Donald Trump Single-Handedly Killed His Own 2024 Chances



The ex-US president chose to cling to the “stolen election” instead of properly challenging Joe Biden’s many failures
After just two weeks of public hearings by the House Select Committee into the January 6, 2021 insurrection, it is obvious that Donald Trump will not be the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2024.
Trump’s crash and burn political career has now effectively come to an end, and the former president will be lucky to avoid being indicted on criminal charges by the Department of Justice once the committee has handed down its findings.
In his opening statement last week, Democrat committee chairman Bennie Thompson alleged that Trump was “at the centre of a sprawling, multi-step conspiracy aimed at overturning the 2020 presidential election.”
The evidence provided at the public hearings has already gone a long way to confirming the truth of that extraordinary charge – and much more testimony damning of Trump is expected when the hearings resume in mid-July.
The evidence given in the past two weeks shows that:

  • Despite knowing that there was no credible evidence of voter fraud (then-Attorney General Bill Barr told Trump that such allegations were “bulls**t”) Trump knowingly promulgated the “stolen election” claim.
  • Trump pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to certify the election results.
  • This pressure was applied on the basis of dubious legal advice provided by an obscure lawyer (who later sought a pardon from Trump) that had been contradicted by Trump’s own White House legal advisers and the Department of Justice.
  • Trump pressured state electoral officials into falsifying the election results.
  • Trump pressured Department of Justice officials into supporting his claims of electoral fraud. At one point, he told then-acting Attorney General Richard Donoghue, “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
  • A number of Republican congressmen who tried to prevent certification of the election result in Congress later cravenly sought pardons from Trump before he left office.
  • When the DOJ officials refused to comply with Trump’s demands, he threatened to appoint a compliant low-ranking lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, as acting attorney general. Only the threat of mass resignations by DOJ officials prevented this from happening.
  • Trump pressured the chairperson of the Republican National Committee to appoint alternate electors who would falsely claim that Trump had carried a number of key states.
What is surprising about this litany of improper acts is that Trump committed each of them personally. They were not delegated to intermediaries – a reflection perhaps of Trump’s own paranoia, megalomania and innate distrust of others. Trump is no practitioner of the doctrine of plausible deniability.
Trump has apparently watched all the recent public hearings while bunkered down at the Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey. His public response had so far been muted.  
Trump has condemned his own daughter Ivanka for testifying that she did not believe the ‘stolen election’ claim, and denounced Republican minority House leader Kevin McCarthy for having urged pro-Trump Republicans to boycott the January 6 committee – which he quite possibly did at Trump’s own direction to begin with.
Trump now appears to be an isolated figure, who believes that he does not need to offer any substantive defence to the serious allegations of misconduct made by the plethora of credible witnesses who have appeared before the committee so far.
This fundamental error of political judgment alone should be enough to ensure the end of his political career. No matter how frankly irrational politics in Western democracies has become, politicians are still obliged to defend themselves when allegations of serious impropriety are levelled against them. Would Boris Johnson still be British prime minister if he had simply ignored the allegations of misconduct recently made against him?
It is significant that none of Trump’s former prominent Republican supporters have seen fit to publically defend him. Only the long-retired Newt Gingrich has done so.
Trump’s arrogant refusal to defend his actions has caused public opinion in America to now turn against him.
Ominously for Trump, Fox News reversed its initial partisan decision to refuse to broadcast the committee’s public hearings after the opening day’s proceedings – which attracted a substantial 20 million viewers.   
Recent polls suggest that the public hearings are already having an adverse impact on Trump’s reputation. Pollster Frank Luntz said this week “I see people are no longer drinking the Kool-Aid. I see people moving away from Trump for the first time.” And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is now outpolling Trump as Republican presidential nominee for 2024 for the first time.
The decline in Trump’s popularity may also be reflected in the fact that Trump-backed candidates have achieved only moderate success in the recent midterm primaries, and that wealthy Republican donors have deserted them.
In these circumstances – and things will no doubt get worse for Trump as the committee continues its hearings and deliberations – it seems clear that Trump cannot possibly win the presidency in 2024.
This has been apparent to sensible Republican powerbrokers for some time – which is why they have surreptitiously assisted the Democrats in using the committee hearings to bring about an end to Trump’s political career.
But the expunging of Trump personally from American politics is hardly an occasion for celebration.
As the committee hearings have made clear, it is only Trump’s own lack of political judgment that has brought about the destruction of his political career.
Test that proposition this way – assume that Trump had even grudgingly accepted his electoral defeat in 2020; assume that he had never promulgated the ‘stolen election’ lie; assume that he had not incited the January 6 riot; and assume that he had spent the last 18 months criticising the Biden regime instead of clinging to the ‘stolen election’ falsehood.
Can any sensible observer of American politics seriously doubt that, in such circumstances, Trump would now be in a very powerful position to regain the presidency in 2024?
After all, the crippling and seemingly ineradicable political and ideological divisions divisions that propelled Trump to the presidency in 2016 have only intensified since 2020 – and, more importantly, the Biden presidency has been a complete and abject failure.
America is on the verge of a recession, and significant parts of Biden’s legislative program have not, and never will be, enacted. Large numbers of working class, Hispanic, and black voters are now deserting the Democrats, and Biden continues to slide downwards in the polls.
Apart from defeating Trump, Biden’s only ‘achievements’ have been to pander to transgender activists and prolong the Russia-Ukraine conflict. No wonder Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the so-called ‘radical’ wing of the Democratic Party have recently refused to endorse the doddering septuagenarian as their presidential nominee in 2024.
In the past week, two Supreme Court decisions relating to America’s two most divisive political idee fixes – gun control and abortion – have further exacerbated the debilitating divisions that have characterised American politics for decades. 
Democrats are now openly condemning the Supreme Court as ‘illegitimate’ for having overturned the universal right to abortion created in Roe v Wade – even though the majority decision is undoubtedly correct in terms of pure legal principle. 
These critics of the Supreme Court’s legitimacy have conveniently forgotten that feminist icon and former Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had for years espoused the view that the legal reasoning underpinning Roe v. Wade was untenable. They have also forgotten that the #MeToo movement was bound to provoke a conservative backlash against women.
Do these Democrats seriously believe they will make American politics more stable by attacking the legitimacy of the Supreme Court?
Trump, of course, has always been contemptuous of the Supreme Court – especially after it dismissed his attempt to legally challenge the 2020 election results. Yet this week, he cynically praised the court for overturning Roe v. Wade, and tried to take personal credit for the decision – after all, hadn’t he appointed three conservative justices to the court?
Even though Trump’s political career appears to be effectively over, millions of American voters still unconditionally support him, and continue to fervently believe the election was stolen. 
Precisely how these voters will react to Donald Trump’s political demise is not yet clear – perhaps the best that can be hoped for is that they will remain broadly within the Republican fold and vote for DeSantis.
In any event, the conflict-ridden shambles that currently passes for politics in America suggests that the country’s foreseeable political future – even without Trump’s participation – is unlikely to be any more stable that its pathetically troubled immediate political past.
Graham Hryce is an Australian journalist and former media lawyer, whose work has been published in The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Sunday Mail, the Spectator and Quadrant.

The Vassal Europe in Numbers

The main buyers and sellers of US securities over the past 4 years.

The list is divided into two parts, first buyers with cumulative purchases of all types of bonds over 5 billion dollars in 4 years, below the main sellers with cumulative sales of more than 1 billion over 4 years. For shares, the change in market value is the main factor in the revaluation.

All bond purchases occur only in the first 12 countries and offshore zones: the UK, Japan, Canada, Belgium, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, France, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. This means that all other countries have integrally zero balances. It also shows that the main flow of purchases is concentrated from American allies.

Sales come from Russia, which is the absolute leader, then Ireland (as part of tax maneuvers and repatriation of assets back to the US), China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan.

Therefore, the United States can only count on its allies in terms of the accumulation of financial flows.


https://t.me/ZradaXXII/6149

ZradaXXII, [Jun 22, 2022 at 11:52 PM]

So far, the main losers in all this geopolitical fuss are the EU countries – it is they who pay the highest price, and they pay all the bills. They are the main provider of capital in the US, buying back US securities. The EU is subsidizing Russia like never before – they crashed their exports and increased their imports from Russia to a record and took full support of Ukraine.

Confirmation of accumulated imbalances came out the other day – record trade deficits across all countries.

In Germany, there is still a surplus of 2 billion euros against the norm of 18-20 billion per month, but the Germans have not had such a low surplus since the formation of the Eurozone. France, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechia, Belgium, and Portugal have all-time-high trade deficits, with Belgium and Czechia usually running surpluses. Italy and Spain hit their trade deficit lows.

All the leading EU countries have lost. This is a wonderful example when, instead of your own interests, you begin to serve the interests of the USA.

https://t.me/ZradaXXII/6151

So far, the main losers in all this geopolitical fuss are the EU countries – it is they who pay the highest price, and they pay all the bills. They are the main provider of capital in the US, buying back US securities. The EU is subsidizing Russia like never before – they crashed their exports and increased their imports from Russia to a record and took full support of Ukraine.

Confirmation of accumulated imbalances came out the other day – record trade deficits across all countries.

In Germany, there is still a surplus of 2 billion euros against the norm of 18-20 billion per month, but the Germans have not had such a low surplus since the formation of the Eurozone. France, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Czechia, Belgium, and Portugal have all-time trade deficits, with Belgium and Czechia usually running surpluses. Italy and Spain hit their trade deficit lows.

All the leading EU countries have lost. This is a wonderful example when, instead of your own interests, you begin to serve the interests of the USA.

COVID-19 Vaccination Reactivates Highly Contagious Virus: Studies

Authored by Meiling Lee via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Doctors and scientists are seeing an increase in the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, known as varicella-zoster virus (VZV), following the COVID-19 injections.

A child gets a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Hartford, Conn., on Jan. 6, 2022. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

The chickenpox virus is one of the eight herpes viruses known to infect humans. After a person contracts and recovers from chickenpox, the virus never leaves the body but lies dormant in the nervous system years later until it gets reactivated as shingles, or herpes zoster (HZ).

Federal health authorities claim that there’s no correlation between COVID-19 injections and shingles, but studies show that there is a higher incidence of shingles in people who’ve received the vaccine.

Israel was one of the earlier countries to publish a case series of six women (out of 491 participants) with an autoimmune disorder who developed shingles 3 to 14 days after receiving the first or second dose of Pfizer COVID-19 shot. None of the 99 participants in the control group developed shingles. The study was published in the journal Rheumatology in April 2021.

To our knowledge, there were no reports of varicella-like skin rash or HZ in the mRNA-based vaccines COVID-19 clinical trials and our case series is the first one to report this observation in patients within a relatively young age range: 36–61, average age 49 ± 11 years,” the authors wrote.

They hoped that publishing the case series would “raise awareness to a potential causal link between COVID-19 vaccination as a trigger of HZ reactivation in relatively young patients with stable AIIRD [autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases].”

Man with scarring from shingles on June 21, 2022. (Meiling Lee/The Epoch Times)

In a different case study from Taiwan, researchers reported three healthy men ages 71, 46, and 42 who developed shingles two to seven days following the first dose of the Moderna or AstraZeneca COVID-19 injection.

HZ does not often appear after the administration of other kinds of vaccinations,” the researchers wrote. “But we believed that there might be a link between COVID-19 vaccine and HZ emergence.”

“One of the reasons is the short delay of onset after vaccination. The other reason is that these three patients were immunocompetent,” they added.

The largest study to date, based on real-world data (pdf) of more than two million patients, found that there was a higher incidence of shingles among the vaccinated (who received a COVID-19 shot within 60 days) than in the unvaccinated cohort, who were diagnosed with shingles within 60 days of visiting a healthcare office for any other reason.

According to the researchers, the risk of developing shingles was calculated as 0.20 percent for the vaccinated group and 0.11 percent for the unvaccinated, and the “difference was statistically highly significant.”

“Reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus appears to be a potential ADR [adverse drug reaction] to COVID-19 vaccines, at least for mRNA LNP-based formulations,” the authors wrote, adding that “vaccination against COVID-19 seems to potentially raise the risk of precipitating HZ [herpes zoster].”

Dr. Richard Urso, an ophthalmologist, and drug design and treatment specialist, told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program in April 2022 that of the three to five patients he sees a week with long COVID or problems after receiving the COVID-19 shot, “a huge number of them have reactivated Epstein-Barr, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, CMV.”

Regardless of the rise in reports of shingles after the rollout of the COVID-19 shots, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that it has not detected any safety signal between the two.

“FDA has not seen a safety signal for shingles/herpes zoster following administration of the approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines,” Abby Capobianco, FDA press officer told The Epoch Times via email last month, adding that the agency “will continue to closely monitor the safety of these vaccines.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also alleges that “there is no current connection” between COVID-19 vaccines and the reactivation of the chickenpox virus.

CDC spokesperson Scott Pauley said that any adverse reactions experienced after receiving a COVID-19 shot are temporary and a positive sign that the vaccine is working.

“Some people have side effects from the vaccine, which are normal signs that their body is building protection,” Pauley wrote in an email to The Epoch Times. “These side effects may affect their ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects, and allergic reactions are rare.”

Read more here…

Ukraine – The West’s Response As It Meets With Reality

via Moon of Alabama

This morning I watched an hour long discussion (vid) by ‘experts’ at the Center for Strategic & International Studies about assessing Russia’s war in Ukraine. I have to say that these folks know nothing that is relevant. They seem to have never heard of Sun Tsu’s dictum ‘Know your enemy’:

Sun Tzu says, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy,” but how do you become your enemy? You need to put yourself in the place of your enemy so you can predict his actions.

Not once did the CSIS people consider the view of Russia or its real intent. They talk about this or that U.S. option but do not even once consider how the other side would react to it.

One of the CSIS ‘experts’ says that Russia had planned to take Kiev but failed. Take Kiev with what? There were some 20-30.000 Russian soldiers near Kiev which has some 3 million inhabitants. Historically one needs one soldier for every 40 civilians to occupy a city or country after the fighting is mostly over. Russia would have needed more than two and a half times the number of troops it had around Kiev to take and hold the city.

Several of the CSIS ‘experts’ have previously held high government positions in the security state. With folks like them it is no wonder to see how badly the U.S. plan to drag Russia into a long war in Ukraine is playing out.

As Daniel Larson correctly writes: We should’ve known sanctions on Russia wouldn’t work as intended

The other side of the game is much more conscious of the real situation and it does consider and correctly predicts U.S. reactions.

On Thursday the Foreign Minister of the Russian federation Sergey Lavrov gave three interviews to different news outlets.

The first one with TASS was quite short.
Transcript: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with TASS news agency, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

The second one with BBC shows an acerbic Lavrov who several times reminds the interviewer that many cruel things had happened in Ukraine before the “Special Military Operation” started on February 24, that negotiations had failed and that Ukrainian duties under the Minsk agreements were not carried out. The interviewer tries again and again to neglect that historical context and to put the blame for the war on Russia. Lavrov calls that a form of ‘cancel culture’.
BBC: Video with English subtitles
Transcript: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the BBC TV channel, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

Question: But the situation changed four months ago …Sergey Lavrov: The situation has not changed. We are going back to what the Minsk agreements were coordinated for: protecting Russians in Donbass, who have been betrayed by the French and Germans. The British also played a leading role. All our Western colleagues kept saying they were unable to make Kiev honour the Minsk agreements.

Question: In the eyes of the West, Russia is responsible for these people. Do you think the death sentence …

Sergey Lavrov: I am not interested in the “eyes of the West” at all. I am only interested in international law, according to which mercenaries are not combatants. So nothing in your eyes matters.

The last Lavrov interview is with a Russian TV station. It is the longest but also the best. It explains Russia’s position quite well and is easy to understand.
Transcript: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the NTV network, St Petersburg, June 16, 2022

A day after Lavrov’s interviews president Vladimir Putin held a speech at the 25th St.Petersburg economic forum. The transcript is here:
Full text of Vladimir Putin’s speech at SPIEF June 17, 2022

The speech is long but the second part is about domestic economic measures in Russia and not of much interest. I recommend to read the fist part in full but here are a few bits:

A direct result of the European politicians’ actions and events this year will be the further growth of inequality in these countries, which will, in turn, split their societies still more, and the point at issue is not only the well-being but also the value orientation of various groups in these societies.Indeed, these differences are being suppressed and swept under the rug. Frankly, the democratic procedures and elections in Europe and the forces that come to power look like a front, because almost identical political parties come and go, while deep down things remain the same. The real interests of people and national businesses are being pushed further and further to the periphery.

Such a disconnect from reality and the demands of society will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements, major socioeconomic changes, degradation and a change of elites in the short term. As you can see, traditional parties lose all the time. New entities are coming to the surface, but they have little chance for survival if they are not much different from the existing ones.

Incidentally, the Americans have adopted sanctions on our fertilisers, and the Europeans followed suit. Later, the Americans lifted them because they saw what this could lead to. But the Europeans have not backed off. Their bureaucracy is as slow as a flour mill in the 18th century. In other words, everyone knows that they have done a stupid thing, but they find it difficult to retrace their steps for bureaucratic reasons.

The very structure of Western sanctions rested on the false premise that economically Russia is not sovereign and is critically vulnerable. They got so carried away spreading the myth of Russia’s backwardness and its weak positions in the global economy and trade that apparently, they started believing it themselves.

While planning their economic blitzkrieg, they did not notice, simply ignored the real facts of how much our country had changed in the past few years.

Exactly.


National Defense Magazine had an interview with the logistic commander of the Ukrainian land forces which includes some revealing details.

BREAKING: Ukraine to U.S. Defense Industry: We Need Long-Range, Precision Weapons (UPDATED)

First, you have to understand that the frontline is 2,500 kilometers long. The frontline where there is active combat in more than 1,000 kilometers long. That’s like from Kyiv to Berlin.

Think about this: one brigade occupies around 40 kilometers of the fence line. That means that to cover the active combat conflict we need 40 brigades. Every brigade is 100 infantry fighting vehicles, 30 tanks, 54 artillery systems — just for one brigade, and we have 40 of them.I’m not going to talk about the anti-tank guided missiles or anti-tank guided weapons for now. I’m just talking about heavy weapons. As of today,we have approximately 30 to 40, sometimes up to 50 percent of losses of equipment as a result of active combat. So, we have lost approximately 50 percent. … Approximately 1,300 infantry fighting vehicles have been lost, 400 tanks, 700 artillery systems.

I believe that those loss numbers are too low. The daily Russian clobber list counts more than double of those numbers as destroyed. While that list is very likely off (as any such lists inevitably are) I doubt that it is off by that much.

Colonel Markus Reisner of the military academy of Austria provides a presentation (vid) about the ‘heavy metal’ the Ukraine has lost and for which some replacement is now coming from the ‘west’.

According to him Ukraine started the war with 2416 tanks and other armored vehicles, 1509 field artillery and mortars, 535 MRLS and so on. (Ukraine like had additional depots with more rusty weapons in various states of (dis)repair.) It has additionally receive 250 tanks and other armored vehicles, and some 200 field artillery pieces and 50 MLRS.

It had in total 21 active brigades with 14 more in reserve plus various support units. That is less than the 40 the Ukrainian commander says are needed to cover the frontline and no reserves. The newly delivered stuff could provide for one or two more brigades. But with a 50% loss rate at least half of all that is likely already gone.

The Ukraine is not building reserves that could launch a counterattack but seems to send anything that comes from the ‘west’ directly to the frontline. It is in total far too little to replace the daily losses and certainly not enough to create forces for counterattacks.

The Ukrainian logistic commander also mentions that the U.S. delivered howitzer are very vulnerable:

Unfortunately, we don’t have an opportunity today to have foreign supplied equipment sent back to a restoration facility simply because of time constraints. That is why we are discussing spare parts here so that we can maintain and repair that equipment right in the field.For example, the M777 artillery systems are really prone to being damaged by enemy artillery. For every battery of M777, there are six pieces.

After every artillery contact, we have to take two artillery pieces and take them back to the rear to maintain them because some of the subsystems are damaged by shrapnel. This happens every day.

I bet that Soviet era equipment is much less prone to break under fire.


Last but not least let me point you to a fine essay by Aurelian about the future of the ‘west’ as the new reality sets in.

The Hinges of History Creak.
The future will develop not necessarily to the West’s advantage

However, western nations continue to act as though they were economically and militarily superior, and to try to coerce nations on which they are economically dependent, as well as fighting a proxy war against a nation which has more combat capability in Europe than they have.

In this sense, Ukraine is a test to destruction of both NATO and the EU, and the wider, western-dominated multilateral system they are both part of. NATO, in particular, has just been confronted by exactly the kind of situation that its founders expected—the exercise of Russian military power—and it did effectively nothing. No amount of hand-waving, no amount of sanctions or arms deliveries, can change that fact, which in turn changes everything. NATO and the EU can prolong the war, cause more suffering, and destroy many economies, including their own. But they can’t fundamentally affect the result, and the nature of their responses, beneath the surface posturing, demonstrates that they know this.

There is another new normal now: a Europe in which Russia is the largest military power, and where the West as a whole is dependent on Russia, China and India for its economic prosperity. This is not new, of course, but it’s a shame that nobody noticed it before.

And the reason for that is that the ‘west’ in its arrogance has for far too long listened to fake ‘experts’ like those at the CSIS.

Note: More on “Know your enemy”. Among other pragmatic observations applied to terrain, morale, and manpower, Sun says in the very first chapter, “Laying Plans”, Pt.6

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

US Oil Reserves Running Low – Bloomberg

The stockpile is forecast to dwindle to a 40-year low by October

Washington has been actively selling from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) over the past year to keep energy prices from rising even higher, Bloomberg reported on Friday, noting that the government can’t keep tapping the reserves forever.

According to the report, over the past year almost 115 million barrels were released into the market. Those sales have soared to a record high of nearly one million barrels per day since mid-May. At the current rate, the United States is selling more barrels from its reserve than the production of most medium-sized OPEC countries, such as Algeria or Angola.

The SPR contains two kinds of crude: medium-sour, which is the quality of crude pumped by Russia, most Middle Eastern countries and Venezuela, as well as light-sweet crude.

Bloomberg’s analysis of official data showed that 85% of the oil sold from the SPR over the past year has been medium-sour. Those sales have reduced the amount of crude inside the reserve “dramatically.”

If Washington sticks to its current pace, the reserves will shrink to a 40-year low of 358 million barrels by the end of October, when the releases are due to stop. A year ago, the SPR, located in four caverns in Texas and Louisiana, reportedly contained 621 million barrels.

“As the oil market looks today, it’s difficult to see how Washington can halt sales in October. Removing that additional supply would mean commercial inventories quickly deplete, putting upward pressure on oil prices,” says the report.

According to OilX estimates, cited by Bloomberg, by the end of October the SPR will hold only 179 million barrels of medium-sour crude. This means that during the period from June 2021 to October 2022, the US is likely to sell about 180-190 million barrels of medium-sour crude from its reserves.

Historical Ukraine, in Putin’s Words

❗️Vladimir Putin at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum reiterated that there’s no such thing as “historical Ukraine”

The President noted that this is a historical fact: most of the territories of Ukraine were annexed to it (by Russia), and Novorossiya appeared as a result of several wars with the Ottoman Empire.

“Ukraine received the western parts as a result of the Second World War – Stalin took away territories from Hungary, Romania, Poland and gave them to Ukraine, rewarding at the same time Poland with the eastern lands of Germany. This is how the whole “left-bank Ukraine”, as it is known, was formed. Ukraine came to the Russian Empire with three territories: Kyiv and the Kyiv region, Zhytomyr, and Chernihiv, that’s it,” Putin said.

Our Economy In A Nutshell

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The economy has reached an inflection point where everything that is unsustainable finally starts unraveling.

Our economy is in a crisis that’s been brewing for decades. The Chinese characters for the English word crisis are famously–and incorrectly–translated as danger and opportunity. The more accurate translation is precarious plus critical juncture or inflection point.

Beneath its surface stability, our economy is precarious because the foundation of the global economy– cheap energy–has reached an inflection point: from now on, energy will become more expensive.

The cost will be too low for energy producers to make enough money to invest in future energy production, and too high for consumers to have enough money left after paying for the essentials of energy, food, shelter, etc., to spend freely.

For the hundred years that resources were cheap and abundant, we could waste everything and call it growth: when an appliance went to the landfill because it was designed to fail (planned obsolescence) so a new one would have to be purchased, that waste was called growth because the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went up when the replacement was purchased.

A million vehicles idling in a traffic jam was also called growth because more gasoline was consumed, even though the gasoline was wasted.

This is why the global economy is a “waste is growth” Landfill Economy. The faster something ends up in the landfill, the higher the growth.

Now that we’ve consumed all the easy-to-get resources, all that’s left is hard to get and expensive. For example, minerals buried in mountains hundreds of miles from paved roads and harbors require enormous investments in infrastructure just to reach the deposits, extract, process and ship them to distant mills and refineries. Oil deposits that are deep beneath the ocean floor are not cheap to get.

Does it really make sense to expect that the human population can triple and our consumption of energy increase ten-fold and there will always be enough resources to keep supplies abundant and prices low? No, it doesn’t.

Many people believe that nuclear power (fusion, thorium reactors, mini-reactors, etc.) will provide cheap, safe electricity that will replace hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas). But nuclear power is inherently costly, and there are presently no full-scale fusion or thorium reactors providing cheap electricity to thousands of households.

Reactors take many years to construct and are costly to build and maintain. Cost over-runs are common. A new reactor in Finland, for example, is nine years behind schedule and costs have tripled.

The U.S. has built only two new reactors in the past 25 years.

The world’s 440 reactors supply about 10% of global electricity. There are currently 55 new reactors under construction in 19 countries, but it will take many years before they produce electricity. We would have to build a new reactor a week for many years to replace hydrocarbon-generated electricity. This scale of construction simply isn’t practical.

Supplying all energy consumption globally–for all transportation, heating of buildings, etc.) would require over 10,000 reactors by some estimates–over 20 times the current number of reactors in service.

Many believe so-called renewable energy such as solar and wind will replace hydrocarbons. But as analysts Nate Hagens has explained, these sources are not truly renewable, they are replaceable; all solar panels and wind turbines must be replaced at great expense every 20 to 25 years. These sources are less than 5% of all energy we consume, and it will take many decades of expansion to replace even half of the hydrocarbon fuels we currently consume.

To double the energy generated by wind/solar in 25 years, we’ll need to build three for each one in service today: one to replace the existing one and two more to double the energy being produced.

All these replacements for hydrocarbons require vast amounts of resources: diesel fuel for transport, materials for fabricating turbines, panels, concrete foundations, and so on.

Humans are wired to want to believe that whatever we have now will still be ours in the future. We don’t like being told we’ll have less of anything in the future.

The current solution is to create more money out of thin air in the belief that if we create more money, then more oil, copper, iron, etc. will be found and extracted.

But this isn’t really a solution. What happens if we add a zero to all our currency? If we add a zero to a $10 bill so it becomes $100, do we suddenly get ten times more food, gasoline, etc. with the new bill? No.

Prices quickly rise ten-fold so the new $100 bill buys the same amount as the old $10.

Adding zeroes to our money (hyper-financialization) doesn’t make everything that’s scarce, expensive and hard to get suddenly cheap. It’s still scarce, expensive and hard to get no matter how many zeroes we add to our money.

Many people feel good about recycling a small part of what we consume. But recycling is not cost-free, and the majority of what we consume is not recycled.

The percentage of lithium batteries that are recycled, for example, is very low, less than 5%. We have to mine vast quantities of lithium because we dump 95% of lithium-ion batteries in the landfill. There are many reasons for this, one being that the batteries aren’t designed to be recycled because this would cost more money.

The majority of all manufactured goods–goods that required immense amounts of hydrocarbons to make–are tossed in the landfill.

Goods and services are commoditized and sourced from all over the world in long dependency chains (hyper-globalization): if one link breaks, the entire supply chain breaks.

Our economy is precarious because it’s in a lose-lose dilemma: resource prices can’t stay high enough for producers to make a profit without impoverishing consumers. Prices can’t stay low enough to allow consumers to spend freely without producers losing money and shutting down, depriving the economy of essential resources.

Playing hyper-financialized games–creating money out of thin air, borrowing from tomorrow to spend more today and inflating speculative bubbles in stocks, housing, etc.–won’t actually create more of what’s scarce. All these games make wealth inequality worse (hyper-inequality), undermining social stability.

The economy has reached an inflection point where everything that is unsustainable finally starts unraveling. Each of these systems is dependent on all the other systems (what we call a tightly bound system), so when one critical system unravels, the crisis quickly spreads to the entire economic system: one domino falling knocks down all the dominoes snaking through the global economy.

Those who understand how tightly interconnected, unsustainable systems are basically designed to unravel can prepare themselves by becoming antifragile: flexible, adaptable and open to the opportunities that arise when things are disorderly and unpredictable.

Britain, the Sinister Head of the Snake against Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says there’s no room for improvement in relations

There is no way of improving Russian-British relations while London wants to bring Moscow “to its knees,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

He was answering a question from the UK’s state broadcaster BBC, on Thursday, about the dismal state of relations.

“I don’t think there’s even room for maneuver left anymore,” Lavrov replied.

“Because both [Prime Minister Boris] Johnson and [Foreign Secretary Liz] Truss say publicly: ’We must defeat Russia, we must bring Russia to its knees. Go on, then, do it.”

Asked about how Moscow currently sees Britain, Lavrov said: “A country that once again tries to sacrifice the interests of its people for the ambitions of politicians, who only think about the next election and nothing else.”

The UK is among many countries that have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to its military campaign in Ukraine. London has supplied Kiev with weapons, including surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles.

Truss argued last month that Russia’s actions in Ukraine “must be met with force.”

“We must be adamant in ensuring the victory of Ukraine with military assistance and sanctions. Now we can no longer take our foot off the gas pedal,” she said.

In February, the UK blacklisted Lavrov, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In April, Russia sanctioned Johnson, Truss and other senior members of the British government for “unprecedented hostile actions.” They have been banned from entering the country.

Next 100 Days of Ukraine War

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR via Indian Punchline

Ukrainian casualties in the conflict are running at a rate of somewhere between 600 and 1,000 a day, according to Guardian.

The New York-based Council on Foreign Relations held a videoconference on May 31 titled Russia’s War in Ukraine: How does it end? The president of the think tank Richard Haas chaired the panel of distinguished participants — Stephen Hadley, Prof. Charles Kupchan, Alina Polyakova and Lt. Gen. (Retd) Stephen Twitty. It was a great discussion dominated by the liberal internationalist stream that has so far guided President Biden’s national security team, which wants to help Ukraine fight a long war against Russia.

The striking thing about the discussion was the acknowledgement candidly articulated by an ex-general who had actually fought in wars that there is no way Russia can be defeated in Ukraine, and, therefore, there has to be some clarity as to the stated endgame to “weaken” Russia. The gloomy prognosis was that European unity apropos the war is no longer holding.

Third, one plausible scenario would be that Russia turns Ukraine into a “frozen conflict” once the current phase of the war reaches the administrative boundaries of Donbass, connects Donbas to Crimea and incorporates Kherson and a “strategic pause and a stalemate in the not-too-distant future” may open the door for diplomacy.

Conceivably, a cold air of realism is blowing across the Washington establishment that Russia is winning the Battle of Donbass and an ultimate Russian military victory over Ukraine is even within the realms of possibility. Notably, Georgetown faculty member Prof. Kupchan injected a heavy dose of realism:

  • “The longer this [war] goes on, the more the negative knock-on effects economically and politically, including here in the United States, where inflation really is… putting Biden in a difficult position”;
  • “We need to change that narrative [ that anybody who talks about a territorial settlement is an appeaser] and begin a conversation with Ukraine and, ultimately, with Russia about how to end this war sooner rather than later”;
  • “Where the front line ends, how much territory the Ukrainians are able to take back, remains to be seen”;
  • “I do think that the hot war aspect of this is more dangerous than many people perceive, not just because of escalation but because of the blowback effects”;
  • “I think we’re starting to see cracks in the West… there will be a resurgence of ‘America-first’ Republicanism as we get near the midterms”;
  • “This all leads me to believe that we should push for war termination and have a serious conversation after that about a territorial disposition.”

None of the panellists argued that the war must be won, or it still can be. But none recognised Russia’s legitimate security interests, either. Gen. Twitty warned that Ukraine may be close to military exhaustion; Russia has established maritime domain control in the Black Sea — and, yet, “as you look at the DIME—diplomatic, informational, military, and economic—we’re woefully lacking on the diplomatic piece of this. If you notice, there’s no diplomacy going on at all to try to get to some type of negotiations.”

The liberal internationalists mistakenly believe NATO is the cornerstone of US national security. Despite the failure of Biden’s reckless decision to wage a proxy war against Russia, the US is transfixed on NATO and unwilling to consider a security deal with Moscow.

If the old narrative in Washington was about winning the war, the new narrative is daydreaming about “partisan activity aimed at Russian occupation forces.” Of course, this narrative is even less possible to verify independently than the tall claims previously.

It is in this twilight zone that President Putin situated his taunting remarks on June 9 drawing the historical analogy of Peter the Great’s 21-year long Great Northern War between 1700-1721 — Russia’s successful contestation of the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. After attending a function marking the 350th birth anniversary of the iconic Russian emperor, Putin was chatting up an elite audience of the best and brightest young scientists in Moscow.

Putin said: “Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. On the face of it, he was at war with Sweden taking something away from it. He was not taking away anything, he was returning. This is how it was… He was returning and reinforcing, that is what he was doing…everyone recognised it as part of Sweden. However, from time immemorial, the Slavs lived there along with the Finno-Ugric peoples, and this territory was under Russia’s control.”

“Clearly, it fell to our lot to return and reinforce as well. And if we operate on the premise that these basic values constitute the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in achieving our goals.”

Putin gave a complex message here about Russia’s total rejection of NATO supremacy. No matter what it takes, Russia will reclaim its heritage. That is first and foremost a promise to his countrymen, who rally behind Putin, whose poll rating today exceeds 80 percent (as compared to 33% for Biden.)

The point is, there are unspoken fault lines, too. It is no accident that Russian discourses freely use the expression “Anglo-Saxon” to refer to the challenge on the country’s western border. Demons have been unleashed there. Indeed, what was the meaning of the trip to the Vatican by the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen for an audience with Pope Francis at this point?

The Irish professor Dr. Declan Hayes recently wrote an essay titled Holy War in Ukraine against the backdrop of violent assaults on Russian Orthodox priests inside their churches in the city of Stryi, Lviv region and in Zelensky-controlled Ukraine in general. He saw NATO’s “divide and conquer paw marks” all over them. “Although the fascist assaults on vulnerable Russian priests in front of their Galician congregations are one manifestation that the ghosts of Ukraine’s dark past have resurfaced, murals of the Virgin Mary posing with American Javelin missiles are another,” Prof. Hayes wrote.

Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu announced last week that a “land bridge” has been established to Crimea, one of Moscow’s key war aims, and it is working! It involved the repair of hundreds of kilometres of railway line. Simultaneously, the media reported that rail traffic from Ukraine to the border with Russia has been restored and trucks have begun carrying grain taken from the elevators in the city of Melitopol to Crimea.

Shoigu promised “comprehensive traffic” to and from Russia to Kherson and on to Crimea. Alongside, there’s been a steady stream of reports lately that the integration of the southern regions of Ukraine into Russia is rapidly progressing — Russian citizenship, number plates of cars, internet, banks, pensions and salaries, Russian schools, and so on.

Last week, the influential newspaper Izvestiya cited unnamed military sources claiming that any peace settlement at this point should also include Kiev’s acceptance of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as breakaway regions, in addition to Donbass and Crimea. The key question is no longer whether Kiev can retake the captured south, but how it can stall Russia’s “land bridge” from advancing further westward to Moldavia.

On the other hand, obduracy over peace talks may mean Kiev having to accept at a later date the loss of Odessa as well. But who is there in Europe in a position to bell the cat — reason with Zelensky? Besides, Zelensky is also riding a tiger. He survives on Anglo-Saxon support and in turn the Anglo-Saxons swim or sink with him.

There is no clear end in sight yet for this seamless war. At the end of the day, what stands out is that Putin has compared his actions with regard to Ukraine to Peter the Great’s reclamation of lost historical and cultural space (and lands) for the Slavic peoples during his 18th-century war against Sweden.

UK Health Agency: 99% Of Monkeypox Cases Are Gay Men

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A survey of monkeypox cases by the UK Health Agency has found that 151 out of 152 participants are men who “identify as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.”

The survey found that 311 (99% of 314) cases were men, with just 3 confirmed female cases.

“One hundred and fifty-two cases participated in more detailed questionnaires, implemented from 26 May 2022, and used retrospectively,” the survey found.

“In this data, 151 of the 152 men interviewed identified as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), or reported same sex contact, and the remaining individual declined to disclose this information.”

📝 152 cases participated in more detailed questionnaires. All were men.

📝 151 of those interviewed identified as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, or reported same sex contact.

🧳 Travel: 75 cases reported foreign travel within 21 days prior to symptom onset

— UK Health Security Agency (@UKHSA) June 10, 2022

Early outbreaks of monkeypox originated at a gay sauna in Spain and a fetish festival in Belgium.

Despite monkeypox cases being overwhelmingly gay men, some critics have suggested that encouragement by health authorities for gay men who suspect they may have caught the virus to refrain from having sex is “homophobic” and a form of “stigmatization.”

As we previously highlighted, the first monkeypox patient to go public revealed that he caught the virus from having gay sex with “around 10 new partners” after being deported from Dubai for testing positive for HIV.

Despite monkeypox spreading via close contact and the World Health Organization saying summer festivals should be limited to stop the spread of the virus, a WHO spokesperson later clarified that gay pride parades should go ahead as normal.

“Though most of the world was put on lockdown over covid with tens of millions of people losing their jobs, public health authorities have made it abundantly clear that asking gay men to stop having sex with dozens of strangers to stop the spread of monkeypox is untenable,” writes Chris Menahan.

The UK Health Agency survey survey also found that 81 per cent of cases were people resident in London.

As we previously discussed, the NHS in the UK posted a message on its website urging people to not touch or consume ‘bush meat’, which is available on the black market in ethnically diverse areas of London and can cause the spread of monkeypox.

Nonfiction for the Nonplussed | Algora blog publishing