Oct 022022
 


Marc Chagall The Feast of the Tabernacles 1916

 

Russia Makes It ‘Impossible For War To End’ – Borrell (RT)
The End of Western Hegemony is INEVITABLE – Putin (Konstantin Kisin)
Nord Stream Explosions Are A ‘Tremendous Opportunity’ – US (RT)
Europe ‘Indefinitely Deprived’ Of Key Gas Supply Route – Gazprom (RT)
Who Profits From Pipeline Terror? (Escobar)
Russian Gas Exports To EU Via TurkStream Plunge (RT)
Russia Halts Gas Delivery To Italy (RT)
Azerbaijan To Increase Gas Deliveries To Bulgaria, Via Greece (AP)
Greek Gas Utility Clinches Winter LNG Deal (R.)
The Euro Without Germany (Michael Hudson)
Thousands Of German Stores On Brink Of Closure – Spiegel (RT)
Zelensky’s Lies Can’t Hide Ukraine’s Bloody Role In The Holocaust (Dershowitz)
FBI Agents Improperly Saw Privileged Trump Communications: Lawyers (ET)
A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing (Steve Keen)
FDA Withholds Autopsy Results on People Who Died After COVID-19 Vaccines (ET)
Next On Europe’s Doomsday List: Collapse Of Cell Phone Networks (ZH)
China Tells State Banks To Sell Dollars, Buy Yuan (R.)

 

 

 

 

“Good people do things for other people. That’s it. The end”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Said it before: Borrell is EU’s No.1 warmonger, he needs to go.

Try this one: Putin has created the opportunity for peace. By making it much harder for Ukraine to shell its -formerly- own Russian speaking population.

Russia Makes It ‘Impossible For War To End’ – Borrell (RT)

The accession of four former Ukrainian regions into Russia makes the conflict in Ukraine impossible to end, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said on Saturday. Speaking to the Spanish RTVE channel, the bloc’s high representative for foreign affairs described the impending inclusion of the two Donbass Republics, and Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, into the Russian Federation as an “annexation” and an act of “completely unjustified aggression.” “Putin makes it more difficult, even impossible, for the war to end,” Borrell said. The EU is committed to continuing its military support for Ukraine, the diplomat stressed. The bloc also intends to go ahead with another package of sanctions against Moscow “so that Russia would be isolated internationally,” he added.

Russia has consistently warned the West against “pumping up” Ukraine with weapons, saying that it would only prolong the conflict. Borrell’s claim that Russia’s “annexation” of new territories will further jeopardize a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis echoed earlier remarks by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Speaking on the eve of the accession ceremony for the former Ukrainian regions, Guterres condemned in very strong terms both their inclusion into Russia and the preceding referendums, and called on Russia “to step back from the brink.” In response, Moscow accused the secretary general of abusing his authority.

Putin, meanwhile, warned the Ukrainian authorities and their Western “handlers” that people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as in the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye, have become Russian citizens “forever” because they made a choice “to be with their Motherland.” In his speech at the signing ceremony for the accession treaties, the president also accused the West of dreaming “to weaken and break up Russia,” of being “ready to cross every line to preserve the neo-colonial system,” and of overthrowing traditional values, which, in Putin’s opinion, amounts to “pure Satanism.” The Russian president did call on Kiev to “return to the negotiating table.” His Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, however, said that his country was ready for dialogue with Russia, but “with another president.”

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“.. In the 80s they had another crisis they solved by “plundering our country”. Now they want to solve their problems by “breaking Russia”..

The End of Western Hegemony is INEVITABLE – Putin (Konstantin Kisin)

This is a reproduction of my live Twitter summary/translation of Vladimir Putin’s speech: I wish every single person in the West would listen to Putin’s speech. Obviously, that won’t happen so let me summarise as a professional translator for 10+ years. He states, as he has done from the outset, what his intentions and complaints are in the plainest terms possible. Setting aside his brief comments on the recent “referendums”, he spends most of his speech discussing the West. His primary complaint isn’t NATO expansion, which gets only a cursory mention. The West is greedy and seeks to enslave and colonise other nations, like Russia. The West uses the power of finance and technology to enforce its will on other nations. To collect what he calls the “hegemon’s tax”.

To this end the West destabilises countries, creates terrorist enclaves and most of all seeks to deprive other countries of sovereignty. It is this “avarice” and desire to preserve its power that is the reason for the “hybrid war” the collective West is “waging on Russia”. They want us to be a “colony”. They do not want us to be free, they want Russians to be a mob of soulless slaves – direct quote. The rules-based order the West goes on about is “nonsense”. Who made these rules? Who agreed to them? Russia is an ancient country and civilization and we will not play by these “rigged” rules. The West has no moral authority to challenge the referendums because it has violated the borders of other countries. Western elites are “totalitarian, despotic and apartheidistic” – direct quote.

They are racist against Russia and other countries and nations. “Russophobia is racism”. They discriminate by calling themselves the “civilised world”. They colonised, started the global slave trade, genocided native Americans, pillaged India and Africa, forced China to buy opium through war. We, on the other hand, are proud that we “led” the anti-colonial movement that helped countries develop to reduce poverty and inequality. They are Russophobic (they hate us) because we didn’t allow our country to be pillaged by creating a strong CENTRALISED (emphasis his) state based on Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. They have been trying to destabilise our country since the 17th century in the Times of Trouble. Eventually, they managed to “get their hands on our riches” at the end of the 20th century.

They called us friends and partners while pumping out trillions of dollars (his irony game is strong today). We remember this. We didn’t forget. The West claims to bring freedom and democracy to other countries but it’s the exact opposite of the truth. The unipolar world is anti-democratic by its very nature. It is a lie. They used nuclear weapons, creating a precedent. They flattened German cities without “any military need to do so”. There was no need for this except to scare us and the rest of the world. Korea, Vietnam. To this day they “occupy” Japan, South Korea and Germany and other countries while cynically calling them “allies”. The West has surveillance over the leaders of these nations who “swallow these insults like the slaves they are”. He then talks about bioweapon research (haven’t heard about them for a while) and human experiments “including in Ukraine”.

The US rules the world by the power of the fist. Any country which seeks to challenge Western hegemony becomes an enemy. Their neocolonialism is cloaked in lies like “containment” of Russia, China and Iran. The concept of truth has been destroyed with fakes and extreme propaganda (irony game still strong). You cannot feed your people with printed dollars and social media. You need food and energy. But Western elites have no desire to find a solution to the food and energy crises *they* (emphasis his) created. They solved the problems at the start of 20c with WW1 and the US established dominance of the world via the dollar as a result of WW2. In the 80s they had another crisis they solved by “plundering our country”. Now they want to solve their problems by “breaking Russia”.

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“It’s obvious to everyone who benefits from it,” Putin explained. “Those who benefit are the ones who have done it.”

Nord Stream Explosions Are A ‘Tremendous Opportunity’ – US (RT)

The US views the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines as a “tremendous opportunity” to wean the continent off of Russian energy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Friday. With winter approaching, Blinken said that the US wants Europe to decrease its fuel use. Speaking to reporters in Washington, Blinken boasted that the US is now “the leading supplier of [liquefied natural gas] to Europe.” In addition to shipping its own fuel to Europe, Blinken said that the US is working with European leaders to find ways to “decrease demand” and “speed up the transition to renewables.” “It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy and thus to take away from [Russian President] Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs,”Blinken declared.

The US likely stands to gain the most from the destruction of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, which were damaged by a series of explosions off the Danish island of Bornholm earlier this week. Washington has for years been trying to convince European leaders to swap Russian gas for its LNG, and the severity of the damage to the undersea conduits now means that Europe is “indefinitely deprived” of Russian gas via this route, Russian energy operator Gazprom stated on Friday. In a speech on Friday, President Vladimir Putin blamed the explosions on“the Anglo-Saxons,” a Russian colloquialism for the US-UK transatlantic alliance. “It’s obvious to everyone who benefits from it,” Putin explained. “Those who benefit are the ones who have done it.”

While the way is now open for the US to sell its more expensive LNG to Europe, the shortfall cannot be covered overnight. US exporters warned throughout the summer that they will not be able to ship enough gas to meet demand on the continent, and many of Europe’s import terminals are still under construction or in planning. Meanwhile, energy bills are skyrocketing across Europe. In Germany, which faces the prospect of rapid “deindustrialization,” protesters took to the streets to demand the re-opening of Nord Stream 2, just days before the explosions. Food shortages have been predicted in Germany and firewood is in hot demand across the continent as citizens struggle to heat their homes. “There’s a lot of hard work to do to make sure that countries and partners get through the winter,” Blinken said, suggesting, as EU leaders have also done, that Europe work to “reduce demand” for gas.

Blinken

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“..von der Leyen: [..] any “deliberate disruption of the European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will lead to the strongest retaliation.”

Watch out US! Poland! Denmark! Sweden!

Europe ‘Indefinitely Deprived’ Of Key Gas Supply Route – Gazprom (RT)

The damage to Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines means Europe is indefinitely deprived of one of its key gas supply routes, Gazprom spokesman Sergey Kupriyanov said on Friday. “Essentially, Europe is indefinitely deprived of one of the key routes for obtaining a crucial energy resource. Russia and Gazprom spent a huge amount of energy and money to build and launch these pipelines because this is the shortest and safest, as we thought, way for Russian gas to reach European consumers. Now the pipelines are standing with puncture holes,” Kupriyanov said at a UN Security Council meeting. Technical data “allows [Gazprom] to say with certainty” that the sharp pressure drops were caused by physical damage, the spokesman stressed.

According to him, at the time of the incident, the pipelines were not transporting gas, but both were filled with the fuel and ready for service. There were about 800 million cubic meters of gas in the strings, which is equivalent to Denmark’s gas consumption for three months. “Gazprom has begun searching for possible solutions to get the Nord Stream system back up and running, but the timeline cannot yet be estimated… This is a very difficult technical task,” Kupriyanov said, noting that in order to assess the situation, Gazprom will have to start with a physical inspection of the damaged areas. The Danish authorities reported leaks on the pipelines on Monday after a local pipeline operator noted a loss of pressure on both the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines earlier that day.

Danish and Swedish seismologists later spoke of a series of undersea explosions in the area. The Russian, American, and Swedish authorities said the leaks might have been the result of a deliberate attack. European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said the incidents were the result of sabotage, warning that any “deliberate disruption of the European energy infrastructure is unacceptable and will lead to the strongest retaliation.” Russia called the incident a “terrorist attack” and summoned a UN Security Council meeting over it.

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“The US State Department declared that the idea the US was involved is “preposterous.”

Who Profits From Pipeline Terror? (Escobar)

The notion that Russian intel would destroy Gazprom pipelines is beyond ludicrous. All they had to do was to turn off the valves. NS2 was not even operational, based on a political decision from Berlin. The gas flow in NS was hampered by western sanctions. Moreover, such an act would imply Moscow losing key strategic leverage over the EU. Diplomatic sources confirm that Berlin and Moscow were involved in a secret negotiation to solve both the NS and NS2 issues. So they had to be stopped – no holds barred. Geopolitically, the entity that had the motive to halt a deal holds anathema a possible alliance in the horizon between Germany, Russia, and China.

The Poles, moreover, are terrified that with Russia’s partial mobilization, and the new phase of the Special Military Operation (SMO) – soon to be transformed into a Counter-Terrorism Operation (CTO) – the Ukrainian battlefield will move westward. Ukrainian electric light and heating will most certainly be smashed. Millions of new refugees in western Ukraine will attempt to cross to Poland. At the same time there’s a sense of “victory” represented by the partial opening of the Baltic Pipe in northwest Poland – almost simultaneously with the sabotage. Talk about timing. Baltic Pipe will carry gas from Norway to Poland via Denmark. The maximum capacity is only 10 billion cubic meters, which happens to be ten times less than the volume supplied by NS and NS2. So Baltic Pipe may be enough for Poland, but carries no value for other EU customers.

Meanwhile, the fog of war gets thicker by the minute. It has already been documented that US helicopters were overflying the sabotage nodes only a few days ago; that a UK “research” vessel was loitering in Danish waters since mid-September; that NATO tweeted about the testing of “new unmanned systems at sea” on the same day of the sabotage. Not to mention that Der Spiegel published a startling report headlined “CIA warned German government against attacks on Baltic Sea pipelines,” possibly a clever play for plausible deniability. The Russian Foreign Ministry was sharp as a razor: “The incident took place in an area controlled by American intelligence.” The White House was forced to “clarify” that President Joe Biden – in a February video that has gone viral – did not promise to destroy NS2; he promised to “not allow” it to work. The US State Department declared that the idea the US was involved is “preposterous.”

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Netherlands banned “export and provision of pipes for Russia’s use”. And this is not deliberate?!

Russian Gas Exports To EU Via TurkStream Plunge (RT)

Russian gas flows to the EU via the TurkStream pipeline dropped by a quarter at the end of September compared to the end of August, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported on Saturday.According to the report, which cited data from the association of Europe’s transmission system operators, on September 29 about 32 million cubic meters of gas were supplied to the EU through the Strandzha 2-Malkoclar entry point on the Turkish-Bulgarian border. This is about 25% less than at the end of August, when the pipeline supplied about 43 million cubic meters of gas per day. On Thursday, the Russian-owned operator of the TurkStream pipeline,

South Stream Transport, said that the Netherlands had withdrawn its gas export license due to the latest EU sanctions package against Russia, which implies a ban on the export and provision of pipes for Russia’s use. Announcing their decision to revoke the license ahead of schedule, the Dutch authorities also referred to the ban on the supply of goods and provision of services, including technical assistance and maintenance of the pipeline in Russia’s exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. European gas futures spiked on the news of the license withdrawal, jumping 10% on Friday to $2,087 per thousand cubic meters, or €205.995 per megawatt hour.However, South Stream Transport later noted that the sanctions do not expressly impose restrictions on the transportation of gas via the pipeline. The company has already applied for a renewal of its export license.

Representatives of the operator said that the gas delivered to Europe via Turkish Stream supports the region’s energy security and that the pipeline is likely to be exempted from sanctions for this reason. TurkStream is a two-string pipeline with capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year. It carries Russian gas across the Black Sea to Türkiye and from there to countries of southern and southeastern Europe. With Nord Stream 1 currently out of operation due to this week’s leakage, TurkStream is the only remaining gas transmission system that bring gas to Europe besides the transit line running through Ukraine. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that the TurkStream license withdrawal would not affect its operation and that gas supplies continue.

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“..the temperature when heating buildings will be reduced by one degree Celsius..”

Russia Halts Gas Delivery To Italy (RT)

Russia’s Gazprom has informed Italian energy company Eni that it will not be able to supply gas to the country on Saturday, due to the “impossibility of transporting it” through Austria, the Italian company said in a statement. “Gazprom informed that it is not able to confirm the gas volumes requested for today, stating that it’s not possible to supply gas through Austria. Therefore, today’s Russian gas supplies to Eni through the Tarvisio entry point will be at zero,” the statement from Eni said, as cited by news agency RIA Novosti. Eni has said it will provide further information “in case supplies will be restored.” Gazprom has not yet specified the reason for its inability to supply gas through Austria. Grid operator Gas Connect Austria has not made any statements regarding the situation so far.


Italy receives Russian gas via the one remaining transit line through Ukraine. The gas flows to Italy after passing through Austria. Other European countries that receive Russian gas through Ukraine include Slovakia, Moldova, Romania, and the Czech Republic. Earlier, the website of the Ukrainian gas transit operator reported that the flow through Ukraine is expected to amount to around 41.6 million cubic meters on October 1. Since February, the share of Russian gas in Italian imports has fallen from 40% to roughly 18%, with the authorities saying they can cope with the shortfall expected in the winter by using alternative fuel sources. The country has adopted an energy-saving plan to reduce gas consumption. As part of this plan, the heating season will be cut by 15 days and the temperature when heating buildings will be reduced by one degree Celsius.

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AP doesn’t specify how much goes to Greece, but I would guess at least 1 billion cubic meters.

Azerbaijan To Increase Gas Deliveries To Bulgaria, Via Greece (AP)

Azerbaijan’s president said Friday that his country is a reliable partner and will stick to an agreement to double gas exports to the European Union by 2027. Speaking to reporters in Bulgaria’s capital, President Ilhan Aliyev called a new gas interconnector with Greece “a historic achievement and an opportunity for Azeri gas to reach Europe in larger quantities.” Aliyev was in Sofia for the official launch Saturday of a new pipeline that will supply natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria, whose vital supply of Russian gas was cut off in April amid the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. At the event on Saturday, he will join heads of state and governments from the region, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The 182-kilometer pipeline is designed to run from the northeastern Greek city of Komotini to Stara Zagora in central Bulgaria. It is expected to start with an initial capacity of 3 billion cubic meters of gas a year, with the prospect of future expansion to 5 billion cubic meters. Bulgarian President Rumen Radev stressed the importance of the new gas link not only for Bulgaria, but for the continent. “It decisively changes the energy map of Europe,” he said. The desire for other sources of gas increased significantly after Moscow decided to turn its natural gas deliveries into a political weapon. In late April, Russia cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria after it refused Moscow’s demand to pay for the deliveries in rubles, Russia’s currency. Relations between the two former Soviet bloc allies have tanked in recent months, and last month Bulgaria ordered the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomats, triggering an angry response from Moscow.

Bulgaria, which has a contract for 1 billion cubic meters of Azeri gas, or one-third of the country’s annual needs, wants to increase the volume by between a half-billion to 1 billion cubic meters more per year following the suspension of Russian gas flows were suspended. Radev said he received a letter Thursday from gas system operators in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia that offered to transport gas from Azerbaijan using the integrated networks of their countries. He said Bulgaria could host a summit of the four countries to discuss possibilities for such gas transfers. The topic has become important after Russia said it would suspend some maintenance and repair work of a gas pipeline that supplies Turkey and countries like Serbia and Hungary.

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“TotalEnergies operates in over 130 countries spanning five continents..” US LNG? Qatar?

Greek Gas Utility Clinches Winter LNG Deal (R.)

Greece’s biggest gas utility, DEPA Commercial, has clinched a deal with TotalEnergies for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) over the winter months if needed, the Greek energy ministry said on Thursday. The deal stipulates that TotalEnergies will supply Greece with two LNG cargoes a month for five months until March 2023, the ministry said in a statement The total LNG that would be delivered for the five months would be 10 terrawatt hours (TWh), though Greece reserves the right not to purchase the gas but pay a cancellation fee. A deal price was not disclosed, but the ministry said Greece would buy the gas at a benchmark price rather than the highly TTF price.


“It’s a deal of key importance for the country’s energy supplies in the event gas flows from Russia are curbed or halted,” the statement said. Greece has been receiving Russian gas via the TurkStream pipeline, which also delivers to Hungary via Serbia. Athens has been working to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, ramping up LNG supplies and reopening some coal-fired power plants while also preparing to switch some gas-fired stations to diesel.

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“The problem is that its plans for how the Ukraine war and anti-Russian sanctions have worked out so far have been just the reverse of what was announced.”

The Euro Without Germany (Michael Hudson)

On Tuesday, September 27 when news of the Nord Stream gas attacks became known, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shed crocodile tears and said that attacking Russian pipelines was “in no one’s interest.” But if that really were the case, no one would have attacked the gas lines. I have no doubt that U.S. strategists have a game plan for how to proceed from here, and to do so that indeed is in what the neocons claim to be in the U.S. interest – that of maintaining a unipolar neoliberalized and financialized global economy for as long as they can. They have long had a plan for countries that are unable to [service] their foreign debts. The IMF will lend them the money, conditional upon the debtor country raising the foreign exchange to repay the (increasingly expensive) dollar loans by privatizing what remains of their public domain, natural-resource patrimony and other assets, mainly to U.S. financial investors and their allies.

Will it work? Or will debtor countries band together and work out ways to restore the seemingly lost world of affordable oil and gas prices, fertilizer prices, grain and other food prices, and metals or raw materials supplied by Russia, China and their allied Eurasian neighbors? That is the next great worry for U.S. global strategists. It seems less easy to solve than was done by the sabotage of Nord Stream 1 and 2. But the solution seems to be the usual U.S. approach: something military in nature, new color revolutions. The aim is to gain the same power over Global South and Eurasian countries that American diplomacy wielded over Germany and other European countries via NATO.

Unless an institutional alternative is created to the IMF, World Bank, International Court, World Trade Organization and the numerous UN agencies now biased by U.S. diplomats and their proxies, the coming decades will see the U.S. economic strategy of financial and military dominance unfold as Washington has planned. The problem is that its plans for how the Ukraine war and anti-Russian sanctions have worked out so far have been just the reverse of what was announced. That may give some hope for the world’s future. The opposition and even contempt by U.S. diplomats to other countries acting in their own economic interest and social values is so strong that they are unwilling to think through just how these countries might develop their own alternative to the U.S. world plan. The question is thus how successfully these other countries may develop their alternative new economic order, and how they can protect themselves from the fate that Europe has just imposed upon itself for the next decade.

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“16,000 businesses may go bankrupt this year..” Imagine next year.

Thousands Of German Stores On Brink Of Closure – Spiegel (RT)

Over 15,000 German stores are facing bankruptcy due to soaring energy costs, Der Spiegel reported on Friday, citing the German Retail Association (HDE). According to the report, the HDE wrote a letter to Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck in which it warned that the “exploding energy costs” are making it impossible for increasing numbers of retailers to make ends meet. The group called the situation “existentially threatening” and said that around 16,000 businesses may go bankrupt this year, while the “negative trend” is likely to continue through 2023. The group said the rise in energy costs, which have spiked by 147% on average since the beginning of the year, is preventing retailers from making a profit. The share of electricity costs in sales volumes for retailers has already reached almost 3% on average and many in the industry expect this figure to rise to as high as 5% in 2023.


According to HDE President Josef Sanktjohanser and Managing Director Stefan Genth, the returns generated in many retail sectors are already extremely low today. In the case of clothing, the operating profit as a percentage of sales is 2.1%, while in the case of shoes it is currently negative at -1.2%. Even in the food segment, it is only 2-4%. Such a state of affairs may put many companies “at a disadvantage,” the group warned. Given the sharp decline in the purchasing power of private households and record-high inflation, it will likely not be possible to shift the rising energy costs to consumers, the HDE states. Therefore, the group urged Berlin to intervene by temporarily limiting tariffs and cutting electricity taxes to a minimum.

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“Ukraine’s parliament formally abandoned neutrality later in 2014.”

The Great Game In Ukraine Is Spinning Out Of Control (Jeffrey Sachs)

Under Clinton’s watch, NATO expanded to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999. Five years later, under President George W. Bush, Jr. NATO expanded to seven more countries: the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), the Black Sea (Bulgaria and Romania), the Balkans (Slovenia), and Slovakia. Under President Barack Obama, NATO expanded to Albania and Croatia in 2009, and under President Donald Trump, to Montenegro in 2019. Russia’s opposition to NATO enlargement intensified sharply in 1999 when NATO countries disregarded the UN and attacked Russia’s ally Serbia, and stiffened further in the 2000’s with the US wars of choice in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. At the Munich Security conference in 2007, President Putin declared that NATO enlargement represents a “serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust.”

Putin continued: “And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances [of no NATO enlargement] our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees?” Also in 2007, with the NATO admission of two Black Sea countries, Bulgaria and Romania, the US established the Black Sea Area Task Group (originally the Task Force East).

Then in 2008, the US raised the US-Russia tensions still further by declaring that NATO would expand to the very heart of the Black Sea, by incorporating Ukraine and Georgia, threatening Russia’s naval access to the Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Middle East. With Ukraine’s and Georgia’s entry, Russia would be surrounded by five NATO countries in the Black Sea: Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine. Russia was initially protected from NATO enlargement to Ukraine by Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, who led the Ukrainian parliament to declare Ukraine’s neutrality in 2010. Yet in 2014, the US helped to overthrow Yanukovych and bring to power a staunchly anti-Russian government. The Ukraine War broke out at that point, with Russia quickly reclaiming Crimea and supporting pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas, the region of Eastern Ukraine with a relatively high proportion of Russian population. Ukraine’s parliament formally abandoned neutrality later in 2014.

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Churchill, Nobel Peace Prize, but embedded in the Bandera legacy. Yeah, makes a lot of sense…

Zelensky’s Lies Can’t Hide Ukraine’s Bloody Role In The Holocaust (Dershowitz)

Volodymyr Zelensky has performed a truly great service on behalf of the Ukrainian people. Because of his Churchill-like determination to resist Russian aggression, I have proposed him for the Nobel Peace prize. But he has in the recent past mendaciously denied the role of Ukrainian people in the Holocaust. He has used that argument to forcefully claim that Israel owes Ukraine offensive weapons. Several days ago, he escalated his criticism, saying he shocked that Israel hasn’t capitulated to his demands. He has never apologized for the following statement he made this past March: “The Ukrainians made a choice 80 years ago, we saved Jews…” He is right the Ukrainian people made a choice 80 years ago, but it wasn’t to save Jews.

Almost without exception, Ukrainians either participated in the mass murder of Jews or said nothing as their Jewish neighbors were rounded up and slaughtered in places like Babi Yar. Many of those who pulled the trigger were themselves Ukrainian, recruited into the mobile killing squads by the Nazis. Vanishingly few saved Jews. The complicity of Ukrainians in these mass murders was greater than in most other countries. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Jews were murdered. Nor was this the first time that the Ukrainian people made a similar choice. In 1648, Bogdan Chmielnicki led a pogrom that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, including babies, children, and mothers. That was a long time ago, but the statue of this genocidal murderer still stands in the center of Kyiv, and his picture still adorns the Ukrainian five-dollar bill. That is now! Ukraine has made a choice: to honor the memory of a mass murderer of Jews.

Between the Chmielnicki murders and the Holocaust, the Ukrainian people made many other choices: they conducted pogrom after pogrom against Jewish families. Antisemitism was rampant throughout the Ukraine. That is why so many Ukrainian Jews immigrated to the United States and elsewhere. In recent years, the situation in Ukraine has improved measurably. Though there are still a large number of antisemites in Ukraine—including in certain units of the armed forces—the remembrance of the Holocaust has caused many Ukrainians to abandon the traditional antisemitism that plagued the country. They even voted for Zelensky, who is a man of Jewish heritage.

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“..Plaintiff is asking the Special Master to order disclosure of the names of each attorney and Special Agent who was exposed to materials eventually provided to the Privilege Review Team.”

FBI Agents Improperly Saw Privileged Trump Communications: Lawyers (ET)

The FBI team that seized documents from former President Donald Trump’s Florida resort improperly viewed communications between Trump and an attorney, violating attorney-client privilege for a third time, lawyers for Trump said in a new filing. The filter process set up by the government to try to prevent FBI agents from viewing privileged materials has already failed twice, the government has acknowledged. On Sept. 26, government officials informed Trump lawyers of a third failure, the lawyers said in a new filing lodged in a federal court in southern Florida. FBI agents viewed an email that they sent to the Privilege Review Team, a team that was supposed to filter out all potentially privileged materials before agents were able to view any.

The review team has characterized the email as non-privileged, but Trump disagrees. “Plaintiff believes the email falls squarely into the category of attorney-client privileged,” Trump lawyers told U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, a Reagan appointee who is serving as a special master in the case. Benjamin Hawk, the Department of Justice (DOJ) official in charge of the filter team, claimed during a recent hearing that the first two failures to separate potentially privileged materials were examples of the filter process working, but U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Trump appointee who inserted Dearie into the case, expressed doubt. The instances “indicate that, on more than one occasion, the Privilege Review Team’s initial screening failed to identify potentially privileged material,” she said.

FBI agents who viewed the potentially privileged materials may still be working on the case, according to a sealed filing described by Cannon. In the new filing, Trump’s lawyers said they want the names of all government officials who were exposed to the potentially privileged materials. “The unilaterally imposed filter team, which made no effort to contact Plaintiff’s counsel throughout its review process, has admitted to three breaches so far,” the lawyers said. “All this before review by the Special Master and the Plaintiff. By way of this filing, Plaintiff is asking the Special Master to order disclosure of the names of each attorney and Special Agent who was exposed to materials eventually provided to the Privilege Review Team.”

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Double-entry bookkeeping tells Steve that money is indeed destroyed. Just as Hyman Minsky and Augusto Graziani said.

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing (Steve Keen)

I owe enormous intellectual debts to Hyman Minsky and Augusto Graziani. But at one point, my “little knowledge” led me to believe, falsely, that they had both made a huge mistake in claiming that repaying debt destroyed money: Graziani: As soon as firms repay their debt to the banks, the money initially created is destroyed. (Graziani 1989) Money is created as banks lend—mainly to business—and money is destroyed as borrowers fulfill their payment commitments to banks. (Minsky 1982) This couldn’t be right, I thought: surely once banks had created money, they wouldn’t let it be destroyed? I considered cash loans in particular—surely the cash wasn’t destroyed on receipt, but put back into the vault for relending?

This is why the model of money in my Debunking Economics (Keen 2011) is of a cash-lending bank, and not a modern electronic banking system, where loans are simultaneously matched by direct payments into deposit accounts. Then I developed Minsky, the monetary modelling software that I named in honour of Hyman Minsky. I came to really understand double-entry bookkeeping, and realised that Minsky and Graziani were correct, and I was wrong. These days, money is primarily the sum of private bank deposit accounts. When you show modern bank lending and bank debt repayment in a double-entry table, it’s obvious that the former creates money, and the latter destroys it.

This points to a general rule about money creation and destruction: leaving aside cash loans, and direct government payments of cash to the non-bank public, to create money, an operation must increase both the Assets and Liabilities (or short-term Equity) sides of the banking system’s ledger. Conversely, this means that operations that occur exclusively on either the Assets side or Liabilities & Equity side neither create nor destroy money. Having made this mistake myself, I came to realise that understanding double-entry bookkeeping is the “Holy Grail” to understanding money, and therefore that if someone makes claims about money that contradict double-entry bookkeeping (DEB for short), then they should be ignored, because they don’t know what they are talking about.

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“If someone submits their experience to VAERS they want and expect to have it investigated by the FDA. This includes autopsy reports..”

FDA Withholds Autopsy Results on People Who Died After COVID-19 Vaccines (ET)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is refusing to release the results of autopsies conducted on people who died after getting COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA says it is barred from releasing medical files, but a drug safety advocate says that it could release the autopsies with personal information redacted. The refusal was issued to The Epoch Times, which submitted a Freedom of Information Act for all autopsy reports obtained by the FDA concerning any deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System following COVID-19 vaccination. Reports are lodged with the system when a person experiences an adverse event, or a health issue, after receiving a vaccine. The FDA and other agencies are tasked with investigating the reports. Authorities request and review medical records to vet the reports, including autopsies.

The FDA declined to release any reports, even redacted copies. The FDA cited federal law, which enables agencies to withhold information if the agency “reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by an exemption,” with the exemption being “personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Federal regulations also bar the release of “personnel, medical and similar files the disclosure of which constitutes a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The Epoch Times has appealed the denial, in addition to the recent denial of results of data analysis of VAERS reports.

Kim Witczak, a drug safety advocate who advises the FDA as part of the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee, said that the reports could be released with personal information blacked out. “The personal information could easily be redacted without losing the potential learnings from [the] autopsy,” Witczak told The Epoch Times via email. People make the choice to submit autopsy results to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, Witczak noted. “If someone submits their experience to VAERS they want and expect to have it investigated by the FDA. This includes autopsy reports,” she said.

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“..most of them have battery backups that last around 30 minutes to run the mobile antennas. After that they go dark.”

Next On Europe’s Doomsday List: Collapse Of Cell Phone Networks (ZH)

It’s not just heating that could be missing across Europe this winter: cell phones may be the next to go. That’s because if power cuts or energy rationing knocks out parts of the mobile networks across the region, mobile phones could go dark around Europe this winter according to the latest doomsday reporting from Reuters. While everyone knows by now that Europe’s chances of rationing and power shortages have exploded ever since Moscow suspended gas supplies, in France, the situation is even worse as several nuclear power plants are shutting down for maintenance. And the cherry on top: telecom industry officials told Reuters they fear a severe winter will put Europe’s telecoms infrastructure to the test, forcing companies and governments to try to mitigate the impact (i.e., more bailout demands).

The problem, as four telecoms executives put it, is that currently there are not enough back-up systems in many European countries to handle widespread power cuts, raising the prospect of mobile phone outages. Realizing that in just weeks Europe could be cell phone free, countries including France, Sweden and Germany, are scarmbling to ensure communications can continue even if power cuts end up exhausting back-up batteries installed on the thousands of cellular antennas spread across their territory. Alas, like with everything else in Europe, it’s too little, too late and Europe is facing a truly historic cell phone black out because while Europe has nearly half a million telecom towers, most of them have battery backups that last around 30 minutes to run the mobile antennas. After that they go dark.

One of the alternatives being discussed is pushing Europe back to communist era blackout regimes: In France, a plan put forward by electricity distributor Enedis, includes potential power cuts of up to two hours in a worst case scenario, two sources familiar with the matter said. The general black-outs would affect only parts of the country on a rotating basis. Essential services such as hospitals, police and government will not be impacted, the sources said. And now, it appears that cell phones are considered essential too: the French Federation of Telecoms (FFT), a lobby group representing Orange, Bouygues Telecomand Altice’s SFR, put the spotlight on Enedis for being unable to exempt antennas from the power cuts.

Enedis said it was able to isolate sections of the network to supply priority customers, such as hospitals, key industrial installations and the military and that it was up to local authorities to add telecoms operators infrastructure to the list of priority customers. “Maybe we’ll improve our knowledge on the matter by this winter, but it’s not easy to isolate a mobile antenna (from the rest of the network),” said a French finance ministry official with knowledge of the talks.

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What Reuters claims here is that the banks are today pushed to not sell, but buy dollars -with yuan-, only to sell them tomorrow, to support the yuan?!

At the same time, China wants the yuan to play a big part in the new currency basket they want to replace the USD as reserve currency. Problem is, it’s too weak right now.

China Tells State Banks To Sell Dollars, Buy Yuan (R.)

China’s central bank has asked major state-owned banks to be prepared to sell dollars for the local unit in offshore markets as it steps up efforts to stem the yuan’s descent, four sources with knowledge of the matter said. State banks were told to ask their offshore branches, including those based in Hong Kong, New York and London, to review their holdings of the offshore yuan and ensure U.S. dollar reserves are ready to be deployed, three of the sources, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. The simultaneous selling of dollars and buying of yuan could put a floor under the Chinese currency, which has lost more than 11% to the dollar so far this year and looks set for its biggest annual loss since 1994, when China unified its official and market rates.

The scale of this round of dollar selling to defend the weakening yuan will be rather big, one of the sources said. [..] While the yuan’s depreciation has been gradual and in line with the decline in major currencies against a dollar buoyed by aggressive Federal Reserve monetary tightening, its decline to the weaker side of 7-per-dollar has raised concerns about domestic sentiment and potential capital outflows. The offshore yuan moves in lock-step with the onshore unit, but its trading volumes account for about 70% of all yuan FX trades globally, dwarfing the volumes traded on the mainland. Chinese authorities have intervened in the past in the offshore yuan market to steer the yuan.

Sources said the intervention plan involved using state lenders’ dollar reserves primarily. But the total amount of dollar selling is yet to be determined as the yuan’s movements are largely dependent on dollar moves and the Fed’s tightening trajectory, the source said. China burnt through $1 trillion of its official FX reserves to prop up the currency after a one-off 2% devaluation in 2015 that roiled global financial markets. State banks, which usually act as the PBOC’s agents in offshore markets, are scrambling to procure more dollars in offshore markets, one of the sources said. The People’s Bank of China did not respond immediately when asked by Reuters about state banks stocking up on dollars.

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Mar 192022
 


Salvador Dali Eggs on the plate (without the plate) 1932

 

Shadows Within Shadows (Jim Kunstler)
The Dominance Of The US Dollar Is Fading Right Before Our Eyes (QTR)
All That Glitters Is Not Necessarily Russian Gold (Escobar)
Dollar Dominance Is Going To Be With Us For Decades To Come (Fickling)
Ukraine Adopts WEF Proposals (Armstrong)
NATO Calls up 100s of 1000s of Troops Ready to Begin WWIII (Armstrong)
The Times Finally Admits: Hunter’s Laptop Is Real (NYP op-ed)
How Dem Officials, The Media And Big Tech Buried The Hunter Biden Story (NYP)
Food Supply Chains “Falling Apart” In Ukraine (ZH)
Russia Blocks Ships Carrying Grain Exports (DW)
“Died Suddenly” Solved (Chesnut)
UK will HIDE Vaccinated Cases and Deaths (Chudov)
Two UK Residents Died of Blood-Clotting Disorders Linked to AstraZeneca (CHD)
CDC Removes 24% of Child COVID-19 Deaths, Thousands of Others (ET)
Fauci Says He’s Considering Stepping Down (ET)

 

 


Fresco in Prague, dedicated to the children of Ukraine

 

 

Hungry people are dangerous

 

 

 

 

Rickards

 

 

Safe and effective

 

 

“How do we propose to get these things into Ukraine? Fly the stuff in on USAF C-17 Globemaster transport planes? To what airfield, exactly?”

Shadows Within Shadows (Jim Kunstler)

The regime behind “Joe Biden” appears to relish the prospect of dragging out this crisis as long as possible, despite the fact that we have about zero national interest in the fate of Ukraine, except perhaps for our fears about the dark secrets that reside there…. Amid an all-out campaign of contrived World War Three hysteria, our country aims to send about $14-billion in aid to Ukraine post-haste, including more javelin anti-tank missiles and weapons described as “kamikaze drones,” posing some thorny questions for curious observers. How do we propose to get these things into Ukraine? Fly the stuff in on USAF C-17 Globemaster transport planes? To what airfield, exactly? And with what assurance that they can make delivery without encountering, shall we say, induced mechanical failure before landing?

Drive the weapons across the border from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, or Moldova? Do you not suppose that Russia has satellite surveillance of the limited number of road crossings along that frontier, and will be watching for truck convoys. More likely, that dollar number and the weaponry talk are fantasies intended to propitiate the roughly thirty percent of Americans whom, pollsters report, are avid for an apocalyptic nuclear showdown with Russia. Thirty percent, by the way, is the estimate by psychologists of any given population susceptible to mass formation psychosis — the transfiguration of anxiety-and-anomie-driven persons from something like harmless grasshoppers into ravaging human locusts.

That group derangement phenomenon has been managed artfully by America’s Deep State in recent years starting with the Russia Collusion hoax against the alleged monsterdom of Mr. Trump, then shifted to the frenzy around Covid-19 virus, with all its sickening rituals of obedience and submission, and now segued seamlessly to the melodrama of Vladimir Putin cast as King Kong manhandling Fay Wray as personified by Ukraine. Readers assure me that Russia is “getting its ass kicked” in that sore-beset, yawning expanse of wheat and mud that has been, one way or another, a domain of Russia longer than the USA has been nation — except the past thirty-odd years when it has been a playground for homegrown oligarch-looters, US State Department and CIA gamesters, and grift-seeking rogues such as Mr. Hunter R. Biden and the relatives of John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi.

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Three articles on the USD. I still tend to side with No. 3, I don’t see what could replace the dollar. Certainly not the yuan, not as long as Xi demands full control of it.. There’s gold, and bitcoin, and SDR, and then maybe a fiat basket of currencies. Whatever comes, it will take a long time.

The Dominance Of The US Dollar Is Fading Right Before Our Eyes (QTR)

Saudi Arabia, which is a nation of major consequence economically due to its significant oil and gas reserves, has reportedly embraced the idea of accepting Yuan instead of dollars for Chinese oil sales. Not unlike Russia and China’s plans to de-dollarize, that date back nearly a decade, the Saudis have been considering this idea for six years already. And not unlike Russia and China’s new economic tie-up, the catalyst for speeding up the process has been U.S. foreign policy: Saudi Arabia is in active talks with Beijing to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan, people familiar with the matter said, a move that would dent the U.S. dollar’s dominance of the global petroleum market and mark another shift by the world’s top crude exporter toward Asia.

The talks with China over yuan-priced oil contracts have been off and on for six years but have accelerated this year as the Saudis have grown increasingly unhappy with decades-old U.S. security commitments to defend the kingdom, the people said. The consideration by Saudi Arabia is consequential. It shows that other nations, when forced to choose sides between the U.S. and its foes, don’t feel obligated to commit to the U.S. dollar, further undermining the world’s perception about the dollar’s strength. Not unlike Russia, Saudi Arabia is a country that, regardless of how much its currency may “devalue” versus a fiat basket of currencies, is still backed by finite resources. This gives the country and its currency intrinsic strength. Russia seems to understand this. In fact, just this morning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, likely alluding to this fact, said that economic sanctions against Russia make the country “stronger”.

Saudi Arabia is now another serious name on the list of contenders who have the currency bite to back up the economic rhetoric bark of challenging the dollar. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the Saudis have “traded oil exclusively in dollars since 1974, in a deal with the Nixon administration that included security guarantees for the kingdom.” The U.S. dollar’s ties to oil have been crucial in helping prop up the currency’s demand globally. These ties have also helped drum up the psychological buy-in necessary for the world to collectively accept that “the next guy” is going to want their U.S. dollars. But given the alliance between Russia and China – and the newfound alliance between Saudi Arabia and China – it looks as though that confidence game might be coming to an end right before our very eyes.

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Love Pepe, but this does’t sound credible.

All That Glitters Is Not Necessarily Russian Gold (Escobar)

The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and China are starting to design a new monetary and financial system bypassing the U.S. dollar, supervised by Sergei Glazyev and intended to compete with the Bretton Woods system. Saudi Arabia – perpetrator of bombing, famine and genocide in Yemen, weaponized by U.S., UK and EU – is advancing the coming of the petroyuan. India – third largest importer of oil in the world – is about to sign a mega-contract to buy oil from Russia with a huge discount and using a ruble-rupee mechanism. Riyadh’s oil exports amount to roughly $170 billion a year. China buys 17% of it, compared to 21% for Japan, 15% for the U.S., 12% for India and roughly 10% for the EU. The U.S. and its vassals – Japan, South Korea, EU – will remain within the petrodollar sphere. India, just like China, may not.

Sanction blowback is on the offense. Even a market/casino capitalism darling such as uber-nerd Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Poznar, formerly with the NY Fed, IMF and Treasury Dept., has been forced to admit, in an analytical note: “If you think that the West can develop sanctions that will maximize the pain for Russia by minimizing the risks of financial stability and price stability for the West, then you can also trust unicorns.” Unicorns are a trademark of the massive NATOstan psyops apparatus, lavishly illustrated by the staged, completely fake “summit” in Kiev between Comedian Ze and the Prime Ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, thoroughly debunked by John Helmer and Polish sources.

Poznar, a realist, hinted in fact at the ritual burial of the financial chapter of the “rules-based international order” in place since the early Cold War years: “After the end of this war ‘money’ “will never be the same”. Especially when the Hegemon demonstrates its “rules” by encroaching on other people’s money. And that configures the central tenet of 21st century martial geopolitics as monetary/ideological. The world, especially the Global South, will have to decide whether “money” is represented by the virtual, turbo-charged casino privileged by the Americans or by real, tangible assets such as energy sources. A bipolar financial world – U.S. dollar vs. yuan – is at hand.

There’s no surefire evidence – yet. But the Kremlin may have certainly gamed that by using Russia’s foreign reserves as bait, likely to be frozen by sanctions, the end result could be the smashing of the petrodollar. After all the overwhelming majority of the Global South by now has fully understood that the backed-by-nothing U.S. dollar as “money” – according to Poznar – is absolutely untrustworthy. If that’s the case, talk about a Putin ippon from hell.

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Thread.

“..would take decades to come to fruition. And that only gets you to the point where the yuan is as important as, say, the euro or the yen.”

Dollar Dominance Is Going To Be With Us For Decades To Come (Fickling)

I regularly scoff about the wild claims about the yuan replacing the dollar as a global currency. But every time I look at the data I’m still *amazed* at just how irrelevant the yuan is: Banks *in China itself* still use the greenback for more than two-thirds of their cross-border claims. Just 14% are denominated in yuan.

As is often pointed out, the Swiss Franc and Canadian and Australian dollars are used in more FX transactions than the Chinese yuan. It’s likely the yuan is more used down than in this 2019 data, but also consider that much of those flows will be with the Hong Kong dollar.

Which however you look at it is not exactly a global monetary transaction. The key thing that I think people fail to understand about the dollar’s global importance is that it’s founded not so much on the U.S. dollar regulated by the U.S. Federal Reserve, but the eurodollar, an instrument that few people know about and fewer understand. Are eurodollars money? Well, kinda. They owe their value to the fact that they’re freely convertible with U.S. dollars, on the balance sheets of banks in the U.S. But they are created on the balance sheets of banks outside the U.S. and not subject to Federal Reserve regulation. Eurodollars were the crypto of their day — a way to create money out of sight of government regulation. Their origin was in the dollar deposits of Communist countries after World War II, which the kept in Europe so that the Fed wouldn’t be able to freeze their assets.

It’s absolutely true that the Fed’s post-2008 swap lines, and the growing use of the dollar to extend the reach of Washington’s secondary sanctions, and the action against the central bank of Russia last month, start eroding the eurodollar’s autonomy. But compare it to assets in a country like China with a closed capital account and sweeping asset forfeiture rules like China’s so-called anti-sanctions law last year, and money based on the eurodollar is still the closest thing the world has to unregulated global finance.

If China opens up its capital account, starts running up huge budget deficits to provide more of a supply of safe assets, and establishes a solid reputation for rule of law, it might start to chip away at the edges of this edifice. But any one of those conditions on its own would be an epic, extraordinary policy change, and would take decades to come to fruition. And that only gets you to the point where the yuan is as important as, say, the euro or the yen.

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WEF AND crypto?!

Ukraine Adopts WEF Proposals (Armstrong)

Zelensky has just signed into law the first steps of Schwab’s Great Reset. He announced he is introducing a Social Credit Application combining Universal Basic Income (UBI), a Digital Identity & a Vaccine Passport all within their Diia app. He also says that because so much money is coming into Ukraine as he has become an international celebrity, he has legalized cryptocurrencies in Ukraine. He will allow foreign and Ukrainian cryptocurrencies exchanges to operate legally, according to the country’s Ministry of Digital Transformation. So far, he has taken in over $63 million in cryptocurrency donations.

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100,000 US troops sent to Europe to NOT start a war.

NATO Calls up 100s of 1000s of Troops Ready to Begin WWIII (Armstrong)

The pressure to start World War III is on. NATO now expects that there will be a major war with Russia and the confrontation may come even in a few weeks. The NATO Secretary-General announced an increased war alert for hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Stoltenberg issued a joint statement with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, stating that hundreds of thousands of NATO troops were placed on high alert along with 100,000 US troops. The problem with war is that BOTH sides lie and twist the facts to support their own agenda. They paint their adversary as evil to stir up the troops to go fight and risk their lives typically for fake stories and agendas.

The Press is deliberately trying to create World War III and is engaged in using photos of children hurt and others from events unrelated to Ukraine. This is all to beat the war drums to create World War III without any honest understanding of what that will mean. Despite the hatred and demonization of Putin, he has been trying to take the high road. Zelensky has been following his orders and refusing to compromise on anything. As a WEF Young Global Leader, he is showing the same authoritarian approach as Trudeau in Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand who are all on board with this Great Reset. We may see this crisis turn into a confrontation as soon as the week of April 18th going into the first week of May based upon our computer models.

But the real crisis may come in August and turn global in 2023. I am glad I spent a fair portion of my life in Europe to see all the historical monuments before these people feel the need to destroy the world over two provinces in Ukraine. I fear this time, the monuments will not survive. Pray for civilization for we have madmen leading the West into World War III all so they can Build Back Better as they did following World War II with Bretton Woods II, but this time we are facing a completely different war with biological and nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, the press will NEVER tell us the truth or explain just why people are expected to lose their lives for some noble cause that is always some propaganda to support a political agenda. This time, the bombs will be wiping out American cities unlike World War I and II not to mention Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or other clandestine operations. You may not be watching it on TV but out your own window. Well, we get what we deserve. America voted for Biden, Britain for Johnson, Canada for Trudeau, and Ukraine for Zelensky. There is no peacemaker and certainly no statesman among the crop of world leaders today. To even question what is going on they cancel you now as a Putin supporter to once more not have to explain the truth. There is NEVER truth to be found in the propaganda of war for either side.

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Censoring the laptop story was for domestic consumption. But Russia, China, India watch this unfold and see a corrupt rogue state that cannot be trusted.

The Times Finally Admits: Hunter’s Laptop Is Real (NYP op-ed)

Now we’re 16 months away from the 2020 election, Joe Biden’s safely in the White House, and the Times finally decides to report on the news rather than carry the Biden campaign’s water. And they find that hey, Hunter Biden’s business interests benefited from Joe Biden’s political status to a suspicious degree. Perhaps this is a topic worthy of examination. How did the Times “authenticate” the laptop? It doesn’t say. Unlike The Post’s reporting, which detailed exactly how we got the files and where they came from, the Times does a hand wave to anonymous sources. No facts have changed since fall 2020. They knew the laptop was real from the start. They just didn’t want to say so.

There’s never any shame with these 180s. Sorry that we wrote a “fact check” that turned out to be bull! Sorry we wrote a piece claiming something wasn’t a story and you were stupid for thinking so! Twitter banned us for supposedly publishing “hacked materials” that weren’t hacked. The company’s CEO apologized, but by that point, they had accomplished what they wanted. Like the Times, they cast enough doubt to avoid making their preferred candidate look bad. Readers of the Times have discovered in March 2022 that Hunter Biden pursued business deals in Europe and Asia, and may have leveraged his father’s position as vice president to do it. Hunter also may not have properly registered with the government or declared all his income. All legitimate topics of discussion about a presidential candidate’s family, no?

Readers of The Post have known this since October 2020. We also have a much better sports section. We’ve authenticated it.

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Special counsel. It’s the only approach.

How Dem Officials, The Media And Big Tech Buried The Hunter Biden Story (NYP)

Everlasting, undying, soul-rending shame be upon you, Facebook and Twitter and Politico and all the others who covered up, denied and suppressed this newspaper’s true and accurate reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop in 2020. You should be hurling yourselves at the feet of the American people, begging forgiveness. You should be renting billboards saying, “WE LIED.” But most importantly, you should be hauled before Congress to answer humiliating questions. These and other information purveyors owe us — not just this paper, but this country — restitution for what now looks like the most egregious and willful fake-news scam of our time. This paper’s scoops on Hunter Biden’s laptop in 2020 were labeled “Russian misinformation” (Politico), a “hoax” (Steven Brill of “fact-check” site NewsGuard), discredited by “many, many red flags” (NPR) and a “hack and leak” operation that had to be throttled (Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg).

It was infamously snuffed out on Twitter, as was The Post’s Twitter account, because of a policy about hacked materials that only seemed to apply to this one case. Twitter didn’t bar the New York Times’s stories about Donald Trump’s tax returns, which could have come from hacked materials for all we know, and almost certainly were the product of a criminal act (leaking tax returns is against the law), but the Times never even told us how it got the returns, so we don’t know. The Post acted with transparency in explaining to readers how it got the Laptop from Hell. Moreover, nobody on Team Biden denied The Post’s report, because they knew or suspected it was true. Every news outlet in the country should have fronted the story at that point: “Biden team refuses to deny Hunter Biden laptop story.” A few months later, Hunter himself said the laptop “certainly” could be his, and the media shrugged instead of apologizing.


Even in the presidential debate where the matter came up, Joe Biden’s comments were not a denial but simply a deflection, and everybody who reported that he denied the laptop story was guilty of propagating fake news all over again. What he actually said was, “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant. Five former heads of the CIA, both parties, say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except his good friend Rudy Giuliani.” Joe (who later said “Yes, yes, yes” when a reporter asked him if he “believed” the laptop was Russian disinfo — the question allowed him all the wiggle room in the world) pointedly wasn’t denying the laptop belonged to Hunter, and wasn’t denying the material on it was genuine.

He was simply referring to the now-infamous Politico whitewash of October 19, 2020, which was fake news about fake news: The headline “Hunter Biden Story is Russian Disinfo, Dozens of Former Intelligence Officials Say” didn’t even accurately relate what was in the story. Those officials simply said they were “suspicious” about Russian involvement, admitted they had no evidence for this and pointed out (this was buried in the 10th paragraph of Politico’s story), “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails … are genuine or not.” In other words, the notorious liar James Clapper et al. (as far as I can tell, every signatory who made his opinion known about the election was a Biden supporter) were simply peeing in the dark. Their rank speculation was unworthy of being published.

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Watch Africa.

Food Supply Chains “Falling Apart” In Ukraine (ZH)

On Friday, Jakob Kern, an emergency coordinator at the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP), warned Ukraine’s food supply chains were collapsing as Russia bombed key infrastructures such as roads, bridges, and trains. “The country’s food supply chain is falling apart. Movements of goods have slowed down due to insecurity and the reluctance of drivers,” Kern told a Geneva during a video conference from Krakow, Poland. “Inside Ukraine our job is in effect, to replace the broken commercial food supply chains,” he added, describing the rebuilding task as a “mammoth” one. Ukraine’s top agricultural export products are corn and wheat. Before the invasion, Ukraine was the second-largest supplier of grains for the European Union and one of the largest suppliers for emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

Breaking down the numbers, Ukraine produced 49.6% of global sunflower oil, 10% of global wheat, 12.6% of global barley, and 15.3% of global maize. Estimates via Black Sea research firm SovEcon show Ukraine’s 2022 corn harvest could plunge as much as 35% from 41.9 million tons last year to 27.7 million tons this year because of all the disruptions. Farmers are already reporting diesel and fertilizer shortages. Wheat harvests are also expected to decline. Some have even pointed total crop output in the country could be halved. “With global food prices at an all-time high, WFP is also concerned about the impact of the Ukraine crisis on food security globally, especially hunger hot spots,” he said, warning of “collateral hunger” in other places like Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Turkey that rely heavily on Ukraine imports.

All of this has fueled the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to warn global food prices could rise another 8-20% from current levels due to the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, also warned today, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may cause a global surge in malnutrition and famine. “For the last three years, global rates of hunger and famine have been on the rise. With the Russian invasion, we are now facing the risk of imminent famine and starvation in more places around the world,” Fakhri said in a statement.

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“Russia blames the stoppage on the high risk of mines, which it said had been laid by the Ukrainian Navy.”

Russia Blocks Ships Carrying Grain Exports (DW)

Wheat exports from Ukraine and Russia, which make up a vital part of the world’s food supply are still being blocked by Russia from leaving the Black Sea, Germany’s largest agricultural trader BayWa said this week. “Zero [grain] is currently being exported from the ports of Ukraine — nothing is leaving the country at all,” Jörg-Simon Immerz, head of the grain trading at BayWa, told dpa news agency. He added that the export activity on the Russian side is “very limited.” Immerz’s assessment was backed up by the Panamanian Maritime Authority, who said on Wednesday that the Russian Navy was preventing 200-300 ships from leaving the Black Sea — most of them were carrying grain. Other reports suggest around 100 vessels are blocked.

Noriel Arauz, the administrator for the authority, said three Panamanian-flagged ships have come under Russian fire since the invasion of Ukraine started. One of the ships sank and two others were damaged, while no one was injured. British newspaper The Guardian reported that several other ships have been struck since the invasion began on February 24, including from Bangladesh and Estonia, which killed one person. Russia blames the stoppage on the high risk of mines, which it said had been laid by the Ukrainian Navy. Questions have been raised about how much grain Ukraine will be able to produce this year due to the conflict. At the same time, Russia has vowed to retaliate against Western sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Curbs on wheat and fertilizer exports are presumed to be high on Moscow’s list, which could have further consequences for the world’s food supply and food price inflation. Russia produces close to 80 million metric tons of wheat a year and exports close to 30 million tons, while Ukraine exports about 20 to 25 million tons a year. BayWa, meanwhile, believes there is no reason to fear a wheat shortage as much more wheat is harvested in the EU than is consumed. “The EU exports about 30 million metric tons of wheat annually, and Germany is also an exporter in normal years,” Immerz said. But that is not true for all types of grain. “We rely on imports for corn,” he added.

[..] Meanwhile, a new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has warned about the impact of the war on the food situation in Africa. Between 2018 and 2020, Russia accounted for nearly a third of wheat imports to the continent, while around 12% come from Ukraine. The UNCTAD report said up to 25 African countries, especially the least developed economies, relied on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.

Read more …

Thread. SUDEP- Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

“Died Suddenly” Solved (Chesnut)

BUILDING: MY MOST IMPORTANT FINDING TO DATE: DIED UNEXPECTEDLY SOLVED. SUDEP AND “DIED UNEXPECTEDLY” – THE SPIKE PROTEIN, FIBROSIS AND THE BRAINSTEM. PART I “A SILENT ENTRANCE”. As you recall, the original spike caused a loss of the sense of smell, the medical term is Anosmia.

The olfactory (sense of smell) system happens to be a DIRECT ROUTE TO THE BRAINSTEM. Indeed, when we look at autopsies, the Spike Protein is a very frequent “guest” in the Brainstem. Pathological immune responses or SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the brainstem is suspected. An autopsy study has isolated 32 brain sections from 16 victims of COVID-19 and found concentrated SARS-CoV-2 RNA (>5 copies/mm3) in three sections from the olfactory nerves and the brainstem’s MEDULLA. More convincingly, in another autopsy study of deceased COVID-19 patients, SARS-CoV-2 RNA and proteins (nucleocapsid or SPIKE) were detected in 50% and 40% of brainstem samples, respectively.

Similarly, another autopsy study has found SARS-CoV-2 RNA and SPIKE PROTEINS in the olfactory mucosal-neuronal junction and brainstem’s MEDULLA in 67% and 19% of samples, respectively. In sum, these autopsy studies have provided evidence for SARS-CoV-2 tropism FROM THE OLFACTORY SYSTEM INTO THE BRAINSTEM. OK. We know the Spike Protein invades the Medulla of the Brainstem. So, what does this mean? Well, those who suffer from Epilepsy are prone to sudden death. In fact, it is because of PATHOLOGIC CORRELATIONS IN THE MEDULLA that they suffer what is known as SUDEP- Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy.

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) likely arises as a result of AUTONOMIC DYSFUNCTION around the time of a seizure. In vivo MRI studies report volume reduction in the MEDULLA and other brainstem autonomic regions. Rostro-caudal alterations of medullary volume in SUDEP localize with regions containing respiratory regulatory nuclei. They may represent seizure-related alterations, relevant to the pathophysiology of SUDEP. Now, this heretofore rare event is now becoming all too common. The “One-Two Punch” of aberrant spike protein brainstem signaling (remodeling) combined with spike protein cardiac remodeling has virtually recreated the EXACT ENVIRONMENT OF SUDEP!

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“..cases in week 7-10 among the unvaccinated barely increased by 1%, from 59,904 cases to 60,372. For the boosted, cases increased by 14%..”

UK will HIDE Vaccinated Cases and Deaths (Chudov)

The infamous UKHSA Vaccine Surveillance Report started as a great tool by the vaccinators to showcase incredible successes of Covid Vaxx. But, as time went on, success was no longer in the cards, and the reports displayed grimmer and grimmer failure of vaccines in the UK. As I said many times, the bad news from the UK in no way should be interpreted as the UK being somehow a bad country. To the contrary, the UK had an amazing statistical agency that (up until now) honestly reported the goings in the vaxxed world. Finally, it seems, just as Scotland did, the UK will discontinue case reports by vaccination status. They gave the lamest excuse of “ending free Covid testing” that somehow makes them unable to add up vaccinated vs unvaccinated cases? Come on.

The so called “free Covid testing” is likely ending for similarly sinister reasons, specifically because they want to downplay cases as they keep increasing in the UK. Well, these UKHSA reports were good while it lasted. The truthful cases by vaccination status reports, showing the ignominous ending of the UK vaccination campaign, will be available no more starting April. [..] Before I describe what is it that they are trying to hide, let me mention my methodology: I keep a spreadsheet that I update week by week, with counts of vaccinated vs boosted case rates and death rates. I do NOT include under-18s in my data because they are (were) overtested in schools, do not actually die of Covid, thankfully, and really are not the same population as adults.

What they are trying to hide is that the pandemic among the unvaccinated is essentially over, whereas it is just getting started among the boosted. Look at the numbers: Compared to week 6-9, cases in week 7-10 among the unvaccinated barely increased by 1%, from 59,904 cases to 60,372. For the boosted, cases increased by 14%, from 543,809 to 617,982! For the vulnerable 60-69 year old category, the boosted 60-69 year olds get sick 4.25 TIMES as much as unvaccinated 60-69 year olds. Take a minute to let that sink in. Far from being protective, boosters make 60-69 year olds four times more vulnerable to infections!

Deaths similarly show a sad picture. 90% of Covid deaths in the UK, in weeks 7-10, were among the vaccinated!

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The “potentially fatal blood-clotting issue” was not known, because it was never tested.

Two UK Residents Died of Blood-Clotting Disorders Linked to AstraZeneca (CHD)

UK coroners in two separate cases this week concluded individuals who received AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine died from blood-clotting disorders caused by the vaccine. Kim Lockwood, a 34-year-old mother from South Yorkshire, died in March 2021 of a catastrophic brain bleed nine days after getting the AstraZeneca shot. Lockwood complained of an excruciating headache eight days after getting the vaccine. Her condition quickly deteriorated and she was pronounced dead 17 hours after being admitted to the hospital. South Yorkshire Coroner Nicola Mundy, calling Lockwood “extremely unlucky,” recorded the cause of death as vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).


Separately, a Sheffield County inquest on Monday concluded Tom Dudley, a 31-year old father of two who received the Astra-Zeneca vaccine on April 27, 2021, died of a vaccine-induced brain hemorrhage on May 14, 2021. The UK’s National Health Service on May 7, 2021, changed the guidance for the AstraZeneca vaccine, suggesting healthy individuals under 40 should avoid it due to possible blood-clotting complications. Assistant coroner Tanyka Rawden said that at the time of Dudley’s death the potentially fatal blood-clotting issue “was not a known and recognized complication of this vaccine. It seems to me that the guidelines have been changed,” she said. “They were changed very, very quickly after Tom had his vaccination.”

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After big decisions had been based on precisely those numbers.

CDC Removes 24% of Child COVID-19 Deaths, Thousands of Others (ET)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has removed tens of thousands of deaths linked to COVID-19, including nearly a quarter of deaths it had listed in those under 18 years old. The health agency quietly made the change on its data tracker website on March 15. “Data on deaths were adjusted after resolving a coding logic error. This resulted in decreased death counts across all demographic categories,” the CDC says on the site. The CDC relies on states and other jurisdictions to report COVID-19 deaths and acknowledges on its website that the data is not complete. But the statistics are often cited by doctors and others when pushing for COVID-19 vaccination, including figures who believe virtually all children should be vaccinated.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, cited the tracker’s death total in November 2021 while pushing for an expert panel to advise her agency to recommend vaccination for all children 5- to 11-years-old. Before the change, the CDC listed 1,755 children as dying from COVID-19 along with approximately 851,000 others, according to Kelley Krohnert, a Georgia resident who has been tracking the updates. The update saw the CDC cut 416 deaths among children and over 71,000 elsewhere, arriving at a total of just under 780,000. The CDC previously adjusted its death count in August 2021 “after the identification of a data discrepancy.”

“The update is an improvement, but it’s at least the third correction to this data, and still does not solve the issue. It just highlights that people have been using a flawed source of data when discussing kids and COVID,” Krohnert told The Epoch Times in an email. Some journalists and doctors have been citing the tracker data while others use a tally that is managed by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has been described by the agency as more reliable. The NCHS tally, which is compiled from death certificates, currently lists 921 deaths involving COVID-19 among children and some 966,000 deaths involving COVID-19 among other age groups.

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“I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase, and I think we might be there already..”

2 days after he warns of another wave….

Fauci Says He’s Considering Stepping Down (ET)

Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a new interview that he is considering stepping away from the position he’d held since 1984. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was asked during a podcast released March 18 whether he was mulling retirement or transitioning to a less-demanding job. “I certainly am because I’ve got to do it sometime,” Fauci, 81, said. “I can’t stay at this job forever, unless my staff is going to find me slumped over my desk one day. I’d rather not do that,” he added. Fauci was appointed to his position in 1984 during the Reagan administration. Fauci’s comments came after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) failed in his effort to get support for a measure that would eliminate the NIAID and create three new institutes in its stead.

Paul, who has clashed with Fauci during multiple congressional hearings, said Fauci has become has become a “dictator-in-chief.” “No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans,” Paul, a doctor, said. Fauci and his agency had not responded to requests for comment on the measure. Paul and other Fauci critics have taken issue with how the doctor misled the public on his agency’s funding for the Chinese lab located near the first cases of COVID-19 were recorded, his support for harsh measures during the pandemic, and his admission that he lied about the effectiveness of masks because of worries there wouldn’t be enough for health care workers.

Fauci, who has also been preparing for investigations Republicans have pledged into the COVID-19 response, has called Paul a partisan whose accusations aren’t rooted in facts. Without mentioning Paul, the podcast host asked Fauci in the new interview whether he would leave his post soon, noting that besides Dr. Francis Collins, who exited from his position as director of the National Institutes of Health in late 2021, Jeffrey Zients was stepping down as the White House COVID-19 response coordinator. “I have said that I would stay in what I’m doing until we get out of the pandemic phase, and I think we might be there already,” Fauci said. “If we can stay in this, then we’re at a point where I feel that we’ve done well by this. But I don’t have any plans right now to go anywhere, but you never know.”

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Mar 162022
 
 March 16, 2022  Posted by at 9:42 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Henri Rousseau The sleeping gypsy 1897

 

Ukraine Will Not Join NATO, Says Zelenskiy (G.)
Zelenskiy Says Russia’s Position In Negotiations Becoming ‘More Realistic’ (G.)
West Made A ‘Terrible Mistake’ Letting Putin Annex Crimea: Boris Johnson (F.)
Thirsty Macron Jealous of International Media Fawning Over Zelenskyy (CTH)
World Economy Braces For Supply Chain Chaos As COVID Closes China (ZH)
Saudi Arabia May Accept Yuan Instead Of Dollars For Chinese Oil Sales (JTN)
Safe and Effective? (Malone)
Senate Votes To Repeal CDC’s Mask Mandate For Airline Passengers (JTN)
Several States Mulling Lawsuit To End Biden Mask Mandate On Airlines (JTN)
Dr. Flavio Cadegiani On How Pfizer Corrupts Science (Kirsch)
These 6 Republicans Voted Against Ousting Fauci (DW)
From 15 Days to Two Years (Kelly)
A Closer Look at the Gatekeepers of Medical Research (NBW)

 

 

 

 

Alexa

 

 

The two most powerful people in US politics are well past their best before date. How is that not scary? These shaky fingers are on red hot buttons.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1503798141669285895

 

 

One demand down, two to go. No. 2 is recognition that Crimea is Russian territory. Since Crimeans have voted on this, why contest it? Third is the status of the Donbass. That’s tricky, Putin won’t want to leave any questions over this. And allegedly, Ukraine was planning large scale bloodshed there in early March. Zelensky will have to sell out the Azov batallion. But that could cost him his life.

Ukraine Will Not Join NATO, Says Zelenskiy (G.)

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has acknowledged that Ukraine will not become a Nato member, in a significant concession on a day when Kyiv was pounded by Russian shells and missiles and the invading force tightened its grip on the capital. At least five people were killed in the latest artillery barrage on Kyiv, prompting its city hall to impose a 35-hour curfew from Tuesday night amid further signs that the focus of the Russian campaign has shifted to the destruction of residential areas and civilian infrastructure. Zelenskiy made his remarks about Nato while addressing leaders from the new Joint Expeditionary Force, a UK-led initiative bringing together 10 north Atlantic countries to create a capability for responding rapidly to crises.

“It is clear that Ukraine is not a member of Nato; we understand this,” the Ukrainian president said. “For years we heard about the apparently open door, but have already also heard that we will not enter there, and these are truths and must be acknowledged.” One of Vladimir Putin’s demands before unleashing his offensive on Ukraine was that its membership of Nato should be ruled out indefinitely. However, the size of the invasion force Putin amassed and his own justifications for the attack, have been widely seen as evidence he would have settled for nothing less than regime change and Russia’s unchallenged dominance of its smaller neighbour.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Joe Biden would travel to Europe next week to attend an extraordinary Nato summit on 24 March “to discuss ongoing deterrence and defence efforts” in the face of the Russian invasion, and also join a scheduled European Council summit. There were reports Biden would also visit eastern Europe on the same trip.

 

 

Children Donbass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503696563230724097

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Zelesky preparing the world for the concessions he’s about to make. Carefully chosen wording.

Zelenskiy Says Russia’s Position In Negotiations Becoming ‘More Realistic’ (G.)

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said he sees possible room for compromise in talks with Russia ahead of a fresh round of discussions, despite Moscow’s stepped up bombardment Kyiv and as fears for the port city of Mariupol deepened. “The meetings continue, and, I am informed, the positions during the negotiations already sound more realistic. But time is still needed for the decisions to be in the interests of Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said in a video address early on Wednesday. “Efforts are still needed, patience is needed,” he said. “Any war ends with an agreement.” Top Ukrainian negotiator, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, said there were “fundamental contradictions” between the two sides but added that “there is certainly room for compromise.”


Another aide to Zelenskiy, Ihor Zhovkva, said the negotiations had become “more constructive” and that Russia had softened its stand by no longer airing its demands that Ukraine surrender. Talks were set to resume via video link on Wednesday. As the war approached its third week and heavy shelling of Ukraine’s cities continued, US president Joe Biden signed off on $13.6bn in aid. Zelenskiy thanked president Joe Biden and “all the friends of Ukraine” for the new support. An update from the Ukraine ministry of defence on Wednesday said the “worst situation remains in the area of Mariupol, where the opponent tries to block the city in the western and eastern outskirts of the city.” It came as the Associated Press reported Russian troops had seized a hospital in Mariupol and took about 500 people hostage during another assault on the southern port city late Tuesday, regional leader Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

 

 

Refugees Donbass
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503765994547855367

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Boris trying to be relevant.

West Made A ‘Terrible Mistake’ Letting Putin Annex Crimea: Boris Johnson (F.)

The West made a “terrible mistake” by letting Russian President Vladimir Putin “get away” with invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea in 2014, wrote the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Telegraph newspaper Monday. He added the West “intensified” economic ties with Russia afterwards and took “more Russian gas than ever before,” leaving it dependent on the “goodwill of Putin” and more exposed to fluctuations in global gas and oil price. Johnson said the West must break its “addiction” to Russian hydrocarbons, which has “emboldened” Putin to invade Ukraine and subject the world to “continuous blackmail.” Johnson acknowledged that it will be “painful” for the world to give up Russia’s vast fossil fuel reserves but said it is the “only way to force Putin to cease his aggression.”


The U.K. has pledged to phase out Russian oil imports by 2023 and the U.S. has banned Russian oil and gas. The European Union, which imports a significant amount of fuel from Russia, has vowed to end its use of Russian hydrocarbons as soon as possible. Green, renewable energy sources “are the quickest and cheapest route to greater energy independence,” Johnson said. “They are invulnerable to Putin’s manipulations.”

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Macron acting a comedian. And it’s actually funny.

Thirsty Macron Jealous of International Media Fawning Over Zelenskyy (CTH)

As the international media fawn over their latest social media star, the “Churchill in a T-shirt”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the former darling of EU media, French President Emmanuel Macron is apparently feeling slighted. Western PR teams have been working diligently to maintain the “better story,” as they advance the beatification of pop star Zelenskyy. The producers and directors for Volodymyr’s scruff and edgy leadership have kept his fans updated on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as Ride of The Valkyries echos as a background theme while team-Z dodge cruise missiles on their way to the local Starbucks. However, all of this unilaterally focused adoration does not sit well with King Macron of Paris.

In an effort to combat the rugged warlike appeal of St. Zelenskyy of Kyiv, the thirsty French president called for immediate poses of him in a series of similarly scruffy press shots. Thanks to social media adoration, Zelenskyy, the modern EU trendsetter, is making beatnik great again. There are already rumors of a run on vintage jeans, sneakers and T-shirts within Brussels, as several NATO leaders dispatch their aides looking for the hot, new and modern authentic war look. A daily series of live-streamed war summits are likely in the works as NATO leadership start catching up to the pop-optics by organizing burning barrels of diesel fuel in the background of their zoom calls. With resources allocated, thirsty Macron is going to climb back on top.

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Ukraine will soon be a small problem. Because this will not.

World Economy Braces For Supply Chain Chaos As COVID Closes China (ZH)

The global economy is in disarray as the war in Ukraine unleashed a commodity shock with increasing risks of stagflation. Adding to the turmoil is an outbreak of COVID-19 in China that may unleash another supply chain crisis. News from China over the last day shows a new outbreak of the highly contagious omicron variant has infected more than 5,000 people, the most since the early days of the pandemic in early 2020. China’s zero-tolerance approach has shuttered factories and placed some 51 million people into some form of lockdown. Lockdowns have forced factories to idle production and risk snarling production from Apple iPhones to Amazon Echo & Alexa devices to Toyota SUVs to smart television to all sorts of other electronic devices. Disruptions to exports may induce shortages and drive up inflation, just as the Federal Reserve embarks on hiking interest rates to control inflation at four-decade highs.

A Bank of America Corp. survey of fund managers published on Tuesday showed confidence in global growth this year is the lowest since July 2008, and stagflation expectations have jumped to a whopping 62% of respondents. “You take all these little paper cuts and you start to add them up and you could be looking at a potential significant slowing of the global economy,” said Jay Bryson, chief economist at Wells Fargo & Co. China’s zero-tolerance policy has reminded us that supply chains are still subjected to massive disruptions. The lockdowns couldn’t come at a worse time, as spring tends to be one of the busiest shipping seasons of the year.

Shenzhen’s 17.5 million residents were placed under lockdown on Sunday. The city resides in Guangdong, a coastal province of southeast China known for its manufacturing hub and ports, which account for about 11% of China’s economy. The province accounted for 23% of China’s shipments in 2021. Bloomberg Economics warns that a prolonged lockdown in Shenzhen could unleash supply chain disruptions worldwide. “The forceful action to contain the worst COVID-19 outbreak since early March will deal a direct hit to the production and consumption sides of a province that accounts for 11% of GDP. Previous steps to contain virus flareups left manufacturing unscathed for the most part. This lockdown will hit output in key industries such as tech and machinery that feed into global supply chains,” Chang Shu, chief economist for Asia, said.

“Given that China is a major global manufacturing hub and one of the most important links in global supply chains, the country’s Covid policy can have notable spillovers to its trading partners’ activity and the global economy,” said Tuuli McCully, head of Asia-Pacific economics at Scotiabank. According to Stephanie Loomis, vice president of International Procurement, the global impact of lockdowns could roil supply chains once more. “If they don’t let any of these guys go to factories and produce goods, then nothing will move,” Loomis said. “It’ll just stop.”

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Biden really pissed off MBS.

Saudi Arabia May Accept Yuan Instead Of Dollars For Chinese Oil Sales (JTN)

Saudi Arabia and China are in discussions to price some oil sales in yuan instead of U.S. dollars in a slap to the Biden administration that would decrease the dominance of the American currency in the international petroleum market, sources told The Wall Street Journal. While Beijing and Riyadh have been in discussions on and off for several years about yuan-priced oil contracts, talks have accelerated recently due to U.S. security policies under President Joe Biden, people familiar with the issue told the newspaper. The Saudis are angry with the United States for not assisting in their intervention in Yemen’s civil war, started by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in 2014. The Kingdom is also upset over the Biden administration’s efforts to enter a nuclear deal with Iran.


Saudi officials also have expressed disapproval over Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. “I don’t know which word to use, whether incompetence, carelessness, bad management — it was all a combination of those things,” Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal told CNBC last year. Saudi Arabia exports 6.2 million barrels of crude oil a day and has traded in dollars exclusively since 1974 when President Richard Nixon struck a deal with the kingdom by guaranteeing security. China buys more than a quarter of all Saudi oil exports, according to the WSJ. If the sales are priced in yuan, it would be a major boost to China’s currency as 80% of all global oil sales are done in dollars. Beijing introduced yuan-priced oil contracts in 2018, but has been unable to successfully beat the dollar in the global oil market.

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“warm base manufacturing”

Safe and Effective? (Malone)

There is another important element in the national vaccine program, which is the requirement to keep the vaccine production facilities up and running. These facilities are producing a biological product; they must be kept in production or the process for re-licensure is onerous, if not impossible. In the case of seasonal flu, one of the justifications for the yearly vaccine is to keep the manufacturing plants running and ready for business in case of a truly severe strain of flu or some other, unknown pathogen become a threat. If those facilities are moth-balled, they can’t be brought back on line quickly. Bet you did not know that. One major reason for pushing annual influenza vaccines is to maintain influenza vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The industry term used is “warm base manufacturing”. Of course, this results in a very nice annual “cash cow” for the vaccine industry, one which gets annually milked for a tidy guaranteed profit. The term “rent seeking behavior” applies. The same is true of the various “biodefense” vaccines and products which are maintained in the “strategic national stockpile”. In the context of Smallpox, these include ACAM2000. These products have half lives, which is to say that even though they are (hopefully) not used, they still have to be replaced every few years. Again, nice predictable profit. The corporation “Emergent Biololutions” has become particularly adept at exploiting this “market opportunity”, and has managed to monopolize many of the biodefense-related vaccines and products which the US Government purchases for the Strategic National Stockpile, including ACAM2000.

So, there is more than one reason to vaccinate the entire population on a regular basis, and the government basically props up the entire vaccine industry with what are functionally major annual subsidies. Once a policy decision is made to acquire a vaccine product or establish a “standard of care” involving a vaccine, it is never re-evaluated. Any politician or government administrator that even considers rethinking whether a vaccine policy makes good sense is confronted by the specter of being blamed for any outbreak or cases of that disease that may arise – regardless of how (in)effective or risky that vaccine product may be.

[..] To bring this topic home: Is avoiding COVID-19/Omicron worth taking the known and unknown risks of serious adverse events? In some age categories, it might be. In most age categories, it is not worth much risk. For young people, it is not worth any risk, and for children, the risks of the Covid vaccine far outweigh the risks of Covid. The US Government had relentlessly promoted that “The vaccines are safe and effective,” the same words used for the modern smallpox vaccine. In both cases, safety is a matter of opinion and semantics – not science. Clearly, safety is relative, such as the precautions one might take when skydiving or riding a motorcycle (e.g., having a second parachute, wearing a helmet) – in order to reach the point that an activity is acceptably safe, all the while knowing it’s safer to just skip the activity.

If I proposed a person drink some potion, and said “This potion is safe, unless you are from a family with a history of heart problems,” few people would want the drink. If I added “Oh yeah, and the Mayo Clinic says the risk of side effects from this potion are too high to justify you drinking it, I’d have even fewer takers. Mandates, which are rigid by definition, seem a bad match for assessments of personal safety, which are, by our nature, flexible and variable. Since the word safe and the idea of safety means different things to different people, such decisions are best left to those who would be most affected by, in this case, vaccination.

The smallpox vaccine shows us what the CDC means when they say something is “safe,” and it isn’t what most people using the word would mean. With risk must come choice. This is the bedrock foundation of modern bioethics and medicine. After all that we have been through over the last two years, and the admission the the CDC has been withholding data from all of us for political reasons and to avoid “vaccine hesitancy” (which is another way of saying if you knew what the data really show you would not accept the product), who are you going to trust? Your own lying eyes and brain, or what the CDC, HHS, legacy media and the “factchecking” industry tell you?

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“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may not even allow the House to vote on the measure.”

Senate Votes To Repeal CDC’s Mask Mandate For Airline Passengers (JTN)

The Senate voted Tuesday to repeal the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 mandate requiring masks on public transportation, including airplanes. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced the resolution that received bipartisan support with a 57 to 40 vote. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican to vote against the measure. Eight Democratic senators voted in support of the resolution: Michael Bennet, Jacky Rosen, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Maggie Hassan, Mark Kelly, Joe Manchin, Kristen Sinema and Jon Tester. The resolution, which was first introduced in February, expresses disapproval of the CDC’s mask mandate.

The resolution still faces significant challenges to become law. It did not receive enough votes to override the veto that President Joe Biden has threatened to do. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may not even allow the House to vote on the measure. “Today, the Senate said enough is enough, and sent a message to unelected government bureaucrats to stop the anti-science, nanny state requirement of travel mask mandates,” Sen. Paul wrote in a press release after the vote. “Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals travelling on public transit and airplanes,” the senator, who is also a doctor, wrote.

Sen. Paul has fought against what he sees as an abuse of power from White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. “As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness,” Paul said. “That is why, I forced this vote, and I applaud the Senate for rejecting this nonsense.”

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“There are a lot of boxes you have to check before you jump on a lawsuit..”

Several States Mulling Lawsuit To End Biden Mask Mandate On Airlines (JTN)

Several states are considering a lawsuit to end one of the Biden administration’s last COVID-19 mandates requiring airline passengers to wear masks, Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita told Just the News. “We are having discussions about that right now,” Rokita told the Just the News TV show on Real America’s Voice on Tuesday night, saying Florida is taking the lead on the idea. The Transportation Security Administration last Thursday extended its mask mandate on public transportation through April 18 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced relaxed mask guidance at the end of last month.


“I know that several states may be filing very, very soon, maybe being led by the state of Florida,” Rokita told Just the News Editor-in-Chief John Solomon and co-host Amanda Head. Indiana is currently “examining” if they can join the lawsuit, Rokita said. “It’s just not as easy as when I was in Congress, just to jump on a lawsuit like we’re jumping on a bill,” the former congressman said. States must show that they have legal standing and actual injury before joining a lawsuit, the Rokita explained. “There are a lot of boxes you have to check before you jump on a lawsuit,” he added. A group of 16 Republican lawmakers on Monday filed a lawsuit against the CDC for what they said was an “illegal mask mandate for individuals traveling on commercial airlines,” Newsweek reported.

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Flavio Cadegiani is a doctor in Brasilia, capital of Brazil.

“Dr. Cadegiani reveals an astonishing statistic on the number of vaccine injured: 85%.”

Dr. Flavio Cadegiani On How Pfizer Corrupts Science (Kirsch)

Dr. Cadegiani just published a new research paper (“Pfizergate 2.0 – Active actions against competitive anti- COVID drugs? The case of the anti-androgens.”) that shows that there is no rational explanation for the corruption of clinical trial results other than deliberate sabotage by Pfizer to ensure that there are no viable competitors to Pfizer’s products. I interviewed him just minutes before he published the paper. In the video, he talks about Proxalutimide, an anti-androgen drug he tested that is effective against variants prior to Omicron. But his main issue is in the trials of enzalutamide (another anti-androgen) and how it was conducted. At the very end, Dr. Cadegiani reveals an astonishing statistic on the number of vaccine injured: 85%.

 

 

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Rand Paul keeps pushing.

These 6 Republicans Voted Against Ousting Fauci (DW)

Six Republican senators voted against an amendment Tuesday that would eliminate the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) position, which is held by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senators voted on Kentucky Republican Rand Paul’s amendment to replace the NIAID with three separate national research institutes on Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C. Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Jerry Moran of Kansas each voted against the amendment. “We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief,’” said Paul when he introduced the amendment Monday, adding, “No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans.”


“This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer funded position that has largely abused its power, and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senator continued. Paul and Fauci have repeatedly sparred in Senate hearings over Fauci’s insistence on restricting the American public throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and the Kentucky Republican has called many times for Fauci to be ousted from his position. When Fauci suggested on “CBS This Morning” that Republicans — and former President Donald Trump — have a “misplaced perception about people’s individual right to make a decision that supersedes the societal safety,” Paul said that his comments showed a “casual disregard for what this country was founded upon.”

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“They want people stripped of wealth, isolated, and terrified.”

From 15 Days to Two Years (Kelly)

On Saturday morning, my daughter in college texted me: “I got sent home two years ago today. Feels like a dream.” After I responded, she sent an uncharacteristically brief reply: “Sad.” To say the least. In March 2020, once-free citizens around the world surrendered their liberty and livelihoods in a futile attempt to “stop” a virus. The most technologically advanced civilization in the history of mankind quickly adopted medieval fixes that bordered on quackery, sold by snake oil salesmen in the credentialied class and news media, codified through executive fiat by elected leaders of both parties. “Just 15 days,” we were told on March 16, 2020, “to slow the spread.” Do your part to promote the “common good”—the historical rallying cry of every wannabe despot—or be branded a heartless heretic.

And it worked, far better than the original architects probably anticipated. On the same day my daughter left her college dormitory in upstate New York, not to return to a normal campus life for two years, I posted this on Twitter: This is what the Left wants. They want people stripped of wealth, isolated, and terrified. They want sources of joy—church, sporting events, vacations, large social gatherings—eliminated. This is how they get control. And it’s far scarier than any virus. To say that was a very unpopular view at the time would be an understatement. But having covered the climate change movement for years, I recognized a familiar approach to the spread of COVID-19 hysteria: use flawed data to whip up a public frenzy and shut down all debate in fealty to “science!”

Any disagreement over the data, no matter how unreliable or untested the data happened to be—and in the early months, the only available data came from China—made you a “science denier,” or worse. This time around, sadly, the hysteria wasn’t pushed solely by lefty environmental activists but also by President Donald Trump, Republican governors, and “conservative” influencers throughout the media. Once that buy-in was made, all hope was lost. Trump’s catastrophic decision to acquiesce to the demands of Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx—the former a charlatan, the latter a dunce—and shut down the country two years ago this week was by far the worst moment in his presidency and rivals the worst moment in any presidency. As usual, however, Trump’s first instinct (the one he suppressed to appease those demanding we honor The Science™) was the right one.

The cure should not be worse than the disease, he fretted. He knew it, but he listened to the quacks anyway. The cure, of course, got worse. Emboldened by their success in forcing Trump to authorize the first 15-day shutdown, the then-adored Fauci and Birx took it a step further. With two dubious projection models in hand, the pair went to the White House at the end of March 2020 and convinced Trump to extend the lockdowns another month. The decision sealed his electoral fate; the booming economy he helped build entered a death spiral.

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“..viruses are worth A LOT of money (and will continue to appreciate exponentially for obvious reasons).”

A Closer Look at the Gatekeepers of Medical Research (NBW)

First, it is necessary to understand where the majority of funds go for health research. For this, we’ll rely on an article published in Health Research Policy and Systems titled The 10 largest public and philanthropic funders of health research in the world: what they fund and how they distribute their funds. According to the researchers, in 2013, the National Institute of Health (NIH) granted $4.8 billion dollars towards infectious disease research (including $113 million towards respiratory infections and $2.8 billion to HIV/AIDS research). They also gave grants to research involving cardiovascular disease ($1.9 billion), lung cancer ($208 million) and mental health ($2.1 billion). The European Commission, Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome Trust also direct the majority of their grants towards research involving infectious diseases.

A paper published in The Lancet, titled UK investments in global infectious disease research 1997–2010: a case study found that between 1997-2010, virology was the highest funded category of infectious disease research and the largest funders of such research in the UK were the Wellcome Trust (£688 million) and the MRC (£673 million). The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation also direct the majority of their “philanthropical” efforts towards combating infectious diseases, with less than 3% of their budget being directed towards non-communicable disease. So what does all this mean? Well, it means that viruses are worth A LOT of money (and will continue to appreciate exponentially for obvious reasons).

Perhaps this explains why the claim that Sars-Cov-2 doesn’t exist is treated with such ardent censorship and disdain compared to the germ-friendly “lab-leak” theory which has now wormed its way into the mainstream narrative, supported even by those on the more alternative side. Whether true or untrue, what many people fail to consider is the extent to which this theory favours the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, not only does it favour Big Pharma, it favours the WEF hoaxsters by strengthening the “deadly virus” narrative, it favours vaccine manufacturers, it favours virologists, it favours the Western powers, it favours the bankers, it favours Hollywood, it favours the CDC, and it favours the WHO!

The “lab-leak” hypothesis favours just about every organization or group associated with the Covid scamdemic. And let’s not forget that theories of mutant viruses escaping from laboratories certainly favour any researcher who could benefit from the massive amounts of money sloshing around in the kitties of the world’s medical gatekeepers. But who are these gatekeepers who control, direct and manipulate medical research for control and profit? That is the main subject of this article.

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Most of the time they do.

 

 

US biolabs and pathogens
https://twitter.com/i/status/1503682999887581191

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

 

 

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Jun 032021
 


Vincent van Gogh Avenue of Poplars at Sunset 1884

 

Tucker Carlson Levels Fauci After FOIA Emails Connect The Dots (ZH)
Fauci’s Upcoming Book Scrubbed On Amazon, Barnes & Noble Amid Backlash (JTN)
Wuhan Lab Chief To NIH Conference: ‘No Regulation’ On Virus Manipulation (NP)
Israel: Likely Link Between Pfizer Vaccine And Myocarditis In Young Males (RT)
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett To Build New Kind Of Nuclear Reactor In Wyoming (R.)
Why The US Isn’t Going To Nuke Anyone From Orbit Anytime Soon (RT)
The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun (Greenwald)
Daniel Ellsberg Wants The US To Prosecute Him Under The Espionage Act (IC)
‘Dying for an iPhone’ (Chris Hedges)
China Rushes To Pull Back The Yuan From A Three-Year High (CNBC)
Olympics Will Go Ahead, Says Tokyo Games Chief (G.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker Berenson

 

 

An anagram for Dr Anthony Fauci is China Fraud Tony

 

 

“Fauci supported the grotesque and dangerous experiments that appeared to have made COVID possible.”

Tucker Carlson Levels Fauci After FOIA Emails Connect The Dots (ZH)

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson ripped “the utter fraudulence of Tony Fauci” Wednesday night, after BuzzFeed and the Washington Post obtained thousands of pages of emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, revealing that the nation’s top virologist was telling the public one thing, while furiously working on damage control and narrative-shaping as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. According to Carlson, Americans assumed “that the man in charge of protecting the US from COVID must be rational and impressive,” adding “We also assumed he must be honest. But we were wrong.

“It soon became clear that Tony Fauci was just another sleazy federal bureaucrat – deeply political and often dishonest. More shocking than that we then learned that Fauci himself was implicated in the very pandemic he’d been charged with fighting.” “Fauci supported the grotesque and dangerous experiments that appeared to have made COVID possible.” -Tucker Carlson. Fauci’s emails collectively show that “from the beginning, Tony Fauci was worried that the public might conclude COVID had originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” “Why would he be concerned that Americans would conclude that?” Tucker asked. “Possibly because Tony Fauci knew that he had funded gain-of-function experiments at that very same laboratory.”

“The emails prove that Fauci lied about this under oath,” said Tucker, who highlighted an email from scientist Christian G. Anderson to Fauci, saying that he and his fellow scientists felt the virus looked ‘potentially’ engineered, and that members of his team “all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory.” Fauci then sent an urgent email to his deputy – Hugh Auchincloss – with the subject “IMPORTANT,” and which read “Hugh, it is essential that we speak this AM. Keep your cell phone on … You will have tasks today that must be done.”

Tucker Fauci

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Wonder why. Can’t be the negative publicity, there hasn’t been enough of that.

Fauci’s Upcoming Book Scrubbed On Amazon, Barnes & Noble Amid Backlash (JTN)

White House coronavirus adviser and long-time U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s upcoming book has been scrubbed from and altered on online listings, amid criticism that he is profiting from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The book, “Expect the Unexpected,” was earlier pegged for a November release, according to its Amazon listing. As of Wednesday morning, the book’s listing had been entirely scrubbed from Amazon. However, a cached version of the listing, still displayed the book’s promotional description and preorder status. A cached website also shows the book’s listing on Barnes & Noble’s website, though by Wednesday morning that listing was no longer live anymore. The book appeared to still be available for preorder on some lesser known vendors such as Booktopia.


The scrubbing of the book comes after backlash from critics who accused Fauci of profiting off of the deadly pandemic the U.S. response to which he has overseen. Among those criticizing Fauci is Fox News Channel contributor Joe Concha, who compared him to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing a seven-figure book deal about his efforts during the pandemic, which resulted in a high number of death among assisted-living residents. “If you look at the numbers again, you had Cuomo profiting off a pandemic, a government official,” said Concha, also a media reporter for The Hill newspaper. “Now we have Fauci doing it as well. I think this is appalling.”

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Why go to Wuhan? Well…

Wuhan Lab Chief To NIH Conference: ‘No Regulation’ On Virus Manipulation (NP)

The National Institutes of Health hosted Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers at a 2011 conference focusing on scientific research that could pose a “significant threat” to human health – including manipulation of bat coronaviruses. At the event, the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Deputy Director repeatedly asserted that his controversial lab had “no regulation” on this form of risky research, The National Pulse can exclusively reveal. The 2011 event – Continuing the Global Dialogue with the Scientific and Science Policy Community with a Focus on Asia and the Western Pacific – was sponsored by the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and sought to provide participants with a “greater understanding” of Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC).

Defined by the NIH as research “that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety,” DURC encompasses gain-of-function studies, which have come under increased scrutiny due to their role in potentially spawning COVID-19. Among the event participants were Wuhan Institute of Virology Deputy Director Yuan Zhiming, NIH Associate Director for Science Policy Amy Patterson, and top American researchers and scientific advisory board members. The NIH’s unearthed role in hosting the event follows National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci denying his agency’s relationship to the Wuhan lab.

While speaking at the event via telephone, Yuan Zhiming repeatedly emphasized that his lab and China lacked any meaningful regulation of dual-use research. “There’s no regulation in China, there’s no regulation on the identification of some dual-use research, and there’s no regulation on the classification of research or the classification of information,” he explained. “Even China, the biosafety and biosecurity philosophy is regulated by Chinese scientific community, but the dual-use research is not totally regulated. So we need to have some measure or some special program to raise the concern of principal investigators through training.”

Yuan reiterated the sentiment in his closing remarks to the conference, commenting “there’s no regulation on the dual-use identification and classification of some sensitive information, and I think maybe later the Chinese government and the Chinese scientific community will focus on the discussion in this matter.” Since the outbreak of COVID-19, however, Yuan has made rounds on American and Chinese state-run media outlets to discredit the possibility of the virus leaking from his lab.

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“The number of cases reported after the second shot was four times greater than those recorded after the first..”

Israel: Likely Link Between Pfizer Vaccine And Myocarditis In Young Males (RT)

A specially appointed epidemiological team has found “a likelihood of a link” between receiving the second dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine and the onset of myocarditis in young men, Israel’s Health Ministry said in a statement. The ministry says the team was set up following reports of cases of heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, among males aged 16 to 30 shortly after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was administered. The link was found to be stronger in people aged 16-19 relative to other age groups, and weakens as the age of the recipients increases. Most patients who experienced the problem spent up to four days in the hospital, and 95% of the cases were classified as mild, according to the ministry.

The Health Ministry commissioned the study after 275 cases of myocarditis were reported in Israel between December 2020 and May 2021. Nearly 150 cases were recorded after the vaccine was administered. The number of cases reported after the second shot was four times greater than those recorded after the first, the ministry said. Myocarditis is a condition characterized by chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, and can be caused by Covid-19, according to the ministry. While the type of vaccine in question is not directly mentioned in the statement, Israel relies almost exclusively on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it’s the only product mentioned on the vaccination information page of the Health Ministry website.

Pfizer said in a statement cited by Reuters that it has not recorded a higher rate of myocarditis than would normally be expected in the general population. The pharma giant added that it was aware of the Israeli observations of myocarditis but has not established a causal link to its vaccine. The Israeli Health Ministry says that given the findings, it will review the 12-15-year-old population’s eligibility for the vaccine. The shot was recently approved in the EU for people aged 12 and older.

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Oh, just lovely.

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett To Build New Kind Of Nuclear Reactor In Wyoming (R.)

Power companies run by billionaire friends Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have chosen Wyoming to launch the first Natrium nuclear reactor project on the site of a retiring coal plant. TerraPower, founded by Gates about 15 years ago, and power company PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, said on Wednesday that the exact site of the Natrium reactor demonstration plant was expected to be announced by the end of the year. Small advanced reactors, which run on different fuels to traditional reactors, are regarded by some as a critical carbon-free technology than can supplement intermittent power sources like wind and solar as states strive to cut emissions that cause climate change. “We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry,” Gates told a media conference to launch the project in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“This is our fastest and clearest course to becoming carbon negative,” Wyoming’s governor, Mark Gordon, said. “Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy” in Wyoming, the country’s top coal-producing state. The project features a 345 megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with molten salt-based energy storage that could boost the system’s power output to 500MW during peak power demand. TerraPower said last year that the plants would cost about $1bn. Late last year the US energy department awarded TerraPower $80m in initial funding to demonstrate Natrium technology, and the department has committed additional funding in coming years subject to congressional appropriations.

Chris Levesque, TerraPower’s president and chief executive, said the demonstration plant would take about seven years to build. “We need this kind of clean energy on the grid in the 2030s,” he told reporters. Nuclear power experts have warned that advanced reactors could have higher risks than conventional ones. Fuel for many advanced reactors would have to be enriched at a much higher rate than conventional fuel, meaning the fuel supply chain could be an attractive target for militants looking to create a crude nuclear weapon, a recent report said. Levesque said that the plants would reduce proliferation risks because they reduce overall nuclear waste.

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Not even the US is that crazy.

Why The US Isn’t Going To Nuke Anyone From Orbit Anytime Soon (RT)

Low-orbit space planes have been named as a possible carrier of American nuclear warheads. While theoretically possible, at current technology levels such weapons would be significantly more trouble than they are worth.
According to the director-general of Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey, Yan Novikov, the US has orbital bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Variants of the Boeing X-37 orbital test vehicle, launched in 2010 and officially used for scientific purposes, can theoretically carry up to six warheads, Novikov claimed during a virtual educational forum in Russia in May. In the words of Kyle Mizokami, who wrote an article on this for Popular Mechanics, “this isn’t even a good idea”.

While Mizokami’s take is titled “Don’t believe Russia”, and its main thrust is apparently that Mr. Novikov is hyping up the US orbital nukes threat to boost the sales of Almaz-Antey’s surface-to-space missiles, he does have some good points that explain why the dangers of orbital bombing are more than a little exaggerated. First off, putting nukes on an X-37 to then launch them from orbit will require extensive modification to the weapons, which will only allow two or, at best, three, to be taken on board – not nearly enough for an effective surprise attack. And to carry an element of surprise, it would have to approach Russia from a very specific direction to avoid the radars of early-warning systems – and even so, it won’t be able to hide from visual detection.

Aside from the lack of surprise, there is a long list of problems associated with space planes carrying nuclear payloads. “The idea of placing strategic nuclear weapons in low Earth orbit isn’t new. It emerged with the first successful launches of the Earth’s artificial satellites,” ex-chief of the General Staff of the Air Defense Forces, Honored Military Pilot, Colonel-General of Aviation Igor Maltsev says. According to him, for a number of reasons, space projects like this never went beyond concept or, at best, preliminary design. Why was that the case? Technically, the goal of putting these weapons in space is achievable, says Igor Maltsev. Anything can be launched to space. But when the idea is to create a strategic weapons system in orbit, there are a number of challenges that have, so far, prevented any significant progress along these lines.

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“..ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized.”

The New Domestic War on Terror Has Already Begun (Greenwald)

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday issued a new warning bulletin, alerting Americans that domestic extremists may well use violence on the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre. This was at least the fourth such bulletin issued this year by Homeland Security (DHS) warning of the same danger and, thus far, none of the fears it is trying to instill into the American population has materialized. The first was a January 14 warning, from numerous federal agencies including DHS, about violence in Washington, DC and all fifty state capitols that was likely to explode in protest of Inauguration Day (a threat which did not materialize). Then came a January 27 bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment across the United States that is likely to persist over the coming weeks” from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority” (that warning also was not realized).

Then there was a May 14 bulletin warning of right-wing violence “to attack higher-capacity targets,” exacerbated by the lifting of COVID lockdowns (which also never happened). And now we are treated to this new DHS warning about domestic extremists preparing violent attacks over Tulsa (it remains to be seen if a DHS fear is finally realized). Just like the first War on Terror, these threats are issued with virtually no specificity. They are just generalized warnings designed to put people in fear about their fellow citizens and to justify aggressive deployment of military and law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country. A CNN article which wildly hyped the latest danger bulletin about domestic extremists at Tulsa had to be edited with what the cable network, in an “update,” called “the additional information from the Department of Homeland Security that there is no specific or credible threats at this time.”

And the supposed dangers from domestic extremists on Inauguration Day was such a flop that even The Washington Post — one of the outlets most vocal about lurking national security dangers in general and this one in particular — had to explicitly acknowledge the failure: Thousands [of National Guard troops] had been deployed to capitals across the country late last week, ahead of a weekend in which potentially violent demonstrations were predicted by the FBI — but never materialized. Once again on Wednesday, security officials’ worst fears weren’t borne out: In some states, it was close to business as usual. In others, demonstrations were small and peaceful, with only occasional tense moments.

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“The study shows American generals enthusiastically planning for the use of nuclear weapons against China.”

Daniel Ellsberg Wants The US To Prosecute Him Under The Espionage Act (IC)

“The whole idea is to kill the bastards,” Gen. Thomas Power, commander of America’s nuclear forces from 1957 to 1963, once said about the use of atomic weapons. “At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win.” The hold this nuclear lunacy had on the top of the U.S. government is terrifyingly illuminated in a top-secret study of U.S. war plans newly publicized by famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. The document, produced by the RAND Corporation and copied by Ellsberg at the same time he exfiltrated the Pentagon Papers from RAND, examines the U.S. response to the 1958 Taiwan Strait Crisis. The study’s contents were first reported on May 22 by the New York Times.

The crisis, now completely forgotten, began when China attempted to seize several small islands off its coast from Taiwan. The study shows American generals enthusiastically planning for the use of nuclear weapons against China. It is not simply that the officials looked with equanimity on the possibility of killing millions; rather, many seemed frustrated that there were any delays forced upon them by the rest of the government. If China had not changed course, civilization could have ended then and there. Ellsberg is now speaking out about the study, he said in a phone interview, for a straightforward reason: “I got scared.” The issues that led to the 1958 crisis between the U.S. and China have never been resolved; both countries are now ramping up confrontational rhetoric; and most importantly, the strategic rationale that led the U.S. to consider nuclear war then remains exactly the same today.

“You shouldn’t be confident that the current calculations are any less crazy,” Ellsberg said. His apprehension about the potential use of nuclear weapons is intimately linked to another of his key concerns: the Justice Department’s accelerating use of the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute leakers. Its chilling effect on potential whistleblowers makes it less and less likely that Americans will even know what their government is doing, much less be able to do anything about it. Ellsberg hopes his latest revelation will prompt a cultural and perhaps legal reckoning for the Act.

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“Workers are abused, underpaid and sickened from exposure to chemicals and toxins such as aluminum dust.”

‘Dying for an iPhone’ (Chris Hedges)

Global capitalists have turned back the clock to the early days of the Industrial Revolution. The working class is increasingly bereft of rights, blocked from forming unions, paid starvation wages, subject to wage theft, under constant surveillance, fired for minor infractions, exposed to dangerous carcinogens, forced to work overtime, given punishing quotas and abandoned when they are sick and old. Workers have become, here and abroad, disposable cogs to corporate oligarchs, who wallow in obscene personal wealth that dwarfs the worst excesses of the Robber Barons. In fashionable liberal circles there are, as Noam Chomsky notes, worthy and unworthy victims. Nancy Pelosi has called on global leaders not to attend the Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in Beijing in February, because of what she called a “genocide” being carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur minority.

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof in a column rattled off a list of human rights violations overseen by China’s leader Xi Jinping, writing “[Xi] eviscerates Hong Kong freedoms, jails lawyers and journalists, seizes Canadian hostages, threatens Taiwan and, most horrifying, presides over crimes against humanity in the far western region of Xinjiang that is home to several Muslim minorities.” Not a word about the millions of workers in China who are treated little better than serfs. They live separated from their families, including their children, and housed in overcrowded company dormitories, which sees rent deducted from their paychecks, next to factories that have round-the-clock production, often making products for U.S. corporations. Workers are abused, underpaid and sickened from exposure to chemicals and toxins such as aluminum dust.

The suffering of the working class, within and outside the United States, is as ignored by our corporatized media as the suffering of the Palestinians. And yet, I would argue, it is one of the most important human rights issues of our era, since once workers are empowered, they can fend off other human rights violations. Unless workers can organize, here and in countries such as China, and achieve basic rights and living wages, it will cement into place a global serfdom that will leave workers trapped in the appalling conditions described by Friedrich Engels in his 1845 book “The Conditions of the Working Class in England” or Émile Zola‘s 1885 masterpiece “Germinal.”

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Small moves so far, more like virtue signalling.

China Rushes To Pull Back The Yuan From A Three-Year High (CNBC)

China is trying to rein in the yuan as it surges to three-year highs against the U.S. dollar. A stronger yuan makes Chinese goods relatively more expensive to buyers overseas, and has spurred concerns about the competitiveness of Chinese exports — a major contributor to national economic growth. The Chinese yuan traded little changed against the U.S. dollar Thursday after the People’s Bank of China set the yuan’s daily midpoint at 6.3811 versus the greenback. That marked the second-straight day of weaker fixings, reversing six straight trading days of stronger fixings since May 24, according to data from Wind Information.

The PBOC has tried to allow the market to play a greater role in deter mining the yuan’s exchange rate. But the central bank retains some control through daily midpoint fixings against the dollar, allowing the yuan to move 2% higher or lower from that level. The weaker fix followed the central bank’s announcement late Monday that beginning June 15, financial institutions must increase the ratio of their foreign exchange deposits by 2 percentage points — to 7% from 5% currently. The hike forces banks to retain more of their foreign currency holdings, reducing the amount that could be used to influence foreign exchange rates.

It is the first such hike in 14 years since the previous change in May 2007 — before the financial crisis — economists pointed out. They estimate the move will reduce the amount of foreign currency available for long-term trading by $20 billion. Analysts said the exact dollar amount is less significant than the central bank’s message that the yuan will not move in a single direction of continued strengthening against the U.S. dollar.

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With 80% of Japanese against.

Olympics Will Go Ahead, Says Tokyo Games Chief (G.)

The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee, Seiko Hashimoto, has said the Games will go ahead as planned, soon after the Japan’s most senior medical adviser said holding the event under current coronavirus conditions was “not normal”. “We cannot postpone again,” Hashimoto said an interview published on Thursday in the Nikkan Sports newspaper. Shigeru Omi, head of a panel of experts that has been advising the Japanese government on its Covid-19 response since the start of the pandemic, issued his strongest warning yet of the potential risks of holding the Games. “It’s not normal to have the Olympics in a situation like this,” Omi told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, adding that organisers should explain to a sceptical public why it was pushing ahead with preparations.

Most Japanese people do not want Tokyo 2020 to be held this summer, according to recent opinion polls. Medical journals have questioned the wisdom of allowing 90,000 athletes, media, sponsors, officials and support staff to enter the country in July, while medical unions say the Games will place additional pressure on health services. The public broadcaster NHK reported that about 10,000 of the 80,000 volunteers who signed up to help during the Games have quit, but organisers said the lower numbers would not be “particularly problematic” since the decision had already been taken to ban spectators from overseas. “There’s no mistake that concerns over the coronavirus could have been a factor,” as well as scheduling conflicts due to last year’s postponement, the Nikkei business paper quoted Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto as saying.

[..] Tokyo and several other regions are under a state of emergency that is due to end on 20 June. While the rate of infections is falling in the capital, there is concern about the risks posed by new variants and Japan’s slow vaccine rollout. The vaccination programme has gathered pace in recent days, but only 2.7% of Japan’s 126 million population has been fully vaccinated. In an attempt to speed up the process with just 50 days to go before the opening ceremony, the government has said large companies and universities will be able to start inoculating staff and students from 21 June. Japan has avoided the large-scale infections suffered by many other countries, but serious cases have risen during the latest outbreak. It has reported more than 750,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and about 13,200 deaths, a relatively high number among Asian countries.

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Jul 262020
 


Elaine de Kooning Fairfield Porter #1 1954

 

 

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the first half of 2020 has brought, among many other things, renewed calls for the demise of the US dollar. It’s been pretty much a non-stop call for over a decade now, and longer. But this time, like all previous ones, I’m thinking: I don’t see it. I guess my first question is always: please explain why the dollar would collapse before the euro does.

For one thing, the dollar would have to collapse/default against one or more “entities”. The dollar is not like one of those highrises that collapse upon themselves. It will have to default or collapse against something(s) else. Since it is the world reserve currency, that means there would have to be a replacement reserve currency. Yes, that could also be for example gold or SDR’s, or even a basket of currencies, and something like that may happen eventually, but it doesn’t appear in the cards in the short run.

There are really only two candidates for the role, and neither looks at all fit to play it. The euro may have some ambitions in that direction, but it has far too many problems still. The yuan/renminbi certainly has such ambitions, but the Communist party refuses to let it get on stage to show what it’s got. As I recently wrote:

 

The main sticking point for Beijing is a conundrum it cannot solve. The CCP wants to have BOTH a global currency AND total control over that currency. It will have to choose between the two, and cannot make up its mind. So it pretends it doesn’t have to choose. Sure, there has been some advancement for the yuan, but I bet most of that is on the back of the Belt and Road (BRI), and that will turn out to be one of the main victims of the coronavirus. The BRI is China’s very clever way of exporting its overproduction, but potential buyers have other things on their mind today.


Meanwhile, even with that, the yuan is used in only 1.8% of cross-currency payments. [..] The sudden, and rushed, take-over of Hong Kong with the new security law will not help China’s plans to be accepted internationally. [..] The world’s large investors will not put their money into something that Xi Jinping can declare devalued by 50% on a rainy morning when he sees fit. He will have to cede that kind of control.

The euro has made some gains vs the USD recently, going from 1.07 to 1.16 or so, but that means very little once you look at the broader picture. Moreover, the reason the financial press provides for -much of- those gains, which is that the EU supposedly showed “unity” in its recent Recovery Fund talks, is bollocks.

If it showed one thing, it was a lack of unity. That’s why these were the longest talks they ever had. And if this had not been Angela Merkel’s last hurrah, they might not have agreed at all. They paid off the Frugal Four to the tune of hundreds of millions, and that’s how they got a deal. Horse traders.

A simple screenshot from Bloomberg of the USD vs EUR over the last five years makes clear why the recent changes are no big deal. (All BBG screenshots are from July 24 just before 10 AM EDT and all cover a 5 year period.)

 

 

A reserve currency has two roles: being the currency that most international trade is conducted in, and -closely related- being the currency that countries hold most as foreign exchange (FX) reserves. After WWII, the US dollar became the most important currency for trade more or less by default, a position that it greatly strengthened with the petrodollar.

A 2015 SWIFT paper provides details about the US dollar’s share of international trade:

The US dollar prevails as the dominant international trade currency, with a 51.9% share of the value of international currency usage in 2014. The euro is second, with a 30.5% share of the total value. The British pound is third, with a 5.4% share of the total value, followed by Asian currencies such as the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan.

That’s from five years ago, but things won’t have changed much. The system is complex and inert, it has a very strong resistance against large and sudden changes. (Do note that the euro’s share of international trade is substantially skewed because it includes payments between countries that use the euro as their currency, plus those EU countries that don’t -yet-). Single market, international trade.

And then there’s the dollar’s FX role.

In September 2019, Eswar Prasad at Brookings reported that the dollar’s share of global FX reserves remains around 65%.

The drop from 66 percent in 2015 to 62 percent in 2018, is probably a statistical artifact related to changes in the reporting of reserves. Compared with 2007, however, the dollar’s share of global FX reserves has declined by 2 percentage points while the euro’s share is down 6 percentage points. Over this period, the Japanese yen’s share has risen by 2 percentage points, while other less prominent reserve currencies have increased their total share by 4 percentage points. The renminbi, which was not an official reserve currency in 2007, now accounts for 2 percent of global FX reserves. [..] .. the euro has stumbled, the renminbi has stalled, and dollar supremacy remains unchallenged.

[..] In July 2019, China’s total official reserve assets amounted to just over $3.2 trillion, of which $3.1 trillion (97 percent of the total) was held in the form of FX reserves. Gold holdings amounted to about $89 billion [..] Coming amid rising trade tensions with the U.S., the 5 percent increase in China’s gold stock and the 24 percent increase in the value of its official gold holdings during 2019 have been interpreted as a sign of China’s attempting to diversify its reserve holdings away from U.S. dollars.

If this interpretation was indeed correct, China has a long way to go. Gold now accounts for 3 percent of China’s gross international reserves. From a global financial market perspective, and especially relative to its overall international reserves, the $18 billion increase in the value of China’s gold reserves during 2019 is trivial; it barely registers as a shift in the composition of China’s overall reserves.

Assuming that China still holds 58 percent of its FX reserves in dollar-denominated assets, the value of those assets in July 2019 was $1.8 trillion. So, the value of its gold reserves, $94 billion, is a mere one twentieth of that of China’s dollar-denominated reserves.

With the euro and yuan out of the way as potential reserve currency candidates, we can take a look at gold. Senior commenter Dr.D at the Automatic Earth recently wrote: “As advertised, the US$ is defaulting. What? Where? US$ has been cut in half compared to Silver in 3 months. US$ has been cut in half compared to BTC in 3 months. US$ has been cut in half compared to Gold in 4 years.

Like many people talking about a USD demise, perhaps that’s too much of a dollar-centric view and conclusion. Surely gold and silver can rise vs the USD without announcing an imminent collapse of the latter. And since precious metals tend to go up in times of uncertainty, and COVID has brought shovels full of just that, you would expect them to rise.

Therefore you would have to also look at how they do vs for example the euro, before concluding anything. Note: I didn’t include Bitcoin because it’s too new and volatile. Makes me think of the Lindy Effect, often cited by Nassim Taleb, the idea that the older something is, the longer it’s likely to be around in the future.

Here are a few more Bloomberg screenshots. And yes, gold has done well vs the USD in, say, the past two years, no doubt.

 

 

But gold has pretty much followed the exact same pattern vs the euro:

 

 

Silver has done even better, more recently, vs the USD, though compared to where it was in 2016 it’s not that big a step (barely more than 10%):

 

 

And the pattern of silver vs the euro is so similar it’s almost eery.

 

 

I don’t see anything there that would make me think the dollar is collapsing, no more than the euro is. What I see is gold and silver rising. People move into precious metals, perceived as safe havens; they always do when the world is in turmoil. And don’t forget there are trillions in additional recent central bank money sloshing around that have to move somewhere.

As for the changes of the USD vs the euro: we’ve already seen that they are not exceptional. Losing a few percent vs the euro will not collapse the dollar.

Also, there’s something missing in the discussion as far as I’ve seen: the option that it’s the US itself that wants a lower dollar at this point in time, and actively works to get it lower. A strong dollar works for a strong economy, but not for one weakened by a pandemic and an acrimonious political climate.

But the US has borrowed so much money!, you say. Yes, but so have Europe, and Japan, and China, everyone has who could.

 

A little more about gold, since some are clamoring for a return to the gold standard. Which is not likely, because too many parties would resist, either for ideological or practical reasons. But say you would consider it, then you would as one of the first things you do, look at gold reserves. Here are the top ten gold holding countries per March 2020, as assembled by TradingEconomics.com:

 

 

Note: Britain is not there, because “Between 1999 and 2002 the Treasury sold 401 tonnes of gold – out of its 715-tonne holding – at an average price of $275 an ounce, generating about $3.5bn during the period.” (BBC). Gold is at $1,900 today. Nuff said.

The US gold reserves are so large it would appear to give them an unfair advantage if a gold standard were considered. Same as they have in the current set-up. Then again, if you insert population numbers into the equation, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, even the Netherlands, have more in relative terms. Question is: where does that leave all the others?

Long story short: I don’t see a US dollar default or collapse in the near future. But by all means enlighten me.

 

 

 

 

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It’s very bad luck to draw the line
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X – Some other time

 

 

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Jul 062020
 


Dorothea Lange White Angel Breadline San Francisco 1933

 

100s Of Scientists Say Coronavirus Airborne, Ask For WHO Review (R.)
Australia Closes State Border For First Time In 100 Years (R.)
Time For China To Decouple The Yuan From US Dollar (SCMP)
Susan Rice Sees Stock Rise In Biden VP Race (Hill)
Susan Rice: Trump Picks Putin Over US Troops (Hill)
Schiff Learned Of Russian ‘Bounty’ Intel In February, Took No Action (Fed.)
Barr’s Team Startled In ‘First Chance’ To Assess Mueller Investigation (WE)
Nomi Prins: “We’re Living In A Permanent Distortion” (USAW)
Only Bold State Intervention Can Block A Future Owned By Corporate Giants (G.)
Prosecutors Seek Friday Court Appearance For Ghislaine Maxwell (R.)
Ohio Town Proclaims Itself A ‘Statue Sanctuary City’ (JTN)

 

 

New daily numbers are almost quiet. But now the weekend’s mostly over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had this yesterday via the Brussels Times, but now the NYT has picked it up. Much bigger news.

100s Of Scientists Say Coronavirus Airborne, Ask For WHO Review (R.)

Hundreds of scientists say there is evidence that the novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people and are calling for the World Health Organization to revise recommendations, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The WHO has said the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. In an open letter to the agency, which the researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, the NYT said. “We are aware of the article and are reviewing its contents with our technical experts,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email reply to a Reuters request for comment.


Whether carried by large droplets that zoom through the air after a sneeze, or by much smaller exhaled droplets that may glide the length of a room, the coronavirus is borne through air and can infect people when inhaled, the scientists said, according to the NYT. However, the health agency said the evidence for the virus being airborne was not convincing, according to the NYT. “Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence,” Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead of infection prevention and control, was quoted as saying by the NYT.

Read more …

Drones to track down people trying to swim across.

Australia Closes State Border For First Time In 100 Years (R.)

The border between Australia’s two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne. The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. Officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic. “It is the smart call, the right call at this time, given the significant challenges we face in containing this virus,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. The move will, however, likely be a blow to Australia’s economic recovery as it heads into its first recession in nearly three decades.


The number of COVID-19 cases in the Victorian capital of Melbourne has surged in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce strict social-distancing orders in 30 suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown. The state reported 127 new COVID-19 infections overnight, its biggest one-day spike since the pandemic began. It also reported two deaths, the first nationally in more than two weeks, taking the national tally to 106. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there was no timetable for reopening the border, which will be patrolled by the military to prevent illegal crossings from 11.59 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The state line is highly porous, with 55 roads, wilderness parks and rivers. Some businesses straddle both sides and several workers, and school children, commute daily.

Read more …

We keep on returning to the same mega problem for China: nobody wants the yuan. Can they force-feed it to enough parties?

Time For China To Decouple The Yuan From US Dollar (SCMP)

China must brace for a full-blown escalation of the struggle with the United States and prepare to gradually decouple the Chinese yuan from the US dollar, a former senior Chinese diplomat warned amid the continued downward spiral in relations between the world’s two largest economies. Zhou Li, a former deputy director of the Communist Party’s International Liaison Department – which manages relations with foreign political parties, organisations and elites – is the latest in a series of voices in China calling for the country to be ready for a currency split with the US amid growing signs of financial war in recent weeks.

“By taking advantage of the dollar’s global monopoly position in the financial sector, the US will pose an increasingly severe threat to China’s further development,” Zhou wrote in the full version of an article published on Saturday by the Beijing-based think tank Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University. China should now make preparations to insulate itself from “dollar hegemony and gradually achieve the decoupling of the renminbi from the US currency”, Zhou said. “The US dollar could become a major risk issue that ‘has us by the throat’.” Zhou’s comments come as Washington is set to impose new sanctions on Chinese officials and financial firms for their part in the new national security law for Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, passed by Congress last week, requires the administration to punish foreign banks if they continue to do business with sanctioned officials, including possibly denying them access to the global US dollar payment system. His remarks also mirrored a growing consensus in Beijing that China should “give up the illusion” of friendship but instead prepare for a full-fledged conflict with the US. [..] China holds more than US$2 trillion in overseas investments, the vast majority in developed countries and denominated in US dollars. China also holds US$1.07 trillion in US Treasury securities as part of its US$3 trillion foreign exchange reserves.

China must accelerate the internationalisation of the yuan, speed up the increase in cross-border payments and clearing arrangements for the yuan, establish local currency settlement mechanisms with more countries, and create conditions to maximise the use of the Chinese currency in global industrial supply chains, Zhou said. His views echoed a call by Fang Xinghai, a vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, who warned in a recent speech that China must make urgent preparations for being cut off from the US dollar payment system. “Yuan internationalisation is a must to offset external financial pressure,” Fang said.

Read more …

How to keep some focus on Biden while he’s hiding? Daily tidbits about VP candidates.

Susan Rice Sees Stock Rise In Biden VP Race (Hill)

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are getting most of the buzz, but former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is also getting a lot of attention in Joe Biden’s campaign as he considers who to pick as his running mate, sources say. Rice, who also served as former President Obama’s national security adviser, has seen her stock rise amid a series of crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic. “I know she’s very much in the mix,” a source close to the Biden campaign said. One factor to watch is Biden’s relationship with Rice. The two worked closely in the Obama administration, and personal chemistry is an underrated factor in vice presidential decisions.

“I know they have a good relationship — perhaps the best relationship of anyone on the list,” the source close to the Biden campaign said. “They’ve known each other for years, they’ve worked alongside each other and she’s been tested in a way that a lot of folks on the list just haven’t been.” Biden, who has committed to selecting a woman as his running mate, has said repeatedly that he is looking for someone who is “ready to be president on day one.” He is also under pressure by some Democrats to pick a woman of color after the death of George Floyd and the demonstrations that followed urging an end to systemic racism. Harris has widely been seen as the favorite, but sources said Rice should not be counted out.

“Everyone automatically thinks of Kamala when they think he needs to pick a woman of color. It’s become conventional wisdom,” said a source who worked in the Obama administration alongside Biden and Rice. “But if you look at Susan’s credentials, she makes perfect sense. She’s a rock star who has the confidence, stature and gravitas to be vice president.”

Read more …

And then put people like Rice out on TV shows, to test how people respond to her, and to create the illusion that there’s activity going on. If she can throw some outrageous claims out there, all the better.

Susan Rice: Trump Picks Putin Over US Troops (Hill)

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Sunday that President Trump picks Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. troops “even when it comes to the blood of American service members.” Rice, who also served as former President Obama’s national security adviser, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she believes Trump was briefed on the intelligence that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition service members in Afghanistan. “The message to Vladimir Putin is you can kill American servicemen and women with absolute impunity,” she said. “This is an extraordinary revelation. The president of the United States has demonstrated absolutely callous disregard for the safety and security of American forces in a war zone and there’s no explanation for this.”


“Now we learn that even when it comes to the blood of American service members, this president picks Putin over our troops,” she added. The former national security adviser said intelligence is “very, very rarely” proven with “100 percent certainty” after administration officials have claimed the intelligence was contradictory. She said if advisers did not inform Trump of the intelligence last year, she thinks it would be “because they’re scared of him.” Rice, a possible contender for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick, also cited that “everything [Trump] has done since” his denial of the intelligence community’s findings of Russian interference in the 2016 election, has benefited Russia.

Read more …

But can Rice really accuse Trump of risking US troops’ lives, while that angle has been largely discredited and Adam Schiff’s role has not?

Schiff Learned Of Russian ‘Bounty’ Intel In February, Took No Action (Fed.)

Top committee staff for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, were briefed in February on intelligence about Russia offering the Taliban bounties in Afghanistan, but he took no action in response to the briefing, multiple intelligence sources familiar with the briefing told The Federalist. The intelligence was briefed to Schiff’s staff during a congressional delegation, or CODEL, trip to Afghanistan in February. Schiff, who has acknowledged President Donald Trump was never briefed on the so-called intelligence, has thus far refused to disclose that his staff was personally briefed. The revelation raises serious questions that Schiff is once again politicizing, and perhaps even deliberately misrepresenting, key data for partisan gain.


Asked by a reporter Tuesday if he had any knowledge of the Russia story prior to the New York Times report, Schiff said “I can’t comment on specifics.” Schiff’s recent complaints that Trump took no action against Russia in response to rumors of Russian bounties are curious given that Schiff himself took no action after his top staff were briefed by intelligence officials. As chairman of the intelligence committee, Schiff had the authority to immediately brief the full committee and convene hearings on the matter. Schiff, however, did nothing. He did not brief his committee on the matter, nor did he brief the gang of 8, which consists of top congressional leadership in both chambers.

Read more …

Adam Schiff on Bob Mueller.

Barr’s Team Startled In ‘First Chance’ To Assess Mueller Investigation (WE)

Attorney General William Barr’s team was in for a shock when it met with special counsel Robert Mueller before his report was released, according to a forthcoming book. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin wrote about Barr’s “first chance” to assess the Russia investigation in early March 2019 in True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump, an excerpt of which was published last week by the New Yorker. He described a “fairly relaxed session” in which Mueller “gave a brief introduction” to Barr and his staff, who later reflected on how the former FBI director didn’t live up to expectations.

“Later, Barr’s team noted that Mueller looked tired and old. Because Mueller had been the focus of so much public attention for nearly two years and said so little in public, he had taken on an almost mythic status, even among people who once knew him well, like Barr. To see him after this exhausting enterprise was startling. He was an old seventy-four,” Toobin wrote in the book that is set for release in August. They weren’t the only ones.

One prominent Democrat, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, said in a recent podcast that he was surprised by Mueller’s shaky testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees in July 2019 after his report was released. The California Democrat agreed when asked whether he was “shocked” during a Daily Beast podcast last month. “I have known Bob Mueller for a long time. I have tremendous respect for him. I think he is just an amazing human being and public servant,” Schiff said. “He was not the man that I knew just in terms of his strength of presence, and so, it was quite surprising.

Read more …

“We are not going to pay back this debt, and this is global. Nobody is even considering trying to pay back the debt..”

Nomi Prins: “We’re Living In A Permanent Distortion” (USAW)

Three time best-selling book author Nomi Prins says long before the Covid 19 crisis, the global economy was faltering big time. The Fed stepped in with the start of massive money printing in late 2019 to save the day. Prins explains, “We were already in crisis mode as I mentioned at the end of my last book going into 2019.” What did we see at the end of 2019? We saw this pivot, and I call it phase two. . . . Central banks had pivoted to easing mode. . . . Come September, October, November and December, the Fed is producing repo operations. Those are short-term lending operations that are supposed to be the purview of the banks . . . . The Fed is not supposed to get involved, but it did. The Fed had all kinds of excuses. It said it was not QE, but it was. . . . The debt at the end of 2019 for the world was three times GDP. For every $3 borrowed, only $1 of economic activity occurred. That’s what we started 2020 with. Throw a pandemic into that . . . and you have a long drawn out financial and economic crisis.”

Now, the money printing has gone into overdrive to save the system from the virus crisis. The social and economic damage, according to Prins, is profound and not going away. Prins points out,

“We are not going to pay back this debt, and this is global. Nobody is even considering trying to pay back the debt that has been created. Let’s think about why that debt has been created. It’s not just because the economy slowed down. That’s one reason and kind of an excuse. The reality is the Fed is on steroids, and other central banks are on steroids . . . throughout the world in a larger number and larger magnitude than in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. This means all this new debt created is even cheaper than the debt created going into the 2008 crisis. So, more debt, created more cheaply, means less incentive to pay it back and more incentive to push it down the road and grow it. You’ve got this snowball of debt rolling down this high mountain, and it’s rolling and growing and getting bigger. The mountain, which is the main street economy, is coming down as the snow ball is coming down, and the main street economy itself, that foundation, is really shaky. . . . How does this end? It ends with us, the foundation, which is the main street economy, by both that snowball of debt and the avalanche of the mountain. That’s going to be a multi-decade problem.”

Prins says this next stage has a brand new name and explains, “I call this a ‘Permanent Distortion.’ I have not used this term in prior books, but I am using it because . . . the disconnect between financial assets, equity markets and the real economy . . . has become massive…

Read more …

A state holding company modeled after Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Only Bold State Intervention Can Block A Future Owned By Corporate Giants (G.)

Our economy after Covid-19 could turn out to be merely an uglier, more distorted version of the lopsided system we have today. We may find that we’ve stumbled into an “Amazon recovery”, where big businesses and corporate behemoths hold an even greater share of the market, billionaires get richer (and more numerous) and inequality is supercharged. Like a handful of other corporate giants, Amazon has seen its business expand during this crisis. In the US, the company took on 100,000 new workers between mid-March and mid-April, before looking to create another 75,000 posts. Its stock price has soared by more than 50% since the beginning of April, and Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has seen his wealth increase by $30bn (£24bn) during the pandemic alone. The global billionaire class have never had it so good.

The government must ensure the recovery works for everyone, not just for the richest. A large part of the answer lies in a move to block corporate consolidation and predatory acquisition, preventing the leveraged buyout of the economy. This could take the form of a state holding company, with a mandate to support struggling SMEs directly through the coronavirus era and to prevent the destruction of what remains of the UK’s local small-business sector. It would target businesses that were cash-positive before March and can be once again, when the crisis has passed. Later, where appropriate, this holding company could relaunch many of these rescued businesses under conditions of worker or community ownership, or as mission-driven social enterprises.

In this way, the holding company could become an important instrument in a green transition, building community wealth by supporting local economic activity. A democratic society can’t flourish under conditions of unrestrained inequality, and will be even more imperilled in an economy where wealth and power are further concentrated. The only alternative to an unjust recovery is to use state power to protect smaller firms and create a more democratic economy where ownership and economic rewards are more widely shared. History can be our guide here. A similar move lay at the heart of the US response to the economic crisis of the 1930s. Under Franklin D Roosevelt, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a state holding company, was permitted to acquire failing businesses until they could be relaunched during the recovery from the Great Depression. One of the engines of the New Deal, the RFC became not only the biggest bank in the US, but also the single largest investor in the country.

Read more …

Bail hearing. If she gets bail, that will be a very large scandal.

Prosecutors Seek Friday Court Appearance For Ghislaine Maxwell (R.)

Prosecutors have asked a judge to schedule a Friday court appearance in New York for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell was arrested on Thursday on U.S. charges of luring underage girls so that Epstein could sexually abuse them. The FBI arrest of the British socialite was the latest twist in the mystery of Epstein, who went from a high school math teacher to a high-flying lifestyle of private Caribbean islands and powerful connections that his victims say allowed him to abuse minors with impunity.


Maxwell, 58, was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, where she had been laying low since December, the FBI said last week. In a letter on Sunday to Judge Alison Nathan at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, acting United States Attorney Audrey Strauss said Maxwell’s defense lawyer, Christian Everdell, has requested a Friday, July 10, bail hearing. Maxwell is charged with four criminal counts related to procuring and transporting minors for illegal sex acts and two of perjury, according to the indictment by federal prosecutors in New York.

Read more …

One man’s misery is another man’s good fortune.

Ohio Town Proclaims Itself A ‘Statue Sanctuary City’ (JTN)

As protesters target statues around the nation, one town is becoming a statue sanctuary city for monuments honoring select figures. Newton Falls, Ohio City Manager David M. Lynch has signed a proclamation that states that the city will accept and display spurned statues of people including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and certain other prominent figures.


“A Proclamation declaring that Newton Falls is a Statuary Sanctuary City and declaring a general amnesty for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key, Theodore Roosevelt and Christopher Columbus as represented by the statues of these great leaders, and volunteering to accept these statues that have been removed throughout the USA and place them in a location of honor in our community,” the proclamation says, according to a copy posted by 21-WFMJ. “They founded our nation, they ended slavery, and established and protected our national parks,” Lynch said, according to Fox 8. “Yes, they had warts but they laid the foundation for what we have today,” he said.

Read more …

 

 

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Assange. Don’t miss.

 

 

 

This is brilliant. Who on earth made this happen?

 

 

 

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Jan 032020
 
 January 3, 2020  Posted by at 11:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »


Alfred Palmer New B-25 bomber at Kansas City plant of North American Aviation 1942

 

America Just Took Out The World’s No. 1 Bad Guy (CNBC)
US Strike That Killed Iranian Commander Starkly Divides US Lawmakers (CNN)
Erdogan Questions Europe As 250,000 Flee Idlib (ZH)
US Dollar as Global Reserve Currency vs Euro, Yen, Renminbi, & Others (WS)
China Cuts US Dollar Weighting In Key Index To Boost Fortunes Of Yuan (SCMP)
China’s Central Bank Frees Up $115 Billion To Support Growth (SCMP)
What the Fed Did to Calm Year-End Hissy-Fit of its Crybaby Cronies (WS)
Greece, Israel, Cyprus: Turkey’s Libya Troops Bill Dangerous Escalation (R.)
Leaders Of Greece, Israel, Cyprus Ink Deal For Pipeline (K.)
The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative (Craig Murray)

 

 

Inevitably, the killing of Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad leads to the confirmation of US party lines’ divide. While the GOP stands behind the decision, the Dems have a hard time reconciling their own contradictions. They are a war party, if you look past Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders, but they can’t be seen to agree with Trump. So the likes of Schumer and Pelosi say that while Soleimani won’t be mourned by any American since he was a really terrible person, Trump should have asked for their permission.

The logic being that this could lead to WWIII, a theme that’s all over the internet, so much it makes one think independent thought is under threat. Be that as it may, the president needs permission to declare war, not to hit an individual. Moreover, since they agree killing the man might have been a good idea, they surely realize that he was in a spot where they could get at him, for a limited amount of time, so asking for permission would heve risked losing the opportunity. Weak.

The following two tweets are worth citing:

Nicole Alexander Fisher: “Pelosi voted for Trump’s NDAA which stripped a provison that would have prevented unauthorized war with Iran. She sided with Trump and warhawks on this, as did 188 other Democrats. 41 Dems like AOC, Ilhan Omar, Tulsi Gabbard, Ro Khanna, and Joe Kennedy voted no.”

Soleimani fought ISIS, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda etc., along with the US.

Sara Abdallah: “The “no. 1 bad guy” who led the counter-terrorism campaigns that defeated ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; the “no. 1 bad guy” who prevented a jihadist takeover of the Middle East.”

I’m still wondering how CNBC became the no. 1 warmonger for the MSM. This is some headline. As for the Dems and GOP, one would be inclined to say: pick your side. But if you look just a little bit closer, you see there is only one side.

 

America Just Took Out The World’s No. 1 Bad Guy (CNBC)

So, just who is this top Iranian general the U.S. just eliminated? For many of us who watch and analyze news out of the Middle East daily, he was the world’s number one bad guy. Qassim Soleimani has been in control of Iran’s Quds Force for more than 20 years. His current greatest hits include helping Bashar al Assad slaughter hundreds of thousands of his own people in the Syrian civil war, stoking the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war, and overseeing the killing of hundreds of Iraqi protesters recently demonstrating against Iranian influence in their country. But most importantly for Americans, Soleimani was behind the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq War. Last year, the U.S. State Department put the number of Americans killed by Iranian proxies in Iraq at 608 since 2003.


The killing of Soleimani doesn’t have the emotional power of the takedown of Osama bin Laden, and he wasn’t even as well-known to Americans as ISIS founder Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. But in many ways, taking him out means much more in terms of saving current lives. Remember that bin Laden and al Baghdadi were mostly out of business and in hiding at the time of their deaths. Solemani was busier than ever, directing mayhem all over the Middle East and beyond. For example, these last few days have made it clear to the whole world just how much Iran controlled just about all of Iraq and Iraq’s Shia population. It appears Solemeini not only felt justified in being the likely mastermind behind Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he also was comfortable enough to travel to Iraq personally to oversee it. But this time, he got too comfortable.

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No, it doesn’t.

US Strike That Killed Iranian Commander Starkly Divides US Lawmakers (CNN)

The US airstrike that killed Iran Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani generated starkly different reactions along party lines Thursday night, with Republicans heaping praise on President Donald Trump and Democrats expressing concerns about the legality and consequences of the attack. The Pentagon confirmed in a statement that Trump had ordered the strike, saying Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

[..] Some key members of Congress — such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who is a member of the congressional Gang of Eight leaders, who are briefed on classified matters — had not been made aware of the attack ahead of time. It’s not clear how many other lawmakers had advance notice of the strike. The Pentagon added that “this strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans” and the US “will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

[..] Democrats pushed back on Republican sentiments about the attack, stressing the potential consequences and lambasting the decision to carry out the strike without congressional authorization. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut emphasized that Soleimani “was an enemy of the United States” in a tweet before stating, “The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?” In a more explicit statement, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said, “President Trump is bringing our nation to the brink of an illegal war with Iran without any congressional approval as required under the Constitution of the United States.”

[..] On the campaign trail, Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden said “no American will mourn” Soleimani but that the strike that killed him is a “hugely escalatory move.” “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox, and he owes the American people an explanation of the strategy and plan to keep safe our troops and embassy personnel, our people and our interests, both here at home and abroad, and our partners throughout the region and beyond,” Biden said in a statement. “I’m not privy to the intelligence and much remains unknown, but Iran will surely respond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East. I hope the Administration has thought through the second- and third-order consequences of the path they have chosen.”

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This situation is not likely to improve after the assassination:

Erdogan Questions Europe As 250,000 Flee Idlib (ZH)

As Russian and Syrian jets have dramatically stepped up their bombardment of jihadist-held Idlib over the past three weeks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again warned a massive wave of refugees is headed into Turkey, but that his country is without help and thus is seeking to prevent the new influx. “Right now, 200,000 to 250,000 migrants are moving toward our borders,” Erdogan said while addressing a conference in Ankara. “We are trying to prevent them with some measures, but it’s not easy. It’s difficult, they are humans too.” This after the UN on Monday said that of Idlib province’s some 3 million civilian population, up to 284,000 are currently on the move.


International reports commonly put the current numbers of Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey at about 3.7 million, which Erdogan has of late constantly reminded Europe of as he seeks support for foreign military intervention in places like northeast Syria and now even Libya. During his latest comments, Erdogan actually put the number of refugees across all provinces of Turkey at a whopping 5 million — which would be larger than many small countries. Crucially, during his speech on Thursday, he alluded to his prior threats to “open the gates” and allow refugees to flood into Europe, starting with Greece and other Mediterranean nations:

“Although they [the West] have more resources than we do, why don’t they accept them, why don’t they open the gates?” Erdogan asked. While also slamming Arab League member states for not acting, he answered his own question with, “We are Turkey. Alone this gives us a power and superiority that nobody has.” In late December, Erdogan reiterated prior provocative threats underscoring that “Turkey cannot handle a fresh wave of migrants from Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, warning that European countries will feel the impact of such an influx if violence in Syria’s northwest is not stopped,” as Reuters summarized of the statement.

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Remarkably stable, really.

US Dollar as Global Reserve Currency vs Euro, Yen, Renminbi, & Others (WS)

The US economy and financial system – including being able to maintain and fund the gargantuan trade deficits and fiscal deficits – has become reliant on the dollar being the dominant global reserve currency. And the IMF just released its next installment on how this status has been changing. Total foreign exchange reserves in all currencies combined declined 0.6% in the third quarter from the second quarter to $11.66 trillion, according to the IMF’s quarterly COFER data. US-dollar-denominated exchange reserves – such as Treasury securities, US corporate bonds, etc. held by foreign central banks – ticked down 0.4% to $6.51 trillion. But holdings denominated in other currencies fell faster, and the share of dollar-denominated reserves edged up to 61.8% of total exchange reserves.


The US dollar’s share of total global reserve currencies declines when central banks other than the Fed proportionately reduce their dollar-denominated assets and add assets denominated in other foreign currencies. Over the long term, the recent moves in the dollar’s share are relatively small. There have been huge moves from 1977 through 1991, when the dollar’s share plunged from 85% to 46%, and then huge moves as the share rose again to 70% by 2000:

In October 2016, the IMF included the Chinese renminbi in the currency basket of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), and the renminbi became officially a global reserve currency. But since then, progress of the currency has been exceedingly slow, and there are no signs the RMB would dethrone the US dollar anytime soon.The creation of the euro came with a lot of hopeful rhetoric that it would reach parity with the US dollar in every way, including as global trade currency, global financing currency, and global reserve currency. [..] During the initial phase of the conversion of European currencies to the euro, the euro’s share of global reserve currencies rose and the dollar’s share fell from 71.5% in 2001 to 66.5% in 2002.

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Wait, so China is desperate for dollars, and then decides dollars are becoming less important? Yeah, we’ll all believe it.

China Cuts US Dollar Weighting In Key Index To Boost Fortunes Of Yuan (SCMP)

China’s decision to cut the weighting of the US dollar in a basket of foreign currencies used to determine the strength of the yuan will help Beijing’s long-term efforts to weaken the international dominance of the American currency, economists said. The China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS), a unit of the Chinese central bank, trimmed the weighting of the US dollar on Wednesday to 21.59 per cent from 22.40 per cent in a key yuan exchange index to make it “more representative” of current trade conditions. The new version of the index will be based on 2018 trade data, rather than data from 2015, when the CFETS was first established. The move, which comes amid heightened trade tensions between China and the United States, will help Beijing’s long-term efforts to create an alternative international payments system, economists said.


“The yuan hopes to become a reserve currency, to prevent the situation where the US dollar dominates the global financial system – or the so-called hegemony of the US dollar. This is a longer-term goal … and an inevitable trend,” said Shen Jianguan, vice-president and chief economist at JD Digits, although he added that the adjustment also reflected changes to China’s trading environment. His remarks were echoed by Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at China Industrial Bank, who said the cut would give the yuan marginally more independence against the US dollar. “The yuan should live its own way – now there is too much shadow from other [currencies] hanging over it,” he said.

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The amount is symbolic.

China’s Central Bank Frees Up $115 Billion To Support Growth (SCMP)

China’s central bank has announced a move to unleash 800 billion yuan (US$115 billion) from the banking system to support the economy, sending a pro-growth message on the first day of 2020. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will reduce the deposit reserve ratio in financial institutions by 0.5 percentage points from January 6, mainly to offer sufficient funding to the real economy, according to a notice published on the bank’s website. The announcement on Wednesday came after growth continued to weaken while China and the United States prepared to sign an interim trade deal in mid-January. The central bank said this round of funding was partially to offset cash withdrawals before the Lunar New Year, and would not change its stance on monetary policy.


From Monday, the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for big banks will be lowered to 12.5 per cent, while the ratio for medium and small banks will be reduced to 10.5 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. In 2019, the central bank cut the RRR rate three times. “The RRR cut will help boost investor confidence and support the economy, which is gradually steadying,” said Wen Bin, an economist at Minsheng Bank in Beijing, who also expects another cut in China’s new loan prime rate this month. After 18 months of the trade war between China and the United States, the Chinese economy, the world’s second largest, is facing external and domestic headwinds, with growth slowing to 6 per cent in the third quarter, the lowest since 1992. By value of goods, China’s export growth fell 0.3 per cent between January and November 2019, while import growth was down 4.5 per cent for the same period.

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End the Fed. They lost control a decade ago.

What the Fed Did to Calm Year-End Hissy-Fit of its Crybaby Cronies (WS)

The big fear was that the repo market would blow out again at the end of 2019, as banks would be window-dressing their balance sheets by building up reserves to certain levels. In the process, they would refuse to lend to the repo market. And borrowing pressure on the other side – such as hedge funds or mortgage REITs that borrow cheaply in the repo market to fund long-term bets – would drive up repo rates. At the end of 2018, repo rates blew out, but quickly settled down without the Fed’s involvement. In September 2019, repo rates blew out again. At this point, the rattled Fed started dousing the market with hundreds of billions of dollars to calm the repo market and prevent another year-end blowout.


To do this, the Fed engaged in repo operations and also began purchasing short-term Treasury bills. This calmed the repo market, and at the end of December, repo rates didn’t blow out. But on January 1, the Fed did a huge $64 billion reverse repo, the opposite of a repo, thus draining overnight $64 billion in liquidity from the market. This astounding spike in reverse repo balances showed up on its balance sheet for the week ended January 1, released today:

In a reverse repo, the Fed sells securities and takes in cash, under an agreement to buy back those securities at a fixed price on a set date. A reverse repo drains liquidity from the market. When the reverse repo unwinds on the maturity date, as the Fed buys back those securities, it adds liquidity to the market. Reverse repos are liabilities on the Fed balance sheet. In a normal repo, the Fed buys Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or Ginnie Mae, under agreements to repurchase them at a fixed price on a specific date, such as the next day or in a longer period. This adds liquidity to the market for the duration of the repo.


When the repo matures and unwinds, the liquidity gets drained. But a new repo can roll this over. Repos are assets on the Fed’s balance sheet. Total repos on the Fed’s balance sheet on January 1 rose to $256 billion, up $48 billion from a month earlier (as of Dec 4 balance sheet):

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Erdogan is not sitting pretty.

Greece, Israel, Cyprus: Turkey’s Libya Troops Bill Dangerous Escalation (R.)

Turkey’s bill allowing troop deployment in Libya marks a dangerous escalation in the North African country’s civil war and severely threatens stability in the region, a joint statement by Greece, Israel and Cyprus said late on Thursday. “This decision constitutes a gross violation of the UNSC resolution…imposing an arms embargo in Libya and seriously undermines the international community’s efforts to find a peaceful, political solution to the Libyan conflict,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said in the statement.


Turkish parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill that allows troops to be deployed in Libya, in a move that paves the way for further military cooperation between Ankara and Tripoli but is unlikely to put boots on the ground immediately. Turkey’s move comes after Ankara and the internationally recognized government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj signed two separate agreements in November: one on security and military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, infuriating Greece, Israel, Egypt and Cyprus.

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The exact same countries want to cut a pipeline straight through an area claimed by Turkey. Think there’s a connection?

Leaders Of Greece, Israel, Cyprus Ink Deal For Pipeline (K.)

The intergovernmental agreement signed on Thursday by Greece, Israel and Cyprus for the construction of the EastMed pipeline sent out multiple diplomatic messages. The first of these relates to the endurance of the trilateral cooperation itself. In the 10 years since its inception, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the prime ministers of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, confirmed that the relationship between the three countries is not circumstantial. Skepticism concerning the situation in Jerusalem after three consecutive national elections which will have been held by March is reasonable. However, it will be very difficult for any Israeli government to roll back years of planning.

The second message concerns Turkey, as the pipeline will link Israel’s reserves with Cyprus, then Crete and mainland Greece through an area that Ankara says belongs to Turkey, according to the pact it signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government. The EastMed agreement is essentially a legal act stemming from international law as it expresses the will of three sovereign and elected governments (in contrast to that in Tripoli) to deepen their cooperation. At the same time it is a message of cooperation which leaves the door open for Ankara to take part if it decides so. However, signs Thursday were not encouraging as a pair of Turkish F-16s fighter jets made six overflights over Oinousses and the nearby island of Panagia, while the presence of the Turkish fleet around Cyprus remains emphatic.

Moreover, the Turkish Parliament decided on Thursday to approve the deployment of troops to Libya, if deemed necessary. A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said any project that ignores the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the region will fail, while Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said the pipeline is an obstacle to efforts for a solution to the Cyprus problem. The third message is to countries such as Italy and Egypt. With the signing of the deal, Athens, Nicosia and Jerusalem showed they were not willing to wait for the perfect conditions to prevail before moving ahead.

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“..the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.”

The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative (Craig Murray)

The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government. No, the lesson they have learnt is never to admit they lied, never to admit they were wrong. They see the ghost-like waxen visage of Tony Blair wandering around, stinking rich but less popular than an Epstein birthday party, and realise that being widely recognised as a lying mass murderer is not a good career choice.

[..] The security services outlet Bellingcat would publish some photos of big missiles planted in the sand. The Washington Post, Guardian, New York Times, BBC and CNN would republish and amplify these pictures and copy and paste the official statements from government spokesmen. Robert Fisk would get to the scene and interview a few eye witnesses who saw the missiles being planted, and he would be derided as a senile old has-been. Seymour Hersh and Peter Hitchens would interview whistleblowers and be shunned by their colleagues and left off the airwaves. Bloggers like myself would be derided as mad conspiracy theorists or paid Russian agents if we cast any doubt on the Bellingcat “evidence”.

Wikipedia would ruthlessly expunge any alternative narrative as being from unreliable sources. The Integrity Initiative, 77th Brigade, GCHQ and their US equivalents would be pumping out the “Iraqi WMD found” narrative all over social media. Mad Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council would be banning dissenting accounts all over the place in his role as Facebook Witchfinder-General.

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Aug 072019
 
 August 7, 2019  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  11 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Portrait of Dora with bun 1937

 

The Future Of Britain Is In The Hands Of Unelected Svengali Cummings (Oborne)
No-Deal Brexiteers Are Winning Because They Want It More (Sky)
UK Too Desperate To Secure US Trade Deal – Larry Summers (G.)
Brexit: Michael Gove Accuses ‘Wrong And Sad’ EU Of Intransigence (G.)
Met Police Examine Vladimir Putin’s Role In Salisbury Attack (G.)
China State Banks Seen Supporting Yuan In Forwards Market (R.)
Forget China, The Fed Has A Much Bigger Problem On Its Hands (ZH)
Papua New Guinea Asks China To Refinance Its National Debt (G.)
Chinese Port Plans Put Pacific Back In Play (R.)
Pentagon Set to Prevent “Unacceptable” Turkish Invasion Of Northern Syria (ZH)
The Mainstream Media Wants the Mifsud Story to Just Go Away (ET)
Epstein’s Mysterious Manhattan Apartment Building On East 66th Street (BI)

 

 

Conservative journalist/editor Peter Oborne says the exact same thing I said a few days ago in A Tale of Two Cummings. Boris Johnson is just a figurehead.

Nigel Farage is complaining that the Tories want him and his Brexit party to step aside, but that’s Cummings and his polls that show Farage is too unpopular.

The Future Of Britain Is In The Hands Of Unelected Svengali Cummings (Oborne)

Cummings is no longer in the shadows, operating behind the scenes — this Svengali is out in the open. Indeed, he seems to relish being seen in public, striding ostentatiously into Downing Street every morning. Now, we are all familiar with his shaven head, scruffy T-shirts, crumpled appearance and contemptuous and appraising eyes, his newspapers and bundles of documents carried in a Vote Leave bag. According to some papers, and many ministers and civil servants I have spoken to recently, this is the man who is truly running Britain. It’s Cummings who oversees the No 10 grid which controls the timing of announcements and public events. It’s in this capacity that he dispatches the PM up and down Britain, photographed in hospitals, sharing selfies with nurses, and on construction sites wearing a hard hat.


It is also Cummings, not Johnson, who determines political strategy — hence the huge public spending announcements on health, extra police and other issues. Indeed, it looks very much as if Johnson has become the public face of Cummings. And this, I am afraid, is profoundly disturbing. No one ever voted for Cummings, he has little experience of life outside politicking yet he has been given unprecedented power at a moment of immense crisis in the national fortunes. Within hours of Johnson becoming Tory leader two weeks ago, newly anointed special adviser Cummings called ‘his’ staff together in the magnificent Downing Street first-floor state room. He told them that he plans to deliver Brexit ‘by any means necessary’.

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Quoting Michael Jordan: “Some people want it to happen. Some wish it to happen. Others make it happen.”

No-Deal Brexiteers Are Winning Because They Want It More (Sky)

Consider this: we now have a prime minister and a government, buttressed by a not inconsiderable rump of the Conservative party, who have made it clear that there is not a convention they are not willing to break, an institution they are not willing to smash, a precedent they are not willing to burn, in the pursuit of their goal. The PM and his coterie have said that they would prorogue parliament because it might stand in their way; that they are willing to schedule an election far in excess of the usual time limits because it would ensure our exit on the 31 October. In so doing they would therefore go against yet more precedent in pursuing a highly tendentious policy during an election period (where normally a caretaker administration would do little of controversy).


And now, we have news that the prime minister would squat in Number 10 after he loses a confidence vote in the House of Commons. He is even willing to do so, apparently, if the Commons coalesces around an alternative prime minister, despite the fact the Cabinet Manual (the closest we have to a constitution) makes it clear that this is quite unacceptable and that it would risk the neutrality of the Queen. All of this would be constitutional vandalism. Brexit then, “whatever the cost”, as Dominic Cummings has said. It is a nihilistic vision of politics and indeed, a most unusual one for self-described “Conservatives” but it is, relentless and clear-sighted. Indeed, its recklessness has imbued this administration with a strange purpose and energy.

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Larry craves attention.

UK Too Desperate To Secure US Trade Deal – Larry Summers (G.)

The former US treasury secretary Larry Summers has said he does not believe that a “desperate” UK would manage to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington, as Dominic Raab, the new foreign secretary, heads to the US to scope out the potential for such an agreement. Summers, who was a senior official under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said the UK was in a weak position when it came to negotiating with trade partners. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday: “Britain has no leverage, Britain is desperate … it needs an agreement very soon. When you have a desperate partner, that’s when you strike the hardest bargain.”


Despite warm words from Donald Trump about a trade deal, Summers said: “We have economic conflict with China and, even on top of that, the deterioration of the pound is going to further complicate the negotiating picture. “We will see it as giving Britain an artificial comparative advantage and make us think about the need to retaliate against Britain, not to welcome Britain with new trade agreements.” Even if the two countries could come to an agreement, Summers said, the UK was in a weak negotiating position. “Britain has much less to give than Europe as a whole did, therefore less reason for the United States to make concessions,” he said. “You make more concessions dealing with a wealthy man than you do dealing with a poor man.”

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The UK says the EU doesn’t want to talk, and vice versa. The demand to take the backstop out is a perfect dealbreaker. It can only lead to a no-deal Brexit. Re: Cummings.

Brexit: Michael Gove Accuses ‘Wrong And Sad’ EU Of Intransigence (G.)

Michael Gove has accused the European Union of intransigence over Brexit talks, calling it “wrong and sad”, as divisions between the UK and Brussels became further entrenched with the government seemingly intent on a no-deal departure. Gove, who is in charge of no-deal preparations, reiterated Boris Johnson’s position that the only route to progress would be the EU starting again with withdrawal negotiations, something Brussels has repeatedly and consistently ruled out. Adding to the impression of Johnson’s hardening position, newly released government read-outs of the prime minister’s phone calls with a series of EU leaders over recent days showed he delivered the same uncompromising message to them.

While the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, insisted on Tuesday that a no-deal departure was not inevitable, both he and the country’s finance minister, Paschal Donohoe, warned of a significant and long-term change to relations between the countries if it did happen. Downing Street has increasingly pushed the message that Brexit will happen on 31 October under any circumstances – even intimating that No 10 believes the mandate of the 2016 Brexit referendum would overrule even a blocking vote in parliament.

There is increasing worry among some MPs that Johnson could try to force through a no-deal Brexit against the will of the Commons, with his de facto chief of staff, Dominic Cummings, reportedly threatening No 10 staff with the sack if they dissent. The government’s official position is still that it is seeking a formalised departure, albeit only if Brussels ditches the Irish backstop border insurance policy and reopens the withdrawal agreement.

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And of course Britain is anxious to keep the Skripal narrative going. In reality, all it would take is to present the man.

Met Police Examine Vladimir Putin’s Role In Salisbury Attack (G.)

Scotland Yard has examined the role of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in the novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury, it has been revealed. Putin is assessed by UK intelligence agencies as having been “likely” to have approved of the attack in March 2018 on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer, and his daughter, both of whom were left seriously ill but survived. Dawn Sturgess later died after coming across a discarded perfume bottle used by two Russian intelligence agents to carry the military grade nerve agent. Two Russian agents have been charged over the attack, and Britain wants them extradited and has issued a European arrest warrant (EAW) and Interpol red notice for their detention.


The Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said the investigation into the attack was continuing. Basu said the issues involved in bringing charges over the attack were complex. “You’d have to prove he [Putin] was directly involved,” he said. “In order to get an EAW, you have to have a case capable of being charged in this country. We haven’t got a case capable of being charged. “We’re police officers, so we have to go for evidence. There has been a huge amount of speculation about who is responsible, who gave the orders, all based on people’s expert knowledge of Russia. I have to go with evidence.”

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“The movement in forward points may reflect a tightening in USD (dollar) liquidity..”

China State Banks Seen Supporting Yuan In Forwards Market (R.)

China’s state banks have been active in the onshore yuan forwards market this week, using swaps to tighten dollar supply and support the Chinese currency, four sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The spot value of the yuan has fallen sharply this week against the dollar as tensions between China and the United States escalated and prompted fears that their trade war could shift into a currency war. The sources said banks had conducted significant amounts of buy-sell swaps in the onshore market on Tuesday. Buy-sell swaps help to reduce the supply of dollars that the market can access to short-sell the yuan. “Yesterday big banks were all selling one-year onshore forward swaps, then in the afternoon the spot dollar-yuan fell,” said a trader at a foreign bank in Shanghai.


One state bank also was seen active in offshore forward swaps, two traders at foreign banks with knowledge of the matter said. On Wednesday, one-year onshore dollar-yuan forwards were at 175 points, down from 321 points on Monday, according to Refinitiv data. One-year offshore dollar-yuan forwards were at 459 points, down from 640 points on Monday. “The movement in forward points may reflect a tightening in USD (dollar) liquidity when some market participants need to buy spot dollars and sell them back in forwards. Meanwhile, the spot and outright moves were also partly due to a stabilization in RMB (yuan) sentiment on Tuesday,” said Frances Cheung, head of macro strategy for Asia at Westpac in Singapore.

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Liquidity.

Forget China, The Fed Has A Much Bigger Problem On Its Hands (ZH)

The Fed may have launched its first easing cycle since 2007 and liquidity-sapping quantitative tightening may finally be over, but Powell may have a much bigger problem on his hands – one which has nothing to do with China, and everything to do with a dramatic drain of liquidity in the market over the next two months.

We first hinted at this last week when we noted that as part of the recently completed debt ceiling deal, instead of taking its time in replenishing the cash balance (green line in the chart below), the US Treasury will scramble to rebuild its cash balance up to $350 billion, from today’s level of $133 billion (gray line), a process which as we said last Wednesday will “significantly tighten up liquidity in the banking system and potentially result in turmoil in funding and money markets as the world is flooded with an issuance of T-Bills” as the Treasury seeks to fill the $217 billion cash hole, which will lead to a substantial liquidity withdrawal from the broader financial system as shown in the following Nordea chart.

The problem, in a nutshell, is that traditionally such a rapid liquidity withdrawal leads to weaker risk appetite, a far stronger USD and lower treasury yields, while widening the LIBOR/OIS spread and further depressing the already negative EURUSD cross-currency basis. While we cautioned about all this last week (even before the FOMC announcement), it appears that our appreciation of just how severe this problem may be for the Fed and capital markets was overly optimistic, because according to a new analysis by Bank of America’s Mark Cabana, the Fed may have no choice but to resume Quantitative Easing and start expanding its balance sheet again – potentially as early as 4Q – in order to ease funding pressures expected during the coming wave of Treasury supply.

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Debt denominated in dollars by any chance?

Papua New Guinea Asks China To Refinance Its National Debt (G.)

Papua New Guinea has asked China to refinance its entire government debt in a blow to Australia’s attempts to counter China’s influence in the region. The request marks a “significant shift” in regional politics and PNG’s allegiances, according to Pacific experts. Australia has traditionally been the largest aid donor and most important ally of PNG, but in recent years ties between China and PNG have strengthened. PNG’s prime minister, James Marape, visited Australia two weeks ago at the invitation of his counterpart, Scott Morrison, in his first international visit since becoming the Pacific nation’s leader at the end of May.

In a speech during his visit, Marape said he wanted PNG to move away from an “aid-donor” relationship with Australia within 10 years, and step up alongside its neighbour as a leader in the Pacific region. However, on Tuesday, after a meeting with Xue Bing, the Chinese ambassador in Port Moresby, Marape requested that China refinance its debts of A$11.8bn (27bn kina, or US$7.95bn). PNG’s debt sits at around 32.8% of its GDP. “[The prime minister] requested the ambassador to inform Beijing on a bid to assist the government of PNG refinance its existing country’s K27bn debt,” said Marape’s office in a statement seen by the Guardian.

“He suggested that both the Bank of PNG and [China’s] People’s Bank will take the lead with the department of treasury in ensuring that consultations are under way,” the statement continued. “It suggest a significant shift in the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guinea and China,” says Matthew Clarke, professor of international development at Deakin University. “In the past Australia would have been the natural country to turn to for this sort of refinancing, but now we see China’s place in the region shift and it becomes potentially a much more dominant player in the donor relationship.”

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“The United States, and allies including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are actively expanding their diplomatic postings in the Pacific to counter China’s influence..”

Chinese Port Plans Put Pacific Back In Play (R.)

Early in the morning, before sunrise, low tide on the Samoan island of Savai’i reveals the remnants of an old American airstrip, washed away by decades of erosion, cyclones and tsunamis. The World War II site in Asau, which also hosts a 1960s-era concrete wharf in its well-protected natural harbor, is being considered for a new port to be developed by China, according to the Samoan government and the area’s highest ranking chief, Masoe Serota Tufaga. The proposed construction of a facility that could be turned into a military asset in hostile times has worried the United States and its regional allies, which have dominated international influence in the vast waters of the South Pacific since 1945.

Sitting at his coconut and cocoa plantation on the hills above the port site, Tufaga told Reuters he would abide by any government deal for a Chinese-developed port even though he was concerned about Beijing’s growing influence. “The government and China came here to look at it – they offered it,” said 71-year-old Tufaga, who has the final say over land-use agreements affecting Asau. “If China wants to operate this, it’s too hard for us to say to the government, no, we can not allow China here. The people are looking for some jobs. “That’s right – it’s money. It’s money.”

The United States, and allies including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, are actively expanding their diplomatic postings in the Pacific to counter China’s influence, and warning island nations that Beijing-funded projects needed to make financial sense. China is using “predatory economics” to destabilize the Indo-Pacific and the United States is working with its partners to address the region’s pressing security needs, U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said in Sydney on Sunday.

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Erdogan bluff. I hope.

Pentagon Set to Prevent “Unacceptable” Turkish Invasion Of Northern Syria (ZH)

Turkey has for days been poised to unilaterally invade northern Syria over US objections, which Ankara officials say is to establish a 32 kilometer (20 mile) zone inside the war torn country, giving Turkey complete control of a region where the Syrian Kurdish YPG operates (People’s Protection Units). Turkey has long considered the US-backed group, which forms the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to be a terrorist extension of the outlawed PKK. The Pentagon has condemned the impending Turkish unilateral move, with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper telling reporters early Tuesday that it would be unacceptable and thwarted by Washington, though it’s unclear how far the Pentagon would be willing to go.

“What we’re going to do is prevent unilateral incursions that would upset, again, these mutual interests that the United States, Turkey and the SDF share with regard to northern Syria,” Esper said. Crucially, according to ABC News, US officials “have made clear that an invasion is an extremely risky venture that could threaten the safety of U.S. forces working with the SDF…”. On Sunday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his forces would launch an operation in Syria east of the Euphrates River at an unspecified start date, and noted that the US and Russia had been notified. In ongoing negotiations this summer the US and Turkey have clashed over just such a “safe zone,” given Turkey wants the area completely clear of Kurdish armed groups, which the Pentagon simultaneously backs.

Turkish defense officials have lately threatened their “patience is limited” as the army builds up its forces along the border. The Foreign Ministry on Friday warned, “We won’t let this process be dragged out. If our expectations aren’t met, we are fully capable of taking whatever measures [are needed] to ensure our national security.”

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If Mifsud is an FBI asset, there are zero Russians left in the story.

The Mainstream Media Wants the Mifsud Story to Just Go Away (ET)

John Solomon of The Hill is reporting that an audiotape containing professor Joseph Mifsud’s deposition has been given to both U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigators and to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audiotape deposition of Joseph Mifsud, where he describes his work, why he targeted George Papadopoulos, who directed him to do that, what directions he was given, and why he set that entire process of introducing Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016, which is really the flashpoint the starting point of this whole Russia collusion narrative,” Solomon told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“I can also confirm that the Senate Judiciary Committee has also obtained the same deposition,” he said. Mifsud, who I have written about extensively in previous columns, is the key that turns the lock to the lid of this Pandora’s box that we refer to as “Spygate.” So I’m wondering why Solomon appears to be the only mainstream reporter pursuing this Mifsud story. I suspect it’s because many DNC Media outlets, after having fallen deeply and passionately in love with the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, are reluctant to call attention to something that would be the final nail in its coffin. The last thing the mainstream media wants right now would be for Mifsud to go on the record with both Durham’s investigative team and with Congress to say he was working for the FBI and was only pretending to be a Russian agent.

If Mifsud was an FBI asset sent to entrap Papadopoulos, then there are no real Russian agents anywhere in this entire Trump-Russia collusion story. Ponder what that means for a minute. You can’t save the Russian collusion narrative, if you can’t find any real Russians anywhere in the story. The FBI under James Comey will then be seen as having engaged in an operation to entrap people, and “Russian agents” turn out to be fakes working for the FBI and who were making fake offers of Russian help to the Trump campaign.

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But nobody knew a thing.

Epstein’s Mysterious Manhattan Apartment Building On East 66th Street (BI)

Before his extended stay in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center began in July, disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein dwelled in some of the city’s most exclusive real estate, laying his head in a palatial Upper East Side townhouse and conducting his mysterious business out of a landmarked mansion on Madison Avenue. But it hasn’t been all private islands and 7,000-acre ranches for the half-billionaire. For decades Epstein has run some of his operations quietly out of a squat Second Avenue residential building owned by his brother, Mark Epstein, and frequently visited by the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. According to property records and court filings, Jeffrey Epstein has long housed girlfriends, associates, employees, and businesses in a handful of units at 301 East 66th St.

There are 200 units at the address, and the majority of them are owned on paper by his brother’s development firm, Ossa Properties. While Ossa nominally owns the units connected to Jeffrey Epstein, the aforementioned records and filings show that Epstein effectively controls them. The postwar white-brick high-rise sits atop a nail salon, a coffee shop, and an Italian restaurant along a traffic-choked stretch of Second Avenue. Topped by a green canopy, the front door opens to a doorman guarding a hallway that leads to a light-filled lobby decorated with two couches and an armchair. Though the building shares a ZIP code with Epstein’s townhouse, its share of the neighborhood east of Park Avenue is less upscale, catering more to families and young professionals than foreign heads of state.

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Aug 052019
 


Odilon Redon Peyrelebade landscape 1880

 

It’s never easy to gauge what exactly is happening in China, or why the CCP Politburo takes the decisions it does. Today, or overnight, is no exception to that. However, one thing that appears certain, but which I don’t see reflected in all the analyses, is that Beijing pushing the value of the renminbi (yuan) down below 7 to the USD in one fell swoop, is a major setback for Xi Jinping and his government.

Yes, China may have given up hope of reaching positive conclusions in its trade talks with the US. And yes, some may think, even in China itself, that devaluing the currency is a tool that can be useful in a potential currency war. But there’s another side to this coin. It’s not even about the value itself, or the change in it, it’s the heavy-handed way it’s executed.

 

China wants, and desperately needs too, for the yuan to be a force in global financial markets. In very simple terms this is true because if it then wants to buy something, it can simply print the money for it. But only about 1% of global trade today is executed in yuan. That is not nearly enough. It means China needs dollars and euros, all the time. And devaluing the yuan means the country needs even more of those.

You’d almost think: why would you want to do that? What are the long-term prospects for a move like this? You’re telling forex markets that the value of the yuan is not trustworthy, because if Xi or the PBOC decides in the next five minutes that it should go up or down by 10% or 20%, they can do it. The Fed and ECB also have tools to manipulate their currencies (re: interest rates), but none of that magnitude.

 

The crux of the dilemma probably lies in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which I’ve been saying for years is just China’s way to sell its overcapacity and overproduction abroad. Sure, there may be loftier goals, and surely in the glitzy brochures, but the fact remains that China has tried to be an economic miracle, doing in 10 years what took the US a century, and it never slowed down its growth, at least not voluntarily, even if that might have been a wise move.

Already lately, purchases by Chinese citizens and companies of real estate and businesses abroad have been curtailed, and not a little bit, by Beijing. There’s no better way to convince Chinese people of the miracle’s success than to let them travel the world and spend there, but that, too, may well soon be cut. It kills foreign reserves.

If Beijing could charge participating countries in the Belt and Road Initiative in yuan, and they could pay for the overcapacity’s steel and cement and what not in yuan, that could be a game-changing program for the entire planet. But these countries have no reason to hold yuan, other than the BRI itself. And they, too, were watching the overnight move above 7 and must have thought: let’s be careful now.

And to top it all off, China right now needs for these countries to pay in dollars instead of yuan, because its foreign reserves are shrinking so fast. It’s Catch-22 all the way down. China’s need for dollars goes against everything BRI stands for.

 

Could the move hurt the US as well? Absolutely. But the long-term view behind the tariffs, and the talks China appears to have lost faith in, is to move the US away from its near all-encompassing addiction to Chinese production, and to move at least some of that production back home. Problem of course is, that is precisely what China’s miracle growth has been built on.

If the US starts bringing production home, who is Beijing going to sell its (over-)production to? Yes, I hear you, to the BRI countries. But there it runs into the currency problems mentioned before. To Europe? The top of that trade route is also behind us. Europe will have to follow the US to an extent, and also bring factories back to the continent (and not just to Germany either).

China could perhaps sell more than it does today to Russia. But that country still does produce a lot of things, and has been forced to be much more self-sufficient due to US and EU sanctions. It’s also a mighty small market compared to 350 million North Americans and 500 million Europeans, who are on average much richer than your average Russian to boot.

 

There is a way for China to make the yuan more important in global trade (but devaluation is definitely not that way): Beijing could let go of its central and total control over the value of its currency, and let forex markets figure it out. That would give traders -and everyone else- faith in the value. Problem with that is, this is not how central control communist governments think.

Beijing wants both: central total control AND a prominent place in world trade. And it may take them a long time to figure out that is not going to happen, unless of course they first conquer the entire world militarily. That is not an option, at least not for the foreseeable future. Come see me next century.

 

It wouldn’t be the first time for me to say I can see China retreat into itself, into its own borders and culture and market (1.3 billion people!). If the Communist Party wants to remain in power, and there’s no doubt it does, this may be only possible choice going forward. If growth has indeed left the miracle -as many observers think-, it can implode in very rapid succession. And even if growth hasn’t yet evaporated, it may well very soon. Without the growth, there is no miracle anymore.

And if China can no longer grow its exports, its domestic growth will also become a thing of the past. Domestic consumption can only grow as long as exports do too. Seen from that angle, the problems with trade and the currency look downright ominous. If you need dollars that badly, and you notice that you’re already getting fewer of them, not more, you’re in trouble.

Devaluing your currency may afford you some temporary respite, but it can’t possibly solve your troubles. It can make them much worse though.

I think China has wanted too much too fast, got carried away and forgot to take care of a few potential barriers to its growth, in particular the standing its currency had and still has in the world, and the grinding need for dollars that stems from it. And the Communists have no answer to this problem.

 

 

 

 

Aug 052019
 


Piet Mondriaan Study for Blue Apple Tree Series 1908

 

Currency War Begins: China Crashes Yuan Past 7, Halts US Agri Imports (ZH)
China Lets Yuan Slump Past 7 Per Dollar For First Time In Over A Decade (R.)
Hong Kong Brought To A Standstill As City-Wide Strikes And Protests Hit (G.)
Job Growth In Trump Land Is Dead In The Water (MW)
10 Alarming Things About The Economy That Politicians Won’t Tell You (MW)
The Crashes That Cause Grown Men To Cry (Eric Peters)
Inside The Plunge Protection Team: Chaos (ZH)
Russiagate is the New 42 (Craig Murray)
Austerity Populism (G.)
Bellingcat Unloads 4,000-Word Hit Piece On Tulsi Gabbard (RT)
America’s Other Original Sin (Bacevich)

 

 

“..trade talks, even the fake kind, is now over, dead and buried..”

Currency War Begins: China Crashes Yuan Past 7, Halts US Agri Imports (ZH)

Update 2: – China’s central bank has confirmed that it is, indeed, on, saying that it is able to keep the yuan exchange rate at a reasonable and balanced level – whatever that means – while acknowledging that the Yuan plunging beyond 7 per dollar is due to market supply and demand, trade protectionism and expectations on additional tariffs on Chinese goods. Meanwhile, resorting to its old, tired and worn out tricks, Dow Jones reports that the PBOC will crack down on short-term Yuan speculation, and anchor market expectations. Which is great… if only the PBOC didn’t say exactly the same back in May, when it warned currenct traders that those “shorting the yuan will inevitably suffer from a huge loss.” Three months later, it’s currency traders 1 – Beijing 0.


Update 1 – China is firing all the big guns tonight, because just an hour after Beijing effectively devalued the yuan, when it launched the latest currency war with the US, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese government has asked its state-owned enterprises “to suspend imports of U.S. agricultural products after President Donald Trump ratcheted up trade tensions with the Asian nation last week.” China’s state-run agricultural firms have now stopped buying American farm goods, and are waiting to see how trade talks progress. Translation: trade talks, even the fake kind, is now over, dead and buried, and the only question is how Trump will react.

[..] in a dramatically unsettling move for global stability, China’s offshore yuan just collapsed below 7/USD — after the PBOC fixed the onshore yuan below 6.90 for the first time in 2019 — the currency plunging a stunning 12 handles to its weakest on record against the dollar as countless stop losses were triggered and thousands of traders were margined out.

“A break of 7 is quite shocking to the market, and close attention will be paid to how China would deal with this move,” says Tsutomu Soma, general manager of the investment trust and fixed-income securities at SBI Securities Co. in Tokyo in a phone interview. This is the weakest offshore yuan has ever been against the dollar…

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Beijing control over the yuan is worrisome. It also prohibits uptake of the currency in global trade.

China Lets Yuan Slump Past 7 Per Dollar For First Time In Over A Decade (R.)

China on Monday let the yuan tumble beyond the key 7-per-dollar level for the first time in more than a decade, in a sign Beijing might be willing to tolerate further currency weakness in the face of an escalating trade row with the United States. The sharp 1.4% drop in the yuan came after the People’s Bank of China set the daily mid-point of the currency’s trading band at 6.9225 per dollar, its weakest level since December 2018. “Today’s fixing was the last line in the sand,” said Ken Cheung, senior Asian FX strategist at Mizuho Bank in Hong Kong. “The PBOC has fully given the green light to yuan depreciation”. The shakeout in the yuan comes days after Trump stunned financial markets by vowing to impose 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports from Sept. 1, abruptly breaking a brief month-long ceasefire in the bruising trade war.

After opening the onshore session at 6.9999 per dollar, the yuan had weakened to 7.0266 per dollar by 0351 GMT, down 1.2% on the day after earlier losing as much as 1.4% of its value. Monday marked the first time the yuan had breached the 7-per-dollar level since May 9, 2008. With the escalating trade war giving Beijing fewer reasons to maintain yuan stability, analysts said they expect the currency to continue to weaken. “In the short-term, the yuan’s strength would be largely determined by the domestic economy. If third-quarter economic growth stabilizes, the yuan could stabilize around 7.2 or 7.3 level,” Zhang Yi, chief economist at Zhonghai Shengrong Capital Management in Beijing.


Capital Economics senior China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said the PBOC had probably been holding back against allowing a weaker yuan to avoid derailing trade negotiations with the United States. “The fact that they have now stopped defending 7.00 against the dollar suggests that they have all but abandoned hopes for a trade deal with the U.S.,” he said.

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Organizers swore peaceful protests. But a few agitators can take care of that.

Hong Kong Brought To A Standstill As City-Wide Strikes And Protests Hit (G.)

Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, has warned that mass protests have pushed the region to the brink of a “very dangerous situation” as residents have gone on strike, paralysing the city. Lam, who has disappeared from public view for the past two weeks, gave a media briefing in which she condemned the protests for hurting Hong Kong’s economy and stability. “Such extensive disruptions in the name of certain demands or uncooperative movement have seriously undermined Hong Kong law and order and are pushing our city, the city we all love, and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” she said.

On Monday, transport across Hong Kong was brought to a standstill and more than 150 flights out of the city were cancelled. Almost 100 outbound and 100 inbound flights were cancelled. Protesters also blocked key roads and stopped trains throughout the city. [..] Protesters have shifted tactics beyond only marches and protests in the streets. Civil servants from more than 30 government departments, as well as pilots, teachers, construction workers, engineers, and aviation staff all pledged to strike on Monday.


On Monday morning, several lines of the MTR, the rail network serving Hong Kong, were suspended as protesters, many wearing face masks and black clothing, blocked the doors of trains, preventing them departing the stations. There were also reports of discarded umbrellas being wedged in train doors to prevent them from closing, delaying services. Monday’s planned city-wide protest, which is aimed to disrupt peak-hour travel of commuters, is the fifth consecutive day of mass demonstrations in the city. Simultaneous rallies were planned for seven of Hong Kong’s 18 districts on Monday. Hong Kong has not held a general strike in more than 50 years.

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“Rural America is older, sicker, poorer and more dependent upon state aid than it was before.”

Job Growth In Trump Land Is Dead In The Water (MW)

Since the economy began adding jobs after the Great Recession nine years ago, about 21.5 million jobs have been created in the United States, the second-best stretch of hiring in the nation’s history, second only to the 1990s. But job growth isn’t being spread evenly across the land. Most of the new jobs have been located in a just a few dozen large and dynamic cities, leaving slower-growing cities, small towns and rural areas — where about half of Americans live — far behind. Along with climate change and racial justice, economic development is America’s biggest challenge over the next few decades. Inclusive growth is a must, or else our society will fall apart. The problem: No one — certainly not President Trump — has found the magic wand that will bring back jobs to rural and small-town America.

According to a study titled “The Future of Work in America” by the McKinsey Global Institute released in July, 25 cities that are home to about 30% of Americans will capture about 60% of the job growth between 2017 and 2030, just as they did between 2007 and 2017. Twelve are megacities (and their extended suburbs): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Washington. Another 13 are high-growth hubs in smaller cities: Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Nashville, Orlando, Portland (Ore.), Raleigh, San Antonio, San Jose, Seattle, and Tampa. A few other smaller, fast-growing cities will also add jobs, while vast swaths of the South, Midwest and Plains will lose jobs.


The New York metro area, home to 20 million people, added more jobs over the past year than all the small towns and rural areas — with 46 million people — did combined. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the political map will recognize that the growth is mostly occurring in places that vote for Democrats, while the stagnation is mostly in places that vote for Republicans. Donald Trump has appealed to those who are the most fearful, the most resentful and the most despairing, but the situation hasn’t gotten any better since his election. Rural America is older, sicker, poorer and more dependent upon state aid than it was before.

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Feel lucky?

10 Alarming Things About The Economy That Politicians Won’t Tell You (MW)

Here are 10 remarkable forecasts and assumptions that Washington is making and isn’t telling you. These are all contained in the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent Long-Term Budget Outlook, the cornerstone document of government financial and economic planning.

1. We’re going to have a lot more immigrants. A lot. They’re expecting a net 22.5 million more immigrants to come to the U.S. over the next 20 years. By 2049, they’re expecting immigration to account for a stunning 87% of annual population growth.

2. We’re going to have a lot more illegal immigrants. Despite the current bluster and the scandals at the border, the CBO expects we’ll have 2.4 million more illegal immigrants (or “undocumented residents,” or whatever) in 20 years’ time than we have today.

3. We’re going to be up to our eyeballs in debt. The national debt is expected to skyrocket to an “unprecedented” 144% of GDP by 2049, or twice the level today. That would put the debt just under $100 trillion. The figure today: Around $18 trillion. As recently as 2000: $4 trillion. Oh, and this isn’t even the worst-case scenario: The national debt could exceed 200% of GDP in 30 years’ time, the CBO acknowledges.

4. We’re going to owe so much money that by 2049 the annual interest on the debt will be about 5% of GDP — roughly the share that we spend today on Social Security. And that’s even if interest rates stay low. Despite rising debt and federal spending, the government is expecting — or hoping — the average rate on federal debt will rise only from today’s lowly 2.4% to 4.2%, still modest by historic standards, by 2049.

5. This debt, and these deficits, will damage the economy. They will crowd private investment out of the debt markets, reducing income and growth, says the CBO. And as we’ll have to borrow more and more from abroad to finance the government, they’ll lead to bigger and bigger interest payments leaving the country.

6. Social Security, Medicare, other health programs and net interest are going to soak up so much of the budget that we’re going to have to slash everything else to the smallest share of the economy in 70 years — just 7%. The average over the past 50 years: 11%.

7. Just to keep the federal deficit to these levels, your taxes will go up. The Obama tax hike on “Cadillac” health-insurance plans will kick in starting in 2022, and the 2017 Trump tax cuts will expire in 2025.

8. Most working stiffs can say goodbye to any other tax cuts. Uncle Sam is explicitly relying on your taxes to go up thanks to “bracket creep,” where income-tax brackets rise only in line with inflation while your income — you hope — rises faster.

9. While tax rates go up for most people, they won’t for those earning the most. That’s because more and more of their income will be above the Social Security “cap,” saving them an effective 12.4% a year. The cap this year is $132,900.

10. Meanwhile, working stiffs will be taxed at twice the marginal rate of those who live on dividends. By 2049, says the CBO, labor income will be taxed at a marginal rate of 32%, compared to just 16% for capital income. Good to know, isn’t it? It would be great to see some of this stuff come up in the presidential race, wouldn’t it?

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“The Fed hiked 25bps to 3.25% in Feb 1994. Grown men cried on the trading floor. Salesmen. They were soon laid off. Their clients suffered staggering losses. They too were fired.”

The Crashes That Cause Grown Men To Cry (Eric Peters)

He started his career in 1989, with Fed Funds at 9.75%. The Fed slashed rates to 8.25% in Dec 1989 as the S&L Crisis unfolded. They continued cutting until Aug 1992, when rates hit a mindboggling low of 3.00%. The Fed kept money that cheap for 1.5 yrs. Investors had recently earned 9.75% for taking no risk and found themselves starved for returns. So banks structured complex products that offered enhanced yields by selling volatility – they were great, provided the Fed neither hiked nor cut rates. They flew off the shelves. Salespeople gouged their clients. The Fed hiked 25bps to 3.25% in Feb 1994. Grown men cried on the trading floor. Salesmen. They were soon laid off. Their clients suffered staggering losses. They too were fired.


And as their bosses and boards discovered the scale of their unbounded risk, they instructed the banks to get them out at the best price. Whenever that happened, the cost was far bigger than expected. And this in turn was reflexive. Those clients who had earlier assured themselves that they could stomach the ride – because they were long-term investors – were forced to vomit. They call that period The Great Bond Massacre. But it seemed like every few years, another great massacre would unfold in one thing or another. So he assumed that this is how the world worked. Of course, he wasn’t alone. Global central bankers also recognized this to be the case. So they strived to avoid new massacres. But their tools only worked when the mechanic applied greater leverage with each use. Massacre after massacre, they cranked away. By 2019, they had produced the longest economic expansion and equity bull market in American history.

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Is this enough to end the Fed?

Inside The Plunge Protection Team: Chaos (ZH)

Now, thanks to Bloomberg, we have a much more detailed look into what transpired at the trading desk of the “Plunge Protection Team”, and what we learn is that the past year said institution which forms the bedrock of support for the US capital market has been gripped by what at times is sheer chaos. Why? Perhaps it will not come as a surprise to anyone, that the reason for said chaos is another career economist, in this case the “new” president of the New York Fed, John Williams (no relation to the Star Wars guy). As Bloomberg details in a “must read” report, “an unusual level of internal tension broke out in recent weeks at the fortress-like Federal Reserve Bank of New York in lower Manhattan.”

This was prompted by the sudden departure of the two longtime officials mentioned above, which “shook staff, sank morale and drew attention to the leadership of the New York Fed under John Williams as he enters his second year at the helm.” And yes, this is the same John Williams who two weeks ago prompted a mini market tantrum following one of the most epic communication fuck ups by a central banker. As Bloomberg writes “the story involves Simon Potter, who ran the all-important markets desk, and Richard Dzina, head of the financial services group. Both were abruptly relieved of their roles in late May by Williams.


Little explanation was given, but according to current and former New York Fed employees, as well as those close to the bank, the nature of the exits, by fault or design, seemed to be a warning: fall in line.” It is not clear exactly what the two titans of US capital markets had to “fall in line” for, but two things are certain – i) Potter did not “resign”, he was fired by Williams, and ii) now that an economist with zero capital markets experience is in charge, and following his termination of Potter and Dzina, the world is one step closer to collapse as a clueless PhD hack is in charge of the most important market in the world.

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“Judge Koeltl concluded that, quite simply, the claims made as the basis of Russiagate are insufficient to even warrant a hearing.”

Russiagate is the New 42 (Craig Murray)

Douglas Adams famously suggested that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. In the world of the political elite, the answer is Russiagate. What has caused the electorate to turn on the political elite, to defeat Hillary and to rush to Brexit? Why, the evil Russians, of course, are behind it all. It was the Russians who hacked the DNC and published Hillary’s emails, thus causing her to lose the election because… the Russians, dammit, who cares what was in the emails? It was the Russians. It is the Russians who are behind Wikileaks, and Julian Assange is a Putin agent (as is that evil Craig Murray). It was the Russians who swayed the 1,300,000,000 dollar Presidential election campaign result with 100,000 dollars worth of Facebook advertising.

It was the evil Russians who once did a dodgy trade deal with Aaron Banks then did something improbable with Cambridge Analytica that hypnotised people en masse via Facebook into supporting Brexit. All of this is known to be true by every Blairite, every Clintonite, by the BBC, by CNN, by the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post. “The Russians did it” is the article of faith for the political elite who cannot understand why the electorate rejected the triangulated “consensus” the elite constructed and sold to us, where the filthy rich get ever richer and the rest of us have falling incomes, low employment rights and scanty welfare benefits. You don’t like that system? You have been hypnotised and misled by evil Russian trolls and hackers. [Whether Trump and/or Brexit were worthy beneficiaries of the popular desire to express discontent is an entirely different argument and not one I address here].


Except virtually none of this is true. Mueller’s inability to defend in person his deeply flawed report took a certain amount of steam out of the blame Russia campaign. But what should have killed off “Russiagate” forever is the judgement of Judge John G Koeltl of the Federal District Court of New York. In a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against Russia and against Wikileaks, and against inter alia Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, for the first time the claims of collusion between Trump and Russia were subjected to actual scrutiny in a court of law. And Judge Koeltl concluded that, quite simply, the claims made as the basis of Russiagate are insufficient to even warrant a hearing. The judgement is 81 pages long, but if you want to understand the truth about the entire “Russiagate” spin it is well worth reading it in full. Otherwise let me walk you through it.

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Poverty as a means of getting rid of the unwanted.

Austerity Populism (G.)

In a recent book ostensibly focused on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party, but partly about recent British political history, the academics Matt Bolton and Frederick Harry Pitts explain the last decade in terms of “austerity populism”. Cuts, welfare crackdowns and the case for leave, they explain, were all sold to the public via the exclusion of supposedly unproductive undesirables: “scroungers” in the austerity narrative; “migrants” in the stories that swirled around the 2016 referendum. Both traded on a nostalgic idea of national struggle, keeping calm and carrying on, and some strange, latent belief that the country was in need of a purgative spell of pain akin to an imaginary version of the second world war.

In this vision, David Cameron’s election victory in 2015 and the leave side’s win a year later were watershed moments on the same national journey. But if austerity populism has so far been politically successful, it also comes with obvious risks. Trumpeting the wonders of slashing services and kicking around the poor only works for as long as the majority of people are largely untouched by those things – which is why Johnson is now partly changing tack and pledging to spend money (although our nasty, broken benefits system and countless imperilled public services will surely remain untouched).


By the same token, the romance of leaving the EU will only endure while its losers – sheep farmers, car industry workers, people who have come to the UK from central and eastern Europe – form a minority, and enough voters can still be persuaded that they will be winners in a Tory Brexit. Yet, however shambolic the opposition offered by Labour, the lived reality of no deal would surely risk tipping too many people into doubt and fear and away from the Conservatives, which is one reason why Johnson and his allies are in such an obvious hurry. The emotional side of me would simply describe this all as a very English tragedy, centred on a mean-spiritedness that the woman I met in Dover would instantly recognise. And at least until the end of this long, overheated summer and the start of an autumn of nightmares, millions of us will carry on behaving much as we have done for the last decade: not just passing by on the other side, but dancing as we do it.

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A weird propaganda tool. That we pay attention to it is a flashing red sign of where our societies are at.

Bellingcat Unloads 4,000-Word Hit Piece On Tulsi Gabbard (RT)

Running as an anti-war candidate in the US comes with a target painted on your back that draws fire from those rooting for foreign interventions. In case of Tulsi Gabbard, it includes a lengthy piece on chemical attacks in Syria. Gabbard, a Democratic presidential hopeful, became the most-googled candidate during the second primary debate – but the surge of public interest came with renewed attacks against her anti-interventionist agenda. In case you’ve missed it all, Gabbard has been branded a ‘Russian’ spoiler for whichever candidate is eventually picked, and, once again, an apologist for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Joining the chorus of bashers on Sunday was Elliot Higgins, the founder of the UK-based ‘citizen investigation’ outlet Bellingcat, who wrote a whopping 4,000-word piece attacking Gabbard’s negative attitude toward regime change wars. In particular, Higgins didn’t like her skepticism over chemical weapons attacks in Syria reflected on her campaign website. The attacks were used by Washington to justify missile attacks against the country’s government – and by extension continued illegal US military presence in the country.


The mammoth piece starts with screenshots featuring logos of RT and InfoWars (Russian propaganda, dear readers, conspiracy theories!) and goes on to criticize anyone doubting the US-favored narrative about what happened in Syria. MIT Professor Theodore Postol gets an honorable mention, with whom Higgins no longer debates in person since their encounter in 2018. Back then, Higgins failed to address Postol’s technical criticisms of his investigations and instead resorted to mocking applauses and calling his opponent a tool of Russian propaganda.

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Always a sucker for a good history lesson.

America’s Other Original Sin (Bacevich)

Can there be more than one Original Sin? I’m guessing that may be a theological nonstarter, but as a basis for historical interpretation there is real merit in considering the possibility of multiple exiles from the Garden of Eden. That the arrival of the first African slaves to Jamestown 400 years ago this month qualifies as America’s Original Sin is now widely recognized. While holdouts remain, most agree that slavery and racism together have left an indelible stain on our nation. Many would argue that this awareness has arrived belatedly. I might even cite myself as an example.

As a kid growing up in Northwest Indiana in the middle of the last century, I judged slavery to have been an unfortunate mistake long since corrected. In the de facto segregated Calumet region where my family lived, race obviously remained a sensitive subject, but to my mind one best kept at arm’s length. I had more important things to worry about than the relationship between white people like me and those who were not white—why the Cubs were permanently stuck in or near the National League cellar being but one example. In the decades since, I’ve learned to see matters differently. So have many others.

But let me suggest the possibility of a Second Original Sin, not rising to the level of the first, but at least deserving far more attention than it has received. And that’s the sin committed in December 1898, when the United States laid claim to the Philippines. The history of this transaction, centering on a transfer of sovereign authority from Madrid to Washington, is both well known and almost entirely forgotten. As had been the case with race in East Chicago, Indiana, back in the late 1950s, the incorporation of the Philippines into an increasingly far-flung American empire has been written off. This, I have come to believe, is unfortunate, especially today when the American empire appears increasingly precarious.

The essential facts are these. In April 1898, the United States went to war with Spain. The war’s nominal purpose was to liberate Cuba from oppressive colonial rule. The war’s subsequent conduct found the United States not only invading and occupying Cuba, but also seizing Puerto Rico, completing a deferred annexation of Hawaii, scarfing up various other small properties in the Pacific, and, not least of all, replacing Spain as colonial masters of the Philippine Archipelago, located across the Pacific.


1898 US Political Cartoon: U.S. President William McKinley is shown holding the Philippines, depicted as a savage child, as the world looks on. The implied options for McKinley are to keep the Philippines, or give it back to Spain, which the cartoon compares to throwing a child off a cliff.

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