The list of the world’s most-valuable companies, ranked by market capitalization, includes Apple, Microsoft, Aramco, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla, Berkshire Hathaway, and Nvidia. Data shows that the value wiped out by the selloff in Meta’s shares exceeds the market caps of all but eight companies in the S&P 500 Index. Meta’s share price is down about 40% year-to-date after the company reported two weeks ago that its social media platform Facebook lost about one million users from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2021. That’s the first such decline for the company in its 18-year history.
Meta’s stock plummeted 26.4% on February 3 after the company released its weaker-than-expected outlook. The $240 billion loss in market capitalization was the largest one-day loss in US corporate history. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal net worth is down more than $46 billion from the beginning of the year, he’s currently worth $78.8 billion.
It’s becoming clearer as the days of Trudeau’s Liberals wear on: if elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau would turn Canada into a dictatorship. This is the man who admitted he “admires China’s basic dictatorship.” It wasn’t just a sarcastic comment – he seriously said that he admires the dictatorship because they can get things done quickly. And it’s becoming clearer that Trudeau not only admires the dictatorship — he runs the Liberal Party like one too. How else can one explain the police-enforced acclamation of Andrew Leslie as the Liberal candidate for Orleans? Even with hundreds of Liberals attending the meeting to show their support for another candidate (and former Trudeau leadership rival), it was clear from the beginning that Leslie was Trudeau’s hand-picked favourite, and certainly wouldn’t be stopped by pesky processes like “democracy.”
Just the imagery of Trudeau’s chosen candidate being selected with police intervention is scary. It shows that Trudeau doesn’t just admire China’s dictatorship — he would practice one if he had the chance. The nomination in Orleans is only the latest rigged “open nomination.” Despite Trudeau’s promises to actually, you know, practice democracy, at least a half dozen Liberal nominations have been rigged or tampered with through the direct intervention of Trudeau’s office: mysteriously disqualifying candidates, changing nomination dates, paperwork going “missing,” and using dirty “back-room” politics to ensure the leader’s candidate is chosen at any cost. But those are only Liberal candidates; surely Trudeau would loosen his grip on his caucus colleagues once they’ve been elected, wouldn’t he? Unfortunately, no.
The Liberal caucus randomly learned one morning early last year that their leader had come up with a new diktat: that all Liberals would be expected, no, required, to vote pro-choice. When Trudeau’s pathetic attempted defence (that they were “the party of the Charter,” obviously missing those small sections about freedom of conscience and religion) agitated more than a few Liberal MPs, he attempted to invent some weird “grandfathering” rule. But then he went back on that too. The result is that Liberal MPs who dare question the diktat of Trudeau are being punished. Those who dare disagree have already been punished, resigned, or indicated that they won’t seek another term in office — at least not under the iron fist of Trudeau.
Positive test does NOT mean infected with SARS-CoV-2….
It means one or multiple target genes of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, that has never been purely isolated, showed a hit after immense amplification.
But what is SARS-CoV-2 besides a computersimulation?
Taibbi should ask not only “Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word?” but also “When Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word?”. And then apologize to his readers for completely missing the story for a year, or at least the half year it’s been since Kory’s Senate testimony -which he talks about- was cancelled.
One of the challenges of the pandemic period is the degree to which science has become intertwined with politics. Arguments about the efficacy of mask use or ventilators, or the viability of repurposed drugs like hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, or even the pandemic’s origins, were quashed from the jump in the American commercial press, which committed itself to a regime of simplified insta-takes made opposite to Donald Trump’s comments. With a few exceptions, Internet censors generally tracked with this conventional wisdom, which had the effect of moving conspiracy theories and real scientific debates alike far underground. A consequence is that issues like the ivermectin question have ended up in the same public bucket as debates over foreign misinformation, hate speech, and even incitement.
The same Republican Senator YouTube suspended for making statements in support of ivermectin, Ron Johnson, has also been denounced in the press for failing to call the January 6th riots an insurrection, resulting in headlines that blend the two putative offenses. “You have these ideas about the need to censor hate speech, calls for violence, and falsity,” Kory says, “and they’ve put science on the same shelf.” As a result, doctors and organizations that may have little to do with politics but have advocated for ivermectin, from Dr. Tess Lawrie’s British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) to California pulmonologist Roger Seheult to many others, have been shut down online with the same unilateral abruptness platforms apply to hate speech or threats.
Dr. Sabine Hazan, a gastroenterologist and CEO of a genetic sequencing laboratory called ProGenaBiome in Ventura, California, was blindsided. She got involved with ivermectin when she was pulling out the stops for Covid-19 patients. “I’m a doctor. My job isn’t to do nothing. If I wanted to do nothing, I’d be selling shampoo,” Hazan says. When patients got really sick, she tried everything, treating off-label with a number of drugs in combination, including ivermectin. Eventually, she ended up taking it upon herself to run clinical trials with repurposed, off-patent drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, fearing that the lack of a profit angle would prevent a major corporate effort in that direction.
“I felt, no one is going to be investigating a cheap solution, so I did it myself,” she says. Some weeks ago, Hazan got up early on a Sunday to present findings to a group of physicians that included Dr. Kylie Wagstaff, one of the physicians in the first in vitro ivermectin study, a family doctor in Zimbabwe named Jackie Stone, and others. She uploaded the talk on YouTube, and “lo and behold, it got taken down. It’s amazing. These are doctors talking. It’s not anyone selling anything.”
After over a year of TrialSite reporting on the need for early-onset, antiviral-like care for COVID-19, now the U.S. government will launch a mini “moonshot” targeting antivirals necessary not only for viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 but for the inevitable new ones that will surface in the future. Powered by the same players—that is, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as well as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)—under the current Executive Branch administration, a new program under Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID called the “Antiviral Program for Pandemics” will target the 90% of cases involving either asymptomatic to mild-to-moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection.
But now with a focus on “sustainable platforms” to discover and develop antivirals, perhaps one of the key players in what’s been a total failure on the part of the federal research apparatus to address affordable repurposed antivirals (other than ensure Gilead could secure billions starting last May), Dr. Anthony Fauci was still able to get his customary quote, emphasizing, “New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives.”
TrialSite makes the case below that the time to act to save lives with antivirals, especially cost-effective ones, addressing the pandemic was last summer at the latest. The federal money train spent probably north of $20 billion not only to help accelerate vaccines but also several novel experimental therapies with little pragmatic utility during a pandemic where 90% of the cases are asymptomatic to early-onset mild-to-moderate infections, necessitating care over advanced experimentation.
This platform supported the experimentation but implored that the NIH move aggressively with dozens of identified repurposed drugs to consider for treating COVID-19 early on. More on that below. But what the federal bureaucracy has done now is created yet another program where more than likely over-paid bureaucrats will be able to take credit for first and foremost handing lots of money over to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. In this post-free market, crony capitalistic world, one where regulatory capture is the norm, not the exception, this is exactly what happens as the same old cast of characters behind the last efforts are at it all over again.
They will “evaluate, prioritize and advance antiviral candidates to Phase 2” while benefitting from the present day and “expanded contract resources” of the NIH as well as the infrastructure provided by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to “de-risk” those early pipeline candidates. They’ll spend over $300 million for research and lab support and toss in almost $1 billion for preclinical and clinical evaluation plus nearly $700 million for development and manufacturing via NIAID and BARDA.
Moreover, the feds will now spend up to $1.2 billion to create and support a new group called the Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens and Pandemic Concern that seeks to “harness the creativity of the biomedical research community and drive innovative antiviral drug discovery and development.” Seeking to develop “platforms,” the initial target is SARS-Cov-2, although as TrialSite has and will argue, they’re about a year or more late in the game, and unfortunately, the lives lost can’t be changed.
2. Hydroxychloroquine Last year at this time it was verboten to even bring up the name of the drug and doing so was enough to get you booted off Twitter or Facebook. President Trump frequently touted hydroxychloroquine’s efficacy in battling COVID, and it was that advocacy which sent the media into conniptions on the subject. If Trump supports the drug, it must be bad. Last week, over a year after most Americans became familiar with the medication, a new study out of New Jersey, the hardest hit state by COVID, shows that if used in conjunction with a regimen of zinc, hydroxychloroquine can give COVID patients upwards of a 200% better survival rate against COVID. Hydroxychloroquine is indeed a miracle drug.
With modern news cycles, our attention spans are merely fractions of what they once were, but we must remember the context with which the attacks on Trump and hydroxychloroquine were being made. The media was whipping up everyone into a full-blown panic with COVID. “It’s highly infectious to the point you can’t go to church or walk around the park. If you get it bad enough to be sent to the hospital, you’re probably going to die. And there’s no cure; we’re doomed.” Meanwhile Trump was right all along, and this treatment was available the whole time. So, what if the media had told us the truth from the beginning with hydroxychloroquine? Patients who died having refused the drug because of the media’s lies need not have perished. How many thousands of patients died because of the media’s deceit? We’ll never know.
Doctors who refrained from administering the drug based on the treachery of so-called experts and the menaces in the media had patients die for no reason other than politics. Again, how many thousands of Americans died because of their fraudulence? We’ll never know. For many patients who survived severe cases of COVID, they will carry the long-term effects of the virus around with them for the rest of their lives. Severe, long-lasting damage to both the lungs and hearts of severe COVID patients is common, and it’s likely many of those folks must now endure shortened life expectancies as a result. There were undoubtedly scores of them, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, who could have been treated with hydroxychloroquine but weren’t. If the media had told the truth, many of those patients would now be living normal lives.
Roadmap to Recovery
Bruce Springsteen is returning to Broadway, though certain people inoculated against COVID-19 will not be allowed to see him. Springsteen’s show, set to run June 26-Sept. 4, will not be open to people who’ve been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the New York Post reported Friday. “At the direction of New York State, Springsteen on Broadway and the St. James Theatre will only be accepting proof of FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson),” the show’s website reads.
People attending the show must be fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved shot to get in. That means at least 14 days after a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. The Post reported Springsteen said in a statement he wanted to make the 2-hour-plus shows as “personal and intimate as possible.” Some Canadian fans who received the AstraZeneca shot were upset about potentially being denied entrance. “It’s just plain not fair,” said University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman in Wednesday’s Toronto Star.
“From an ethical point of view, it’s very difficult, because what has happened is people have made their commitment to being vaccinated for their own health and the health of their communities and the world, and people are turning their nose up at it.” The only exceptions to the vaccine policy will be for children under the age of 16 who have had a negative antigen COVID-19 screening within six hours of the show’s start, or a negative nose swab test within 72 hours of the start. Masks were not mentioned on the show’s website, which reminded guests that all seating is “not socially distant.”
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley leaned into the sharp backlash from statements he’s made critical of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, disclosing that he is not vaccinated and pledging to “live my one life like I want to regardless”. “I will be outside doing what I do,” he wrote in a statement posted to social media. “I’ll be out in the public. If your (sic) scared of me then steer clear, or get vaccinated. Point. Blank. Period. I may die of covid, but I’d rather die actually living. “I have family members whose days are numbered. If they want to come see me and stay at my house then they are coming regardless of protocol. I don’t play for the money anymore. My family has been taken care of. Fine me if you want. My way of living and my values are more important to me than a dollar.
I love my teammates and enjoy playing ball because all the outside bs goes out the window in these moments. I just want to win the Super Bowl and enjoy these relationships that will be created along the way. “I’m not going to take meds for a leg that isn’t broken. I’d rather take my chances with Covid and build up my immunity that way. Eat better. Drink water. Exercise and do what I think is necessary to be a healthy individual. That is MY CHOICE based on MY experiences and what I think is best. I’ll play for free this year to live life how I’ve lived it from day one. If I’m forced into retirement, so be it.” The 32-year old veteran also said that he has spoken with the NFL Players Association about his issues with the NFL’s new virus policies. Beasley said he is not inoculated against Covid-19 and made it clear he did not want to receive the vaccine.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it will not bring in a minimum efficacy threshold for Covid-19 vaccines. The comment comes after clinical trials showed Germany’s CureVac jab to be only 47% effective against the virus. CureVac announced data on the efficacy of its jab on Wednesday after it was tested in second- and third-phase trials involving 40,000 people across ten countries. The company suggested variants of the virus may be behind the poor result.
On Thursday, the EMA’s vaccine chief Marco Cavaleri said it was “a bit early to say” after being asked by a journalist about the CureVac results and the threat variants may pose to vaccine efficacy. “We will need to collect all the final data from this clinical trial, and have a good analysis of the outcome throughout different regions, age groups and according to different variants,” he told an EMA briefing. Asked specifically about a 50% efficacy minimum level for vaccines, he added that the EMA had “always felt it was difficult to define upfront a threshold.”
Public Health France (SpF) has said that less than half of health professionals working in nursing homes are vaccinated against Covid-19 after the health minister called on workers to come forward and get their shot.
In data published on Thursday evening, SpF stated that only 41.9% of people working in nursing homes in France had been fully vaccinated against the deadly Covid-19 virus, despite the country’s vaccination program being nearly six months old, and 55.3% had received one shot. Healthcare workers were among the first in the country to be offered the jab. The health agency had stopped publishing this data for several weeks as it reworked its calculation method. SpF has reportedly realized that the figures were overestimated.
Meanwhile, of the care home residents surveyed, some of society’s most vulnerable people to the Covid-19 virus, only 81.1% were fully vaccinated. SpF estimates that as of June 15, 87.8% had received at least one dose. Earlier on Thursday morning, Health Minister Olivier Veran, speaking on BFM TV, made a “solemn appeal” to caregivers, in particular in nursing home staff, who have not yet been vaccinated. He also threatened to make inoculations compulsory for them. He said it could not be the case that there was more vaccine uptake in the general population than there was among care home workers. As of Wednesday, approximately 46% of France’s population has received at least one shot.
The National Bioethics Committee is expected to give its approval for the mandatory vaccination of specific social and professional groups, such as health workers, in its report on Friday to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The obligation will apply in the fall once all the opportunities for the voluntary vaccination of citizens have been exhausted over the summer. In the meantime, a “persuasion campaign” will be undertaken to ensure that as many people are vaccinated as possible. Kathimerini understands that the conditions set by the committee before mandatory vaccinations begin include making the process as easy as possible and allowing people to choose the vaccine they want, and to have additional vaccination centers so that people don’t have to travel far to get the vaccine.
What’s more, the committee is set to insist on the need for information campaigns over the summer targeting specific groups, such as health professionals, educators, young people and the elderly who have not yet been vaccinated. Discussions are being held about including statistics that will prove the benefit of the vaccine. Those who refuse to be inoculated will not be fired, but they will be transferred to other divisions that are not in contact with vulnerable citizens, Kathimerini understands. The campaigns are expected to go on air from July onward, and will run for a full two to three months before any final decisions on mandatory vaccination are made.
It is a given, however, that from next autumn vaccinated people will enjoy privileges such as being able to eat in indoor dining areas. Fully vaccinated people will begin enjoying privileges in the coming weeks, as they will be able to head to gyms without a mask and enter indoor cinemas that open at the beginning of July with the demonstration of their certificate without having to upload their self-test results. As of July 1, the fully vaccinated are expected to be excluded from the program of mandatory self-tests.
In a speech on Tuesday, the head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, announced that the country’s finances had recovered from the losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The economy has recovered to its pre-crisis level, and in many industries it has exceeded it and continues to grow,” she said. This success has been achieved without racking up substantial debts. While Western states plunge deeper into the red with borrowing, Russia’s reserves keep growing. It’s quite an achievement. However, next is the bad news. On the same day as Nabiullina was giving her triumphant speech, Russian statistical agency Rosstat released new figures on coronavirus deaths in the country, indicating that the number of people who died in the country last year was around 340,000 higher than the year prior, before the pandemic.
This means that the country suffered an increase in its mortality rate of 2,328 per million inhabitants, a figure well in excess of most other developed nations. By comparison, the equivalent numbers in the UK and USA stand at 1,275 and 1,535 per million, respectively. The good news and bad news are not unrelated. One of the reasons why Russia’s economy has been able to recover so rapidly from the impact of the virus is that after an initial tough lockdown in spring 2020, the government refused to reimpose the harshest available measures. That saved the economy, but by allowing people to freely mix, it may have enabled the spread of the virus. The economy’s recovery came at a price paid in human lives.
Cynics might accuse the Russian state of putting money before people, but Russia’s large death rate is a result of more than a lax attitude to social mingling. This is shown by a third story coming out of the country this week, with the city of Moscow issuing an order to make vaccination against coronavirus compulsory for all workers who have direct contact with the public. Justifying the move, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin declared, “ultimately, it’s up to everyone to get vaccinated or not.” He added that whether you get the jab is “a personal matter… as long as you sit at home.” But, the politician argued, “when you go out into public places… you become an accomplice of the epidemiological process.”
The reason why Sobyanin has had to issue this order is clear. Residents of his city simply aren’t getting vaccinated. Russia is believed to have administered about 33 million vaccine doses to its 145 million population, a rate of only 23 doses per 100 people. This now lags far behind much of the rest of Europe. The UK, for instance, has administered over 100 doses for every 100 inhabitants (most Covid-19 vaccines require two doses, so a complete vaccination program would require 200 doses). Russia’s vaccination rate is therefore about one-fifth of the UK’s.
White House officials on Thursday brushed off questions about President Joe Biden’s July 4 vaccine goal, which appears to be in jeopardy due to the current vaccination rate. Asked about the goal during a virtual briefing on Thursday, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients did not say whether the goal could still be met. “We’ve made tremendous progress. Today, more than 175 million Americans have gotten at least one shot: as I said, 87 percent of seniors, 74 percent of people over the age of 40. And we’re now nearly 2 in 3 adult Americans, hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to get their first shot each day,” he said.
“And we are going to get to 70 percent. And we’re going to continue across the summer months to push beyond 70 percent,” he added. Biden earlier this year said he wanted 7 out of 10 adults to get at least one COVID-19 jab by Independence Day. But the rate of vaccination has fallen sharply, dropping from over 4 million to around 1 million on an average day. Only 184,847 shots were administered on Memorial Day, and several other recent days have seen a figure well under 1 million. Biden also wanted 160 million Americans to be fully vaccinated by July 4. Fully vaccinated refers to a person getting both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson, and then two weeks elapsing.
Just 147.7 million people have been fully vaccinated as of June 17. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Sunday, after being asked whether she was concerned the goals wouldn’t be reached, that while the government can provide incentives to get a vaccine, “it is ultimately up to individuals to do that.” “What you’ve seen is that a number of states have met and surpassed that goal, right? Many have not yet. But we’ve started—kicked off this one-month campaign to do everything we can to reach it. And we’ll see where we get. We’ve got some time,” she said.
We now know the name of the Chinese defector who has been working with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for a few months and what his position within the Chinese military and government was, among other details. Matthew Brazil and Jeff Stein at Spy Talk reported on the “rumor,” and gave the name and background of the rumored defector: “Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter are abuzz this week with rumors that a vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei defected in mid-February, flying from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter, Dong Yang. Dong is, or was, a longtime official in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu. His publicly available background indicates that he was responsible for the Ministry’s counterintelligence efforts in China, i.e., spy-catching, since being promoted to vice minister in April 2018. If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.”
RedState’s sources confirmed that the defector is, in fact, Dong, that he was in charge of counterintelligence efforts in China, and that he flew to the United States in mid-February, allegedly to visit his daughter at a university in California. When Dong landed in California he contacted DIA officials and told them about his plans to defect and the information he’d brought with him. Dong then “hid in plain sight” for about two weeks before disappearing into DIA custody. According to Spy Talk, Dong’s name came up during the Sino-American Summit held in Alaska in March 2021: “In a tweet on Wednesday, Han [Dr. Han Lianchao, a Chinese defector], citing an unnamed source, alleged that China’s foreign minister Wang Yi and Communist Party foreign affairs boss Yang Jiechi demanded that the Americans return Dong and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused.”
RedState’s sources say that Chinese officials did demand that the United States return Dong, but Blinken didn’t exactly refuse; at that time Blinken wasn’t aware that Dong was with the US government, the sources say, and told China that the US didn’t have Dong. It’s only in the last three to four weeks that anyone outside DIA knew about the defector, according to RedState’s sources. Prior to that time, DIA was vetting the information provided and confronting Langley officials with what they’d learned without divulging the source.
The Washington Post’s glaring conflicts of interest have of late once again been the subject of scrutiny online, thanks to a new article denouncing a supposed attempt to “soak” billionaires in taxes. Written by star columnist Megan McArdle — who previously argued that Walmart’s wages are too high, that there is nothing wrong with Google’s monopoly, and that the Grenfell Fire was a price worth paying for cheaper buildings — the article claimed that Americans have such class envy that the government would “destroy [billionaires’] fortunes so that the rest of us don’t have to look at them.” Notably, the Post chose to illustrate it with a picture of its owner, Jeff Bezos, making it seem as if it was directly defending his power and wealth, something they have been accused of on more than one occasion.
There was considerable speculation online as to whether Bezos himself wrote the piece, so blatantly in his interest it was. Unfortunately, this sort of speculation has raged ever since the Amazon CEO bought the newspaper in 2013 for $250 million. Being owned by the world’s richest individual does not mean that The Washington Post and its employees are rolling in dough themselves. Far from it: Bezos’ revolution at the newspaper, which has led to both increased pageviews and company value, has been largely based on simply squeezing workers harder than before. In an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review, management acknowledged that Post reporters are pushed to produce almost four times as many stories as their peers at The New York Times.
Furthermore, the Post writes and rewrites the same story but from slightly different angles and with different headlines in order to generate more clicks, and thus more revenue. Thanks to new technology, reporters’ every keystroke is monitored and they are under constant pressure from management not to fall behind. The technique of constant surveillance is not unlike what hyper-exploited Amazon warehouse workers who wear GPS devices or Fitbit watches have to endure.
In the latest sign that the US government’s War on Domestic Terror is growing in scope and scale, the White House on Tuesday revealed the nation’s first ever government-wide strategy for confronting domestic terrorism. While cloaked in language about stemming racially motivated violence, the strategy places those deemed “anti-government” or “anti-authority” on a par with racist extremists and charts out policies that could easily be abused to silence or even criminalize online criticism of the government.
[..] In introducing the strategy, the Biden administration cites “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” as a key reason for the new policy and a main justification for the War on Domestic Terror in general. This was most recently demonstrated Tuesday in Attorney General Merrick Garland’s statement announcing this new strategy. However, the document itself puts “anti-government” or “anti-authority” “extremists” in the same category as violent white supremacists in terms of being a threat to the homeland. The strategy’s characterization of such individuals is unsettling. For instance, those who “violently oppose” “all forms of capitalism” or “corporate globalization” are listed under this less-discussed category of “domestic terrorist.”
This highlights how people on the left, many of whom have called for capitalism to be dismantled or replaced in the US in recent years, could easily be targeted in this new “war” that many self-proclaimed leftists are currently supporting. Similarly, “environmentally-motivated extremists,” a category in which groups such as Extinction Rebellion could easily fall, are also included. In addition, the phrasing indicates that it could easily include as “terrorists” those who oppose the World Economic Forum’s vision for global “stakeholder capitalism,” as that form of “capitalism” involves corporations and their main “stakeholders” creating a new global economic and governance system. The WEF’s stakeholder capitalism thus involves both “capitalism” and “corporate globalization.” The strategy also includes those who “take steps to violently resist government authority . . . based on perceived overreach.”
This, of course, creates a dangerous situation in which the government could, purposely or otherwise, implement a policy that is an obvious overreach and/or blatantly unconstitutional and then label those who resist it “domestic terrorists” and deal with them as such—well before the overreach can be challenged in court. Another telling addition to this group of potential “terrorists” is “any other individual or group who engages in violence—or incites imminent violence—in opposition to legislative, regulatory or other actions taken by the government.” Thus, if the government implements a policy that a large swath of the population finds abhorrent, such as launching a new, unpopular war abroad, those deemed to be “inciting” resistance to the action online could be considered domestic terrorists.
In 2011, Mother Jones published an outstanding, lengthy investigation by reporter Trevor Aaronson, entitled “The Informations,” which asked: “The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?” Aaronson covered numerous similar cases for The Intercept where the FBI designed, directed and even funded the terror plots and other criminal rings they then boasted of disrupting. A widely praised TEDTalk by Aaronson, which, in the words of organizers, “reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems,” featured this central claim: “There’s an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI.”
So far from being some warped conspiracy theory, that the FBI purposely targets vulnerable people and infiltrates groups in order to create attacks and direct targets to engage in them is indisputably true, well established, and a commonly reported fact in mainstream liberal media. Exactly that has been happening for decades. Yet the DNC-loyal sector of the corporate media reacted to the Revolver News article and Carlson’s segment which raised these questions as though they were positing something that no sentient being could possibly regard as viable. CNN — which spent years leading its viewers to believe that the Kremlin controlled the U.S. Government through sexual and financial blackmail — published what they labeled a “fact-check” that denounced this as a “haywire theory” that “is nothing more than a conspiratorial web of unproven claims, half-truths and inaccurate drivel about perceived bombshells in court filings.”
As it usually does, The Washington Post — which told Americans that Russians had invaded the U.S. electricity grid and that a huge army of Kremlin-loyal American writers was shaping our discourse — echoed the instant CNN/liberal consensus by mocking it as “Tucker Carlson’s wild, baseless theory,” claiming that “it’s the kind of suggestion journalists in other organizations would quite possibly be fired for if they sought to push it nearly as hard.” The standard liberal blob of HuffPost/ DailyBeast/ BusinessInsider all recited from the herd script. “A laughable conspiracy theory,” chortled The Huffington Post, who has done more to help the FBI find citizens allegedly at the Capitol riot than any local law enforcement agency.
The biggest question that the authorities want to evade is: if the virus did originate from the Wuhan lab, was it released by accident… or on purpose? The “Joe Biden” government is now forced to, at least, pretend that it will investigate. My guess is: they don’t want to know. It would raise enough subsidiary questions to leave a normal person panting with nausea. For instance: was China trying to soften-up the USA by disabling our economy? And soften us up… for what? Some observers who are hardly dumb or crazy think that China wants to reduce the USA to a vassal nation that can only supply China with food, oil, and other resources.
Sound far-fetched? Maybe. After all, we still have that fleet of submarines armed with multiple-warhead nuclear missiles circulating around the oceans as a kind of insurance policy. But Americans have to do something to make a living, and it sure isn’t going to be mass production of consumer goods, like in the old days. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of the service economy got gutted during the lockdowns — millions of businesses bankrupted, restaurants, yoga studios, concert venues, dog groomers, shops of all kinds, you name it — gone, and a lot of the people who took livelihoods from all that are financially ruined for good.
What’s left? Health care and pharma, two odious rackets preying on the psychological weakness of people so beaten down by adversity that they can only console themselves with junk food, liquor, sexual debauchery, and drugs, and then must beg the health care system to fix them — after which it squashes them to death with outlandish charges for services rendered? Or government, another reprehensible racket, seeking desperately now to control its citizens’ every move while everything it does is not only running wildly out of control, but via the most idiotic, suicidal policies — such as throwing the border with Mexico wide open to all comers, while it pays Americans to not work.
In a recent Zoom call, Dr. Pierre Kory of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance outlined numerous details showing the World Health Organization (WHO) knowingly suppressed data on the effectiveness of ivermectin against the virus in order to benefit the vaccine interests of Big Pharma. “It’s criminal,” Kory said. “It’s literally criminal.” The drug “could have saved half a million lives this year if it had been approved.” The WHO, Kory contends, is simply taking part in the tactics of a time-worn “Disinformation Playbook.” The term was coined by the Union of Concerned Scientists 50 years ago to describe the strategies corporations have developed over decades to “attack science when it goes against their financial interests.”
It consists of five parts:
The Fake – Conduct counterfeit science and try to pass it off as legitimate research.
The Blitz – Harass scientists who speak out with results reviews inconvenient for industry.
The Diversion – Manufacture uncertainty about science where little or none exists.
The Screen – Buy credibility through alliances with academia or professional societies.
The Fix – Manipulate government officials or processes to influence policy inappropriately.
In the full Zoom call, since removed by YouTube but available on Bitchute, Kory describes how the five tactics have been deployed against the scientific findings on ivermectin. One example is the corruption of leading medical journals, whose editors refuse to allow ivermectin studies to advance to peer review. The most egregious institutional participant, however, is the WHO. Kory is the lead author of a scientific review of the studies on ivermectin worldwide, which was published in the May-June edition of The American Journal of Therapeutics. As reported on the FlCCC website, there have been a total of 56 trials involving 469 scientists and 18,447 patients. Of these, 28 were randomized control trials (RCT), the type of trial considered highly authoritative in the medical community.
Together these have shown an 85 percent improvement as a preventative against the disease when taken before exposure. There has been a 78 percent patient improvement when administered early and a 46 percent improvement when delivered late. A 74 percent improvement in mortality was found and a 66 percent improvement across multiple areas in the 28 randomized control trials. Within only 10 days of publication the paper on ivermectin was rated number 13 most-read among the more than 200,000 other scientific publications that appeared during that time, Kory reports. Out of the 17.7 million papers that have been tracked by the rating source since it began, the ivermectin study is already ranked 246.
In search of ways to complement jabs or to treat patients who can’t be vaccinated, scientists have tested inhalable anti-Covid nanobodies on hamsters, saying they’re effective in fighting the virus by targeting its spike protein. The promising new findings came courtesy of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, marking the first time nanobodies have been tested for inhalation treatment of the coronavirus disease. Nanobodies are similar to monoclonal antibodies, widely used in certain cancer treatments, but are smaller in size and boast a lower cost of production, which may prove key to a global rollout should the treatment gain regulatory approval in future. The researchers previously identified some 8,000 nanobodies which they whittled down to just one highly effective or “ultra potent” version called Nb21, which they then bioengineered to better slot together with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
Their aerosolized nanobody, named Pittsburgh inhalable Nanobody-21 (PiN-21), is said to have reduced the number of infectious virus particles in the test subject hamsters’ nasal cavities, throats and lungs by a million-fold. “We are very excited and encouraged by our data suggesting that PiN-21 can be highly protective against severe disease and can potentially prevent human-to-human viral transmission,” said co-senior author Yi Shi. The study says that hamsters who inhaled PiN-21 at the time of infection experienced no Covid-19 related weight loss, compared to the control group, which received a placebo and lost 16% of their initial body weight within a week of infection. This would be the equivalent to an adult human losing 20lbs (9kg) in one week, it said. Test subjects who inhaled PiN-21 experienced milder changes in lung structure and severely reduced inflammation following infection than the placebo group.
Hours after President Biden promised to release the ‘full report’ from US Intelligence community’s 90-day examination of where COVID-19 originated – unless there’s something he’s unaware of… …the New York Times reports, there’s things he’s unaware of. Namely, ‘a raft of still-unexamined evidence that required additional computer analysis that might shed light on the mystery,” according to anonymous senior administration officials. In other words, the US government has been sitting on a large collection of intelligence in perhaps the most important investigation into an economy-wrecking global pandemic, as China destroyed evidence and has refused to cooperate with international probes.
According to the report, Biden’s call for the new investigation was in response to the ‘new’ evidence. While officials declined to describe the new evidence, they are hoping to apply ‘an extraordinary amount of computer power’ to analyze what the Times speculates may be ‘databases of Chinese communications, the movement of lab workers and the pattern of the outbreak of the disease around the city of Wuhan.” Biden’s call was also meant to spur American allies and intelligence agencies to scour their own evidence, such as “intercepts, witnesses or biological evidence — as well as hunt for new intelligence,” to assess whether the Chinese government covered up what happened.
Astute readers will note that the NYT substitutes its own facts, framing any lab release as of course “accidental,” and suggesting that Biden only dismissed the lab origin theory “until the Chinese government this week rejected allowing further investigation by the World Health Organization.” In reality, plenty of evidence existed which the entire leftist establishment and their media surrogates flatly branded a ‘debunked conspiracy theory’ after then-President Trump promoted it, while the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) parroted CCP propaganda that the virus could have only emerged via ‘natural origin’ (as opposed to the Chinese lab manipulating bat coronaviruses in the same city that the pandemic started).
Beijing has called on the US to provide an explanation for a respiratory disease in northern Virginia and a large-scale outbreak of e-cigarette disease in Wisconsin after Washington launched a new probe into Covid-19’s origins. Speaking on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian asked the US to reflect on its own role in the pandemic and not “dump” responsibility on China alone. Citing the 33 million Covid-19 cases in the US and 600,000 deaths, Zhao asked “How safe is your conscience?” “I also want to emphasize that the Fort Detrick base is full of suspicions. There are more than 200 biological laboratories in the United States spreading around the world. How many secrets are there?”
The spokesman said that there was an unexplained respiratory disease in northern Virginia in July 2019 and a large-scale outbreak of e-cigarette disease in Wisconsin. “When will the US release detailed data and information on relevant cases to the international community? The United States owes an explanation to the international community.” The Maryland-based US Fort Detrick center hosts a biolab which has become a hot topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to issue a “cease and desist order” to halt operations at the germ lab over safety concerns.
Zhao’s comment comes after US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he was giving intelligence agencies 90 days to pinpoint the origins of Covid-19. Biden said his administration would continue to push China to “participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.” Reinforcing a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC on Wednesday evening, Zhao called on the US to stop “ignoring facts and science” and refrain from “repeatedly clamoring to reinvestigate China.”
Senator Rand Paul, who has spearheaded the renewed push to investigate the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, has called for Dr Fauci to be placed under oath and made to testify about the murky ‘gain of function’ research he was involved with funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Paul also urged that Fauci “needs to be excluded from the investigation” because he is too deeply involved in the whole thing. Appearing on Fox News, Paul spoke about the funding that Fauci and the NIH supplied to China. “Well, sure it’s a lot. And there are some reports that it added up to millions over time. But the other thing he said was that there was no gain of function in the application. There are scientists who looked at the application and who absolutely and categorically disagree with him,” Paul noted.
“The other evidence that we have is Dr. Shi from the Wuhan lab published a paper that is clearly about gain of function and it that she thanks her group and Dr. Fauci for funding that paper. So there are a lot of contradictions going on,” Paul added. “I think Dr. Fauci should be made to testify under oath about the money that was given to the lab,” Paul said, adding “The good news is yesterday I passed an amendment on the Senate floor that says no more gain of function money can be sent to China.” “The bottom line, he cannot investigate himself. If he was responsible for giving this money. He has every incentive to cover it up and not reveal the truth about it because if the pandemic did come from the lab, he would have great culpability in this,” Paul further emphasised.
The Senator, who continues to receive death threats after being so vocal against Fauci, added that “he can’t be investigating this, nor can any of his people that he picks be investigating this. He needs to be excluded from the investigation.” “This is very important because this could happen again,” Paul warned, adding “I mean, they are experimenting with the SARS virus, which is 15 times more deadly than COVID-19. COVID-19 kills 1%… more than 3 million people. If SARS got out of the lab, that could be 50 million people. This is a very important task ahead of us. We have 11 labs in our country that do this kind of research.”
California has become the latest state to offer a vaccine lottery to incentivize getting the coronavirus vaccine – launching the nation’s most valuable single prize draw: $1.5m. The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced on Thursday that residents will be eligible for a total of $116.5m in prize money giveaways, a windfall aimed at getting millions more vaccinated before the nation’s most populous state fully reopens next month. The state’s reopening is pegged for 15 June, and on that day a drawing will be held to award 10 vaccinated people the top prize. Another 30 people will win $50,000 each, with those drawings starting 4 June. Anyone 12 and older who has received at least one shot will be eligible. And the next 2 million people who get vaccinated will get $50 gift cards.
The state estimates about 12 million Californians 12 and older have not been vaccinated. About 63% of the 34 million eligible have gotten shots, though the pace has slowed markedly in recent weeks as infection rates have plummeted to record lows. Ohio this week announced the first $1m winner of its “Vax-a-Million” contest, as well as the first child to win a full college scholarship. The scheme saw more than 2.7 million adults register for a chance to win. Colorado and Oregon also offered $1m prizes. New York is raffling 50 full scholarships to children 12 to 17 to public universities and colleges in the state, selecting 10 winners each of the next five Wednesdays. That California is turning to cash prizes to encourage vaccinations marks a major turnaround from earlier this year, when Californians clamored for shots, with some driving or waiting in line for hours to get one.
Facebook has updated its community standards today, declaring that anyone who says the COVID-19 virus wasn’t developed in the lab in Wuhan will be banned for sharing fake news. Mark Zuckerberg, may he live forever, announced the change from his royal throne today to a group of reporters gathered in his royal throne room. “Hear ye, hear ye!” Zuckerberg announced. “From henceforth, anyone saying the virus wasn’t created in a lab shall be banned! While previously, those who said the virus was created in a lab were hanged, this royal decree hereby reverses the order, and now, those who deny the obvious truth that it was created in a lab shall be declared anathema and sentenced to die!”
Zuckerberg’s royal scribes then began scrubbing the old rule from the giant Community Standards tablets displayed in the throne room and chiseling the updated rule on top. “So it is written, and so it is done!” announced Zuckerberg. And the people rejoiced and began feasting upon the lamb, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies.
A few years after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, he said it was because it “is the newspaper in the capital city of the most important country in the world” and “has an incredibly important role to play in this democracy.” Now, with more and more legislators scrutinizing his company’s business practices, his newspaper is playing that role — as an advertising platform in defense of Amazon. On Tuesday, hours after the Washington Post reported that the D.C. attorney general is bringing an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, the front page of the Post’s website was festooned with native ads from Amazon portraying itself as a devoted supporter of a higher federal minimum wage.
The Post ads, which appeared almost like editorial content, are part of a broader campaign by Amazon highlighting its support for a $15 minimum wage. Left unsaid: Amazon only begrudgingly agreed to a higher wage for its own workers after serious public shaming. The company has also continued to bankroll corporate lobbying groups that are leading the fight against a minimum wage hike, and the Washington Post editorial board has campaigned against a $15 wage. Amazon’s ad spending with the newspaper is nothing new: The company has disclosed spending $40.5 million with the Washington Post since 2013 on advertising and digital content, including $8.1 million last year, according to its proxy statements.
The company’s latest ad on the Post homepage was designed to make the tech giant look progressive in advance of the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday and the news that it’s acquiring legendary film studio MGM. If you were casually glancing at the Post page Tuesday, you may not have realized the Amazon language was an advertisement, since portions of it were included in the Washington Post masthead banner. Text boxes in the banner said: “Since 2018, Amazon has paid at least $15/hour. It’s time to raise the $7.25 federal minimum wage.” Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, noted Tuesday that “these ads aren’t clearly marked as ads, and that crosses a line.”
[..] Of course, as the Washington Post headline noted when Amazon announced it would raise its minimum wage to $15, it did so “following criticism” — most prominently from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., who launched a petition to Bezos in August 2018, demanding that he pay his workers “a living wage and improve working conditions at Amazon warehouses all across the country.” Sanders also introduced the “Stop BEZOS Act,” legislation to put a 100-percent tax on government benefits received by workers at large companies, after a report by the New Food Economy found that thousands of Amazon workers were on food stamps.
Biden seeks to hike the top rate on capital gains to 43.4% from 23.8% for households with income over $1 million. He also wants to make the increase retroactive and force capital gains realization at death as well. The WSJ reports Biden’s Budget Said to Assume Capital-Gains Tax Rate Increase Started in April. • Leaders of six biggest U.S. banks, testified to Congress Thursday warning against a retroactive change. • Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), wants to maintain a lower tax rate for capital gains than for ordinary income. • Lawmakers from farm states, including Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) and Rep. Cindy Axne (D., Iowa) have objected to the changes on capital gains at death. Biden wants to make it retroactive so that millionaires cannot accelerate gains now. And he wants to make gains taxable at death to prevent heirs from holding.
In short, Biden wants his tax hikes now and later too. He continues to appease the Progressives. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the budget is sustainable because long-term yields are below the rate of inflation, conveniently held there by the Fed. The budget also assumes no recession for at least another 9 years despite the fact they happen about every 5 years on average. Finally, Biden’s budget not only assumes retroactive tax hikes but those hikes will bring in more money than the nonpartisan congressional budget office assumes. Meanwhile, Enough is Enough, a Democratic Governor Courageously Says “No More Taxes”
There is bipartisan support for about $900 billion in infrastructure spend, far short of the $2.3 trillion Biden seeks. There is no bipartisan support for tax hikes. Moreover, Biden cannot afford to lose a single Democrat Senator on any issue, but the net impact of all his tax and budget proposals suggests he has lost at least 3 Senators. His budget and tax hikes are headed to the gutter. Beyond infrastructure, it’s unclear if Biden can pass anything.
Banks create money by making loans to their customers. This method accounts for around 97 per cent of the money in circulation. Nearly all money is created as debt, repayable at interest. This means that all loans have to be repaid with money also created as debt and loaned at interest. No wonder the economy struggles, when the system of money creation heaps cost upon unnecessary cost. And no wonder the banks generate such enormous profits. This system, known as fractional reserve banking, is an integral part of the nexus of unearned wealth: Banks’ shareholders earn dividends from the super-profits extracted by the process of money creation; banks loan money to their own investment arms to finance speculative activities which undermine the real economy and then pay themselves unwarranted bonuses from the proceeds; and money issued as debt helps drive up asset prices, especially land, through the housing market and the market for commercial property.
Not only does the system of money issue skew the economy in favour of the already wealthy, it places an unnecessary burden on genuine entrepreneurs by charging them for the use of money. Money is not wealth, but it is required to pay for land, labour and capital. Why should enterprising businesspeople pay a premium for the use of money, when without it business is impossible? It gets worse: Through the activities of credit card companies, banks try to cover up their economic misdemeanours by lending money for consumption to those unable to earn enough to get by. This creates an impression that the economy is in good health because people keep spending. In fact, UK personal debt, at £1,452bn is roughly equivalent to the country’s GDP.
If they are to remain in private ownership, banks must be obliged to work under a revised system of full reserve banking: they should only lend money which they can fund from deposits and reserves. If the money supply needs to be increased, new money can be issued through banks by a central authority. Banks can continue to lend money at interest in order to cover their costs, and make a reasonable profit, but they should not be permitted to create new money at interest, and they should be required to compete for business by offering the best possible savings and borrowing rates to their customers. The current system of money issue widens the gap between rich and poor by concentrating its lending for investment on large corporations, while charging the economically excluded exorbitant rates on borrowing for consumption. It conspires against an optimal supply of money by ensuring that the quantity of money in circulation never reflects the amount of wealth being created, thus introducing instability into the economy and driving the damaging cycle of boom and bust.
In order to bring back the viewers it’s lost since the 2020 election ended, CNN is rehiring the biggest draw for its audience: former President Trump, who will host all the news segments every night on prime time.
“What we’ve discovered since the election is people only watched our station to see Trump, so we’re hiring him to anchor our programs,” said Bob CNN, owner and founder of the cable news station. “This will finally get our ratings out of the dump.” During his first night on the job, Trump simply yelled about election fraud for two hours. “Very sad, very pathetic, worst-run election in history, maybe ever! Worse than North Korea!” he said to an audience of millions, CNN’s largest in many months.
“Frankly, any ballot cast against me is suspect. You really believe that someone would walk into an election booth and look at me and Sleepy Joe and choose Sleepy Joe? No. Can’t happen. Fake news. Not good. Sad!” After this, the rest of the hosts for the night just yelled about Trump yelling about election fraud. According to Trump, the deal was “the biggest deal in the history of television, maybe ever.” Rumors indicate that Trump was given a majority share in the company, billions of dollars, and unlimited Diet Coke. According to insiders, the headquarters of CNN will also be moved to Mar-a-Lago as part of the deal. After the announcement, CNN’s ratings skyrocketed, and they’re finally outperforming the WNBA, soccer, and Saturday Night Live.
Below is a private email I received a few days ago from an Automatic Earth reader and that I would like to share with you.
Watching (some of) the impeachment inquiry this week and last, I again get the same feeling I’ve had for some 4 years now, which is something we all know -metaphorically- from the Godfather.
The Democrats and the Republicans are like two -of the five- families, let’s say the Barzini family and the Tattaglia family (we’ll leave the Corleones be), which are both utterly corrupted and lethal predators, and I wouldn’t want to choose between them. But that’s not made easy.
In this metaphor, the Tattaglia family appears to have both the intelligence services and 95% of the media on their side, which keep telling their readers and viewers that the Barzini family are much worse than the Tattaglia family. That’s what I see when I look at the impeachment inquiry, and the comments in the press surrounding it: they all, the Democrats, the media and the FBI/CIA et al, are trying to convince everyone that Don Barzini is the anti-christ and the Tattaglia family are fine upstanding Americans.
What I have been doing over the past years is to try and restore some balance to that picture. But I still get -perhaps not surprisingly- accused of being a right-wing Trump supporter. Because you’re either with us or with them. And 95% of the press is apparently still not enough; they want me to join in as well.
And yes, maybe I’m stupid, maybe you shouldn’t try to go against such an overwhelming majority of the press. But at the same time, the picture they paint makes no sense to me. And besides, I want the press to give me news, facts, not try to make up my mind for me. I would like to do that myself.
But that’s where the biggest change has occurred. In the past, you could read articles in the New York Times, Guardian or WaPo, and watch CNN, and come away with the impression that you had been provided with news. Today, you no longer can, because all of it is seeped in propaganda.
Still, that’s how the press make their money these days. As I wrote quite some time ago, Trump Sells Better Than Sex. Writing and saying bad things about him is their meal ticket. For four years and change they’ve been insisting that the next story would be the bombshell (talk about a deflated word) that would sink Trump, that it would be The BIG ONE, as I wrote yesterday. And sure enough, all their comments on Gordon Sondland’s testimony yesterday say it again.
This has nothing to do with my opinion of Donald Trump (and perhaps not even theirs), it’s about the process, and how it has changed, likely to a large extent because of the pressure exerted on the old media by internet and social media. Trump is the best thing that ever happened to the old guard’s finances. They willingly gave up on half the American population, because the other half can’t get enough of Orange Man Bad narratives. Looks like a risky gamble, but they were truly desperate. One should wonder if they really want Trump gone, because what then?
As I said, I thought I’d share that mail. The author said it’s okay. I deleted anything that could identify him. And of course I’m curious to know what you think about his words (and mine).
This is, once again, tiresome and ridiculous. Just as when people call you a pro-Trump, or whatever similar. Derangement syndrome, or Maoist frenzy, or headless chickens, many descriptive phrases apply to these reactions to anything with a link to common sense.
What amazes me is how unhinged the mainstream view of the world has become. And I am grateful to find a healthy measure of sanity in TAE.
Since 2014 I have been watching a major onslaught of disinformation, starting around Maidan, and later moving into overdrive with Trump. I think the man is a piece of junk, but the mainstream reaction to him has a distinct Orwellian feel (when the progressive ‘Our Values’ crowd starts singing Thank God we have NATO, the CIA, the Deep State… you know your Boeing 737 MAX is flying upside down).
The Narrative about Trump, especially here [in Canada] through our PC media class, is perfect, smooth and shiny, just like a brand new Tesla or a tale you read to your child in bed at night.
Trump may be crazy, I don’t know – but for sure our reaction to him has been erasing our sanity. This [is] both painful and entertaining to watch.
Our collective delusion about anything that matters (Trump, Russia, finance, energy, the rape of our planet, etc.) is IMO the greatest show on Earth. And it is on great display on TAE, including the remarkable Comments section. I have come to love the smell of it in the morning.
So yes Ilargi, please, keep up the good work!
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Do I really need to reiterate -as I’ve done easily a hundred times- that I don’t think Donald Trump is a great choice to be president of the United States, that when you have a pick of 320 million people there should certainly be a better option? Then again, should I also reiterate that he was elected as president 3 years ago, and that means a lot in the US political system, so much that people who don’t like the outcome of an election should always respect it, lest they do irreparable harm to the system?! Well, hereby.
What got me, with limited interest in politics, going about the elections back in 2015-16 was not Trump, it was the concerted effort by the DNC, the Democratic party in general, US intelligence and the media, to frustrate his run for president. Not because of him, but because of all of them. The media went so overboard that today you cannot read an article by NYT or WaPo, or watch a TV program on CNN or MSNBC, and believe a single word that is said. That, too, has nothing to do with Trump.
It has to do with the control over their readers’ and viewers’ views that they think they have. It has to do with CNN head Jeff Zucker insisting, as Project Veritas showed, that all of his ‘journalists’ focus on impeachment. Because that’s where the money is. CNN, NYT, WaPo have been doing great since they started attacking Trump 24/7. And even when Robert Mueller came up emptier than a black hole, they managed to hide the consequences, keep on dumping on Trump and selling ads and subscriptions up the wazoo.
But the latest trend should worry everyone even more. It doesn’t come out of nowhere, it might even be called predictable. We had the Steele dossier, but there wasn’t a secret about who was behind it for very long. There were even a lot of references to the man’s achievements and credibility. We’re still awaiting something similar on Mifsud and Downer, but so far they’re seen as having at least some credibility.
However, all of the above has changed since accusations and allegatiosn against Trump started to be made by, and based on, an anonymous whistleblower, who turned out not to be a whistleblower at all but a CIA operative closely linked to sworn Trump enemies Obama, Biden and Brennan. First time I saw that, I thought: wow, desperation sets in. The usual suspects don’t feel they’re winning. They think they need a backdoor.
And who is to blame them? The Democrats have nobody who could even possibly challenge Trump in a ‘normal’ election. Biden won’t survive Burisma, and that’s far from his only flaw, Warren and Sanders are too left for 2020 America, and they’re actively screwing with Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign, because she threatens to break their link to the military industrial complex, aka the Deep State.
So in comes Mike Bloomberg at a mere 112 years old, because rich old white men always do these things. I predicted the other day to a friend that Hillary would try to join in, but she wouldn’t have a chance in hot hell either; too tainted. She may still do it, though, in 5 years time she’ll be too old.
Apparently, though, that one backdoor, the anonymous CIA faultily labeled whistleblower, just won’t do.
Now we have a book, it’s coming out on November 19, and it’s written by, guess who … Anonymous. Who apparently claims to be a White House insider. Something we can’t check. It might as well be Hillary, or Brennan, or Clapper, or anyone in the CIA or DNC who doesn’t mind writing awful stories about Orange Man Bad, as long as they can remain anonymous.
So then you get this kind of thing, This first quote is from the Hill (which may have left their ace reporter John Solomon out to dry, I don’t know, but I only see his articles on his own website these days). And yeah, Rachel Maddow is a real credible source on all things Trump. She only spent 4 whole years shrieking about Russiagate every night until Bob Mueller grossly failed:
In a new book, the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed has described a “steady state” that formed to “keep the wheels from coming off the White House wagon,” according to excepts from the book read by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on her show Thursday. “The early Steady State formed to keep the wheels from coming off the White House wagon,” Maddow read from the excerpts of the book “A Warning.” “When presidential appointees started conferring about their shared concerns with the nation’s chief executive … it was done informally, in weekly phone calls or on the margins of meetings,” Maddow continued, citing the book. Many of the concerns staff members had about the president stemmed from his “inattentiveness” and “impulsiveness.”
[..] “In Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable,” the person wrote last year. “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state,” they continued at the time. The Post on Thursday also reported on an excerpt of the book in which the anonymous person, billed as “a senior official in the Trump administration,” wrote that officials wake up “in a full-blown panic” due to Trump’s tweets.
And some more from Maddow’s employer, NBC (every “left” news outlet is covering this, obviously):
President Donald Trump’s behavior can be so erratic that most top administration officials have pre-written resignation letters ready to submit, an anonymous author claiming to be a senior official in the Trump administration says in a book scheduled to be published this month. To complicate matters, the president’s decision-making abilities are getting worse with time, according to excerpts of “A Warning” that were obtained and read Thursday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” The author, described only as “a senior Trump administration official,” is the same person who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times last year headlined, “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.”
The column said “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” The information is coming from an anonymous source, and NBC News does not know who the writer is nor whether they were in a position to have witnessed what they say transpired. In the book excerpts, the author describes near-daily “five-alarm fire drill” that leads senior officials to cancel plans and race to the White House to intercept Trump before he can enact his latest “wacky or destructive idea.” “Staff throw up the Bat-Signal, calling a snap meeting or a teleconference. ‘He’s about to do something,’ one warns the group, explaining what the president is about to announce.” “‘He can’t do this. We’ll all look like idiots, and he’ll get murdered for it in the press,’ another exclaims. “‘Yeah, well, I’m telling you he’s going to do it unless someone gets to him fast,’ the first warns. ‘Can you cancel your afternoon?'”
[..] In excerpts published separately by The Washington Post, the author likens Trump to “a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.” “I’ve sat and listened in uncomfortable silence as he talks about a woman’s appearance or performance,” according to the Post’s excerpts. “He comments on makeup. He makes jokes about weight. He critiques clothing. He questions the toughness of women in and around his orbit. He uses words like ‘sweetie’ and ‘honey’ to address accomplished professionals. This is precisely the way a boss shouldn’t act in the work environment.”
The image they try to present is very obvious: Trump is crazy. We got there from him not having a chance getting elected, to owing his election to Russia, and now Ukraine, from which he also demanded ‘dirt’ on his ‘main’ political rival Joe Biden, who was never that, and now we have deteriorated into He Is Crazy, and we get that from anonymous whistleblowers and ‘authors’.
Thing is, if you’re allowed to be anonymous, you can be anyone, including Trump’s direct rivals in the 2020 elections, or a CIA officer, you name it. Does this open the window for the GOP to start publishing fake news too? Because that’s what it is, right, when things are said that nobody can verify? It’s not news, it’s partisan propaganda. Why would anyone opposed to Trump want to be anonymous today? It’s not as if the CIA or FBI would come after them, they’re siding with the other party.
What is the problem with anonymous CIA ‘whistleblowers’ and authors? That we have no way of verifying what they say. Duh! And believe it or not, in days of old, other than in cases like Deep Throat, US media would never have dreamed of publishing a single word from the CIA not-whistleblower or the guy or gal or entire team (we can’t know) who wrote that book.
Journalistic standards have simply eroded and vanished to a huge extent. And people will say: yes, but Trump, but Orange Man Bad, anything is justified to get rid of him.
And that is very simply not true. The media and politicians and intelligence agencies cannot abandon their standards, developed over many decades, just to get rid of someone they don’t like. That, in the end, is up to the American people to decide, whether you like it or not, in the next election.
This whole anonymous thing feels increasingly like an election item, because the Dems know they have nothing to very little. We get that. But the sanctity of the election process, and of the Office of the President of the United States, must always prevail. Because if it doesn’t you will find yourselves in a state of anarchy. Anonymous accounts that are widely re-covered because that fits a political agenda are a solid step towards that anarchy. Beware.
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At 5.55am, Talgarth Road, one of the major arteries into west London, is just beginning to clog up with early rush-hour traffic. A man named Dave, his white van pulled over into a loading bay, is putting up a billboard poster by the side of the carriageway. The previous one was an advert for Calvin Klein featuring the model Lara Stone. Over the course of 20 minutes, Dave covers Stone up, expertly pasting rectangles of paper over her, using a ladder for the high ones, then sweeping over with his brush. The first rectangle, in the top left corner, contains a headshot of Jacob Rees-Mogg and the beginning of his Twitter handle. As Dave lines up edges, pastes and brushes, and Stone disappears, a quote emerges from Rees-Mogg.
This one wasn’t a tweet; he said it in parliament. “We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have a second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.” There are three other men here, dressed in hoodies, lumberjack shirts and beanies, lurking around and admiring the work. Their work – because Richard, Adam and Chris are three of the four key people behind Led By Donkeys, the remainer guerrilla activists highlighting the hypocrisy and lies of politicians by posting their damning quotes on billboards around the country. Less guerrilla now, actually: they’ve gone legit, this hoarding is paid for. Before, they just took them over.
[..] It all began, as most good ideas do, in the pub. They were talking about the infamous David Cameron tweet – “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice – stability and strong government with me or chaos with Ed Miliband” – which was doing the rounds again after Theresa May cancelled the vote on her deal in December. And someone said: why don’t they slap it on a billboard, make it the tweet you can’t delete? The next day, on the WhatsApp group, one of them said they had found someone who would print it out for them. They all agreed: “Let’s just fucking do it.” It was cheaper to do five, so they cobbled together four more tweets – from Michael Gove, David Davies, John Redwood and Liam Fox – not really thinking they’d ever put them up. Initial outlay was about 200 quid, plus £90 on a ladder from B&Q.
Tusk is an idiot, but he was right when he said thet as both May and Corbyn want to Leave, there is no political leadership for Remain. But the majority of Britons by now want to Remain. Don’t underestimate the danger of this.
A war of words has further undermined Theresa May’s mission to Brussels to rescue her Brexit deal, after the EU warned of a “special place in hell” for politicians who botched the project. Downing Street and Tory politicians hit back angrily after the extraordinary attack by Donald Tusk on those who triumphed in the referendum “without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it safely”. The prime minister’s spokesman urged people to ask whether such language was “helpful” – before noting, sarcastically, that was impossible “because he didn’t take any questions”. Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, condemned the comments by Mr Tusk, the European Council president, as “disgraceful” and “spiteful”, saying such behaviour “demeans him”.
Sammy Wilson, Brexit spokesman of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up the Tories in power, went further – branding him a “devilish, trident-wielding, Euro maniac”. But pro-EU Tory Anna Soubry backed him and named Boris Johnson, David Davis and Nigel Farage as among his likely targets, for having “abdicated all responsibility”. The fury overshadowed the tough message for Ms May before she lands in Brussels on Thursday morning – that the EU will never agree to reopening the divorce deal, as she has vowed to do. The prime minister will again demand either an end date for the Irish backstop or an exit mechanism from it for there to be any hope of the Commons passing the deal. Ms May appeared to drop her third option – replacing the backstop with ill-defined “alternative arrangements”, based on unproven technology – to the anger of some Brexiteer Tories.
Jeremy Corbyn has written to the prime minister, offering to throw Labour’s support behind her Brexit deal if she makes five legally binding commitments – including joining a customs union. The Labour leader held private talks with Theresa May last week for the first time since her deal was rejected by a historic margin of 230 votes in January. In a follow-up letter sent on Wednesday, he laid out in the clearest terms yet what commitments he is seeking in exchange for offering Labour support. His intervention will dismay backbench Labour MPs and grassroots activists still hoping he will switch the party’s policy towards demanding a second Brexit referendum – which is not mentioned in the letter.
And it comes as No 10 prepares to publish legislation underpinning workers’ rights, perhaps as early as next week, in an attempt to win support from Labour backbenchers. In his letter, Corbyn calls for the government to rework the political declaration setting the framework for Britain’s future relationship with the EU – and then enshrine these new negotiating objectives in UK law, so that a future Tory leader could not sweep them away after Brexit. He says the changes to the political declaration must include:
• A “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, including a say in future trade deals.
• Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by “shared institutions”.
• “Dynamic alignment on rights and protections”, so that UK standards do not fall behind those of the EU.
• Clear commitments on future UK participation in EU agencies and funding programmes.
• Unambiguous agreements on future security arrangements, such as use of the European arrest warrant.
A trade union affiliated with the Labour party has claimed that Jeremy Corbyn’s party could lose an additional 45 seats in a snap election if it fails to take an anti-Brexit position, in a leaked report. The report, drawn up by the transport union TSSA and including extensive polling, was sent to the leftwing pressure group Momentum. It appears to be an attempt to pile pressure on the Labour leader over Brexit. It claims that “Brexit energises Labour remain voters” disproportionately, and warns: “There is no middle way policy which gets support from both sides of the debate.” The Guardian understands that while the report was sent to Momentum, it was not commissioned or requested by the group.
Sources inside the party stressed that there were risks from turning either way on Brexit – and other polls showed a different picture. The document – marked strictly confidential – says: “There can be no disguising the sense of disappointment and disillusionment with Labour if it fails to oppose Brexit and there is every indication that it will be far more damaging to the party’s electoral fortunes than the Iraq war. “Labour would especially lose the support of people below the age of 35, which could make this issue comparable to the impact the tuition fees and involvement in the coalition had on Lib Dem support.” The document starts by pointing out that the TSSA has “supported Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the very beginning”.
It says that the party’s supporters view Brexit as a “Tory project”. It adds that four-fifths of them believe the current deal will hurt the British economy and 91.4% of Labour voters do not trust the government to deliver a good Brexit for people such as them.
The Federal Reserve’s next move may well be an interest rate cut if weakening growth around the world starts infecting the U.S. economy, former central bank Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday. Weakening economies in China and Europe are posing danger to an otherwise strong U.S. economy, Yellen told CNBC’s Steve Liesman during a “Power Lunch” interview. “Of course it’s possible. If global growth really weakens and that spills over to the United States where financial conditions tighten more and we do see a weakening in the U.S. economy, it’s certainly possible that the next move is a cut,” she said. “But both outcomes are possible.” The former central bank head cited “slowing global growth” as the biggest threat to the economy she once watched over. “The data from China has been recently weak, the European data has also come in weaker than expected,” she said.
U.S. bank stress tests conducted during an “interim” period this year will help the Federal Reserve decide what permanent changes to make to the closely followed examinations, the Fed’s point person on financial supervision Randal Quarles said on Wednesday. On Tuesday the Fed said it would make its stress testing of large banks more transparent in 2019, providing financial firms significantly more information about how their portfolios would perform under potential economic shocks. The changes respond to long-running bank complaints that the current stress-testing process is cumbersome and opaque. Less complex banks with assets between $100 billion and $250 billion, such as SunTrust Banks and Fifth Third Bancorp, do not have to face 2019 stress tests, as the Fed is moving to a two-year cycle for testing those firms.
“Our challenge now is to preserve the strength of the test, while improving its efficiency, transparency, and integration into the post-crisis regulatory framework,” Federal Reserve Vice Chairman of Supervision Randal Quarles said in remarks prepared for delivery at a Council for Economic Education event in New York. “Our experience with this ‘interim’ year will inform the move to a permanently longer testing cycle – a change that would, of course, be subject to a full notice and comment process.” The 2019 tests also include factoring in a jump to 10 percent unemployment from the current 4 percent rate, as well as elevated stress in corporate loan and commercial real estate markets in the most severe scenario.
Media Bias: While journalists are getting pink slips across the country, the Washington Post decided to dump a boatload of cash for a Super Bowl image ad that tried to portray the news media as national heroes. Here’s a better, and much cheaper, idea to restore the industry’s shattered reputation: Be less blatantly partisan. In the 60-second ad, Tom Hanks intones about the importance of journalists against the backdrop of historic events. Thankfully, during these times, the ad says, “There’s someone to gather the facts. To bring you the story. No matter the cost. Because knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free.” The problem with journalists today, however, is that they aren’t interested in gathering facts or empowering the public with knowledge.
Instead, they are interested mainly in pushing their agenda — a basic failing of the profession brought into high relief over the past two years. The latest IBD/TIPP Poll makes this abundantly clear. The poll asked several questions to gauge the public’s perception of the mainstream news media. What did it find? First, that fully half the country says its trust in the media decreased over the past two years. A tiny 8% say it’s increased. That includes a plurality of independents (49%). Even among Republicans, who’ve long grown accustomed to media bias, 81% say their trust in the press has dropped over the past two years. Geographically, those in the Midwest and the South are mostly likely to say their trust in the press has declined (52% and 57%, respectively) since Trump took office.
Men are far more likely than women (54% vs. 47%). And those with incomes over $75,000 (51% of home distrust the media more) more than lower-income households. These findings alone should be alarming. After all, as any corporate executive knows, you can’t run a successful business when a vast and increasing share of your customer base doesn’t trust the product you are selling. It gets worse. The poll found that more than two-thirds of the public (69%) think the news media “is more concerned with advancing its points of view rather than reporting all the facts.” Only 29% of the public disagrees with that statement. In other words, nearly seven out of 10 adults in the country think the Post ad’s blather about “gathering the facts” is bull. That includes 72% of independents, 95% of Republicans, and — surprisingly enough — 43% of Democrats.
Given the right circumstances… a little programing… and enough time for it all to marinate in his soft, mammalian brain… there is almost nothing Homo Credulus will not learn to embrace. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the historical record; you’ll soon wonder how we ever got this far. Sure, you’ll discover gizmos and flying contraptions… art and agriculture… music and mathematics. You’ll witness spectacular scientific breakthroughs, the number “0” and a man’s footprint on the moon. You’ll also find automobiles with so many cup holders, you won’t know where to holster your oversized 7/11 Big Gulp. But you’ll also scratch you head. Perhaps you’ll even weep. And if you think hard enough, you’ll put a few things to serious question…
“Central banks?” “Modern democracy?” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show?” How has mankind survived such atrocities? Self inflicted, no less! And why, moreover, does he rush so earnestly to repeat and replay his worst mistakes? Don’t be too hard on yourself, Dear Reader. After all, repetition is nothing new… You’ll recall that it was the Greeks who first gave the world democracy – from the Greek, demokratia, literally “Rule by ‘People’”. (And yes, it was those very same Greeks who put their own beloved Socrates to death… by a majority vote of 140-361.) Today, democracy is a cherished tenet of “the West.” It is woven into the civic religion, sewn into the social fabric. Men march off eagerly to fight for it, to proselytize it … and to die in forgotten ditches defending it. At least, that’s what they believe they’re doing. As usual, the poor saps have been duped.
The phrase “Making the world safe for democracy” was actually a marketing slogan, coined back in the 1910s, as a way to sell “The Great War” to America. Weary from their own disastrous Civil War just a few decades earlier, in which hundreds of thousands gave up the ghost, Americans were mostly inward looking at the time. That is to say, they wanted little to do with what they largely saw as a “European affair.” Polls might have indicated no appetite for battle… but the nation’s politicians were nonetheless starved for military misadventure. They sensed big profits abroad, both in manufacturing armaments and making onerous bank loans to foreign lands. Sure, “the nation” would have to fill tank and trench with warm young bodies… but very few soldiers would carry senatorial surnames along with their rifles.
French and German farmers have been forced to dig up thousands of hectares of rapeseed fields after authorities found an illegal GMO strain mixed in with the natural seeds they’d bought from Bayer-Monsanto. Authorities discovered the illicit seeds in three separate batches of rapeseed seeds last fall, but the public has only just been notified. While Bayer issued a recall, by the time the farmers learned of it some of the seeds had already been planted, covering 8,000 ha in France and 3,000 ha in Germany. Bayer-Monsanto estimated the number of rogue seeds at just about .005 percent of the total volume of rapeseed seeds sold to both nations under the brand name Dekalb, but each country has a ban on GMO cultivation, with strict penalties for “accidental” contamination of standard crops.
The agrochemical giant refused to estimate the total cost of the GMO contamination, which knocks out not only this season’s crop but also the next season’s, as farmers will be barred from growing rapeseed next year “to avoid re-emergence of the GMO strain,” according to Bayer-Monsanto’s French COO Catherine Lamboley. They offered to compensate farmers €2,000 per hectare, which would work out to about €20 million between both countries. The cause of the contamination is unknown, Lamboley said, claiming the seeds were produced in Argentina “in a GMO-free area” and declaring that the company “has decided to immediately stop all rapeseed production in Argentina.” The rogue GMO seeds were of a variety grown in Canada that is banned in Europe, although imported food made with the modified rapeseed is permitted for human and animal consumption as long as it is adequately labeled.
The vast majority of the world’s largest species are being pushed towards extinction, with the killing of the heftiest animals for meat and body parts the leading cause of decline, according to a new study. While habitat loss, pollution and other threats pose a significant menace to large species, also known as megafauna, intentional and unintentional trapping, poaching and slaughter is the single biggest factor in their decline, researchers found. An analysis of 362 megafauna species found that 70% of them are in decline, with 59% classed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Direct killing by humans is the leading cause across all classes of animals, the study states.
A range of maladies including intensive agriculture, toxins and invasive competitors are also helping to trigger these declines. This situation adds to the “mounting evidence that humans are poised to cause a sixth mass extinction event”, according to the research, published in Conservation Letters. It adds that “minimizing the direct killing of the world’s largest vertebrates is a priority conservation strategy that might save many of these iconic species and the functions and services they provide.” Humans cause the deaths of large creatures in a variety of ways, from snares that entangle mountain gorillas and the poaching of elephants for ivory to the killing of the Chinese giant salamander, which can grow up to 6ft long and is considered a delicacy in Asia.
Global warming could temporarily hit 1.5C above pre-industrial levels for the first time between now and 2023, according to a long-term forecast by the Met Office. Meteorologists said there was a 10% chance of a year in which the average temperature rise exceeds 1.5C, which is the lowest of the two Paris agreement targets set for the end of the century. Until now, the hottest year on record was 2016, when the planet warmed 1.11C above pre-industrial levels, but the long-term trend is upward. Man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are adding 0.2C of warming each decade but the incline of temperature charts is jagged due to natural variation: hotter El Niño years zig above the average, while cooler La Ninã years zag below.
In the five-year forecast released on Wednesday, the Met Office highlights the first possibility of a natural El Niño combining with global warming to exceed the 1.5C mark. Dr Doug Smith, Met Office research fellow, said: “A run of temperatures of 1C or above would increase the risk of a temporary excursion above the threshold of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Predictions now suggest around a 10% chance of at least one year between 2019 and 2023 temporarily exceeding 1.5C.” Climatologists stressed this did not mean the world had broken the Paris agreement 80 years ahead of schedule because international temperature targets are based on 30-year averages.
“Exceeding 1.5C in one given year does not mean that the 1.5C goal has been breached and can be redirected towards the bin,” said Joeri Rogelj, a lecturer at the Grantham Institute. “The noise in the annual temperatures should not distract from the long-term trend.”
Two thirds of Americans get at least some of their news on social media. Google and Facebook receive well over 70% of US digital advertising revenues. The average daily time spent on social media is 2 hours. Just a few factoids that have at least one thing in common: nothing like them was around 10 years ago, let alone 20. And they depict a change, or set of changes, in our world that will take a long time yet to understand and absorb. Some things just move too fast for us to keep track of, let alone process.
Those of us who were alive before the meteoric rise of the hardware and software of ‘social’ media may be able to relate a little more and better than those who were not, but even that is not a given. There are plenty people over 20, over 30, that make one think: what did you do before you had that magic machine? When you walk down the street talking to some friend, or looking at what your friends wrote on Facebook, do you ever think about what you did in such situations before the machine came into your life?
From 10% to 75% in 10 years
We’re not going to know what the hardware and software of ‘social’ media will have done to our lives, individually and socially, for a very long time. But in the meantime, their influence will continue to shape our lives. They change our societies, the way we interact with each other, in very profound ways; we just don’t know how profound, or how, period. There can be little question that they change us as individuals too; they change how we communicate, and in such a way that there is no way they don’t also change our very brain structures in the process.
Someone who walks down a street talking to someone else 10, 100, 1000 miles away, or sees messages from such a person come in in virtual real time, experiences things that were not available ever in human history. Our brains must adapt to these changes, or we will be left behind. And while for the over-20, over-30 crowd this takes actual adaptation, for those younger than that it comes quasi pre-cooked: they’ve never known anything else. Still, their brains were formed in completely different times too. Think hunter-gatherers. And that’s just the human part of the brain.
There are too many aspects to this development to cover here. One day someone will write a book, or rather, many someones will write many books, and they will all be different. Some will focus on people’s lives being saved because their smartphones allow them to either receive or send out distress signals. Others will tell stories of teenagers committing suicide after being heckled on ‘social’ media. With yin comes yang. Millions feel better with new-found ‘friends’, and millions suffer from abuse even if they don’t kill themselves.
With new media, especially when it goes from 1 to 100 in no time flat, it should be no surprise that the news it delivers changes too. We went from a few dozen TV- and radio stations and newspapers to a few hundred million potential opinions in the US alone. The media are no longer a one-way street. The first effect that has had is that the chasm between news and opinion has narrowed spectacularly. If their readers post their views of what they read and see, journalists feel they have the right to vent their opinions too.
And then these opinions increasingly replace the news itself. The medium is again the message, in a way, a novel kind of way. A hundred million people write things without being restricted by due diligence or other journalistic standards, and we see journalists do that too. They will come up with lies, half-truths, innuendo, false accusations, and moreover will not retract or correct them, except when really hard-pressed. After all, who has the time when you post a hundred+ tweets a day and need to update your Facebook pages too?
Obviously, Donald Trump is an excellent example of the changing media environment. His use of Twitter was a major factor in his election victory. And then his detractors took to Twitter to launch a huge campaign accusing him of collusion with Russia to achieve that victory. They did this moving in lockstep with Bob Mueller’s investigation of that collusion accusation. But almost two years after the election, neither Mueller not the media have provided any evidence of collusion.
That, ironically, is the only thing that is actually true about the entire narrative at this point. Sure, Mueller may still have something left in his back pocket, but if he had solid proof he would have been obliged to present it. Collusion with a foreign government is too serious not to reveal evidence of. Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that in September 2018, Mueller has no such evidence. But what about the thousands of printed articles and the millions of Tweets and Facebook posts claiming collusion that were presented as true?
Funny you asked. What they prove is not collusion, but the changing media landscape. The anti-Trump echo-chamber that I’ve written about many times has been going strong for two years and shows no signs of abating. There are still lots of people posting a hundred (re-)tweets etc. daily who are being read by many others, all of them confirming their biases in a never fulfilled feeding frenzy.
This is not about Trump. And I’m not a Trump supporter. This is instead about the media, and the humongous difference interactivity has made. And about the fact that it hasn’t just added a hundred million voices, it has also altered the way traditional media report the news, in an effort to keep up with those hundred million.
The thing here that is about Trump, is that he’s everybody’s favorite meal ticket. He confirms everyone’s opinion, whether for or against him, by the way he uses media. And most importantly, they all make a lot of money off of him. The New York Times and WaPo and MSNBC would be in deep financial trouble without Trump. Like they were before he came along. Polarization of opinions saved them. Well, not the WaPo, Jeff Bezos can afford to run 1000 papers like that and lose money hand over fist. But for the NYT and many others a Trump impeachment would be disastrous. Funny, right?
Another thing that is obvious is that one thing still sells above all others: sex. The smear campaign against Julian Assange has been successful in one way only, and it’s been a smash hit: the rape allegations. Completely false, entirely made up, dragged out as long as possible, and turning millions, especially women, against him.
The accusations against Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh haven’t been around long enough to be discredited. Maybe they will be, maybe they won’t. But read through newspaper articles, watch TV shows, follow Twitter, and you see countless voices already convinced ‘he did it’. And that ‘it’ is often labeled ‘rape’, though that’s not the accusation.
But it’s part of the Anti-Trump train, and the echo-chamber has gone into overdrive once again. Even if everyone understands that a 36-year old accusation must be handled with care. The accusing woman’s lawyer says the FBI must investigate, and everyone says: FBI! FBI!. Conveniently forgetting that the FBI has been far from impartial with regards to Trump, and the White House is not exactly waiting for another FBI role.
What’s wrong with waiting till you know the facts? Why judge a situation you know nothing about other than a woman accuses a man of assault 36 years ago, and doesn’t remember time, location etc.?
And that’s the thing all along, isn’t it? That people, both readers and journalists, all 200 million Americans of them, think they have acquired the right to judge any person, any situation they read a few lines about, just because they have purchased a smartphone. A faulty notion fed on a daily basis by the fact there are millions who think just like them.
We may want to rethink the terms ‘social’ media and ‘smart’ phone. They sound good, but they don’t cover the true nature of either. It’s hard to say where all this is going, but the sharply increasing polarization of society is certainly not a good sign. People feeling they have the right to accuse others without knowing facts, people building a Russiagate narrative without evidence, these are not things a society should welcome, whether they’re profitable or not.
Meanwhile, there are two people (there are many more, of course) who were banned from the platforms so many others use to draw baseless conclusions and spout empty accusations. And we miss them both, or we should: Alex Jones and Julian Assange. Have they really used ‘social’ media in worse ways than those 200 million Americans? Or were they banned because millions of Americans were following and reading their non-mainstream views?
We better get a grip on this, and on ourselves, or we won’t get another chance. What we have seen so far is that it’s not that hard to shape people’s opinions in a world with information overload. And that process is about to get a whole lot more intense. Until all you’re left with is the illusion that your opinion is actually your own.