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Washington Goes to War Against Twitter and Free Speech

Washington Goes to War Against Twitter and Free Speech

Below is my column this week on the campaign to coerce Elon Musk to restore the censorship system at Twitter. The campaign against Twitter now involves the full allied forces of the anti-free speech movement: the government, corporations, Democratic politicians, the media, and, of course, celebrities. However, it is an alliance that has proven overwhelming in the past but this unstoppable force has met an immovable object in Musk. It is total war in the beltway but Musk has yet to fully deploy his greatest weapon: free speech.

Here is the column:

Washington this week is in full wartime footing. No, it’s not over the Russian invasion of Ukraine or North Korean missiles or even Chinese expansionism. It is about Twitter and the threat of Elon Musk to restore free speech protections to social media.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has emerged as the bellicose general rallying others to the “censor or die” pressure campaign against Twitter.

The problem is that citizens are flocking to Twitter and signing up in record numbers. They want more, not less, free speech. The over two million new sign-ups per day represent a 66% increase over the same period last year, according to figures released by Musk.

A reporter this week was so alarmed that she asked the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the concern that millions are still signing up at Twitter and demanded to know who is “keeping an eye on this” for possible federal action.

Unable to convince users to embrace censorship, Clinton and others are pressuring corporations and foreign governments to deter Musk from restoring free speech. Since users are embracing the new Twitter, the campaign has focused on preventing them from signing up by removing the app from the Apple and Google stores…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

War Cycle Heats Up & Markets Tank in 2023 – Charles Nenner

War Cycle Heats Up & Markets Tank in 2023 – Charles Nenner

Just Collapse: War in a Changing Climate

Just Collapse: War in a Changing Climate

It Was Never About Ukraine

It Was Never About Ukraine

In his March 21 press briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price told the gathered reporters that “President Zelenskyy has also made it very clear that he is open to a diplomatic solution that does not compromise the core principles at the heart of the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.” A reporter asked Price, “What are you saying about your support for a negotiated settlement à la Zelenskyy, but on whose principles?” In what still may be the most remarkable statement of the war, Price responded, “this is a war that is in many ways bigger than Russia, it’s bigger than Ukraine.”

Price, who a month earlier had discouraged talks between Russia and Ukraine, rejected Kiev negotiating an end to the war with Ukraine’s interests addressed because US core interests had not been addressed. The war was not about Ukraine’s interests: it was bigger than Ukraine.

A month later, in April, when a settlement seemed to be within reach at the Istanbul talks, the US and UK again pressured Ukraine not to pursue their own goals and sign an agreement that could have ended the war. They again pressured Ukraine to continue to fight in pursuit of the larger goals of the US and its allies. Then British prime minister Boris Johnson scolded Zelensky that Putin “should be pressured, not negotiated with.” He added that, even if Ukraine was ready to sign some agreements with Russia, the West was not.”

Once again, the war was not about Ukraine’s interests: it was bigger than Ukraine.

At every opportunity, Biden and his highest ranking officials have insisted “that it’s up to Ukraine to decide how and when or if they negotiate with the Russians” and that the US won’t dictate terms: “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.” But that has never been true…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Escobar: Electric Wars

Escobar: Electric Wars

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

Spare a thought to the Polish farmer snapping pics of a missile wreckage – later indicated to belong to a Ukrainian S-300. So a Polish farmer, his footfalls echoing in our collective memory, may have saved the world from WWIII – unleashed via a tawdry plot concocted by Anglo-American “intelligence”.

Such tawdriness was compounded by a ridiculous cover-up: the Ukrainians were firing on Russian missiles from a direction that they could not possibly be coming from. That is: Poland. And then the U.S. Secretary of Defense, weapons peddler Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin, sentenced Russia was to blame anyway, because his Kiev vassals were shooting at Russian missiles that should not have been in the air (and they were not).

Call it the Pentagon elevating bald lying into a rather shabby art.

The Anglo-American purpose of this racket was to generate a “world crisis” against Russia. It’s been exposed – this time. That does not mean the usual suspects won’t try it again. Soon.

The main reason is panic. Collective West intel sees how Moscow is finally mobilizing their army – ready to hit the ground next month – while knocking out Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure as a form of Chinese torture.

Those February days of sending only 100,000 troops – and having the DPR and LPR militias plus Wagner commandos and Kadyrov’s Chechens do most of the heavy lifting – are long gone. Overall, Russians and Russophones were facing hordes of Ukrainian military – perhaps as many as 1 million. The “miracle” of it all is that Russians did quite well.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Huge Swathes Of Ukraine Without Power & Water After New Russian Strikes

Huge Swathes Of Ukraine Without Power & Water After New Russian Strikes

Ukraine’s energy operator Energoatom has announced Wednesday emergency power shutdowns in effect across all regions of the country amid a new large wave of Russian airstrikes. Sirens have been sounding throughout the day across the country.

President Volodymyr Zelensky in follow-up estimated that 10 million Ukrainians now lack access to electricity due to the attacks. “There are emergency shutdowns in addition to planned, stabilization ones,” he explained. “The elimination of the consequences of another missile attack against Ukraine continues all day.”

Prior file image, Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via Reuters

Casualties have been reported in the eastern cities of Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia, and at least one person has been reported killed in Kiev. Speaking of the renewed attacks on the capital, Mykhailo Podolyak, head of the Office of the Ukrainian President’s office said, “A new massive attack on infrastructure facilities is underway.”

He described, citing recent anti-air defense systems acquired from Western countries, “While someone is waiting for World Cup results and the number of goals scored, Ukrainians are waiting for another score – number of intercepted Russian missiles. A new massive attack on infrastructure facilities is underway. In NASAMS, IRIS-T and Air Defense Forces we trust.”

Kiev’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, issued an emergency message on social media warning that ongoing Russian strikes are “Hitting one of the capital’s infrastructure facilities. Stay in shelters! The air alert continues.” Also alarming is that the mayor in a follow-up message said that water services have been suspended in Kiev after the major strikes.

While it’s not the first time that some war-hit parts of Ukraine have been left without electricity and water, the country is now in an extremely dire and urgent phase, having already seen an estimated half its national power infrastructure degraded or destroyed

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Is Washington’s Dangerous Ukraine Boondoggle Starting to Unravel?

Is Washington’s Dangerous Ukraine Boondoggle Starting to Unravel?

Last week the world stood on the very edge of a nuclear war, as Ukraine’s US-funded president, Vladimir Zelensky, urged NATO military action over a missile that landed on Polish soil. “This is a Russian missile attack on collective security! This is a really significant escalation. Action is needed,” said Zelensky immediately after the missile landed.

But there was a problem. The missile was fired from Ukraine – likely an accident in the fog of war. Was it actually a Russian missile, of course, that might mean World War III. But Zelensky didn’t seem to be bothered by the prospect of the world blown up, judging from his reckless rhetoric.

While Zelensky has been treated as a saint by the US media, the Biden Administration, and both parties in Congress, something unprecedented happened this time: the Biden Administration pushed back. According to press reports, several Zelensky calls to Biden or senior Biden Staff went unanswered.

When US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan finally returned Zelensky’s call, he is reported to have said, “tread carefully” on claims Russia was behind the missiles landing in Poland. The Biden Administration went on to publicly dispute Zelensky’s continued insistence that Russia shot missiles into NATO-Member Poland. After two days of Washington opposition to his claims, Zelensky finally, sort of, backed down.

We’ve heard rumors of President Biden’s frustration over Zelensky’s endless begging and ingratitude for the 60 or so billion dollars doled out to him by the US government, but this is the clearest public example of the Biden Administration’s acceptance that it has a “Zelensky problem.”

Zelensky must have understood that Washington and Brussels knew it was not a Russian missile….
…click on the above link to read the rest…

War in a Changing Climate

War in a Changing Climate

World Dollar Hegemony Is Ending (and That May Be a Good Thing)

World Dollar Hegemony Is Ending (and That May Be a Good Thing)

petrodollar

The end of world dollar hegemony is coming and hardly anyone in government is taking notice or even understands what this means. Since the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the dollar has been the only currency accepted throughout the world for settlement of international trade accounts among nations.

Prior to 1944, physical gold was used for international settlement. When an exporter in country A sold goods to an importer in country B, country B would pay with its own currency. But country A would have no interest in allowing country B’s currency to build up in its vaults beyond an amount required to settle its own importers’ needs. Thus, country A would demand that country B redeem its own currency in gold. Sometimes country B would ship physical gold to country A. Or perhaps gold held in safekeeping in a third country would be designated as now belonging to country A, a book entry transaction that is more convenient than physical movement.

The Bretton Woods Agreement and Its Demise

The Bretton Woods Agreement added the dollar as tantamount to physical gold at $35 per ounce. The reason was simple: at the end of World War II the United States had accumulated a preponderance of gold, due primarily to its role as the “arsenal of democracy.” Thus, central banks could exchange dollars for settlement rather than moving or redesignating the ownership of physical gold. The weakness of this system was that the world had to trust the USA not to create more dollars than it could redeem for gold at $35 per ounce. But central banks always had the option to demand physical gold from the USA and hence ensure that their trust in the measure of $35 per ounce was fully supported.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Escobar: Berlin Goes To Beijing – The Real Deal

Escobar: Berlin Goes To Beijing – The Real Deal

The Scholz caravan went to Beijing to lay down the preparatory steps for working out a peace deal with Russia, with China as privileged messenger…

With his inimitable flair for economic analysis steeped in historical depth, Professor Michael Hudson’s latest essay, originally written for a German audience, presents a stunning parallel between the Crusades and the current “rules-based international order” imposed by the Hegemon.

Professor Hudson details how the Papacy in Rome managed to lock up unipolar control over secular realms (rings a bell?) when the game was all about Papal precedence over kings, above all the German Holy Roman Emperors. As we know, half in jest, the Empire was not exactly Holy, nor German (perhaps a little Roman), and not even an Empire.

A clause in the Papal Dictates provided the Pope with the authority to excommunicate whomever was “not at peace with the Roman Church.” Hudson sharply notes how US sanctions are the modern equivalent of excommunication.

Arguably there are Top Two dates in the whole process.

The first one would be the Third Ecumenical Council of 435: this is when only Rome (italics mine) was attributed universal authority (italics mine). Alexandria and Antioch, for instance, were limited to regional authority within the Roman Empire.

The other top date is 1054 – when Rome and Constantinople split for good. That is, the Roman Catholic Church split from Orthodoxy, which leads us to Russia, and Moscow as The Third Rome – and the centuries-old animosity of “the West” against Russia.

A State of Martial Law

Professor Hudson then delves on the trip by “Liver Sausage” Chancellor Scholz’s delegation to China this week to “demand that it dismantle its public sector and stops subsidizing its economy, or else Germany and Europe will impose sanctions on trade with China.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Pentagon Confirms US Boots Are On The Ground In Ukraine

Pentagon Confirms US Boots Are On The Ground In Ukraine

Two bombshell reports by the Associated Press and Washington Post Monday and Tuesday have confirmed that the United States has boots on the ground in the Ukraine conflict. Crucially, these troops are performing tasks separate from mere embassy security.

The American troops are said to be performing “inspections” of US weapon caches after last week the State Department and Pentagon unveiled a new plan to track US-supplied weapons in efforts to implement accountability for the billions of dollars worth of arms and ammunition transferred to Ukrainian forces since near the start of the war eight months ago.

A small number of U.S. military forces inside Ukraine have recently begun doing onsite inspections to ensure that Ukrainian troops are properly accounting for the Western-provided weapons they receive, a senior U.S. defense official told Pentagon reporters Monday,” the AP/WaPo reporting revealed.

Illustrative file image: US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division in Jasionka, Poland earlier this year.

A Pentagon briefing confirmed this “small” contingency of troops has been advised to not do inspections “close” to the front lines of fighting:

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide a military update, would not say where the inspections are taking place or how close to the battlefronts the U.S. troops are getting. The official said U.S. personnel can’t do inspections “close to the front lines,” but said they are going where security conditions allow.

There have already been “several inspections” overseen by U.S. Defense attache and a US Office of Defense Cooperation team based out of the Ukrainian capital. The report underscores that “U.S. President Joe Biden has ruled out any combat role for U.S. forces inside Ukraine.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

War; Economic War; War; Military; War; Economic War – Do You Spot A Pattern?

War; Economic War; War; Military; War; Economic War – Do You Spot A Pattern?

The times are not just a-changin’ – they have changed. Let’s take six of the top seven headlines in the Financial Times this morning in Asia as Exhibit A:

  • ‘Biden claims oil companies are ‘war profiteering’ as he floats windfall tax’
  • ‘The Long View. Is Europe winning the gas war with Russia?’
  • ‘Military Briefing: Russia and Ukraine prepare for the rigours of winter war’
  • ‘The Big Read. Egypt and the IMF: will Sisi take the economy out of the military’s hands?’
  • ‘The nuclear threats that hang over the world’
  • ‘Live news updates: Putin says grain deal ‘suspended’ not terminated’’

Do you spot a pattern? War; economic war; war; military; war; economic war. Are you incorporating them into your forecasts? I can assure you that the vast majority of analysts still aren’t because this is apparently ‘exogenous’. If so, what is endogenous is irrelevant. Anyway, on we go into those murky waters, via a mini-edition of the Global D’Oily.

The White House has come out all guns blazing against Big Oil, calling them war profiteers (which the US is no stranger to: **cough** The 2003 Iraq War **cough**), and threatening windfall taxes. President Biden gave a public address and specifically tweeted that: “The oil industry has a choice. Either invest in America by lowering prices for consumers at the pump and increasing production and refining capacity. Or pay a higher tax on your excessive profits and face other restrictions.” Recall when in 2016 I talked of geopolitical ‘Thin Ice’ we could fall through, after which markets would no longer operate the way they used to? Well, it wasn’t just about tariffs: the US is now laying down the law to not only the Russian energy industry, but its own.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

 

Advocating World War Three Is Just Mainstream Punditry Now

Advocating World War Three Is Just Mainstream Punditry Now

Listen to a reading of this article:

Mainstream punditry in the latter half of 2022 is rife with op-eds arguing that the US needs to vastly increase military spending because a world war is about to erupt, and they always frame it as though this would be something that happens to the US, as though its own actions would have nothing to do with it. As though it would not be the direct result of the US-centralized empire continually accelerating towards that horrific event while refusing every possible diplomatic off-ramp due to its inability to relinquish its goal of total unipolar planetary domination.

The latest example of this trend is an article titled “Could America Win a New World War? — What It Would Take to Defeat Both China and Russia” published by Foreign Affairs, a magazine that is owned and operated by the supremely influential think tank Council on Foreign Relations.

“The United States and its allies must plan for how to simultaneously win wars in Asia and Europe, as unpalatable as the prospect may seem,” writes the article’s author Thomas G Mahnken, adding that in some ways “the United States and its allies will have an advantage in any simultaneous war” in those two continents.

But Mahnken doesn’t claim a world war against Russia and China would be a walk in the park; he also argues that in order to win such a war the US will need to — you guessed it — drastically increase its military spending.

“The United States clearly needs to increase its defense manufacturing capacity and speed,” Mahnken writes. “In the short term, that involves adding shifts to existing factories. With more time, it involves expanding factories and opening new production lines. To do both, Congress will have to act now to allocate more money to increase manufacturing.”

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Military-Industrial Media Complex Strikes Again

The Military-Industrial Media Complex Strikes Again

Tens of thousands protested against the skyrocketing cost of living and against Macron in France October 16, led by left-wing politician Jean Luc Melenchon, but there were few front page or top-of-the hour headlines in the U.S. Huge protests occurred in Rome the same day to demand an end to Italy’s involvement in NATO, but no coverage on the west side of the Atlantic. Thousands protesting in Paris October 22 against NATO, but little notice in North America. Massive protests against NATO and inflation due to sanctions on Russian energy in France, Germany and Austria in September, but little news of it here in the heart of the empire. German police beat citizens protesting energy shortages and record-high inflation, both due to Russia sanctions, the week of October 17, but that was not covered in the USA. Seventy thousand Czechs protested in Prague September 3 against NATO involvement in Ukraine, demanding gas from Russia (before some mysterious imperial somebody with means and motive blew up Nordstream 1 and 2, probably to nip the political effects of those protests in the bud) and ending the war, but that got little coverage in U.S. corporate media.

Ever get the sense there are things our media hides from us? Hmm. Ever wonder why enormous protests against the policies of the Exceptional Empire and its attack dog, NATO, seem, um, to be downplayed? Ever think our corporate news outlets behave more like the propaganda arm of our neoconservative state department and military than a free press? Well, if so, you may be onto something.

Lots of Europeans are unhappy about NATO, the Ukraine war, sanctions on Russia and the wild inflation and deindustrialization – which will result in gargantuan unemployment – those sanctions caused…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Should we have predicted Black Swan events like COVID and the war in Ukraine? Where is the next crisis coming from?

A man in a helmet looks out of a tank, with a fierce expression on his face
A Ukrainian serviceman looks out from inside a tank and as the war with Russian rages it’s not unthinkable that Vladimir Putin will unleash nuclear weapons.(Reuters)

Who predicted the 2008 global financial crash? COVID? The war in Ukraine?

Of course, some did. Hollywood gave us a taste of a global respiratory pandemic in the 2011 film, Contagion.

Some economists saw the unravelling of the financial markets and the ensuing recession long before it happened.

And we should all have seen Vladimir Putin’s war coming. He had already annexed Crimea, he massed troops on the border for months and kept warning he would strike.

But even if we should know, we often don’t want to know. We certainly don’t prepare.

These events are what statistician Nassim Taleb popularised as “Black Swans”. Why? Because they are outliers. They have extreme impact. What’s more, we are all wiser after the event, concocting explanations that make it all seem so predictable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to members of his military.
Vladimir Putin had warned for months he intended to strike Ukraine yet when he did few were prepared.(Reuters: Russian Defence Ministry)

Another pandemic was always going to happen. We had trial runs with SARS and Swine Flu. How we had erased the history of the so-called “Spanish Flu” pandemic that killed more people than World War I.

Financial crash? Well, Asia’s markets collapsed a decade before the GFC.

Let’s not forget the Great Depression.

War? When has the world not been at war?

‘Black Swan’ events are not so rare

But these recent Black Swan events reshaped our world. The best laid plans were reduced to dust. People die. Businesses are ruined. Livelihoods and homes are lost.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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