Category Archives: Current Events

Current Events

Psaki Reminds Reporters That Biden Doesn’t Speak For The President Of The United States

via BabylonBee


WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a tense press conference Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced pointed questions about several Biden misstatements that led to chaos during his trip overseas. Psaki quickly reassured the gathered press that Biden doesn’t speak for the President of the United States.

“The President has clearly said, and we agree, that Joe Biden does not speak for this administration,” said Psaki to the confused reporters. “Nothing said by Biden should be misconstrued to reflect the official foreign policy of the President. This administration has been clear from the beginning, that we have always been clear about what we have been clear about, clearly.”

“But Jen!” said a feisty Peter Doocy, “Don’t you think these inconsistent statements could cause World War III and unleash CRT on our kids all at once? Why did Biden have to walk back his statements?”

“We would like to walk back the statement that we have ever walked back any statements,” said a frustrated Psaki. “But if you find any statements that we have walked back let me know and we’ll circle back later to walk back our walk-back.”

Sources say Biden is now in his basement on tranquilizers until the administration can clarify what statements need to be walked back.

Note: There might be traces of humor.

EU Parliament Votes for Sanctions vs Poland, Hungary

via: Opindia

Is Orban done?

The European Union has decided to impose economic sanctions on its two member states, Poland and Hungary, even as the two countries deal with the influx of over 1.5 Million Ukrainian refugees in the last 2 weeks. European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of these sanctions on Poland and Hungary in the middle of the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

In a press release, European Parliament stated that it was high time for the Commission to protect the EU budget from violations of rule of law. It also mentions that EU funds must be protected from countries that undermine the EU’s “liberal democratic values”. As per European Union laws introduced in January 2021, EU member countries that bend the rule of law are not eligible to receive funds from the EU.

478 MEP (Members of European Parliament) voted in favour of these sanctions, while 155 voted against.

“EU laws are above national laws, even above the constitution of respective member states”

In October 2021, Poland’s top court had rejected the supremacy of EU laws over some judicial matters. A constitutional tribunal in Poland had stated that some EU treaty articles were incompatible with Poland’s constitution.

The European Commission had taken major objection to the Poland top court’s ruling and had stated, “EU law has primacy over national law, including constitutional provisions. All rulings by the European Court of Justice are binding on all member states’ authorities, including national courts.”

As per European Union, Poland and Hungary are not respecting these common EU laws, and are accused of curbing the freedom of courts, media and academics. In addition, they are accused of depriving LGBTQ+ people and migrants of their rights. The two countries had appealed against these European laws in the European Court of Justice but their plea was dismissed in February earlier this year.

With Billions of Euros at stake, this decision is bad news for both Poland and Hungary, particularly for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who faces an election next month.

While the timing of this decision is just a coincidence, since the process was in the works since last year, still the decision to rob these countries of funds in the middle of a refugee crisis has been met with widespread derision. During the ongoing war in Ukraine, Poland has taken close to 1.5 million refugees, while Hungary has received nearly a quarter of a million refugees.

Tidbits on the Margins of Ukraine Crisis – Updated 3

EU is unravelling – it is a generator of negative economic growth and declining shares of global trade. Merkel once pointed out it had 6% global population and 25% global welfare spending – nowhere else on earth does the Unskilled live so well.

It is unravelling fast and stupid politicians with their literature degrees or law studies fail to comprehend GDP growth correlates inversely with energy input prices.


“….Being in a hotel, I have the opportunity to waste my time watching CNN. I am truly fascinated by how completely clueless the so-called experts, generals, politicians, that they have on are about this. They have no understanding of the Russian motives, they have no conception of what is actually going on, and they can’t see what is in front of their faces. My personal favourite is the US senator that says Russia is running out of food because it’s a communist country and therefore needs to conquer more agricultural land. This is a man whose office is bigger than your house, has a staff of dozens with a huge budget and that’s what he thinks is going on…”.

Many people don’t realize the biggest risk during global nuclear war is actually COVID.”

We re-tooled our manufacturing line from oversized bras to iodine-soaked leather masks.

We were going to use a nylon-rayon mixture but one of our investors is a huge Judas Priest fan.

Black leather, white leather, brown leather,  “lets you breath while you survive the fallout from the fallout” iodine soaked so your thyroid gets over-supplied with iodine.

It’s the radioactive iodine getting into your thyroid gland that gets ya.

COVID can survive on an irradiated surface for almost a year.

COVID can also be carried by gamma rays.

This is why Putin wants to nuke everyone.

—   CNN

A nice nuclear apocalypse would bring tranquility to everyone, including the crazies.

“What about the heat?  And the shock wave?”

Only a flesh wound.


The bottom line is that while Russia’s economy will likely be crippled and soon, once this final dollar lifeline stops, the removal of millions of barrels of oil from the market will lead to an exponential surge in oil prices until we hit the infamous “demand destruction” trigger – the price beyond which there is no more demand… and a global stagflation beckons.

In short, this is one giant game of chicken between Russia and the west, where the former is suffering tremendous pain this very moment, and where the latter is still cruising thanks to a buffer of relatively cheap oil which however will run out shortly and once it does, prices will go vertical triggering an even bigger oil crisis than what the US experienced in the mid-1970s.


The Russians have had EIGHT YEARS, since the USA/Ukraine illegal war crime coup in 2014, to prepare for these western sanctions and Global actions against her.

The idea that any Western action, NOW, is going to be a long term problem for Russia is absurd. They have gamed every Western move possible ad infinitum.


Russia is a big wheat producer/exporter and of course one of the largest energy producers, they have everything needed to survive – heat and food. They are used to live with little at times of difficulty.

At the same time they are taking over the second largest country in Europe with plenty of resources too, so f- sanctions.

And the most important thing – they are liberating the ethnic Russians in southern Ukraine.


How many more days until the Russians cutoff all natural gas exports to countries which are sanctioning them?


According to US polling firm Morning Consult, 34% of Americans who participated in their poll were able to locate Ukraine on a map.

“When asked to find Ukraine on a blank map of Europe, only about 1 in 3 voters correctly located the country, slightly more than the 28 percent who were able to identify Iran on a map roughly two years ago in the wake of a U.S. strike on the Islamic Republic’s most powerful commander.”

They did however do better finding Russia.. Bigger I suppose.


The ultimate effect of “modern” education is to dumb down the people and get them to think only in terms of black and white binaries – “Four legs, good; two legs, bad”. Since the war began, I see headlines everywhere: “Ukraine war – what you need to know”. The blasted reporter tells us what I need to know, not what I want to know. “You need to know only what we allow you to know”. No wonder we have geniuses in positions of power who cannot understand what constitutes Russia’s core national interests. Putin has jolted the world back to some common sense, destroyed the Covid scamdemic and brought back realism back into international relations.


A decision by RF to halt energy exports to adversary nations would have severe economic impact and greatly curtail the ability of importing nations to wage war. The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo drove crude prices up by 300%. See:


1 Saudi Arabia, 2,430,404,330
2 Russia, 1,698,527,500
3 Iraq, 1,251,358,335
4 United Arab Emirates 882,711,620
5 Kazakhstan, 514,984,705
6 Brazil, 474,956,250
7 Mexico, 437,456,515
8 Azerbaijan, 204,126,250
9 Colombia, 197,450,035
10 Qatar, 183,522,365
11 Venezuela, 177,679,080
12 Iran, 147,638,485

TOTAL NO SANCTIONS bbls exported oil per Year = 8,600,815,470
TOTAL PRO SANCTIONS bbls imported oil per year = 7,808,992,500


1 United States – G7 2,908,685,000
2 Japan – G7 1,170,920,000
3 Germany – G7 670,140,000
4 Italy – G7 489,465,000
5 Spain 483,625,000
6 France – G7 418,655,000
7 Netherlands 399,310,000
8 United Kingdom – G7 331,091,500
9 Canada – G7 294,445,500
10 Singapore 285,904,500
11 Poland 179,981,500
12 Greece 176,769,500


Meanwhile #Putin’s approval rating has raised from 60% to 71% (survey by FOM)


Here is the list of countries who both voted to censure Russia in the UNGA and have enacted sanctions.

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States

Total of 30

Here is the list of countries that voted to censure Russia in the UNGA but have not joined the sanctions regime

Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay

Total of 32 countries



Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine: Risks And Opportunities

Troops on the Donbass front in Ukraine. Photo via RWA Podcast.

What’s Next In The War

Likely, the fall of Kiev. Our Russian correspondent Anatoly Karlin, who successfully predicted the invasion when most thought it was a bluff, recently suggested Kiev might fall this weekend. 

Why U.S. Markets Bounced After The Invasion

In our February 16th post, we suggested investors hedge; ZeroHedge suggested on Friday that investors hedging beforehand led to the U.S. markets bounce after the war started. That may be part of the reason for the bounce, but we suspect another is what didn’t happen, or at least hasn’t happened yet. 

Russia’s invasion didn’t lead to war with NATO, and the West hasn’t so far resorted to nuclear-level sanctions against Russia, such as removing it from SWIFT or boycotting its energy exports. In fact, as Javier Blas reported on Thursday, Europe was set to buy Russian gas piped through Ukraine on Friday. 

The Risks That Remain

The risks that remain are big though, so we suggest investors take advantage of the bounce and add downside protection if they haven’t already. The biggest risk is that the current war escalates to one between NATO and Russia. One possible way that could happen is if Russian aircraft inadvertently violate NATO airspace. 

Another possibility is hawks in the U.S. succeed in getting NATO to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine. 

Recall that the West has implemented no-fly zones in the past against Libya and Iraq, but these were third world countries with negligible air forces or air defense capabilities. Russia, in contrast, has a well-equipped air force and air defense artillery. 

Another risk that remains is that sanctions imposed against Russia become more severe, leading to reciprocal sanctions and metastasizing economic disruptions. We saw a small taste of that this past week, when Russia responded the UK’s ban on Aeroflot flights landing there by banning British airlines from flying over Russia, closing them off from profitable great circle routes to Asia. 

Similarly, if calls to exclude Russia from SWIFT succeed, that could lead to unintended consequences, such as Russia partnering with China on a competing system, which might lead to a weakening of U.S. dollar hegemony. 

The best case scenario for investors (and, more importantly, for limiting human suffering) remains a quick end to the war, but on Friday, the U.S. State Department opposed ceasefire negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. 

Possible Opportunities 

There are potential opportunities in some beaten-down Russian stocks now. In our personal account, we bought shares of two of them on Thursday and Friday: Yandex (YNDX) and Gazprom (OGZPY). Just to clarify: neither of those stocks were Portfolio Armor picks. For an idea of the sort of names Portfolio Armor has picked recently, these were its top ten names last month: 

Screen capture via Portfolio Armor on 1/27/2022.
And here’s how they’ve done since, versus the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY):

Portfolio Armor tends to pick stocks that have been going up recently, such as the current winner from the January 27th cohort, the oil E&P Antero Resources Corp (AR); Yandex and Gazprom both dropped significantly (along with the rest of the Russian market) after the invasion started. But while investors in U.S. stocks may be underrating the risks of the war, investors in Russian stocks may have overrated them. Yandex is essentially the Google (GOOG) of Russia, with 92% of its revenues coming from inside Russia. 
Quarterly Release
As such, foreign sanctions would seem to have limited impact on it. 
Gazprom of course sells plenty of gas to Western Europe, so it could be vulnerable to sanctions more severe than those that the West has currently imposed. But Germany’s dependence or Russian gas makes those sanctions unlikely. 

And as of Friday’s close, contra data you’ll find on some popular financial sites, Gazprom’s forward dividend yield was about 22%. 

One additional risk there, however, is that a Russian politician has mooted freezing dividends for residents of countries sanctioning Russia. 

His proposal only mentioned bank stocks, but it’s possible if that were implemented it could be extended to non-financial stocks such as Gazprom. 

Why Biden Needs New Policy Advisors on Russia

Scott Ritter

is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

FILE PHOTO. © AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Joe Biden’s current crop of senior policy aides, led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, have helped create one of the most significant foreign policy crises in modern history. It’s time for a new slate of advisers.

Despite having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for decades, US President Joe Biden is not an expert on Russia. His Senate experience, which includes providing critical support for NATO expansion, when combined with the leading role he played in managing Ukraine policy under the administration of President Barack Obama, have slanted Biden’s world view of Russia, married as it is to the very policies that Moscow is currently challenging. Biden shared a worldview with fellow Senate hawk John McCain, who once quipped that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” clearly not understanding just how important a gas station is to economies dependent upon fossil fuels for their very survival. Biden has called Putin a “killer,” showing little regard for either fact or diplomatic norms.

But perhaps the most egregious display of the lack of fundamental appreciation Biden has regarding Russia and its role in global geopolitics is comments made by the US president to the press following his June 17, 2021, meeting with Putin in Geneva. He was asked if he had taken away anything from his talks with the Russian president that indicated, as the reporter put it, “that Mr. Putin has decided to move away from his fundamental role as a disrupter, particularly a disrupter of NATO and the United States?” Biden responded with an answer that underscores just how little he understands of Russia, Russian policy, and the geopolitical realities of the present day.

“I think that the last thing he [Putin] wants now is a Cold War. Without quoting him – which I don’t think is appropriate – let me ask a rhetorical question: You got a multi-thousand-mile border with China. China is moving ahead, hellbent on election, as they say, seeking to be the most powerful economy in the world and the largest and the most powerful military in the world. You’re in a situation where your economy is struggling, you need to move it in a more aggressive way, in terms of growing it. And you – I don’t think he’s looking for a Cold War with the United States,” Biden said.

Less than eight months later, it is the United States that stands accused of pursuing a “Cold War” agenda, one that has brought Beijing and Moscow together in unprecedented fashion, united by the perceived threat posed by the US and its allies. In a comprehensive joint statement issued following the meeting between Putin and Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday, Russia and China called on all states “to protect the United Nations-driven international architecture and the international law-based world order” as opposed to the “rules-based international order” being promulgated by the Biden administration. This is a shot across the bow of the US and its allies, informing them that their continued efforts to breathe relevance into archaic structures imposed on the world in the aftermath of the Second World War will not go unchallenged.

President Biden is facing a new policy debacle, one that has massive geopolitical consequences. The US cannot afford to emerge from the current situation having had its bluff called by both Russia and China; nor can it prevail by going all in, initiating a conflict where neither it nor its allies are positioned to prevail. As the principal architects of the “rules-based international order” posture that dominates US foreign policy today, neither Biden nor his two principal foreign policy advisers, Blinken and Sullivan, are either ideologically or intellectually capable of changing course, preferring to run the ship of state aground in defense of their so-called “principles.”

All three individuals have had their global vision vis-a-vis the US and Russia shaped by a collective of ersatz Russian experts, led by the likes of Michael McFaul, Anne Applebaum, Susan Glasser, Masha Gessen, Steven Hall, John Sipher, and their ilk – people whose ignorance of the reality of Russia is only surpassed by their singular focus on the person of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, as the personification of evil. Any influence such individuals – former diplomats, academics, intellectuals, and spies – have on current policy formulation and implementation, however, is indirect; none of them has a seat in the rarified air of policy formulation and implementation as directed from within the White House.

If the US is to have any hope of being able to emerge from its current policy journey with an outcome that differs from the fate enjoyed by the Titanic, it will need a cohort of genuine Russian experts who have the access necessary to advise the president at a time and place that makes such advice a part of the deliberations that occur before policy is acted on. Any such counsel, if previously offered, was disregarded in favor of the “rules-based international order” focus being marketed by Biden, Blinken, and Sullivan. At some point, however, Joe Biden as the chief executive must realize he is promulgating failed concepts. While it might be too much of an ask to have him cashier the architects of this policy debacle, the president would do well to raise the stature, so to speak, of the few voices of reason that are part of his inner circle.

For anyone hoping that the US military establishment would rise to the occasion, guess again. There was a time when US general officers were schooled in the art of combined arms warfare as practiced in Europe against a Soviet-style enemy; those days are gone. The current crop of generals, led by Mark Milley, have made a career out of fighting (and losing) low-intensity conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in the process, overseeing the transformation of the US military from a world-class fighting force to a bloated edifice unable to meaningfully project power into anything other than permissive counterinsurgency conflicts. Milley’s “feel” for large-scale conventional conflict is purely theoretical, as reflected in his recent briefing to Congress about his assessment of alleged Russian invasion plans regarding Ukraine.

There was a time when the US military produced the finest Russian Foreign Area Officers (FAOs) imaginable, experts on Russian language and culture who were able to provide sound advice to senior policy makers, military and civilian alike. These officers were well-grounded in the realities of what war with Russia (back then, the Soviet Union) could entail, having served several tours in combat and combat support units that were focused on just that task. The training was more than just academic – these officers went on to serve in utilization tours that put them on the frontline of the Cold War, either at the US Military Liaison Mission in Potsdam, East Germany, where they kept close tabs of the Soviet Group of Forces, Germany, or as military attaches in Moscow or other Warsaw Pact capital cities. The pinnacle of the FAO experience was to be assigned as the defense attache in Moscow. Here, one oversaw intelligence collection in support of national security objectives and provided direct advice to the US ambassador, the joint chiefs of staff, and the White House.

Today, the Russian-Eurasian Foreign Area Officer program is but a shadow of its former self, producing officers who are more political than military. Alexander Vindman, an Army Eurasian FAO who testified during the first impeachment hearings against then-President Donald Trump, is an example. So, too, is Brittany Stewart, the military attache to the US Embassy in Kiev who, during a tour of the Donbass region, was photographed wearing a patch bearing the “Ukraine or Death” skull insignia of a Ukrainian brigade. So shallow is the field of available expertise that the current defense attache to Moscow, Rear Admiral Philip Yu, is a China FAO with virtually no experience in US-Russian military affairs.

Admiral Yu, by contrast, reports to John Sullivan, a political appointee under Donald Trump with significant government experience, primarily as a lawyer, but no real expertise on Russia. In short, at one of the critical moments in US-Russian history, Washington has a politically appointed lawyer as ambassador, advised by a naval officer whose specialty is China. Recognizing the political role played by ambassadors, the State Department backstops them with career foreign service officers who serve as the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM). Jack Matlock’s DCM was James Collins, like Matlock a top-level Russian expert. Sullivan’s DCM is Bartle Gorman, whose background is diplomatic security.

With the US Embassy in Moscow unable to provide anything more substantive than a current events update, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, secretary of state, and national security adviser trapped in their own ideological prison, the burden of providing genuine expertise on matters pertaining to Russia falls on the shoulders of three individuals – Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary for political affairs; Eric Green, the special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council; and William Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

While Nuland’s credentials are not to be scoffed at – she has served as a diplomat for more than three decades, during which she acquired solid expertise in European, NATO, and Russian affairs – her role in the 2014 Maidan revolution has limited her utility as someone able to interface with her Russian counterparts effectively and, as such, diminishes her functionality as an adviser. Moreover, Nuland is cut from the same ideological cloth as Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan. Her utility in terms of being able to guide Joe Biden away from a potential conflict with Russia is, at best, indirect – because she so closely mimics the policy positions of Blinken and Sullivan, her advice is muted.

One source of potential policy dissent is Eric Green, a career foreign service officer possessing considerable experience in Russian affairs, including as the State Department’s director, Office of Russian Affairs, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and the minister-counselor for political affairs at the US Embassy in Moscow. Green already has the ear of the president, having sat in on every phone call between Biden and Putin, as well as being present during the June 2021 Geneva Summit. Ostensibly Jake Sullivan’s subordinate, Green’s ability to provide advice about potential diplomatic off-ramps regarding the current crisis is real, as is the balance he can provide given the non-political nature of his service history.

The person with the greatest potential to alter the course of the Biden administration’s suicidal Russia policy is, titularly speaking, the least qualified: William Burns, the director of the CIA. However, Burns possesses a resume that is more conducive to back-channel diplomacy than covert operations. Indeed, the title of his 2019 memoir as a diplomat, ‘The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal’, is self-explanatory in this regard. Biden has already made use of Burns’ service, dispatching the CIA director to Moscow in November 2021 to help dampen down tension between the two nations.

Confronted with a looming policy disaster which threatens to undermine US relations with NATO, Europe, and the world at a time when his administration seeks to assert the perception, if not reality, of leadership, it is likely that President Biden will be turning more and more to William Burns to fix the problems created by the incompetence of his secretary of state and national security adviser. Burns may very well find that he is ably backstopped at the National Security Council by Eric Green, whose expertise should supplant the ideological approach taken to date by Jake Sullivan.

Whether Joe Biden will avail himself of the expertise of Burns and Green is yet to be seen. One thing is certain – the journey on which the US is being taken on the advice of Blinken and Sullivan can only lead to embarrassment and ruin. Hopefully President Biden is wise enough to recognize this and bring in those who can help find a diplomatic path towards peace.

Anti-China Propaganda (Like Anti-Russia) Escalation Signifies US’ Despair

by Tom Fowdy via RT
Why China’s Uyghurs are back in the headlines
A demonstrator holds a placard as activists demonstrate outside the Colosseum, calling on G20 leaders to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to China’s treatment of Tibet, Uyghur Muslims and Hong Kong, a day before the G20 summit is held in Rome, Italy. © REUTERS / Yara Nardi

After months of silence, the Western media have refocused their attention on the Uyghurs of China’s Xinjiang region. The agenda is simple – to manufacture public consent for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece for RT pointing out that for the time being, the United States appeared to have shelved the Xinjiang issue – its accusation that China was waging genocide against the Turkic minority group known as the Uyghurs in the far-western province.

I noted that the Biden administration seemed to be strategically limiting confrontation with China, and creating some space for engagement, which resulted in the admittedly frosty Xi-Biden virtual summit last month.

Now that the summit is out of the way, and the Beijing Winter Olympics is on the horizon, it is no coincidence that, after months of silence on Xinjiang, the mainstream media in the West has started pushing new angles and so-called revelations, as well as a number of conspicuous anti-China reports.

In the past week alone, we’ve had attempts to deepen the links of Xi Jinping to the situation in Xinjiang via ‘leaked documents’, accusations that China is developing surveillance tech to target journalists, and a report about China extraditing “Taiwanese nationals” who are accused of fraud in other countries to its own territory.

It should be obvious – except for many it won’t be – that this tidal wave of anti-China propaganda is a deliberately coordinated effort to manufacture consent for a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics and an attempt to humiliate China.

Numerous sources in the media have already suggested that the Biden administration has already decided on a boycott, and others, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, may follow suit. This explains the onslaught of anti-China atrocity propaganda, with much more to come, including the findings of the ‘Uyghur Tribunal’, which are scheduled to be published later this month.

It is pure, unbridled manipulation and political theatre, yet ultimately Western audiences will fall for it in the belief that what they are being fed is the objective, impartial truth on matters of concern.

In reality, it is a form of ‘manufacturing consent’ – a term most famously associated with linguist and media scholar Noam Chomsky, who penned a book of the same name. His essays on the matter are of unparalleled value. He explains to us that manufacturing consent is a construct whereby the US government effectively manipulates and coordinates mass media to replicate its narrative in order to buy public support for aggressive foreign policies under the guise of highlighting issues of “moral concern” – most usually claims of atrocities or other human rights abuses.

Chomsky’s work explores how an army of think tanks, so-called experts, and other mediums are weaponised to establish talking points and set a stage of debate. Such coverage is always strictly according to preference, and deliberately and hypocritically ignores similar abuses or atrocities in other countries.

Why, for example, does the media talk about China, but not Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen? Why does it not demonize Vietnam as a similarly evil communist regime? Yet part of the process is that if the US intended to create a narrative against either country, it could.

This is how it controls public consciousness; the public buy into this because they are taught to believe they are enlightened, and that their ideology represents the ultimate political and moral truth.

Consequently, they assume that when it comes to foreign policy, their governments do not act out of self-interest or deception, but legitimately promote the values they profess to hold against a target demonized through the constant application of atrocity propaganda. They are conditioned to think the mainstream media is independent and impartial and that propaganda is only something adversarial countries do.

In line with this, cherry-picked experts are given a platform to legitimate these claims – such as German anti-communist scholar Adrian Zenz, who has become the constant ‘go-to man’ on Xinjiang – as well as dissidents, and a debate is generated on the grounds of ‘we must do something’, building up to the agenda the government in question wishes to push. For a historical example, see the notorious claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and so the UK and US had to go to war in Iraq.

Despite the level of deception involved in that effort, Western audiences don’t appear to have learned any lessons, and ‘genocide in Xinjiang’ is simply the latest claim periodically weaponised in this way to legitimate various policy goals of the US government.

Xinjiang and the Uyghurs have been an instrumental strategic tool used to reset US policy on China, largely throughout the Trump era – and to push allied countries to do the same. The Xinjiang claims first began appearing in 2018, when the Trump administration unleashed its trade war on Beijing and began to reorient US policy towards competition with China.

Their early usage involved legitimating allegations against Chinese tech companies such as Huawei and Hikvision, to justify sanctions against them. Throughout 2019, the issue was largely frozen in order to sustain trade talks between China and the US. Then in 2020, as the ‘phase one deal’ was completed and Trump sought to go all out against China in view of the election and the pandemic, the Xinjiang story was ramped up again at a greater intensity.

This pattern continued after Trump lost the election in a strategic bid to box Biden in on China, with the legally flawed declaration of ‘genocide’ by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In its early months, the Biden administration continued to weaponise Xinjiang with a view to setting the scene for its presidency, marshalling allies and undermining China’s Comprehensive Investment Agreement with the EU, before shelving the issue for a period of time. And now it has returned, in a bid to manufacture consent for a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics, which, while largely symbolic and inconsequential, aims to deprive China of attaining any legitimacy from the event.

As just one example of how coordinated and deceitful the whole process is, within moments of the new Xinjiang ‘leaked documents’ being published in the media, you had members of the anti-China group IPACimmediately demanding a boycott in the British Parliament.

Yes, there are human rights problems in the tightly controlled Xinjiang region. It is a strict area of control owing to the legacy of ethnic conflict and terrorism. Beijing has sought to assimilate the Uyghur group in order to secure stability.

The new documents attempt to insinuate that Xi Jinping is complicit by affirming he made comments about assimilation, yet President Emmanuel Macron of France has arguably made harsher arguments for the same thing with regard to French Muslims.

Would the integration of French Muslims ever be characterised as ‘genocide’? The absurdity of this suggestion illustrates how the hysteria of the Xinjiang coverage deliberately omits what is a mixed picture, and ignores the prosperity and opportunity brought to Uyghurs, as well as affirmative action programs the Chinese government runs in their favour. Many Uyghurs are members and officials of the Communist Party.

In which case, the all-out crusade and posturing on the issue of the Uyghurs can be seen as a deliberately deceitful and opportunist act pushed by an American government which has a long and well documented history of waging atrocity propaganda to attract support for its highly aggressive foreign policy, under the guise of self-righteousness.

People should be aware of what is happening and not fall for it again.

Does COP26’s “Humiliating Failure” Mark The Beginning Of The End Of UN’s Climate Crisis Agenda?

Authored by Paul Homewood via NotALotOfPeopleKnowThat blog,

The UN’s climate agenda has finally hit the buffers in Glasgow.

It almost happened in Copenhagen 12 years ago, when developing nations refused to limit their economic growth to satisfy the West.

It was only the promise of hundreds of billions of dollars that persuaded them to come along for the ride.

The can was kicked down the road again in 2015 at Paris, when developing countries were given carte blanche to carry on increasing emissions.

But sooner or later, the time would come for action, not talk.

And when it came to the crunch, the developing nations rebelled, led by India, China, South Africa and Iran. The touchpaper was this clause in the Draft Agreement, which was presented to the conference yesterday:

India along with a host of like minded countries knew that they could not run their economies without coal and other fossil fuels, never mind grow them and relieve poverty. Faced with the whole Agreement being lost, Alok Sharma and the UN organisers backed down, and replaced the words “phase-out” with “phase-down”. Just one word changed, but its effect was devastating for the Agreement.

Given that there is no obligation to do any of this (hence the term “Calls”), and no timescales are mentioned, India and the rest can interpret this clause any way they want. (Unabated coal, by the way, means where the carbon is not captured). In short, they will be able to carry on burning all the coal they want, for as long as they want.

The rest of the Agreement is pretty weak and ineffectual as well. It is full of terms such as “urges”, “requests” and “invites”, which mean there is no obligation on anybody to do anything.

And all COP26 has really agreed on is to meet up again next year and discuss things again.

In terms of Mitigation, ie reducing emissions, countries who have not yet submitted new plans are requested to do so next year. But if they have not done so yet, it is hardly likely they will come up with anything meaningful next year.

The Agreement inevitably “reaffirms” the 1.5C target. It would have been politically impossible to do otherwise. However, 1.5C was never an option, and was effectively kicked into touch at Paris, when it was acknowledged that emissions would carry on rising till 2030. According to the science, emissions would need to be cut in half in this decade to hit 1.5C, something which is clearly not remotely possible now.

Parties are also requested to come back next year with strengthened targets. But again, are countries that have just submitted new targets this year going to propose anything significantly different next year?

Then, of course, there is the money. There is a lot of “urging” and “requesting” developed countries to cough up:

But already the bar is being raised, with the third world demanding ever more. One significant item introduced at COP26 is the demand by developing nations that finance for adaption to climate change should be ramped up at the expense of mitigation.

In other words, they don’t want money for solar panels. They’d rather have it for building resilience against climate change (by which they mean weather!).

One further blow to those demanding western money has been the neutering of their Loss and Damage agenda. This is the ludicrous claim that all weather disasters are due to global warming, and that rich countries should therefore pay poor ones every time there is a bit of bad weather.

That was too much for even Joe Biden to accept, as it would leave the West on the hook for ever. The Glasgow Pact has effectively kicked this into touch, just promising more talks at some time in the future.

Naturally supporters of the UN agenda, such as the BBC, have tried to make the best of a bad job, claiming that “progress has been made”. The absurd Matt McGrath calls it “ambitious” and “progressive”.

Some have even claimed that the 1.5C target is still alive. Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, for instance stated:

Source: BBC

This shows just how out of touch he is with reality. Living in his little bubble, he seems to think the rest of the world shares his obsession with climate change.

But as the Climate Action tracker reaffirms, emissions will carry on growing, despite the new plans submitted to COP26:

Source: ClimateActionTracker

The end of the road.

In my view, we have seen the beginning of the end for the UN’s climate agenda.

There will no doubt be many more COPs to come. And there will be annual warnings from Prince Charles that we have 12 more months to save the planet.

But the writing is now on the wall. Developing countries around the world are standing up and refusing to cut back on fossil fuels, because they know they have no alternative if they want to grown their economies and give their people a better life.

They have got off the Climate Train.

So should we.

Amazon’s Bezos Predicts Only Limited Number of People Will Get to Remain on Earth

Humanity will move most industry into space and allow only a select few to remain on our planet, which will be turned into a natural resort, according to self-funded space explorer Jeff Bezos.

The Amazon billionaire enthusiastically shared his predictions for what human civilization will look like in the future – with him personally helping to bring that future closer – during a talk at the annual Ignatius Forum in Washington, DC.

He expects vast cylindrical space colonies spinning to create artificial gravity for millions of residents to take over most industrial production. Meanwhile, Earth will be turned into a natural reserve with restricted access similar to US national parks today.

“This place is special, we can’t ruin it,” the founder of Amazon said of our planet.

“Millions of people will move from Earth to space over time. And that’s the vision of Blue Origin – millions of people working in space,” he said, referring to his own firm.

“Over centuries, most or many of the people will be born in space. It will be their first home. They will be born on these colonies, they will live on these colonies. They may visit Earth the way you would visit Yellowstone National Park,” Bezos predicted.

He said that the colonies themselves “will have rivers and forests and wildlife,” which arguably brought his speech out of the realm of futurology and towards optimistic science fiction. Amazon is infamously resourceful when it comes to squeezing its workers for every drop of productivity. That’s why the similarly rosy description of ‘Amazon factory towns’ solving economic inequality in the US was met with horror, when it was proposed by a Bloomberg columnist in September.

Bezos referred to Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, who proposed the concept of space habitats in 1976, as the source of inspiration for him. He said the sort of expansion he predicted was inevitable, if humanity is to grow in a sustainable way.

“This Earth can support, let’s say, 10 billion people to a certain degree. We’d have to work really hard to figure out how to do that without degrading the planet… The solar system can support a trillion people,” he said.

The entrepreneur didn’t comment on who he thinks would decide who gets to live on Earth in the future, when asked by the host of the event, Adi Ignatius. If historic precedent is any indicator, privileges granted by wealth and status may be involved.

The perks of Bezos’ own status as one of the richest people on Earth were discussed in the interview, when Bezos bragged about managing to get a cameo in his favorite movie franchise, Star Trek.

“That was not an easy gig to get,” he said of his appearance in the 2006 feature film ‘Star Trek: Beyond’. “I insisted on a speaking role, which complicated the whole scenario,” he said.

In the movie, Bezos wore alien prosthetics and had one line: “Speak normally.” He said he “nailed it,” prompting laughter from the audience.

Talking about Blue Origin, the billionaire compared his firm to barnstormers from the early days of aviation. He said taking rich tourists on suborbital flights will turn them into “Earth ambassadors,” who would advocate for increasing space exploration in the name of protecting our planet. This will give more resources to making manned space travel routine, similar to how biplanes of old evolved into the passenger airliners of today, he said.

“The hard part is not space travel – that part was solved in the 1960s. Not reusability – the space shuttle sort of did that. The hard part is operational reusability,” he said. “It requires practice to get it right.”

via RT

China’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Brings Nuclear Fusion One Step Closer

Chris Bolan, CC license

It’s time to wake up and smell the plasma, as thermonuclear fusion energy inches closer and closer to reality.

In its quest to develop unlimited green energy, the EAST Fusion Facility in Heifei, China recently created a plasma gas that was heated to 120° million Celsius—that’s three-times hotter than the sun—and kept it there for 101 seconds before it dissipated, setting a new world record both for heat and duration.

“The breakthrough is significant progress, and the ultimate goal should be keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time,” said Li Mao, director of physics at Southern University of Sci-Tech in Shenzhen.

The previous record was 50° million Celsius, held by the scientists working at the fusion reactor in South Korea.

Flying cars, jetpacks, bullet trains—there are a lot of classic Sci-fi tech landmarks that we’ve reached, but a nuclear fusion reactor, essentially an artificial sun, is currently just considered plausible.

Borrowing the physics from reactions in the center of the sun, a thermonuclear fusion reactor squeezes hydrogen into helium, creating a dream of unlimited green energy, as the amount of deuterium, a version of hydrogen, found in 1 liter of seawater could produce as much energy as 300 liters of gasoline.

The reason this puzzle of all puzzles is only plausible is that the sun gets to rely on its massive gravitational forces to smush atoms together, whereas down on Earth we have to use temperatures like the one EAST has reached.

The challenge that comes along with this necessity: How can you build a machine that can heat and contain matter in such extremes which doesn’t just use more energy than it generates?

The device these fusion reactors center around is called a tokamak, which is a donut-shaped tube coated in super magnets.

Many tokamaks exist on Earth, and different governments and scientific institutes are all grappling with how to actually sustain a plasma for days rather than seconds, and to somehow use very little energy to heat a machine to 120 million Celsius.

The flagship project is ITER, a collaboration between the EU, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, and the U.S. Their tokamak is the size of a building, and contains 3,000 tons of magnets, 141 kilometers of cabling, and the world’s most sophisticated refrigeration system.

Other efforts include smaller fusion reactors from private firms in the U.S., at MIT, and the UK’s Commonwealth Fusion Systems and Tokamak Energy. These two have created ingenious superconducting tape to coil around powerful magnets, which create immense pressure in addition to heat, allowing for “portable” fusion reactors—ones that cost an iota of the ITER’s €20 billion upfront price tag.

The benefit to getting this problem solved is that essentially, the question of energy is solved. Oil, coal, and gas can stay in the ground, there would be no danger of another Fukushima or Chernobyl, and all the myriad of problems, inefficiencies, and costs currently inherent in common green energy forms could be forgotten.

The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in Heifei’s Chinese Academy of Sciences is proving that it’s possible to extend and intensify the effect, and that as long as the record for heat and duration can be continually surpassed, the dream of unlimited clean energy will survive.

via Good News Network

Many Russians Won’t Get Vaccinated. A Dog Catcher Explains Why

By Xenia Cherkaev via The Bulletin

A riddle from Russia: In a country where so many people have lost friends or family members to COVID-19, why is the pandemic taken so lightly? Sports festivals and international dog shows went ahead this summer as planned while crematoria overflowed with dead bodies. Masks are typically seen as an annoying formality, and people do not seem shocked by discrepant death counts. Between one state agency and another, death tallies diverge by over 200,000. How big a problem is the pandemic in Russia? In an important sense, we just don’t know.

What we do know is that the country is heading into a fourth wave of COVID-19, and while case numbers are rising, vaccination numbers are not. In 2020, Russia touted Sputnik V as the world’s “first authorized COVID-19 vaccine” and launched an effective export campaign: international vaccine sales garnered over $700 million in the first eight months of 2021. But inside the country itself, only about 30 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, and most people don’t want to be. The Levada Center, an independent polling agency, repeatedly finds that over half of the people they survey claim not to be afraid of contracting COVID-19. Denis Volkov, Levada’s director explains: “[E]ven though people are concerned, and even though they see their friends and relatives dying around them, many are still not ready to be vaccinated because they do not believe the authorities.”

To confront this deep well of anti-vaccine attitudes, authorities have tried car raffles, cash prizes, and local vaccine mandates. But they face an uphill battle in a country where people tend to view laws in terms of whose special interests they serve. They’ll face Sergey Selivanov, for one.

I met Sergey this past August, in Ryazan—a regional capital of about 500,000 known for its military-technical institutions, a three-hour drive from Moscow. He’s a dog catcher; I’m a legal anthropologist studying the regulation of stray cats and dogs. My research isn’t specifically related to the pandemic, but it has led me to see how people work in systems of governance that they themselves find dangerously irrational. And for many people in Russia today, such irrationality extends to the official policies implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19. As Sergey and I drove around his city, I heard in his position echoes of a political sentiment I had heard throughout Russia over the previous months. He told me that he and his wife had both had COVID-19, and that it made them both horrendously sick. But he also told me that he’s against the vaccines: He doubts their effectiveness, doubts their safety, and he doubts that the government’s vaccination campaign is driven by good intentions.

Sergey’s doubt touches on news stories and social media rumors, and it grounds on his lack of faith in the fairness and trustworthiness of Russian state governance. “When someone’s trying to organize a political meeting,” he said, “suddenly there’s COVID. But when they want to hold celebratory parades—no COVID?” Vaccine hesitancy in Russia today is often traced to a total distrust of the state—and such distrust is not wholly unfounded. Sergey and I discussed the massive public festivals St. Petersburg hosted this summer as the delta strain raged, we discussed how his local clinic diagnosed his tell-tale COVID symptoms as “acute bronchitis.” We both agree that official statistics cannot be trusted. The sentiment is common in Russia these days, shared by biologists, demographers, journalists, doctors, even by St. Petersburg’s ombudsman for human rights. Not only do two state agencies publish radically different numbers, but independent analysis gives reason to doubt them both. A similar statistical murkiness and lack of transparency has delayed Sputnik V’s emergency-use approval by the World Health Organization, even as reputable studies have shown the vaccine to be effective and safe.

I am vaccinated with Sputnik. I have a high antibody count, and I haven’t been sick. Sergey is not vaccinated, and does not plan to be. He is resolutely opposed. If he were to be subject to a vaccine mandate, he told me, he might go to court. But while the question of COVID-19 vaccines often splits people into irreconcilable camps —pro and anti—I don’t think Sergey crazy for doubting. From where he stands, the vaccine is not a question of collective immunity but of legal pressure. And Sergey knows firsthand that laws today often make for unsafe and unhealthy worlds.

As a dog catcher, Sergey works within the limits of a law whose logic he himself knows to be terrible. Adopted in 2018, this Federal Law N498 is the focal point of my study, the reason that I came to Ryazan. It decrees stray dogs and cats “ownerless” animals and forbids euthanizing them. It mandates instead that such animals be caught, castrated, and released back to the streets, or else kept kenneled at the expense of regional budgets until they die of natural causes. But Canis lupus familiaris is a pack-hunting predator. Free-roaming dogs destroy private property, kill family pets, spread diseases, and terrorize and attack people. To protect themselves and their communities, people in turn often brutalize street-dogs. Sergey has a dog at work that he and his colleagues are trying to figure out what to do with: They went out on call to catch her and met neighbors who swore that they’d kill her if they saw her again near their building. “She’s a nice dog,” Sergey explained, “but she eats cats.” Sergey feels bad for the dog, for the neighborhood cats and their owners, for the whole situation. But by law, his firm must release the dog back to the place where they caught her—and laws are to be reckoned with, even when they are irrational.

As we drove, Sergey and I discussed heinous cases from many Russian regions: little children mauled to death; senior citizens dismembered and partially eaten near their own houses; grown men and women attacked, mutilated, killed. We discuss how President Vladimir Putin has claimed street dogs to be an “inalienable part of the ecological system of cities,” and how the state’s started giving out medals “for valor” to people who’ve saved their fellow citizens from packs of dogs. A retired military dog handler, Sergey is well informed of the zoonotic danger dogs pose, especially in spreading echinococcosis and rabies. He has two dogs at home. Every year, he vaccinates and deworms them and marks their vet-passports accordingly. But legally “ownerless” dogs only get one shot of the rabies vaccine before he sets them free; he couldn’t revaccinate them if he wanted. Per Federal Law N498, it is illegal to recapture a dog that’s been tagged. And perhaps “setting them free” isn’t the best way to put it: These dogs sometimes chase his car for blocks when he leaves them. So he feels bad for them too. It’d be better to put them down, he reasons—if not for this stupid law that forbids euthanasia.

For many people in Russia today, the law is a web of regulations in which they seek loopholes to safeguard themselves and their social collectives from truly terrible outcomes. Some people, like Sergey, see the irrationality of this web in regulations pertaining to animal management. Others see it in other spheres. People complain about having been coerced into voting at work. They laugh at the State Duma—also known as the “the rabid printer”—for the quality and quantity of new laws it adopts. Some people are outraged by new laws branding politically dissident citizens and independent media organizations “foreign agents.” Some are demoralized by tax and investment incentives that let corporations sell the country’s natural resources for private profit, while small Russian towns scrape by on Soviet-era infrastructure. Some are incensed by the zoning regulations and governance schemes that allow trout fisheries to pollute their waterways, landfills to be built near their towns, and their forests to be stripped of their timber. In every such case, the law is seen as something with practical force but little moral standing: not an embodiment of the commonweal, and often a threat to community interests.

Legal systems generate a certain mystical power, that, when it works, makes people believe that the rules governing our social worlds are not only compulsory but also reasonable, even righteous. But this aura of righteousness must be a quality of the legal system itself, it does not stick to particular regulations in a patchwork fashion. Facing a fourth wave of infections, top state officials have once again called for people to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. But their electorate does not believe them. For people like Sergey, there is nothing inherently reasonable about the policies through which his country is governed. So when the state speaks of vaccinations, Sergey thinks of the practical force of the law: He thinks of which regulations might force him to be vaccinated, by whose will, for whose interest, and to what personal consequence. Widespread mistrust in the government’s motives, communications, and laws extends even to policies and regulations that are perfectly sensible: People prefer to take their chances with COVID-19 instead of accepting a state-backed vaccine because they do not believe that their country is reasonably or fairly governed. And this is something that neither the bait of car raffles nor the threat of vaccine mandates will fix.

Xenia Cherkaev is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Anthropology at the Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University.