Jan 182023
 


Dorothea Lange Richmond, California 1942

 

NATO Keeps On Demilitarising Itself in Ukraine (Tweedie)
Kremlin Mum On Putin’s Alleged Order To Liberate Donbass Before March (TASS)
Game-Changing Russia (Batiushka)
CNN: Ukraine Has Become a ‘Weapons Lab’ for Western Arms (Antiwar)
The West’s New Anti-Russia Sanctions Are A Total Game Changer (Timofeev)
EU Sanctions Goal Is To Crush Russian Economy – Von Der Leyen (RT)
Ursula Von Der Leyen: Russia’s Crimes Won’t Go Unpunished (Az.)
EU Leaves Back Door Open For Sanctioned Russian Oil (RT)
New Meeting With CIA Director Burns ‘Possible’ – Russian Spy Chief (RT)
Crimea’s ‘Return’ To Ukraine Is Impossible – Russian Intelligence Chief (TASS)
Destroying Monsters (Helmholtz Smith)
Kissinger Offers ‘Updated’ Ukraine Plan (RT)
Key Revelations of the ‘Twitter Files’ (ET)
Elon Musk Throws Shade on the WEF (Street)
FBI Decided Not To Monitor Biden Document Search (ZH)
Not a Coup, but a Coverup (ET)
Biden in ‘Very Big’ Mess Over Document Scandal – David Gergen (ET)
The Renewable Energy Problem That No One Talks About (ET)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Biden

 

 

Tucker tax returns

 

 


“There seem to be ever increasing suggestions that restricting people’s travel will reduce atmospheric CO2. We had an experiment on that in 2020. No flights, no work or school travel. Here’s the result of that experiment. Show me lockdown on this graph.”

 

 

Japan high temps

 

 

Kerry

 

 

 

 

“..the ultimate end of the SMO is not just to de-militarise (and de-Nazify) the Ukraine, but all of NATO too.”

NATO Keeps On Demilitarising Itself in Ukraine (Tweedie)

It has been said often over the past year, most recently by Emmanuel Todd, that the conflict in Ukraine is “existential” for Russia. Certainly, the Great Bear cannot abide a NATO ballistic missile launchpad just 300 miles from Moscow in a country run my rabidly-Russophobic Nazis — not neo-Nazi skinhead cosplayers but the literal descendants of the real deal. But others have argued that the Special Military Operation (SMO) is also a make-or-break roll of the dice for NATO and the US which dominates it. How else can we explain the latest mania for arming the regime in Kiev just as its ‘Siegfried Line’ in the Donbass starts to crumble?

How else can one explain cry-bully US National Security Spokesman John Kirby’s response to news that Russian Wagner ‘private military company’ had liberated the town of Soledar, a keystone of the Ukrainian defences? He simultaneously tried to cast doubt on the facts while claiming the town’s capture was strategically insignificant. “We don’t know how it’s gonna go, so I’m not going to predict failure or success here,” Kirby said as Wagner were mopping up stranded Ukrainian conscripts. “But even if both Bakhmut and Soledar fall to the Russians, it’s not going to have a strategic impact on the war itself, and it certainly isn’t going to stop the Ukrainians or slow them down in terms of their efforts to regain their territory.”

To the contrary, reports indicate that several Ukrainian brigades being concentrated for a southward push on Melitopol, near the narrow isthmus to the Crimea, were redeployed to Donbass in a vain attempt to hold Soledar and Bakhmut, where they suffered huge casualties. Taking Bakhmut could allow the Russian forces to ‘roll up’ the Ukrainian line to the north and south and advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the last two major cities Ukraine holds in Donetsk. Moscow has repeatedly said there can be no peace while the West keeps pumping arms into Ukraine. The most obvious interpretation of those statements is that NATO is only prolonging the suffering of the Ukrainian and Donbass peoples with its cornucopia of death. But another is, as blogger Andrei Martyanov said recently, that the ultimate end of the SMO is not just to de-militarise (and de-Nazify) the Ukraine, but all of NATO too.

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Plenty speculation about new offensives, either by Russia or Ukraine/NATO.

Kremlin Mum On Putin’s Alleged Order To Liberate Donbass Before March (TASS)

Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused on Tuesday to comment on the Ukrainian intelligence service’s recent speculations that Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly ordered Chief of Russia’s General Staff and Commander of the Russian group of forces in Ukraine Valery Gerasimov to liberate the territory of Donbass before March 2023. Asked at a news conference to comment on the speculations, Peskov replied: “No, I cannot [comment on it] and have zero intention of doing it.” A number of web media outlets circulated reports earlier citing Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian intelligence service, as saying that Putin issued an order to liberate Donbass by March and that the Russian Armed Forces would focus on assault operations across the entire territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).


On January 11, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu made new appointments in the military command of the special military operation in Ukraine. The decision to raise the level of military command in the special military operation is related “to the broader scope of missions tackled in its course and the need to organize closer coordination among military branches and services of the armed forces and also the increased quality of all types of logistics support and efficiency in command and control of the groups of troops (forces), the Russian Defense Ministry stated earlier. On February 21, 2022, President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics DPR and LPR respectively). Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders. Moscow recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions as of the beginning of 2014.

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Britain has 227 tanks. Russia has 15,000.

Game-Changing Russia (Batiushka)

While Western Europe is prepared to pay for the last Ukrainian to die for Western Europe – Germany, France, Finland, the UK and some other countries are prepared to get rid of some more of their old armoured vehicles and even tanks, palming them off on the Neo-Nazi Kiev regime. Thus, the UK is thinking of sending 14 of its 25-year old Challenger 2 tanks. How the UK will train Ukrainians to operate them, how it will supply enough ammunition for them to fire, how they will supply the mechanics and spare parts to repair them, how – and when – they will deliver them to Poland and then get them to the Kiev front, over 1,000 kilometres further away, nobody can tell us. Meanwhile, the British Army Chief of General Staff, Sir Patrick Sanders, is complaining. ‘Giving Kiev tanks means we won’t have enough for ourselves’. After all they do cost £8 million each and there are only 227 of them in the much-underfunded British Army anyway.

Nobody has told the British Army that after one Russian missile all 14 of these obsolescent ‘wonder-weapons’ will go up in smoke before they ever get to the front. £112 million gone. No wonder Ukrainian refugees are returning to Kiev to get proper medical treatment that the grossly underfunded and strikebound British Health System cannot provide them with. Nobody has told the British Army or any EU Army that Russia is fighting a war of attrition. Given Russian air superiority, far superior artillery, drones, missiles and its 15,000 tanks, the Kiev forces, their mercenaries and all their equipment are being wiped out. Worse still, none of the Western hack-journalists, presstitutes to the core, has yet explained why ‘the victorious Kiev forces’ need ever more Western armoured vehicles and tanks.

You read it here first: It is because all the other ‘game-changing’ armoured vehicles, tanks and equipment have already been destroyed. Now at least astronomers know what a black hole looks like. It looks like the Kiev regime. Yes, black holes really are game-changing because you can get sucked into one. In the face of NATO (= US) aggression, surely there is only one choice left for Russia – to liberate all 27 Ukrainian regions (and maybe even elsewhere too). I have to confess that I was never in favour of Russia taking the far-west Galicia. ‘They can go to Poland’. I was thinking of the old Russian curse: ‘Go to hell – and take Galicia with you’. But, actually, I am now thinking that Russia should take the lot, Crimea and the four partially liberated ones nearly done, 22 to go. The fact is that as long as a single piece of the Ukraine is under Nazi control, it will be a threat to the Russian Federation.

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Do his people know he’s saying this? That they’re now lab rats?

“We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test the new products here..”

BTW: a heli just crashed near Kiev. Cause as yet unkown. 16 dead, including Ukraine Interior Minister.

CNN: Ukraine Has Become a ‘Weapons Lab’ for Western Arms (Antiwar)

Ukraine has turned into a “lab” for Western arms as the war has given the US and its allies an opportunity to see how their weapons fare in a conflict with a major military power like Russia, CNN reported on Monday. A source familiar with Western intelligence on the war told CNN that Ukraine is “absolutely a weapons lab in every sense because none of this equipment has ever actually been used in a war between two industrially developed nations.” The source described it as “real-world battle testing.” Back in July, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov offered his country as a “testing ground” for Western arms makers. “We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test the new products here,” he said.

Reznikov got his wish as the US, and its allies have significantly stepped up military aid since then, and the war has escalated as Russia began large-scale strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure in October. Russia’s success in its use of cheap kamikaze drones in the infrastructure attacks has influenced plans for Western arms makers. The British arms maker BAE Systems has announced that it’s developing a new armored vehicle with added protection to defend it from kamikaze drone attacks from above. Multiple intelligence and military officials told CNN that making cheap single-use drones has become a priority of many defense contractors.

The CNN report said that for the US military, the war has become an “incredible source of data on the utility of its own systems.” For example, the US has seen that its HIMARS rocket launch system has been effective against Russian forces, while the M777 howitzer has become less effective and less accurate over time. The war in Ukraine has also created a demand for weapons that were beginning to become obsolete, such as the Stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. Raytheon stopped producing Stingers for years but now has been asked by the Pentagon to ramp up production as thousands have been shipped to Ukraine.

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“..the law says that the authorities, at their own discretion, may decide to transfer the proceeds from the confiscated property in favor of a foreign state affected by a grave breach of international peace and security..”

The West’s New Anti-Russia Sanctions Are A Total Game Changer (Timofeev)

Canada is the first country to legally implement the forfeiture mechanism. The 2022 revision of the Special Economic Measures Act gives Canadian authorities the power to seize property located in the country that is owned by a foreign state, any person or entity in that state, as well as a national of that foreign state who does not ordinarily reside in Canada. Such measures may be applied if “a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred that has resulted in or is likely to result in a serious international crisis.” The final decision is made by a judge after receiving a corresponding petition from a relevant representative of the executive authorities. Following that, the law says that the authorities, at their own discretion, may decide to transfer the proceeds from the confiscated property in favor of a foreign state affected by a grave breach of international peace and security, towards the restoration of international peace and security, and to compensate victims of a grave breach of international peace and security, gross human rights violations or acts of corruption.

The Canadian assets of tycoon Roman Abramovich’s company Granite Capital Holding Ltd. will be the first to fall prey to the new law. According to a statement by the Canadian authorities, it is valued at $26 million. Roman Abramovich is already on Canada’s blocked persons list, which means that his assets are frozen and any transactions with him are prohibited. The Russian businessman’s assets will now be seized and probably transferred towards the needs of Ukraine. The value is relatively small, but it may be used to set the mechanism in motion. The next steps may be a lot grander in scale. Other countries are likely to follow Canada’s example. The U.S. talked about implementing a similar law back in April 2022, but nothing has been done at the legislative level so far.

In the EU, the procedure hasn’t been legalized either, although Article 15 of Regulation 269/2014 obliges Member States to develop rules on the seizure of assets obtained as a result of sanction regime violations. The concept of “violations” is subject to broad interpretation. For example, Article 9 of the Regulation obliges blocked Russian individuals to provide an account of their assets to EU authorities within 6 weeks. A violation of this requirement may be seen as a circumvention of the sanction regulations. What conclusions can we draw? Presently, we may note several consequences of the Canadian authorities’ initiative.

First, it’s evident that forfeiture risks do exist, and they aren’t lying dormant. The current situation is a red flag for Russian individuals and companies that haven’t yet been sanctioned but own assets in Western countries. They need to understand that their property may be seized, not just frozen. This risk will surely be considered by foreign investors and property owners in those countries that risk becoming targets of Western sanctions in the future. This includes nationals of China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other states. Although it’s unlikely to cause a mass exodus of the citizens of these countries and their assets from Canada and other Western states, the warning signal will be heard.

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But instead they’re crushing the EU economy. Europe better get rid of Ursula and her ilk, fast.

EU Sanctions Goal Is To Crush Russian Economy – Von Der Leyen (RT)

EU sanctions are aimed at plunging the Russian economy into a recession for years to come and depriving the country of crucial technologies, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in an address to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday. The European bloc has imposed nine rounds of sanctions against Russia since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, targeting many sectors of the economy, including energy, high-tech, aviation, banking, mining, automotive and other industries. “We have put in place the strongest sanctions ever, which leave the Russian economy facing a decade of regression and its industry starved of any modern and critical technologies,” von der Leyen said.


The latest restrictions came into force in December and include new export controls and restrictions on dual-use goods and technology, along with products and technology that could be used in the defense and security sectors. The measures target key chemicals, nerve agents, night-vision and radio-navigation equipment, as well as electronics and IT components. Brussels is now working on the next batch of penalties, which will reportedly target Russia’s nuclear industry and diamond trade. Other penalties which the EU is rushing to symbolically implement by February 24 include cutting more Russian banks off from the SWIFT global messaging system and banning more of the country’s media outlets. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the country’s economy is performing “much better than what not only our opponents but even we ourselves predicted” and is on course for further stabilization.

Ursula private war

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Ha ha ha: “..severe sanctions on Russia that will plunge the Russian economy into recession for decades..”

Ursula Von Der Leyen: Russia’s Crimes Won’t Go Unpunished (Az.)

Russia’s crimes will not go unpunished, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Report informs. Von der Leyen noted that when the war in Ukraine began, everyone expected that Kyiv would be taken in a matter of days, but they were able to resist. “Many doubted whether Europe’s support would be so unwavering, but today Ukraine is a candidate for EU membership. And European countries are providing more and more weapons to Ukraine. We are also imposing severe sanctions on Russia that will plunge the Russian economy into recession for decades, and its industry will be deprived of modern and critical technologies,” she added.

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Not quite fully suicidal yet…

EU Leaves Back Door Open For Sanctioned Russian Oil (RT)

India may substantially boost its exports of diesel fuel to the EU, refined from Russian oil targeted by Western sanctions, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The scheme wouldn’t breach the EU’s regulations, but it highlights the inefficiency inherent in the sanctions policy, the report notes. The EU ban on almost all imports of Russian oil products kicks in on February 5, coinciding with the implementation of a price cap on sea-borne crude shipped from the sanctioned country. The latest Ukraine-related penalties ban Western businesses from providing services, like insurance, for Russian oil cargoes unless it’s purchased at or below $60 per barrel. The ceiling is expected to be revised depending on market conditions.

Until recently, Russia was the biggest external supplier of diesel to EU countries, which have been ramping up purchases ahead of the cutoff. Due to the sanctions, the global market is projected to see a great rerouting of diesel flows as new importers of Russian crude are sending fuel back to the former buyers. Analysts expect a growing risk of higher prices in the short term. Among the new buyers of sanctioned Russian oil products will reportedly be traders in Africa, Latin America and possibly Asia. “The loss of Russian barrels is huge and replacing them will be a huge logistical challenge,” Keshav Lohiya, founder of consultant Oilytics, told Bloomberg. “But the market is pricing in less panic as markets and trade flows have proven resilient. This will be a new rerouting of diesel.”

India’s role in supplying EU member states is reportedly significant, as the South Asian nation has turned into one of the largest importers of discounted Russian crude since last year. At the beginning of 2022, Russia’s share of India’s oil imports amounted to just 0.2%. By the end of last year, it had grown to nearly one million barrels per day, reaching more than 20% of the country’s oil import basket. India, the world’s third-biggest importer of crude oil after China and the US, remained Russia’s top importer for three months in a row as of December. India, along with the US, has recently been boosting exports of diesel, the fuel pillar of the global economy, to the EU, as production levels there currently exceed domestic consumption.

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“The Americans themselves told us ten times that this channel of communication was absolutely confidential and should not be disclosed..”

New Meeting With CIA Director Burns ‘Possible’ – Russian Spy Chief (RT)

Sergey Naryshkin, who heads Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), said he is willing to have a face-to-face with his counterpart from the CIA, Director William Burns. The two previously held a meeting in Ankara in mid-November. The top Russian spy said on Tuesday that a new engagement with Burns was “possible” provided that the parties agree to it, the news agency TASS reported. Türkiye’s National Intelligence Organization hosted the previous meeting on November 14 last year, which reportedly lasted for about two and a half hours. The senior officials discussed nuclear threats arising from the Ukraine conflict and ways to mitigate them, according to the American side. Then, Burns reportedly traveled to Kiev to meet Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented last month that the event in Türkiye became publicly known, blaming a leak in Washington. “The Americans themselves told us ten times that this channel of communication was absolutely confidential and should not be disclosed … so that it would not be tainted by some propagandistic spin,” he told journalists. “We agreed. But as soon as they landed in Ankara, [the news] got immediately leaked. I don’t know where from, whether it was the White House or the Department of State,” he added. In his interview with TASS on Tuesday, Naryshkin discussed the Ukraine crisis, and Russia’s cooperation with China and Iran.

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“..96.7% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation..”

Crimea’s ‘Return’ To Ukraine Is Impossible – Russian Intelligence Chief (TASS)

Russian Foreign Intelligence chief Sergey Naryshkin said on Tuesday that the ‘return’ of Crimea to Ukraine is impossible. “This is impossible,” Naryshkin told TASS commenting on Kiev’s recently announced intentions to launch work on ‘returning back Crimea.’ The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russian, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities that seized power amid riots during the illegitimate coup of February 2014 in Ukraine. Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.7% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaties on March 18, 2014. The documents were ratified by Russia’s Federal Assembly, or bicameral parliament, on March 21. Despite the overwhelming results of the referendum, Ukraine still refuses to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

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“An America of war all the time everywhere, of tent cities and full jails, of open borders, disappeared manufacturing, opiates, misery, poverty, corruption.”

Destroying Monsters (Helmholtz Smith)

A lot of the people who comment on this blog seem to me to be patriotic Americans. And, it’s clear, if you read the comments, that many of them – probably the majority – want Russia to win the war. This is not because they like Putin or Russia particularly, and certainly not because they’re on the “Putin payroll”. Not at all. These people understand what is really at stake. These are people who know that the American war party (one of many names – deep state, borg, neocons, one percent, MICIMAC) is responsible for pushing Russia to the decision that it made last February. That it is the war party that expanded NATO despite the promises, that arms Ukraine, that encourages the fanatics driving that country, that blocks all routes to a peaceful settlement, that encourages Kiev to squander the lives of its people. But what really concerns these patriotic Americans is the damage the war party has done to their country.

The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force… She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit… An America of war all the time everywhere, of tent cities and full jails, of open borders, disappeared manufacturing, opiates, misery, poverty, corruption. An America with endless money to spend abroad but none to spend at home. (The hundred billion dollars dumped into Ukraine would give a $200,000 house to every one of the estimated half million homeless in the USA!) An America failing, no longer the American they loved, served and believed in. The Twitter revelations show some of the activities of this enemy embedded in the American polity. It’s very late and many fear that it is too late. How to get this leech off America’s back? Voting can’t make much difference if both parties are manipulated. Is the voting system itself corrupted? Can the judicial system be trusted?

Special counsels who report when it’s too late to matter? The managed media? Some may still believe in these things but the people I’m talking about don’t any more. They can only see one way that the power of this internal enemy can be broken – complete and utter defeat. Defeat that cannot be ignored, cannot be explained away, defeat too big and too obvious for the obedient mass media to bury. And that is why these people want Russia to win. They don’t necessarily like Russia or Putin or dislike Ukraine – it has little to do with either. It’s because they see this as the opportunity for the humiliating defeat that will shatter the power of the internal enemy. The war party assumed that Russia was weak and sanctions would crash its economy and bring down Putin. When this didn’t happen, they doubled down on their failed bet arrogantly certain they were right because everybody they allowed to speak agreed with them. If (when) Russia scores a decisive and undeniable victory, the perpetrators of the disaster will be revealed as corrupt fools wasting your money on their worthless fantasy.

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Useless drivel, and he knows it. They all do.

Kissinger Offers ‘Updated’ Ukraine Plan (RT)

Ukraine’s neutrality is “no longer meaningful” given the circumstances, Henry Kissinger told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. He endorsed Kiev’s eventual membership in the US-led military bloc, but continued to insist on dialogue with Russia – a stance that earned him a spot on the notorious Ukrainian “kill list.” Kissinger, now 99, was the US secretary of state (1973-1977) and national security advisor (1969-1975), playing a major role in the talks to end the Vietnam War, as well as the policy of pitting China against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. At last year’s Davos gathering, in May, he advocated an urgent end to hostilities in Ukraine, lest Russia is “driven into a permanent alliance with China.” For daring to suggest that Moscow could keep Crimea – which rejoined Russia in 2014 – he was placed on the “Peacemaker” list of Ukraine’s enemies, however.

On Tuesday, he prefaced his remarks with “admiration” for Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky and the “heroic conduct of the Ukrainian people,” before proposing essentially the same peace deal as last year. “Before this war, I was opposed to the membership of Ukraine in NATO, because I feared it would start exactly the process that we have seen,” Kissinger said. “Now that this process has reached this level, the idea of a neutral Ukraine under these conditions is no longer meaningful.” “I believe Ukrainian membership in NATO would be [an] appropriate outcome.” In Kissinger’s view, the way to prevent the conflict from escalating is to do exactly what Kiev, the US and its allies have been doing so far: demand a Russian withdrawal, while giving Ukraine military and financial aid and maintaining “sanctions and other pressures” on Moscow.

Russia should be given an “opening” to rejoin the West, “if it meets the required conditions to participate as a member in these European processes,” the elderly diplomat argued. It is important, he said, to avoid the perception that the conflict has become “against Russia itself,” which may cause Russians to re-evaluate both their historic “attraction to the culture of Europe and a fear of domination by Europe.” Kissinger also said that the US-led military alliance ought to be the guarantor of the final peace settlement “in whatever forms NATO can develop.”

While his proposal flattered the Western perception that Ukraine was winning on the battlefield with the help of NATO weapons, Kissinger chose to ignore the agency of both Kiev and Moscow. Zelensky has categorically rejected any sort of ceasefire unless Russia capitulates, while the Kremlin is on the record that any deal must concede that Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye are parts of Russia – with Crimea being off the table altogether. It was also unclear whether Moscow would accept any Western-mediated negotiations at all, after former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s admission – later echoed by French ex-president Francois Hollande – that the 2014 Minsk armistice was not arranged in good faith, but intended to “give Ukraine time” to prepare for war.

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Good overview by Petr Svab.

Key Revelations of the ‘Twitter Files’ (ET)

The journalists have only released a fraction of the documents they reviewed. They’ve also redacted the names of employees involved, aside from some high-level executives. The documents show that the FBI and other state, local, and federal agencies have been scrutinizing the political speech of Americans on a significant scale, and trying to get lawful speech suppressed or removed online. Many conservative and traditionally liberal commentators have deemed that a violation of the First Amendment. Twitter, a major hub of political speech, has been among the main targets of censorship. Many news stories have broken on Twitter in recent years, and a significant portion of the nation’s political debate takes place on the platform, as it allows an efficient way for direct and public interaction between users, from the most prominent to the least.


Twitter resisted some censorship requests, but there was little sign the company did so as a matter of principle. Rather, executives sometimes couldn’t find a policy they could use as a justification. Prior Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was under pressure from his lieutenants to expand the policies to allow more thorough censorship, the documents show. “The hypothesis underlying much of what we’ve implemented is that if exposure, e.g., misinformation directly causes harm, we should use remediations that reduce exposure, and limiting the spread/virality of content is a good way to do that (by just reducing prevalence overall),” said Yoel Roth, then Twitter’s head of trust and safety, which governs content policy, in a 2021 internal message published by Weiss. “We got Jack on board with implementing this for civic integrity in the near term, but we’re going to need to make a more robust case to get this into our repertoire of policy remediations—especially for other policy domains.”

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“The billionaire who became the most influential boss in the world explained that his decision was due to the fact that he found Davos boring. ”

Elon Musk Throws Shade on the WEF (Street)

The World Economic Forum in Davos is back to normal. The annual meeting of the world’s political and economic elites opened on January 16 in the ski resort of Davos in Switzerland. After nearly a year of war in Ukraine and in the face of the climate emergency, this year’s ambition is to find a way to “cooperate in a fragmented world” between war in Ukraine, climate change and globalization in existential crisis. “The world today is at a critical inflection point,” the World Economic Forum (WEF) said on its website. “The twin triggers of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine rattled an already brittle global system. Economic growth in the world’s largest economies is stalling, while navigating headwinds from rising food and energy prices.” This year, the meeting “is held in the most complex geopolitical and geo-economic context for decades”, underlined the president of the WEF, Borge Brende.

The Covid-19 pandemic, trade disputes between China and the United States, and the war in Ukraine have contributed in recent years to multiplying geopolitical fault lines and fueling more protectionist policies. One of the main causes of this fragmentation is a lack of cooperation, and it results in short-term and selfish policies, regretted the founder of the WEF, Klaus Schwab. To reflect and discuss all these issues, the WEF welcomes 52 heads of state and government and nearly 600 CEOs, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. One major CEO will not be there, however. Musk had revealed in December to have received an invitation but to have declined it. “I was invited to WEF, but declined,” the billionaire said on Dec. 24. The billionaire who became the most influential boss in the world explained that his decision was due to the fact that he found Davos boring.

“My reason for declining the Davos invitation was not because I thought they were engaged in diabolical scheming, but because it sounded boring,” the serial entrepreneur explained on December 31. Musk’s refusal to take part in the Davos Forum comes at a time when this circle of political leaders, business executives, cultural trend-setters and international organization chiefs is facing increasingly violent criticism. These critics challenge the power and influence of this gathering of elites, and in particular of its founder. Musk seems to share these criticisms. This is what he has just suggested in a message posted on Twitter on January 15, the day before the opening of the Forum. If the Techno King, his title at Tesla, recognizes the need to have a space or a forum where there are exchanges and a dialogue between the private sector and the governments, he seems to think that the World Economic Forum is not the good frame or is just all perfect.

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“..the DOJ’s willingness to let Biden’s lawyers conduct unsupervised searches is obviously fraught with concern..”

You cannot have two different justice systems.

FBI Decided Not To Monitor Biden Document Search (ZH)

After President Biden’s lawyers found classified documents at an office he used at a DC think tank, His Justice Department considered, and then declined, a plan to have FBI agents monitor a search for classified documents at his residences, in order to ‘avoid complicating later stages of the investigation,’ and because Biden’s attorneys ‘had quickly turned over a first batch and were cooperating,’ the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Instead, the DOJ decided that it would be just fine for Biden’s lawyers to conduct the additional searches by themselves, and would agree to immediately notify the Justice Department if they found any other potentially classified records – after which law-enforcement authorities would take them.

The arrangement meant that FBI agents wouldn’t bear witness to things such as the volume, or contents, of whatever might turn up. This is, of course, the same FBI that participated in a plan (and fabricated evidence) in a plot to frame former President Trump as a Russian asset, and then ran cover for the Bidens during the 2020 US election – telling social media companies that Hunter Biden’s laptop, or anything like it, was likely Russian disinformation. In the week since news reports first surfaced about the documents, the incident has drawn parallels to the discovery of a much larger number of documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, which federal agents obtained a warrant to search in August after more than a year of negotiations between Mr. Trump’s lawyers, the National Archives and the Justice Department and after Mr. Trump’s lawyers said all documents had been returned. -WSJ

After the initial finding at the Penn-Biden Center in early November (and not disclosed until last week), classified materials were discovered on three separate occasions in Biden’s Wilmington house in December and January, in the garage and a room adjacent to it, White House lawyer Richard Sauber said last week. According to Sauber, the documents were “inadvertently placed” at the locations. Trump supporters have accused the DOJ of a double standard in the handling of the Biden situation vs. Trump’s. And of course, as President, Trump’s ability to declassify the documents obtained in the raid remains a constitutional grey area. Biden’s supporters have pointed to the president’s cooperation, however the DOJ’s willingness to let Biden’s lawyers conduct unsupervised searches is obviously fraught with concern. According to the White House, it’s no big deal.

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“..Robert Hur is a protégé of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general under Trump who reportedly offered to wear a wire to spy on the previous president.”

Not a Coup, but a Coverup (ET)

The Nov. 14, 2022, article was evidence that the Biden circle was walking back its scorched-earth campaign against Trump on classified papers. Nearly three months later, it’s clear why—to reframe the context for when news of Biden’s own problems with classified documents went public. When the story broke last week in administration-friendly media outlets, Democratic lawmakers not only rallied around the president but also compared his response favorably to Trump’s. Unlike Trump’s team that argued with the institution tasked to keep U.S. records, Biden’s lawyers, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) intimated, “appear to have taken immediate and proper action to notify the National Archives.”

Dozens of media publications, from The New York Times to Vox, have published explainers showing why what Trump did is much worse than what Biden did. Trump had more documents, the argument runs; Biden’s lawyers were more forthright; and so forth. The fact is that no one on the Democratic side has broken with the president or even so much as hinted that he did something wrong. This isn’t what an internal coup looks like. The special counsel appointed to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents identifies as a Republican but he appears to be a Never Trump Republican. Robert Hur is a protégé of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general under Trump who reportedly offered to wear a wire to spy on the previous president.

Rosenstein furthered the anti-Trump cause by withholding documents from the investigation led by former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) into alleged FBI crimes and abuses committed during the bureau’s Trump–Russia probe. He also allegedly threatened to subpoena Nunes’s staffers, including Kash Patel. A winter 2018 chain of emails between Department of Justice officials shows that Hur was part of the law enforcement team tasked to stonewall Nunes’s investigation. Former congressional investigators say that Hur’s appointment as special counsel is intended not to uncover potential crimes committed by the president but rather to give the appearance of a genuine investigation and thereby bury the issue once and for all. And thus, actions taken by the Biden administration and the responses of Democratic officials and the media show that what’s unfolding at present isn’t a coup, but a coverup.

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“There’s a temptation in every one of these kinds of crises to hunker down..”

Biden in ‘Very Big’ Mess Over Document Scandal – David Gergen (ET)

The brewing scandal of classified documents poses a very serious problem for President Joe Biden, warned David Gergen, a White House adviser-turned-political analyst. Speaking on CNN on Saturday, Gregen was asked by host Anderson Cooper how big a mess the Biden administration is in following the discoveries of classified documents at Biden’s private offices. He responded, “It’s a very, very big deal.” News broke earlier this week that classified material dating from Biden’s vice presidency had been found in the Washington office of the Penn Biden Center, a think tank affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, in the days leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. The White House later admitted that more pages of classified documents were discovered in the president’s Delaware home.

The “Biden people” are not dealing with this political crisis properly, according to Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. “I do think that they may be making a big mistake,” he said. “I don’t think sitting there, hunkering down now, just acting like it’s not out there, is a good strategy. They’re going to get creamed doing that,” Gergen told Cooper, noting that the longer the White House remains reluctant to tell the truth, the more eager the American public will become to ask the question, “What are they hiding?” “As matters now stand, that long delay in putting it out there is going to encourage people to believe, ‘Well, what are they hiding?’” he said.

Instead of giving in to the temptation to hunker down, Biden should simply “get the facts out,” Gergen argued, pointing to the Iran-Contra affair that occurred during Reagan’s second term. When it was exposed that the CIA had secretly sold missiles and other military weapons to Iran in exchange for some Americans held hostage by Iran-backed terrorists and used the money to fund anti-communist Contra fighters in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration’s popularity took a dip, largely because of the White House’s unsuccessful damage control attempts. “There’s a temptation in every one of these kinds of crises to hunker down,” he said. “You are going all the way back to Iran-Contra and other kind of crises like that. You’ve just got to get the facts out.”

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Trojan Horse redux.

The Renewable Energy Problem That No One Talks About (ET)

Traditional generators use turbines—steam turbines, open-cycle turbines, and water turbines (hydroelectricity). This equipment is called “synchronous” because the frequency of the electricity they produce is directly linked to the speed that the shafts of the turbines rotate. Because these machines are large and heavy, it takes time and energy to speed them up or slow them down, which means that the frequency of the electricity cannot change too quickly. This is called “inertia.” As you may imagine, solar panels, having no moving parts, do not provide inertia. They match whatever frequency is already in the system; they do not help stabilise it.

Wind turbines, though they do have large spinning components, change speed all the time merely due to wind conditions. Hence they are not designed to synchronise with the AC network. So they do not provide inertia either. If a system does not have inertia, then instead of gently responding to a change in load, the frequency can flail about like a cyclist getting speed wobbles (any engine can have the same problem if it doesn’t have a sufficiently heavy flywheel). After the 2016 blackout, energy security gained its rightful place as the highest priority for a few glorious and brief weeks. A package of actions was taken by the South Australian government over the next couple of years, including the installation of a large-scale battery (following a promise by Elon Musk to construct it within 100 days or provide it for free), the building of a new diesel power station, and providing incentives for new natural gas exploration and production.

Additionally, two synchronous condensers were installed. Synchronous condensers are large, heavy rotating shafts, similar to what is contained in a turbine, but they don’t produce electricity—they just help to stabilise the frequency of the network. In the subsequent years, each of these responses was vindicated. The diesel generator has been used at several critical times. It was also found that the primary value of the large-scale battery was to stabilise the network. Though it stores comparatively little energy, the battery responds rapidly to faults originating anywhere in the east coast network, even in Queensland. It has since been programmed to provide “virtual inertia.”

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Ducklings

 

 

The perfect geometry of Hoya flowers. five-pointed double-star shapes that bloom from a sphere called an umbel

 

 


The Indian flower mantis

 

 

YOU’RE A WONDERFUL ONE

 

 

 

 

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