Weak leadership has lifted the lid on the European Pandora’s box, Alastair Crooke writes.
Things are getting psychotic. As you listen to EU leaders, all parroting identical ‘good news’ speaking points, they nonetheless radiate basal disquietude – presumably a reflection of the psychic stress from, on the one hand, repeating ‘Ukraine is winning: Russia’s defeat is coming’, when, on the other, they know the exact opposite to be true: That ‘no way’ can Europe defeat a large Russian army on the landmass of Eurasia.
Even the colossus of Washington confines the use of American military power to conflicts that Americans could afford to lose – wars lost to weak opponents that no one could gainsay whether the outcome was no loss, but somehow ‘victory’.
Yet, war with Russia (whether financial or military) is substantially different from fighting small poorly equipped and dispersed insurgent movements, or collapsing the economies of fragile states, such as Lebanon.
Humanitarian aid deliveries from Iran and Iraq were seen arriving at Damascus International airport early on Tuesday morning, following the deadly earthquakes across Syria and Turkey the previous day. Footage shows the cargo planes being unloaded, with cargo stamped with the logos of the Iraqi and Iranian Red Crescent humanitarian organisations. "The relief aid contains foodstuffs, medical supplies, blankets and necessary requirements," stated Yassin Sharif Al-Hujaimi, Charge' d'Affairs at the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Damascus. "The entire world stands beside you with that painful calamity, what befell Syria befell all of us." According to Syrian news agency SANA, the combined aid deliveries totally over 100 tonnes. On Monday, Iraq announced that an air bridge would be established to both affected countries, supplying medicine, first aid equipment and shelters. Copied from page https://www.ruptly.tv/en/videos/20230207-009-syria-what-befell-syria-befell-all-of-us-humanitarian-aid-from-iraq-and-iran-for-earthquake-victims-arrives-in-damascus
A year ago, Google's AI scientists released an AI program that was just one of the many AI programs routinely offered up by major research labs.
Known as LaMDA, an acronym for "language models for dialogue applications," the program, which can produce human-sounding text, might have attracted very little public attention.
However, shortly after LaMDA's publication, former Google engineer Blake Lemoine caused controversy by releasing a document in which he urged Google to consider that LaMDA might be "sentient."
Google denied the likelihood of sentience, and Lemoine was put on paid administrative leave, and then let go from the company. The controversy faded in the ensuing months.
And then in December, a new chatbot became a focus of public interest: OpenAI unveiled its ChatGPT, which, like LaMDA, is a so-called large language model that operates through a chat interface. ChatGPT has since become the only large language model application anyone talks about.
On Monday, Google unveiled its competitor to ChatGPT, called Bard, which is initially being made available only to a small group of "trusted testers," wrote Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, in a blog post announcing Bard.
Bard is based on LaMDA, a fact Pichai mentions several times. However, Pichai makes no reference to Lemoine's contentions last year about LaMDA's sentience.
The Anglo-American foreign policy hawks imagine that the world is yearning to be liberated from Beijing’s nefarious agenda to end poverty
As the trans-Atlantic world is pulled into the vortex of a McCarthyite nightmare with a renewed wave of anti-Russian and now anti-China hysterics, a wave of new “Asia Pacific” doctrines have emerged across captured states… I mean “member” states throughout NATO.
Starting with the February 2022 American ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’, similar anti-China programs have popped up left and right with one principled target in mind: eliminate the threat of China through every tool available.
Recently published data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that there has not been global warming for the past eight years. And NASA satellite data reportedly confirms that evidence, showing no global warming for eight years and five months, according to JunkScience’s Steve Milloy. But leftists are quick to warn people against drawing the obvious conclusion that the world isn’t about to become a burning ball of fire.
Recently published evidence also showed that there was actually a near-record low of major hurricanes in 2022, indicating that weather isn’t getting progressively and exponentially worse globally, despite the climate frenzy of the media and governments. And the Northeast is currently experiencing record cold in a harsh winter, with Mt. Washington, N.H., yesterday dropping to -45.5 degrees Fahrenheit and -107 degree wind chill.
Axios, which normally loves to scare-monger about global warming, reported today, “Arctic outbreak shatters records in Northeast.” I’m going to go out on a limb — or a glacier — and say that the Northeastern U.S. is definitely not about to suffer devastating effects from “global warming.”
The UK will send a team of search and rescue specialists, equipment and dogs to earthquake-stricken Turkey while the UK-funded White Helmets group will provide assistance in Syria, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement on Monday.
"The UK is sending immediate support to Turkey including a team of 76 search and rescue specialists, equipment and rescue dogs. In Syria, the UK-funded White Helmets have mobilized their resources to respond," he said. "We stand ready to provide further support as needed."
White Helmets has repeatedly faced criticism from Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused it taking Western money to stage provocations in Syria and shoot false videos purporting to be about the government’s use of chemical weapons in Syria, which were then used to justify air strikes on the country.
Konstantin Kosachev, a deputy speaker of the Federation Council, on Monday said the US is developing components of biological weapons to seek complete military superiority, putting at risk the entire humankind.
"As a result of our almost year-long work, especially after we got acquainted with the report of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the US Department of Defense (DTRA), we are starting to comprehend the entire chain of command for certain decisions, we are starting to comprehend that the ordering customer of this research is the US military agency, which serves the strategy of the United States of America to ensure a unilateral military superiority, in this case, through the development of components of biological weapons," Kosachev, who is also a co-chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on the Investigation of US Biological Laboratories in Ukraine, told reporters following a meeting of the commission.
According to the lawmaker, the work that was carried out and continues to be carried out in a number of US biological laboratories in the immediate vicinity of Russia has three purposes, and only one of them is allowed by the Convention on Bioweapons: It’s the study of infections in order to develop countermeasures. The second and third technologies, Kosachev said, are "obviously criminal," and violate the norms of the convention on bioweapons and the norms of human morality.
The United States is preparing to impose 200 percent duties on Russian aluminum this week on the eve of the anniversary of the start of the military operation, Bloomberg reports, citing sources. Russia is the second largest producer of aluminum in the world, the metal supplied from Russia accounts for about 10% of the total US imports. In the event of the introduction of 200 percent tariffs, aluminum imports from Russia to the United States will actually stop, Bloomberg notes.
At the same time, the US administration is concerned about the collateral damage to the US industry, including aerospace and automotive.
Aluminum imports to the United States from Russia fell to almost zero in October 2022, in November it rose to 11.6 thousand tons and to almost 11 thousand tons in December. In January of this year, 9.7 thousand tons of aluminum were imported from Russia to the United States, Bloomberg reports.
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the authorities of the European Union (EU) to adopt the tenth package of sanctions against Russia as soon as possible. This is stated in a document published on the website of the EU legislative body.
In particular, the resolution calls for an immediate and complete embargo on the import of uranium, diamonds and any fossil fuels from Russia, as well as for the rejection of the future use of the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines.
The Parliament also calls on all interested parties to actively propose tough sanctions against new sectors of the Russian economy and individuals. The deputies believe that it is necessary to introduce restrictions against those large companies from the Russian Federation that are still operating in the European market, in particular against Lukoil.
Democrats claim walls don’t work and are racist, except when they think they need them.
Ahead of Biden’s state of the union address on Tuesday night, the fence has gone back up at the Capitol Building. The same fencing Democrat put up after J6.
Scotland’s green-obsessed left-separatist government has been left with egg on its face by revelations that dozens of gigantic onshore wind turbines are having to be hooked up to diesel generators, leaking thousands of litres of hydraulic oil into the countryside.
Scottish Power — led by a Spaniard, Ignacio Galan, and actually a subsidiary of Spanish firm Iberdrola — conceded that some 71 of its turbines had to be hooked up to diesel generators to keep them warm in December, according to the Sunday Mail, with a whistleblower telling the left-leaning newspaper that problems with the turbines are deep-seated.
“During December 60 turbines at Arecleoch and 11 at Glenn App were de-energised due to a cabling fault… In order to get these turbines re-energised diesel generators were running for upwards of six hours a day,” they revealed.
“Turbines are regularly offline due to faults where they are taking energy from the grid rather than producing it, and also left operating on half power for long periods due to parts which haven’t been replaced,” they continued.
Naturally Diocletian’s decree did not have its desired effect. Despite the emperor imposing the death penalty on anyone who did not comply, Roman citizens flouted the rules, and the population declined even more.
It’s hard to not think of this story when reading about the nascent suicide pact being discussed between several of the most ultra-progressive, high tax US states.
Earlier this month, the states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Washington each introduced bills to impose state-level wealth taxes on residents.
This is not a coincidence. Politicians are deliberately coordinating with their counterparts in other states to ensure that the legislation passes in ALL of the eight states.
As one state senator put it, they are working together to ensure they don’t “get pitted against each other.”
Heavens forbid there’s actually competition among the states to reduce their tax rates and attract the most productive talent and businesses. That would be unthinkable.
So instead they’re all signing up for a terrible, destructive idea so that they can all be anti-competitive at the same time. It’s genius!
But of course, these people are totally delusional.
A coalition of experts is calling for U.S. officials to update the labels for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to acknowledge limitations to clinical trials, including stating clearly that the phase III trials that led to clearance did not provide evidence of efficacy against death.
“Incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading labeling of any medical product can negatively impact the health and safety of Americans, with global ramifications considering the international importance of FDA decisions,” Peter Doshi, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy whose expertise includes clinical trials, and eight other experts wrote in the petition.
The group, known as the Coalition Advocating for Adequately Labeled Medicines, sent the petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which authorized the vaccines in late 2020 and approved them in 2021.
The experts note that the clinical trials that led to the authorization “were not designed to determine and failed to provide substantial evidence of vaccine efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 transmission or death. As evidence, they cited the FDA’s review memorandums, which said in part that “data are limited to assess the effect of the vaccine against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from individuals who are infected despite vaccination.”
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday in a speech delivered before the 193-member UN General Assembly that the world is headed toward a "wider war" in Ukraine due to the ever-increasing risk of escalation.
"The prospects for peace keep diminishing," Guterres said. "The chances of further escalation and bloodshed keep growing." He then sounded the alarm that "I fear the world is not sleepwalking into a wider war. I fear it is doing so with its eyes wide open."
Embattled Pfizer employee Jordon Trishton Walker appears to still be employed by the pharmaceutical company after he allegedly revealed confidential information about the firm to an undercover Project Veritas journalist, according to a leaked document in which the drugmaker warned employees to watch out for “anti-science activists.”
Walker, who leads research and development for mRNA projects at Pfizer, told an undercover Project Veritas reporter that the company’s COVID vaccines are impacting women’s menstrual cycles and said that the company uses “directed evolution” to mutate coronaviruses for the creation of more potent variants and vaccines.
The document from Pfizer appeared to reference Walker as a current employee.
One of the strangest things about the American response to Ukraine has been the willingness of the Left and the establishment Right to discount completely that the war is heading toward a rendezvous with ever-deadlier weapons and staggering fatalities—even as we witness increasing nuclear threats from a weakened and adrift Vladimir Putin. They insist that Putin is merely saber-rattling. And he might be. Supposedly, in his diminished and discredited state, Putin would not dare to set off a tactical nuclear weapon (as if diminished and discredited leaders are not more likely to do so).
Proxies Versus Balloons
But while we discount the nuclear dangers of a paranoid Putin reacting to the arming of our proxy Ukraine, the brazen Chinese, in violation of American airspace and international law, sent their recent “weather “ surveillance balloon across the continental United States with impunity. Only after public pressure, media coverage, and the Republican opposition did the Biden Administration, in the 11th hour, finally drop its increasingly incoherent and disingenuous excuses, and agree to shoot the balloon down as it reached the Atlantic shore—its mission completed.
Given the balloon may have more, not less, surveillance capability than satellites, may have itself been designed eventually to adopt offensive capability, and may have been intended to gauge the American reaction to incursions, the Biden hesitation and fear to defend U.S. airspace and confront China makes no sense.
State of the Union (SOTU) addresses tend to include laundry lists of proposals that will never see the light today and Tuesday’s speech will probably be similar to past speeches, but President Joe Biden’s speech could be notable and potentially market moving for a few reasons.
President Biden’s SOTU speech will probably serve as an unofficial launch of his 2024 reelection campaign. As such, the speech could include several themes that might reappear during the campaign. President Biden will likely try to position himself as a champion of the middle class and as part of this effort, he could use various sectors as foils to show he is on the side of average Americans and against Big Business. The technology and the banking industries could be mentioned in the speech. A focus on tech regulation in the president’s address could include mentions of the administration’s antitrust initiatives, privacy protection, and possibly revisions to liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Regarding banks, the president could reiterate calls on banking regulators to review merger rules. He could also highlight the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) recent proposal to cap credit card late fees and push for a similar cap on overdraft fees.
The president is likely to take a victory lap on his legislative victories in 2022 including the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the CHIPS Act. In addition to highlighting the two new laws, Mr. Biden might also push for an expansion of some of the IRA’s climate provisions including expanding electric vehicle tax credits. However, in the current political environment, any expansion of EV credits seems unlikely.
Webmaster addition: "Everything bad is Trump's fault!"
The scars that have been left on all of us by the response to COVID are incomprehensibly varied and deep.
For most, there hasn’t been enough time to mentally process the significance of the initial lockdowns, let alone the years-long slog of mandates, terror, propaganda, social stigmatization and censorship that followed. And this psychological trauma affects us in myriad ways that leave us wondering what it is about life that just feels so off versus how it felt in 2019.
For those who were following the real data, the statistics were always horrifying.
Trillions of dollars rapidly transferred from the world’s poorest to the richest. Hundreds of millions hungry. Countless years of educational attainment lost. An entire generation of children and adolescents robbed of some of their brightest years. A mental health crisis affecting more than a quarter of the population. Drug overdoses. Hospital abuse. Elder abuse. Domestic abuse. Millions of excess deaths among young people which couldn’t be attributed to the virus.
But underneath these statistics lie billions of individual human stories, each unique in its details and perspectives. These individual stories and anecdotes are only just beginning to surface, and I believe that hearing them is a vital step in processing everything that we’ve experienced over the past three years.
I recently sent out a query on Twitter as to how people had been affected by the response to COVID at an individual level. The conversation that emerged is a luminating and haunting reflection of what each of us experienced over the past three years. Below is a tiny selection of the responses that I found especially powerful.
In the newest indication of headwinds facing Donald Trump's 2024 presidential campaign, the conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has indicated it will oppose his drive to return to the White House.
While the group didn't mention Trump by name, its rhetoric in a memo posted on Sunday to the AFP website left no doubt about the powerful, Koch-backed political group's stance on his campaign:
"To write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past. So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter. The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that."