May 172022
 
 May 17, 2022  Posted by at 5:16 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Herbert James Draper A Deep Sea Idyll 1902(?!)

 

 

You’re not going to hear it from the western media or politicians, let alone NATO, but overnight the Ukraine war, or special operation, ended. And Russia won, on all fronts and on their own terms. Thre’ll be some more skirmishes, and a few more body bags, but not because the outcome of the war could still be changed. It’s done.

It’s funny to see how the nazi Azov “soldiers” that surrendered are now portrayed as heroic defenders of Ukraine, after hiding in a steel plant for 80 days, but they still lost. There are probably a few hundred left there, the ones who have most to fear from being captured, and all Russia has to do is to wait for them to come out. Or not.

The reason they went from nazis to heroes in no time at all in the western and Ukrainian press was that they were counted on to be the “real fighters” their country needed. Now that they’ve surrendered, without “fighting to the end”, the country, army and civilians alike, will see its morale plummet. Ukraine lost, Zelensky lost, and NATO lost. While at the same time, “our” press keeps on coming up with stories of Russian losses and weakness etc. And war crimes.

The only sensible thing left to do is to negotiate a peace in the conflict, in which Russia will see -most of- its demands (no nukes, no nazis, no NATO) granted. It’s either that or Zelensky will become guilty of the death and long drawn-out misery of many of his compatriots, without gaining an inch, and it’s hard to see him desiring that. Don’t be surprised if Zelensky surrenders soon as well, or leaves the country, claiming that Russia wants him dead and his escape was “heroic”.

 

There is one alternative: a full scale NATO attack on Russia, but that would seem far-fetched. Behind the western rhetoric there are too many minds who have read about the defeats of Napoleon and Hitler when they tried that, and who also don’t like the risk of one of Russia’s 6,000 nuclear warheads landing on their territory.

The saddest thing is that there was never any reason for this. You can paint off Putin as a crazy monster a million times, and the special action as completely unprovoked, but you would have to ignore all of Russia’s warnings over decades that this is an “existential” issue for their country. Which means they won’t back down. And everybody knew.

And besides, a lot of NATO countries’ governments have an idea what would become of them without Russian resources, fertilizer, crops, oil, gas etc. They’re willing to support NATO only up to a point, including sanctions. They don’t want to be responsible for cold and hunger for their people. If only because that would end the careers of many a politician.

It’ll take some time to fabricate the language that allows for such a defeat to be presented as a victory, but Spin Doctors “R” Us. And all of the people who’ve displayed Ukrainian flags wherever they could will need to find a narrative to defend that as well, but time heals many wounds, also the imaginary ones.

 

And yes, all this changes the face of the world enormously. The US, and through it NATO, is officially no longer the unipolar ruler of the world. They will have to share that limelight with Russia, China, India and others (Brussels has sidelined itself). That may be bad news for whoever is in power in US/NATO, but for citizens it’s a different story. They have nothing to fear from Russia’s military, but a lot from missing out on Russian resources.

In short: the war is over. The US will try to send over another $40 billion in “aid” -at least half of it weapons-, but there’ll be nobody left to handle the small fraction that is not destroyed by Russia. And just like the Russians can simply wait for the last Azov troops to leave the steel compound, they can also sit back and track any NATO weapons deliveries, and then take them out. It is really over. Unless we go all out Napoleon. I don’t think we will.

Meanwhile, we should all be happy that the war is over. Well, are we?

 

 

 

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Apr 202022
 
 April 20, 2022  Posted by at 8:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  74 Responses »


Andy Warhol Grace Kelly 1984

 

There Has Been No Talk Of Peace, Only War (Celente)
Putin ‘Will Go Nuclear’ Says CIA Boss in Regime Change Set Up (Ransom)
Yet Another Huge Ukraine Arms Package As Total Military Aid Nears $3BN (ZH)
Watch Out, Vlad! Here Comes the British Invasion (Tracey)
Russia Must Prepare For “Possible Aggressive Action” From NATO – Medvedev (ZH)
Two Cheers for Realism (Lee)
Telling the COVID Good Guys from the Bad Guys (Hope)
Wall Street Now Paying Attention to the ‘Trust the Science’ Fraud – Dowd (Wolf)
New CDC Center to Predict Pandemics, Provide ‘Outbreak Analytics’ (CSN)
DOJ To Appeal Court Decision to Overturn Mask Mandate, if CDC Asks (CTH)
CDC Removes All Countries From COVID-19 ‘Do Not Travel’ List (Reason)
Treasury Bond Massacre, Mortgage Rates Hit 5.35%, and it’s Only April (WS)
Clinton Campaign: Fusion GPS Provided Legal Advice (TechnoFog)
Taylor Lorenz Is Simply Following The New Rules Of Journalism (Miller)

 

 

Number of days Julian Assange has been in Belmarsh prison, never charged with anything.

Today, another decision is due in his extradition case.

 

 

 

 

Zelensky’s statements influenced by what he drinks or smokes – Lavrov

 

 

 

 

Musk

 

 

The only thing you need to know, really.

There Has Been No Talk Of Peace, Only War (Celente)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Western sanctions that were intended to punish Moscow into submission and end its war with Ukraine have failed and, instead, hurt the very countries who imposed them. Putin used a televised address to tell Russians the sanctions were “expected to quickly upset the financial-economic situation, provoke panic in the markets, the collapse of the banking system and shortages in stores.” But said the West’s “economic blitz” failed and backfired. He said they instead led to a “deterioration of the economy in the West.” Last month, President Joe Biden told reporters that the sanctions imposed on Russia were not intended to prevent the 24 February invasion, but were intended instead to unite Europe and show its resolve.

“That’s the important thing. If you’re Putin and you think that Europe is going to crack in a month or six weeks or two months, [that] they can take anything for another month…We have to stay fully, totally, thoroughly united,” he said. When the White House announced a ban on Russian oil imports, oil prices in the U.S. hit their highest levels since 2008. The Russian central bank on Monday announced that consumer prices were about 16.7 percent higher than the same time period last year. The New York Times, citing international financial organizations, reported that economists believe that the Russian economy will contract up to 15 percent.

Biden, who has called Putin a war criminal, killer, and a brute, has discussed additional sanctions against Russia with European allies on Tuesday, Reuters reported. They also discusses arming Ukrainians with even more weapons. Canada announced Tuesday a new round of sanctions against Russians, including Putin’s two adult daughters, the report said. The repot said: “Among those on the call were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as the leaders of Poland, Japan and Italy.” There has been no talk of peace, only war.

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The narrative needs a new chapter every day, lest people start questioning yesterday’s tale.

Putin ‘Will Go Nuclear’ Says CIA Boss in Regime Change Set Up (Ransom)

Democrats have invented their own WMD story to support regime change, as the head of the CIA warned about taking Russia’s nuclear capability too “lightly.” Speaking at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, CIA Director William Burns has said that in desperation Russian President Vladimir Putin could use a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine in order to try to reverse his battlefield mistakes. “Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” said Burns, according to Voice of America. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also warned about potential Putin use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.


Nina Khrushcheva, the great granddaughter to former Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev, echoed the comments but said it wasn’t a prediction of the use of nukes, but was just noting the potential is there for Putin to use nuclear weapons, said Newsweek. “Since there are questions about how far Russia can go to create victory, and nuclear weapons have been part of the conversation on both sides, Russian and the West, the tactical atomic option is potentially imaginable,” said Khrushcheva, a professor of International Affairs at The New School in New York City, a progressive hotbed.

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Let’s make it an even $30 billion. $3 billion is hardly enough to pay the bonuses at Raytheon this Christmas

Yet Another Huge Ukraine Arms Package As Total Military Aid Nears $3BN (ZH)

Coming off last week’s approved gargantuan $800 million military package for Ukraine, which the broader public and media seemed to not even bat an eye about (but quite the opposite: positively cheering it), what more is there for Biden to do except sign off on another massive weapons package for Kiev… “The Biden administration is preparing to announce another substantial military aid package for Ukraine this week,” NBC News cited five US officials to report Tuesday evening. “Three officials said the package is expected to be similar in size to the $800 million one the administration announced last week.” Biden previewed the new aid package by answering a simple “yes” when asked by a reporter whether Washington will send more artillery to Ukraine.

The new transfers are expected to include “tens of thousands more artillery rounds” – notes Bloomberg, and likely along with more anti-tank missiles, as has been consistently shipped stretching back even before Russia’s late February invasion kicked off. It appears to be the administration’s response to Moscow launching a ‘new phase’ in the war: a major force buildup and push to take the Donbas region from Ukraine, which the Kremlin reportedly wants to see fully accomplished by May 9, Victory Day, which commemorates the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. Without doubt these continual major weapons packages pledged to Ukraine will only push Russia and NATO into increasingly direct confrontation, given the Kremlin’s standing warning that it will target any inbound Western arms transfers.

Meanwhile, on Monday a senior Pentagon official told Reuters of plans to begin training Ukrainian forces on how to use American-supplied howitzers. It was described, however, that the training would occur outside Ukraine, likely in a neighboring friendly country like Poland. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed this week that so far the United States has successfully delivered new weapons to the Ukrainians on four flights – this as overall US aid pledged to Ukraine since Feb.24 has totaled about $2.6 billion and counting.

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“..the article was published at 10pm local time on the Friday of Easter weekend..”

Watch Out, Vlad! Here Comes the British Invasion (Tracey)

“You heard it here first”? Within less than 48 hours of publishing my previous article — aptly titled “The UK is Trying to Drag the US into World War III” — the most decisive evidence yet for the thesis conveniently emerged. This was thanks to The Times newspaper, which reported that British “boots on the ground” have been deployed to Ukraine. It’s the first time that the armed forces of any NATO member state were confirmed to be physically present inside Ukraine since the war started on February 24. If the UK Government really does aim to position itself at the “vanguard” of an escalating military intervention, in hopes that it can cajole the US into hotter and hotter warfare — as I reported in the previous article — then this seems like a pretty plausible way of going about it.


Is the US content to just sit around and let itself be one-upped by the British, who have now demonstrated their willingness to boldly send “boots on the ground” in defense of freedom and democracy? While the mighty US dithers impotently on the sidelines? Oddly, the response to the Times revelation has been conspicuously muted. At least from my vantage point here in London. And maybe that’s by design: the article was published at 10pm local time on the Friday of Easter weekend, and as I recently discovered, Easter weekend in England a big four-day Bank Holiday bash. So maybe the article was intentionally “buried” to dampen its effect — or maybe the timing was just an innocent coincidence. Either way, there’s been a curious lack of followup or even significant discussion in the days since the news broke. Maybe some inscrutable code of omertà reigns within the UK press corps? For all the problems with US media, it’s not quite as weirdly incestuous and insular as media in the UK.

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“We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.”

Russia Must Prepare For “Possible Aggressive Action” From NATO – Medvedev (ZH)

Following earlier this month both Finland and Sweden signaling their intent to join NATO, close Putin ally and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, has warned that the Western military alliance is engaged in a military buildup along Russia’s borders. “A senior Russian official said on Tuesday that NATO’s reinforcement of its borders with Russia was no longer a figure of speech and Moscow should be prepared for possible aggressive action, Russia’s TASS news agency reported,” according to Reuters. “NATO’s expansion near Russia’s borders is no longer a figure of speech or a set of threats, we must be prepared for aggressive action,” he said according to a translation. The fresh words follow Medvedev’s prior threats to position nuclear and hypersonic missiles along Russian’s western border in the scenario that Finland and Sweden join NATO.

The prospect of Finland, which is said to be studying the issue, joining the alliance is especially alarming for the Kremlin, given Russian and its Scandinavian neighbor share a 810-mile border. Sweden, though a little less important geographically, has already announced its intent to join the alliance. “There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” Medvedev said previously. But now on Tuesday, he’s heightened the rhetoric further by saying, “We are talking primarily about an attempt to expand NATO’s presence near our borders.” Medvedev stated further according to state-run TASS, based on a rush translation: “And this is no longer a figure of speech today, this is not a set of standard threats. We must be prepared for those aggressive actions that may happen.”

The thrust of his words were toward encouraging the rapid technological advance of the country’s defense capabilities amid the new ‘NATO threat’ – given the remarks were delivered before a national conference on science and education. He stressed that “it is important to build up, among other things, a system that allows you to provide the country with the most modern weapons.” “And this requires reliable, high-tech, powerful equipment – both military and dual-use,” the deputy head of the Security Council added, explaining that the situation did “not arise by itself, especially in those conditions when sanctions have been imposed on the country.”

Cement

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Westphalian Treaty, 1648.

“Russia, China have legitimate spheres of influence and this should be respected. This will involve an end to the gross provocations in the South China Sea and in Poland, Romania, and the Baltics, not to mention the ongoing series of colour revolutions.”

Two Cheers for Realism (Lee)

As the US and its vassals therefore prepare for war, its populations must be conditioned to believe and accept such an inevitable outcome. The propaganda machine has been stepped up to unprecedented levels. The message is simple. Our side = good, Their side = bad. Our side does good things, their side does bad things. Thus, the media – now an asset of the deep state – plays an essential role of propagating this political construction among the populations of the Anglo-Zionist heartlands. All of which is very reminiscent of Orwell’s short novel Animal Farm. After the Animal Revolution and the eviction of Jones the Farmer, the sheep were instructed by the ruling group – the pigs – into reciting the goodness of the animals and the badness of humans. The short and endless bleat of the sheep went as follows: ‘’Four legs good, two legs bad,’’ repeated endlessly.

That is about the level of western foreign policy. Good guys, bad guys, white hats, black hats, no compromise, no surrender. Result war. The question we must now ask is has this menacing process gone too far to go into reverse? This of course remains an open question. But the thrust of neo-conservative foreign policy would suggest this war would be a logical outcome. Either that or the whole thing is a bluff. Up to this point the US performance in attacking recalcitrant weak states has not been a roaring success. The same goes for Israel. Bombing countries with no air defence or shooting Palestinian kids with sniper rifles is easy-peasy. Taking on Iran is a different matter entirely. The irresistible force seems to be meeting its immovable object.

From a realist as opposed to a neo-conservative foreign policy the idea of an American world empire is frankly deranged. Pursuit of this pipedream can only result in mutually assured destruction; yes, M.A.D. still applies. The United States and its minions might not like it, but it will have to learn to live with other great powers. Russia, China have legitimate spheres of influence and this should be respected. This will involve an end to the gross provocations in the South China Sea and in Poland, Romania, and the Baltics, not to mention the ongoing series of colour revolutions.

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“These sociopathic characteristics include superficial charm, untruthfulness, absence of neurosis or anxiety, poverty of emotion, and a lack of remorse or shame. ”

Telling the COVID Good Guys from the Bad Guys (Hope)

Most recently, Elon Musk has stepped forward, offering to purchase Twitter and remove the censorship from the platform. This move would turn the tables on the Great Reset and restore the voice of the American public. Some are conflicted and see Musk as a potential bad guy due to his billionaire status and work developing technologies that could be used against the populace. However, upon closer inspection, one notices that Musk has been consistent in his views over the last two years. Musk was among the first to tweet about the potential benefits of using HCQ in early 2020. Musk’s position has not changed, while the opposition lies, waffles, and double talks.

In his first interview with Joe Rogan in May of 2020, Musk questioned the lockdowns’ wisdom and insisted that our freedoms should come first. He noted that our liberty and democracy had come at significant cost, and we should not allow them to be eroded so easily. Looking deeper at Musk, one realizes he is not a sociopath like so many other billionaires. Sixteen factors help identify a sociopath – according to the Cleckley Profile as set forth by Dr. Hervey M. Cleckley, the expert considered to be the Father of Psychopathy. He discussed these in his treatise, The Mask of Sanity. These sociopathic characteristics include superficial charm, untruthfulness, absence of neurosis or anxiety, poverty of emotion, and a lack of remorse or shame.

In short, they have cold, reptilian personalities and no conscience. Sociopaths have no anxiety and can often beat lie detector tests because their heart rates and blood pressure can remain stable under questioning that would phase most of us. While our leading health authorities and top vaccine billionaires easily qualify as sociopaths, Musk’s personality does not fit. He tears up at interviews to the extent the cameraman must stop filming; he exhibits great emotion when speaking about his childhood or challenges with his businesses.

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There goes the CDC.

Wall Street Now Paying Attention to the ‘Trust the Science’ Fraud – Dowd (Wolf)

As Pfizer try to ‘pump their stock’ Hedge Fund guru Dowd, takes us inside what he calls the third great fraud in his lifetime, in this new bombshell interview with Dr Naomi Wolf.

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Except, they’re giving the CDC more powers, no matter how badly it failed.

New CDC Center to Predict Pandemics, Provide ‘Outbreak Analytics’ (CSN)

On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced the launch of the CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Analysis (CFA) to predict future pandemics and guide the government’s efforts to address such anticipated infectious disease threats. A center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CFA will use “infectious disease modeling and analytics and to provide support to leaders at the federal, state, and local levels,” the CDC explains in its announcement. As “the equivalent of the National Weather Service for infectious diseases,” the CFA will “predict trends and guide decision-making,” the CDC says:

“CFA’s work will be focused into three main pillars: to predict, inform, and innovate. CFA has begun to build a world-class outbreak analytics team with experts across several disciplines to develop faster, richer evidence to predict trends and guide decision-making during emergencies.” According to the CFA website, the new center will also predict the future course of ongoing pandemics, in order to help public health officials to take preemptive measures: “The goal of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) is to enable timely, effective decision-making to improve outbreak response using data, modeling, and analytics.

“To do so, CFA will produce models and forecasts to characterize the state of an outbreak and its course, inform public health decision makers on potential consequences of deploying control measures, and support innovation to continuously improve the science of outbreak analytics and modeling.” CFA Science Director Marc Lipsitch, hopes to employ regular population sampling, by means like blood draws and swab tests, in order to collect data, the AP reports: “[T]he United Kingdom uses regular population sampling with swab tests and blood draws to get a clearer picture of who’s been infected, said Marc Lipsitch, the new center’s science director. He said similar sampling should be considered in the U.S.”

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“..a political DOJ has to wait for a political CDC to determine whether they still have any currency of influence..”

DOJ To Appeal Court Decision to Overturn Mask Mandate, if CDC Asks (CTH)

On one hand, Joe Biden needs to appease the base of his Covidians who identify themselves through the prism of COVID. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of Americans are done with the COVID fear mongering. What to do, what to do? Trying to split the baby, Biden’s DOJ announces it will appeal the federal court ruling that overturned the federal Transporation covid mask mandate, but only if the CDC tells them to. “DOJ PRESS RELEASE – […] “The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.” “If CDC concludes that a mandatory order remains necessary for the public’s health after that assessment, the Department of Justice will appeal the district court’s decision.”


Keep in mind, the federal court ruling specifically centered around the arbitrary nature of the original mandate, which exceeded the scope of CDC legal authority, compounded by the CDC breaking its own rules for public feedback in the implementation.The mandate created by Joe Biden did not have legal structure. It was a dictatorial fiat that exceeded the capacity of the executive branch to create. Congress could easily write a law authorizing mechanisms for the CDC and TSA to use in enforcement of a federal Transportation mask mandate; but they won’t – because the public would never support it. So now, a political DOJ has to wait for a political CDC to determine whether they still have any currency of influence amid the politics of COVID.

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Just demolish it.

CDC Removes All Countries From COVID-19 ‘Do Not Travel’ List (Reason)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its international travel recommendations on Monday, relaxing previous COVID-19 risk assessments.Previously, the CDC’s “Level 4” risk designation applied to destinations with “very high” levels of COVID-19 transmission. On Sunday, 89 countries and territories were listed in this category, with the CDC advising, “Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.” The agency has since named its highest risk category “Level 4: Special Circumstances/Do Not Travel” and removed all countries from it. In a statement last week, the CDC indicated it would reserve this designation for “special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse.”

The CDC’s next highest designation, “Level 3: COVID-19 High,” now includes 122 destinations and advises that travelers are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, but does not advise the fully vaccinated to avoid travel wholesale. Given that there are few places in the world where COVID-19 has not spread widely, it is becoming necessary for the individual traveler to determine his own risk tolerance. Safety does not simply depend on picking the country with no active COVID-19 cases, but rather on taking stock of your vaccination status, your preexisting conditions, and the medical infrastructure at your destination.

The CDC’s new advisory structure makes the point that not all areas with high COVID-19 transmission are irreconcilably dangerous to visit. As recently as Sunday, the CDC advised travelers to exercise the same level of COVID-related caution when visiting Norway and the Central African Republic; South Korea and Papua New Guinea; and Australia and Vietnam. It makes little sense to advise the same level of extreme medical caution across each of these nations, considering how vastly each country’s health capacities may differ. Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden are said to have some of the best health care in the world, but in terms of COVID contagion, the CDC considered them as risky to visit as Somalia, a country with only one surgeon for every 1 million people and a full COVID vaccination rate of just 8.5 percent.

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You will own nothing and you will be happy.

Treasury Bond Massacre, Mortgage Rates Hit 5.35%, and it’s Only April (WS)

The interesting thing is that no one at the Fed is trying to talk down those spikes in Treasury yields and mortgage rates. It shows that those yields are going where the Fed wants them to go, and that the Treasury market is coming around to the Fed’s rate-hike plan, and that those yields have a long ways to go, given that CPI inflation is 8.5%, a gigantic mess that has unfolded over the past 15 months, finally, after 12 years of money-printing. The two-year Treasury yield spiked by 15 basis points today to 2.61%, the highest since January 2019. This has been a huge move in just seven months. When the two-year yield goes over 2.83%, it will be in territory not seen since 2007, as the Treasury market begins to price in the Fed’s coming policy action to crack down on inflation:

Even the biggest doves at the Fed are now fully on board the rate-hike train, and it’s only a question of how fast and how long. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, one of the biggest doves, is “comfortable” with 25-basis-point hikes at every meeting this year (there are seven more), and even he is “open” to 50-basis-point hikes: “we want to be humble and nimble, and get to neutral before too long – maybe 50 helps, I’m open to that,” he said. The 10-year Treasury yield rose by 8 basis points to 2.93% at the close today, the highest since December 2018. The magic number there is 3.24%, beyond which yields are back in 2011 territory:

When yields rise, it means prices of those bonds fall, and prices fall the hardest of bonds with the longest remaining maturities. And it’s a massacre for people who invested in what they thought was a very conservative and prudent instrument, namely a bond fund tracking long-term Treasury securities, when in fact it turned out to be a highly risky wager on long-term Treasury yields always going lower forevermore. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF [TLT], which tracks an index of Treasury securities with at least 20 years of remaining maturities, dropped another 0.75% today, is down 19.5% year-to-date, and has plunged by 30.6% from the peak in August 2020, which was when long-term Treasury yields had hit historic lows, and which was – with hindsight – the moment the greatest bond-market bubble in US history began to implode:

Holy moly Mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate spiked to 5.35% today, the highest since 2009! This daily measure of mortgage rates by Mortgage News Daily had briefly hit 5.05% in November 2018, with inflation at or below the Fed’s target, and with markets tanking left and right, before the Fed made its infamous U-Turn, and mortgage rates dove. Now the Fed is just getting started, with inflation at 8.5%. There is no one that can persuade me that this jump in mortgage rates isn’t going to have a serious impact on the housing market. It’s the Fed’s way of getting the housing bubble under control before it tears up the financial system again:

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They’re getting lost in their own narratives.

Clinton Campaign: Fusion GPS Provided Legal Advice (Techno Fog)

The battle over documents and e-mails in the Michael Sussmann case just got hotter. Back in August 2017, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining how his firm was retained to gather “lots of facts about Donald Trump.” He admitted that Fusion GPS met with reporters leading up to the 2016 election to spread opposition research against then-candidate Trump. The context of Perkins Coie’s retention of Fusion GPS was further explained in a book co-authored by Simpson and Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch. They documented an April 20, 2016 meeting with Mark Elias (Perkins Coie partner and counsel for the DNC/Clinton Campaign), where Elias requested their services for opposition research.

Now the stories have changed. Fusion GPS is no longer an opposition research firm, and they weren’t hired to dig-up dirt against Trump. Instead, they would have you believe, after the phony dossier and the Alfa Bank hoax, that Fusion GPS was retained to provide legal advice to the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Remarkable. On April 6, Durham filed [a] motion to compel in the Michael Sussmann case, requesting the court require the production of “emails and attachments between and among” Perkins Coie, Rodney Joffe, and Fusion GPS. These emails and documents, according to Durham, “appear or involve or relate to” Fusion GPS’s provision of research and media services to Hillary for America, the DNC, and Perkins Coie. (Some documents had been produced pursuant to grand jury subpoenas dating back to the 2021.)

Faced with this pressure, today there was a flurry of filings from interested entities in the Sussmann case, seeking to intervene to petition the court to keep these emails and documents secret. The DNC, Rodney Joffe, Perkins Coie, and Hillary for America all filed motions to intervene and memorandums in opposition to Durham’s motion to compel. Notably, we saw arguments to the court that Fusion GPS wasn’t retained for opposition research. Hillary for America, for example, asserted “attorney-client privilege and work product protection over communications and work product of its attorneys (at Perkins Coie) and their consultant (Fusion GPS).” In support of that motion, Hillary for America included declarations from John Podesta, Robby Mook, and their attorney, Marc Elias. Declarations which contradict the public record.

To prove my point, John Podesta declared that to his knowledge, Perkins Coie has “consistently maintained” confidentiality, despite the fact that Perkins Coie (Sussmann in particular) assisted in distributing to the press the materials and allegations prepared by Fusion GPS and other researchers. Not to be outdone, Robby Mook (Hillary’s campaign manager) told the court that he believed that contractors for Perkins Coie – which would include Fusion GPS – were providing “legal services and legal advice” to the Clinton campaign. Unfortunately for Hillary for America, Mook’s belief is insufficient for the purposes of privilege. Clinton lawyer Mark Elias also submitted a declaration, stating the role of Fusion GPS was to “provide consulting services in support of the legal advice” Perkins Coie and Elias were providing their clients. This contradicts the Elias’s own statements cited above.

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“Taylor Lorenz is not the ultimate problem. The problem is news outlets and infotainment companies using their outsize power and vast budgets to harass and doxx private citizens they disagree with. ”

Taylor Lorenz Is Simply Following The New Rules Of Journalism (Miller)

Much has been said about Taylor Lorenz, the 30-something-year-old journalist for the Washington Post and former New York Times Slack channel gossipmonger. Still, her lack of media ethics is now unambiguous. On Tuesday, we learned about Lorenz’s doxxing of those behind a viral social media account she personally dislikes. Lorenz published a story on the popular “LibsofTikTok” Twitter account. This account curates and highlights content from the extreme fringes of the cultural and political Left on TikTok and other platforms. The account isn’t much different from the “Right Wing Watch” account on Twitter, which does mostly the same thing from a politically left perspective. The difference is simply who is protected by most of the media and who isn’t. That’s what much of the discourse around the public revealing of the person behind the LibsofTikTok account is missing.

Taylor Lorenz is what the media are now. In 2017, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski tracked down an anonymous Reddit user who had created a gif of President Donald Trump clotheslining a wrestler at a WWE event, with the CNN logo replacing the opposing wrestler’s head. CNN found this to be doxx-worthy simply because it was retweeted by Trump. In 2019, when a joke video of a “drunk” Nancy Pelosi (the creator simply reduced the speed of the video) spread around, Kevin Poulsen of the Daily Beast tracked down and doxxed the person who did it, revealing he is an ex-con living in the Bronx who was working as a forklift operator. These details were not newsworthy. The video itself was not newsworthy. But the Daily Beast published his name and employment anyway.

In 2018, HuffPost writer Luke O’Brien doxxed and revealed the identity of a pro-Trump Twitter user, including information regarding a popular Brooklyn deli that her siblings owned and was not related to her social media posts. The deli was soon threatened with boycotts and negative Yelp reviews. These are just three examples of what has become an industry standard. It’s a standard that now has some reporters comparing LibsofTikTok to Harvey Weinstein and the Watergate scandal. However, in singling out Taylor Lorenz, what the political Right doesn’t understand is this is about politics and shutting down opposing speech. That is to say, speech that Lorenz or Kaczynski or the Daily Beast are ideologically opposed to. Of course, this is also about media power.

CNN is a multibillion-dollar media conglomerate that used the full weight of its corporate power to threaten a private individual with a Reddit account. In a newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos, Lorenz publishes a story with an individual’s name, professional license, and address information. It’s a struggle between one of the richest, most powerful men on the Earth and someone behind a Twitter account with less than a million followers (although that follower count is almost certainly about to increase). Taylor Lorenz is not the ultimate problem. The problem is news outlets and infotainment companies using their outsize power and vast budgets to harass and doxx private citizens they disagree with. It’s a new journalistic model for an industry that sees its grip loosening on what news it can control and create (see the media freak-out over Elon Musk buying their favorite toy). Taylor Lorenz, for all her theatrics, is simply leading the charge.

Tucker Libs of TikTok

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gates Nov 2019

 

 

 

 

Ships waiting to dock in Shanghai.

 

 

NATO ad

 

 

 

 

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Apr 152022
 
 April 15, 2022  Posted by at 4:48 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  21 Responses »


William Sauro Yoko Ono and John Lennon, “War Is Over If You Want It,” Times Square, New York 1969

 

 

On February 24 2022, after either 30+ years, or 8 years, or 6 months, take your pick, of increasingly ominous and deadly provocation, Russian troops entered Ukraine territory. The very next day, February 25, the Russian forces were largely in position. The broader Ukrainian army had been bogged down in pockets, largely in the east, where military action had likely been planned vs the Donbass, and the Azov battalion that was their most aggressive part, was being squeezed into an even tighter spot.

That’s the story so far, really; not much has changed since then.

It’s also perhaps jut a starting point. Not for Ukraine, mind you, that goes back a very long time, during which it very rarely if ever was a “nation”, but the starting point for the Russian Special Military Operation – or war, or invasion, take your pick. That’s all. And I’m sorry I’ve been silent for most of it, other than through the daily Debt Rattle news aggregators, but that is not a coincidence.

All the time, I see every paper and TV channel trying to decide my opinion for me, and I don’t want to fall into that same trap. I want people to make up their own minds. And the news aggregators are a very good approach for that. But still… Here’s some MSM headlines that I think perhaps need more explaining. April 13, Guardian:

Joe Biden Accuses Vladimir Putin Of Committing Genocide In Ukraine

Joe Biden has accused Russia of carrying out genocide in Ukraine, saying that Vladimir Putin is “trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian”. Biden has been consistently outspoken in denouncing Russian wholesale killing of Ukrainian civilians, labelling Putin as a “war criminal” in mid-March. Multiple investigations are under way into Russian atrocities in Ukraine, which include the razing of Mariupol and the executions of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.


The prosecutor at the international criminal court in the Hague opened a case in February saying there was “a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Ukraine”. Proving a case under the 1948 Genocide Convention requires an “intent [by the accused] to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Biden first used the word in passing on Tuesday at a domestic policy event in Iowa about the use of ethanol in petrol. “Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” he said.

It should be obvious that 1/ There is no evidence of Russia committing anything close to a genocide, 2/ There is plenty evidence of the US, while Biden is/was Senator/VP/President, committing war crimes/genocide, and 3/ Very few people understand what the term genocide actually means, so Biden -and the media- can throw it around as a scary sounding word without risking being called on that. April 5, Greek Reporter:

Zelensky Tells Security Council that “Russians Killed for Pleasure”

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky showed the UN Security Council a harrowing video from Ukraine in an apparent attempt to embarrass Russia and rally international sympathy and support. The clip lasted about a minute and showed image after image of dead Ukrainians, including burned and disfigured bodies. Speaking to the Security Council for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, Zelensky reported Russian troops have killed civilians and raped women.


Zelensky’s comments follow his Monday visit to the town of Bucha, where the bodies of dead Ukrainian civilians were found. He claimed that in the town, people were shot in the street, their homes, thrown into wells, and crushed by tanks in the middle of the road “just for the pleasure” of the Russian soldiers. “The Russian military searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country,” he said, as Russia’s UN ambassador was looking on.

My first reaction when I saw this 10 days ago was: this is infantile. But that is what our conversation has fallen/sunk/degraded into. That’s what the clown/actor president got to say at the UN, and nobody raised an objection; indeed, so-called serious politicians applauded him for it. But it is Hannibal/Napoleon/Hitler/Putin eat babies territory. It’s medieval, except that the Brothers Grimm had more nuance and credibility in their tales then our modern media.

If you saw that headline, and you still thought/think Zelensky is a credible source for anything at all, you yourself have a major credibility issue. Zelensky disqualified himself right then and there when he said that (and repeated similar claims on 100 other occasions). But, you know, he’s a clown and an actor, so give him some leeway.. . Still, if Putin or anyone near him would accuse Ukrainian or NATO troops of “killing for pleasure”, what would be your reaction? On to April 10:

Putin’s Target Is ‘Entire European Project’, Says Zelenskiy

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Russia is targeting all of Europe with its aggression and that stopping the invasion of Ukraine is essential for the security of all democracies. Officials have said a grave with dozens of Ukrainians civilians was found in Buzova village near Kyiv, the latest such discovery as Russian forces retreat from their offensive on the capital and shift their assault to the east. In his late-night address to Ukrainians on Saturday, the Ukrainian president said Russian aggression “was not intended to be limited to Ukraine alone” and the “entire European project is a target for Russia”.

“That is why it is not just the moral duty of all democracies, all the forces of Europe, to support Ukraine’s desire for peace,” he said. “This is, in fact, a strategy of defence for every civilised state. “This will be a hard battle, we believe in this fight and our victory. We are ready to simultaneously fight and look for diplomatic ways to put an end to this war.” His address came as civilians continued to flee eastern parts of the country before an expected onslaught and firefighters searched for survivors in a northern town no longer occupied by Russian forces.

Zelenskiy thanked the leaders of Britain and Austria for their visits on Saturday to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and pledges of further support. He also thanked the European Commission president and Canada’s prime minister for a global fundraising event that brought in more than €10bn for Ukrainians who have fled their homes. Zelenskiy repeated his call for a complete embargo on Russian oil and gas, which he called the sources of Russia’s “self-confidence and impunity”. “Freedom does not have time to wait,” Zelenskiy said. “When tyranny begins its aggression against everything that keeps the peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately.”

There is no sign anywhere that Putin wants to attack the Entire European Project. None. He wants No Nato, No Nukes, and No Nazis in Ukraine. Russia does not have the power to invade all of Europe, nor does it want to. It wants the threat that Ukraine poses on its doorstep to dissolve. No nuke warheads in Ukraine. Step 1.

And what do we see? Sweden and Finland may now join NATO, and they, and Poland, may station nuke warheads on their territory. For hypersonic missiles, that are minutes from Moscow. Given that NATO has no functioning hypersonic missiles today, what would you do if you were Moscow? Wait till they do have them?

I found a better, more elaborate, version of this:

Before the war started, Zelenskyy refused an offer for peace. Russia required 3 things;
1) Water in Crimea: no water was destroying the economy there.
2) Minsk 2 imposed: peace for the people of Donbas, within Ukraine, but greater autonomy.
3) Ukraine to remain neutral: no NATO.

Zelenskyy actually increased the provocation against Russia in January 2022 by;
1) Intensifying the bombardment of Donbas
2) Threatening to retake Crimea
3) A group of Republican congressmen intended to introduce a bill declaring Ukraine a NATO-plus country.

More April 10:

US ‘Deeply Concerned’ At Report Of Mariupol Chemical Attack

The Azov battalion, which has been heavily involved in fighting in Mariupol and has strong ties to the far-right, wrote in a Telegram post that Russian forces had dropped “a poisonous substance of unknown origin” during a drone attack at the city’s large Azovstal metals plant. It said that its fighters had suffered minor injuries, including shortness of breath. One injured man described a “sweet-tasting” white smoke covering an area of the plant after an explosion. Another said he felt immediately unable to breathe and had collapsed with “cotton legs”.

The reported incident – which the BBC cannot independently verify – came hours after a spokesperson for the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic urged Russia to bring in “chemical forces” to the besieged south-eastern city. Eduard Basurin told Russian state TV the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol were entrenched at the Azovstal plant and that Russia should encircle it and “smoke out the moles”. Speaking on Monday night, President Volodymyr Zelensky said any use of chemical weapons would mark a “new stage of terror against Ukraine” and called on Western nations to arm his forces with the weapons needed to defend his country.

“Unfortunately, we are not getting as much as we need to end this war sooner,” Mr Zelensky said. “I am sure that we will get almost everything we need, but not only time is being lost. The lives of Ukrainians are being lost — lives that can no longer be returned.”

There have been tons of reports of Russian war crimes in Mariupol. Maternity ward, theater, arts academy, they keep on coming so fast no-one can fact check them. And that’s not a coincidence. But when the Azov battalion delivers the “news”, even the MSM inserts a few ifs and buts and maybes. The headline works for propaganda, but they don’t want to get caught in outright nonsense or lies. Yeah, well, way too late. you’ve been doing it for 50-odd days now. April 13:

Zelenskiy: War Will Become ‘Endless Bloodbath’ Without More Weapons

The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has released a new video in which he warns that the war will become an “endless bloodbath, spreading misery, suffering, and destruction” without additional weaponry. Speaking in English, Zelenskiy says Ukraine has been defending itself against Russia “much longer than the invaders planned”. But Russia still has the capacity to attack “not only against Ukraine”, Zelenskiy continues: Poland, Moldova, Romania, and the Baltic states will become the next targets if the freedom of Ukraine falls.


More weapons were needed to “save millions of Ukrainians as well as millions of Europeans”, he says: We need heavy artillery, armoured vehicles, air defence systems and combat aircraft. Zelenskiy concludes the video by saying: “Freedom must be armed better than tyranny. Western countries have everything to make it happen. The final victory over the tyranny and the number of people saved depends on them.”

We are all smart enough to understand that the opposite is true: the more weapons US/NATO delivers inside Ukraine, the longer the bloodbath will be. AND the Ukraine troops are stuck in pockets (cauldrons), so what can possibly be delivered to them? AND Russia will not continue to sit idly by while such deliveries are attempted. Russia simply wants Ukraine and US/NATO to recognize the reality February 24 created.

And agree that Ukraine cannot enter NATO on Russia’s doorstep, cannot have nuclear weapons, and cannot have (neo-) nazi troops decide its politics. When Zelensky signs for that on the dotted line, the Russians could be gone within days. Provided sufficient guarantees are given, which will require a substantial commitment by NATO as well. But it can surely be done.

 

About “War Is Over If You Want It,” do you think Zelensky and his handlers want it to be over? Well, other than in a total Russian defeat, which will not happen? Do you think US/NATO wants it to be over? Or would they maybe think it’s acceptable to see a few million more Ukrainians perish if that means a few billion in weapons can be sold? Do you think Russia wants it to be over? I think they would sign up yesterday if their demands are met.

And these demands are serious, it’s not like leaving behind a bunch of nazis is negotiable, or a halfway house towards NATO, or a few biolabs, or a nuke installation here and there. For the Russians all that must go to zero, or they would never have invaded.

Here’s thinking it’s up to you after all. “War Is Over If YOU Want It.” But you have just been through 2+ years of believing and following the leader with Covid, so which part is actually your opinion, and which part are you just parroting? Might be a good idea to make up your minds, and soon, because your leaders are itching to push a few consequential buttons, and make up your minds for you.

You may actually need to go into the streets to demand that this war be over. And you will have to do it without a mask on. Can you handle that?

 

 

 

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Jan 262022
 
 January 26, 2022  Posted by at 9:24 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  88 Responses »


Johannes Vermeer The soldier and the laughing girl 1657

 

Clinical Outcomes Among Patients With Omicron In Southern California (medRxiv)
Omicron Covid Strain Evolved In Mice – Chinese Study (RT)
Ivermectin: An Uncomfortable Truth (Uncut)
FDA Prohibits Florida From Using Monoclonal Antibody Treatments (PM)
Welcome to VEI Hell? (Denninger)
Expert Panel Backs Fourth COVID Vaccine Dose for Israelis 18 and Over
Thousands Needed To Try A New Covid Antiviral Treatment (BBC)
Patient Removed From Heart Transplant List For Being Unvaccinated (DM)
in praise of lawn darts (el gato)
The Neocons’ Primary War Tactic (Greenwald)
Let’s Not Have A War (Taibbi)
Russia May Not Be Poised To Invade Ukraine – Pentagon (RT)
Biden Approval Rating Tanks To New Low (NYP)
Assange Hearing Day Oh God It Never Ends (Murray)

 

 

Julian Nobel

 

 

 

 

Nun refuses vaccine

 

 

Malone: they’re not working

 

 

A Second Opinion

On January 24, 2022 Senator Ron Johnson invited a group of world renowned doctors and medical experts to the U.S. Senate to provide a different perspective on the global pandemic response, the current state of knowledge of early and hospital treatment, vaccine efficacy and safety, what went right, what went wrong, what should be done now, and what needs to be addressed long term. This 38 minute video highlights the 5-hour discussion.

 

 

Fair sized study: “52,297 cases with SGTF (Omicron) and 16,982 cases with non-SGTF (Delta [B.1.617.2]) infections..”

Omicron: 1 death, no mechanical ventilations.
Delta: 14 deaths, 11 mechanical ventilations.

Delta is some 45x deadlier?!

Clinical Outcomes Among Patients With Omicron In Southern California (medRxiv)

We analyzed clinical and epidemiologic data from cases testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection within the Kaiser Permanente Southern California healthcare system from November 30, 2021 to January 1, 2022, using S gene target failure (SGTF) as assessed by the ThermoFisher TaqPath ComboKit assay as a proxy for Omicron infection. We fit Cox proportional hazards models to compare time to any hospital admission and hospital admissions associated with new-onset respiratory symptoms, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, and mortality among cases with Omicron and Delta (non-SGTF) variant infections. We fit parametric competing risk models to compare lengths of hospital stay among admitted cases with Omicron and Delta variant infections.


[..] Our analyses included 52,297 cases with SGTF (Omicron) and 16,982 cases with non-SGTF (Delta [B.1.617.2]) infections, respectively. Hospital admissions occurred among 235 (0.5%) and 222 (1.3%) of cases with Omicron and Delta variant infections, respectively. Among cases first tested in outpatient settings, the adjusted hazard ratios for any subsequent hospital admission and symptomatic hospital admission associated with Omicron variant infection were 0.48 (0.36-0.64) and 0.47 (0.35-0.62), respectively. Rates of ICU admission and mortality after an outpatient positive test were 0.26 (0.10-0.73) and 0.09 (0.01-0.75) fold as high among cases with Omicron variant infection as compared to cases with Delta variant infection. Zero cases with Omicron variant infection received mechanical ventilation, as compared to 11 cases with Delta variant infections throughout the period of follow-up (two-sided p<0.001). Median duration of hospital stay was 3.4 (2.8-4.1) days shorter for hospitalized cases with Omicron variant infections as compared to hospitalized patients with Delta variant infections, reflecting a 69.6% (64.0-74.5%) reduction in hospital length of stay.

[..] Among patients with Omicron variant infections, 7 received intensive care (including 5 whose infections were first identified in outpatient settings), 1 died, and none received mechanical ventilation, as compared to 23 ICU-admitted patients, 14 deceased patients, and 11 ventilated patients among those with Delta variant infections. The observed number of patients meeting each of these endpoints was inadequate for multivariate analyses due to the absence of counts within multiple covariate strata. Unadjusted hazard ratios of ICU admission and mortality associated with Omicron variant infection were 0.26 (0.10-0.73) and 0.09 (0.01-0.75), respectively, among cases whose infections were first ascertained in outpatient settings. Additionally, the daily risk of mechanical ventilation among patients with Delta variant infections was significantly higher than among patients with Omicron variant infections (0.04 vs 0 per 1000 persondays at risk following a positive outpatient test; 2-sided p<0.001).

Read more …

Of Mice and Men.

Omicron Covid Strain Evolved In Mice – Chinese Study (RT)

The study into Omicron, published in the Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity, found that “coronavirus slowly accumulated mutations over time in mice” before the virus was then “transmitted back to humans by reverse zoonotic.” The research, led by Dr. Xu Jianguo, who works for the National Institute for Communicable Diseases Control and Prevention of China, has identified mice as the “most likely intermediate host.” Researchers established that the “mutations profile” of the strain “shows that the virus has adapted to infect the cells of mice.”


While scientists have established Omicron developed from a strain that circulated in mid-2020, they have been seeking an explanation for the lack of an intermediate version of Omicron within humans, raising the potential that it evolved within an animal. The discovery could “pose new challenges in the prevention and control of the epidemic,” as the risk of new Covid strains circulating within the animal kingdom creates added uncertainty in the fight against the virus. Proposing possible solutions to the issue of Covid strains circulating within non-human species, researchers called for greater “surveillance of animals, especially rodents,” due to their close proximity with humans.

Read more …

Tess Lawrie.

Ivermectin: An Uncomfortable Truth (Uncut)

The reported leak of United States Military documents, which appear to validate ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19, should re-ignite the debate over whether this well-established drug was buried in favour of new multi-billion-dollar experimental vaccines. The documents, authored by Marine Corps Major Joseph Murphy and obtained by the American organisation Project Veritas (projectveritas.com) contained this assessment: “Ivermectin, identified as a curative in April 2020, works throughout all phases of illness because it both inhibits viral replication and modulates the immune response.” Project Veritas claims Major Murphy’s report was for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and also included information that ivermectin and other drugs had been suppressed.


Accordingly, six Members of Congress have written to the US Secretaries of Defence and Health and Human Services stating: “Millions of Americans suffered as curatives were hidden for unknown reasons. To what extent, if any, was there any attempt to suppress potential curatives identified in Major Murphy’s report?” Watch this space. [..] These latest developments will resonate in the Georgian city of Bath, 3500 miles from Capitol Hill. It was in here, over Christmas 2020, that a highly respected scientist was confident – even elated – that a treatment for the virus had been identified. Little did Dr Tess Lawrie know that this would bring only rejection, frustration and mistrust within the science community. And in common with other leading scientists who questioned the ‘official’ Covid narrative, she received a suspension from Twitter, presumably under the blanket ‘spreading misinformation’.

Read more …

Who has what authority?

FDA Prohibits Florida From Using Monoclonal Antibody Treatments (PM)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closed Florida’s monoclonal antibody treatment sites on Monday after the federal government abruptly removed the treatments from Emergency Use Authorizations. The Florida Department of Health released a statement on Monday evening condemning the “abrupt” decision to take away treatments that can prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death in high-risk patients who have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19. “This evening, without any advanced notice, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revised the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)…The revised EUAs do not allow providers to administer these treatments within the United States,” the statement reads.

“Unfortunately, as a result of this abrupt decision made by the federal government, all monoclonal antibody state sites will be closed until further notice…Florida disagrees with the decision that blocks access to any available treatments in the absence of clinical evidence.” The FDA said Monday the antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly should no longer be used because the treatments are unlikely to be effective against the omicron variant, The Associated Press reports. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has heavily promoted antibody drug treatments as a signature part of his administration’s COVID-19 response, setting up infusion sites and lauding them at news conferences, while also encouraging Floridians to get vaccinated.

Last September, DeSantis slammed the Biden administration for withholding monoclonal antibody treatments from the state, telling Floridians that he will fight “come hell or high water” to get those treatments for his residents. DeSantis explained that when it became apparent that the treatment was working, the Biden administration took over control of the supply of Regeneron, one of the monoclonal antibody treatments, and cut Florida’s supply.

Read more …

“If you keep trying to play for another month or two of “protection” that is followed by six months of enhanced infectivity you are eventually going to lose on that dice roll..”

Welcome to VEI Hell? (Denninger)

Note that the Federal Government has just pulled the EUAs for monoclonals. These are drugs that are, effectively, the “final product in the body” of being jabbed. They know damn well what the risk is — not just that the drugs are worthless against Omicron but could end up boosting the infection, making it worse. Since these drugs are, basically, the product of the jabs the obvious risk that the same thing has or will happen with the jabs either with Omicron or what may evolve from it should be clear to anyone with an IQ greater than their shoe size. At present we do not know. Its possible that the negative effectiveness of the jabs will wear off. That would be excellent but it will only wear off if people stop taking jabs.

If you keep trying to play for another month or two of “protection” that is followed by six months of enhanced infectivity you are eventually going to lose on that dice roll and get screwed. Of course all the pharma CEOs (who’s primary purpose in life is to make money) plus the government agencies (who’s primary purpose in life at this point is to keep you from hanging them for conning you into doing something stupid) are telling you to play for that extra couple of months. At present we do not know and there is no way to find out for an extended period of time. Anyone who tells you they know any, say much less all of these things and thus can compute this out and make a recommendation based on a reasoned evaluation is lying. The first of these conditions is bad enough and over time we will learn more about it, but by then Omicron will likely be gone, having infected damn near everyone.

Omicron and the vaccine negative effectiveness against it, which is now in full evidence, is a warning. A warning that included a wildly lucky draw from the evolutionary deck in that materially less virulence in the lungs doesn’t provide much in the way of evolutionary advantage, never mind that the curious absence of visible precursors in public data, even though everyone has been looking for the last two years, strong suggests that it wasn’t an evolutionary accident at all in the first place. Whether the risk bucket for those who can get screwed will shrink to any material degree with time is not known. Only time with no more jabs will answer that question. Since coronaviruses have animal reservoirs the odds of this virus entirely disappearing approach zero. We can’t go back and un-jab those who did it. If what happened turns out to be a permanent enhancement in infective risk and the short straw comes up in evolution there’s nothing anyone can do about it now.

Read more …

“Helps” for two weeks?

Expert Panel Backs Fourth COVID Vaccine Dose for Israelis 18 and Over (Haaretz)

The expert panel advising the Health Ministry on the coronavirus recommended Tuesday offering a fourth shot to Israelis aged 18 and above, on condition that five months have passed since they received a third shot or recovered from the disease. The recommendation, which will expand Israel’s limited fourth vaccine rollout for Israelis above 60 and at-risk adults, still awaits approval by the Health Ministry director-general before implementation. The panel cited data showing that a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine given to people over 60 in Israel made them three times more resistant to serious illness than triple-vaccinated people in the same age group.

This figure is based on a comparison with people in the same age group who received a third dose at least four months earlier. The ministry said its analysis was based on statistics of some 400,000 people who had received a fourth shot and 600,000 who had received a third shot. Last week a study by Sheba Medical Center found that a fourth shot of the COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies to even higher levels than the third jab, but it likely is not enough to prevent omicron infections. The study, led by Prof. Gili Regev-Yochay, included 270 staffers who received the fourth dose and a control group of employees who were not given a second booster.

Prof. Regev-Yochay, who is not on the advisory panel which made the recent recommendation, criticized the decision and said that the number of young Israelis in “serious condition or on ECMO machines” is still low and that therefore offering a fourth shot to “young people is wrong.”

Read more …

First you licence it, then you do the trials.

Thousands Needed To Try A New Covid Antiviral Treatment (BBC)

Over-50s and younger adults with underlying health conditions are being urged to participate in a study of a life-saving treatment for Covid-19. The study is open to those who test positive for Covid and had symptoms develop in the previous five days. Volunteers will be given pills to take at home. The study will help decide how antiviral drugs will be used, Prof Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said. Health Secretary Sajid Javid asked everyone eligible to “step forward” and “help us to learn more about medicines which could save thousands of lives”.


Antivirals were “part of our approach as we learn to live with Covid, by preventing the most vulnerable from being hospitalised”, he said. The pill being used in the Panoramic trial is called Molnupiravir and is made by Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD). It was licensed by UK regulators in November after trials showed promising results at reducing the risk of serious illness or death. The study will give doctors an idea of the potential benefits to vaccinated patients – and help the NHS plan how the drug can be used. Launched in December, it already has 4,500 people signed up but needs 6,000 more as soon as possible.

Read more …

How does a hospital value a human life?

Patient Removed From Heart Transplant List For Being Unvaccinated (DM)

An unvaccinated and gravely ill 31-year-old father-of-two has been taken off the donor list for a heart transplant by a Boston hospital because he ‘does not believe’ in the COVID vaccine. DJ Ferguson, who has a hereditary heart condition that causes his lungs and heart to fill with blood and fluid, was denied the life-saving organ transplant by Boston Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The hospital said it removed Ferguson from the donor list because all transplant recipients need to get the vaccine in order to ‘create both the best chance for successful operation and also the patient’s survival after transplantation.’

However, Ferguson’s father, David, said getting vaccinated is ‘kind of against his basic principles’ and that his son ‘doesn’t believe in it.’ ‘I think my boy is fighting pretty damn courageously and he has integrity and principles he really believes in and that makes me respect him all the more… It’s his body. It’s his choice.’ The hospital, which has a list of protocols for transplant candidates that includes a ban on lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol, said requiring the COVID vaccine is common at many medical center’s throughout the country. The mortality rate for transplant recipients who fall ill with COVID is more than 20 percent, according to UCHealth.

‘It’s a policy they are enforcing and so because he won’t get the shot, they took him off the list of a heart transplant,’ David told CBS Boston. ‘My son has gone to the edge of death to stick to his guns and he’s been pushed to the limit.’ Ferguson’s family is considering transferring him to another hospital, but his wife said that he may be too weak to move. ‘At this point DJ is unable to leave the hospital until he gets the heart surgery he needs. Without the surgery his lungs and heart will continue to fill up with blood and fluid (on top of everything else that’s going on),’ said Ferguson’s wife, Heather Dawson, on Facebook.

Read more …

“..every game was taught to them by someone instead of invented..”

in praise of lawn darts (el gato)

we must be free to scrawl our own designs upon the world. we must face the difficulty of doing so, the responsibility for failure, the lessons of losing, and the triumphs of getting stuff right. that is the most important lesson in all of growing up. not piano or soccer or interpretive headstand watercolor painting and certainly not indoctrination into the grievance cults of wokedom: what must be learned is how to become self-governing. and it has been stolen from our children. it has been stolen by overbearing structure and supervision. every edge has been dulled, every pointy part wrapped in 4 layers of padding, every head helmeted, every scary image and idea painted over or hidden from view while every need, no matter how performative indulged.

everyone gets a trophy. we have taken from them not just the glories of doing it yourself and winning despite difficulty, but the actual skillset prerequisite to undertake such things. and that is the true damage. every game was taught to them by someone instead of invented. it was supervised by authority figures: parents, teachers, coaches, referees. disputes were resolved by these authority figures. and THAT is a serious, serious problem. system creation and dispute resolution are skills. they need to be learned, they need to be practiced. so does resilience. it’s stuff you have to figure out and grow into. a child of the 70’s would be shunned for the dire moral sin of “tattling.” it simply was not done. you rat the other kids out to an adult, you’re done here.

being the wussie kid was as low as low status got. sure, it’s tough. it can be nasty and unfair and everyone got bullied and beat up at some point. but, consider the alternative: every kid yells “MOM!” at the first sign of trouble and mom wades in and regulates. so no one ever learns anything except how to yell for help in more compelling fashion than the other kids. no one ever toughens up or gains the skills that allow independence. instead, they cultivate helplessness and stunted dependence. they do not learn to solve their own problems, they learn to rely upon authority figures to order and regulate their lives and engage in performative behavior to curry favor with the umpires. it’s a tattle tale arms race and it lasts a lifetime. he who tattles first usually wins and that’s a rotten incentive set.

then they go off to college and mom is no longer in yelling range. so they learn to yell “DEAN!” then they graduate and learn to yell “BOSS!” or “GOVERNMENT!” what choice do they have? they never learned to do this themselves, to handle and adapt to a plurality of views, to learn compromise and respect and conflict resolution. every disagreement is a threat you cannot assess or resolve. and so, you start to drown. worse, you start to adopted ever more absurd poses and positions to gain leverage in the “battle of tattle” and get to punch first or declare “no punchbacks.” we’ve all seen how THAT is going.

Read more …

“..in a bid to return to the driver’s seat of American foreign policy.”

The Neocons’ Primary War Tactic (Greenwald)

One of the most bizarre but important dynamics of Trump-era U.S. politics is that the most fanatical war-hungry neocons, who shaped Bush/Cheney militarism, have become the most popular pundits and thought leaders in American liberalism. They have not changed in the slightest — they are employing the same tactics they have always invoked, and for the same causes — but they have correctly perceived that their agenda is better served by migrating back to the Democratic Party which originally spawned their bloodthirsty ideology. The excuse offered by Democrats for their embrace of neocons — we did it only as a temporary coalition of convenience to oppose Trump — is false for many reasons.

This unholy alliance pre-dated Trump. In 2014 — long before anyone envisioned Trump descending down an escalator on his path to the White House — the journalist Jacob Heilbrunn wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled “The Next Act of the Neocons.” He predicted, correctly as it turned out, that “the neocons may be preparing a more brazen feat: aligning themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her nascent presidential campaign, in a bid to return to the driver’s seat of American foreign policy.” The corporate media outlets consumed most voraciously by liberals are filled to the brim with war-loving neocons. Liberals catapult their books to the top of best-seller lists, spread their viral tweets, build their credibility into contracts with CNN and NBC News or stints as columnists for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and giddily applaud their cover stories for The Atlantic and The New Yorker.

Bill Kristol’s frequent appearances on MSNBC are due to his high levels of popularity among its liberal audience. One of the most beloved hosts on that network is the former spokesperson of the Bush/Cheney White House and 2004 Bush campaign, Nicolle Wallace. The Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt went from producing commercials in 2002 accusing War on Terror critics of being on the side of Al Qaeda to wallowing in “generational wealth” from gullible liberal donors giddy over their similar Trump-era ads accusing their enemies of being Kremlin agents and traitors. Two of The Washington Post’s most popular-among-liberal columnists are Jennifer Rubin and supreme war advocate (from a safe distance for him and his family) Max Boot.

Security state officials like former CIA Director John Brennan, former Bush CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden, and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper became liberal TV stars with their endless accusations that various Trump supporters were unpatriotic and treasonous. And on and on and on. But perhaps the most influential and beloved pundit in U.S. liberal political life now is former Bush White House speechwriter David Frum, now at The Atlantic and CNN. His cover stories for that magazine warning that Trump is an unprecedented evil (which has the convenient benefit of absolving him and the rest of the D.C. establishment of all their past sins) were passed around and celebrated as if they were this generation’s Dead Sea scrolls.

Read more …

“..the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses…”

Let’s Not Have A War (Taibbi)

In 2013, Ukraine was proceeding down a path of integration into the E.U. Paul Manafort client Viktor Yanukovich, always described in America as an outright puppet of Moscow, was actually a proponent of Euro-integration at this point. “Yanukovich cajoled and bullied anyone who pushed for Ukraine to have closer ties to Russia” is how Reuters correspondent Liz Piper described his attitude, quoting him as saying to those wanting to go back to Russia’s arms, “Forget about it.. forever!” But Putin’s ferocious tactics, including intense economic and military threats, pushed Yanukovich to back out of the EU deal, and take instead an economic trade package with Russia that included $15 billion and the lowering by a third the price the country paid for natural gas from Russia.

This, in turn, spurred a Western response via the “Maidan revolution,” really a U.S.-backed coup, in which Yanukovich was replaced with someone more suitable to our foreign policy geniuses. “Yats is our guy” is how our current undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland put it, insisting that Arseniy Yatsenuk be Ukraine’s next leader, even though Ukrainians might have preferred former boxer Vitaly Klitschko. When apprised some of the E.U. countries were uncomfortable with a coup, Nuland famously said, “Fuck the E.U.” Forget gunboats, here was F-bomb diplomacy!

Putin responded by annexing Crimea, which in turn led to the moment when Barack Obama made his decision to drop the bluff and stop the escalation. His reasoning was simple: Ukraine was always going to matter more to Russia than to the United States, and when push came to shove, he, Obama, wasn’t going to war over it. Moreover, because the hawks in Washington would never come out and say they would, either – “If there’s somebody in this town that would claim that we would consider going to war with Russia over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, they should speak up and be very clear about it,” he challenged – the issue instead would keep being presented as an improper defiance of consensus:

“There’s a playbook in Washington that presidents are supposed to follow… And the playbook prescribes responses to different events, and these responses tend to be militarized responses… You are judged harshly if you don’t follow the playbook, even if there are good reasons.”

Read more …

Don’t tell Blinken.

Russia May Not Be Poised To Invade Ukraine – Pentagon (RT)

US officials appear to have backtracked on claims that Moscow could be on the verge of ordering an invasion of neighboring Ukraine, while warning that the risk of escalation remains high. Speaking to reporters at a press briefing on Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that “obviously we’re mindful of things that the Russians could do that would potentially give us indications of some sort of imminent incursion.” However, he went on, “we’re not there yet, but we are watching for those indicators very, very closely.” At the same time, the official reiterated Washington’s assertions that Russia is seeking to “threaten its neighbor further and potentially violate further Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”

“It’s very clear that the Russians have no intention right now of de-escalating,” Kirby went on, adding that Washington wants to deter Moscow from attacking. The Pentagon has placed around 8,500 troops on higher alert on Monday in response to the tensions in Eastern Europe, while NATO simultaneously announced that it had put more forces on standby and sent additional ships and jet fighters to the region. The US, UK, and Australian embassies in Kiev were advised to evacuate non-essential staff and family members over the weekend as NATO continues to accuse Russia of gearing up to invade its neighbor. Moscow has repeatedly denied planning to attack Ukraine, with the Kremlin insisting that it forces are no threat.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Alexey Danilov also appeared to downplay the risk of a larger conflict earlier this week. “As of today, we don’t see any grounds for statements about a full-scale offensive on our territory. It’s even physically impossible,” he said on Monday. Danilov added that Kiev was tracking the movement of Russian forces. “Maybe, [seeing Russian troops] is an oddity to our foreign partners who finally saw that there are Russian forces and they move a certain way,” Danilov said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky echoed a similar message in a televised address, urging the public not to panic. The comments come after US President Joe Biden warned during a press conference last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin could “move in,” adding that “he has to do something.”

Read more …

As long as Kamala polls even lower, 10% for the big guy.

Biden Approval Rating Tanks To New Low (NYP)

President Biden’s approval rating has tanked to a new low of just 39 percent as his administration contends with a number of domestic and global concerns, a new poll shows. The abysmal rating was derived from the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll that was shared exclusively with The Hill. “This is a new low for President Biden as he struggles to solve a myriad of issues,” pollster Mark Penn said, according to the report. The White House is grappling with soaring inflation, the pandemic, rising crime in big cities, an inability to pass signature legislation and an escalating situation overseas with a Russian threat to invade Ukraine.


The poll began computing Biden’s approval rating in March. The newest tally is six points less than Biden’s November rating of 45 percent. Just 18 percent of the 1,815 registered voters surveyed in the latest poll said they strongly approved of Biden’s work, the report said. 53 percent of those polled indicated they somewhat or strongly disapproved of the way the president is handling the job.

Read more …

“..the Supreme Court can refuse extradition on the one point now certified by the High Court”

Assange Hearing Day Oh God It Never Ends (Murray)

Now some of the appeal points which the High Court refused to certify as arguable and of general public interest, were important. One point was that the diplomatic assurances by the United States promised not to engage in certain illegal practices amounting to torture, but made that assurance conditional on Assange’s future behaviour. Now, legally prohibited treatment of prisoners does not become lawful if the prisoner does something wrong. That ought to have been a slam-dunk argument, even without the fact that the decision on Assange’s future behaviour would be made by precisely the same authorities who plotted to kidnap or murder him. All of which was not certified as an arguable point of law of general public interest.


What is certified and going forward is the simple question of whether the diplomatic assurances were received too late… By introducing them only at the appeal stage, the United States had evaded all scrutiny of their validity… This is very important, because it may be the screen behind which the British Establishment is sidling slowly towards the exit. ...the Supreme Court can refuse extradition on the one point now certified by the High Court, and it can be presented as nothing to do with anything bad about the USA and its governance, purely a technical matter of a missed deadline. Apologies all round, never mind old chap, and let’s get to the claret at Simpson’s. Can there really be an end in sight for Julian? Is the British Establishment quietly sidling to the exit?

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risch

Kheriaty

Berenson

 

 

 

 

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Aug 092021
 
 August 9, 2021  Posted by at 4:50 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Up Stories Evia 2021

 

 

The IPCC came out with another report today, which is a lead-in to another climate conference, this time in Glasgow in Oct-Nov 2021. All the headlines and reactions are exactly the same as they always are: There is no time to lose!, We have to act now!, but also: There is still hope! Since it’s all the same, I thought I’d repost an article from December 2015, ahead of the Paris conference named COP21. All I had to do was change the number and call this one not CON21 but CON26.

No, we’re not going to act in time, and no, there is no hope to halt the degradation of our planet. It’s all long baked into the cake, and if it wasn’t we’d still not stop it. We can do things as individuals but not as a group, let alone as a species. We cannot change our approach to the problems because we cannot change who we are.

 

 

I don’t know what makes me lose faith in mankind faster, the way we destroy our habitat through wanton random killing of everything alive, plants, animals and people, through pollution and climate change and blood-thirsty sheer stupidity, or if it is the way these things are being ‘protested’.

I’m certainly not a climate denier or anything like that, though I do think there are questions people gloss over very easily. And one of those questions has to be that of priorities. Is there anyone who has thought over whether the COP21 stage in Paris is the right one to target in protest, whatever shape it takes? Is there anyone who doesn’t think the ‘leaders’ are laughing out loud in -plush, fine wine and gourmet filled- private about the protests?

Protesters and other well-intended folk, from what I can see, are falling into the trap set for them: they are the frame to the picture in a political photo-op. They allow the ‘leaders’ to emanate the image that yes, there are protests and disagreements as everyone would expect, but that’s just a sign that people’s interests are properly presented, so all’s well.

COP21 is not a major event, that’s only what politicians and media make of it. In reality, it’s a mere showcase in which the protesters have been co-opted. They’re not in the director’s chair, they’re not even actors, they’re just extras.

I fully agree, and more than fully sympathize, with the notion of saving this planet before it’s too late. But I wouldn’t want to rely on a bunch of sociopaths to make it happen. There are children drowning every single day in the sea between Turkey and Greece, and the very same world leaders who are gathered in Paris are letting that happen. They have for a long time, without lifting a finger. And they’ve done worse -if that is possible-.

The only thing standing between the refugees and even greater and more lethal carnage are a wide, even confusingly so, array of volunteers, and the people of the Greek coastguard, who by now must be so traumatized from picking up little wide-eyed lifeless bodies from the water and the beaches, they’ll live the rest of their lives through sleepless nightmares.

Neither Obama nor Merkel nor Hollande will have those same nightmares. And let’s be honest, will you? You weren’t even there. And still, you guys are targeting a conference in Paris on climate change that features the exact same leaders that let babies drown with impunity. Drowned babies, climate change and warfare, these things all come from the same source. And you’re appealing to that very same source to stop climate change.

What on earth makes you think the leaders you appeal to would care about the climate when they can’t be bothered for a minute with people, and the conditions they live in, if they’re lucky enough to live at all? Why are you not instead protesting the preventable drownings of innocent children? Or is it that you think the climate is more important than human life? That perhaps one is a bigger issue than the other?

Moreover, the very same leaders that you for some reason expect to save the planet -which they won’t- don’t just let babies drown, they also, in the lands the refugees are fleeing, kill children and their parents on a daily basis with bombs and drones. Dozens, hundreds, if not thousands, every single day. That’s how much they care for a ‘healthy’ planet (how about we discuss what that actually is?).

And in the hallways of the CON21 conference they’ve been actively discussing plans to do more of the same, more killing, more war. Save the world, bombs away! That’s their view of the planet. And they’re supposed to save ‘the climate’?

There are a number of reasons why the CON21 conference will not move us one inch towards saving this planet. One of the biggest is outlined in just a few quoted words from a senior member of India’s delegation -nothing new, but a useful reminder.

India Opposes Deal To Phase Out Fossil Fuels By 2100

India would reject a deal to combat climate change that includes a pledge for the world to wean itself off fossil fuels this century, a senior official said, underlying the difficulties countries face in agreeing how to slow global warming.

India, the world’s third largest carbon emitter, is dependent on coal for most of its energy needs, and despite a pledge to expand solar and wind power has said its economy is too small and its people too poor to end use of the fossil fuel anytime soon. “It’s problematic for us to make that commitment at this point in time. It’s certainly a stumbling block (to a deal),” Ajay Mathur, a senior member of India’s negotiating team for Paris, told Reuters in an interview this week.


“The entire prosperity of the world has been built on cheap energy. And suddenly we are being forced into higher cost energy. That’s grossly unfair,” he said.

This means the ‘poorer’ countries, -by no means just India; China has 155 more coal plants in the pipeline despite their pollution levels moving ‘beyond index’-, the poorer counties won’t volunteer to lower their emissions unless richer nations lower theirs even a lot more. US per capita emissions are over 10 times higher than India’s, those of the EU six times. Ergo: Step 1: lower US emissions by 90%. It also means that richer nations won’t do this, because it would kill their economies.

Which, in case you haven’t noticed, are already doing very poorly, much worse than the media -let alone politicians- will tell you. In fact, the chances that the richer countries will ‘recover’ from the effects of their debt binge are about on par with those of renewable energy sources becoming cheaper than fossil fuels -barring subsidies. If only because producing them depends entirely on those same fossil fuels. All the rest of what you hear is just con.

The people of India obviously know it, and you might as well. It’s going to cost many trillions of dollars to replace even a halfway substantial part of our fossil energy use with renewables, and we already don’t have that kind of money today. We will have much less tomorrow.

Besides, despite all the talk of Big Oil turning into Big Energy, Shell et al are not energy companies, they’re oil -and gas- companies, and they’ll defend their (near) monopolies tooth and claw. Especially now that their market caps are sinking like so many stones. They have no money left to invest in anything, let alone an industry that’s not theirs. They lost some $250 billion in ‘value’ this week alone. They’re getting killed.

In the same vein, China can’t close more than a token few of its most polluting plants. China’s getting killed economically. And for all nations and corporations there’s one principle that trumps all: competitive advantage. If going ‘green’ means losing that, or even some of it, forget it. We won’t volunteer to go green if it makes us less rich.

And who do you think represents big oil -and the bankers that finance them- more than anyone else? Right, your same leaders again, who make you pay for the by now very extensive and expensive security details that keep them from having to face you. Just like they’re planning to make you pay dearly for the illusion of a world running on renewables.

Because that’s where the profit is: in the illusion.

Whatever makes most money is what will drive people’s, corporations’, and nations’ actions going forward. Saving energy and/or substituting energy sources is not what makes most money, and it will therefore not happen. Not on any meaningful scale, that is.

There will be attempts to force people to pay through the nose to soothe their consciences -which will be very profitable for those on the receiving end-, but people’s ability to pay for this is shrinking fast, so that won’t go anywhere.

The only thing that could help save this planet is for all westerners to reduce their energy use by 90%+, but, though it is theoretically and technically feasible, it won’t happen because the majority of us won’t give up even a part of our wealth, and the powers that be in today’s economies refuse to see their profits (re: power) and those of their backers go up in -ever hotter- air.

The current economic model depends on our profligate use of energy. A new economic model, then, you say? Good luck with that. The current one has left all political power with those who profit most from it. And besides, that’s a whole other problem, and a whole other issue to protest.

If you’re serious about wanting to save the planet, and I have no doubt you are, then I think you need to refocus. COP21 is not your thing, it’s not your stage. It’s your leaders’ stage, and your leaders are not your friends. They don’t even represent you either. The decisions that you want made will not be made there.

There will be lofty declarations loaded with targets for 2030, 2050 and 2100, and none of it will have any real value. Because none of the ‘leaders’ will be around to be held accountable when any of those dates will come to pass.

An imploding global economy may be your best shot at lowering emissions. But then again, it will lead to people burning anything they can get their hands on just to keep warm. Not a pretty prospect either. To be successful, we would need to abandon our current political and economic organizational structures, national governments and ‘up’, which select for the sociopaths that gather behind their heavy security details to decide on your future while gloating with glee in their power positions.

Better still, we should make it impossible for any single one of them to ever be elected to any important position ever again. For now, though, our political systems don’t select for those who care most for the world, or its children. We select for those who promise us the most wealth. And we’re willing to turn a blind eye to very many things to acquire that wealth and hold on to it.

The entire conference is just an exercise in “feel good”, on all sides. Is there anyone out there who really thinks the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson will do anything at all to stop this world from burning to the ground? You have any idea what their ecological footprints are?

Sometimes I think it’s the very ignorance of the protesting side that dooms this planet. There’s a huge profit-seeking sociopathic part of the equation, which has caused the problems in the first place, and there’s no serious counterweight in sight.

Having these oversized walking talking ego’s sign petitions and declarations they know they will never have to live up to is completely useless. Branson will still fly his planes, Gates will keep running his ultra-cooled server parks, and Obama and Merkel will make sure their economies churn out growth ahead of anything else. Every single country still demands growth. Whatever gains you make in terms of lower emissions will be nullified by that growth.

And in the hallways, ‘smart’ entrepreneurs stand ready to pocket a ‘smart’ profit from the alleged switch to clean energy. At the cost of you, the taxpayer. And you believe them, because you want to, and because it makes you feel good. And you don’t have the knowledge available to dispute their claims (hint: try thermodynamics).

You’re seeking the cooperation of people who let babies drown and who incessantly bomb the countries these babies and their families were seeking to escape.

I’m sorry, I know a lot of you have a lot of emotion invested in this, and it’s a good emotion, and you’re thinking this conference is really important and all, and our ‘last chance’ to save the planet. But you’ve been had, it’s as simple as that. And co-opted. And conned.

And it’s not the first time, either. All these conferences go the same way. To halt the demise of the planet, you can’t rely on the same people who cause it. Never works.

 

 

 

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Feb 022021
 
 February 2, 2021  Posted by at 1:21 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  22 Responses »


Roy Lichtenstein Woman With Flowered Hat 1963

 

 

Well, Dr. D is back again. You might want to sit down for this one.

 

 

Dr. D: In my last article I wrote about cows and hay and unrealistic estimates of production of the land. But surely that is all academic. What could possibly force Americans to once again eat by the sweat of their brow?

Insider military think tank Deagel.com. The think tank that in 2015 estimated the death of 200M Americans by 2025.

Deagel – Forecast 2025

The Great Reset; like the climate change, extinction rebellion, planetary crisis, green revolution, shale oil (…) hoaxes promoted by the system; is another attempt to slow down dramatically the consumption of natural resources and therefore extend the lifetime of the current system. It can be effective for awhile but finally won’t address the bottom-line problem and will only delay the inevitable. The core ruling elites hope to stay in power which is in effect the only thing that really worries them.


The collapse of the Western financial system – and ultimately the Western civilization – has been the major driver in the forecast along with a confluence of crisis with a devastating outcome. As COVID has proven Western societies embracing multiculturalism and extreme liberalism are unable to deal with any real hardship. The Spanish flu one century ago represented the death of 40-50 million people.

Today the world’s population is four times greater with air travel in full swing which is by definition a super spreader. The death casualties in today’s World would represent 160 to 200 million in relative terms but more likely 300-400 million taking into consideration the air travel factor that did not exist one century ago. So far, COVID death toll is roughly 1 million people. It is quite likely that the economic crisis due to the lockdowns will cause more deaths than the virus worldwide.

The Soviet system was less able to deliver goodies to the people than the Western one. Nevertheless Soviet society was more compact and resilient under an authoritarian regime. That in mind, the collapse of the Soviet system wiped out 10 percent of the population. The stark reality of diverse and multicultural Western societies is that a collapse will have a toll of 50 to 80 percent depending on several factors but in general terms the most diverse, multicultural, indebted and wealthy (highest standard of living) will suffer the highest toll.

The only glue that keeps united such aberrant collage from falling apart is overconsumption with heavy doses of bottomless degeneracy disguised as virtue. Nevertheless the widespread censorship, hate laws and contradictory signals mean that even that glue is not working any more. Not everybody has to die migration can also play a positive role in this.


We expected this situation to unfold and actually is unfolding right now with the November election triggering a major bomb if Trump is re-elected. If Biden is elected there will very bad consequences as well. There is a lot of bad blood in the Western societies and the protests, demonstrations, rioting and looting are only the first symptoms of what is coming. However a new trend is taking place overshadowing this one…

Six years ago the likelihood of a major war was tiny. Since then it has grown steadily and dramatically and today is by far the most likely major event in the 2020s. The ultimate conflict can come from two ways. A conventional conflict involving at least two major powers that escalates into an open nuclear war. …

If there is not a dramatic change of course the world is going to witness the first nuclear war. The Western block collapse may come before, during or after the war. It does not matter. A nuclear war is a game with billions of casualties and the collapse plays in the hundreds of millions.” – Deagel, September 25, 2020

Now clearly this is ridiculous. Even these new, revised estimates have population drop in the U.S. to 99 Million in 4 years.

 

 

So what do we see here? A catastrophic event that hurts only very specific nations, leaving nearby neighbors untouched or even improved. That is, not a climate event or asteroid strike. It hurts a few nations most specifically, that is, Britain, U.S., Germany, Israel, France, Australia, Italy, S. Korea, Saudi Arabia.

What do these nations all have in common? They are the Western Allies, and under the Western fiat central banking system. While India and Asia prosper most, conspicuous in the list is China and Russia, presumably the Axis in any new war. China takes a massive numbers hit, but a unimportant percentage hit. Russia is unmoved. That would seem to rule out wars of food, wars of money, and wars with Russia or in Europe.

What type of singular event can kill several billion people in just 4 years, leaving some nations erased and some nations untouched? Not economic wars. Not conventional wars.

That leaves nuclear and biological war, almost certainly a first-strike surprise war. Clearly this will not be with Russia, which would take more injury in a counter attack, so a first strike surprise war from China, perhaps via close proxy North Korea, as they are the only two Axis countries that (presumably) take any damage. They are counter-attacked, but weakly. Their own allies, in SE Asia, are unharmed. Australia is depopulated and easy to conquer. As is the United States, but not Canada or Mexico. Note if they attacked India they would be nuked again and open second front in a land war in Asia against an equal power, and China leaves them alone for this round, the presumed Deagel scenario.

Now what did I just tell you a few weeks ago?

If China doesn’t conquer and colonize the United States, they die.

That seems true for Australia, or at least corollary. Here’s the same phrase: If China DOES conquer and colonize the United States, WE die.

Now why would they do that? Their people are rioting with dissent, of increased expectations that have been capped. There are more riots and protests in China than anywhere on earth, both in percentage, and sheer numbers, and riot of 250,000 is rightfully identified as a mortal threat. There are no longer any food exports worldwide. The U.S. and to some extent Australia are the only ones. China is the net food importer, having everything else. If they do not solve their food and space problem, they – or rather the CCP – are overthrown and die. If the CCP can solve the food and space problem, they are heroes, stay in power, and prosper for a generation.

Is there any reason to believe China would undertake such a unprecedented, violent act? Well, when we ask if they would murder 70% of all Americans, they are presently erasing 70% of all Uighers who are their own citizens, and in the most brutal, appalling, and mercantile ways. Taking their property. Selling their slave labor. Harvesting their live organs. Selling their women to a man-heavy population thanks to an earlier wave of murder and genocide. So if they are happy to kill 70% of their own people – who they consider inferior, not being Han, and are proud to the world about the fact – how much easier is it to kill 70% of your major rival and solve all your problems for 100 years?

It’s your Lebensraum for a Socialist State-Corporate entity, totalitarian, race-based, using the fascio of combining government, industrial, and corporate power into one. There could hardly be any difference, and are along the same timeline as 1938. They are imprisoning their own people by ethnic origin and social-credit cooperation scores, then killing them for efficiency, while the West denies this is happening and refuses to prepare or respond, or in fact gleefully cooperates with open concentration camps, buying and selling cheap misery.

Surely this is slander, from a military-complex site selling military hardware and predictions. There is nothing from the Chinese to substantiate such an attack.

“A senior Chinese general has warned that his country could destroy hundreds of American cities if the two nations clash over Taiwan.” –The Guardian This week clashing over Taiwan as China has escalated buzzing Taiwanese and American ships and airspace.

In 2005 “Major General Zhu Shin Hu, Dean of the National Defense University, Speaking at a lecture, he said “War logic dictates that a weaker power needs to use maximum effort to defeat a stronger rival. If the Americans draw their missiles and position guided ammunition on to the target zone on Chinese territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.” And goes on to describe destroying hundreds of American cities in a nuclear war over Taiwan. 15 years ago.

=
Deputy Chief PLA Juang Won Kai, “ Americans should worry more about Los Angeles than Taipei. They will be using nuclear weapons in the Taiwan conflict.” Kai later was diplomat to the United States.

“20 years of the idyllic theme of ‘peace and development’ have come to an end, and concluded that modernization under the saber is the only option for China’s next phase. I also mention we have a vital stake overseas.”

More alarmingly, General Chi Houtian in a speech to the CCP before 2003, said, “in an online survey asking if Chinese would shoot at women, children, and prisoners of war, more than 80% answered in the affirmative. …The purpose of the survey is to…If China’s development will necessitate massive deaths in enemy countries, will our people endorse that scenario [and] be for…it?”

After highlighting the similar youth propaganda departments he says,

China is alarmingly similar to Germany back then. Both of them regard themselves as the most superior races; both of them have a history of being exploited by foreign powers and are therefore vindictive; both of them have the tradition of worshiping their own authorities; both of them feel they have seriously insufficient living space; both of them raise high the two banners of nationalism and socialism and label themselves as ‘national socialists’; both of them worship ‘one party, one state, one leader, one doctrine.’”


“We don’t have to worry about the labels of ‘totalitarianism’ or ‘dictatorship’. Whether we [the CCP] can forever represent the Chinese people depends on whether we can succeed in leading the Chinese people out of China. …Whether we can lead the Chinese people out of China is the most important determinant of the CCP”.

Lebensraum. Living space. Down the Silk Road. Expansion, conquest that – according to their own party and generals – is the only way the CCP leadership survives. Nationalist, hypermilitary expansion is the last hallmark of fascist regimes, a most grave one, as other nations therefore cannot entirely respect national boundaries and sovereignty.

How will they lead the Chinese out and conquer new lands?

“Once we open our doors, the profit-seeking western capitalists will invest capital and technology in China to assist our development so they can occupy the largest market in the world. …the most favorable environment for foreign capital, foreign technology, and advanced experience in China. …China’s economic expansion will inevitably come with significant development in our military forces, creating conditions for our expansion overseas. …China…is advancing into the world and has become unstoppable.”

“Solving the issue of America is key to solving all other issues. This makes it possible for us to have many people migrate there and establish another China under the CCP. …America was discovered by the yellow race [and] we are entitled to the possession of the land.

…The residents of the yellow race have a very low social status in the United States. We need to liberate them. After solving the ‘issue of America’, the western countries of Europe will bow to us , not to mention Japan, Taiwan…” – General Chi Haotain

Lebensraum. The master race. Liberating nations as a duty to their racial brothers. At the expense of inferior races.

“We must transcend conventions and restrictions. In history, [one] could not kill all the people in the conquered land because you could not kill people effectively [enough]. …Only by using special means to ‘clean up’ America will we be able to lead people there. This is the only choice left to us. It is not a matter of whether we are willing.


…What kind of special methods do we have to ‘clean up’ America? …We are not as foolish as to want to perish together with America by using nuclear weapons… There has been a rapid development in modern biological technology, and new bio-weapons have been developed one after the other. …We are capable of ‘cleaning up’ America all of a sudden. Lethal weapons that can eliminate mass populations of the enemy country.”

But it’s not all bad:

“From a humanitarian perspective, we should issue a warning to the American people and persuade them to leave America and leave the land to the Chinese people. Or they should at least leave half of America to be China’s colony…but if this strategy does not work, there is only one choice left…”

“That is, use decisive means to ‘clean up’ America in a moment. …Historical experience has been that as long as we make it happen, nobody in the world can do anything about us. Furthermore, if the United States as leader is gone, then our other enemies have to surrender to us.”

If the Americans do not die, then the Chinese have to die. If the Chinese are strapped to the land, a total societal collapse is bound to take place. …[Then] more than half the Chinese people will die, and that figure will be 800 million. …The Great Collapse will occur at any time and more than half the population will have to go. …The population can be reproduced. But if the Party falls, everything is gone, and forever gone.”

How very like our own Western leaders.

Cool story bro. I feel for your position. Now let me ask you a question: If you knew you were running out of food and space, why did you pave every rice paddy and poison every river? Wouldn’t you rather take 6 time zones of Russian lands which are lush, actually empty, and on your own border? And how ARE you out of space when the entire Gobi desert, or indeed much of north and western China, are as empty as the United States?

You might not have heard, but most of the United States was also considered a desert, a wasteland from Iowa to San Diego that would never be occupied by humankind, yet through hard work and imagination we created the innovation that has made our prosperity and our population possible. It only seems easy now, in hindsight, like some automatic miracle we didn’t deserve. Yet, in the most high-tech era ever recorded, I think no less of the power of men on the Silk Road or Mongolia.

So perhaps I’m asking: are you really sure you NEED to do this? Or is it just that America is big, rich, and shiny and you WANT to do this? You WANT to do to Americans what you do to the Uighurs. Because I strongly suspect the latter.

The specifics of their plan was revealed elsewhere, the “1, 3, 5, 7, 9 Plan”
1 Create a bioweapon
3 Make it available in three years (from 2017)
5 Insure effectiveness for 5 years.
7 Paralyze the 7 Western countries including Japan and India.
9 Release vaccines 9 months later to blackmail the world.

Now, is that the plan that was just attempted in 2019? Or was that a beta test for a real, upcoming attack? Was this genocide deflected, the payload of the “China Virus”, hollowed out, only narrowly missed? Or is that mere slander? Do we know? Can we tell?

The West of course would fight such an attack. In 1994, in a world conference in San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel including H. Bush and M. Thatcher, Xin He reported, “The outstanding people of the world attendance thought that in the 21st century a mere 20% of the world’s population would be adequate to maintain the world’s economy and prosperity. The other 80% will be human garbage, unable to produce…high-tech means should be used to eliminate them gradually .”

That also sounds like our Western leaders.

Remember “Event 201”, promoted by these very same ‘outstanding people’? “ In the simulation, the virus infected the globe within six months, and killed 65 million people, triggering a global financial crisis. All of this took place just months before COVID-19 emerged.” Gee that sounds familiar. Good timing too. So good it almost defies credulity.

This goes along with the long-held rumor that the U.S. was planned and positioned to be in a war and to lose it. Many aspects, from causing unnecessary and unusual internal strife, to the complete erasure of our manufacturing and production – except for food – as well as our sale or loss of most military secrets to China, support such a hypothesis. Then there is the open exposure of Chinese agents with Feinstein for 20 years, and Swalwell, both of whom were on high-level committees.

Worse, when this was exposed, nothing was done, hinting at a much deeper level of capture, where some agents and proxies appear to be clearly covering and supporting other Chinese proxies against the interests of the people of the United States. They do not explain how they thought it remotely possible that with 20% of the population they could defend a rich, empty, unproductive West from complete, inevitable Chinese conquest. Perhaps China did not remind them.

The problem could be, it probably is, far deeper, harder, graver, and wider than we on the outside can contemplate. While I disagree – for in a democracy the people must be informed to make hard, informed decisions – we can see that many times the attempt has been made to inform people, and the facts are widely and regularly rebuffed and rejected. If you started here, where I have, the general population would say you were simply being political, ginning up for more war profits, or are simply lying and making it up simply because they haven’t heard it before. The truth has been intentionally withheld in favor of colored trinkets for 40 years. All attempts to prevent it have been shot down. That isn’t reversed in a day.

Now I’m not saying Deagel is right. Already they’ve had to update their 2015 prediction. However, we can infer from this that the present situation is far more complicated than cartoon. Far deeper and more grave than Twitter. It transcends one man, one party, or even one generation. And can help illuminate why certain positions, certain actions, certain reactions, and certain IN-actions, may have happened right now.

While I don’t personally feel this is our future, I do believe the situation as described is entirely true. There are such opinions and such plans and such weapons. Therefore it should be dealt with in our own lives, and in the actions of our country, in the firm, defensive preparations that Americans are known for. Regardless of such a war, which should naturally be avoided, a number of other responses are indicated:

1) Remove as much reliance on China as possible without crippling them either. We already learned we do not have medicines, masks, rare earths, or semiconductors here, as well as learning their steel and raw materials may be intentionally substandard and undermining. This especially includes communications infrastructure.

2) Our own nation needs much attention and support with the re-opening of our own parallel manufacturing that must also be dispersed so as not to be a single target for destruction or capture.

3) The U.S. Dollar and financial system is wholly established on financeering and imports. This comes from the too-high dollar and world reserve currency that necessitates the destruction of internal production and complete hollowing of business, culture, politics, psychology, society, and morality. Yet its reversal and replacement will be extremely disruptive, and the loss of the reserve currency will quite suddenly drop us from emperor to peer. Nevertheless, this can not be delayed or avoided.

4) The U.S. Military, with the loss of the reserve currency, must retreat home, and therefore needs to re-tool and re-position rapidly to a defensive role, while still maintaining the overwhelming deterrent effect on China, and helping allies – thus preventing China from taking over the world nation-by-nation. Defense is enormously cheaper and easier, and as an ally, not an empire, our position would be far easier and more supported. This published reality may cause other nations to take more action than we could alone. While at home we may follow the Swiss model of having every man capable of arms and the materials secretly cached and available in each town.

5) While we may not have to come back to God to have the internal sense of equality, justice, morality, and enthusiasm for self-denial and hardship this will require, historically nothing else has sufficed for the righting of the ship and return to a forgiving, cohesive unity, and not weakening, atomized discord.

6) Along with our own ports, canals, rivers, grids, and mines, we need to maintain our own food production and distribution, and counter-intuitively sell it to our own rival or enemy. First, cutting off food must cause a certain war just as the embargo of Japanese oil did in 1940. Second, and not innocently, food is a major export we already have when we are no longer an importer of exorbitant privilege. Not less, as equals, we can always promote ourselves as being a friend and thereby encourage our rivals to pass through where they are or what plans they may have in favor of a stable peace that advantages all. Or else, like Switzerland, we must be certain to communicate we will most assuredly make them wish they had for their plans will not succeed.

7) We must recognize that such weapons are a reality now that cannot be reversed but must be accounted for and avoided with new strategies and new consciousness that does not require gain at the expense of others. The experience of the U.S. in making deserts bloom with the simplest tools is a good example.

Now these are easily supported by all Americans, all except the very few who are profiting by the existing system. So should there be a war or no war, with China or no China, all these responses are good for the country, the individual, and the world.

They are also workable in our own lives. As we’ve seen recently with massive, unpredictable, and longstanding supply disruptions that are only cured with more local production, smaller businesses, and local food. We see how having far more preparation, far more resiliency, far more local support, are important, both in hardship, but in our daily lives as well. Producing more, with more meaning, and consuming less, but better, are the only ways we can exit both this peril, and our own national failings at home.

 

 

 

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Jan 252021
 
 January 25, 2021  Posted by at 4:14 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  18 Responses »


Ary Scheffer Faust in his Study c1840

 

 

The essence of the story of Faust is simple: He is a man who sells his -future- soul to the devil in return for short term gain, for riches “now”. But years later, the devil comes to collect his prize.

Here’s a modern allegory.

 

In 2015 -or thereabouts- many of the mainstream media (MSM) outlets were facing dire times. Social media were taking over much of their readers’ attention, their ad revenue plummeted, and they didn’t have big stories to tell that would revert that trend. Things did not look good for the survival of CNN, New York Times or MSNBC. The Washington Post suffered the same problems, but they were owned by the world’s richest man.

And then the salvation presented itself on their doorstep in the form of Donald Trump. It’s not something they planned for, it just happened; it even took them a while to figure it out, but once they did, they went for it headfirst and all-in. How could they not? They were dying. Their finance departments told them anything negative about Trump was selling like hotcakes. And Trump willingly added to the fire.

The MSM made a Faustian pact with the devil (through his messenger Mephistopheles) for survival. And that devil was not Donald Trump, they never signed a deal with him, the devil disguised himself in the shape of clickbait, which very much has the devil’s signature, since it required them to do their “reporting” based on promoting hatred, conflict, division, anger, negativity, bitterness, resentment. All of which sells. Like nothing else. You don’t get people’s attention with happy stories, you get it by making them angry.

 

Not that the devil didn’t appreciate, and promote, the fact that they presented Trump as him, mind you. Indeed, disguise is the best trick of all, because it makes people fail to recognize him. But yes, you have to wonder when the devil will come for his payment, when he will come for their souls, as he comes for Dr. Faust’s in the original story. Because they’ve sold them alright, they traded their future souls for riches in the present.

Not that anyone would ever acknowledge that while they do. Faust is just a metaphor, an allegory, after all. But even if they don’t, we still can. And they’re not going to stop doing it. They will come after Trump with all they can think of, because for now, he’s still their meal ticket.

So there will be much attention for the next impeachment attempt, which may be the first one that tries to impeach someone who’s already left office, and they’ll bleed it for all they got, aided and abetted by the Democratic party. There will be a ton of lawsuits as well, Trump will be dragged from courtroom to courtroom. They all smell blood in the water. They want him humiliated, they want him bankrupt. And above all, they desperately want clickbait.

They’ll go after all other Republicans they can as well, and the ones who once supported Trump are easy pickings. They won’t stop until there’s no GOP left. Yeah, yeah, the spoils of war and all that. There’s something to say for leaving a system intact that at least appears to allow room for more than one point of view, but, you know, feeding frenzy.

The Dems, while clamoring for diversity, intend to leave only those people standing who agree with their ideas, so in reality that diversity only refers to skin color, gender, sexual orientation. Not to what you think. Y’all have to think what they do, or else. Not that they themselves all think the same, mind you, there’s miles between Biden and AOC, Hillary and Kamala, but you’ll be told about that later. First, the division.

Praising Biden will work for a little while, but only as long as you can compare him favorably to Trump. Once Trump exists stage left, there will be an enormous void that none of the parties involved, the Dems, the media, US intelligence, know how to fill. And that’s where things will get dangerous. What will they feed their clickbait hunger with? War? Russia, China, Syria, Iran?

 

The easy part: the media can lock themselves up in their echo chambers, provided they tempt enough people to go with them. Clickbait made sure they did. The hard part: they lost half their potential audience. But clickbait made sure the half they still had, paid three times as much attention. The hardest part: the MSM will no longer be seen as reliable news sources, or reliable only for half the population. How do they regain that audience?

They can’t turn on Biden, or Kamala, or Obama or HIllary. Those are all part of the deal that brought us Russiagate, Mueller, the Steele dossier and impeachment 1.0. All entirely empty hollow stories, ergo: ideal for generating clickbait. So who will they turn on once they’re done with Trump? They can’t risk creating sympathy with the Donald either, so making him the underdog is risky.

 

If we follow the Faust analogy, the obvious question becomes: how are the media going to save their souls? Interestingly, there are different versions of the story. The original German folk legend is from about 1500. The first written version, from Shakespeare contemporary Christopher Marlowe (some say Marlowe IS Shakespeare), from about 1600, Goethe’s Faust from 1800. “In the early tales, Faust is irrevocably corrupted and believes his sins cannot be forgiven; when the term ends, the Devil carries him off to Hell.”

But Goethe changed this. His Faust “ends with the titular character evading damnation and finding redemption in God’s grace and love for other people, with Mephistopheles losing his hope of attaining Faust’s soul. Ultimately, Faust goes to Heaven, for he loses only half of the bet. Angels, who arrive as messengers of divine mercy, declare at the end of Act V: “He who strives on and lives to strive / Can earn redemption still” (V, 11936–7).”

It is Gretchen, a young girl “debased” by Faust, whose purity and forgiveness ultimately salvages him. In the context, it is suggested she perhaps stands for all of womanhood. We’re in an allegory, after all. Ergo, the media will have to earn redemption “through God’s grace, divine mercy and their love for other people.” And whatever that may be, it sure sounds like the opposite of clickbait. Or the devil will come to carry them off into Hell. And all this time they made you believe it was Trump who was Mephistopheles.

It will be interesting to watch. How will they save their souls, their integrity, their credibility, their revenue? Or will they be dragged into Hell never to be heard from again?

Selling your soul, your integrity, never comes cheap. The MSM are about to find that out, as are the social media giants who pretend to have the authority to decide who can speak and who must be silenced in a world that until recently hailed free speech.

Or we can just lose it all, and obey our new masters. Mephistopheles would be so delighted if we do.

 

 

 

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Jul 252019
 
 July 25, 2019  Posted by at 1:43 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  4 Responses »


Salvador Dali The knight of death 1934

 

 

Another article from Alexander Aston, from whom I published among other things the series Quantum, Dada and Jazz this past November.

 

 

“Dulce et Decorum est” is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I, and published posthumously in 1920. The Latin title is taken from Ode 3.2 of the Roman poet Horace and means “it is sweet and fitting …”. It is followed there by “pro patria mori”, which means “to die for one’s country”.

 

 

“The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendour never to be seen again.”

– Barbara W. Tuchman, The Guns of August

 

Alexander Aston: If you have not read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August you should do so, it is one of the great, accessible works of history. Tuchman details with great clarity the diplomatic failures, miscalculations and political logics that ensnared the imperial powers of Europe into the cataclysm of the Great War. It was the book that Kennedy drew upon when navigating the Cuban missile crisis. Just over a century since the guns fell silent in Europe, and nearly fifty years since nuclear holocaust was averted, the world is teetering on what might very well be the largest regional, potentially global, conflict since the second world war.

The United States is a warfare economy, its primary export is violence and it is through violence that it creates the demand for its products. The markets of the Empire are the failed states, grinding civil conflicts, escalating regional tensions and human immiseration created by gun-boat diplomacy. In true entrepreneurial spirit, the United States has repeatedly overestimated its abilities to control the course of events and underestimated the complexities of a market predicated on violence. However, since the beginning of the twenty-first century the American Imperium has proven itself as incompetent as it is vicious. After nearly two decades of intensifying conflicts, a fundamentally broken global economy and a dysfunctional political system, Washington has turned feral, lashing out against decline.

The points of instability in the global system are various and growing, and the only geo-political logics that the Imperium appears to be operating under are threats, coercion, and violence. It is at this moment, with the most erratic president in the country’s history, surrounded by some of the most extreme neo-conservative voices, that the United States has been belligerently stumbling across the globe. In the past few months we have witnessed a surrealistic reimagining of the Latin American coup, the medieval melodrama of Canadian vassals taking a royal hostage from the Middle Kingdom and British buccaneers’ privateering off the coast of Gibraltar. The Imperial system is in a paroxysm of incoherent but sustained aggression.

 

It has long been clear that if another Great War were to emerge, it would likely begin in the Middle East. Just over a century later, we have found ourselves amidst another July crisis of escalating military and diplomatic confrontations. European modernity immolated itself in the Balkans though miscalculation, overconfidence and the prisoners dilemma of national prestige. The conditions of the contemporary Middle East are no less volatile than those of Europe when the Austro-Hungarian Empire decided to attack Serbia. If anything, conditions are far more complex in a region entangled with allegiances and enmities that transgress and supersede the national borders imposed in the wake of the first world war.

The United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA and the stated aim of reducing Iranian oil exports to zero has enforced a zero-sum logic between the American Imperium and Persia. With each move and counter move the two countries are further entangled into the dynamics of a conflict. Much like the run up to July 28th 1914, tanker seizures, drone shoot downs, sanctions, military deployments and general bellicosity reinforce the rational of the opposing sides and make it harder to back down without losing face and appearing weak.

Due to the asymmetry of the two powers the Iranians have the fewest options for de-escalation while the American establishment perceives the least incentive. This dynamic is further exacerbated by major regional powers agitating for a conflict they believe they will benefit from. Indeed, the slide to war might be inexorable at this point, the momentum of historical causality may have already exceeded the abilities of those in power to control. Czar Nicholas and Kaiser Wilhelm were cousins that desperately wanted to avoid war and were nonetheless impotent to avert disaster. There is nowhere near such intimacy, communication and motivation in our current context.

If war with Iran erupts, the Pax Americana will come to an end and humanity will fully enter a new historical epoch. The most unlikely scenario is an easy victory for the United States, yet even this outcome will only exacerbate the decline of the Empire. The other great powers would expedite their exit from the dollar system and drastically increase investment into the means to counter American hegemony. Likewise, victory would further reinforce Washington’s hubris, generating more serious challenges to the Imperial order and making the US prone to take on even bigger fights. Ironically, easy military success would almost assure the outbreak of a third world war in the long-term.

 

War with Iran would likely ignite violence in Israel-Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, re-energise and expand the ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen as well as generate sectarian violence and domestic insurgencies across the Middle East. Under such conditions regional actors would likely utilise a dramatically intensifying conflict as cover for their own agendas, for example with a renewed Turkish assault on the Syrian Kurds. The conditions for rapid escalation are extremely high in which non-linear dynamics could easily take hold and quickly outstrip any attempts to maintain control of the situation.

Pyrrhic victory for either side is the most likely outcome, making the parallels to the Great War all the more salient. Global conflagration is a possibility, but with “luck” the fighting could be contained to the region. Nonetheless, amplified refugee crises, supply chain disruptions and immense geopolitical realignments will cascade out of such an event. Undoubtedly, there would be concerted efforts to abandon the dollar system as quickly as possible. Furthermore, rapid increases in the price of oil would all but grind the global economy to a halt within a matter of months, tipping citizenries already saturated with private debt into financial crises.

Furthermore, the entanglement of the military-industrial complex, the petrodollar reserve currency system and the omni-bubble generated by quantitative easing has left the Empire systemically fragile. Particularly, the bubble in non-conventional fuels precipitated by QE, depressed oil prices with scaled down exploration, R&D and maintenance makes the possibility of a self-reinforcing collapse in the American energy and financial systems extremely plausible. It is a Gordian knot which war with Persia would leave in fetters.

The most likely long-term outcome of a war with Iran would be the economic isolation and political fragmentation of the United States. What is assured is that whatever world results it will not look anything like the world since 1945. The first world war collapsed the European world system, dynasties that had persisted for centuries were left in ruins and the surviving great powers crippled by the overwhelming expenditures of blood and treasure. We are on the precipice of another such moment. The American world system is fundamentally dependent upon the relationship between warfare, energy dominance and debt.

 

Conflict is required to maintain control of the energy markets which prop up a financialised economy. A dynamic that puts the nation deeper in hock while amplifying resistance to financial vassalage. Losing energy dominance undermines the country’s reserve currency status and weakens the Empires ability to generate the debt necessary to sustain the warfare economy. Likewise, the system of national and international debt peonage parasitizes global populations to work against their own best interests. This fuels resentment and resistance which further drives the warfare economy. It is, in the inimitably American expression, a “self-licking ice cream cone.”

On August 3rd 1914, one week into the war, the British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey famously remarked that “the lamps are going out across Europe and we shall not see them relit in our lifetime.” At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we face similar, terrifying prospects. Indeed, we could witness the collapse of democratic societies for a very long time to come. If we have any hope of averting calamity we need to generate loud opposition to imperialist warfare.

This does not mean some hackneyed anti-war movement based on past glories and the parochialism of domestic politics, but earnest effort to find common cause in resisting the insanity of those that seek profit in our collective suffering. This means working with people that we have very deep disagreements with by respecting our mutual opposition to the masters of war. It also means serious commitment to strategies such as tax and debt strikes as expressions of non-consent as well as other peaceful means of direct action. Indeed, it is from a place of agreement that we can potentially rebuild civil discourse and renew our trust in the ability of democratic institutions to mediate our quarrels. Perhaps it is too late to change course, but how sweet and fitting it is to face madness with dignity.

 

“What is the cause of historical events? Power. What is power? …power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand. ”

“Kings are the slaves of history.”

– Tolstoy, War and Peace

 

 

Just a thought from Beau of the Fifth Column:

 

 

Dulce et Decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

 

 

Alexander Aston is a doctoral candidate in archaeology at the University of Oxford and is on the board of directors with the Centre for Cognitive Archaeology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. He has prior degrees in philosophy and history. His work lays at the intersection of Cognitive Archaeology, Deep History and Natural Philosophy, examining the relationship between ecology, material culture and social cognition. Alexander grew up between Zimbabwe, Greece and the United States.

 

 

 

 

Jun 212019
 


Pablo Picasso La guerre 1951

 

Trump Approved Strikes On Iran But Cancelled Them: Reports (AlJ)
The Drone Iran Shot Down Was a $220 Million Surveillance Monster (W.)
The Real Meaning Of Trump’s Deplorable Aggression Against Iran (Stockman)
Senate Blocks Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia In Bipartisan Trump Rebuke (ZH)
More Spent On S&P 500 Buybacks Than All 2018 R&D (Axios)
China Concerned Over Possible US Dollar Shortage Risk (SCMP)
US Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education (F.)
Bring on Higher Oil Prices: They’ll Boost the US Economy (WS)
Defiant Italy Urges Changes To EU Rules (R.)
UK Will Be ‘Diminished’ After Brexit – Dutch PM Rutte (Pol.eu)
Ecuador Judge Frees Ola Bini, Swedish Programer Close To Assange (R.)
Ten Cities Ask EU For Help To Fight Airbnb Expansion (G.)
The Dangerous Methane Mystery (CP)

 

 

When something like this is leaked to multiple news outlets at the same time, isn’t it likely the White House itself does the leaking?

Kim Dotcom’s take:

Trump: Attack Iran now!
General: Iran can sink our Carrier strike group in the region.
Trump: What?
General: If we strike Iran now they can retaliate against thousands of US sailors.
Trump: WTF!
General: This isn’t Syria Sir.
Trump: Call it off.
THE END

Trump Approved Strikes On Iran But Cancelled Them: Reports (AlJ)

US President Donald Trump approved military strikes on Friday against Iran in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching the attacks, the New York Times reported. A US official told Associated Press that the military made preparations on Thursday night for limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for drone shootdown, but approval was abruptly withdrawn. The official, who was not authorised to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries.


Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles fired, when the order to stand down came, the Times cited one senior administration official as saying. The abrupt reversal put a halt to what would have been Trump’s third military action against targets in the Middle East, the paper added, saying Trump had struck twice at targets in Syria, in 2017 and 2018. However, it is not clear whether attacks on Iran might still go forward, the paper said, adding that it was not known if the cancellation of strikes had resulted from Trump changing his mind or administration concerns regarding logistics or strategy.

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This thing is huge: “..a wingspan of more than 130 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of more than 16 tons..”

Why would Iran want that in its airspace?

The Drone Iran Shot Down Was a $220 Million Surveillance Monster (W.)

Early Thursday morning, Iran shot down a United States unmanned aerial vehicle over the Strait of Hormuz, which runs between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Iran identified the drone as an RQ-4A Global Hawk, a $220 million UAV that acts as a massive surveillance platform in the sky. The attack marks an escalation with tensions already running high between the US and Iran—particularly because of the value and technical sensitivity of the downed drone. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Thursday that the Northrup Grumman-made Global Hawk—part of a multibillion-dollar program that dates back to 2001—had entered Iranian airspace and crashed in Iranian waters; US Central Command confirmed the time and general location of the attack, but insists that the drone was flying in international airspace.


Alamy

The incident comes on the heels of another situation last week in which the US accused Iran of attacking two fuel tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The US also said that Iran had attempted to shoot down a different UAV—an MQ-9 Reaper drone—but failed. The Pentagon also linked Iran to an attack on a Reaper drone in Yemen two weeks ago that caused the vehicle to crash. Thursday’s attack, though, targeted a massive and much more expensive surveillance drone, and likely represents a more definite escalation. “There’s a lot going on here, and we’re probably only seeing some of it,” says Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


“This is a more expensive, higher-altitude, more capable, long-range intelligence surveillance reconnaissance craft. If they’re shooting down aircraft in international airspace over international waters, that’s likely to elicit some kind of measured reprisal.” Global Hawks are massive surveillance platforms, in operation since 2001, with a wingspan of more than 130 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of more than 16 tons, equivalent to roughly seven shipping containers of cocaine. They have a range of more than 12,000 nautical miles, can fly at strikingly high altitudes of 60,000 feet, and can stay aloft for 34 hours straight.


U.S. military drone RQ-4A Global Hawk – Eric Harris/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS

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Iran has no army to speak of, and hardly an economy. But it does have friends.

The Real Meaning Of Trump’s Deplorable Aggression Against Iran (Stockman)

Iran has no blue water Navy that could even get to the Atlantic and only 18,000 sailors including everyone from admirals to medics; an aging, decrepit fleet of war planes with no long range flight or refueling capabilities; ballistic missiles that mainly have a range of under 800 miles; a very limited air defense based on a Russian supplied S-300 system (not the far more capable S-400); and a land Army of less than 350,000 or approximately the size of that of Myanmar. Indeed, Iran’s defense budget of less than $15 billion amounts to just 7 days of spending compared to the Pentagon’s $750 billion; and it is actually far less even in nominal terms than Iran’s military budget under the Shah way back in the late 1970’s. In inflation-adjusted dollars, Iran’s military expenditure today is less than 25% of the level prior to the Revolution.

Whatever the foibles of today’s Iranian theocratic state, a thriving military power it is not. In fact, that’s the real irony. Mostly what comprises the core of Iran air force is left over 40-50 year-old planes that had been purchased from the US under the Shah, and which have been Jerry-rigged with bailing wire and bubble gum to stay aloft and to accommodate some modest avionics and armaments modernizations. As one analyst further noted, some of its planes were actually gifts from Saddam Hussein! Much of the IRIAF’s equipment dates back to the Shah era, or is left over from Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi air force, which flew many of its planes to Iran during the 1991 Persian Gulf War to avoid destruction. American-made F-4, F-5 and F-14 fighters dating from the 1970s remain the backbone of the Iranian air force.

So military threat has absolutely nothing to do with it. Washington is knee deep in harms’ way and on the verge of starting a war with Iran solely on account of a misguided notion that the Persian Gulf is an American Lake that needs to be policed by the US Navy; and, more crucially, that Washington has the right to control Iran’s foreign policy and determine what alliances it may and may not have in the region – including whether or not they pass muster with Bibi Netanyahu. Stated differently, the missions of protecting the oil supply lines and regulating the foreign policy of what amounts to a two-bit economic power is straight out of the playbook of Empire First. As such, it amounts to a foolish policy of putting America’s actual security last.

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When your own party turns against you, it’s time to pay attention.

Senate Blocks Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia In Bipartisan Trump Rebuke (ZH)

The Senate voted on Thursday to block billions of dollars of armaments to Saudi Arabia in what the New York Times described as a “sharp and bipartisan rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to circumvent Congress” by declaring an emergency over Iran. “In the first of a series of three back-to-back votes, Republicans joined Democrats to register their growing anger with the administration’s use of emergency power to cut lawmakers out of national security decisions, as well as the White House’s unflagging support for the Saudis despite congressional pressure to punish Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the killing last October of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi”. -NYT

The vote marks the sharpest division between the White House and lawmakers to date – and is the second time in recent months that the administration has faced bipartisan pushback against foreign policy. In April, both the House and Senate voted to cut off military assistance to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen under the 1973 War Powers Act, only for Trump to veto the measure (the second of his presidency). And once again, Trump will use his veto power to override Congress: “While the Democratic-controlled House is also expected to block the sales, Mr. Trump has pledged to veto the legislation, and it is unlikely that either chamber could muster enough support to override the president’s veto”. -NYT

“This vote is a vote for the powers of this institution to be able to continue to have a say on one of the most critical elements of U.S. foreign policy and national security,” said New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez, lead sponsor of the resolutions of disapproval. “To not let that be undermined by some false emergency and to preserve that institutional right, regardless of who sits in the White House.” 22 pending arms sales to three Arab nations were announced in late May utilizing an emergency provision contained in the Arms Export Control Act. In total, $8.1 billion in munitions are part of the sales.

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Call that an economy?

More Spent On S&P 500 Buybacks Than All 2018 R&D (Axios)

Total research and development spending in the U.S. last year totaled $608 billion, according to data from the Federal Reserve, while corporations in the S&P 500 spent $806 billion buying back their own stock. The total for all companies was well over $1 trillion. What it means: In 2018, the 500 biggest U.S. companies spent 33% more on their stock buyback programs than the country is investing in research and development. The trend looks to be continuing this year as the U.S. is on pace to spend $642 billion on R&D in 2019 and poised to surpass last year’s $1.085 trillion total in buyback spending.

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Starting to sound serious.

China Concerned Over Possible US Dollar Shortage Risk (SCMP)

Anbang Insurance Group’s plan to sell its condos at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York is the latest in the string of high-profile Chinese divestments that underscores China’s concern that the nation is running short of US dollars. The Chinese holding company bought the Waldorf for a record US$1.95 billion in 2014, but under pressure from the Chinese government, is reported to be seeking buyers for the 375 flats at the hotel despite a glut of unsold luxury flats in Manhattan. In total, it is aiming to shed a portfolio of assets that includes 15 hotels having, like other highly leveraged Chinese conglomerates with overseas investments, been placed under scrutiny by Beijing.

Chinese real estate mogul Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group has dumped US$25 billion in assets since 2017, while troubled conglomerate HNA Group was forced to sell everything from Hong Kong land parcels, to its stakes in Deutsche Bank, Hilton Grand Vacations as well as its airlines. Chinese oil giant CEFC China Energy also wants to sell 100 properties worldwide. The government’s dramatic about-face from encouraging aggressive overseas acquisitions to cracking down on risky lending and overseas transfers underscores worries over the risk that the nation could run short of enough US dollars to make the interest and principal payments on its mounting debt at a time when the current account balance is coming under pressure.

“These companies are selling their assets because they don’t have enough US dollars,” said Kevin Lai, chief economist for Asia excluding Japan at Daiwa Capital Markets. “China does not want to use its US$3 trillion foreign reserves for the debt repayments, so that is why these companies need to sell their assets.” On the surface, China should be the last country to worry about a US dollar shortage given that its US$3.1 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves is the largest help by any nation.

But analysts believe China’s reserves may be insufficient to pay for its massive imports and debt payments in response to a worse-case scenario caused by the ongoing trade war with the United States, particularly since many of its assets cannot readily be turned into cash to help the central bank to save a crashing financial system or sharp devaluation of the yuan’s exchange rate. “In reality, they don’t have as much as US$3.1 trillion of liquid reserves,” said Rabobank analyst Michael Every. “I would estimate they probably only have a little bit more liquid reserves than what they hold in US Treasuries.”

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Fuel fools.

US Spend Ten Times More On Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than Education (F.)

A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) study shows that USD$5.2 trillion was spent globally on fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. The equivalent of over 6.5% of global GDP of that year, it also represented a half-trillion dollar increase since 2015 when China ($1.4 trillion), the United States ($649 billion) and Russia ($551 billion) were the largest subsidizers. Despite nations worldwide committing to a reduction in carbon emissions and implementing renewable energy through the Paris Agreement, the IMF’s findings expose how fossil fuels continue to receive huge amounts of taxpayer funding. The report explains that fossil fuels account for 85% of all global subsidies and that they remain largely attached to domestic policy.


Had nations reduced subsidies in a way to create efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015, the International Monetary Fund believes that it “would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28 percent and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46 percent, and increased government revenue by 3.8 percent of GDP.” The study includes the negative externalities caused by fossil fuels that society has to pay for, not reflected in their actual costs. In addition to direct transfers of government money to fossil fuel companies, this includes the indirect costs of pollution, such as healthcare costs and climate change adaptation. By including these numbers, the true cost of fossil fuel use to society is reflected.

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Yeah, try and sell that to your voters.

Bring on Higher Oil Prices: They’ll Boost the US Economy (WS)

Powered by the iffy situation in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman, with attacks on tankers and now the downing of a US drone, the price of crude oil got a little nervous in recent days. WTI jumped about 6% today to over $57 a barrel. But this was just a minor uptick in the overall scheme of things: The US, which has become the largest oil producer in the world, is in the middle of its second oil bust in five years:

P These two oil busts are largely a consequence of surging US crude oil production. During the oil bust of 2014-2016, the price of WTI collapsed by over 75%, careening from $107 per barrel to a low of $27 per barrel in 18 months, before starting to rebound. In the process, a slew of oil-and-gas drillers filed for bankruptcy. For a while it looked like the shale boom, where all the growth in production had come from, was running out of money, and therefore out of fuel. Production fell sharply from early 2015 through much of 2016, but then new money from Wall Street appeared, and production began to soar again, hitting new records all along the way.


Shale wells produce a variety of liquid hydrocarbons (they also produce gaseous hydrocarbons which are not included here). This production of crude oil and petroleum products soared from just over 7 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2010 to 16.6 million bpd currently, according to EIA data:

P The US used to be the largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in the world. Between 2005 and 2008, “net imports” (imports minus exports) of crude oil and petroleum products exceeded 12 million bpd. But surging production in the US has slashed imports. And recently exports have surged, and the trade in crude oil and petroleum products is now nearly balanced between the US and the rest of the world. And the net imports are heading toward zero – the point where the US imports as much as it exports. In February, net imports were down to just 176,000 barrels a day, the lowest in the EIA data going back to 1971. In March, the most recent data available, net imports were 842,000 barrels a day:

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“We have a stability and growth pact that focuses on stability and not on growth. We want to invert this order..”

Defiant Italy Urges Changes To EU Rules (R.)

Italy’s prime minister defied European Union concern over its debt on Thursday, saying the bloc’s fiscal rules should focus on growth rather than stability, and blaming partners for unfair tax competition and excessive surpluses. Arriving at a meeting of European leaders in Brussels, Giuseppe Conte dismissed warnings over Rome’s growing debt and said Italy was complying with EU fiscal rules. “We have a stability and growth pact that focuses on stability and not on growth. We want to invert this order,” Conte told reporters. Under current rules, EU states with large public debts should gradually reduce them, but Rome’s debt increased last year and is forecast to expand further until 2020.


Conte said the Italian government will complete the assessment of its finances in a meeting on Wednesday after which he expects new estimates to point to a 2019 deficit of around 2.1% of output, below the EU commission’s expectations. It is unclear, however, whether this would be enough for the EU Commission to stop a disciplinary procedure against Italy, which Brussels has said would be warranted on the basis of 2018 data and EU forecasts. [..] At the summit where EU leaders are discussing the bloc’s top jobs for the coming years, Conte echoed belligerent tones used by Italy’s deputy prime minister and far-right leader Matteo Salvini in attacking other EU members for unfair competition. He said there was something wrong in the fact that Italian firms relocate to other EU states for tax reasons – a probable reference to low corporate levies and lenient regulatory approaches in places like Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Ireland.

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“..you are not big enough to have an important position, important enough on the world stage, on your own.”

UK Will Be ‘Diminished’ After Brexit – Dutch PM Rutte (Pol.eu)

No U.K. prime minister would be able to mitigate the economic impact of Brexit on Britain or sustain its global power outside of the EU, especially after a no-deal exit, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned Conservative leadership candidates today. Speaking ahead of the European Council summit in Brussels, he told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program this morning: “With a hard Brexit — even with a normal Brexit — the U.K. will be a different country. It will be a diminished country. “It is unavoidable. Because you are not any longer part of the European Union and you are not big enough to have an important position, important enough on the world stage, on your own.”

The leader of the Netherlands, who described himself as an “Anglophile,” also said the next occupant of Downing Street must be clear about what they want from the EU if they aim to modify the so-called Political Declaration on the future relationship between the two sides; however he ruled out any reopening of the Withdrawal Agreement struck by outgoing British premier Theresa May. He dismissed claims by leadership hopeful Boris Johnson that the U.K. could be granted a Brexit transition period after a no-deal departure. “As Boris Johnson would say, Brexit is Brexit, and a hard Brexit is a hard Brexit,” Rutte said. “I don’t see how you can sweeten that.”

Home Secretary and Johnson’s rival Sajid Javid’s claim that he could renegotiate the controversial backstop plan directly with Dublin also got short shrift from Rutte, who said Ireland is an integral part of the EU and “we cannot have a backdoor” to the single market. Both Johnson and Javid have vowed to take Britain out of the EU, deal or no deal, by the current deadline of October 31 if they fail to renegotiate the exit plan with Brussels before then. The Dutch leader warned that any no-deal departure would be “chaos.” He said if a new British PM wanted an extension to continue negotiating on Brexit, something Environment Secretary Michael Gove has proposed, they would have to be clear about “making changes to the red lines the U.K. is currently holding.”

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Will the courts dare turn against Lenin Moreno?

Ecuador Judge Frees Ola Bini, Swedish Programer Close To Assange (R.)

An Ecuadorean judge on Thursday ordered that a Swedish citizen and personal friend of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be freed, two months after he was detained for alleged participation in a hacking attempt on the government. But Ola Bini, a 36-year-old software developer who has lived in Ecuador for five years, remains under investigation in the case and will be barred from leaving the country, according to the court ruling. Bini was detained in April at the Quito airport before boarding a flight to Japan, hours after Ecuador withdrew asylum for Assange, who had lived at its London embassy for almost seven years while facing spying charges related to WikLeaks’ 2010 publication of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.


Ecuador’s Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo had accused him of seeking to destabilize the Andean country’s government and compromising its national security. Bini has denied those allegations, but has acknowledged being close to Assange. “His right to freedom was violated,” judge Patricio Vaca said, reading the Thursday court ruling. “We accept the habeas corpus action proposed by the Swedish citizen Ola Bini, who can be immediately freed.” Bini worked at the Quito-based Center for Digital Autonomy, an organization focusing on cybersecurity and data privacy. His lawyer, Carlos Soria, told journalists on Thursday that he would ask “international courts” to determine any “prejudice” to the case that may have resulted from his arrest. “We will take actions against everyone because the court has determined that his detention was arbitrary. Now they will have to pay,” Soria said. “We will demonstrate Ola Bini’s innocence.”

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Better do it fast.

Ten Cities Ask EU For Help To Fight Airbnb Expansion (G.)

Ten European cities have demanded more help from the EU in their battle against Airbnb and other holiday rental websites, which they argue are locking locals out of housing and changing the face of neighbourhoods. In a joint letter, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna said the explosive growth of global short-stay lettings platforms must be on the agenda of the next set of European commissioners. In April the advocate general of the European court of justice found in non-binding opinion that under EU law Airbnb should be considered a digital information provider rather than a traditional real estate agent.

That status, if confirmed by the court, would allow Airbnb and similar platforms to operate freely across the bloc and, crucially, relieve them of any responsibility to ensure that landlords comply with local rules aimed at regulating holiday lets. European cities believe homes should be used first and foremost for living in, the cities said in a statement released by Amsterdam city council. Many suffer from a serious housing shortage. Where homes can be rented out more lucratively to tourists, they vanish from the traditional housing market. The cities said local authorities must be able to counter the adverse effects of the boom in short-term holiday lets, such rising rents for full-time residents and the continuing touristification of neighbourhoods, by introducing their own regulations depending on the local situation .

“We believe cities are best placed to understand their residents needs”, they said. “They have always been allowed to regulate local activity through urban planning and housing rules. The advocate general seems to imply this will no longer be possible when it comes to internet giants”. After several years of strong growth, Airbnb currently has more than 18,000 listings in Amsterdam and Barcelona, 22,000 in Berlin and nearly 60,000 in Paris. Data from the campaign group InsideAirbnb last year suggested that more than half were whole apartments or houses, and that even in cities where short-term lets were restricted by local authorities, up to 30% were available for three or more months a year.

Many cities say the short-term holiday lettings boom is contributing to soaring long-term rents, although speculation and poor social housing provision are also factors. Last year Palma de Mallorca voted to ban almost all listings after a 50% increase in tourist lets was followed by a 40% rise in residential rents.

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The Big Burp.

The Dangerous Methane Mystery (CP)

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (“ESAS”) is the epicenter of a methane-rich zone that could turn the world upside down. Still, the ESAS is not on the radar of mainstream science, and not included in calculations by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and generally not well understood. It is one of the biggest mysteries of the world’s climate puzzle, and it is highly controversial, which creates an enhanced level of uncertainty and casts shadows of doubt. The ESAS is the most extensive continental shelf in the world, inclusive of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, and the Russian portion of the Chukchi Sea, all-in equivalent to the combined landmasses of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan.

The region hosts massive quantities of methane (“CH4”) in frozen subsea permafrost in extremely shallow waters, enough CH4 to transform the “global warming” cycle into a “life-ending” cycle. As absurd as it sounds, it is not inconceivable. Ongoing research to unravel the ESAS mystery is found in very few studies, almost none, except by Natalia Shakhova (International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks) a leading authority, for example: “It has been suggested that destabilization of shelf Arctic hydrates could lead to large-scale enhancement of aqueous CH4, but this process was hypothesized to be negligible on a decadal–century time scale. Consequently, the continental shelf of the Arctic Ocean (AO) has not been considered as a possible source of CH4 to the atmosphere until very recently.”


[..] early-stage warning signals are clearly noticeable; ESAS is rumbling, increasingly emitting more and more CH4, possibly in anticipation of a “Big Burp,” which could put the world’s lights out, hopefully in another century, or beyond, but based upon a reading of her latest report in Geosciences, don’t count on it taking so long. Shakhova’s research is highlighted in a recent article in Arctic News: “When Will We Die?” d/d June 10, 2019, which states: “Imagine a burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that would add an amount of methane to the atmosphere equal to twice the methane that is already there.”

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May 262019
 


Joseph Mallord William Turner Teasing the Donkey 1827

 

So we’re going to do this all over again? Well, not if I can help it. Not that I have much hope that I can, mind you. As the bastions of war chime on, my voice, like so many others, will be drowned out. The military industrial complex knows how to do propaganda, better than anyone. But I’ll try.

Vietnam gave the US its biggest ever defeat, both militarily and morally, and yet mere years after its deeply humiliating withdrawal was put into action, the country was back at sending its promising young boys and girls not to its school systems, but to far away battle fields to be crippled, traumatized and slaughtered.

I know, I know, the UK and France do that too, but few other places do. Russia today uses its troops to defend its territory, China has yet to reveal its intentions. But the intentions of the US have been known ever since WWII ended.

In 1956, president Eisenhower, himself a longtime military man, warned the country upon taking leave of office, of the military-industrial complex that was threatening to take over its government. Less than 10 years later, that’s exactly what the complex did, and it’s never looked back.

And I’m thinking: you never learned anything at all? Not from Ike, not from Vietnam, not from the non-existent Iraqi WMD, and not from Libya or Syria? How is that even possible? Oh wait, I know, because the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN et al is where you get your so-called news. That’s why. Gotcha.

 

Today, May 26 2019, and I’m deeply ashamed to say it, I have two stories, one concerning a speech by VP Mike Pence at West Point, the other from Caitlin Johnstone about a Twitter thread initiated by the US military itself. Pence’s speech is heart breaking in its ignorance of US history, Caitlin’s is heart wrenching in its acknowledgment of that same history, and what it does to young Americans.

Now, I think this is not about Trump, as many will undoubtedly claim, it’s about Trump and Pelosi and Pence and McCain and Bolton and Hillary and Pompeo and Obama and all of the people hanging around both administrations. Let’s see what YOU think.

Pence To West Point Grads: You Will Fight On a Battlefield for America at Some Point in Your Life

Vice President Mike Pence told the graduating class of the West Point Military Academy on Saturday that the world is “a dangerous place” and they should expect to see combat. “Men and women of West Point, no matter where you’re deployed, you will be the vanguard of freedom, and you know that the “soldier does not bear the sword in vain.” The work you do has never been more important. America will always seek peace, but peace comes through strength. And you are now that strength. It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.


Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere. And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less.”

Mike Pence is a very dangerous person. He’s planning to send American children into endless wars once again, 45-odd years after Vietnam and 20-odd years after Iraq. And there’s no-one left to stop him, other than Trump, Not exactly a solid guarantee. The Democrats will cheer this on, and their media will too. They always have.

Now, I’m not old enough to remember the whole story of the US involvement in Vietnam, but I do recall this 1985 video from Paul Hardcastle, which stated that the average age of the US soldier in Vietnam -towards the end- was 19. I have also seen Coppola’s movie “Apocalypse Now”, and many others, and yes, I’m wondering where today’s versions of these movies are.

 

 

Because, you know, when I read the Twitter thread picked up by Caitlin Johnstone listing what was supposed to be a promo thing from the army, my heart sinks and hurts and in the end is downright defeated. It’s like reading the accounts from Vietnam, and nothing has changed in 50+ years. How can that be? Says innocent me.

But religious nut Mike Pence has the guts to present this as some sort of heroic thing. For young Americans to go die in a desert for nothing at all other than Exxon’s access to oil and the profits of Boeing and Raytheon. And of course they’ve been setting this up for decades, that young kids -certainly blacks- who have no shot at a proper education, can get one only if they agree to become cannon fodder.

That’s ‘Nam, guys, that’s the 1960’s, history. And just look at how terribly that failed. Well, Mike Pence would like to repeat that failure.

The US Army Asked Twitter How Service Has Impacted People. The Answers Were Gut-Wrenching.

After posting a video of a young recruit talking to the camera about how service allows him to better himself “as a man and a warrior”, the US Army tweeted, “How has serving impacted you?” As of this writing, the post has over 5,300 responses. Most of them are heartbreaking. “My daughter was raped while in the army,” said one responder. “They took her to the hospital where an all male staff tried to convince her to give the guy a break because it would ruin his life. She persisted. Wouldn’t back down. Did a tour in Iraq. Now suffers from PTSD.”

“I’ve had the same nightmare almost every night for the past 15 years,” said another. Tweet after tweet after tweet, people used the opportunity that the Army had inadvertently given them to describe how they or their loved one had been chewed up and spit out by a war machine that never cared about them. This article exists solely to document a few of the things that have been posted in that space, partly to help spread public awareness and partly in case the thread gets deleted in the interests of “national security”.

 

“my grandpa served in vietnam from when he was 18–25. he’s 70 now and every night he still has nightmares where he stands up tugging at the curtains or banging on the walls screaming at the top of his lungs for someone to help him. he refuses to talk about his time and when you mention anything about the war to him his face goes white and he has a panic attack. he cries almost every day and night and had to spend 10 years in a psychiatric facility for suicidal ideations from what he saw there.”

 

“My best friend joined the Army straight out of high school because his family was poor & he wanted a college education. He served his time & then some. Just as he was ready to retire he was sent to Iraq. You guys sent him back in a box. It destroyed his children.”

 

“My best friend from high school was denied his mental health treatment and forced to return to a third tour in Iraq, despite having such deep trauma that he could barely function. He took a handful of sleeping pills and shot himself in the head two weeks before deploying.”

If you got the stomach for it, guys, do read it. But I got to tell you, I find it hard.

The US killed millions of people and maimed ten times that in Vietnam, and that very much includes its own young and promising American citizens, and they did it again in Iraq. Mike Pence wants to repeat that in Iran and other theaters. Supported by Pelosi, Pompeo, Schumer, Bolton etc. Shame for them John McCain passed.

There’s only one US presidential candidate who’s explicitly spoken out against this mad repeat of Vietnam, and that’s Tulsi Gabbard, who actually “served” in Iraq. So she will be pushed aside by the DNC. Who are funded by the military industrial complex, don’t you know. Must serve the machine. We have a long way to go.

I always thought that Springsteen talking about Vietnam from Born In The USA is sort of like a haiku, encompassing the essence in just a few words, even if he doesn’t catch all the misery and bloodshed and mental anguish and broken lives and all of it (but how could you?):

 

I had a brother at Khe San;

Fighting off the Viet Cong

They’re still there, he’s all gone

He had a woman he loved in Saigon

I got a picture of him in her arms now

 

I know people older than me have many more examples of this and from the time when the ‘war’ was actually ongoing. Eve of Destruction? Creedence? Please send suggestions.

But also, please recognize the similarities in the madness then and now.

And let’s try and make it stop.

Let’s try and stop history from even rhyming, let alone repeating.

Nassim Taleb likes to point out that in olden days those who declared wars would also be first in line to fight them. By design. The fair thing to do.

Let’s send Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump and Chuck Schumer and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton and all of their families into Iran first. And then we can talk.