May 062024
 


Pablo Picasso La lecture 1932

 

Americans See Civil War Within 5 Years, Upcoming Election as Flashpoint (Sp.)
Ukrainians are God’s Chosen People – Zelensky (RT)
Zelensky Can’t ‘Mobilize God’ – Russian Church (RT)
Moscow Ridicules Zelensky’s Claim About God and Ukraine (RT)
Trump Develops ‘Detailed’ Plan On Achieving Ukraine Peace: Telegraph (ZH)
Corruption Sped Up Ukraine’s Retreat More Than Weapons Shortage
New US Antisemitism Law Turns Israeli Genocide Critics Into Criminals (GR)
French Foreign Legion Dispatched to Ukraine, Ex-DoD Official (Sp.)
Ukraine Could Request Western Military Intervention – MP (RT)
Israel’s Not So Little War Against Russia (Helmer)
Xi jinping to Visit Three Key Countries During Trip to Europe (Sp.)
You Need 2 Years of Food – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

 

 

 

 

May 5

 

 

Falcon heavy

 

 

Optimus


https://twitter.com/i/status/1787082089315139886

 

 

Poso
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787151253509706036

 

 

Putin Steele

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m not stupid. If you don’t vote for Trump, this great big empire is gonna crumble.”

Americans See Civil War Within 5 Years, Upcoming Election as Flashpoint (Sp.)

Surveys show many believe Americans will take up arms against each other in the coming years as political polarization in the country remains at an all-time high. A new poll reveals a startlingly large percentage of Americans anticipate a second civil war within the next few years, with many citing this year’s presidential election as a potential flashpoint for a conflict. The survey by US pollster Rasmussen Reports found that 41% of likely voters think the country is likely to see a civil war by 2029, including 16% who think a civil war in that timeframe is “very likely.” Researchers discovered a significant partisan component to the issue, with 37% of respondents saying civil war is more likely if current US President Joe Biden is reelected in November. Some 25% said the outcome would be more likely under a second Donald Trump presidency, while 30% said the outcome of this fall’s election would make little difference.

Surprisingly, more than half of Republican voters anticipate a civil war within the next five years, with 54% of them saying the outcome is likely. Women, young adults, and non-white voters were found to be most likely to predict an imminent conflagration in the survey of 1,105 US voters. “The possibility that America could face another civil war soon is not too far-fetched for a lot of voters,” said the polling firm. “Such discussions got a boost after the new movie ‘Civil War’ made its debut as number one at the box office last month.” The Alex Garland film is not the only recent Western movie or television show predicting a dystopian near-future. British director Adam Curtis’ film HyperNormalization recognized the trend nearly a decade ago.

“Halfway through Adam Curtis’s mind-blowing documentary on the current socio-political turmoil in the world… there is a montage from Hollywood apocalypse movies,” noted critic J.J. McDermott. “The montage segues from one dramatic scene to another with prolonged gasping effect… the White House is destroyed in Independence Day, a giant dino-creature chucks cars about the streets of New York in Godzilla and a giant comet looms over North America in Deep Impact.” “The fascination with 9/11 as a witnessed spectacle has persisted in movie studios and in the minds of their ‘disaster’ directors ever since and the summer blockbuster season is never without at least one example every year now.” Curtis’s provocative film posits that society has increasingly retreated inward in recent years, with the rise of the Internet serving as a substitute for an increasingly unpredictable and chaotic Western world. Brexit and the election of Trump are offered as two key events signifying a descent into political turmoil.

But the existential angst has apparently found its way online as well, with entire Internet communities dedicated to discussing the likelihood of imminent war or apocalypse. The r/Collapse forum on the website Reddit devotes itself to “discussion regarding the potential collapse of global civilization, defined as a significant decrease in human population and/or political/economic/social complexity.” Other surveys in recent years have revealed similar results, with one by YouGov in 2022 finding 43% of Americans think a civil war is likely in the next decade and another poll conducted that year finding 50.1% think it is a possibility.“No matter what happens here – the verdict – Trump’s gonna win or there will be a civil war,” said one supporter of the former president protesting outside his current trial in New York City. “I’m not stupid. If you don’t vote for Trump, this great big empire is gonna crumble.”

Read more …

Orthodox Easter is a big one.

Ukrainians are God’s Chosen People – Zelensky (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has proclaimed that God is an “ally” of Ukraine in the conflict with Russia. Despite his invoking of the Almighty, Zelensky has led a crackdown on the Orthodox Church for the last two years. As Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter on Sunday, Zelensky released a video address from Kiev’s Saint Sophia Cathedral, in which he accused Russia of “breaking all the commandments.” “The world sees it, God knows it,” he said. “And we believe God has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder. So, with such an ally, life will definitely win over death.” Zelensky’s appeal to Christians came as Ukraine’s parliament examines legislation that would close down the country’s largest Christian church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). While the law has sat in parliament for months, Zelensky’s government has moved to restrict the Church’s activity since the conflict began in 2022.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has opened dozens of criminal cases against UOC priests, has sanctioned clerics, and stripped at least 19 bishops of their Ukrainian citizenship, according to TASS news agency. Church property has been seized, and monks evicted from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, an ancient monastery and the most prominent Orthodox site in Ukraine. The UOC has deep historical ties with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which it renounced after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. Despite declaring autonomy from the ROC, Zelensky has accused the UOC of functioning as an “agent of Moscow,” and promoted the government-created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) as its replacement.

A non-canonical organization, the OCU was established by the government of President Pyotr Poroshenko after the US-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014. Earlier this year, a group of lawyers wrote to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, warning him that banning the UOC could cause “serious harm to Orthodox Ukrainians” and have “dire ramifications for Ukraine’s entry into the European Union and its place in the Western world.”

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“The Lord is not a resident of the Kiev region for Zelensky to mobilize him and put him in the Ukrainian army..”

Zelensky Can’t ‘Mobilize God’ – Russian Church (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has no way to enlist God in his fight against Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church has said, rebuking a statement Zelensky made during his Easter Sunday speech. In a video address, Zelensky described God as “an ally” of Ukraine who “has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder.” “The Lord is not a resident of the Kiev region for Zelensky to mobilize him and put him in the Ukrainian army. His statements don’t merit any attention,” Vakhtang Kipshidze, the head of the Russian church’s public relations department, told news outlet news.ru. Kipshidze further blasted the Ukrainian leader as “a non-believer” who “claims that he can decide for God whose ally he is.”

Kiev has stepped up the crackdown on its largest Christian church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), accusing its clergy of being “agents of Moscow.” The UOC renounced its historical ties with Moscow after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state in February 2022. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian authorities have since launched criminal cases against more than 60 priests and seized a number of monasteries and other assets in favor of the state-backed Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). Last year, the Ukrainian government introduced a bill that would pave a way for an eventual ban of the UOC. The legislation, however, has since been stalled. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has repeatedly condemned the campaign against the UOC, denouncing it as a violation of religious rights.

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“..Zakharova ridiculed the statement, suggesting it was the result of a “drug overdose.”

Moscow Ridicules Zelensky’s Claim About God and Ukraine (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has apparently lost touch with reality, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested after the Ukrainian President described God as Kiev’s “ally” in the conflict with Moscow. On Sunday, as Orthodox Christians celebrated Easter, Zelensky issued a video address in which he accused Moscow of “violating all the commandments,” claiming that “God knows it.” “We believe [that] God … wears a chevron with a Ukrainian flag on his shoulder,” the president stated, referring to the higher power as Kiev’s “ally,” who would guarantee Ukraine victory in the ongoing standoff. Zakharova ridiculed the statement, suggesting it was the result of a “drug overdose.” “A chevron on God’s [sleeve] is the same story as the rituals of ancient Ukrainians [performed] by them somewhere in Mesopotamia at a time when they discovered America,” the spokeswoman said, apparently referring to some internet memes mocking Kiev’s narratives about the nation’s origins.

Zelensky’s statements came amid the continued retreat of the Ukrainian military in Donbass, amid an ongoing Russian offensive. Earlier on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that Moscow’s forces had taken control over the village of Ocheretino in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic – a major logistics hub for Kiev’s troops. In February, Moscow’s forces liberated the strategic Donbass town of Avdeevka and have been steadily pushing westward ever since, taking control of several smaller settlements in the area. In April, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Moscow’s troops were firmly in control of the initiative in the conflict, and steadily pushing Kiev’s forces back. Earlier this week, he estimated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had lost 111,000 this year alone. Ukraine’s top military commander, General Aleksandr Syrsky, told Kiev’s backers the same month that his nation’s armed forces face a “difficult operational and strategic situation, which has a tendency to get worse.”

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“..Mr Trump will style himself as the only candidate who can end the war, with a simple “bumper-sticker” slogan..”

Trump Develops ‘Detailed’ Plan On Achieving Ukraine Peace: Telegraph (ZH)

Trump has long touted on the campaign trail that he can stop the Ukraine war in 24 hours while taking shots a Biden’s inability to oversee a negotiation that would ultimately end the war. The Daily Telegraph is now reporting, citing an unnamed source who is said to be close to the former president and current GOP frontrunner going into the November election, that Trump has developed a detailed plan for achieving Ukraine peace. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said. Below is the section of the Friday Telegraph report which previews the plan: A source close to the Trump campaign has told The Telegraph that a detailed Ukraine-Russia peace plan has been drawn up but will not yet be disclosed in any detail before his in an effort to maintain leverage. Mr Trump will style himself as the only candidate who can end the war, with a simple “bumper-sticker” slogan, they said.

“He wants to stop the killing,” said the source. “That’s the bumper sticker: Trump will stop the killing.” Last month a Washington Post report claimed that key to Trump’s plan would be pressuring Kiev to permanently give up Crimea and part of the Donbas to the Russians. The Post had cited aides who said the plan is to push for “Ukraine to cede Crimea and Donbas border region to Russia” in return for an end the Russian occupation and invasion. But the truth is that at the very least Kiev would have to forever relinquish claims of sovereignty over Crimea. Moscow is also never going to let go to the four annexed territories in the east. But Trump had slammed the apparently premature report as “fake news”. At the time a statement from the Trump campaign said “The whole thing is fake news from the Washington Post. They’re just making it up.” Spokesman Jason Miller did emphasize, however, that “President Trump is the only one talking about stopping the killing. Joe Biden is talking about more killing.”

Meanwhile, things on the battlefield are making it increasingly clear that Ukraine may soon have no other option. The country’s military and intelligence leadership also appears to be coming around to the hard reality that it will have to surrender territory, or else continue suffering massive losses and ceded ground. The Telegraph writes in its fresh report: Ukraine is preparing for peace talks with Russia as there is “no way to win on the battlefield alone”, Kyiv’s deputy spy chief has said. Maj Gen Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s HUR military intelligence agency, said both sides were currently vying for “the most favorable position” ahead of possible negotiations in 2025. As with virtually all wars, negotiations will likely be the final stage of the conflict, he told the Economist. Yet President Zelensky himself has yet to echo this perspective.

Instead he’s currently urging the West for more and more advanced weapons, and talking about “ten year defense” plans ensured by the US and Kiev’s backers. He has further recently said that if Ukraine ever hopes to formally join NATO, it must ‘win’ against Russia – which at this point seems in the realm of fantasy. The White House has so far done nothing to dispel this fantasy, but has instead encouraged it. Russian state media had captured and translated key lines of Zelensky’s address. “I believe that we will be in NATO only if we win. I don’t think that we will be admitted […] during the war,” Zelensky had said during a meeting with officers. Ukrainian sources also confirmed the remarks.

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“..they are laying the groundwork for departure. While preparing to escape Ukraine, they create some kind of financial safety net for themselves..”

Corruption Sped Up Ukraine’s Retreat More Than Weapons Shortage

The rapid crumbling of Ukrainian defenses, leading to military retreat, prompts questions about the Kiev regime’s failure to maintain the front line. Russian troops continue to advance along the entire 1000-kilometer-long front line and squeeze the Ukrainian military from the Donetsk People’s Republic after the liberation of Avdeyevka. After taking control of Chasov Yar and Ocheretino, the Russian Armed Forces will get access to the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk agglomeration and destroy the Kiev regime’s defense line west of Avdeyevka. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has consistently criticized the West for hesitating to provide air defense systems, weapons, and ammunition, citing it as the primary reason for his military’s failures. However, it has been revealed that the shortage of ammunition has not been the Ukrainian Army’s main issue Kiev previously allocated almost 38 billion hryvnia ($960 million) to build a multi-layered network of fortifications; however, Ukrainian troops testify that the lines of defense barely exist, as quoted by the Associated Press.

The Ukrainian military contends that these works should have been completed last year during a temporary operational pause, rather than amid a retreat. “One can assume that a year ago, when the budget was planned, Ukrainians didn’t believe that the counteroffensive would fail. In general, the strategy was to attack and establish defensive positions on newly acquired territories. That is, fortifications were meant for offense, not defense,” Vadim Kozyulin, head of the Institute of Contemporary International Studies Under Diplomatic Academy of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Sputnik. “But the situation has changed. Moreover, we see that this happened rapidly, and, most likely, unexpectedly. The Ukrainians probably saw what it was leading to, but they could not openly admit it, because they feared it could impact financing. They had to maintain some kind of optimism among Western partners. This let them down, catching them off guard,” he explained. “The second issue is corruption. It’s an old Ukrainian problem and we don’t know its extent, given that everything is classified amid the hostilities,” the expert continued.

Where is the Money? Funds allocated to strengthen Ukrainian defenses were stolen with the tacit approval of the nation’s government officials, presumed Vadim Mingalev, a military expert and political analyst. He likewise drew attention to the fact that Andriy Yermak, a Ukrainian film producer who was appointed by Zelensky as the head of his office, supervised the project. The Ukrainian president also played a role in this farce by visiting the sites that were nothing short of Potemkin villages, i.e. an impressive facade designed to hide an inconvenient truth, the expert noted. According to Mingalev, the fuss surrounding the US $61 billion tranche arose from the Kiev regime’s desire to allocate a portion of these funds towards its delayed fortification construction projects. “As in any construction business, a certain estimate is first prepared,” the military expert said, explaining how the money might have vanished. “The estimate is then increased by one and a half or two times. Then, as construction progresses, it can go up three times, and so on.

Accordingly, a certain amount of concrete, cement, and other building materials are not supplied for creating the defensive lines. What’s on paper often differs significantly from what is actually delivered. There is a rather sophisticated scheme [to steal funds].” Military purchases and tenders are currently classified and do not go through Ukraine’s public procurement platform ProZorro, allowing corrupt politicians and their business partners to steal quietly, according to Kozyulin. Moreover, he added, the same individuals who seize these funds are responsible for overseeing their expenditure. One might ask why Ukrainian authorities and business sectors are shooting themselves in the foot by undermining the country’s defensive capabilities. “Ukrainian oligarchs who support Zelensky and work with him understand perfectly well that their fate is sealed, and they are laying the groundwork for departure. While preparing to escape Ukraine, they create some kind of financial safety net for themselves,” Mingalev explained.

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“..Policing speech, religion, and assembly is not the role of the federal government. In fact, it’s expressly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution…”

New US Antisemitism Law Turns Israeli Genocide Critics Into Criminals (GR)

On Wednesday May 1st, the House overwhelmingly passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act by a 320-91 vote, with only 21 Republicans joined by 70 Democrats against it. Expanding the scope of what is legally considered antisemitism, this is another bipartisan uniparty trap to ensnare the thousands of protesters exercising their free speech against the apartheid Israel’s extermination of Palestinians, in effect criminalizing those that are critical of the genocide. This is piece of legislation is a betrayal of our First Amendment rights and a betrayal of the American people, and a testimonial how AIPAC Israel through bribery and blackmail have turned our constitutional republic into a totalitarian technocratic police state. Foreign national influence is outlawed in the United States except with one exception, the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) that allows Zionist Israel money and bribery control to essentially own the treasonous US Congress.

Through intelligence agencies Mossad, CIA and MI6 in addition to AIPAC, US politicians are systemically coerced, bribed and blackmailed into unconditional support for Israel. As Tucker Carlson admitted recently to Joe Rogan, politicians are afraid to not vote in line with these intimidation tactics imposed by foreign agent operatives, that threaten kiddie porn on their computers or truth exposing pedo-blackmail activity, to ensure that Zionist Israel always gets what it wants with total impunity. With this kind of captured control over politicians, and now with this latest antisemitism law, dare criticize Israel or Zionism or Jewish power, it can now get us locked up under antisemitic hate speech. Zionist bloodline moneychangers like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers would not want it any other way.

A Thursday May 2nd Truthout article states: House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve legislation directing the U.S. Department of Education to consider a dubious definition of antisemitism, despite warnings from Jewish-led groups that the measure speciously conflates legitimate criticism of the Israeli government with bigotry against Jewish people. Uniparty Republicans and Democrats passing this new antisemitism bill destroying US Constitution’s First Amendment that guarantees our citizens’ free speech rights, confirms that US Congress panders and grovels in submission to their master Zionist Jewish State and its bloodline master founding owner, the Rothschild banking cartel. America’s uniparty is owned and operated by foreign agent AIPAC Israel.

Again, look at what inexhaustible lengths our Congress goes to, to protect the rights, security and safety of Jews, while Palestinian Arabs are brutally massacred daily and American citizens’ disappearing constitutional rights, our safety and national security are blatantly trampled upon. Only the apparent “chosen ones” receive preferential legal protection under bipartisan US law, while all the rest of us members of the human race, to Israel and US Congress, are all Palestinians in the genocidal crosshairs of our common Zionist Darkside enemy.

My article on Global Research last week is titled “In Defense of Genocide and War on ‘Antisemitism’, There Go Our Constitutional Liberties.” I cite the increasing number anti-hate speech laws grossly conflating criticism of Israeli genocide with antisemitism conveniently misused to falsely justify criminalizing and silencing our fundamental First Amendment rights of free speech, including the right to assemble for peaceful protest. On Saturday April 27th, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) called out his colleagues over this very same issue: Some of my colleagues are introducing legislation to create federally sanctioned ‘antisemitism monitors’ at colleges. I’ll vote No. Policing speech, religion, and assembly is not the role of the federal government. In fact, it’s expressly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

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To do what?

French Foreign Legion Dispatched to Ukraine, Ex-DoD Official (Sp.)

Media reports earlier stated that NATO currently does not have any operational plans for sending a military contingent to Ukraine even though the alliance has allegedly established “the two red lines” for its direct intervention in the conflict. “France has sent its first troops officially to Ukraine,” former US deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, Stephen Bryen, has claimed in an article published by the Asia Times. Bryen went on to write that the forces have been deployed “in support of the Ukrainian 54th Independent Mechanized Brigade in the city of Slavyansk.” The French soldiers have reportedly been drawn from the 3rd Infantry Regiment, one of the main components of France’s Foreign Legion. French authorities have not commented on the matter yet. “These troops are being posted directly in a hot combat area and are intended to help the Ukrainians resist Russian advances in Donbass. The first 100 are artillery and surveillance specialists,” Bryen argued.

According to him, about 1,500 French Foreign Legion soldiers are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine in the foreseeable future. The ex-US deputy undersecretary of defense wondered in this regard “whether this crosses the Russian red line on NATO involvement in Ukraine” and if “the Russians will see this as initiating a wider war beyond Ukraine’s borders?” Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported earlier on Sunday that NATO – “in a very confidential manner and without official communique – has established at least two red lines, beyond which there could be the alliance’s direct intervention in the conflict in Ukraine.” At the same time, NATO does not plan to immediately send its military contingent to Ukraine, according to the newspaper. Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron once again did not rule out the possibility of NATO sending troops from Europe to Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced Macron’s statement as “very dangerous”, with the statement also slammed by groups in Britain, France, Hungary, Italy, and Slovakia.

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“..NATO has no justification to send troops to Ukraine, because Kiev is not a member of the bloc..”

Ukraine Could Request Western Military Intervention – MP (RT)

Kiev could request that Western troops be deployed on its soil if it deems the situation on the battlefield to have become bad enough, a senior Ukrainian lawmaker has said. In an interview with French broadcaster LCI on Saturday, Aleksey Goncharenko, who represents Odessa in the Ukrainian parliament, thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for not ruling out sending Western military to his country. The French leader earlier suggested that this issue could be put up for consideration on two conditions, first, “if the Russians were to break through the front lines [and, second,] if there were a Ukrainian request.” Describing Macron’s remarks as a “very good signal” to Russia, Goncharenko noted that foreign troops in Ukraine could be tasked with training Kiev’s military and performing other missions without engaging Moscow’s forces head-on.

When asked whether Ukraine would ask the West for direct assistance if Russian troops were to approach Kharkov or Kiev, the MP said he did not rule out any scenarios. “Yes, I think it is possible… If the frontline situation shows us that Ukraine cannot stop [Russian President Vladimir] Putin alone without European military support and troops, this is absolutely possible,” he said, voicing the hope that such a drastic measure wouldn’t be necessary. He also stressed that it would be in the EU’s interest to heed the appeal for assistance that he described, as it would be easier to stop Moscow with Ukraine than without it. On Saturday, Emmanuel Macron said that he supported “strategic ambiguity” towards Russia, which, he said, is aimed at deterring Moscow. According to the French president, his stance on potential Western military action in Ukraine was in line with this approach.

However, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has voiced skepticism about the idea, warning that NATO troops in Ukraine “could be a dangerous escalation.” This sentiment was echoed by Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto and by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, while Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico recalled that NATO has no justification to send troops to Ukraine, because Kiev is not a member of the bloc. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Macron’s statement “very important and very dangerous,” describing it as further testament to Paris’ direct involvement in the conflict. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has also warned that “nothing will remain” of NATO forces if they are deployed in Ukraine. In recent weeks, the Russian military has reported a steady advance, capturing numerous settlements in Donbass, with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu recently declaring that Moscow is in full control of the situation on the battlefield.

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Jamming.

Israel’s Not So Little War Against Russia (Helmer)

Since last November the regime of Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev has been advertising the products of a company called Piranha-Tech for newly developed electronic warfare (EW) technologies which the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu (right) is now supplying the Ukraine for operations against Russia. According to a Russian military blogger report published on May 4, Israeli companies specializing in electronic jamming and drone technologies are behind a Ukrainian government, US, and UK-funded drone production line and deployment of the weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield. Piranha-Tech, according to this source, is 49% owned by Israeli shareholders, who developed the technology, and 51% owned by Ukrainians who are managing the battlefield supplies. Piranha-Tech anti-drone guns and jammers are based on Israeli military technologies, the report claims.

The first official disclosure came from Kiev on November 2, 2023. According to a tweet published by Mikhail Fedorov, a cyber technology specialist with government rank in Kiev, “efficient protection from Russian UAVs for armored vehicles & personnel. Quite unique electronic warfare system — Piranha AVD 360. It creates protective dome up to 600 meters around & jams satellite navigation systems, such as RuGLONASS. New tech supported by @BRAVE1ua”. BRAVE1 stands for “Ukrainian Defense Innovations”, a Ukrainian government coordinating agency for “stakeholders of the defense tech industry by providing them with organizational, informational, and financial support for defense tech projects.” Source: https://twitter.com/fedorovmykhailo?lang=en

A US and Ukraine-based defence technology blog picked up the story immediately. The report called the Piranha-Tech system “a cutting-edge electronic warfare system designed to safeguard armored vehicles from Russian drones, has successfully completed field trials and is now poised for mass production.” It added: “the Piranha system disrupts satellite navigation systems, including Russia’s GLONASS.” According to the American outlet, Piranha Tech was an “achievement in Ukrainian defense technology.” There was no mention of the Israeli military base for the Ukrainian operation. The Israeli links behind Piranha Tech were first published in Paris on May 3, 2024.

The Paris-based website called Intelligence Online reported that the Ukrainian Piranha-Tech technology is in fact Israeli. “Behind the Ukrainian company supplying anti-drone equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces and the government of Myanmar is a network of Israeli electronic warfare companies.” Intelligence Online is a product of Indigo, a media group owned by Maurice Botbol, who is of Moroccan Jewish extraction. In the competitive London corporate investigations market, Botbol’s Intelligence Online has a controversial reputation. In the past, it was favourable to the press operations of a Russian metals oligarch now under US sanctions.

In Moscow, The Militarist, a widely read military news and analysis blog, followed with an extensive report of the Israeli operation of Piranha-Tech on May 4. The Russian report says: “While Ukraine continues to develop its EW [electronic warfare] technologies as much as possible, incubators working in this field, such as Brave1 attract foreign specialists. Brave1 provides substantial support and subsidies to Piranha Tech, in particular, for its UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] Piranha AVD 360 anti-UAV system, which is used by the APU [Armed Forces of Ukraine]. The Ukrainian company, whose Ukrainian anti-UAV systems are praised on social media by the talkative Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mikhail Fedorov, seems to have close ties with Israel.”

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“..Xi’s diplomatic visit to Europe – his first in five years..”

Xi jinping to Visit Three Key Countries During Trip to Europe (Sp.)

An article in The New York Times suggests China shares skepticism towards US hegemony with some European countries, but the Asian power maintains positive cultural, economic, and historical ties as well. “Xi Visits Europe, Seeking Strategic Opportunity,” declared the headline of a New York Times piece Sunday on the Chinese leader’s trip to the continent. “The Chinese president… appears intent on seizing opportunities to loosen the continent’s bonds with the United States and forge a world freed of American dominance,” its authors continued, following in the controversial newspaper’s tradition of staunch advocacy for US hegemony. Xi’s diplomatic visit to Europe – his first in five years – certainly comes during a period when the United States’ global leadership is in doubt.

The US’ leveraging of coercive unilateral economic sanctions against nearly one-third of the world’s population has endangered the dollar’s position as the de facto global reserve currency, leading various world powers to seek alternatives. Countries throughout the Global South have chafed under the United States’ insistence they must follow its lead in isolating Russia after the launching of its special military operation in the Donbass. This phenomenon is observed vividly in North Africa, with a slew of nations ending military cooperation with the US and ejecting American troops. Even within Western Europe the United States’ image has taken a beating. NATO officials are scrambling to prepare for a possible future without the guiding role of Washington, fearing a second Donald Trump presidency could see the US cut funding or even pull out of the military alliance.

Historical allies’ perception of the country seems permanently altered after the controversial real estate magnate’s chaotic time at the helm; one-third of Europeans now say the United States cannot be trusted while more than two-thirds say it is not a model democracy. The New York Times documents various reasons for shared skepticism towards the United States among China and the three countries Xi plans to visit during his trip. France has long sought to resist US influence over its affairs, with revered statesman Charles de Gaulle famously refusing to place French troops under NATO command. Current President Emmanuel Macron has advocated for “strategic autonomy” in European affairs, positioning the EU as a third major power independent of China and America. Hungary, too, has challenged US influence over its internal affairs, rejecting criticism of its self-declared “illiberal Christian democratic” Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Opposition towards the United States is perhaps strongest in Serbia, where the lasting impact of NATO’s 1999 bombing of Belgrade is still felt. Increased rates of cancer and birth defects persist decades after the alliance’s use of depleted uranium in its assault on the capital city. The US’ bombing of Beijing’s embassy in Belgrade during the attack is still commemorated regularly by both China and Serbia. But beyond these countries’ shared objection to US dominance, there are also strong cultural, economic and historical links. Beijing’s relations with Serbia extend back to the days of the former Yugoslavia, when both countries shared an egalitarian socialist vision. Hungary became the largest recipient of Chinese direct investment in 2015, with Orban enthusiastically participating in Belt and Road infrastructure projects. French-Sino relations, meanwhile, go back to the Middle Ages; the Chinese monk Rabban Bar Sauma was hosted by France’s King Philip IV during a diplomatic trip by the Uyghur emissary throughout Europe. Today, both countries are joined together by their shared status as G20 economies, members of the UN Security Council, and major regional powers.

“Looking to the future, peace and development remain the trend of history and the aspiration of the people,” proclaimed Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in 2023. “China’s experience shows that the path of peaceful development has worked and worked well. There is no reason for us to discontinue but every reason to stay the course, and come together with more countries in the pursuit of peaceful development.” “When all countries pursue peaceful development, the future of humanity will be full of promise,” he concluded. As China continues to grow in economic power and influence the country insists it is committed to peaceful development and concern for humanity’s common advancement. Xi’s visit to Europe suggests the country is willing to search for allies in its cause wherever they may be found, even as broader trends threaten to drive world powers apart.

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“..a big turn on or about May 7th of next week. Armstrong predicts a recession will start then and go on until 2028..”

You Need 2 Years of Food – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong has new data on how well the Biden economy is doing. Spoiler alert: It’s not doing well, and the financial system is about to tank. I asked Armstrong if the US government could default on its debt if countries around the world continue to stop buying it? Armstrong explained, “I think the US could default on its debt as early as 2025, but probably in 2027. We have kicked the can down the road as far as we can go. It’s not just in the United States. Europe is in the same boat. So is Japan. This is why they need war. They think by going into war, that’s the excuse to default on the debt. They simply will not pay China. If they try to sell their debt–good luck. We are not redeeming it. The same thing is happening in Europe. So, once that happens, you go into war, and that is their excuse on this whole debt thing to collapse, which wipes out pensions etc. Then they can blame Putin. This is the same thing Biden was doing before saying this was Putin’s inflation. Then, with the whole CBDC thing (central bank digital currency) . . . . the IMF has already completed its digital coin, and they want that to replace the dollar as the reserve currency for the world. . . . These people are desperately just trying to hang on to power. Nobody wants to give it up, and nobody wants to reform.”

I asked Armstrong what should the common person be doing now? Armstrong surprisingly said, “I think you need, safely, two years’ worth of food supply. . . .This is what I have. It’s not just prices will go up, but mainly because there will be shortages. Then, you do not know what they are going to do with the currency. . . . They will do whatever they have to do to survive. That’s what governments always do.”

Armstrong says his most recent data suggests that government approval ratings in the USA are worse that Biden’s 8% approval rating. Congress, according to Armstrong, is dragging the bottom with a 7% approval rating. Armstrong has long said that people will buy gold and silver when faith in government crashes. That is exactly what Armstrong is seeing around the world today. Gold is bouncing around the $2,300 level, and Armstrong sees “a new gold and silver rally coming soon.” War is also coming sooner than later with the announcement that Ukraine will be joining NATO as early as July. When the next war starts, Armstrong warns, “You are going to have to watch the bank because long term interest rates are going to go up. Nobody wants to buy government debt, and you are going to have to hunker down at that stage in the game.”

Armstrong is also predicting a big turn on or about May 7th of next week. Armstrong predicts a recession will start then and go on until 2028. GDP will continue to fall, and inflation will continue to rise. Armstrong says it is the perfect storm for a dreaded “stagflation economy.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Buster hat

 

 

Tubs

 

 

Fren

 

 

Smile

 

 

Be kind to dogs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787123323748704526

 

 

 

 

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Jul 082023
 
 July 8, 2023  Posted by at 5:28 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Andy Warhol Shot Sage Blue Marilyn 1964 (must read article!)

 

 

An article at RT made me realize today – all the more- how out of touch with reality the “west” is. It talks about how Joe Biden warns Xi Jinping about economic consequences of China’s alliance with Russia. Thing is, that ship has long sailed. And Xi, even if he would have wanted to -there are no signs of that-, cannot turn it around, It has gained “momentum”.

And it’s “Joe Biden”s own doing. Xi and Putin would have happily continued using the USD in their international trade. But the sanctions made that impossible. And then it took off. From BRICS(+) to SCO to INSTC, various groups that had been formed, now found a reason to exist and flourish. And there’s nothing Xi can do to stop that process, even if he would want to. it’s bigger than him, and China. But even then, why would he?

Biden Told China’s Xi To ‘Be Careful’ After Putin Meeting

US President Joe Biden called on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping ‘to be careful’ after Xi visited Moscow back in March, the American leader has told CNN. In extracts from the interview released on Saturday, Biden said he had highlighted what he called the Asian giant’s dependence on European and US investments.“I said: This is not a threat. This is an observation,” Biden told CNN. “Since Russia went into Ukraine, 600 American corporations have pulled out of Russia. And you have told me that your economy depends on investment from Europe and the United States. And be careful. Be careful,” he added.

Following their Moscow talks, Putin and Xi signed documents on deepening the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership and economic cooperation. Both governments emphasized their readiness to work towards a trade volume of $200 billion or higher, with national currencies increasingly being used in a bid to de-dollarize trade. The conflict in Ukraine was discussed during the Moscow visit as well, with China maintaining its neutral position. Beijing has repeatedly criticized the West’s “abuse” of unilateral economic sanctions and has made efforts toward a peaceful resolution in Ukraine, proposing a twelve-point peace plan. In May, a Chinese special envoy visited several countries, including Russia and Ukraine, in an effort to broker an end to the conflict.

Biden’s CNN interview comes as US relations with China are far from calm, with Taiwan and security concerns in the Asia-Pacific region among the key issues exacerbating strained ties. President Biden himself provoked a diplomatic incident in June, when he called his Chinese counterpart a “dictator” during a speech. While the US president dismissed concerns that his comment could hinder efforts to improve relations, the Chinese embassy issued a formal protest in response, and foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning denounced the remark as an “open political provocation.”

It makes no difference anymore what Biden, or any American/western person says. The sanctions have introduced the rest of the world to a feeling, a system, of freedom. And not even Xi can halt that. He could hinder it a bit, sure, but why would he? If the “global globe” can’t use the yuan in trade, they’ll switch to the rupee, which India has loudly announced as being ready for the role. Or the new gold backed currency BRICS/SCO is touting.

Whichever choice they arrive upon, Biden threatening Xi can only backfire. China already has a huge part of the world population, BRICS/SCO is much bigger than that, in many ways. And they sense/smell freedom. Xi would be crazy to move against that. And why would he? Because Biden threatens to take away some exports from him?

Xi doesn’t need the US or EU. He knows that because the “collective west’s” anti-Russia sanctions have only made Russia stronger. And the “collective west” is incapable of beating Russia on the battlefield. So what does Xi have to fear?

We live in a new world, a greatly changed one. The last place where you would find out about that is the west, where we live. Where all media and politicians carry on as if nothing has changed. We can’t know the truth about Trump, or about Covid, or about Ukraine, and now we can’t know how our position has changed in global power politics. They want us to believe we’re still no. 1. Well, they are not, and we are not. Get used to it. Get used to being one power in a world with multiple powers. Multipolar.

We cannot fight the global momentum we ourselves unleashed.

 

 

 

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Mar 212023
 


Rene Magritte Memory 1948

 

Even Peace Is Made In China (Juan Cole)
Xi’s Moscow Visit Is A Key Moment In The Struggle To End US Hegemony (Trenin)
Xi Says Deepening Ties With Moscow Is Beijing’s Strategic Choice (TASS)
Putin Tells Xi He’s “Open To Negotiating Process” On Ukraine (ZH)
The Lord of Chaos (Chris Hedges)
Orbán: ‘Europe Suffers From War Psychosis’ (RMX)
US Obsessed With Idea Of Dealing Strategic Blow To Russia – Antonov (TASS)
Ukraine Will Have Only One Shot At A Counteroffensive – Czech President (RT)
Russia Wrote Off $20 Billion Of African Nations’ Debts – Putin (TASS)
African Countries Always Been Equal Allies For Russia – Duma Speaker (TASS)
Putin Makes Prediction About Africa (RT)
This Has Got to Stop (Kunstler)
House GOP Demands Answers From Manhattan DA Over Trump Indictment (ZH)
NYPD Mobilizes 700 Riot Cops, Steel Barricades For Potential Trump Arrest (TP)
Ron DeSantis Breaks Silence On Trump’s Possible Arrest (RT)
The Financial System Is Terminally Broken (Egon von Greyerz)
US Studies How To Guarantee All $18 Trillion In US Bank Deposits (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Sperm has been almost entirely replaced by spike proteins

 

 

 

 

Our friends are dead

 

 

Today they need tanks

 

 

 

 

Tucker Dowd
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637859586500640768

 

 

Tucker Biden Inc.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637988901217505284

<

 

 

“Xi Jinping, upon his arrival in Moscow, uttered the most seditious words from the point of view of the West: ‘China is ready to stand together with Russia to guard the world order based on int’l law’ not on the ‘rules’ invented by someone, but on the law!” — Vladimir Kornilov

Xi Jinping: “The international community has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order. The common interest of all humankind is in a world that is united and peaceful, rather than divided and volatile.”

p> 

 

Galloway
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637951197255548928

 

 

 

 

Interview with Robert Scheer.

Even Peace Is Made In China (Juan Cole)

I think the United States still has it in its mind that it’s the world hegemon and that they can do what they want. So if they want to break treaties with Iran and put them under an economic blockade, they can do that with not very much consequence to the United States. But what they don’t realize is that, well, the U.S. has something like a $20 to 23 trillion economy annually, and China now has a $17 trillion economy annually. So the United States is just not the only game in town anymore. And that’s not been the case since the end of World War II, when the U.S. was 50% of the world economy. It’s just becoming smaller, it has a smaller proportion of world wealth and power. And it is also true that the United States, you know, is in the Middle East for particular purposes.

They want to guarantee that the oil comes out of the Persian Gulf. And so it’s very security oriented. And to the extent that they saw Iran as a spoiler, the Islamic revolution of 1979 was explicitly anti-American. It has had potentially bad effects on American investments in the Middle East. American corporations have suffered. So the U.S. sees Iran as a bad actor and wants to contain it, put it in a cage, crash its economy if it can, overthrow its government, if it’s not too much trouble, and China is not behaving that way in the Middle East, the Chinese have, for a long time, had this doctrine of harmonious development, and they just don’t want any trouble as they grow into this enormous behemoth on the world stage. And so they don’t have anything against Iran. It doesn’t say anything to them.

And they also don’t have anything against Saudi Arabia. They do trade with both and that’s their policy to do trade with everybody if they can. And so I think they can just be more evenhanded. The United States has picked winners and losers in the region and people that it wants to punish and people that it wants to help. And, you know, it has this, you mentioned, that it has this rhetoric of spreading freedom and democracy and so forth. But it’s all very hypocritical because Saudi Arabia is one of the pillars of U.S. policy in the Middle East and it’s the least democratic country you could hope to find. And it’s never criticized by the State Department for its human rights abuses in any concerted way or in a very public way, whereas Iran is a very flawed system and very dictatorial.


“We see increasing threats from China, in particular in the Indo-Pacific. We feel like we’re not moving fast enough to build a bigger Navy,” says U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher.

Read more …

Dmitry Trenin is a research professor at the Higher School of Economics and a lead research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations. He is also a member of the Russian International Affairs Council.

Xi’s Moscow Visit Is A Key Moment In The Struggle To End US Hegemony (Trenin)

[..] the Chinese and Russian leaders certainly understand that they must wreck Washington’s plan of defeating Moscow first and then turning on Beijing. As a result, American warnings and threats to the Chinese over the assistance they can give to Russia may actually be counter-productive. The leadership will find the tone of these admonitions rude and disrespectful – particularly in conjunction with forthcoming American arms deliveries to Taipei. While China certainly cares about the US and EU markets for its goods and services, but it wonders whether it can really trust Washington and its allies, given Moscow’s experience with the Minsk agreements on Donbass which, as the former German and French leaders have admitted, were nothing but a ploy to buy time.

Thus, much more coordination between Beijing and Moscow can be expected. This does not presage a new military bloc in Eurasia, but instead a greater joint effort to help the world move faster toward multipolarity, which effectively means ending American global hegemony. One way to achieve this would be by reducing role of the US dollar in international transactions. Much of the Sino-Russian bilateral trade is already carried out in the Chinese yuan; but the yuan can also be used in dealing with third countries. Another way to help bring about the new world order is upgrading non-Western institutions, such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to set the agenda for the world in areas such as finance and technology, energy and climate, and, not least, international security.

China’s recent rise as a worldwide geopolitical – not just geo-economic – player, exemplified by its recent brokering of the Iranian-Saudi rapprochement, is welcomed in Russia as a practical step toward the new order. Moscow and Beijing can be more successful if they act jointly to reduce the economic and political dependence of many countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America on the US and its European allies. In the field of military security, there is much that Russia and China can benefit from through closer collaboration – beyond the existing formats. The main goal here is dissuading Washington, by deed not just word, from escalating the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and from provoking Beijing over Taiwan.

One specific area is in-depth dialogue on nuclear policies and nuclear proliferation under the present conditions of major-power confrontation and actual conflict. Even as they work on transitioning to a multipolar future, Putin and Xi bear a huge responsibility to make sure that this transition happens without a shooting war between the major powers. China and Russia cooperating more closely on security issues would make the transition safer.


10 years ago today, the newly elected Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Moscow with his wife, Peng Liyuan.

Read more …

Talked for 4.5 hours. The actual talks start only today.

Xi Says Deepening Ties With Moscow Is Beijing’s Strategic Choice (TASS)

During a Moscow meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that fostering bilateral relations was Beijing’s strategic choice, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Tuesday. “To consolidate and develop well China-Russia relations is a strategic choice China has made on the basis of its own fundamental interests and the prevailing trends of the world,” China’s MFA said on its website, underscoring the statements Xi made during the informal meeting.


Xi also noted that China was firm in pursuing its course toward strengthening strategic cooperation with Russia. The two presidents “had an in-depth exchange” of opinions on Ukraine. According to the Chinese leader, most countries support easing tensions, stand for peace talks and oppose “adding fuel to the fire,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry added. Xi assured Putin that “China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the Ukraine issue,” the Chinese MFA said.

Read more …

“we have looked at your proposals for the resolution of the Ukraine conflict” and previewed that “we will discuss this question.”

Putin Tells Xi He’s “Open To Negotiating Process” On Ukraine (ZH)

What’s being described as an initial, informal meeting between Presidents Xi and Putin is underway at the Kremlin. While the expected cordialities and expressions of closer relations were exchange, among the most notable early statements came from Putin, who said he’s “open” to peace talks with Ukraine and China’s mediation efforts. “We have a lot of joint tasks, goals,” Putin told his Chinese counterpart while also congratulating him on re-election as the head of the Chinese state for a third 5-year term. Xi in return said “Russia succeeded in promoting prosperity under Putin’s leadership.” Putin further expressed that “we will discuss your initiative [on Ukraine] which we view with respect.”

“We are open for a negotiating process on Ukraine,” the Russian leader added. He noted to Xi that “we have looked at your proposals for the resolution of the Ukraine conflict” and previewed that “we will discuss this question.” The day prior in media interviews, White House NSC spokesperson John Kirby declared that any “call for a ceasefire” in Ukraine is “unacceptable.” Likely Moscow will only be satisfied with nothing short of a full Kiev recognition of the Donbass being under Russia; however, this is the very thing Washington will condemn and seek to induce the Zelensky administration to resist.

According to state media commentary (RT), “Moscow has said that it would consider the proposal but has pointed to several factors that stand in the way of a peaceful resolution in Ukraine.” And more of Moscow’s perspective headed into more Xi meetings: “Those include the insistence of Kiev and its Western backers on inflicting a military defeat of Russia, their firm opposition to any sort of ceasefire, as well as a law enacted by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky that forbids holding negotiations with Russia as long as Putin remains in office.”

Putin Xi Ukraine
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637820477736361984

Read more …

“We are trying to wish the nightmares we perpetuated in the Middle East away, burying them in a collective amnesia. “World War III Begins With Forgetting,” warns Stephen Wertheim.”

The Lord of Chaos (Chris Hedges)

The occupation of Iraq, beginning 20 years ago today, turned the Muslim world and the Global South against us. The enduring images we left behind from two decades of war include President Bush standing under a “Mission Accomplished” banner onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier barely one month after he invaded Iraq, the bodies of Iraqis in Fallujah that were burned with white phosphorus and the photos of torture by U.S. soldiers. The U.S. is desperately attempting to use Ukraine to repair its image. But the rank hypocrisy of calling for “a rules-based international order” to justify the $113 billion in arms and other aid that the U.S. has committed to send to Ukraine, won’t work. It ignores what we did. We might forget, but the victims do not. The only redemptive path is charging Bush, Cheney and the other architects of the wars in the Middle East, including Joe Biden, as war criminals in the International Criminal Court. Haul Russian President Vladimir Putin off to The Hague, but only if Bush is in the cell next to him.

Many of the apologists for the war in Iraq seek to justify their support by arguing that “mistakes” were made, that if, for example, the Iraqi civil service and army were not disbanded after the U.S. invaded, the occupation would have worked. They insist that our intentions were honorable. They ignore the hubris and lies that led to the war, the misguided belief that the U.S. could be the sole major power in a unipolar world. They ignore the massive military expenditures spent annually to achieve this fantasy. They ignore that the war in Iraq was only an episode in this demented quest. A national reckoning with the military fiascos in the Middle East would expose the self-delusion of the ruling class. But this reckoning is not taking place. We are trying to wish the nightmares we perpetuated in the Middle East away, burying them in a collective amnesia. “World War III Begins With Forgetting,” warns Stephen Wertheim.

The celebration of our national “virtue” by pumping weapons into Ukraine, by sustaining at least 750 military bases in more than 70 countries and by expanding our naval presence in the South China Sea, is meant to fuel this dream of global dominance. What the mandarins in Washington fail to grasp is that most of the globe does not believe the lie of American benevolence or support its justifications for U.S. interventions. China and Russia, rather than passively accepting U.S. hegemony, are building up their militaries and strategic alliances. China, last week, brokered an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to re-establish relations after seven years of hostility, something once expected of U.S. diplomats. The rising influence of China creates a self-fulfilling prophecy for those who call for war with Russia and China, one that will have consequences far more catastrophic than those in the Middle East.

Read more …

Hungarian FM Szijjártó: “In France, the pension law was amended without a parliamentary vote. In Germany, the electoral law was changed by a simple majority. If anyone criticizes the Hungarian rule of law after this, let us laugh together!”

Orbán: ‘Europe Suffers From War Psychosis’ (RMX)

The main issue facing Europe today is war, which puts Hungary in a difficult situation, as the effects of war are severe and immediate, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a meeting of the Organization of Turkic States summit in Ankara. The prime minister stressed that, unfortunately, Europe was suffering from a “war psychosis,” with the continent drifting further into war day by day. Orbán thanked the leaders of the Turkish states for strengthening the voice of peace. Hungary — on account of its population’s Asian origins — is an honorary member of the Organization of Turkic States. Orbán thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, he said, had so far been able to mediate successfully between the warring parties, and called on him to continue his efforts in the future.

“Only in this way can we have a chance for peace,” Orbán said. He also thanked the Turkish president for the fact that Hungary and Turkey could coordinate their work within NATO. Hungary’s geographical proximity to the war has placed the issue of pursuing peace at the top of the agenda for Hungary, according to Orbán. “Ukraine is a neighboring state, and the effects of the war are therefore severe and direct, with inflation skyrocketing and energy prices at an all-time high,” he said, adding that “many Hungarians have now died in the war because men from the Hungarian community in western Ukraine are also being conscripted into the army.” “For Hungary, the most important thing is to save human lives, and that is why we are advocating a ceasefire as soon as possible and peace negotiations.”

At the same time, the prime minister expressed the view that what is happening in Europe is more than just war, because in fact, “the whole of Europe is being reshuffled in terms of power relations,” and this will also have repercussions for Turkey. He added that Hungary is also seeing another threat: “There are processes going on in the world economy that could lead to a new global balance.” He said that the segmentation of the world economy is against Hungary’s interests, and Hungary sees its future not in segmentation, but in acting in the collective interest and improving interconnectivity. “The Turk states can play a key role in this, because here we are European, Caucasian and Central Asian countries connected to each other on the basis of mutual respect, setting a good example for the whole world,” the prime minister said in his speech.

Read more …

“In the end – it’s not up to Washington to decide..”

US Obsessed With Idea Of Dealing Strategic Blow To Russia – Antonov (TASS)

The United States has been causing the geography of the Ukrainian crisis to expand and it turns a blind eye to the corrupt Kiev regime, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on Monday. Commenting on a new $350 million package of US military aid for Ukraine, he said, “Washington is obsessed with the idea of inflicting a strategic defeat on our country. With its steps, the [US] administration is only pushing the Ukrainian radicals toward new terrible deeds,” the embassy quoted Antonov as saying. According to the Russian envoy, “with each delivery of military equipment, the [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky regime feels more and more impunity. It continues to kill civilians in the Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions of Russia with pure cynicism,” the head of the Russian diplomatic mission underscored.

“The United States does not think that by such actions they are adding fuel and provoking the expansion of the geography of the Ukrainian crisis. This policy jeopardizes the security of all of Europe, increasing the risk of a direct clash between Russia and NATO,” Antonov warned. Washington “turns a blind eye to the corruption of the Ukrainian elite. We have serious concerns that some of the defense products may end up on the black market,” he added. “Where will weapons pop up? Who will bear responsibility when it falls into the hands of some terrorist groups and criminal organizations?” he asked rhetorically.

Antonov urged the US leadership to stop fueling the conflict in Ukraine. “And even more so – to refrain from public statements about the expediency or inexpediency of entering into negotiations. In the end – it’s not up to Washington to decide,” he concluded. On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new military assistance package for Ukraine that, among other weapons, would include ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons, and riverine boats. In all, during Joe Biden’s presidency, Washington has given more than $33.2 billion worth of military assistance to Kiev.

Read more …

“If it fails, “it will be extremely difficult to obtain funds for the next one.”

Ukraine Will Have Only One Shot At A Counteroffensive – Czech President (RT)

With the US set to refocus attention on domestic issues next year, Ukraine may not get funding for continued military action, Czech President Petr Pavel has said. The former army officer said Kiev’s armed forces may therefore have just one shot at conducting a major push against Russian troops. “The window of opportunity is open this year. After next winter, it will be extremely difficult to maintain the current level of aid,” Pavel told the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita. “Ukraine will only have one attempt to launch a major counter-offensive,” he added as quoted by the outlet on Monday. If it fails, “it will be extremely difficult to obtain funds for the next one.”

Pavel, a retired general who served as chair of the NATO Military Committee until 2018, predicted that US interest in aiding the Ukrainian army would likely dwindle in 2024. The political focus in the country will shift to the presidential campaign, and US-China relations are likely to be the top foreign policy issue. European nations will likely reduce their funding of Ukraine too, the politician predicted. He said it was up to Ukraine to decide what constitutes a victory over Russia, which Pavel assured would happen. But if it fails despite all Western help, there will be a “long war of attrition.” “You cannot pretend that the only possible solution is complete success,” he said.

Pavel’s preferred outcome for the conflict is a weakened Russia that prefers “cooperation, not aggression.” He stated that it would take a change of the “Russian regime from within” before the EU would go back to business as usual with the country. Kiev has declared full control of the territories it claims sovereignty over as the objective of its military campaign. It has refused talks with Moscow as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in office. Washington, for its part, has pledged to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia. Russia considers the hostilities in Ukraine to be part of a US-led proxy war, with Ukrainian troops being used as “cannon fodder” by Washington.

Read more …

Second Russia-Africa International Parliamentary Conference in Moscow. 45 African nations.

Russia Wrote Off $20 Billion Of African Nations’ Debts – Putin (TASS)

Russia has written off debts of African nations amounting to more than $20 bln, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. “Russia wrote off debts of African states in the amount over $20 bln,” the President said. “The mutual trade turnover is growing from year to year, which reached almost $18 bln as of the last year-end,” the Russian leader said. “The more vigorous transition to national currencies in financial settlements and the establishment of new transport and logistics chains will facilitate the development of countertrade turnovers,” Putin added.

Grain deal
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637800706777182208

Read more …

“Today the African continent plays an important role in solving global and regional problems. And it will only grow..”

African Countries Always Been Equal Allies For Russia – Duma Speaker (TASS)

Relations between Russia and African countries have always been built on an unselfish basis and equality, which cannot be said of the United States and Europe, which continue their colonial policy, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on Monday, speaking at the plenary session of the Second Russia-Africa International Parliamentary Conference. “It is necessary to emphasize: Russia and African countries are equal allies and partners. Our relations have always been built on an unselfish basis, on the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in domestic affairs,” Volodin said, stressing that for Russia “the African continent has never been a subject of mercantile interest, use of labor and raw material resources.” However, according to the speaker, the US and Europe have a different approach.


“Washington and Brussels seek to take control of Russian and African natural resources. In fact, they continue their colonial policy. They go to any measures, including force and terrorist nature, for their own benefit,” the politician pointed out. “It is not for Washington to teach us how to build relationships, be friends and make plans for the future,” Volodin pointed out. The Duma speaker recalled that “despite illegal sanctions from Washington, Russia and African states are developing trade and economic cooperation.” In particular, according to the politician, the trade turnover is growing, which at the end of last year amounted to 17.9 billion dollars. “Today the African continent plays an important role in solving global and regional problems. And it will only grow,” Volodin concluded.

Read more …

“..Africa will become one of the leaders in the emerging new multipolar world order – all objective prerequisites for this exist..”

Putin Makes Prediction About Africa (RT)

Moscow is “determined to continue building a strategic partnership” with African nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, expressing confidence that the continent is set to become one of the leaders of the emerging multipolar world. The president made the remarks at the International Parliamentary Conference ‘Russia – Africa in a Multipolar World,’ which kicked off in Moscow on Monday and brought together representatives of some 40 nations. The conference comes ahead of the second Russia-Africa summit, which is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg in July. “African nations are continuously increasing their weight and role in international affairs, and are asserting themselves more and more confidently in politics and economy. We are convinced that Africa will become one of the leaders in the emerging new multipolar world order – all objective prerequisites for this exist,” Putin stated.


Russia and African nations stand together against “the neo-colonial ideology” imposed by certain powers in the world, Putin went on. “Many states of Asia, the Middle East, and South America stand on similar positions, and together we make up the world majority,” he added. Moscow is committed to continue building a “strategic partnership” with Africa, while multiple Russian state-owned and private companies are already actively investing into the continent, Putin stressed. “We are ready to jointly shape the global agenda, work together to strengthen fair and equal interstate relations, and improve mechanisms for mutually beneficial economic cooperation,” he said, describing African nations as Russia’s “friends in the full sense of this word.”

Read more …

“..the locked-down public’s attention was galvanized by the George Floyd, BLM, and Antifa riots until the 2020 election was upon us..”

This Has Got to Stop (Kunstler)

The Covid-19 release seems to have been an act motivated by multiple players for their own reasons which, combined, amounted to crimes against humanity. Anthony Fauci, America’s infectious disease czar, apparently sought a crowning career triumph, which would have been a successful vaccine against a dangerous virus. So, he arranged to engineer the organism that he could then triumph against. Like all of Dr. Fauci’s projects over the roughly forty years that he ran the NIAID agency, the mRNA vaccines — subcontracted to the US Military and manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna — turned out to be an epic fiasco. Covid-19 also happened to be a convenient device for ridding the government of the troublesome President Trump, who threatened to disassemble major parts of the permanent US bureaucracy.

If you revisit the many videos of Mr. Trump appearing in the White House Covid crisis room in early 2020 with Dr. Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, and other public health officials, I’m sure you will notice his discomfort, as if he suspected he was being played (he was). And conveniently, right after that, the locked-down public’s attention was galvanized by the George Floyd, BLM, and Antifa riots until the 2020 election was upon us. (Another grotesque prank against the people, never adjudicated.) It took more than a year after the “vaccines” came out for the disturbing actuarial data to emerge from the life insurance industry that many non-elderly people were being killed and disabled by the shots’ adverse effects. (I think the censors were caught by surprise that the truth leaked out from there.)

Meanwhile, any able investigator could understand how the half-assed “vaccines,” along with the denigration of off-label early treatment medicines, the reckless use of dangerous remdesivir combined with enormous government payments to hospitals for mis-treating patients with it, the gaming and hiding of CDC statistics, and the obvious censorship of all that information in the corporate news and social media (with help from the CIA and FBI), all added up to a monstrous criminal offense against human decency. The government, now led by the career criminal “Joe Biden,” needed another distraction from intrusive reality in 2022 — including the emergence of the Biden family’s crimes — so it arranged to start a war in Ukraine by threatening to turn that country into a forward NATO base on Russia’s border. Russia was exceptionally clear and straightforward that it wouldn’t accept such an arrangement and the US proceeded anyway. Our country was exceptionally dishonest in its positioning for this conflict. (And our NATO allies were astoundingly credulous going along with it, even after we fatally damaged the EU’s economy.)

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“You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office..”

House GOP Demands Answers From Manhattan DA Over Trump Indictment (ZH)

House Republicans on the Weaponization of the Federal Government subcommittee are using their new investigative powers to look into liberal Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, over the Soros-funded DA’s reported plans to indict former President Donald Trump on felony charges this week related to hush money he allegedly paid to porn star Stormy Daniels seven years ago – a charge which would normally be a misdemeanor. Bragg would also be prosecuting the case beyond the five-year statute of limitations. “You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former President of the United States and current declared candidate for that office,” reads a Monday letter to Bragg from Reps. Jim Jordan (Judiciary Chairman), James Comer (Oversight Chairman) and Bryan Steil (House Admin Chairman).

“This indictment comes after years of your office searching for a basis – any basis – on which to bring charges, ultimately settling on a novel legal theory untested anywhere in the cuntry and one that federal authorities declined to pursue.” The letter goes on to shred the ‘untested legal theory’ underpinning Bragg’s expected indictment, and calls out former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen, Bragg’s star witness and a convicted perjurer, as having a “serious credibility problem.” The letter demands all documents and communications related to the decision. “This is the type of thing America hates, and it divides America and it is wrong,” McCarthy said this week while conferring with House Republicans in Orlando, Florida. McCarthy has accused Bragg of lowering penalties for criminals in New York while prosecuting his political opponents.

“It’s interesting to me he spent his whole time as a DA lowering felonies, not to prosecute,” said McCarthy. “I think Republicans and Democrats alike hate this type of justice.” “Republicans stopped the radical D.C. crime law, and we will investigate any use of federal funds that are used to facilitate the perversion of justice by Soros-backed DA’s across the country,” he continued.

Tucker Justice
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637973070546624512

Read more …

“Republicans plan to use their new investigative powers in the House majority to ramp up probes into the Biden family and liberal Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg..”

NYPD Mobilizes 700 Riot Cops, Steel Barricades For Potential Trump Arrest (TP)

The New York Police Department is preparing for civil disorder should the Manhattan District Attorney’s office order the arrest of former President Donald Trump. The NYPD has ordered the mobilization of 700 riot police and has erected steel barricades around the Manhattan Criminal Court in preparation for a potential grand jury indictment. The New York Times fantasized about the “likely indictment” and “unprecedented arrest” of Donald Trump. “He would be fingerprinted. He would be photographed. He could even be handcuffed. And if Donald J. Trump is indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in the days ahead for his role in a hush money payment to a porn star, the former president of the United States of America will be read the standard Miranda warning: He will be told that he has the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.”

“These are among the routine steps for felony arrests in New York. But the unprecedented arrest of a former commander in chief — one whose devoted supporters once staged a violent attack on the Capitol — will be anything but routine,” the story added. The Times also reported that “more than a dozen senior Police Department officials and two of the mayor’s top public safety aides held a virtual meeting to discuss security, staffing and contingency plans in the event of any protests, one person with knowledge of the meeting said.” The Times drew a parallel between New York City’s security preparations for the potential Trump indictment this week and the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. “That meeting followed a call from Mr. Trump himself, in a post on his site Truth Social on Saturday morning: ‘PROTEST,’ he exhorted his supporters. ‘TAKE OUR NATION BACK!’

“The former president’s rallying cry, with an indictment looming, conjured up memories of the Jan. 6, 2020, assault on the Capitol,” the Times added. Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is set to use his Congressional authority to investigate Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for alleged political prosecution of the former president. “Republicans plan to use their new investigative powers in the House majority to ramp up probes into the Biden family and liberal Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg amid reports that Mr. Bragg is on the verge of indicting former President Donald Trump on felony charges,” the Washington Times reported.

“An aide to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, told The Washington Times on Sunday that Mr. Jordan’s panel on the weaponization of the federal government “’is expected to respond’ to Mr. Bragg’s plans to indict Mr. Trump with an investigation and possible hearings,” the report added. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Sunday underscored that Manhattan D.A.’s case against Trump will be investigated by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

Mark Levin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637661335835009024

Read more …

“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” the governor said. “I just can’t speak to that.”

Ron DeSantis Breaks Silence On Trump’s Possible Arrest (RT)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has ripped the New York City prosecutor behind a possible criminal indictment against Donald Trump while sideswiping the former president with an apparent dig alluding to the “porn star hush money” at the center of the case. DeSantis, who is currently Trump’s top rival for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, had been pressured to comment on the New York case since Trump said over the weekend that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday. He finally weighed in when asked by a reporter on Monday about the possible indictment, arguing that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was among the US prosecutors who were using their positions to pursue a leftist political agenda after being elected with campaign funding from billionaire George Soros.

“These Soros district attorneys are a menace to society, and I’m just glad that I’m the only governor in the country who’s actually removed one from office during my tenure,” said DeSantis, referencing his firing in January of a prosecutor in Tampa, Florida. He added that Soros-backed DAs “weaponize their office to impose a political agenda on society at the expense of the rule of law and public safety.” While some prominent Republicans, such as former vice president Mike Pence, rallied to Trump’s side over his looming arrest, DeSantis said he wouldn’t get involved in the case “in any way,” suggesting that he wouldn’t try to help block the Florida resident’s extradition to New York. “I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” the governor said. “I just can’t speak to that.”

“But what I can speak to is that if you have a prosecutor who is ignoring crimes happening every single day in his jurisdiction, and he chooses to go back many, many years ago to try to use something about porn star hush-money payments. That’s an example of pursuing a political agenda and weaponizing the office.” Bragg reportedly aims to prosecute Trump over a $130,000 payment that was made to porn star Stormy Daniels to secure her silence during the 2016 presidential campaign. The DA would need to prove that the money was paid for the sole purpose of the campaign, rather than other possible motives, such as avoiding public embarrassment or keeping Trump’s wife from finding out about an affair. DeSantis has declined to push back publicly after being attacked on multiple occasions by Trump, who has nicknamed him “Ron DeSanctimonious.” A Yahoo/YouGov poll conducted last month found that voters favored DeSantis over Trump in a head-to-head race by a margin of 45%-41%.

DeSantis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1637826647167516677

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“No, the Death of Money means a total and final collapse of this financial system..”

The Financial System Is Terminally Broken (Egon von Greyerz)

[..] the Swiss banking system is very unsound, just like the rest of the world’s. A central bank which is bigger than the country’s GDP is extremely unsound. And a banking system which is 5x Swiss GDP makes it too big to save. Although the Fed and ECB are much smaller in relation to their countries’ GDP than the SNB, these two central banks will soon discover that their assets of around $8 trillion each are grossly overvalued. With a global banking system on the verge of a systemic failure, Central Bankers and bankers have been working around the clock this weekend to temporarily avoid the inevitable collapse of the bankrupt financial system. As I pointed out above, the main Central Banks would also be bankrupt if they valued their assets honestly. But they have a wonderful source of money that they will tap to save the system.


Yes, I am of course talking about money printing. We will in coming months and years see the most massive avalanche of money printing that has ever hit the world. For anyone who believes that we are just seeing another bank run that will quickly evaporate, they will need to take a shower in ice cold Alpine water. What we are witnessing is not just a temporary drama that will be sorted out by “the all powerful and resourceful” central banks. No, instead what we are seeing is the end phase of this financial era which started with the formation of the Fed in 1913 and in the next few years, or much sooner, will end with the death of money.

But the Death of Money doesn’t just mean that the dollar (and most currencies) will make their final move to ZERO, having already declined 98% since 1971. Currency debasement is not the cause but the effect of the banking Cabal taking control of the money for their own benefit. As Mayer Amschel Rothschild said in the late 1700s: “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws”. Sadly, as this Cassandra (me) has written about since the beginning of the century, the Death of Money is not just all currencies going to ZERO as they have throughout history. No, the Death of Money means a total and final collapse of this financial system.


No depositor must believe that the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp) in the US or similar vehicles in other countries will save their deposits. All these organisations are massively undercapitalised and in the end it will be the governments in all countries which step in. We know of course, that the government has no money. They just print whatever they need. That leaves ordinary people taking the final burden of all this money printing. But ordinary people will have no money either. Yes a few rich people will be taxed heavily to cover bank deficits and losses. Still, that will be a drop in the ocean. Instead ordinary people will be impoverished with little income, no government handouts, no pension and money which is worthless.

Read more …

“Shares of that one, First Republic Bank, tumbled an additional 47% on Monday..”

US Studies How To Guarantee All $18 Trillion In US Bank Deposits (ZH)

After repeated laments by the likes of Bill Ackman, who most recently said that “I continue to believe that the best course of action is a temporary @FDICgov deposit guarantee until an updated insurance regime is introduced” (and who just flip-flopped on his “Fed must hike with shock and awe” call from 2022 and is now urging for a Fed hiking pause), and following a Bloomberg weekend report that US mid-sized banks demanded a two-year total deposit insurance scheme from the FDIC, and warned if it doesn’t arrive, there may lots more shotgun weddings (or shotguns), moments ago Bloomberg reported that “US officials are studying ways they might temporarily expand Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. coverage to all deposits, a move sought by a coalition of banks arguing that it’s needed to head off a potential financial crisis.” Guess our March 12 tweet was ahead of its time yet again.

The BBG report explains that “Treasury Department staff are reviewing whether federal regulators have enough emergency authority to temporarily insure deposits greater than the current $250,000 cap on most accounts” without formal consent from a deeply divided Congress, and goes on to note that “authorities don’t yet view such a move as necessary, especially after regulators took steps this month to help banks keep up with any demands for withdrawals” which is an important caveat, and is the same one that hawks are using to justify why a Fed pause would be self-defeating (“why is the Fed blowing up their last bit of inflation-fighting credibility; what do they know that we don’t): the same question can be applied to the Treasury: “what does the Treasury know that we don’t.” Most likely nothing – after all bank crises are non-linear, but as Bloomberg notes, “still, they are developing a strategy out of due diligence in case the situation worsens.”

“We will use the tools we have to support community banks,” White House spokesman Michael Kikukawa said, without directly addressing whether the measure is being studied. “Since our administration and the regulators took decisive action last weekend, we have seen deposits stabilize at regional banks throughout the country and, in some cases, outflows have modestly reversed.” Still, the report notes, the behind-the-scenes deliberations show there are concerns in Washington’s corridors of power as midsize banks call for broader government intervention after three lenders collapsed this month when uninsured depositors pulled their money, and as a fourth firm strives to avoid a similar fate. Shares of that one, First Republic Bank, tumbled an additional 47% on Monday as industry leaders tried to find a way to bolster the company’s finances.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salp

 

 

 

 

Mountain goat eagle

 

 

Marmot

 

 

 

 

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Mar 202023
 
 March 20, 2023  Posted by at 5:40 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  5 Responses »


Jacob Lawrence Struggle: From the History of the American People, Panel 10 1954

Andrew Korybko:

The impending trifurcation of International Relations will result in the formation of three de facto New Cold War blocs: The US-led West’s Golden Billion, the Sino-Russo Entente, and the informally Indianled Global South. Intrepid readers can review the preceding hyperlinked analysis to learn more about the grand strategic dynamics behind this latest phase of the global systemic transition, while the present one will elaborate on those connected to the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership in particular.

These two Eurasian Great Powers had already closely aligned their foreign and economic policies far before Russia was forced to commence its special operation in Ukraine last year after NATO clandestinely crossed its red lines there and refused to diplomatically resolve their security dilemma. This was due to their shared multipolar vision, which in turn resulted in Moscow synchronizing its Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) with Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

The purpose behind doing so was to supercharge multipolar processes across the supercontinent with a view towards making International Relations more democratic, equal, just, and predictable a lot sooner than even the most optimistic observers could have expected. None of this was driven by anti-Western animosity either since both of them envisaged the EU and US playing pragmatic roles in this emerging world order, which is proven by their proactive engagement of each over the years.

Russia expected that it could diplomatically resolve its security dilemma with the US over NATO’s expansion simultaneously with encouraging it and the EU to get Kiev to implement the Minsk Accords, thus ending the then-Ukrainian Civil War and optimizing trans-Eurasian trade. Meanwhile, many EU countries joined BRI and China even clinched an investment pact with the bloc, all while seeking to diplomatically resolve its own security dilemma with the US and work out a new trade deal with it.

Had the US formulated its grand strategy with mutually beneficial economically driven outcomes in mind instead of remaining under the influence of Brzezinski’s zero-sum divide-and-rule teachings, then everything could have been much different. That declining unipolar hegemon could have responsibly carved out a comfortable niche in the new era of globalization that Russia and China were jointly seeking to pioneer, thus ensuring that the global systemic transition smoothly moved towards multipolarity.

Regrettably, liberalglobalist members of the US’ military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) continued to believe that Brzezinski’s geostrategic schemes could successfully reverse the aforesaid transition and thus indefinitely retain their country’s dominant position in International Relations. This explains why they subsequently sought to “contain” Russia and China at the same time by worsening regional disputes instead of reciprocating those two’s efforts to peacefully resolve them.

The decision was eventually made to prioritize Russia’s “containment” over China’s with the expectation that the first would either strategically capitulate to NATO’s blackmail campaign or quickly collapse due to sanctions if it resorted to military force for defending its red lines in Ukraine, thus making China’s successful “containment” a fait accompli in that scenario and therefore preserving the US’ hegemony. Where everything went wrong was that the West never prepared for a protracted conflict in Ukraine.

Russia proved much more resilient in all respects than the Golden Billion expected, ergo why they’re panicking that the over $100 billion that they’ve already given to their proxies in Kiev isn’t anywhere near enough for defeating that Eurasian Great Power. The New York Times admitted last month that the sanctions failed just like their “isolation” campaign did, while the NATO chief recently declared a “race of logistics” and the Washington Post finally told the truth about just how poorly Kiev’s forces are faring.

Amidst the past year of international proxy hostilities that the West itself provoked, the globalized system upon which China’s grand strategy depended was unprecedentedly destabilized by their unilateral sanctions regime that’s responsible for the food and fuel crises across the Global South. This influenced President Xi to seriously consider a “New Détente” with the US, which he initiated during last November’s G20 Summit in Bali after he met with Biden and a bunch of other Western leaders.

To be absolutely clear, this well-intended effort wasn’t meant to reverse any of the multipolar progress that China was responsible for over the past decade but purely to pursue a series of mutual compromises aimed at establishing a “new normal” in their ties so as to restore stability to globalization. In other words, it was about buying time for the world’s top two economies to recalibrate their grand strategies, ideally in the direction of working more closely together for everyone’s sake.

Their talks unexpectedly ended in early February, however, after the black swan event that’s known as the balloon incident. This saw anti-Chinese hardliners in the US suddenly ascend to policymaking prominence, thus dooming the “New Détente”, which resulted in China recalibrating its approach to the NATO-Russian proxy war to the point where President Xi, Foreign Minister Qin, and Ambassador to the EU Fu all concluded that it’s part of the US’ anti-Chinese “containment” strategy.

Under these newfound circumstances, the US consolidated its successfully reasserted hegemony over the EU by getting Germany to go along with Washington’s very strongly implied threats that the Golden Billion will sanction China if it decides to arm Russia should Moscow require such aid as a last resort. In response, China felt compelled to consolidate its strategic partnership with Russia to the point of turning it into an entente, hence the purpose of President Xi’s trip to work out the finer details of this.

Just like these two Great Powers earlier synchronized Russia’s GEP and China’s BRI, so too are they now poised to synchronize the first’s Global Revolutionary Manifesto with the second’s global initiatives on development, security, and civilization. This prediction is predicated on the articles that Presidents Putin and Xi published in one another’s national media on the eve of the latter’s trip to Moscow, which confirms that they intend to cooperate more closely than ever before.

Observers can therefore expect the Sino-Russo Entente to solidify into one of the world’s three premier poles of influence as a result of the Chinese leader’s visit, thus making it a milestone in the New Cold War over the direction of the global systemic transition. The worldwide struggle between this pole and the Golden Billion will intensify, especially in the Global South, which will reinforce India’s importance in helping fellow developing states balance between both and thus bring about true tripolarity.

 

 

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Mar 202023
 


Hieronymus Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delights, centre panel, detail c1500

 

UBS To Buy CS For $3 Billion As AT1 Bonds Get Wiped Out In Record Bail-In (ZH)
Xi Jinping Sees Shift To Multipolar World As ‘Irreversible’ (RT)
Russian-Chinese Relations Remain Strong As Tested By Time – Xi Jinping (TASS)
White House Says It Opposes a Ceasefire in Ukraine (Antiwar)
Ukraine Ceasefire ‘Unacceptable’ – White House (RT)
EU Explosives Shortage Threatens Ukraine – FT (RT)
NATO Is Racing To Arm Its Russian Borders. Can It Find The Weapons? (Pol.eu)
Russia Has Hypersonic Weapons Now, But It Does Not Use Them – Putin (TASS)
Russian Files On Kiev’s Crimes To Provide Basis For Tribunal – Kremlin (TASS)
Poland May End Up ‘Joining’ Ukraine Conflict – Diplomat (RT)
Belarus Cracks Down On Pro-Ukraine Guerrillas As War Threatens To Expand (ZH)
Iraq 20 Years (Ray McGovern)
Elon Musk Fact-Checks Biden On Tax Claim (RT)
Germans Warned Of Energy Crisis Next Winter (RT)
Imran Khan Hit With Terror Charges (RT)
Total Weight Of Wild Mammals Less Than 10% Of Humanity’s (G.)

 

 

Xi Jinping arrives in Moscow today, and he means business. The US knows this, and refuses his ceasefire plans. Which he will sign with Putin tomorrow, and send them to Zelensky – after a short phone-call. Washington tells Zelensky not to sign. Not what Xi wants. What does he have planned after that? Will he cut exports to the US?

 

 

 

 

Nap/Macgregor The Russians have destroyed Three Ukrainian Armies

 

 

 

 

I Would Not Mess With Putin – Seymour Hersh + Rickards: Energy Armageddon

 

 

 

 

2017 Poroshenko Trump

 

 

Paris

 

 

Dinesh

 

 

 

 

The panic is tangible. Bypass laws, bypass shareholders… Credit Suisse must be in terrible shape. Will UBS survive being forced to buy them?

Egon von Greyerz: “THE CHF 16B WRITE DOWN BY SWISS REGULATOR #FINMA OF THE #Credit_Suisse AT1 BONDS WILL CREATE PANIC IN EUROPEAN AND GLOBAL DEBT MARKETS. BUY MORE PHYSICAL GOLD AND HANG ON TO YOUR SEATS.”

European bank stocks are plummeting.

UBS To Buy CS For $3 Billion As AT1 Bonds Get Wiped Out In Record Bail-In (ZH)

We finally have a deal, and what was at first a CHF1 BN acquisition priceof Credit Suisse by UBS, which then rose to CHF 2 BN, has now cranked up one final time to CHF 3BN (US$3.25 billion), or 0.76 per share, specifically shareholders of Credit Suisse will receive 1 share in UBS for 22.48 shares in Credit Suisse. As part of the deal, the Swiss National Bank is offering a 100 billion-franc liquidity assistance to UBS while the government is granting a 9 billion-franc guarantee for potential losses from assets UBS is taking over, i.e., this is a taxpayer-backed bailout. More importantly, however, the bank’s entire AT1 tranche – some CHF16BN of Additioanal Tier 1 (AT1) bonds, a $275BN market – will be bailed in and written down to zero, to wit: “FINMA has determined that Credit Suisse’s Additional Tier 1 Capital (deriving from the issuance of Tier 1 Capital Notes) in the aggregate nominal amount of approximately CHF 16 billion will be written off to zero.”


This wipe out, pardon, bail-in is the biggest loss yet for Europe’s $275 billion AT1 market, far eclipsing the approximately €1.35 billion loss suffered by junior bondholders of Spanish lender Banco Popular SA back in 2017, when it was absorbed by Banco Santander SA to avoid a collapse. AT1 bonds were introduced in Europe after the global financial crisis to serve as shock absorbers when banks start to fail. They are designed to impose permanent losses on bondholders or be converted into equity if a bank’s capital ratios fall below a predetermined level, effectively propping up its balance sheet and allowing it to stay in business. As Bloomberg notes, investors had been concerned that a so-called bail-in would result in the AT1s being written down, while senior debt issued by the holding company, Credit Suisse would be converted into equity for the bank. In retrospect, they were right to be worried… meanwhile equityholders get CHF3 billion; we are confident Swiss pensions will be delighted they are getting a doughnut while the Saudis get a not immaterial recovery.

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“The international community has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order,,”

Xi Jinping Sees Shift To Multipolar World As ‘Irreversible’ (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has set the tone for his visit this week to Moscow by touting improving relations with Russia in the ten years since he took office and vowing that the transition to a “multipolar world” liberated from US domination won’t be stopped. “The world today is going through profound changes unseen in a century,” Xi wrote in an article published on Sunday by the Rossiyskaya Gazeta. “The historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation is unstoppable. The prevailing trends of world multipolarity, economic globalization and greater democracy in international relations are irreversible.”

Xi, who’s scheduled to arrive on Monday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, noted that the world faces “traditional and non-traditional security challenges,” as well as “damaging acts of hegemony, domination and bullying.” He added that countries around the world are “eager to find a cooperative way out of the crisis” as they try to get through a “long and tortuous global economic recovery.” “The international community has recognized that no country is superior to others, no model of governance is universal, and no single country should dictate the international order. The common interest of all humankind is in a world that is united and peaceful, rather than divided and volatile.”

Xi made his comments amid escalating tensions with Washington over the Ukraine crisis and US interference in China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Beijing has resisted Western pressure to condemn Russia over the Ukraine conflict, maintaining neutrality on the issue and promoting a 12-point peace plan to end the hostilities. Washington has dismissed the peace proposal and accused China of mulling military aid to Russia. “We believe that as long as all parties embrace the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and pursue equal-footed, rational and results-oriented dialogue and consultation, they will find a reasonable way to resolve the crisis, as well as a broad path toward a world of lasting peace and common security,” Xi said. He added that China’s plan takes into account the “legitimate security concerns of all countries.”

China and Russia have cemented mutual trust and fostered a “new model of major-country relations” over the past decade, as evidenced by a doubling of trade between the two nations, reaching $190 billion in 2022, Xi wrote. “We have been active in practicing true multilateralism, promoting the common values of humanity, and championing the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.” Xi called for increasing the quality and quantity of investment and economic cooperation between China and Russia, as well as stronger policy coordination. “We have every reason to expect that China and Russia, as fellow travelers on the journey of development and rejuvenation, will make new and greater contributions to human advancement.”

Read more …

Loud and clear.

Russian-Chinese Relations Remain Strong As Tested By Time – Xi Jinping (TASS)

Russian-Chinese relations went through tough periods throughout their history, but they had eventually proved to be strong, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in an interview with Russia’s Rossiyskaya gazeta daily. “At the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, I will soon pay a state visit to the Russian Federation. Russia was the first country I visited after I was elected President 10 years ago,” Xi Jinping said in the article published ahead of his visit to Russia. “Over the past decade, I have made eight visits to Russia,” he continued. “I came each time with high expectations and returned with fruitful results, opening a new chapter for China-Russia relations together with President Putin.”

“Looking back on the extraordinary journey of China-Russia relations over the past 70 years and more, we feel strongly that our relationship has not reached easily where it is today, and that our friendship is growing steadily and must be cherished by us all,” Xi Jinping said in the article published ahead of his visit to Russia. “China and Russia have found a right path of state-to-state interactions,” Xi stated. “This is essential for the relationship to stand the test of changing international circumstances, a lesson borne out by both history and reality.” “My upcoming visit to Russia will be a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace. I look forward to working with President Putin to jointly adopt a new vision, a new blueprint and new measures for the growth of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the years to come,” the Chinese president said.

“To this end, our two sides need to enhance coordination and planning. As we focus on our respective cause of development and rejuvenation, we should get creative in our thinking, create new opportunities and inject new impetus. It is important that we increase mutual trust and bring out the potential of bilateral cooperation to keep China-Russia relations at a high level,” Xi added. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are scheduled to hold negotiations in Moscow on March 21. Earlier, Moscow and Beijing announced that Xi Jinping would make an official visit to Russia on March 20-22. According to previous reports from the Kremlin, negotiations would feature discussions of “current issues of further development of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China.” The sides also planned to exchange opinions within the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation on the international arena. They are also expected to sign a number of important bilateral documents.

Read more …

The White House attempts to pre-empt Xi.

“Russia cannot be defeated militarily in a year, and the warrant of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on the “arrest” of Russian President Vladimir Putin deprives the West of the opportunity to negotiate with Moscow and will lead to an escalation of the conflict and new victims”
– Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic

White House Says It Opposes a Ceasefire in Ukraine (Antiwar)

The White House has come out against a ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow to potentially mediate between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart in Kyiv. Xi is due to arrive in Moscow on Monday and is expected to speak virtually to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his talks with Putin. Xi’s trip comes after Beijing released a 12-point peace plan for Ukraine that called for the two sides to cease hostilities and for peace talks to begin. Zelensky expressed openness to China’s proposal, but it was immediately rejected by President Biden. “We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday, according to Newsweek.

“We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.” Kirby’s comments come as Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to battle in the Donbas city of Bakhmut, which has become known as the “meat grinder” due to the heavy casualties. Ukraine has been pouring in barely-trained conscripts to fight in the city, and the US thinks Kyiv is wasting too many resources in the battle. The US wants Ukraine to launch a counteroffensive in the spring, although a senior Ukrainian official told The Washington Post last week that Kyiv doesn’t have the resources to pull it off. Kirby’s reasoning for opposing a ceasefire at this time is that a pause in fighting could concede territory to Moscow.

Kirby said the ceasefire would, “in effect, recognize Russia’s gains, and its attempt to conquer his neighbor’s territory by force, allowing Russian troops to continue to occupy sovereign Ukrainian territory and, of course, it would be another continued violation of the UN Charter.” The US and its allies discouraged peace talks and mediation efforts that were conducted shortly after Russia’s February 2022 invasion. At that time, Moscow was seeking a deal that would have reverted to the pre-invasion territorial lines. But now, Ukraine stands to lose much more as Russia has annexed the territory it controls in the Ukrainian oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and the breakaway Donbas republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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Kirby about Xi’s visit: “State visit, if you will..”

Ukraine Ceasefire ‘Unacceptable’ – White House (RT)

Washington is firmly opposed to a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said, branding any peace initiatives “unacceptable” in the current situation. The senior White House official made the remarks on Sunday in an interview with Fox News. Kirby touched on the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, stating that should any peace initiatives come out of their meeting, Washington would reject them. “What we have said before, and we’ll say it again today, that if coming out of this meeting, there’s some sort of call for a ceasefire, well, that’s just going to be unacceptable because all that’s going to do… is ratify Russian’s conquest to date,” Kirby stated.

Moscow and Beijing have been“increasing their cooperation and their relationship” lately, the official said, asserting that the two nations have joined to undermine and “rewrite” the so-called “rules of the game globally.” Russia and China “are two countries that are chafing against this international rules-based order that the United States and so many of our allies and partners have built up, since the end of World War II,” he said. Recently, China floated a 12-point roadmap for putting an end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has been raging for over a year already. China has taken a neutral stance on the hostilities, repeatedly urging both parties to show restraint and stick to diplomacy in order to find a resolution.

While the Chinese roadmap has been welcomed in Moscow, it has received a cold reception in the West. Multiple top officials have brushed off Beijing’s efforts to act as a mediator, accusing it of siding with Moscow. US President Joe Biden, for instance, openly questioned Beijing’s motives and voiced suspicion over Moscow’s reaction to it. “Putin is applauding it, so how could it be any good?” the US president said shortly after the plan was unveiled.

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“If I want to increase production of gunpowder I need probably three years..”

EU Explosives Shortage Threatens Ukraine – FT (RT)

The EU defense industry’s ability to provide Ukraine with military supplies has been hampered by a deficit of explosives, The Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing sources. Several European officials and arms manufacturers told the outlet that the bloc’s military plants are suffering from scarce supplies of gunpowder and TNT, which could delay plans to boost shell production by three years. The sources also complained that this meant the defense industry would be unable to meet the soaring demand “regardless of how much money is thrown at the problem.” “The fundamental problem is that the European defense industry is not in good shape for large-scale war production,” one German official told the outlet.

These concerns were echoed by Jiri Hynek, who chairs the Defense and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic. He said, as quoted by the FT, that while building a new artillery factory “is very easy,” it is impossible to produce shells without raw materials. The official proceeded to point out that “it’s not possible to increase, in a short time, nitrocellulose” production, which is the basic ingredient in gunpowder. “If I want to increase production of gunpowder I need probably three years,” he added. To remedy the situation, the EU needs to find new sources of supply, according to Italian defense official Gianclaudio Torlizzi. He told the FT that the continent needs to approach countries that it had traditionally stayed away from. “Each European country wants to protect its availability of raw materials,” he explained.

EU officials have repeatedly voiced concerns about their dwindling arms stocks due to the bloc’s support of Ukraine. Last December, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell lamented that years of underinvestment had resulted in military stocks quickly running out. Against this backdrop, several key European officials have urged the bloc to switch over to a “war economy.” Meanwhile, on Thursday, the New York Times reported that the US and its allies were running out of ammunition for Ukraine, which is burning through thousands of shells each day in the battle for the key Donbass city of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut in Ukraine). According to the newspaper, Western officials worry that this process is “unsustainable” and could jeopardize Kiev’s planned springtime campaign.

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The narrative is that Russia will attack beyond Ukraine. It’s just a narrative.

NATO Is Racing To Arm Its Russian Borders. Can It Find The Weapons? (Pol.eu)

Add NATO’s military planners to the list of those concerned about having enough shells. In the coming months, the alliance will accelerate efforts to stockpile equipment along the alliance’s eastern edge and designate tens of thousands of forces that can rush to allies’ aid on short notice — a move meant to stop Russia from expanding its war beyond Ukraine. To make that happen, though, NATO must convince individual countries to contribute various elements: Soldiers, training, better infrastructure — and, most notably, extensive amounts of pricey weapons, equipment and ammunition. With countries already worried about their own munitions stockpiles and Ukraine in acute need of more shells and weapons from allies, there is a risk that not all NATO allies will live up to their promises to contribute to the alliance’s new plans.

[..] It’s a challenge NATO has faced in the past, and one that experts fear could become a persistent problem for the Western alliance as Russia’s war drags into a second year. While the U.S. and EU are making plans to source more weapons — fast — the restocking process will inevitably take time. That could run into NATO’s aspirations. Military leaders this spring will submit updated regional defense plans intended to help redefine how the alliance protects its 1 billion citizens. The numbers will be large, with officials floating the idea of up to 300,000 NATO forces needed to help make the new model work. That means lots of coordinating and cajoling. “I think you need forces to counter a realistic Russia,” said one senior NATO military official, underscoring the need for significantly “more troops” and especially more forces at “readiness.”

There are several tiers of “readiness.” The first tier — which may consist of about 100,000 soldiers prepared to move within 10 days — could be drawn from Poland, Norway and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), said Heinrich Brauß, a former NATO assistant secretary general for defense policy and force planning. It may also include multinational battlegroups the alliance has already set up in the eastern flank. A second tier of troops would then back up those soldiers, ready to deploy from countries like Germany in between 10 to 30 days. But the process could get tricky. Why? Because moving so quickly, even given a month, requires lots of people, equipment and training — and lots of money.

Some militaries will have to up their recruitment efforts. Many allies will have to increase defense spending. And everyone will have to buy more weapons, ammunition and equipment. Ben Hodges, former commander of U.S. Army Europe, said that “readiness” is “basically, do you have all the stuff you’re supposed to have to do the mission assigned to a unit of a particular size?” “An artillery battalion needs to shoot X number of rounds per year for planning purposes in order to maintain its level of proficiency,” he said. A tank battalion needs to hit targets, react to different situations and “demonstrate proficiency on the move, day and night, hitting targets that are moving.” “It’s all very challenging,” he said, pointing to the need for training ranges and ammunition, as well as maintaining proficiency as personnel changes over time. “This obviously takes time and it’s also expensive.”

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As NATO scrambles to arm Ukraine -and itself-, Russia has no such problems.

Putin was asked why Russia didn’t invade in 2014.

“There are other cutting-edge systems as well, though in 2014 there was nothing of the kind..”

Russia Has Hypersonic Weapons Now, But It Does Not Use Them – Putin (TASS)

Russia does not use hypersonic weapons in fact now, though it has them, same as other cutting-edge systems, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview for the “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” program on Rossiya-1 TV channel published by journalist Pavel Zarubin on his Telegram channel on Sunday. “Indeed, we have to do much, let’s say, for the development of land forces, but back then [in 2014] there were no hypersonic weapons, though they exist now! Yes, we do not use them in fact, but we have them. Do you understand? There are other cutting-edge systems as well, though in 2014 there was nothing of the kind,” Putin said. Asked whether it was worth starting the special operation in 2014, he stressed that the reality has changed since then: “Conjunctive mood cannot be used here!”.

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Two can play that game..

Russian Files On Kiev’s Crimes To Provide Basis For Tribunal – Kremlin (TASS)

Russia’s Investigative Committee thoroughly records all Kiev’s crimes, with those files to potentially provide a basis for tribunal in the future, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Sunday. “We know that the Investigative Committee is involved in this work. All crimes committed by the Kiev regime are thoroughly recorded. <…> The files will obviously be able to provide a basis for such a tribunal,” he said when asked how the Kremlin takes the idea of a tribunal on Kiev’s regime. Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin said earlier that Moscow should establish an international judicial body in response to Western countries, which are preparing similar structures for Russia’s prosecution.

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There we go…

Poland May End Up ‘Joining’ Ukraine Conflict – Diplomat (RT)

Poland may end up “joining” the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine should the latter fail to protect its “independence,” the Polish ambassador to France, Jan Emeryk Rosciszewski, has said. The senior diplomat made the remarks on Saturday while speaking live to the broadcaster LCI. Rosciszewski squarely blamed the hostilities, which have been ongoing for over a year already, on Moscow, stating that it was “not NATO, not Poland, not France and not Slovakia” that was ramping up international tensions, but Russia. According to the diplomat, the situation now is “either Ukraine will successfully defend its independence, or we will be forced, in any case, to join this conflict.” “Otherwise, our principal values, which are the basis of our civilization and our culture, will be in fundamental danger, so we will have no choice,” Rosciszewski stated.

The hawkish statement promptly made headlines in international media, prompting the Polish mission in France to elaborate further on the remarks made by its head. According to a message released by the embassy on Sunday, Rosciszewski’s comments were not actually an admission that Warsaw was ready to go to war with Russia, but merely a “warning” and a pledge to continue supporting Kiev. “Listening carefully to the entire conversation allows us to understand that there was no announcement of Poland’s direct involvement in the conflict, but only a warning against the consequences of Ukraine’s defeat – the possibility of Russia attacking or dragging into the war more Central European countries – the Baltic states and Poland,” the statement reads. The embassy also condemned the purportedly “sensational” reporting on the bombshell interview, suggesting that some unidentified media outlets may have acted in “ill will.”

The remarks received a poor reception in Moscow, with a top Russian senator, Alexey Pushkov, warning Warsaw of the potential consequences and questioning its presumed resolve to fight Russia on its own. “A very presumptuous statement by the Polish ambassador in Paris. For the first time, an official representative of Poland said what its leaders have long had on their minds. However, all the ‘courage’ of the Poles is based on the support of the United States. Is Warsaw sure that Washington is ready to fight?” Pushkov said in a Telegram post.

Poland has been among the most active supporters of Kiev in the hostilities against Russia, sending in assorted military hardware, including tanks and artillery pieces, to prop up Ukraine. Apart from that, Polish mercenaries have been directly involved in the conflict in significant numbers, according to Moscow. Warsaw has also announced a major military buildup of its own, seeking to greatly expand the ranks of its armed forces and procure large amounts of modern military hardware from overseas.

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Is Belarus being provoked by Ukraine to spread the war? You’d almost think so…

Belarus Cracks Down On Pro-Ukraine Guerrillas As War Threatens To Expand (ZH)

The Belarus government is implementing widespread measures to crack down on dissent as pro-Ukraine guerrillas attempt to sabotage railways and other logistics that could be used by Russia for a future offensive from the north. The move comes not long after the guerrillas, part of an organization called BYPOL, used two armed drones to damage a Russian Beriev A-50 parked at the Machulishchy Air Base near Minsk. The early warning aircraft was lent to Belarus for monitoring the security of their southern border. The attack failed to destroy the plane beyond minor repairs according the the Belarus government, but did garner BYPOL headlines in the western media.

What they did not report was that the primary perpetrator of the attack was apprehended along with 20 other accomplices. Belarus claims that at least one of the guerrillas has ties to Ukrainian security services, though this remains unconfirmed. Last month, President Alexander Lukashenko warned that: “I’m ready to fight together with the Russians from the territory of Belarus in one case only: if so much as one soldier from (Ukraine) comes to our territory with a gun to kill my people.” If BYPOL attacks continue within Belarus they may provide the very rationale that Lukashenko needs to justify joining military forces with Russia, which would open up the northern border of Ukraine to attack and likely deal a devastating blow to the nation’s defensive posture.

Acts of sabotage have already been used as fuel for civilian restrictions including the issuance of arrest warrants for numerous activists as well as at least five journalists, two of them now sentenced to 12 years in prison for a variety of charges including “Tax evasion, organizing activities aimed at inciting racial, ethnic, religious, or social hatred, and public calls through the media and the Internet aimed at damaging the national security of Belarus.” The Belarus government seems to have abandoned optics in favor of policies akin to martial law, which suggests a near term plan to join Russia militarily as well as to wage an anti-insurgency effort against BYPOL. Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik stated at the end of February that the accelerated militarization of the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) represents a threat to his country’s security.

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” This one was prepared not to determine the truth, but rather to “justify” a preemptive war on Iraq, where there was nothing to preempt.”

Iraq 20 Years (Ray McGovern)

C.I.A. Director Tenet suggested basing a new draft on the National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002, “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction.” That had immense appeal to Tenet and others who had been co-opted into “leaning forward” to facilitate a Bush/Cheney war on Iraq. Indeed, one can assume it had appeal to most of those involved in Powell’s speech preparation, given that the Security Council briefing was but a handful of days away. I have been referring to that NIE, advisedly, as The Whore of Babylon, wrong on every major accusation about WMD in Iraq. I speak from experience at the C.I.A. as a former chair of National Intelligence Estimates. This one was prepared not to determine the truth, but rather to “justify” a preemptive war on Iraq, where there was nothing to preempt.

To their credit, State/INR analysts had expressed formal dissent from some of its main conclusions back in September 2002. No, it is not possible that Powell could have been unaware of that. And it is not difficult to explain why Powell chose to spurn his own intelligence analysts, despite their relatively solid reputation. I will resist the temptation to guess at Powell’s motivation, even though I have had some considerable experience with him. Back in the day, we used to spend a few minutes comparing notes before my one-on-one morning briefings of his boss, Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, with The President’s Daily Brief. I am not surprised, though, as Draper quotes Powell explaining his decision to stay in place as secretary of state and to do what he was told: “I knew I didn’t have any choice. He’s the President.”

Draper adds that, “although Powell would not admit it, Bush’s request that he be the one to make the case against Hussein to the U.N. was enormously flattering. Cheney took a more direct approach: ‘The Vice President said to me: “You’re the most popular man in America. Do something with that popularity.”” Draper describes INR’s Director Ford as “heartsick” watching Powell on TV before the U.N. Security Council. Ford’s chagrin was widely shared among serious intelligence analysts — as well as by us alumni watching the prostitution of what had been our tell-it-like-it-is intelligence analysis profession. But there the National Intelligence Estimate was for plucking — an intelligence community-endorsed consensus already “on the books” — and with drafting time running out.

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“I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022.”

Elon Musk Fact-Checks Biden On Tax Claim (RT)

America’s richest man on Saturday took issue with President Joe Biden’s effort to sell voters on tax increases by claiming that billionaires get away with paying only 3% of their earnings, on average, to the federal government. Tesla CEO Elon Musk pushed back after Biden posted a Twitter message arguing that the mega-rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. “You know the average tax billionaires pay?” Biden asked, before answering the question himself with his 3% claim. “No billionaire should be paying a lower tax than somebody working as a schoolteacher or a firefighter.” Musk replied, “I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% federal and 13% state), so I must be lifting the average! I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022.”

He then invited Twitter users in the platform’s Community Notes program to weigh in on whether the 3% figure was accurate. Biden has repeatedly made the claim while promoting his effort to raise taxes on high-income Americans. When he made the same statement in a speech last month, PolitiFact pointed out that it was false. “Under today’s laws, the 25 highest-earning billionaires paid an average tax rate of 16%,” the fact-checking outlet said. The group added that most teachers and firefighters fall within an income range with effective tax rates of zero to 15%.

Biden’s 2024 budget proposal calls for raising tax rates on individuals with earnings of more than $400,000 a year and married couples making over $450,000. He also has demanded a 25% minimum tax on Americans with fortunes exceeding $100 million. “Look, I think you should be able to be a billionaire if you can earn it, but just pay your fair share,” Biden said. “I think you ought to pay a minimum tax of 25%. It’s about basic fairness.” Musk countered, “I certainly agree that everyone should pay taxes and not engage in elaborate tax-avoidance schemes.” Such schemes aren’t necessary for low-income Americans because more than 40% of US households pay no federal income tax.

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Nord Stream fallout.

Germans Warned Of Energy Crisis Next Winter (RT)

Germany has managed to avoid an energy crisis this year, but there is a risk that the next heating season will be more difficult, Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany’s Federal Network Agency said in an interview with the Rheinische Post, published on Saturday. According to Mueller, the country’s gas storage facilities are currently 64% full, and even if it the weather turns cold in the next few weeks, German energy supply for the remainder of the heating season is secured. He warned, however, that “we should not relax, as things could be different next winter.” “We cannot rule out a gas shortage for next winter. Risk factors are that the winter of 2023/24 will be very cold, that households and companies will save too little, that the LNG terminals will not work as planned – we would also have to help our neighboring countries with their energy problems,” Mueller explained.

Germany largely managed to avoid energy shortages due to unseasonably mild weather throughout the past couple of months, but Mueller noted that with respect to the next heating season, the weather poses the biggest risk. “We cannot rely on the fact that next winter will be mild again. When it’s cold, many households immediately stop saving. In warm October they saved more than 20% of gas, while during the cold snap in December – only 7%.” The official also pointed to another risk factor – the absence of Russia’s energy supplies, which made it possible for the country to fill up storage tanks in preparation for the heating season last year. While the EU did not ban Russia’s pipeline gas imports, their flows dwindled significantly after Ukraine-related sanctions and following the sabotage that disabled the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, one of the main routes for Russian gas to Europe.

As a result, Germany no longer receives Russian gas directly, and according to Mueller, energy prices will no longer be as low as they were when it did. “We don’t know what will become of Russia’s remaining gas supplies… We have to get used to higher prices, the time of cheap energy from Russia is definitely over,” he stated. Gas prices have been relatively low throughout the winter, helped by lower demand due to mild weather. Wholesale gas prices, which had soared over €300 per megawatt hour late last summer, fell to a level of around €50 in March. While that is far more than what natural gas cost in early 2021, it is “the new normal,” Mueller said, noting that in order to avoid further price spikes, consumers would have to continue efforts to conserve energy.

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Khan’s crime? He offended the CIA: “Khan built economic and diplomatic relations with Russia and China during his time in office..”

Imran Khan Hit With Terror Charges (RT)

Police in Islamabad have filed terrorism charges against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, after crowds of his supporters rioted outside a courthouse in the Pakistani capital. Khan was due to appear at the court on Saturday to answer corruption charges. Khan, along with more than a dozen officials in his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and scores of his supporters, were charged with a litany of offenses, including rioting, obstruction, assault on police officers, arson, intimidation, and acts of terrorism, Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper reported on Sunday. The charges stemmed from a riot outside the Islamabad Judicial Complex on Saturday, in which protesters hurled rocks and fire bombs at police as they waited for Khan to arrive at the building. A dozen police vehicles were burned, and officers responded with tear gas.

More than 50 officers were injured, and 59 of Khan’s supporters were arrested, the Associated Press reported. Police raided Khan’s residence in Lahore earlier on Saturday, shortly after he left for the court date in Islamabad. A crowd of the former PM’s supporters attempted to block police from carrying out the raid, leading to clashes and 30 arrests. The raid was not the first on Khan’s home, and the former leader previously accused authorities of attempting to arrest and execute him. Khan never entered the courtroom on Saturday. In a video message to supporters, he claimed that police fired tear gas at his vehicle, preventing him from stepping outside. The judge postponed his hearing until March 31.

A former cricketer, Khan became prime minister of Pakistan in 2018 but was ousted in 2022. He is accused by the state of unlawfully selling official gifts given to him by foreign dignitaries during his tenure. Khan claims that the corruption charges are politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from returning to power. Khan built economic and diplomatic relations with Russia and China during his time in office, and he has since claimed that his removal was orchestrated by the US with the goal of installing a more compliant leader. The PTI has been leading protests across Pakistan and calling for snap elections since Khan’s ouster. During a November rally in Wazirabad, an attacker opened fire on Khan, injuring him and eight others. Despite his ongoing legal drama, Khan is the most popular political leader in Pakistan, with an approval rating of 61%, according to a Gallup poll taken earlier this month. Current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sits at 32%.

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“Their total mass is around 22m tonnes which is less than 10% of humanity’s [..] ..add all our cattle, sheep and other livestock, that adds another 630m tonnes..”

Total Weight Of Wild Mammals Less Than 10% Of Humanity’s (G.)

The total weight of Earth’s wild land mammals – from elephants to bisons and from deer to tigers – is now less than 10% of the combined tonnage of men, women and children living on the planet. A study by scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, published this month, concludes that wild land mammals alive today have a total mass of 22m tonnes. By comparison, humanity now weighs in at a total of around 390m tonnes. At the same time, the species we have domesticated, such as sheep and cattle, in addition to other hangers-on such as urban rodents, add a further 630m tonnes to the total mass of creatures that are now competing with wild mammals for Earth’s resources. The biomass of pigs alone is nearly double that of all wild land mammals.

The figures demonstrate starkly that humanity’s transformation of the planet’s wildernesses and natural habitats into a vast global plantation is now well under way – with devastating consequences for its wild creatures. As the study authors emphasise, the idea that Earth is a planet that still possesses great plains and jungles that are teeming with wild animals is now seriously out of kilter with reality. The natural world and its wild animals are vanishing as humanity’s population of almost eight billion individuals continues to grow.“When you look at wildlife documentaries on television – for instance of wildebeest migrating – it is easy to conclude that wild mammals are doing quite well,” lead author Ron Milo told the Observer.

“But that intuition is wrong. These creatures are not doing well at all. Their total mass is around 22m tonnes which is less than 10% of humanity’s combined weight and amounts to only about 6lb of wild land mammal per person. And when you add all our cattle, sheep and other livestock, that adds another 630m tonnes. That is 30 times the total for wild animals. It is staggering. This is a wake-up call to humanity.” The study, The Global Biomass of Wild Mammals, also reveals that those that do best – such as the white-tailed deer in the US and wild boars – are those that find it easier to adapt to the presence of humans. Both species can be found near settlements and are occasionally treated as pets. “Even within the wild, the fingerprints of humanity are obvious,” added Milo, whose team’s study is published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As part of the paper, researchers Lior Greenspoon and Eyal Krieger collected biomass data on about half of all known mammals and used machine-learning computational models on other zoological samples to calculate the other half.

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75yr old WYATT EARP – #botd in 1848 – at home in 1923.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephants

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 182023
 
 March 18, 2023  Posted by at 9:16 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci A Copse of Trees 1508

 

Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia On March 20-22 – Kremlin (TASS)
US and Other Western Nations Wary Of Xi’s Trip To Moscow (SCMP)
Kissinger Assesses China-brokered Deal Between Saudi Arabia And Iran (RT)
International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Putin (TASS)
The Gathering Storm (Macgregor)
Kiev Issues Warning To Countries That Don’t Support Ukraine (RT)
US ‘Obviously’ Blew Up Nord Stream – French Politician (RT)
US ‘Taking Close Look’ At Drone Operations – CNN (RT)
Russian Forces Block Ukrainian Army From Leaving Bakhmut (TASS)
EU States Using Ukraine To Dispose Of Old Weapons – Kremlin (RT)
Putin Says Crimea’s Reunification With Russia Was Historic Event (TASS)
‘Foreign Agent’ Rules: The End Of Globalization As We Knew It (Lukyanov)
Using NGOs In Hybrid Wars Favorite Method Of Russia’s Enemies – Medvedev (TASS)
Twitter Pushed To Censor ‘True Stories’ On Covid – Twitter Files (RT)
SVB + FTX + SBF = WTF? (Kunstler)
Swiss Government Discussing Merging UBS & Credit Suisse (Az.)
US Security Forces Brace For Possible Trump ‘Arrest’ (RT)

 

 

 

 

RFK military operation
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636817052710125569

 

 

 

 

Mappin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636520757328064513

 

 

mRNA victims

 

 

Orthodox

 

 

 

 

Watters Hallie Schweizer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636524966958039040

 

 

Orban peace

 

 

 

 

Xi arrives on the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

Labeling this an official state visit means documents have been prepared that are ready to be signed. By all parties, including US and Ukraine.

US and EU can say that China should join the world community vs Russia, but it’s Xi who speaks for the majority.

Xi Jinping To Make State Visit To Russia On March 20-22 – Kremlin (TASS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Russia from March 20-22 at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin press service said in a statement on Friday. According to the statement, the two leaders will discuss “pressing issues related to the future of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China.” The parties are also expected to exchange views on ways to enhance Russian-Chinese cooperation on the international stage. In addition, the Kremlin press service specified that “a number of important bilateral documents will be signed” during the Chinese leader’s visit. Putin and Xi Jinping last met in person on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand in September 2022.


In late December, Putin held a video conference call with Xi Jinping, inviting him to make a state visit to Moscow in the spring of 2023. Earlier in March, Xi Jinping was re-elected as Chinese president for a third five-year term. Putin said in his congratulatory message that Moscow and Beijing would continue coordination on key issues. The Russian president also expressed confidence that together with the Chinese president, he would be able to boost cooperation between the two countries in various fields. Following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022, Xi Jinping was also re-elected as General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee for a third time. That said, this will be his first visit to Russia since the re-election.

Ritter Xi

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“If China brokers peace here like it just did with Saudi and Iran, it’s a new world order, instantly.”

US and Other Western Nations Wary Of Xi’s Trip To Moscow (SCMP)

Washington and other Western capitals reacted warily on Friday to the announcement of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia next week, with the US “deeply concerned” Beijing could try to pose as a peacemaker by promoting an immediate ceasefire in the war in Ukraine. Both Beijing and the Kremlin confirmed on Friday that Xi will make a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will be Xi’s first foreign trip since he secured an unprecedented third term as China’s president last week. His face-to-face talks with Putin are widely expected to have broad implications for the war, now in its second year, and China’s already tense relationship with the US.

But its significance grew further on Friday after pressure grew on Putin: the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, issued an arrest warrant for him over the war crime of illegally deporting Ukrainian children to Russia. Additionally, Turkey, after blocking Finland’s application to join Nato in the wake of Russia’s invasion, agreed to support it. Putin has maintained that Nato is a threat to Russia. Beijing’s foreign ministry described the trip as a “visit of friendship, cooperation and peace”. Washington, though, sees it as a potentially harmful reframing of the conflict. The Chinese might promote a ceasefire and “try to couch themselves as peacemakers and as … the only ones calling for the fighting to stop”, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “We have deep concerns about that, because of what it actually means in terms of benefiting Russia at the expense of Ukraine,” he said.

“That’s why we’re expressing these concerns even before the visit.” The US position is that any ceasefire that freezes positions on the ground would validate Russia’s seizing of Ukrainian territory and give it a chance to rebuild its forces for further attacks. “We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now,” Kirby said. “We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.” He criticised Beijing for not joining the rest of the international community in supporting Ukraine. “We would certainly hope that they would. But we’ll see what comes out of this meeting,” he said. Britain also said that any peace deal not predicated on Ukraine’s sovereignty and self determination was no peace deal at all.

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“China has in recent years declared that it needs to be a participant in the creation of the world order. It has now made a significant move in that direction..”

Kissinger Assesses China-brokered Deal Between Saudi Arabia And Iran (RT)

China has taken a major step towards its goal of becoming a participant in the shaping of the world order, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has said. The veteran diplomat was commenting on the recent landmark deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which Beijing mediated. Riyadh and Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic relations after a seven-year pause during talks in Beijing a week ago. In comments cited by the Washington Post on Thursday, Kissinger said the development is “a substantial change in the strategic situation in the Middle East.” The Saudis, who have been among Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East for decades, “are now balancing their security by playing off the US against China,” he explained.

According to Kissinger, Riyadh’s actions are comparable to what he himself accomplished in the early 1970s when, as secretary of state in the Nixon administration, he helped achieve rapprochement with Beijing amid its tensions with Moscow. The Saudi-Iranian deal will also complicate matters for Israel, as “pressure on Iran will now have to take into account Chinese interests,” he said. Israel remains increasingly concerned about Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapon program, and has warned of potential pre-emptive strikes against Iranian targets. “China has in recent years declared that it needs to be a participant in the creation of the world order. It has now made a significant move in that direction” by persuading Saudi Arabia and Iran to negotiate, Kissinger said.

The author of the article, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius, also acknowledged that “the US is no longer the indispensable power in the region – the only country strong or supple enough to broker peace deals.” “China has claimed a share of that convening power” by playing the role of mediator on this scale for the first time, he wrote. Another major regional player, the United Arab Emirates, is also “courting” Beijing, Ignatius said. Chinese President Xi Jinping stated earlier this week that Beijing should “actively participate in the reform and construction of the global governance system” and promote “global security initiatives.” In doing so, China will add “positive energy to world peace and development,” he added.

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Russia was (is) moving Ukrainian children out of the line of fire. Where Ukraine let them remain. The west now talks of “re-education camps”..

“Who would have thought 15 years ago, that taking care of children, saving them and treating them, would become criminally punishable in the West.” – Maria Zakharova

International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Putin (TASS)

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova, the court said in a statement on Friday. The statement said they could be responsible “for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.” ICC arrest warrants are usually secret in order to protect victims and witnesses and also to safeguard the investigation. However, the court stated that it authorized the public disclosure of the existence of the warrants, the names of the suspects and the crimes for which the warrants are issued, because “the conduct addressed in the present situation is allegedly ongoing, and that the public awareness of the warrants may contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes.”


Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier, when he commented on potential ICC cases against Russia, that Russia doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in comments on the information from the Hague, said decisions of the court have no consequence in Russia and any potential arrest warrants are null and void. The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute in 1998. It’s not part of the UN and is accountable to the countries that have ratified the statute. The countries that aren’t parties to the statute include Russia (signed, didn’t ratify), the US (signed, then revoked signature) and China (didn’t sign). Putin signed an executive order in 2016 that stated Russia wouldn’t be a member of the ICC. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the court didn’t live up to expectations and failed to become a truly independent organization for international justice. The US expressed strong displeasure with the court in 2020, after ICC prosecutors indicated they would investigate crimes by US servicemen in Afghanistan.

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“Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America.”

The Gathering Storm (Macgregor)

The crisis of American national power has begun. America’s economy is tipping over, and Western financial markets are quietly panicking. Imperiled by rising interest rates, mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Treasuries are losing their value. The market’s proverbial “vibes”—feelings, emotions, beliefs, and psychological penchants—suggest a dark turn is underway inside the American economy. American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance. The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.

Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources. While Russia’s implementation of attrition warfare worked brilliantly, Russia mobilized its reserves of men and equipment to field a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.Russia’s massive arsenal of artillery systems including rockets, missiles, and drones linked to overhead surveillance platforms converted Ukrainian soldiers fighting to retain the northern edge of the Donbas into pop-up targets. How many Ukrainian soldiers have died is unknown, but one recent estimate wagers between 150,000-200,000 Ukrainians have been killed in action since the war began, while another estimates about 250,000.

Given the glaring weakness of NATO members’ ground, air, and air defense forces, an unwanted war with Russia could easily bring hundreds of thousands of Russian Troops to the Polish border, NATO’s Eastern Frontier. This is not an outcome Washington promised its European allies, but it’s now a real possibility. In contrast to the Soviet Union’s hamfisted and ideologically driven foreign policymaking and execution, contemporary Russia has skillfully cultivated support for its cause in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The fact that the West’s economic sanctions damaged the U.S. and European economies while turning the Russian ruble into one of the international system’s strongest currencies has hardly enhanced Washington’s global standing.

Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America. The global economic implications for the emerging Russo-Chinese axis and their planned industrial revolution for some 3.9 billion people in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are profound.

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“..while Kuleba was “trying to clumsily intimidate the world community,” he was simultaneously publishing announcements on his ministry’s website searching for “anyone who could represent the Kiev regime at the ambassador level abroad.”

Kiev Issues Warning To Countries That Don’t Support Ukraine (RT)

Ukraine will remember those who backed it in its conflict with Russia and will hold those who did not accountable, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba warned in a BBC interview on Friday. The choices every nation made during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine will be “taken into account in building future relations,” Kuleba said, adding that countries that have “misbehaved in the course of this war and mistreated Ukraine” would pay a price. “If anyone in the world thinks that the way this or that country behaved – or treated Ukraine at the darkest moment of its history – will not be taken into account in building future relations, these people just don’t know how diplomacy works,” he stated, noting that “war is a time when you have to make a choice. And every choice has been recorded.”

The minister also blasted the West for not giving Ukraine weapons fast enough, pointing out that every day weapons are not delivered is a day some Ukrainian soldiers die on the frontline. Russia responded to Kuleba’s statement by noting that everything he said had already long been understood by Ukrainian citizens, which is why they are fleeing even from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post that while Kuleba was “trying to clumsily intimidate the world community,” he was simultaneously publishing announcements on his ministry’s website, searching for “anyone who could represent the Kiev regime at the ambassador level abroad.”

“Even though there is a foreign currency salary, it seems there is no one to be found,” Zakharova said. Meanwhile, Russia has pointed out that more and more UN member states are beginning to question the true nature of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev as they grow more skeptical of the West’s calls for peace in Ukraine. “Very quickly it has become obvious that it’s not Russia and Ukraine that are fighting in Ukraine right now. It’s a NATO proxy war against Russia with the hands of the Ukrainians, until the last Ukrainian,” Dmitry Polyansky, the deputy head of Moscow’s mission to the UN, said last week.

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Violent protests in France over Macron unilaterally pushing through pension reforms.

US ‘Obviously’ Blew Up Nord Stream – French Politician (RT)

French party leader Florian Philippot believes it has long been obvious that the United States was behind last year’s sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which were built to deliver Russian natural gas to Western Europe. “Even before the war in Ukraine, the US for years fought against Nord Stream, it was a permanent part of their policy,” he told RIA Novosti in an interview published on Friday. “In early February 2022, [US President Joe] Biden said the Americans could make it so that the pipeline was no more. That’s what happened. And it was in the interest of the Americans,” according to Philippot, who heads the right-wing ‘The Patriots’ party in France. Last month, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Biden personally ordered the bombing of the pipelines, and that Norway assisted in the sabotage.

He cited an unnamed source and supported his case using some of the same arguments as Philippot. Biden remarked that “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in early February 2022. Hersh also claimed that Biden allowed US special services to classify the operation in a way that justified not informing the US Congress about it beforehand. Nord Stream 2 is the name of the second, newer pipeline, which was meant to greatly expand the capacity of the original Nord Stream, but was never operational. Both were disabled by sabotage. Philippot said he considered US culpability “obvious” even before Hersh’s revelations, but was not sure about Norway’s role.

He reasoned that Oslo had a motive since it “competes with Russia in gas trade, and many European nations replaced the Russian gas with Norwegian.” Both the US and Norway have denied any responsibility. Philippot also urged France to leave NATO, saying the military alliance “needs to be disbanded because it has no reason to exist.” “We have to stop this agenda of world war against Russia and China, it is absolutely insane,” he told the Russian news outlet, blaming the US for increasing global tensions. He also called French President Emmanuel Macron a deceitful leader. His government “prioritizes the US, and not its own people,” Philippot stated. He cited Macron’s decision to send billions of dollars worth of weapons and ammunition to Kiev, even as he is pushing through an unpopular pension reform, claiming a lack of money to fund social programs.

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“..the US is now “weighing the costs and benefits” of further drone operations..”

That took just one drone…

US ‘Taking Close Look’ At Drone Operations – CNN (RT)

The US is weighing the benefits and risks of drone flights over the Black Sea after losing an unmanned aircraft there while being chased by Russian interceptors, CNN reported on Thursday, citing sources. On Tuesday, Washington claimed that two Russian Su-27 fighters dumped fuel on a MQ-9 Reaper drone conducting a reconnaissance flight in the area, with one jet later colliding with the US aircraft. Moscow’s Ministry of Defense, however, dismissed the accusation, insisting that its interceptors had neither come into contact with the Reaper nor fired a weapon, saying that the drone crashed due to “sharp maneuvers.” Several officials have told CNN that the US is now “weighing the costs and benefits” of further drone operations.

At the same time, Washington has not entirely halted flights while the review is underway, the report says, and another Reaper was sent to monitor Russian forces searching for the debris. Pentagon officials say they are “taking a close look” at US drone routes and at ways to reduce the risk of clashing with Moscow’s military in the area. They are also said to be analyzing the potential intelligence benefits of such missions compared with the danger of escalation. One senior official told CNN the US was concerned that curbing drone activities could adversely affect intelligence gathering related to the Ukraine conflict. However, the US could still rely on other assets such as satellites, the report states.

Despite the ongoing review, Washington is considering flying another drone over the Black Sea in the near future, US officials said, without providing further detail. The US has significantly ramped up intelligence operations close to Russian borders, seeking to provide Ukraine with valuable data. Moscow has repeatedly insisted that such activities make the US a direct party to the conflict. On Friday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Security Council, blasted the US for sending its drone into the restricted flight Moscow has imposed due to the Ukraine conflict. “To put it simply, the Americans went way out of line, and there is no need to stand on ceremony with them,” he said, while recognizing the value of contacts between the Russian and US militaries.

Nap/Ritter

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They can leave, but not fully armed.

Russian Forces Block Ukrainian Army From Leaving Bakhmut (TASS)

Russian forces are steadily advancing in Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine) having thwarted the attempted withdrawal of several Ukrainian army units, acting head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin said on Friday. “We saw that several Ukrainian army units tried to get out of there, but they were thwarted by our forces,” he said in an interview with Russia’s Channel One. “The situation is steadily developing toward the liberation of this settlement.” Artyomovsk is located in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Fierce fighting for control of the city is underway. According to the latest data, Russian forces have blocked or taken control of all paved roads to the city while the nascent spring mud season is complicating logistics efforts to supply the Ukrainian army with fresh ammunition and personnel.

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“.. the jets were retired last year, and several reports suggested that they were mostly not in operational condition…”

EU States Using Ukraine To Dispose Of Old Weapons – Kremlin (RT)

Plans by Poland and Slovakia to send Soviet warplanes to Ukraine look like attempts to dispose of antiquated equipment, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during his Friday press briefing. “This is another example of how a number of NATO member states, including Poland, are raising their direct involvement in the conflict,” he announced, reacting to the recent announcements that Warsaw and Bratislava would send Soviet-designed MiG-29 warplanes to Kiev. Peskov added that it would not affect the outcome of Russia’s military operation but instead “may lead to additional suffering for Ukraine itself and its people.” “It seems like these countries [Poland and Slovakia] are just disposing of old equipment they no longer need,” Peskov said. The MiG-29 was designed in the 1970s and entered service in the 1980s.

Warsaw’s plan to transfer four of the MiG-29 fighters to Kiev “in the next few days” was announced by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki earlier this week. This makes Poland the first NATO country to pledge warplanes to Ukraine. The country has 28 MiG-29s, but it is unclear how many of them are in working condition, as the country has sought to update its air force with US- and South Korean-made fighters. Slovakia, also a NATO member, similarly announced on Friday that it would send 13 of its MiGs to Kiev. However, the jets were retired last year, and several reports suggested that they were mostly not in operational condition.

Ukraine has been requesting warplanes, specifically American-made F-16s for its military, but US President Joe Biden said in January that they were not planning to send any over. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz similarly stated the same month that Berlin was not even discussing transferring its own F-16s. French President Emmanuel Macron has sounded more vague, saying in January that he would not rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in February that London would be training Ukrainian pilots, adding that there was still no decision on actually sending Western-made fighter jets to Kiev. Moscow has warned on numerous occasions that arming Ukraine was akin to playing with fire and that Western countries had practically already become a party to the conflict.

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9 years ago.

Putin Says Crimea’s Reunification With Russia Was Historic Event (TASS)

Russian President Vladimir Putin took the opportunity on Friday to congratulate all citizens of Russia with the upcoming anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia, calling it a historic event. “I want to congratulate the citizens of Crimea, Sevastopol and all citizens of our country with the Day of Crimea’s Reunification with Russia,” Putin said, opening a session on the socio-economic development of Crimea and Sevastopol. March 16, 2023 marks nine years since the Crimean referendum, where the majority of citizens of Crimea and Sevastopol voted in favor of reunification with Russia.


After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. On March 11, 2014, Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol City Council adopted a declaration of independence. On March 15, 2014, the Crimean authorities held a referendum on reuniting with Russia. Most voters supported the idea (96.77% in Crimea and 95.6% in the city of Sevastopol), with turnout reaching 80%. On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Ukraine, the United States and the European Union refused to recognize Crimea’s independence and its decision to reunite with Russia.

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“..The idea that cross-border funding of NGOs is not only acceptable, but normal and necessary, has become a product and a feature of the era of liberal globalization..”

‘Foreign Agent’ Rules: The End Of Globalization As We Knew It (Lukyanov)

Georgia hit the headlines early this month over the government’s attempt to pass a law on “foreign agents.” The draft bill (there were actually two of them) was eventually withdrawn and the issue taken off the agenda for the time being. The case is unusual because the Georgian leadership – far from being pro-Russian and anti-Western – has suddenly been relegated to this niche by the international media. Of course, everything is black-and-white these days, but the general topic is interesting in a wider context. The concept of a “foreign agent,” which was introduced in the US on the eve of World War II to counter enemy propaganda, has found new life in the 21st century. Until recently, it was mainly used in polemics between Russia and the West.

The latter accused Moscow of using the status to remove dissenters from the public space. Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s argument that the public has a right to know about foreign money being spent domestically is dismissed as a mere justification for restricting freedoms. The argument goes that “civil society” has the right to be funded “independently.” Herein lies a fundamental contradiction that we are now likely to see everywhere more and more. The idea that cross-border funding of NGOs is not only acceptable, but normal and necessary, has become a product and a feature of the era of liberal globalization. This view of civil society has been logically derived from the conceptual approach itself. If the aim is to remove trade, economic and, ideally, political barriers and to create a single global regulatory space, then non-governmental structures must either have no national affiliation at all or be connected with international organizations as much as possible.

This contradicts the classical notion of civil society, the essence of which is precisely its bottom-up origin, i.e., that it should emerge domestically. However, the West believes the top-down approach is a good thing – when it suits it, of course. Five years ago, US doctrine enshrined the return of great power rivalry as the core content of international politics. It drew a line under the previous period, which was more open. If this is the essence of world politics, then all the instruments are in play, and all the old themes, such as “money has no nationality” and “let information circulate without barriers,” can no longer be understood outside this context. Over the past couple of decades, there has indeed been a high degree of openness on the part of states to both socio-political and information activities. This is partly due to the significant increase in the number of embassy staff after the Cold War – where the scope of work, including with civil society, has expanded.

The impressive scale of mutual expulsions of diplomats after 2018 is linked to the collapse of relations, but also has an objective basis. Embassies are returning to more classical, i.e., narrower tasks, and there is no reason to have so many staff present. The same phenomenon applies to restrictions on media activity, which was relatively freely tolerated after the end of the Cold War. However, the atmosphere in this area has changed as the dominance of Western sources in the information space has been challenged by other players. In Western Europe and the US, measures against Russian and, to some extent, Chinese news channels have been explained by the fact that they are state-funded, while many of those from the West are private, in addition to their own state media.

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“To create organizations under benign covers, which actually seek to destabilize the situation in the country, to undermine stability in civil society..”

Using NGOs In Hybrid Wars Favorite Method Of Russia’s Enemies – Medvedev (TASS)

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev noted that using nonprofit organizations in hybrid wars is the favorite method of certain states that are hostile to Russia. The politician called “not to be shy” and to decisively thwart the operation of such structures. “We know that the favorite method of our enemies – all types – is to use nonprofits in hybrid wars. To create organizations under benign covers, which actually seek to destabilize the situation in the country, to undermine stability in civil society. We have seen many examples of this. These methods have been honed to perfection,” Medvedev said, speaking at a Ministry of Justice board meeting Friday. Medvedev noted that the Ministry has already created special measures for nonprofits, including publication of reports online.


“It is necessary to continue fine-tuning the law in this area, to prevent unfair competition, to introduce principles of openness and transparency, and streamline corporate management of nonprofit organizations,” he listed.Achieving balance and security in this area is of key importance, the official explained. “Thus, on the one hand, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for normal, good-faith nonprofits, whose operation truly benefits the state and society. And, on the other hand – to brutally thwart the operation of structures, whose operation runs counter to Russia’s interests,” he noted. In this regard, one “should not be shy and should use all the necessary legal instruments,” Medvedev believes.

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“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success..”

Twitter Pushed To Censor ‘True Stories’ On Covid – Twitter Files (RT)

A government-linked academic group pushed Twitter to censor factually correct stories about Covid-19 if they risked “fueling hesitancy” about vaccines, according to the latest batch of internal documents released by the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk. Published by journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday, the documents show that from February 2021 onwards, senior Twitter management – including former trust and safety chief Yoel Roth – signed up to a Stanford University initiative that would alert them to the latest “vaccine-related disinformation narratives” spreading on the platform.

Titled ‘The Virality Project,’ the initiative was led by a former CIA employee and comprised academics from several universities, as well as researchers from organizations funded by the Pentagon, the National Science Foundation, and the US State Department. The Virality Project also stated on its website that it “built strong ties” with the Office of the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies and departments. In its briefings to Twitter, the Virality Project recommended that “true content which might promote vaccine hesitancy” – such as stories of side effects and certain vaccines being banned abroad – be censored. Posts raising concern about vaccine mandates were viewed as “anti-vax” misinformation, while “just asking questions” was deemed “a tactic commonly used by spreaders of misinformation,” and posting about the “surveillance state” was deemed a bannable “conspiracy” theory.

It is unclear how often Twitter acceded to the Virality Project’s demands, though Taibbi said that within a month, the platform’s staff began using the project’s recommendations when evaluating content to censor. At the time, Twitter’s rules on Covid-19 “misinformation” required a specific post to be “demonstrably false,” while permitting “strong commentary,” opinion writing, and satire. The Virality Project, however, urged Twitter management to ban “repeat offenders” before they even made new posts. Sharing the leaked emails of White House coronavirus czar Anthony Fauci could “exacerbate distrust in Dr. Fauci and in US public health institutions,” the Virality Project warned in a June 2021 briefing, while a follow-up report highlighted the spread of “worrisome jokes” about harassing the door-to-door vaccine promoters deployed by the administration of US President Joe Biden.

“As Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success,” Taibbi wrote on Friday. “Government, academia, and an oligopoly of would-be corporate competitors organized quickly behind a secret, unified effort to control political messaging.” Since purchasing Twitter in October and installing himself as the platform’s new CEO, Musk has been releasing regular batches of internal documents and communications in a bid to shed light on its previously opaque censorship policies. A tranche of files released in December revealed that Twitter censored “legitimate content” on Covid-19 at the direct request of the White House.

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“Money dies when it loses its direct connection to the generation of wealth from the real things of this earth..”

SVB + FTX + SBF = WTF? (Kunstler)

As if all the operations around finance in this land were not already unsound and degenerate enough, the alleged president just cancelled moral hazard altogether. It’s now official: from here forward there will be no consequences for banking fraud, poor decision-making, fiduciary recklessness, self-dealing, or any of the other risks attendant to the handling other people’s money. Bailing out the Silicon Valley Bank and Barney Frank’s deluxe Signature Bank means that the government will now have to bail out every bank every time something goes wrong. The trouble, of course, is that the government doesn’t have the means to bail out every bank. Its only resort is to ask the Federal Reserve to summon new money from a magic ether where the illusion of wealth is conjured to paper-over ever greater fissures in the splintering matrix of racketeering that America has become.

That will quickly translate into US dollars losing value, that is, accelerating inflation, which is how nature punishes you when your government lies and pretends that it has a bad situation well-in-hand. Be advised: the situation is not in-hand and is going to get a whole lot worse as new and subsidiary shocks thunder through the weeks and months ahead, until the whole wicked business blows. Likewise, the reactions of our government will only get more tragi-comically pathetic. The harder this gang of feckless, wannabe control freaks pretends to control events, the faster events spin out of control. Money dies when it loses its direct connection to the generation of wealth from the real things of this earth: fuels, crops, metals, materials, labor, and the value-added products made from them.

Since that divorce has already happened, the need arises for something else that can function as money (a store of wealth, an index of value, and a medium of exchange). The government will pretend that a Central Bank Digital Currency is that something else. Since banking is now nationalized by the Federal Reserve backstopping everything and everybody, then theoretically all the wealth of the nation is under its command. That would be another illusion. This CBDC would not be “money” representing wealth because America’s wealth is going, going, gone, pissed away, falling apart, de-laminating, oxidizing, rusting in the rain, going up in a vapor. Think of all those mortgaged cars on the road racking up the mileage until they’re worthless and all those mortgaged suburban houses built out of particle-board and vinyl smeared all over the landscape, decomposing into their constituent chemicals — over time, a dead loss. And that’s what’s left of our American Dream: coldcocked by entropy and, by extension, the laws of the universe.

Yellen

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Credit Suisse was back tanking yesterday.

Swiss Government Discussing Merging UBS & Credit Suisse (Az.)

UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG are opposed to a forced combination, even as scenario planning for a government-orchestrated tie-up continues, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Report informs referring to Bloomberg. UBS would prefer to focus on its own wealth-centric standalone strategy and is reluctant to take on risks related to Credit Suisse, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Its smaller rival is seeking time to see through its turnaround after winning a liquidity backstop from the central bank, they said.


Credit Suisse arrested a collapse in investor confidence on March 16 after winning a 50 billion franc ($54 billion) credit line from the Swiss National Bank. That came after the Swiss lender had appealed to authorities for a public show of support following an unprecedented slump in the shares. With investors jittery after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, comments by Credit Suisse’s largest shareholder that it wasn’t willing to invest more in the bank were enough to provoke a deep selloff.

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They’re really scared of him. He’s polling well compared to DeSantis. And New York is as Dem as they come. But really? Stormy Daniels is all you got?

US Security Forces Brace For Possible Trump ‘Arrest’ (RT)

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are reportedly discussing security preparations in the event former President Donald Trump is indicted on felony falsification charges sometime in the coming days, according to multiple media outlets citing anonymous officials. The agencies are carrying out “preliminary security assessments” in and around a Manhattan courthouse to prepare for a possible indictment linked to an alleged “hush money” scheme involving a woman who claimed to have been intimate with the ex-president, five senior officials told NBC on Friday. While the officials stressed that the discussions are “precautionary” given that no charges have been filed, they said preparations are being made for an indictment that could come as early as next week.


Four law enforcement officials reached by the Associated Press confirmed the interagency conversations, which they said involve “security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance” by Trump. The agencies discussing security preparations reportedly include the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Manhattan DA’s Office. According to a “source in the courts” cited by Fox News, the Secret Service will determine whether Trump is handcuffed in the event he is charged. The former leader is under a grand jury investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office over the alleged felony falsification of business records, and is accused of arranging a payment of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636890792051523585

Daniels claims she was paid during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about alleged sexual encounters with Trump in the past, though he denies such liaisons ever took place. Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, told NBC News that if the ex-president is charged, he will “follow the normal procedures,” but has insisted on his client’s innocence. “The payments were made to a lawyer, not to Stormy Daniels. The payments were made to Donald Trump’s lawyer, which would be considered legal fees,” he said during a separate interview with MSNBC earlier this week, adding that Cohen “was his lawyer at the time and advised him that this was the proper way to do this to protect himself and his family from embarrassment. It’s as simple as that. That is not a crime.”


Cohen pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to the payment in 2018, and has since cooperated with the investigation into Trump after a public falling out with his former boss. He has provided hours of testimony before the grand jury probing Trump on the alleged felony charge, appearing for a second time on Wednesday.

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Canucks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636546986601066496

 

 

 

 

Knots

 

 

Coral

 

 

Humpback

 

 

Amur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636800272231190528

 

 

Best friends
https://twitter.com/i/status/1636696497025699843

 

 

 

 

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Mar 142023
 
 March 14, 2023  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  78 Responses »


Louis Anquetin Girl Reading a Newspaper 1890

 

Kremlin Explains Its ‘Only Option’ In Ukraine (RT)
Doubts In Ukraine About Readiness To Mount Offensive -WaPo (RT)
Xi Jinping Plans To Visit Moscow As Early As Next Week (TASS)
Germany Is Not An Independent Nation – Patrushev (RT)
Russia Insists On Objective Investigation Into Nord Stream Attack (TASS)
Hungarian Defense Minister: Europe Can Send Troops To Ukraine (Az.)
‘Yanukovich Case’ Tantamount To Kiev’s Confession Of Coup – Former PM (TASS)
Jan. 6 Attorney Alleges FBI Criminally Altered Evidence (ET)
US Heading For Another Great Depression – Trump (TASS)
Money Troubles (Kunstler)
Sorry, No Empathy, No Bailouts And YES I MEAN IT (Denninger)
Are The Evil Gods Returning? Or Is Evil Is Inside Us? (Ugo Bardi)
House Dems Use Hearing to Attack Both Free Speech and a Free Press (Turley)
mRNA Vaccine Contamination Much Worse Than Thought (DS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1634898813855866881

 

 

 

 

RFK Trump

 

 

TUCKER: Should the United States support regime change in Russia?
TRUMP: No. We should support regime change in the United States, that’s far more important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ischinger wants a “peace process” led by only one side of the conflict: US, UK, Germany and France. WTF?

Kremlin Explains Its ‘Only Option’ In Ukraine (RT)

There are currently no conditions for a peace settlement in Ukraine, meaning Russia has no other option but to keep fighting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has argued. “The absolute priority for us remains and will always remain reaching the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. At this point in time, they can only be achieved through military means,” the official told journalists on Monday. Peskov was reacting to an article penned by veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, who served as chair of the Munich Security Conference for over a decade. In a piece published by the Der Tagesspiegel daily on Sunday, Ischinger urged Western leaders to “start thinking about a peace process now” and create a special political contact group for the Ukraine conflict.

“In addition to arms deliveries and financial support, we have to offer perspectives to the growing chorus of questions by critics,” he argued. According to Ischinger’s proposal, the contact group would be led by the US, UK, Germany and France, with other nations and international organizations, including NATO, forming an “outer circle” of participants to lend legitimacy to any draft documents. The group’s task would be to prepare a ceasefire agreement and other paperwork to form the backbone for a post-conflict period. It would work alongside the so-called Ramstein Group, which funnels Western military aid to Ukraine. Ischinger stressed that the new initiative would not put pressure on Ukraine to negotiate.

The veteran German diplomat suggested a list of questions that the group would ask themselves, including: “Should a ceasefire agreement be endorsed by the UN Security Council?”, “Will there be a demilitarized buffer zone?”, and “Should the people in Crimea hold a referendum to decide who they belong to?”. Kiev has declared the full return of territories it claims as Ukrainian as a precondition for peace talks. Its national security council has also banned talks with Russia for as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in office. Moscow has argued that the Ukrainian government has effectively made peace talks impossible, and that Kiev has adopted its stance based on orders from the US, which is aiming to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1635321905426178058

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“Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded..”

Doubts In Ukraine About Readiness To Mount Offensive -WaPo (RT)

Kiev’s forces have been so “degraded” by a year of fighting against Russia that some Ukrainian officials doubt their ability to execute a planned spring offensive, the Washington Post has reported. The conflict has taken many of the most seasoned Ukrainian troops, with the arrival of inexperienced draftees changing the profile of the country’s military, the US paper pointed out on Monday. US and European officials have estimated that up 120,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the launch of Russia’s military operation last February, it added. Kiev keeps information abouts losses secret, even from its Western backers. “Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded,” a battalion commander in Ukraine’s 46th Air Assault Brigade, identified only by his call sign, Kupol, told the paper about his experienced troops.

And the poorly trained rookies that he’s been getting recently “just drop everything and run” as soon as the battle begins, the commander added. Another problem faced by Ukrainian troops is a shortage of ammunition, including artillery shells and mortar bombs, the Washington Post said, citing those fighting on the ground. “You’re on the front line. They’re coming toward you, and there’s nothing to shoot with,” Kupol said, describing the situation. “We don’t have the people or weapons,” an unnamed senior Ukrainian government official told the paper. He explained that casualties incurred by the side mounting an offensive are usually two or three times higher than on the defending side. “We can’t afford to lose that many people,” the official added.

“If you have more resources, you more actively attack. If you have fewer resources, you defend more. We’re going to defend. That’s why if you ask me personally, I don’t believe in a big counteroffensive for us. I’d like to believe in it, but I’m looking at the resources and asking, ‘With what?’ Maybe we’ll have some localized breakthroughs,” the source said. The official called the number of tanks promised to Kiev by the US and its allies “symbolic,” while some of other officials who talked to the paper didn’t believe that Western weapons would be able to reach the frontline in time. The newspaper also cited a US official, who said that – despite some gains on the battlefield recently – ammunition, manpower and motivation problems were even worse on the Russian side. However, no facts were provided to back this claim. As for Ukraine, the stakes will be “particularly high” in the coming months as Kiev’s Western supporters watch to see if the country can reclaim the initiative, the Washington Post noted.

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Zelensky wants to meet with Xi. He will not like that.

Xi Jinping Plans To Visit Moscow As Early As Next Week (TASS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping intends to visit Moscow as early as next week, Reuters reported on Monday, citing sources. According to its information, the Chinese leader expects to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. No details were given. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that the Chinese president’s trip to Moscow could take place in April or May. Last December, Putin, in talks with Xi Jinping via video conference call, invited him to come to Moscow in the spring of 2023. In February, the Russian president received Director of the Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), member of the CCP Politburo Wang Yi in the Kremlin. Putin then expressed the hope that this visit would give an additional impetus to the development of bilateral relations between Moscow and Beijing. The previous face-to-face meeting between the Russian leader and his Chinese counterpart took place in September 2022 in Samarkand during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.

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“..this scenario would seem plausible only to people who “cannot think logically.”

Germany Is Not An Independent Nation – Patrushev (RT)

Germany is facing an inevitable economic decline after losing its access to Russian energy, but cannot do anything about it because it is not a sovereign nation, the secretary of the Russian National Security Council has claimed. “Germany tried for many years to build its economy on a combination of cheap Russian energy and advanced German technologies. Like no one else, it realizes that the terrorist attack against the [Nord Stream pipelines] will definitely cause the German economy to decline further,” Nikolay Patrushev said in an interview published in Argumenti i Fakti newspaper on Monday. The advantages that German businesses enjoyed by getting access to Russian fuel has long irritated the governments of the US and the UK, he continued.

But Berlin is not at liberty to continue cooperating with Moscow, “because the German nation is not independent.” “Washington imposes on Berlin its economic and environmental agenda and keeps a 35,000-strong military force on its soil. For years, the White House controlled [former chancellor] Angela Merkel, and now it forces the German leadership to side with the version of the pipeline sabotage that is advantageous to the US authorities,” Patrushev said, describing America’s treatment of Germany as “humiliating.” The remarks were part of Patrushev’s comments on the sabotage of the undersea pipelines, which were built to supply Germany with Russian natural gas. The Nord Stream links were ruptured by powerful explosions last September in what Russia has called a blatant terrorist attack.

A series of articles published by Western media this month claimed that Western intelligence services believe that a “pro-Ukrainian group” not associated with any government was behind the attack. Patrushev argued that, considering the training and equipment that such a complicated operation required, this scenario would seem plausible only to people who “cannot think logically.”

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“Berlin is well aware that close economic cooperation between Germany and Russia has never satisfied Washington and London..”

Russia Insists On Objective Investigation Into Nord Stream Attack (TASS)

Moscow insists that an objective international investigation with its participation should be carried out on the Nord Streams sabotage. The one-sided versions being heard now do little to explain anything, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev said. “I emphasize that any accusations that are not supported by the results of an impartial investigation cannot be trusted. Therefore, Moscow insists on an objective investigation with the participation of Russia and other interested countries. Without this, voicing one-sided subjective versions of the terrorist attack does not explain anything,” he told the Argumenty i Fakty weekly on Monday.

According to Patrushev, Russia still did not know for certain who was behind the terrorist attacks at the Nord Stream gas pipelines, and the country has not been included in the investigation of this “unprecedented terrorist act”. He stressed that the situation was also complicated by the planting of a fake leak published without any reference to the real source. “Resolving to cover up the true patrons of the crime, the pro-government Anglo-Saxon media, following orders from above, laid the blame on a certain group of Ukrainian terrorists. In essence, they once again pointed to the terrorist nature of the current Kiev regime. At the same time, the authors of the information campaign thought that no one would object to this version,” the Russian Security Council Secretary stressed.

In his opinion, the idea that the US and the UK were not involved in the terrorist attack “is obviously driven by the calculation that the audience lacks the ability to think logically, including the method of denial.” “Since newspapers are emotionally claiming that the act of sabotage was carried out by a group of Ukrainian terrorists, the question to ask is whether such a group exists at all and if it’s capable of doing such things. It’s no secret that activities like this require special ops units that are properly trained and equipped,” Patrushev noted. According to the security chief, the US and England certainly have such capabilities. Other NATO countries also use combat swimmers for sabotage tasks but only “with the consent and support of the country that determines the main agenda for NATO,” the official explained.

Patrushev also suggested considering who benefited from the attack. “Were the blasts advantageous for Ukraine or Germany? Kiev neither lost nor gained anything from the gas pipeline destruction. Moreover, such an act is not advantageous for the Zelensky regime, which actually begs Berlin to give more military and other aid, and has no use for such an act,” he said. Germany, who for many years has been trying to build its economy based on a combination of cheap energy resources from Russia and advanced German technology, knows better than anyone else that the attack on the pipeline would definitely lead the economy of Germany to a further decline, added the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. “At the same time, Berlin is well aware that close economic cooperation between Germany and Russia has never satisfied Washington and London,” he recalled.

Along with that, Patrushev pointed out that it has long been clear that today’s German state was not independent: Washington imposed its economic and environmental policy on Berlin and kept a 35,000-strong military contingent on its territory. “It is known that for many years the White House controlled [former German Chancellor] Angela Merkel, and today it is forcing the German leadership to go along with the US authorities’ version of the pipeline sabotage. Perhaps that is why [German Chancellor Olaf] Scholz was urgently summoned to Washington for a meeting with [US President Joe] Biden. By doing so, the US continues to humiliate Germany, showing it its place,” he concluded.

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We’re working on it. But other than 30,000 Poles, which other country is ready to send troops?

Hungarian Defense Minister: Europe Can Send Troops To Ukraine (Az.)

Europe’s tendency to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons and armored vehicles could lead to the deployment of troops to the conflict zone, Minister of Defense of Hungary Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said, Report informs. “Now we are at the point where we need to participate; we need to get involved, first by voting for sanctions, then with money, then only with defense means; now we already see that they are sending tanks, Leopard, fighter jets are also on the way, and if this continues, soldiers will be needed if Ukrainian human resources run out,” he said.

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“.. In October 2016, Ukraine’s new authorities stripped Yanukovich of the title of president..” That’s 2,5 years after the coup.

‘Yanukovich Case’ Tantamount To Kiev’s Confession Of Coup – Former PM (TASS)

The Kiev regime’s charges against the ex-president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, of illegal border crossing and incitement to desertion are tantamount to a confession a coup d’état was staged in Ukraine in 2014, Ukraine’s former prime minister Nikolay Azarov (2010-2014) said on Monday. “In any unclear situation in Ukraine the Kiev regime blames Yanukovich. It is alleged that on February 23, Yanukovich fled Ukraine and encouraged about 20 of his guards, who were members of the state bodyguard service, to emigrate. What idiot has concocted this case?! First, they themselves were yelling at the top of their lungs that Yanukovich had quit on his own and left the territory of Ukraine on February 21. Now they themselves have admitted that Yanukovich was on the territory of Ukraine on February 21, which means that there was no quitting on his part,” Azarov he wrote on his page on a social network.

The former prime minister urged Ukrainians to independently assess the inconsistency of the Kiev regime’s actions. On March 10, the Office of Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General announced that a district court in Kiev would hold hearings in absentia on the case of illegal border crossing and incitement to desertion against Yanukovich. The other defendant in this case is Konstantin Kobzar, the former chief of the head of state’s bodyguards. According to investigators, on February 23, 2014, Yanukovich and Kobzar illegally crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border twice and smuggled at least 20 people across it. On the same day, if the Prosecutor General’s Office is to be believed, Yanukovich, while staying on the territory of a military unit of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, was “instigating” his bodyguards commit desertion.

Yanukovich served as Ukraine’s president from 2010 to 2014. During the coup d’état in February 2014, he was essentially ousted from office by force and, faced with a threat to his personal safety, had to flee the country. In October 2016, Ukraine’s new authorities stripped Yanukovich of the title of president, and a month later launched criminal proceedings against him in absentia on charges of treason. In 2019, a court in Kiev sentenced Yanukovich in absentia to 13 years in prison.

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“Miller’s hidden messages reveal casual discussions among the FBI regarding the monitoring of codefendant Rehl’s trial strategy, Rehl’s defenses and ‘interesting’ points, and ways the government can get around Rehl’s defenses..”

Jan. 6 Attorney Alleges FBI Criminally Altered Evidence (ET)

Rogers Roots, an attorney representing Dominic Pezzola, a Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach defendant, alleged on Sunday that the FBI had committed crimes by altering evidence and requested that the court appoint a special master to review the evidence. Roots’s move came days after the testimony of FBI Special Agent Nicole Miller, who was involved in the agency’s investigations of the Jan. 6 defendants. When cross-examining Miller, Nick Smith, an attorney representing Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean (listed as co-defendant on Pezzola’s case), revealed classified FBI emails that were hidden in a tab in an Excel spreadsheet, which included a directive to Miller to “destroy” 338 pieces of evidence and “edit out” an FBI agent from an informant report.

“Destroying evidence is a federal crime. It actually falls under a federal crime under more than one statute. The same goes with altering documents, altering records, that is a federal crime,” the John Pierce Law attorney told The Epoch Times in an interview on Sunday. In a filing on Sunday, Roots requested that Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee presiding over the case, either dismiss the case in its entirety or appoint a special master to independently review the FBI messages that were revealed in court. “The unceremonious and uninhibited nature of Miller’s discussion of committing these serious crimes suggests an FBI culture of corruption and lawlessness that must be immediately stopped, and fully investigated,” Roots said in the filing. A key question about these leaked messages is whether they fall under the scope of evidence in the case.

Roots said in the filing that the messages show a violation of due process, reiterating his argument in an earlier filing that the FBI’s monitoring of communications between a co-defendant, Zachary Rehl, and his attorney violated the Sixth Amendment, which prohibits invasion of the right to counsel (Matter of Fusco v. Moses). “Miller’s hidden messages reveal casual discussions among the FBI regarding the monitoring of codefendant Rehl’s trial strategy, Rehl’s defenses and ‘interesting’ points, and ways the government can get around Rehl’s defenses,” Roots said in the Sunday filing. In the filing, Roots requested the court dismiss Pezzola’s case with prejudice, appoint a special counsel, appoint a special master, schedule extensive evidentiary hearings, and release Pezzola from custody.

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“We will have a great depression far bigger and more powerful than that of 1929. As proof, the banks are already starting to collapse!!!”

US Heading For Another Great Depression – Trump (TASS)

Former US President Donald Trump has blamed the incumbent, Joe Biden, for the economic problems of the United States and predicted a new Great Depression. “With what is happening to our economy, and with the proposals being made on the largest and dumbest tax increase in the history of the USA Joe Biden will go down as the Herbert Hoover (US President in 1929-1933) of the modern age. We will have a great depression far bigger and more powerful than that of 1929. As proof, the banks are already starting to collapse!!!” he wrote on his social network Truth Social on Monday.


On Friday, the California Department of Financial Protection announced the bankruptcy of the 16th largest bank in the US, Silicon Valley Bank. It serviced primarily employees of the high-tech sector workers and venture capital-funded companies, including some of the industry’s most well-established brands. According to CNN, this was the largest bank failure in the United States since the 2008 financial crisis. The Great Depression was a global economic crisis that began on October 24, 1929 with the stock market crash in the United States. It lasted until 1939. Industrial cities were the hardest hit, construction almost stopped, farm produce prices plummeted and mass unemployment ravaged the country.

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“..the interest rate hikes that Mr. Powell spoke of so confidently only days ago just got stashed into his folder labeled “Fuggeddabowdit.”

Money Troubles (Kunstler)

Since banks today exist in a vast matrix of interconnected obligations — promises to pay this-and-that — fear grows that the rot from one bank, such as SVB, will infect many other banks that are no longer able to keep their promises about paying this-and-that, leading to a daisy-chain of things not getting paid. For an economy, that’s about the same as the blood ceasing to circulate in a body. The practice in situations such as this (say, as in 2008-09) is for the governing authorities — who supposedly rule over the banking world like gods — to rush to rescue these outfits with “liquidity,” money (or representations of it) as required to re-balance things, or, maybe provide the impression of re-balancing until something else can be figured out. The Jupiter and Minerva of American banking, Jay Powell and Janet Yellen, were faced with just that sort of call for divine intervention over the weekend as fear seeped into every nook and crevice of the money world that wealth was flaring away in the long-feared-of conflagration out of the dumpster banking had become.

Sunday morning, Ms. Yellen told CBS News “bailouts, no way” but by the afternoon Mr. Powell cried “bailouts, way,” and they had to get their story straight. They offered up $25-billion to bail out depositors for a smoldering system that will arguably require a trillion dollars or more of liquidity to quench the spreading fires. One thing looks for sure: the interest rate hikes that Mr. Powell spoke of so confidently only days ago just got stashed into his folder labeled “Fuggeddabowdit.” So, the campaign to control inflation must now yield to the urgent need to create a whole lot of money to spray over those fires.

You may have noticed that the value of your money has been slip-sliding away the past year or so. Peanut butter at five bucks a jar, and all. The situation at hand kind of guarantees that we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of that. And then the gods of money will have lost control of the interest rate console altogether. No more tweaking the broken knobs. More inflation will prompt US treasury paper holders to dump what they can while there’s still some value to retrieve. But the US has to issue more debt for all the bail-outs and theoretical buyers of new debt will perforce bid up the rates to keep up with inflation… and yet the US can’t possibly bear the burden of paying higher interest on its debt. Looks like the business model for running the USA is breaking down before our eyes.

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“What was featured in the stupidity of 2008? Allowing banks to run with no reserves..”

Sorry, No Empathy, No Bailouts And YES I MEAN IT (Denninger)

The so-called “Chief Risk Officer” at SVB had a masters in….. public administration. Anyone care to bet if she passed any form of advanced mathematics — you know, like for example Calculus or Statistics? Do you think she understood exponents and why this graph made clear that concentration of risk and duration was stupid and likely to blow up in everyone’s face — including hers? How about Bill Ackman and the others on the Internet screaming for a bailout? How about the CFOs of public companies like Roku that stuck several hundred million dollars in said bank? Was it not widespread public knowledge (and available to anyone who took 15 minutes to do research, which you’d think someone would do before putting a hundred million bucks somewhere) that this institution was chock-full of VC-funded startup companies which, historically fail 90% of the time and their debt becomes impaired or even worthless?

Where are the indictments for fiduciary malfeasance among these people? It takes a literal five minutes with Excel to prove to yourself that if debt is rising faster than GDP no matter the interest rate eventually the interest payments on that debt will exceed all of the economy. This of course is impossible because you cannot use over 100% of anything as its not there, but long before you reach that point you’re going to have trouble putting food on the table, fuel in the vehicle and paychecks are going to bounce. It was for this reason that one of the first sections in my book Leverage, written after the 2008 blowup which I chronicled and laid bare upon the table featured exactly this chart.

The last bit of insanity was just 15 years ago by my math. Did we fix it? No. What was featured in the stupidity of 2008? Allowing banks to run with no reserves. Who did that? Ben Bernanke, who got it into the TARP bill that eventually passed and which I reported on at the time. It accelerated that which was already going to happen because Congress is full of people who think trees grow to the moon, leverage is never bad and exponents are a suggestion. Oh by the way, your local Realtor thinks so to as does, apparently, the former SVB “risk officer” who, it is clear, didn’t understand exponents — or didn’t care. The simple reality is that it must always cost to borrow money in real terms.

This means the rate of interest must be positive in said real terms, which means across the curve rates must be higher than inflation — again, in real terms, not in “CPI” which has intentional distortions in it such as “Owner’s Equivalent Rent” when you’re not renting a house, you’re buying it. Had said “CPI” actually had home prices in it then it would have shown a doubling in many markets in that section of the economy over the last three years. In other words housing alone would have resulted in a roughly 10% per year inflation rate, plus all the other increases, which means the Fed Funds rate should have been 300bips or so beyond that all the way back to 2020 — which would put Fed Funds at about 13% for the last three years. It isn’t of course but if it had been then all those “housing price increases” would not have happened at all. Incidentally even today the Fed Funds rate is below inflation and thus the crazy is still on.

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“We were mistreated by dumb bureaucrats, not by the minions of evil deities..”

Are The Evil Gods Returning? Or Is Evil Is Inside Us? (Ugo Bardi)

[..] sometimes you have the sensation that something truly evil is moving in the world. Naomi Wolf expressed the idea most clearly in a recent post of hers. I could not explain the way the Western world simply switched from being based at least overtly on values of human rights and decency, to values of death, exclusion and hatred, overnight, en masse — without reference to some metaphysical evil that goes above and beyond fallible, blundering human agency. … “What we have lived through since 2020 is so sophisticated, so massive, so evil, and executed in such inhumane unison, that it cannot be accounted for without venturing into metaphysics. Something else, something metaphysical, must have done that. And I speak as a devoted rationalist.”

Lately, I’ve been thinking along similar lines. I even argued that worshiping the evil deity Baphomet could be a good idea for really nasty people who want to dominate the world. Overall, though, I think it is not the right explanation. No matter how inexplicable the rise of evil can look, it is still something that comes from inside us, not from the outside. Evil is us, eventually. The recent release of the “Lockdown Files” in Britain supports this idea. These files contain the messages sent and received by Matt Hancock, the British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care during the lockdown period in Britain. In these messages, Hancock doesn’t sound evil. He just writes as if he cared only about himself, and his personal prestige. He wanted to “own the exit,” and he didn’t care about the British people, whom he evidently considered a band of morons. We were mistreated by dumb bureaucrats, not by the minions of evil deities.

Now, I have a stated policy that I call the “Grokking Strategy” that consists in listening to everyone and trusting no one. So, I am perfectly willing to consider the hypothesis that the Hancock files are a psyop designed to divert the public’s attention away from the hidden forces that governed the reaction to the pandemic. On the whole, though, I think these files are genuine. They make sense, and they also match other examples of the same kind. For instance, we recently saw similar leaks of messages sent and received by the Italian equivalent of Hancock, Mr. Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health of the Italian government during the lockdown period. We can’t swear on the authenticity of these leaked messages, but they fit with the personality of Mr. Speranza. Like Hancock, he was clearly trying to “own the exit.” In late 2020, he published an autobiographical book designed to show how he had been valiantly fighting the virus and eventually had succeeded in squashing it. The book was quietly removed from the market when it turned out that the pandemic was not over. Now a printed copy is a rare collector’s item.

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The Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger hearing was unreal.

House Dems Use Hearing to Attack Both Free Speech and a Free Press (Turley)

“At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Those words were first asked by lawyer Joseph Welch in his confrontation with Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) during the Senate’s infamous Army-McCarthy hearings. This week, nearly 70 years later, Welch’s words seem more relevant than ever after House Democrats savaged two journalists who attempted to explain a government effort to censor citizens. It was only the latest of a series of hearings in which FBI agents and other whistleblowers, experts and journalists have been personally attacked for raising free-speech concerns. Last week’s hearing showed definitively that we live in a post-decency era.

The latest attacks came as journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger testified about breaking the “Twitter Files” story, detailing how the FBI and other agencies secretly sought to censor or ban citizens from social media. In her opening statement, Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), the ranking member of the House Judiciary subcommittee, attacked them as “so-called journalists” and said they were “a direct threat” to the safety of others by reporting the censorship story. Taibbi pushed back, saying that “I’m not a ‘so-called’ journalist” and giving a brief description of his award-winning career at Rolling Stone magazine and other publications. Yet other committee members also attacked the honesty of the two journalists. And after failed efforts to claim they were Elon Musk’s corrupt “scribes,” or limited by him in their investigations, the committee members attacked their ethics.

The witnesses were attacked on everything but their choice of socks. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) even claimed that “being a Republican witness today certainly casts a cloud over your objectivity.” When Wasserman Schultz impugned the two journalists’ honesty and ethics, she immediately “reclaimed (her) time” to prevent them from defending themselves. When the subcommittee chair gave them a chance to answer her claims, Wasserman Schultz and her Democratic colleagues objected that a witness was allowed to defend himself after being blocked from doing so. In an earlier attack, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) prevented Taibbi from answering a question and dismissed his effort to defend his position, saying: “This is how it works now. I’ll ask the question and you try to provide an answer if you can.”

Read more …

“100 times greater than previously reported..” But Pfizer knew…

mRNA Vaccine Contamination Much Worse Than Thought (DS)

The contamination of mRNA vaccines with DNA is far greater than initially thought at up to 35%, and the DNA’s role in inducing human cells to produce the spike protein long term has been confirmed, according to the latest research. Earlier this month, the Daily Sceptic reported on the work of Dr. Kevin McKernan and his team who had subjected the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna to deep sequencing analysis and found alarming levels of DNA contaminants known as plasmids. These are small circular DNA molecules that in principle can self-replicate in bacterial and human cells and induce the cell to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein long term. Each vaccine dose was found to contain billions of these plasmids.

Japan deaths

The Moderna vaccine appeared to contain DNA contamination at around the ‘safe’ level set by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) at the equivalent of one part per 3,000 mRNA molecules, though it’s not clear how safe this level really is. The Pfizer vaccine, on the other hand, was found to contain DNA contamination at 10 times the ‘safe’ level, at one plasmid per 350 mRNA molecules. The DNA is part of the vaccine manufacturing process, providing the blueprint for the mRNA, but it should have been removed to at least the ‘safe’ level, though was not for reasons that are unclear. Now, Dr. McKernan and his team have undertaken further analysis and found that the level of DNA contamination is much greater than originally reported, with up to 35% of the vaccine product being this DNA contamination. They write:


This equates to 20-35% of the nucleic acid in each vaccine being expression vector. This is several orders of magnitude over the the EMAs limit of 330ng/mg. With these levels of contamination, RT activity from LINE-1 is not a prerequisite for genome integration. Molecular biologist Dr. Jessica Rose explains that this means each dose may contain trillions of DNA molecules, 100 times greater than previously reported: “The left-over expression vectors used to manufacture the mRNAs are at contamination levels 100-fold higher than originally proposed and imply trillions of DNA molecules per dose. This has implications for integration into our genome.”

Dowd
https://twitter.com/i/status/1635330030845980673

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Walking oats

 

 

 

 

Frens
https://twitter.com/i/status/1635226717806813185

 

 

Godfather

 

 

Heron

 

 

Shelter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1635389575119147009

 

 

 

 

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Feb 222023
 
 February 22, 2023  Posted by at 10:22 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Banksy Bataclan emergency door 2018 (stolen in 2019, recovered June 2020)

 

Russia Cannot Be Defeated On Battlefield – Putin (TASS)
‘Big Difference’ Between Arming Ukraine and Russia – Borrell (RT)
China-Russia Relations ‘Rock Solid’ – Beijing (RT)
China Names US As ‘Top Disruptor’ (RT)
Xi Jinping Planning Moscow Trip – WSJ (RT)
Putin Says West’s Goal Is To Tear Historical Regions Away From Russia (TASS)
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Failed Sanctions And Key Nuke Deal Suspension (RT)
Zelensky ‘Commanding’ US Military – Congresswoman (RT)
Italy Rules Out Jets For Ukraine (RT)
US Realizes No One Believes Its Nord Stream Story- Zakharova (TASS)
Evidence Of US Guilt For Nord Stream ‘More Than A Smoking Gun’ – Russia (RT)
Duma Supports Bill On Suspending Russia’s Participation In New START (TASS)
Russia Will Defend Itself With Any Weapon, Including Nuclear – Medvedev (TASS)
Anatomy of a Cover-up: The January 6 Tapes (Julie Kelly)

 

 

Inevitably after yesterday’s Putin speech, a lot of Russia today, and from Russian sources. Do note how China is coming to the foreground. Both countries insist on being treated as equals. NATO says no.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celente
https://twitter.com/i/status/1627798699211358209

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1628129409914834977

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..In this case the existence of our country is on the agenda..”

Russia Cannot Be Defeated On Battlefield – Putin (TASS)

Russia cannot be defeated on the battlefield, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday. “They (the elites of the West – TASS) cannot but realize that it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield,” the Russian leader said. As the president pointed out, the West was not trying to conceal its aim of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia. “The elites of the West do not hide their aim to make Russia, as they say outright, suffer, a ‘strategic defeat.’ What does this mean? What is it for us? It means that they wish do away with us once and for all. In other words, to send a local conflict into the phase of a global confrontation,” Putin stressed. “This is precisely how we understand it all, and we will react accordingly. In this case the existence of our country is on the agenda,” he added.

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“..Sino-Russian relations are “rock solid and will withstand any test of the changing international situation..”

‘Big Difference’ Between Arming Ukraine and Russia – Borrell (RT)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi asked the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, why he was so concerned with Beijing potentially giving weapons to Russia when Brussels is funnelling arms to Ukraine, Borrell told reporters. Wang and Borrell met at the Munich Security Conference last week, after which the latter warned on Monday that any Chinese assistance to the Russian military would be considered a “red line” by the EU. Speaking to reporters at a NATO meeting on Tuesday, Borrell said that he and Wang had a “frank conversation” in Munich. During this conversation, Wang made it clear that “China doesn’t provide arms to countries at war,” and had no plans of providing arms to Russia. This, Wang said, “is the principle of China’s foreign policy,” according to Borrell’s recollection.

However, Borrell said that Wang asked him: “Why do you show concern for me maybe providing arms for Russia when you are providing arms for Ukraine?” Borrell said that he responded by explaining the “big difference” between these scenarios, pointing out “what is at stake for us Europeans in the war in Ukraine.” However, he did not share his explanation with the press. Borrell is not the only senior Western diplomat to caution Beijing over its alleged support for Russia’s military. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed last week that Washington was already aware of China’s non-lethal support for Moscow, and threatened “serious consequences” if that support escalated to lethal weapons. China’s foreign ministry responded to Blinken in a similar manner as Wang did to Borrell, urging the US to “seriously reflect” on its role in stoking the Ukraine conflict.

“It is the US, not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield,” a ministry spokesman said on Monday. China has repeatedly called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, and plans on releasing a peace proposal in the near future. Meanwhile, Beijing and Moscow have stepped up their bilateral trade since the beginning of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine last February, and both countries are currently taking part in trilateral naval drills with South Africa. Ahead of a potential visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping this spring, Wang held a meeting in the Russian capital with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev on Tuesday. Sino-Russian relations are “rock solid and will withstand any test of the changing international situation,” Wang said after the meeting.

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“..According to Wang, the two countries, as members of the United Nations Security Council, are responsible for “keeping the peace on the planet.”

China-Russia Relations ‘Rock Solid’ – Beijing (RT)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that the bond between the two countries was strong and stable. During his visit to Moscow, the diplomat met with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev to discuss “mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields.” “China-Russia relations are mature in character and rock solid, able to withstand the challenges of the volatile international situation,” Wang stressed. He added that the countries were ready to defend their national interests and dignity. Patrushev responded to Wang by saying the relations between Moscow and Beijing had “inherent value” and “were not swayed by outside trends.” He added that a strategic partnership with China was a priority for Russia as both countries were devoted to creating “a more just world order.”

According to Wang, the two countries, as members of the United Nations Security Council, are responsible for “keeping the peace on the planet.” Wang announced on Saturday during the Munich Security Conference that China had a peace proposal for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and that “some forces might not want to see peace talks materialize.” He claimed he would present this plan at a later time. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is also planning a visit to Moscow in the coming months for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as reported by WSJ, citing sources familiar with the plan.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington had information that China was mulling over providing “lethal support” to Russia in the military operation in Ukraine and that this would have “consequences.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during Monday’s press briefing Beijing would “not accept the US’s finger-pointing or even coercion targeting China-Russia relations.”

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“..US intervention in Ukraine also shows that Washington is “a source of trouble rather than ‘defender of peace’ for the world,” Wang said..”

China Names US As ‘Top Disruptor’ (RT)

China has labeled the United States the “top disruptor” on the world stage, saying Washington seeks “hegemony” over other nations after an American official slammed Beijing for “aggressive” policies. During a Tuesday press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked to respond to recent remarks by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who accused the People’s Republic of attempting to “reshape the rules-based international order.”“Facts have fully proven that the US is the top disruptor of international rules and order. Hegemony is the hallmark of its approach to… international affairs,” Wang said, adding “It is the US, not China, that undermines and tramples on international rules.”

The spokesman went on to cite “abuses” by the US military in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as the use of sanctions for “coercion,” “looting” and “exploitation,” saying American foreign policy has been “creating division and stoking confrontation all over the world.” US intervention in Ukraine also shows that Washington is “a source of trouble rather than ‘defender of peace’ for the world,” Wang said, noting that the US has flooded the Ukrainian battlefield with more weapons than any other country.“It makes people wonder… whether the US finds it conscionable to tell the world it wants peace and yet sit and watch its defense industry lining up their pockets,” he continued.

Sherman’s comments on China were made earlier this month at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC-based think tank, where the senior diplomat repeatedly spoke of the “challenges” posed by Beijing. “We’ve known that the PRC is the pacing geopolitical challenge of our era, one that will test American diplomacy like few issues in recent memory. We recognize that the PRC is the only competitor with the intent and the means to reshape the rules-based international order,” she said, accusing China of “aggressive” policies abroad. While Sherman also blamed the People’s Republic for “a clear violation of our national sovereignty and international law” after a Chinese high-altitude balloon drifted into US airspace in late January, Wang rejected any suggestion the craft was intended for espionage.

“Despite China’s repeated communication, the US turned a blind eye to the plain facts and weaved the ‘spy balloon’ narrative,” he said, adding that US President Joe Biden “gave the order and US fighter jets blatantly shot down the Chinese airship. This is yet another example of US hegemony.”US-China tensions have significantly escalated over the past year, with relations rapidly deteriorating after a visit to Taiwan by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last summer. In addition to a new round of sanctions imposed over the balloon incident, the Biden administration has also carried out near-monthly transits of the disputed Taiwan Strait with US warships, despite numerous warnings from Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of its sovereign territory.

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“..some forces might not want to see peace talks materialize..”

Xi Jinping Planning Moscow Trip – WSJ (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Moscow for a meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the coming months, the Wall Street Journal claimed on Tuesday. Reports of the trip come as Beijing looks to take a leading role in resolving the conflict in Ukraine. The visit will take place sometime in April or early May, the American newspaper said, citing “people familiar with the plan.” The sources claimed that Xi will use the summit with Putin to push for multiparty peace talks aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine. Successive rounds of peace talks failed last year, with Kiev abruptly withdrawing from negotiations in Istanbul in April.

Russian officials and others elsewhere have claimed that Western powers pressured Ukraine into abandoning the talks, despite an agreement being close at hand. Chinese Foreign MInister Wang Yi announced last week that Beijing will soon release a paper outlining its “position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.” Wang said that the plan will respect the “territorial integrity and sovereignty” as well as the “legitimate security concerns” of both Russia and Ukraine. However, the minister suggested that China’s push for peace may meet the same end as last year’s negotiations did, as “some forces might not want to see peace talks materialize,” in what was seen as a thinly-veiled reference to the West’s alleged intervention in Istanbul.

Wang arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, and the Wall Street Journal said he will discuss Xi’s visit with Russian officials. Wang is scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday, but it is still unclear whether he will speak with Putin. China has taken a relatively neutral stance on Ukraine, with its Foreign Ministry repeatedly calling for peace talks while labeling the US the “main instigator” of the conflict. Beijing has refused to join the Western-led sanctions regime against Russia, and has strengthened its trade ties with Moscow since the start of the military operation in Ukraine last February.

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“..in the 1930s, the West actually paved the way for the Nazis to come to power in Germany, and now they have started to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russia..”

Putin Says West’s Goal Is To Tear Historical Regions Away From Russia (TASS)

The West’s project to create an “anti-Russia,” which is now being implemented in Ukraine, aims to tear away from Russia the historical regions that are now called Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday. The project to create an “anti-Russia” that the West is now implementing in Ukraine is “not new,” Putin stressed. “Let me reiterate that in the 1930s, the West actually paved the way for the Nazis to come to power in Germany, and now they have started to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russia. The project, in fact, is not new. People who know even the least bit of history know perfectly well, this project goes back to the 19th century,” the Russian president noted.


“It was nurtured in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, [it was nurtured] by Poland and other countries with one goal: to tear away from our country these historical territories, which today are called Ukraine. This is what this goal is all about, there is nothing new here, no novelty, everyone repeats things,” the president stressed. According to Putin, the West expedited this project by “supporting the 2014 coup” in Ukraine. “After all, the coup was bloody, anti-state, anti-constitutional, but it was as if nothing had happened, as if this is the way,” the president pointed out. “They even reported how much money was spent on it.

Kisin

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“..the West recognizes that it cannot defeat Russia militarily, which is why it is launching increasingly aggressive information attacks against Russian culture, history, the Orthodox Church, and other traditional values.”

Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, Failed Sanctions And Key Nuke Deal Suspension (RT)

Russia not only intends to firmly protect its own interests, but also its belief that the modern world should not be divided into “civilized countries” and “all the rest,” Putin said. He stressed the need for close partnerships without exceptionalism and resorting to aggression. The president insisted that Moscow remains open to constructive dialogue with the West, and continues to call for a united and fair global security system. However, Putin claimed that instead of cooperating, the West has only issued a muddled response and hidden behind the umbrella of NATO, which continues to expand its borders towards Russia[..] Putin asserted that the Ukrainian people have become expendable hostages for Kiev and its Western backers, who have occupied Ukraine in a political, military, and economic sense, devastating the country for the past several decades.

Putin suggested that the West is treating Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia, and is using the battlefield as a test-firing range. However, he stressed that one thing “everyone should understand” is that the longer the range of Western weapons systems being delivered to Ukraine, the farther Russia will be forced to move the threat away from its borders. “It’s only natural,” said the president. Western elites no longer hide their true intentions and are openly calling for a “strategic defeat for Russia,” Putin added. He accused them of trying to transform a local conflict into a global confrontation, but argued that Russia will “react accordingly” to any threats. At the same time, Putin insisted that the West recognizes that it cannot defeat Russia militarily, which is why it is launching increasingly aggressive information attacks against Russian culture, history, the Orthodox Church, and other traditional values.

The West has not only opened a military and information frontline against Russia, but also an economic one, according to Putin. However, its efforts have backfired and ultimately failed, despite attempts to spark inflation, crash the ruble, and blatantly steal Russia’s foreign exchange reserves, he added. “Anti-Russian sanctions are only a tool,” Putin observed, claiming that the goal, as Western officials themselves have stated, is to “force suffering” upon Russian citizens. “But they miscalculated, and Russia’s economy proved much more robust than the West expected,” the president argued. Russia is not just adapting to new realities, but is bringing its economy to new frontiers and working with its partners on establishing a stable and secure system of international settlements, independent of the dollar or other Western reserve currencies, Putin explained.

Putin stated that Moscow is well aware of the West’s involvement in attempts by Ukrainian forces to strike Russia’s strategic aviation. This, coupled with “absurd” requests from NATO to be allowed to inspect Russia’s defense facilities within the framework of the New START nuclear treaty, leaves Moscow no choice but to temporarily withdraw from the agreement, the president announced.

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You sure it’s not the other way around?

Zelensky ‘Commanding’ US Military – Congresswoman (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is pushing the US military closer to a global conflict, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said on Monday. Her statement followed US President Joe Biden’s unannounced trip to Kiev the same day. “Biden didn’t go to East Palestine, Ohio on President’s Day,” Greene, a congresswoman from Georgia, wrote on Twitter, referring to a small US town where a train carrying hazardous materials derailed earlier this month. “He went to Ukraine, a NON-NATO nation, whose leader is an actor and is apparently now commanding our United States military to world war.” The congresswoman argued that Washington’s support for Kiev has been “like a US proxy war with Russia” that is “now becoming more like a US-China war through the Ukraine-Russia war.” Greene insisted that Biden must be impeached “before it’s too late.”


A vocal critic of Biden’s foreign policy, Greene has been among US politicians calling for an audit of the country’s military and economic aid to Ukraine. Congress blocked a motion on the matter in December. Biden made an unannounced trip to Kiev on Monday, almost a year after Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring state. He unveiled a new $460 million aid package, which includes ammunition for HIMARS multiple rocket launchers and Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons. According to the Pentagon, Washington provided Kiev with $30.4 billion in security assistance between February 24, 2022 and February 20, 2023. Russia has maintained that foreign weapons will not change the course of the conflict. The country’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said that by helping Ukraine, NATO has been waging “a proxy war” against Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this month that the US-led alliance’s military infrastructure was “working 24/7” to sustain Ukraine.

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“..Zelensky acknowledged that foreign leaders “have the right to have their own position..”

Meloni may change her stance, but that would torpedo her coalition with Berlusconi.

Italy Rules Out Jets For Ukraine (RT)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said her country will not supply fighter jets to Ukraine, rebutting local press reports claiming that Rome was preparing to send several aging planes to bolster Kiev’s forces. Speaking alongside Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky during a visit to Kiev on Tuesday, Meloni was asked to comment on a recent report in the La Repubblica newspaper, which said Italy was ready to donate five of its older AMX ground attack fighters. “At the moment, the supply of planes is not on the table,” the premier said, adding that such a decision would have to be made “in consultation with international partners.”

Instead, Meloni said Italy is working on a new arms package for Ukraine which will include a number of air defense systems, such as the SAMP/T surface-to-air missile launcher, which will be supplied in coordination with France. While the PM offered few details about the upcoming weapons shipment, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Tuesday that Italy would send new air defenses “within weeks.” The government has already passed a decree to continue military assistance through 2023, after Defense Minister Guido Crosetto vowed to keep up the flow of weapons indefinitely. While Kiev has repeatedly urged for fighter jets from its Western patrons, it has so far found no takers. Some NATO members, such as Poland and Slovakia, have proposed sending older Zelensky acknowledged that foreign leaders “have the right to have their own position,”Soviet-era MiG-29s from their own arsenals, but have yet to do so, with Warsaw calling on the United States to lead a “wider coalition” of countries to supply aircraft.

Though Poland has been among the most vocal in demanding fighter jets for its neighbor, President Andrzej Duda recently observed that his country has fewer than 50 war planes in its inventory, suggesting Warsaw does not have any to spare. During his joint press briefing with Meloni on Tuesday, Ukraine’s referring to Italy’s refusal to supply jets. The two leaders also signed a joint declaration reaffirming their “support for the principles of international law,” while Rome vowed to promote “strong and effective political and material support for Ukraine” among its NATO and European allies.

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“..I could tell you again about US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s vial hoax, but if you are tired of this story, I have plenty of others..”

US Realizes No One Believes Its Nord Stream Story- Zakharova (TASS)

The United States administration realizes that no one believes that it played no role in the blasts that damaged the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “The Americans claim they “had nothing to do” with the explosions of the Nord Stream pipelines even though the findings by renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh are widely available,” she wrote on her Telegram channel late on Tuesday. “We know that they know that everyone knows that this is a lie.” “The problem is not that “the US” is the only logical answer to the oldest question in legal practice, Cui bono (who benefits?) that makes any sense; the problem is that the Americans are simply lying. I could tell you again about US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s vial hoax, but if you are tired of this story, I have plenty of others,” the spokeswoman continued.

As an example, the diplomat cited the situation in the Republic of Haiti, which has remained under the US occupation for decades. “And now a few words about the real assistance from the United States. In 2010, a terrible earthquake occurred on the island, killing hundreds of thousands of people; the total number of victims, including those killed and injured, exceeded half a million. The US allocated $380 million. Does this seem like a lot? But a US presidential election is 15 times more expensive. By the way, Joe Biden promised Zelensky much more than to their ‘allies and friends’ from Haiti during the most terrible period of their history,” she wrote. In this regard, she also recalled the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and the failed assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“In 2021, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated; his wife, Martine, was also shot in the attack. And what was found? Suspicions that the Americans were responsible again emerged in the Western information landscape immediately,” Zakharova continued. “Also that week, the US Department of Justice issued a short press release declaring that several Americans associated with American PMC CTU Security had been arrested. Official Caracas reported that CTU had earlier been involved in the failed assassination attempt on Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.” “This is a very thought-provoking story for Zelensky, who so affectionately embraced Joe Biden in the centre of Kiev. How much must one hate their own people to consider a prospect similar to that of long-suffering Haiti for themselves?” she said. “So, to what extent is the US “not responsible” for sabotaging Nord Stream – as much as for the assassination of Haiti’s president? Or for the vial hoax of the invasion of Iraq?” the spokeswoman asked rhetorically.

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“Unless its perpetrators are found and brought to justice, the attack may well usher in an epoch when transnational undersea infrastructure becomes a legitimate target, which would cause “chaos and terrible damage to all of humanity..”

Evidence Of US Guilt For Nord Stream ‘More Than A Smoking Gun’ – Russia (RT)

The destruction of Nord Stream pipelines was an act of international terrorism and needs to be addressed to avoid “chaos” on the high seas, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. Russia has accused Germany, Sweden and Denmark of a cover-up to shield the US, and said it would only trust a UN investigation. The two pipelines carrying Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea were damaged by a series of blasts in September 2022. While Moscow has stopped short of openly accusing the US of carrying out the bombing, journalist Seymour Hersh did just that in an article published earlier this month.

Nebenzia referred to Hersh’s article and statements by multiple US officials threatening the pipeline – from president Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to “godmother of the anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. He also brought up the infamous tweet by former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski and an alleged text by Liz Truss, the UK prime minister at the time – all suggesting the US and its allies had the motive, as well as means and opportunity, to destroy Nord Stream. “We’re not going to do ‘highly likely’ here,” said Nebenzia, referring to the British accusations against Russia in the Security Council chamber in 2018. The publicly available evidence is “more than a smoking gun” that Hollywood is so fond of, but all Moscow wants is an independent international investigation into the claims in Hersh’s article, the Russian diplomat added.

The attack on Nord Stream involved explosives and qualifies as international terrorism under a convention signed in 1997, Nebenzia noted. Unless its perpetrators are found and brought to justice, the attack may well usher in an epoch when transnational undersea infrastructure becomes a legitimate target, which would cause “chaos and terrible damage to all of humanity,” he added. According to Nebenzia, Russia does not trust the investigations currently conducted by Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as they all refused to share their findings or outright ignored Moscow’s inquiries. “It is quite clear,” he said, that they are “covering up for their American big brother.” If Western countries block Russia’s request for a UN investigation, that will “only shore up our suspicion,” he added.

Before Nebenzia addressed the Security Council, former US diplomat Rosemary DiCarlo – currently the under-secretary-general for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs – argued the world body was “not in position to verify or confirm” anything, urging everyone to “show restraint and avoid accusations that could escalate the already heightened tensions in the region.” The Security Council also heard from professor Jeffrey Sachs and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who both testified to Hersh’s bona fides. While the US government rejected Hersh’s narrative as false, it “did not offer any information contradicting Hersh’s account, and did not offer any alternative explanation,” said Sachs. He also called Nuland’s comments about Nord Stream “not at all appropriate in the face of international terrorism.”

Nebenzya

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The US refuses to let Russian investigators in.

Duma Supports Bill On Suspending Russia’s Participation In New START (TASS)

The Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs on Wednesday recommended to the lower house the adoption of a bill suspending Russia’s participation in the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START, New START). Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted the document to the State Duma. According to the bill, the New START Treaty will be suspended, and the decision on the resumption of Russia’s participation in the treaty will be made by the President of Russia. The law will go into effect on the day of its official publication. The treaty is an agreement between Russia and the United States which provides for the reduction of the nuclear arsenals of both countries.

Putin announced his decision to suspend Russia’s participation in New START in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday. The president stressed that Russia was not withdrawing from the treaty, but before discussing the continuation of work under this document, Russia must understand for itself how New START would take into account the arsenals not only of the United States, but also of other NATO nuclear powers: the UK and France. For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted in its statement that Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in New START was reversible and called on Washington “to show political will and make good-faith efforts for general de-escalation and the creation of conditions for the resumption of the full functioning of the treaty”.

The ministry also said that despite the decision to suspend New START, Russia would continue to comply with its quantitative limits for the duration of the treaty’s validity. In addition, the Russian side will continue to participate in the exchange of notifications with Washington on the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles on the basis of the 1988 agreement between the USSR and the US. The Foreign Ministry also added that Russia intended to closely monitor further actions of the United States and its allies “both in the field of New START and in the field of international security and strategic stability in general, and to analyze them with regard to damage to Russian interests” and the need for additional countermeasures on Moscow’s part.

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“..France and the UK. Their strategic nuclear forces were not usually included in the list of nuclear warheads and carriers when preparing agreements between the United States and the USSR (Russia), but it is high time to do so..”

Russia Will Defend Itself With Any Weapon, Including Nuclear – Medvedev (TASS)

The world faces a global conflict if Washington’s goal is to defeat Moscow. Russia will defend itself by any means, including with nuclear weapons, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. “It is obvious to all the powers that be that if the US wants to defeat Russia, we are heading for a conflict on a global scale. If the US wants to defeat Russia, we have the right to defend ourselves with any weapon, including of the nuclear kind,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Wednesday. Medvedev recalled that the day before, President Vladimir Putin gave his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly which announced, among other things, the suspension of Russia’s participation in the Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START, New START).

“This decision was long overdue, I pointed to it last year,” the politician said. According to his assessment, the decision, which was due to the war declared on Russia by the US and other NATO countries, will have big reverberations for the world at large and for Washington in particular. “After all, the American establishment’s reasoning so far has been the following: we will interfere in your affairs, we will supply copious amounts of weapons to the Kiev regime, we will work to defeat Russia, we will limit and destroy you, but strategic security is a separate topic. It’s not related to the overall context of the US-Russia relationship. It is almost like a sacred cow,” Medvedev noted.

This conclusion, he continued, is “worse than a crime – it is the Americans’ grave mistake”. According to the politician, this is a mistake “born of their mania grandiosa,” that is, their sense of superiority and impunity. He quoted Putin as saying that it was impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield and noted that “this is exactly why we have suspended New START (for now)”. “Let the US elites who have lost touch with reality think about what they have achieved. Let’s also watch the reaction of other NATO nuclear powers: France and the UK. Their strategic nuclear forces were not usually included in the list of nuclear warheads and carriers when preparing agreements between the United States and the USSR (Russia), but it is high time to do so,” Medvedev summed up.

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Any time now, Tucker.

Anatomy of a Cover-up: The January 6 Tapes (Julie Kelly)

Tucker Carlson now has the equivalent of nearly five years of surveillance footage captured by U.S. Capitol Police security cameras on January 6, 2021. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) turned over the tapes to the Fox News host earlier this month, according to Axios. Carlson’s producers and researchers are already distilling the footage; the first round of clips is expected to air in a few weeks. While some grumble that McCarthy did not fulfill his promise to publicly release the footage—arguably a valid complaint—Carlson’s team undoubtedly will give the massive trove much-needed context and maximum impact. Carlson released a three-part documentary, “Patriot Purge,” in November 2021 that explained how the events of January 6 helped launch a second “war on terror” against American citizens out of step with the Biden regime.

Since early 2021, Carlson has used his nightly show to expose the cruel treatment of Trump supporters suffering pretrial detention orders; raised questions about the use of undercover assets including FBI informants and the mysterious role of Ray Epps; asked why the case of the January 5 “pipe bomber” remains unsolved; and demanded the release of the surveillance video as late as last month. Releasing the video never should have been a political fight; after all, the footage was recorded on a taxpayer-paid closed circuit television system installed on public property to monitor public employees. Contrary to arguments by Capitol Police and the Justice Department, the video belongs to the public, not federal agencies.

But both entities, with the help of D.C. District Court judges, have successfully kept the trove largely under wraps for more than two years. Even the FBI and D.C. Metropolitan Police departments signed agreements a few days after the Capitol protest to acknowledge that the tapes technically belonged to Capitol Police. In a sworn statement filed in March 2021, Thomas DiBiase, general counsel for the Capitol Police, insisted the footage constituted “security information” that required very limited access. “Our concern is that providing unfettered access to hours of extremely sensitive information to defendants who already have shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process will . . . [be] passed on to those who might wish to attack the Capitol again,” DiBiase warned.

The Justice Department subsequently designated the tapes as “highly sensitive” government material subject to protective orders in January 6 prosecutions. It’s been a major battle for defendants and their attorneys to properly access all of the video tied to their cases; defendants cannot watch any clips without the presence of a legal authority and none of the footage can be shared or downloaded.

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$50 trillion

 

 

 

 


Sculpture by Smaban Abbas, departure terminal of the Cairo International Airport

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 112020
 


Mathew Brady Grand Review of the Army. Units of XX Army Corps, Army of Georgia, Pennsylvania Ave. near the Treasury, Washington, DC. May 24 1865

 

3 Wuhan Officials Summoned To Explain Failings (SCMP)
China Gets Back To Work As Death Toll Reaches 1,018 (SCMP)
China Firms Cut Staff On Virus Outbreak As Xi Vows No Large-Scale Layoffs (R.)
Senior Chinese Officials ‘Removed’ As Death Toll Hits 1,000 (BBC)
Outspoken Academic Blames Xi Jinping For ‘Catastrophe’ Sweeping China (G.)
Expert Warns Infection Could Reach 60% Of World’s Population (G.)
China Delayed Reporting The Outbreak And The WHO Is Staying Mum (Vox)
Coronavirus Exposes Fundamental Flaws In China’s Economic Growth Model (SCMP)
Coronavirus Could Have Incubation Period Of 24 Days (Ind.)
Look How Low Oil Prices Have Fallen (F.)
Coronavirus Could Trim 1 Percentage Point From China GDP Growth – Gov’t. (R.)
China Q1 Smartphone Shipments To Fall More Than 30% (CNBC)
US Charges Four Chinese Military Officers Over Equifax Hack (BBC)
Aboriginal Australians Are Not ‘Aliens’, Cannot Be Deported – High Court (G.)
‘The World Is Looking At New Hampshire’ – Bernie Sanders (R.)

 

 

First, don’t forget to read my article earlier today, Corona Cartoon Numbers, because thay may teach you a thing or two about the “official” numbers.

Those numbers for Feb 11:

• Cases 43,112 vs 40,614 yesterday. That’s up 2498

• Deaths 1,108 vs 910 yesterday. Up 108.

• Hubei provincial health commission said the province had confirmed a total of 31,728 cases with 974 deaths by the end of Monday, a fatality rate of 3.07%. More than three-quarters of the deaths have been in the provincial capital Wuhan. The commission said there were still a total of 16,687 suspected but unconfirmed cases

Bizarre news item: In January, several individuals on a Paris takeoff flight bound for Shanghai were diagnosed with the #Coronavirus— in the opposite travel direction of the outbreak epicenter.

 

 

An update of a familiar BBC graph:

 

 

And this from the Yokohama cruise ship. 439 tested, 135 positive. 32.5%.

The Holland America cruise ship Westerdam, which had gotten permission to dock in Thailand after 9 days at sea and 3 countries refusing entry, has been denied entry by Thailand at the last minute as well. There are no known carriers aboard.

 

 

 

And this guy, bless his soul, has been disappeared.:

Lawyer and citizen journalist Chen Qiushi: “I’m not even afraid of death. You think I’m afraid of the Communist Party?”

 

 

Time flies when you’re having fun with viruses. It’s already been 9 days since I explained in The Party and the Virus: “Never a bad word should be uttered about the Party, and nothing said that could embarrass it.”

The Party blames individuals, so it can escape the blame. Problem with that is that is the Party is wrong, it won’t be corrected.

3 Wuhan Officials Summoned To Explain Failings (SCMP)

A special task force reviewing prevention efforts in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital, has summoned three local officials for emergency meetings and detailed their failings in containing the outbreak. Wuhan deputy mayor Chen Xiexing and two district chiefs in the city, Lin Wenshu and Yu Song, were called in for meetings, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday. Officials found to have been negligent would be held accountable, the report said. Headed by Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, the task force was set up by the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Mainland media reported on Friday that Chen Yixin, a protégé of President Xi Jinping, had been added to the team.


China has had nearly 1,000 cluster outbreaks of the coronavirus and found that 83 per cent occurred in families, with the rest arising in hospitals, schools and shopping malls, said Wu Zunyou, chief scientist of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, at a media briefing on Tuesday. Among the cluster cases, 86 per cent were first or second-generation transmissions – people who lived or travelled in Hubei, contracted the virus and passed it to people who were in close contact with them, such as family members or people who shared meals with them. “Occurrences of these cluster cases showed our control and treatment measures have been effective and it did not spread from small units to bigger areas of society,” Wu said.

Read more …

Let’s see your priorities. For now, “gets back to work” looks a bit much.

Do note: when Xi comes out of hiding to announce it will be a hard fight, expect trouble.

China Gets Back To Work As Death Toll Reaches 1,018 (SCMP)

Health authorities in China reported on Tuesday 108 new fatalities attributable to the novel coronavirus, bringing the national death toll to 1,018. This is the first time more than 100 people have died from the disease in a single day on the mainland. The National Health Commission also reported 2,478 new confirmed cases of the illness, bringing that total to 42,638 as of Monday. Of the new deaths, 103 were in Hubei province – the epicentre of the novel coronavirus epidemic – and five in other provinces. As millions of people in China prepare to return to work, Beijing has made clear that the reopening of businesses must not be hampered by “crude and oversimplified” restrictions.

As many as 160 million people are expected to be returning to their cities of employment over the following week, according to Xu Yahua, director of the transport services department at the Chinese ministry of transport. The coronavirus outbreak coincided with the Lunar New Year travel season, when millions of migrant workers traditionally travel to their homes to spend the holiday with their families. As part of China’s response to the outbreak, the holiday season was extended to February 18. Many local authorities – from megacities like Beijing and Shanghai to remote villages – have curbed public transport provision and restricted people from moving outside their communities during the outbreak.

Many local governments have also adopted a registration system and prior approval requirements for companies planning to resume production. Some business owners have been detained for resuming work in advance. But Beijing has now made clear these practices were not in line with the requirements and policies of the central authorities. “Such a tendency must be stopped,” said Ou Xiaoli, director of social development at the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planning agency. “We will strictly stop restricting the production resumption in an oversimplified and crude way,” he said, at the same press conference on Tuesday.

Read more …

Anything public has lost most of their income. Whaddaya mean no lay-offs?

China Firms Cut Staff On Virus Outbreak As Xi Vows No Large-Scale Layoffs (R.)

A Chinese media company said it will lay off 500 employees due to the coronavirus outbreak, the latest among a string of firms to do so in the past two weeks as the epidemic takes a toll on small-to-medium sized businesses. Xinchao Media, which places advertisements in elevators, will cut 10% of its workforce to “ensure survival”, the company said in a post on its official WeChat account on Monday, which carried the transcript of an internal speech by CEO Zhang Jixue. “To overcome the epidemic, you have to step on the brakes, jam the cash flow, reduce costs,” Zhang said, as he noted the company’s cash reserve of 1 billion yuan ($143 million) would likely be enough for only 6-7 months in the absence of income.

The job cuts come even as President Xi Jinping said the government would prevent large-scale layoffs caused by the virus outbreak – which has killed more than a 1,000 people in mainland China and infected over 40,000. Authorities said on Tuesday they will roll out measures to stabilize jobs. But many companies are hurting from disruptions felt since late-January after local governments extended Lunar New Year holidays and urged people to stay home. Beijing’s “Karaoke King” has said it wants to terminate contracts with all its 200 employees as it shut its outlets due to the outbreak, local media reports said. The karaoke chain did not immediately return calls made by Reuters on Tuesday.

Chinese restaurant chain Xibei, which has over 360 outlets, said it was worried about wages for its roughly 20,000 workers given how the epidemic had impacted its income. “We need 156 million yuan a month to pay our workers, and if the epidemic continues, and cash flow continues to be inadequate, we will not be able to hold up for much longer,” it said on its official Weibo account. In Beijing, only 11,500 restaurants were operational mid last week, or 13% of the total, the Beijing Municipal Market Supervision Bureau said.

Read more …

Cited this last week. Individuals get the blame, so the Party does not.

Senior Chinese Officials ‘Removed’ As Death Toll Hits 1,000 (BBC)

China has “removed” several senior officials over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak – as the death toll passed 1,000. The party secretary for the Hubei Health Commission, and the head of the commission, were among those who lost their jobs. They are the most senior officials to be demoted so far. The deputy director of the local Red Cross was also removed for “dereliction of duty” over “handling of donations”. The two Hubei party officials will be replaced by a national figure – the deputy director of China’s National Health Commission, Wang Hesheng. On Monday, some 103 died in Hubei province alone, a daily record, and the national death toll is now 1,016. But the number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.

Hubei’s health commission confirmed 2,097 new cases in the province on Monday, down from 2,618 the previous day. According to state media, there have been hundreds of sackings, investigations and warnings across Hubei and other provinces during the outbreak. But removal from a certain role – while regarded as a censure – does not always mean the person will be sacked entirely, as it can also mean demotion. As well as being removed from their posts, officials can also be punished by the ruling Communist Party. For example, the deputy head of the Red Cross, Zhang Qin, was given “a serious intra-Party warning as well as a serious administrative demerit”, state media said. Earlier this month, the deputy head of the Wuhan bureau of statistics was removed, also with a “serious intra-party warning a well as a serious administrative demerit for violating relevant regulations to distribute face masks”.

The Hubei health commission said the province had a total of 31,728 cases with 974 deaths by the end of Monday – a fatality rate of 3%.

Read more …

“..a culture of suppression and “systemic impotence”..”

Outspoken Academic Blames Xi Jinping For ‘Catastrophe’ Sweeping China (G.)

A prominent Chinese intellectual has become the first high-profile public figure to lay the blame for the coronavirus crisis at the feet of the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, saying the spread of the deadly virus has “revealed the rotten core of Chinese governance”. As the crisis expands across the country, Xu Zhangrun, a law professor from one of the country’s top universities, lambasted the government under Xi in an essay titled: Viral Alarm, When Fury Overcomes Fear. In it, Xu laid the blame for the current national crisis at the feet of Xi and a culture of suppression and “systemic impotence” that he has created. The virus has now killed more than 1,000 people inside China.

“The cause of all of this lies with The Axelrod and the cabal that surrounds him,” Xu writes, referring to Xi, according to a translation of the article by historian Geremie Barmé published on Monday by the website ChinaFile. “It is a system that turns every natural disaster into an even greater man-made catastrophe. The coronavirus epidemic has revealed the rotten core of Chinese governance; the fragile and vacuous heart of the jittering edifice of state has thereby shown up as never before.” Xu describes the outbreak as a “national calamity” that involves politics, the economy and “nation’s ethical fabric” making it “more perilous than total war itself”.

After weeks of disappearing from public view, Xi on Monday visited a neighbourhood and hospital in Beijing where he held a video call with health workers in Wuhan. Coverage of his appearance filled the front page of the official People’s Daily on Tuesday. Xu’s essay captures growing public anger at the government, which has reached a new peak after the death of a doctor and whistleblower last week. Officials have tried to blame lower-level bureaucrats, but top bosses have not escaped. On Tuesday, the party secretary of health commission of Hubei province and the director of the Hubei provincial health commission were both fired.

Read more …

Professor Gabriel Leung, around whose January 31 report I based my Feb 5 article The Big Lockdown:

Expert Warns Infection Could Reach 60% Of World’s Population (G.)

The novel coronavirus epidemic could spread to around two-thirds of the world’s population if it cannot be controlled, according to Hong Kong’s leading public health epidemiologist. His warning came after the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said recent cases of coronavirus patients who have never visited China could be the “tip of the iceberg”. Professor Gabriel Leung, chair of Public Health Medicine at Hong Kong University, said the overriding question was to figure out the size and shape of the iceberg. Most experts thought that each person infected would go on to transmit the virus to around 2.5 other people. That gave an “attack rate” of 60-80%.

“Sixty per cent of the world’s population is an awfully big number,” Leung told the Guardian in London, en route to an expert meeting at the WHO in Geneva. Even if the general fatality rate is as low as 1%, which Leung thinks is possible once milder cases are taken into account, the death toll would be massive. He will tell the WHO expert meeting that the main issue is the scale of the growing worldwide epidemic and the second priority is to find out whether the drastic measures taken by China to prevent the spread have worked – because if so, other countries should think about adopting them. Leung – one of the world’s experts on coronavirus epidemics, who played a major role in the Sars outbreak in 2002-2003 – works closely with other leading scientists such as counterparts at Imperial College London and Oxford University.

At the end of January he warned in a paper in the Lancet that outbreaks were likely to be “growing exponentially” in cities in China, lagging just one to two weeks behind Wuhan. Elsewhere, “independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable” because of the substantial movement of people who were infected but had not yet developed symptoms, and the absence of public health measures to stop the spread. Epidemiologists and modellers were all trying to figure out what was likely to happen, said Leung. “Is 60 to 80% of the world’s population going to get infected? Maybe not. Maybe this will come in waves. Maybe the virus is going to attenuate its lethality because it certainly doesn’t help it if it kills everybody in its path, because it will get killed as well,” he said.

[..] In January Leung published two papers in the Lancet. The first examined the damage done by social unrest to the mental health of the Hong Kong population. The second was on the spread of coronavirus. “So the two have now come together. The first has made the second impossible to deal with – impossible. I mean, how do you bring your population along when there’s been this huge chasm in society?” he said.

Read more …

Western governments and media are as guilty here as China. No use singling out China. Everyone just wishes it would all go away. Everyone’s more afraid for the economy than of the virus. Until they can’t. Dumb piece. Find your own faults first, not those of the other. You really want people to believe western governments would react differently?

China Delayed Reporting The Outbreak And The WHO Is Staying Mum (Vox)

Nearly six weeks after China announced the coronavirus outbreak, there’s still a surprising amount we don’t know about this newly discovered disease. But one thing is becoming clear: China’s silence in the earliest days of the crisis may have made it worse. Chinese authorities delayed informing the world about the severity of a deadly disease spreading within the country’s borders — even trying to muzzle whistleblowers, like the late Dr. Li Wenliang. Now hailed as a national hero, Li was forced on January 3 by police to sign a letter saying he spread “untrue speech” for warning colleagues about the virus that eventually took his life. With more than 40,500 people infected and 910 deaths, China’s missteps early on seem increasingly fateful.

The fact that the international community has not acknowledged those missteps is also consequential. On Friday, President Trump applauded China. “They’re working really hard and I think they’re doing a very professional job,” Trump told ABC News. Meanwhile, the leading global health body, the World Health Organization, has stayed mum about China’s blunders — and is drawing criticism for failing to publicly criticize the country and creating “a false sense of security” about an emerging health crisis. But the reality is this: China’s mishandling and the ensuing silence from the international community is emblematic of how the global system governing the international response to pandemics fails to work, half a dozen global health experts told Vox.

Though we have global health laws — in particular, the International Health Regulations, or IHR — meant to guide countries dealing with outbreaks, they’re not actually enforceable. “You can’t penalize [countries that] don’t follow it,” said Devi Sridhar, the chair in global public health at the University of Edinburgh. Instead, the international community has to rely on “soft law and norms” — or “disease diplomacy.” This means that when a pandemic threat looms, the world has little recourse to punish those that fail to live up to the IHR for not detecting a public health problem, or hiding a crisis, even when that mishandling imperils the lives of billions. And with just about every outbreak, history repeats. “Our global outbreak response system depends on the full participation of all actors at all levels of government,” Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab and a professor of global health at York University, summed up. “But our system is only as strong as its weakest link.” Understanding the IHR, and how disease diplomacy is done today, helps explain why.

Read more …

Not just economic growth. Flaws in the Party system, which is incapable of adapting to being found out.

Coronavirus Exposes Fundamental Flaws In China’s Economic Growth Model (SCMP)

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has killed over 1,000 people and infected over 40,000, has exposed fundamental flaws in China’s governance system and its growth model – the excessive concentration of power, information and resources in the hands of a powerful state. But given the path of China’s political and economic evolution, it is difficult for China to loosen its grip on power as a response to so-called black swan events such as the coronavirus. The most likely outcome is that Beijing will continue to strengthen centralised control, which in turn is a greater threat to China’s prospects than the virus itself.

When it is done right, a centralised political system means the government can deliver positives such as rapid economic growth, but it also make it possible for the government to place emphasis on the wrong things, which has the potential to lead to uncertainty and even disaster for society. There is precedent that China tends to enhance centralisation as the solution to a problem that has stemmed from over control. The “new normal” concept, which was adopted by the state in 2014, dissociated the political legitimacy of the Chinese government from economic growth, therefore reducing the pressure on local Chinese authorities to deliver. And while the concept had the good intention of seeking high quality growth, it has, in reality, made the local authorities less friendly to the private sector.

To achieve high economic growth, local governments have had to free up market forces and allow the private sector to thrive, but without the pressure, they do not have the incentive to conduct the necessary political and economic liberalisations to entertain private investors. As a result, the central government is increasingly reliant on state-owned enterprises and state money to maintain social stability and to deliver environmental improvement, while the private economy is gradually marginalised and local autonomy is weakened.

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Co-author Dr Zhong Nanshan was very very wrong when he said late January that the epidemic would be over in 7-10 days. Talked about that. Just saying.

Coronavirus Could Have Incubation Period Of 24 Days (Ind.)

Medical researchers in China have found the incubation period for coronavirus ranges up to 24 days — 10 days longer than experts previously thought. The research was co-authored by Dr Zhong Nanshan, who discovered the SARS coronavirus in 2003 and has been appointed as a leading advisor in managing the current coronavirus crisis. Current advice from health organisations and ministries say the virus’ incubation period is as long as 14 days, based on the incubation period of previous MERS viruses. Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care has urged anyone travelling from specific countries, including China, to quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.


The findings, which have not yet been peer reviewed, were published on Sunday and titled ‘Clinical characteristics of 2019 novel coronavirus infection in China’. They found only 1.18 per cent of patients “had a direct contact with wildlife”. The majority of the patients had contracted the virus from being in contact with people from Wuhan, where the centre of the outbreak is. More than 80 percent of patients developed lymphopenia, which is a state where a specific white blood cell that is part of the body’s first-line defence against diseases is reduced.

Read more …

Wait till we see car sales in China.

Look How Low Oil Prices Have Fallen (F.)

West Texas Intermediate oil is trading just below $50 midday Monday. This is a very low price for the US benchmark, otherwise known as WTI. The lesson: don’t underestimate the impact of the Coronavirus on the oil market and the greater American economy. The price of WTI last fell below this level for a couple of weeks at the end of 2018 and start of 2019. Other than that moment, the price has not been this low since September of 2017. The concern is that the current low price is not a blip like last year but rather a sustained drop or maybe only the beginning of a situation that could get significantly worse. If the Coronavirus continues to interfere with the Chinese economy and international trade, oil prices are likely to fall further. After all, China is the world’s largest importer of oil by a wide margin, accepting 10.78 million barrels per day in December, 2019.

Here’s who really needs to keep an eye on these low oil prices.

  1. First is, of course, oil producers—from international oil companies like Exxon and Chevron to wildcatters in shale fields—need to beware.
  2. Next, we have the oil industry employees and supplemental industries like truck drivers, welders and restaurant workers near oil fields who could all be affected.
  3. Financiers and investors—hedge funds, private equity and retail investors alike—who fund oil operations are worried about failed projects if revenue drops.
  4. Airlines need to watch oil volatility, because they have an opportunity to buy jet fuel at low prices if it drops, which allows them to hedge for when higher prices eventually return.
  5. Certain state governments, such as Alaska, Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota and others that fund their budgets in part with taxes on oil production and sales have to beware, as they may be facing unexpected lean times.
  6. Last, businesses that contract for products to be trucked around the country should be looking for discounted pricing.

Despite all the talk about electric vehicles and alternative energy, oil is still the vital liquid that keeps much of our economy moving. We are reminded of that at times like these, when the oil market is anticipating volatility and change.

Read more …

Well, if the virus gives up later this very day, he might be right. But not a minute later.

Coronavirus Could Trim 1 Percentage Point From China GDP Growth – Gov’t. (R.)

Zeng Gang, vice chair of the National Institute for Finance and Development, compared the current crisis with the SARS epidemic of 2003, when China’s growth declined by about 2 percentage points in a single quarter. “The impact of this epidemic on the economy in the first quarter is expected to be comparable,” Zeng said in a commentary published in the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper. “At present, according to different scenario assumptions, researchers expect the negative impact of the epidemic on full-year GDP growth to be in the range of 0.2% to 1%.” If the official response to the epidemic is timely and effective at limiting its spread, long-term growth trends would not be significantly affected, Zeng said.

“But in the short term, the epidemic’s impact on economic activity cannot be ignored, especially with tertiary industries and small enterprises with tight cash flows facing greater pressures,” Zeng said. Zeng said difficulties for small companies could prompt a rise in bankruptcies and put upward pressure on the unemployment rate in the first quarter. “The employment situation is not optimistic. This will also pose a serious challenge to the macro policy goal of ‘employment first’,” he said. Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that the government would prevent large-scale layoffs, Chinese state television reported.

China’s central bank has taken steps to support the economy, including reducing interest rates and flushing the market with liquidity. It has also said it will provide special funds for banks to lend to businesses. Analysts at Citi said they expect growth to slow significantly despite expectations of more proactive fiscal policy and more accommodative monetary policy. “Assuming the virus is contained by the end of March, we revise down our 20Q1 GDP growth forecast considerably to 3.6% and the annual growth modestly to 5.3%”, Citi analysts said in a note. Citi previously forecast first-quarter growth of 4.8% and full-year growth of 5.5%.

Read more …

But GDP growth only 0.2% lower?

China Q1 Smartphone Shipments To Fall More Than 30% (CNBC)

China’s smartphone shipments for the three months ending in March could decline by more than 30% from the same period a year ago, International Data Corporation said on Tuesday. The world’s largest smartphone market could experience a so-called “Black Swan effect” in the first half of the calendar year due to the new coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people on the mainland, according to the research firm. [..] “The coronavirus outbreak impacted the Lunar New Year’s shopping season in late January and is also expected to have adverse effects in the following months,” IDC said in a statement, adding that it expects “China’s smartphone shipments to drop more than 30% year-on-year in 2020Q1.”


The virus outbreak will also “create uncertainty in product launch plans, the supply chain, and distribution channels, in the mid and long term,” IDC said. Research firm Canalys earlier this month predicted China’s smartphone shipments could drop by as much as 50% between the last three months of 2019 and the first three months of 2020. “Technology vendors are likely to stall marketing activities as they are unlikely to divert attention to new product launches, such as 5G devices,” Canalys said in a Feb. 3 report. “It will take time for vendors to change their product launch roadmaps in China, which is likely to dampen 5G shipments in 2020.”

Read more …

Curious where this will go.

US Charges Four Chinese Military Officers Over Equifax Hack (BBC)

The US has charged four Chinese military officers over the huge cyber-attack on credit rating giant Equifax. More than 147 million Americans were affected in 2017 when hackers stole sensitive personal data including names and addresses. Some UK and Canadian customers were also affected. Announcing the indictments, Attorney General William Barr called the hack “one of the largest data breaches in history”. According to court documents, the four are allegedly members of the People’s Liberation Army’s 54th Research Institute, a component of the Chinese military.


They spent weeks in the company’s system, breaking into security networks and stealing personal data, the documents said. The nine-count indictment also accuses the group of stealing trade secrets including data compilation and database designs. The whereabouts of the suspects is unknown and it is highly unlikely that they will stand trial in the US. FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said: “We can’t take them into custody, try them in a court of law, and lock them up – not today, anyway.”

Read more …

The country that never tires of embarrassing itself.

Aboriginal Australians Are Not ‘Aliens’, Cannot Be Deported – High Court (G.)

The Australian government has released an Aboriginal man from immigration detention after a landmark high court case decided Aboriginal Australians are not aliens for the purpose of the constitution and cannot be deported. On Tuesday afternoon the acting immigration minister, Alan Tudge, said the government is still reviewing the decision but “in the light of the court’s ruling, Mr [Brendan] Thoms was this morning released from immigration detention”. The case was a major defeat for the deportation powers of Peter Dutton’s home affairs department and a significant development in the rights of Indigenous Australians. In a four-to-three split decision the high court ruled that Aboriginal people with sufficient connection to traditional societies cannot be aliens, giving them a special status in Australian constitutional law likely to have ramifications far beyond existing native title law.


The majority of the high court ruled that New Zealand-born Brendan Thoms was not an alien and the commonwealth therefore did not have power to order his deportation. The court was not able to decide if the second plaintiff, Daniel Love, was an Aboriginal Australian, requiring a further hearing to establish whether he is accepted as a member of the Kamilaroi tribe. Speaking outside the court earlier, the men’s lawyer, Claire Gibbs, called on the government to immediately release Thoms, who had been in immigration detention for 500 days. Love had previously been released in September 2018. Gibbs said she was “confident” Love will also be found not to be an alien and told reporters the pair will seek “significant” damages.

Read more …

Nobody’s looking at New Hampshire. It’s an illusion. Trump is only watching out of Schadenfreude. The only people who care about Democrats today are Democrats. And they have themselves to blame for that. The only thing is that Biden and Warren, on the brink of annihilation, might come with heavy and utterly ridiculous allegations vs ButtGeek and Bernie.

‘The World Is Looking At New Hampshire’ – Bernie Sanders (R.)

In Plymouth, Buttigieg tried to reach out to undecided voters, referring to “future former Republicans” who he said were more than welcome to back his campaign. “It’s decision time,” Buttigieg said. He took a shot at Sanders, saying that the self-described democratic socialist would have a hard time pulling in moderate voters. “Knowing how much depends on bringing Americans together, we cannot risk alienating Americans at this critical moment,” he said. “And that’s where I part ways with my friend Senator Sanders.” In a separate event, Sanders aimed his attacks at Trump. “I know not everybody agrees with everything I say, but I think what we can agree about is that we cannot continue having a president who is a pathological liar,” Sanders told a crowd at a sports club in Manchester.

Read more …

 

 

 

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 February 2, 2020  Posted by at 3:30 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Samuel Colman The Edge of Doom 1836-38

 

What the future will bring for the 2019nCoV novel Wuhan coronavirus is still unclear. An epidemic it already is, but is it also a pandemic? Some 20 countries have reported infections, but it still could all fizzle out; 305 deaths can be forgotten by next week. Nobody can tell you how this will play out, not even the most experienced and/or smartest virologists and other experts.

Because there’s no telling what viruses will do, not even for them, and because while they have some idea about the infinitesimal size and lifespan of viruses, “ordinary” people have no grasp of either, and that includes managers, planners and politicians. Whether in the rich west or in “up and coming” China.

 

The timeline is quite literally terribly obvious. In early December -and it could have been even earlier-, it was obvious to doctors and Communist Party (CCP) politicians in Wuhan that something was wrong. But their painfully predictable reaction was to hope this would pass. Never a bad word should be uttered about the Party, and nothing said that could embarrass it.

December passed, as news was getting worse and more obvious due to a large number of “pneumonia” patients. Chinese doctors published an article in the Lancet this week (this week, 6 weeks after the fact!) saying human-to-human transmission had been established by mid-December.

But the code of silence was not broken, even when a man died from the virus on January 9. It took until mid-January before word got out, a full week later. By then millions of people had left and/or entered Wuhan, a city of 11 million, potentially infecting millions of other Chinese and perhaps people abroad. 5 million later left the city for Lunar New Year.

On January 10, the virus was defined and the sequence was shared, but testing didn’t start for another week; patients were registered as pneumonia sufferers, including those that died (we have no idea how many there were).

 

 

Then, mid January, doctors starting testing for the virus. The first “exported” case was noted in Thailand on January 13, but it still took more time for the potential threat to be realized and reported. The Party boys were still hoping it would all pass. Can you blame them? They are civil servants, they don’t know anything about viruses, or their threat.

Ironically, over 300 civil servants (Party officials) and health care workers were sanctioned very recently for not doing enough. The Party makes sure the blame is put on individuals, not on itself. Even if all they’ve done is follow the party line. It’s very simply how the system works. And not just in China. If the virus might come to a town near you, check where the blame is placed. It won’t be the president or prime minister, health workers will be first in line, civil servants second.

It’s good to note how fast the novel virus has spread. If only to show what those who are determined to keep such a thing silent are up against. Can’t be easy. 291 cases on Jan 20, 14,562 cases 13 days later. Those are exponential numbers, even if the number of fatalities “only” rose by 46 overnight.

It’s also good to keep in mind that the main threat in viruses is their ability to mutate and become deadlier. This virus now has at least those 14,562 hosts which they can use to mutate in. Hong Kong University doctor and epidemiologist Gabriel Leung and his team said in a Jan 31 report: “In our baseline scenario, we estimated 75,185 infections as of Jan 25.” . And they were reporting on Wuhan alone. In other words, well over 5 times as many hosts and chances for the virus to mutate in just one city. In a city of 11 million people, numbers like that are perhaps not that extreme.

 

 

Back to politics. We have had two phases so far. 1 is first discovery followed by total silence. 2 is damage control, and deflecting all blame from the Party.

We are now in phase 3. The WHO, which was caught napping as much as the Party in phase 2, lavishes great praise on that same Party now for its “extraordinary safety measures”. Locking down entire cities (increasingly people are not even allowed to leave their homes), speed-building hospitals, you name it. And the WHO is not the only entity praising the Party.

The reason why there is so much emphasis on this is that the CCP is desperate to show everyone, at home and abroad, that it is in control. That there is no reason to worry, at least not due to actions by the Party. If other countries have problems, that is not the Party’s fault.

And also, the Party will take it from here, no need for foreign assistance. They’ll allow in some doctors, preferably WHO related, and they have asked both the US and EU for medical equipment and doctors’ uniforms, hazmat suits, that sort of thing, just so nobody asks any further questions: see, we do accept help! We’ll let you know if we need anything.

Other than that, the Party is in full control, thank you very much. And if Chinese people start protesting the failures of the Party so far, as they are, that is none of anyone else’s business. “We” have it under control”. Ask the WHO, they said so too.

 

If the Party is allowed to get away with this behavior aimed at self-preservation above anything else, including human lives of both Chinese and foreigners, something bad is sure to happen. Maybe not this time, maybe this one will fizzle out. But the next one, or the one after that, will not.

It is obvious how dangerous this is, putting the interests of the Party, or the economy, above the risk of spreading global pandemic. But is is also obvious why it happens. And it wouldn’t or couldn’t happen only in China. Though the country in its present state is a ideal breeding ground.

Flights are halted. Hundreds of millions will soon be in lockdown. Exports will plunge, because production will. Which will hit the west as much as China. Just so the Party can say it did what had to be done, and so it will stay in power. Xi Jinping knows his power depends on the economy, but he thinks he has what it takes to hold on to power even when the economy tanks.

He can simply declare force majeure, he can tell his people how much worse things would have been had he not decided to lock down everything.

We’ve been following the numbers of infections and fatalities now for 2 weeks or so, even as we know they don’t mean much, they’re just Party propaganda. The Party will release what it thinks it must, but no more. Perhaps we need other sources; these will come if and when things get out of hand. Not that we know they will.

Xi can claim today that he has control. He can say things are not too bad, but we don’t really know, he’s issuing the numbers. What we do know, and there’s the crux, is that he was 6 weeks late in starting to acknowledge the epidemic, in contacting the outside world, in acknowledging his mistakes, and in acknowledging that such mistakes are baked into the model that keeps him in power.

Phase 1 is complete denial, not a word. Phase 2 is damage control, massaging the numbers downward. Phase 3 is “close all the doors, not to worry, nothing to see here, we got this, no you can’t come in, too risky!”

But, yeah, praise him while you can. The only praise he cares about is from people just as clueless as he is anyway.

The Party is a highly effective vehicle for protecting its own interests and survival. For other things, perhaps not so much. Viruses can be quite deadly at times. Combine them with politics and the risk factor rises exponentially.

Tragedy assured. Just not every single time.

 

 

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