Saturday September 24, 2022
According to a gaggle of academics at the University of Calgary, all news reports and opinions contrary to the pretzel twisted narratives of the state on the situation in the Ukraine are nothing less than Russian propaganda and “foreign interference.”
“Our research team has been collecting more than 6.2 million Tweets globally since January 2022 to monitor and measure Russian influence operations on social media,” Jean-Christophe Boucher, Jack Edwards, Jenny Kim, Abbas Badami, and Henry Smith write collectively for the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
"We find that pro-Russian narratives promoted in the Canadian social media ecosystem on twitter are divided into two large communities:
"1) accounts influenced by sources from the United States and 2) those largely influenced by sources from international sources from Russia, Europe, and China."
In other words, any news, despite its country of origin, is “Russian propaganda” if it does not support US, European, and Canadian narratives on the war in the Ukraine.
Saturday September 24, 2022
I received a great questions from a German reader who also happens to be a journalist. He asked, “What would be a way and what would be the practical implications if Europe in general and Germany in particular were to break with the US in order to find a European peace and economic framework including Russia? ”
Friday September 23, 2022
What in the hell were those bloody-minded Washington/NATO neocons thinking? At any time in the last nine months they could have had a diplomatic settlement with Russia that would have:
- Avoided/ended the war in Ukraine, thereby saving tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives and hundreds of billion of economic cost and destruction;
- Allowed the Russian speaking population of the Donbas a substantial degree of self-governance and autonomy from the hostile government in Kiev;
- Permitted the historic Russian territory of Crimea to remain under Russian control per the wishes of the overwhelming share of its Russian-speaking population;
- Kept NATO out of Ukraine and its missiles away from Russia’s doorstep;
- Removed NATO missile bases from the the old Warsaw Pact countries, where NATO had expanded in breach of Washington’s solemn promise made at the time of the German reunification to not extend NATO "one inch to the east" .
Would this have furthered the national security of the US and Europe, permitted Europe’s then flourishing peaceful commerce with Russia to continue and avoided the current global plague of soaring energy and food prices caused by the Sanctions War?
Yes, it would have. In spades!
So the question recurs. What alternative path did Washington/NATO envision and how could the likely consequences have improved upon either the above summarized settlement, which has been possible all along or, far worse still, the disastrous end game which is now unfolding?
Thursday September 22, 2022
One warm weekend in October of 2020, three impeccably credentialed epidemiologists—Jayanta Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Martin Kulldorff, of Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard Universities respectively—gathered with a few journalists, writers, and economists at an estate in the Berkshires where the American Institute for Economic Research had brought together critics of lockdowns and other COVID-related government restrictions. On Sunday morning shortly before the guests departed, the scientists encapsulated their views—that lockdowns do more harm than good, and that resources should be devoted to protecting the vulnerable rather than shutting society down—in a joint communique dubbed the “Great Barrington Declaration,” after the town in which it was written.
The declaration began circulating on social media and rapidly garnered signatures, including from other highly credentialed scientists. Most mainstream news outlets and the scientists they chose to quote denounced the declaration in no uncertain terms. When contacted by reporters, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins of the NIH publicly and vociferously repudiated the “dangerous” declaration, smearing the scientists—all generally considered to be at the top of their fields—as “fringe epidemiologists.” Over the next several months, the three scientists faced a barrage of condemnation: They were called eugenicists and anti-vaxxers; it was falsely asserted that they were “Koch-funded” and that they had written the declaration for financial gain. Attacks on the Great Barrington signatories proliferated throughout social media and in the pages of The New York Times and Guardian.
Yet emails obtained pursuant to a FOIA request later revealed that these attacks were not the products of an independent objective news-gathering process of the type that publications like the Times and the Guardian still like to advertise. Rather, they were the fruits of an aggressive attempt to shape the news by the same government officials whose policies the epidemiologists had criticized. Emails between Fauci and Collins revealed that the two officials had worked together and with media outlets as various as Wired and The Nation to orchestrate a “takedown” of the declaration.
Thursday September 22, 2022
The US government has become a master of deceit. It’s all documented, too. This is a government that lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn; treats its citizens like faceless statistics and economic units to be bought, sold, bartered, traded, and tracked; and wages wars for profit, jails its own people for profit, and has no qualms about spreading its reign of terror abroad.
Wednesday September 21, 2022
Since the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian War, top US officials have contended that Russian president Vladimir Putin has been uninterested in withdrawing his forces or ending the war anytime soon. Putin’s statements in recent months have certainly indicated that this assessment is largely correct, particularly as it has become apparent to Moscow that the United States and NATO are deeply committed to waging a proxy conflict against Russia
Wednesday September 21, 2022
When the Patriot Act was rammed through in the aftermath of 9/11, lubricated by a fresh round of fear courtesy of the Dark Winter anthrax letters, civil liberties advocates and even a few politicians warned it would spell the end of freedom in America. The legislation package, drawn up nearly a decade previously by such avowed enemies of the US Constitution as prison-packing plagiarist Joe Biden and torture-loving amygdala tease Michael Chertoff, gave the government unprecedented power to surveil communications without warrants or probable cause. Its outrageous overreach was abused to justify bulk data collection and open-ended fishing expeditions so long as the threat of terrorism or a need for foreign intelligence could be invoked.
We were told that “they” - the nebulous Terrorists lurking behind every government the neocons wanted to overthrow - hated “our freedoms,” then encouraged to believe that the only way to guarantee our survival was to ditch those freedoms ASAP. I was still in high school at the time and wasn’t well-versed in the inner workings of psychotic death cults, but even my uninformed mind could see through the sudden surge in knee-jerk jingoism to the raw fear quivering beneath, begging for Big Brother to make the monsters go away.
The threat of further “terrorism” in the form of envelopes full of anthrax targeting the few Patriot Act’s main detractors in the Senate and the media establishment proved the nail in the coffin of American sanity. No one asked why the “terrorists” about to get flattened by the American war machine would be trying to kill off the handful of congressmen who stood in the way of that flattening - Fort Detrick’s finest had made clear what happened to people who ask questions, even (especially) blindingly obvious ones. The neocons even provided the newly-minted congressional converts with a face-saving measure, allowing them to explain their absolute failure to protect their constituents’ rights by claiming this state of affairs was just temporary: the most egregious aspects of the Patriot Act were to be outfitted with self-limiting “sunset” clauses that would allow them to be retired when the nation had returned to its senses.
Tuesday September 20, 2022
The remarks I’ve prepared today relate to your personal and professional development, which are of course closely interrelated. This is not to be confused with “self-help,” a somewhat disreputable genre whose practitioners often want to sell you shortcuts. Development means just that: developing your skills, knowledge, and interests to advance toward goals which hopefully become more clear as you go through your twenties and thirties. Remember, you may well have a longer work life than your parents and grandparents, so you have more time and more choices perhaps than they did. But it is important not to waste your best years for learning, when your brain’s neurons fire at their best! Even at your age, still in college, it is not too early to view yourselves as professionals and to take your work seriously.
Here are five suggestions you can implement immediately to stand apart from your peers.
Access to information is virtually costless today. You job is to sift through all of the white noise and recognize what is important.
The supply of information in a digital age outpaces demand, and makes information very, very cheap. In a digital world, information is instantaneous and often free of any financial cost. This is especially true of social media, where information and opinion are readily available but knowledge and discernment are in short supply. When something is cheap and easy, we naturally tend to discount its importance.
Monday September 19, 2022
Nowadays, political dogma trampling economic pragmatism drives European government action as shown by the imposition of Green Party ideology on Germany’s energy policy risking the deindustrialization of Europe’s leading economy.
Another case is the conflict started by the Lithuanian government against China, illustrated by the Baltic country’s decision last year to open a “Taiwanese representative office”, an event that prompted the Chinese government to downgrade state relations, an extraordinary episode on the 32 year-long diplomatic history between both countries.
As is known, the Chinese government firmly believes that having a “Taiwanese” representative office in a foreign country can be construed as giving sovereign acknowledgement to the Taipei government against the one-China policy accepted by most of the international community. Only a few countries - most of them small Central American, Caribbean, and Micronesian states - have diplomatic relations with Taipei and certainly no European state has given such recognition. The European Union (EU) hosts a liaison bureau with the name of Taipei instead of Taiwan, in line with international consensus. When Lithuania established diplomatic relations with China in 1991 it undertook not to establish official relations or engage in official contacts with Taiwan, effectively accepting the one-China policy.
Lithuania’s recent decision risks a conflict with the world’s largest economy and has no commercial justification. During the 2004-2020 period Lithuania’s exports to China were €1.6 billion, whereas to Taiwan only 10% of this value, and their annual growth has exceeded Taiwan’s. During this term, Lithuanian imports from China were €13.3 billion against €1 billion from Taiwan and grew at twice the Taiwanese rate.
Monday September 19, 2022
If you play poker with a guy named Doc often enough you learn to watch his hands carefully when it’s his turn to hold the deck. Same when the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Intelligence Community (IC), and the FBI sit down at the table with the American people.
The game right now is will he or won’t he; will Attorney General Merrick Garland indict Donald Trump over something to do with classified information held at Mar-a-Lago? Everyone is holding their cards tight to the vest, but the deal just passed to the DNI and the game is about to get serious. Stakes are high; in the pot is the presidency of the United States.
DNI Avril Haines said that DNI “will lead an Intelligence Community assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents” including those seized. She said the DNI was aiming not to interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation, to which everyone at the table had better shout “bull.” A review of potential risk means the DNI can show a pair of twos and claim they are kings. The DNI’s whole point is to interfere with the investigation, same as they did with Hunter’s laptop, Russiagate, and the Clinton server before that. The IC is as much a part of our elections now as it ever was in any other banana republic.
It works like this: using classified methods in secret to look at classified documents the DNI will come to conclusions about what might happen to the security of the United States if those documents were to fall into “the wrong hands,” i.e., the hands of their choosing and certainly a worst-case scenario.