NATO To Drastically Increase High-Readiness Forces By 650%

NATO To Drastically Increase High-Readiness Forces By 650%

Going into this week’s NATO summit in Madrid, set to run Tuesday through Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has announced what surely be taken by Moscow has another huge escalation on the military front. 

Stoltenberg announced at a Monday press briefing that NATO is drastically beefing up its high-readiness forces to “well over 300,000.” This would be up from current levels of 40,000 total, or a whopping 650% boost. The large increase is expected to be taken up and approved at this week’s summit, at a moment there’s been urgent calls in the alliance for beefing up NATO bases in Eastern Europe and the Baltics aimed at deterring further Russian aggression.

NATO file image, via Time

“We will enhance our battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance up to brigade-levels,” Stoltenberg said. He explained allies “will transform the NATO Response Force and increase the number of our high-readiness forces to well over 300,000.”

It’s expected that vastly more Western troop numbers will be appointed particularly for tiny Lithuania, which is at the moment playing an outsized role in the EU/NATO standoff with Russia, given the economic ‘blockade’ against Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad.

The NATO chief detailed further, according to Politico:

The model will include “more pre-positioned equipment, and stockpiles of military supplies,” as well as “more forward-deployed capabilities, like air defence” and “strengthened command and control,” Stoltenberg said. 

The new defense plans will involve “forces pre-assigned to defend specific allies” which “will exercise together with home defence forces” and “become familiar with local terrain, facilities, and our new pre-positioned stocks, so that they can respond smoothly and swiftly to any emergency,” according to the NATO chief. 

In previewing the NATO summit in Madrid, Stoltenberg stressed that alliance members will present a united front in stating “that Russia poses a direct threat to our security, to our values, to the rules-based international order.”

However, Turkey – which has the second largest military in the alliance – has so far been refusing to play ball on Sweden and Finland’s applications for accession, for which there’s been a flurry of diplomatic activity this week.

Another main theme at the summit, and point of less contention, will be continuing to ratchet up military weapons and supplies to Kiev, at a moment it’s become clear that Ukraine’s army is far outgunned by superior Russian forces in the contested Donbas region.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/28/2022 – 04:15

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France Sees Nuclear Energy Output Plummet At The Worst Possible Moment

France Sees Nuclear Energy Output Plummet At The Worst Possible Moment

Authored by Haley Zaremba via OilPrice.com,

  • France, the European Union’s leader in nuclear energy, is seeing a massive decline in output.

  • Though it has been relatively unfazed by the bloc’s ongoing energy crisis, declining nuclear production could pose a significant problem in the coming months.

  • The collapse of French nuclear power generation and Putin’s retaliatory cutback on energy exports to Europe could be disastrous for the continent.

France has long been one of the world’s greatest champions of nuclear energy. France leads the European Union in nuclear production, with the most productive reactors in the bloc, and relies on nuclear power for a larger share of its energy mix than any other country in the world. It makes sense that France should lead the charge for nuclear energy development as they have long been the global poster child for safe and reliable nuclear energy – until now.

A recent flurry of unexpected issues at the Électricité de France (EDF), the state nuclear power operator representing the largest nuclear fleet in Europe, has caused French nuclear energy output to tumble to its lowest levels in 30 years. Around half of the EDF’s massive nuclear fleet has been taken offline, delivering a massive blow to the EU’s energy independence and security in the midst of a worldwide energy crisis.

France has become increasingly reliant on nuclear power in recent years. French President Emmanuel Macron has given nuclear energy an even bigger boost in his time in office. Indeed, in February, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he announced a  €52 billion plan to revitalize the country’s “nuclear adventure.” He has also fought for the inclusion of the emissions-free power source as a “green investment” in the nomenclature of the European Union as the continent moves toward establishing its green energy budget for the coming years.

The European Union had hoped that France’s considerable nuclear power capacity would be key in allowing the bloc to move away from Russian energy as the West tries to shore up its energy independence and increase sanctions on the Kremlin in response to the Russian war in Ukraine. As recently as March of this year, the Council on Foreign Relations posited that nuclear power could be the answer to ending the continent’s crippling reliance on Russian energy. But now it might be the very thing that makes such a divorce impossible. 

Until now, France has been relatively sheltered from the energy crisis squeezing its neighbors. But now the nuclear-reliant nation suddenly finds itself in the same boat as other energy-strapped European nations thanks to a “series of maintenance issues including corrosion at some of France’s ageing reactors, troubles at state-controlled energy group EDF and a years-long absence of significant new nuclear investment,” according to reporting from the Financial Times. The issues of corrosion, which are currently to blame for 12 of France’s 56 offline reactors, could take years to fix. Meanwhile, inflation is soaring and French electric bills have hit record highs. 

“Instead of pumping vast amounts of electricity to Britain, Italy and other European countries pivoting from Russian oil,” writes The New York Times,

“France faces the unsettling prospect of initiating rolling blackouts this winter and having to import power.”

The incredibly bad timing of the EDF’s crisis is compounded with Putin’s recent slashing of natural gas exports to the EU, which have pushed countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands to a bitter and reluctant return to coal.”

The contemporaneous collapse of French nuclear power generation capacity and Putin’s retaliatory cutback on energy exports to Europe spell out disaster and tragedy for the continent’s – and the world’s – decarbonization efforts. And even if France can get its nuclear fleet back up and running relatively quickly (a highly unlikely feat), it’s unlikely that the EU will be able to continue its planned coal phase-out, as the International Energy Agency warns that Russia may soon be cutting off its flow of natural gas to Europe entirely. While other countries including Romania will be bulking up their own nuclear energy capacity in the coming months and years, it looks like we’re on track for a banner year for coal and a devastating step back for global emissions targets.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/28/2022 – 03:30

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“Suitcases Full Of Drug Money”: Credit Suisse Found Criminally Guilty in Money-Laundering Case Tied to Cocaine Ring

“Suitcases Full Of Drug Money”: Credit Suisse Found Criminally Guilty in Money-Laundering Case Tied to Cocaine Ring

Another day, another dismal development for the 2nd largest (but most damned) Swiss bank.

On Monday, Credit Suisse Group was convicted of failing to prevent money laundering by a Bulgarian cocaine trafficker, in the first ever criminal conviction of a major Swiss bank in the country’s history. The verdict, in which a former relationship manager at the bank was also convicted on money laundering charges, was handed down by Switzerland’s top criminal court on Monday afternoon.

The former employee, who prosecutors said regularly accepted suitcases of cash from one of the ring members that went beyond allowed limits, was given a 20-month suspended sentence. A person from another bank and two members of the crime ring were also found guilty of money-laundering charges. 

There was a silver lining, as the penalty was purely token: Credit Suisse will be fined two million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) over “certain historical organizational inadequacies”,  or about how much the cocaine trafficker spent on hookers in one trip to Switzerland to deposit his drug money with Credit Suisse.

Money aside, the decision is another blow to the tarnished reputation of Credit Suisse, which had argued the crimes date to an era when compliance standards were less stringent. It has been struggling with a series of scandals that have sent its shares to near-record lows, and may face a second criminal indictment in an unrelated case later this year.

As Bloomberg notes, the case was criticized by Credit Suisse for having been brought so many years after the events in question. The bank expressed its “astonishment” in late 2020 when Swiss prosecutors publicly charged it with money laundering offenses, given the alleged crimes took place between 2004 and 2008.

The court said Credit Suisse made it possible for the crime ring to launder money through the bank between July 2007 and December 2008 by failing to adequately monitor its accounts and make sure the business complied with anti-money-laundering rules. The crime ring allegedly recruited a Bulgarian wrestler and others in his orbit for operations transporting drugs and laundering money.

Credit Suisse said in a pre-trial statement that it “unreservedly rejects as meritless all allegations in this legacy matter raised against it and is convinced that its former employee is innocent.” It also said previously that outside lawyers and consultants had reviewed its systems against money laundering and found its organizational setup was “correct and appropriate” in the period being probed.

Prosecutors initially charged the bank with deficiencies between 2004 and 2008 but had to narrow the time frame because too much time had passed. Under Swiss law, local prosecutors can press criminal charges against banks if they believe those institutions didn’t do enough to screen clients and their cash for obvious ties to illicit activity. The former Credit Suisse manager, a woman who can only be named as E. under Swiss reporting restrictions, accepted deposits of used bank notes that regularly exceeded 500,000 euros ($528,650) at a time, according to the 515-page indictment.

Cash deposits were very common given the parlous state of Bulgaria’s banks at the time, she said in testimony. Her lawyer also said she wasn’t sufficiently trained by the bank, and will appeal.

The conviction hits Credit Suisse as it tries to turn a corner on financial losses and other scandals, including more than $5 billion in losses related to the collapse of family office Archegos Capital Management. 

Credit Suisse said it would appeal the decision. It noted that the alleged offenses date to more than 14 years ago. It had said it was astonished to be charged when prosecutors brought the case in December 2020. The bank on Monday said it is continually testing its anti-money-laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time. 

On Tuesday, Credit Suisse will update investors on plans to cut costs this year to help offset falling revenue in some divisions. It previously said it expects to post its third consecutive quarterly loss for the three months ending June 30.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/28/2022 – 02:45

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Almost All 5,000 Gang Members In Sweden Are Either 1st- Or 2nd-Generation Migrants

Almost All 5,000 Gang Members In Sweden Are Either 1st- Or 2nd-Generation Migrants

By Denes Albert of Remix News

The urban crime gangs dominating Swedish cities are almost exclusively made up of immigrants, according to Amir Rostami, a leading criminologist and professor who based his findings on police data.

In Sweden, the number of gang-related crimes is increasing every year, and as a result of mass and uncontrolled immigration, the authorities are losing control over more and more areas where migrant gangs are taking power.

“It is not enough for many immigrants to come to Sweden from a less developed country and enjoy the benefits. They want excitement and want to get rich quickly,” says criminologist Rostami.

Rostami has divided these gang members into two categories. Disorganized criminals are mostly made up of slightly younger members between 20 and 25 years old who have poorer impulse control, less education, and are primarily dealing with weapons and drugs. Then, there are the slightly more mature, rational, and better educated members who are involved in more extensive criminal networks; some of these members are even accountants, people with degrees, and former military personnel. This group is responsible for a huge share of crimes in Sweden, suspected of committing 40,000 criminal acts every year. These criminal networks not only compete with each other, but also work together.  

Rostami sees himself as an example of someone who chose another life. He was born in Iran, came to Sweden with his family as an immigrant, and grew up in the Frölunda district of Gothenburg, which is now considered to be a “sensitive area” where large immigrant populations live. He said his upbringing was fraught with the risk factors of becoming a criminal, but instead of taking the path of crime, he chose to study, according to the Hungarian news outlet Magyar Nemzet.

Regarding migrant gangs, the criminologist highlighted that the business is passed down within the family. He said that fathers and other relatives teach young males in the family to commit crimes. Rostami argues that it is an almost insurmountable task for society to bring these individuals into a crime-free way of life and requires far more resources than are available or can be reasonably allocated to the task.

Police estimate that the number of people active in gang crimes in the so-called “sensitive areas” exceeds 5,000, of whom almost a 1,000 live in Gothenburg. According to Swedish police, almost all registered criminals have an immigrant background.

It is estimated that in about 15 years, each immigrant criminal will cost taxpayers an average of 25 million króna (€2.35 million) over the migrant’s lifetime. This represents a total financial burden of SEK 125 billion króna (€11.7 billion) for society. A shortfall in taxes paid to society, to which these people would have contributed if they had chosen an honest life over crime, must also be factored in.

According to Rostami and police records, all of the country’s convicted gang leaders are first- or second-generation migrants. Twelve of them are still serving their prison sentences, and one of them is on the run and hiding.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 06/28/2022 – 02:00

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Newspeak In The 21st Century: How To Become A Model Citizen In The New Era Of Domestic Warfare

Newspeak In The 21st Century: How To Become A Model Citizen In The New Era Of Domestic Warfare

Authored by Cnythia Chung via ‘Through A Glass Darkly’ Substack,

Disagreement has become an extremely sensitive issue lately; it was once thought that debate was an essential component to a strong and healthy democracy, however, we are now told that it is extremely dangerous, in fact, it may soon be categorised as a form of domestic terrorism. [This article was originally published January 27, 2021.]

As early as mid-Nov 2020, Biden was already discussing the need to pass further laws against domestic terrorism. This is interesting since under the 2001 Patriot Act (which was meant to be a temporary enforcement in reaction to 9/11, however, is still in place 19 years later), domestic terrorism is already defined as;

“activities that (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any state; (B) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.”

So, the question begs, what else needs to be added to the Patriot Act, which was recognised at the time of its enforcement as something that should only be temporary since it was understood that it infringed upon civil liberties? Come to think of it, why is the Patriot Act still in place, which allows for the indefinite continuation of human rights violations such as warrantless wiretapping; illegal torture, kidnapping, and detention; mass surveillance; government secrecy; Real ID; no-fly list; political spying; abuse of material witness statutes; and attacks on academic freedom?

As Glenn Greenwald wrote in his formidable paper The New Domestic War on Terror is Coming, “what needs to be criminalized that is not already a crime?”, keeping in mind that as of June 2020, the United States has the highest prisoner rate in the world, followed by El Salvador, Turkmenistan, Thailand and Palau.

Well, the answer is apparently simple and as always for our own good. We have come to a point in time where the enemy is not some radicalized ideology, it is not some foreign despot, it is not even the threat of war (whether it be economic, cyber or nuclear), but rather it is ourselves. We, the people, are the new enemies of the State.

You may protest “Not I! I am a model citizen! I pay my taxes on time, I am never late or call in sick for work, I make sure to be up-to-date with the newest ‘woke’ revelations and I don’t engage with anything outside of the mainstream matrix during my free-time.”

People such as yourself think, that when the Biden Administration is calling for tougher laws against domestic terrorism, that it is obviously meant for the ‘other guy,’ those uneducated bigots who are screaming at the top of their lungs “Treason!” and inciting what we are told to be forms of ‘insurrection,’ all in the name of the archaic ideas of ‘patriotism’ and the ‘U.S. Constitution.’

You, unlike so many others, have no problem recognising that the U.S. Constitution is actually part of the problem, that by the standards used today, the U.S. Constitution is itself responsible for ‘inciting violence’ and thus guilty of domestic terrorism, and thus needs to be revoked.

But you see… that’s just not good enough.

Though you are well on your way to becoming a model citizen in the 21st century, you still have a little ways to go. It is for this reason that a guide to 21st century Newspeak has been recently released to make sure that well-intentioned citizens like yourself are fully informed of what is required of you in terms of appropriate behaviour, as well as appropriate thoughts, and though this will take a little more time, appropriate instincts.

21st Century Newspeak

The first alteration that will need to take place is freedom of thought. It has been shown through peer-review studies that individual thoughts are susceptible to forming erroneous beliefs and can lead to dangerous behaviours such as refusal to integrate into a community standard.

Once an individual refuses to integrate into its designated community, it is only a matter of time before this individual shows opposition and even antagonism towards said community. Thus failure to integrate is one of the first signs that an individual is on the path to becoming a domestic terrorist.

Because the individual mind is flawed, it can no longer be trusted to be the standard of its own judgement of what is right and wrong. It is for this reason that we are introducing groupthink. This concept is not new, however, the difference is from now on the individual’s environment will only be allowed to reciprocate the values of groupthink, and all other thoughts outside of groupthink are to be banned and punishable under the new laws.

Even if thoughts outside of groupthink appear as harmless to the collective, they are not, for any thought that is not groupthink threatens to lead to a different outcome than that intended by groupthink and thus is a threat to the security of the collective.

In order to ensure commitment to groupthink, it will be mandatory that every individual engage in at least 2 minutes of Hate every hour throughout the day, every day. This can be achieved either by watching 2 minutes of Hate news, or by engaging in a public 2 minutes of Hate with a colleague, a friend or family member via social media.

It is imperative that an individual watch the 15 minute morning and evening “What to Hate” news provided by the Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue), in order to be the most up-to-date with what are the ongoing and new subjects of Hate, and what were previous subjects of Hate which are no longer deemed to be subjects of Hate.

It is most important that an individual never refer to a former subject of Hate as such. Any present subject of Hate must be seen as having always been a subject of Hate and any former subject of Hate must be seen as having never been a subject of Hate.

This may appear as an impossible task, but we assure you it is entirely possible with the use of doublethink, which many of you have already been practising. Doublethink requires that one be both conscious and unconscious of the fact that they are telling deliberate lies while genuinely believing them; to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies. This makes up a part of our new Party slogan: FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

Those who excel the most in doublethink will receive the highest stations within our newly organised community, as safe-guards against the renegade, the domestic terrorist.

Another alteration that will need to occur is how we think and refer to the past and the future. With the newly enforced groupthink, the present is what groupthink dictates it to be, which is subject to change, however, must be regarded as having always been.

The past is what the present dictates it to be, if it were not, it could challenge the basis for the present. Thus to preserve the present, the past must serve the present, only justifying why we Hate what we presently Hate and why we Love what we presently Love and can do nothing to contradict these Party lines. There will be permitted no records of an alternative past, there will be no way to prove that the past was ever different from what the present dictates it to be, the only threat to this narrative is the record of the individual mind, and once this ceases to be there will only be the Minitrue record as the recorder of past Truth.

In effect, the model citizen will perceive the past as dead and the future as unimaginable. The future is unimaginable because it is impossible to think of an alternative to the present, in fact, the mere act of thinking of an alternative to the present is considered a challenge to the status quo of the present, and thus is a challenge to groupthink, and thus is a form of domestic terrorism, which we will call from now on thoughtcrime.

Thoughtcrime is essentially any thought pertaining to memory, judgement of right and wrong, thoughts of an alternative reality, and self-reflection, which are now all deemed forms of thoughtcrime. If an individual is to engage in any of these sorts of thoughts, it is only a matter of time before they will come into conflict with groupthink and the Party line, thus private thoughts are banned and punished under the new laws.

It may seem an impossible task at first not to engage in private thoughts, but again, we assure you it is entirely possible using crimestopCrimestop is the practice of not grasping analogies, failing to perceive logical errors, misunderstanding the simplest arguments, of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop is essentially, protective stupidity.

It is imperative that one practice crimestop during any interaction with another individual, however, it is also imperative that one practice crimestop within their own inner-dialogue, such that even from your own conscience you will be protected from committing a thoughtcrime.

Newspeak will also help dissuade from thoughtcrimeNewspeak is to be the new acceptable vocabulary, anything that references words outside of the most-up-to-date edition of the Newspeak dictionary will be considered Oldspeak and something to be construed as counter to groupthink. It is understood that by reducing the vocabulary to revolve around a few words such as good; which for example can be used as plusgood, doubleplusgood, ungood etc, it will serve to narrow the range of thought an individual is capable of, and thus reduce the capability of committing a thoughtcrime. How wonderful! That in the future we will be unable to commit crime for we will be incapable of its thought! This makes up another part of our new Party slogan: IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

In terms of the new laws, in effect, nothing will change. Unacceptable behaviours and thoughts will not be designated as illegal per se; one reason for this is because we do not plan on having any public trials. Anyone who is in violation of conduct will simply be removed either temporarily into a “re-education facility” or will be vaporised. Any subject that has been vaporised will be removed from the collective memory records and can never be referred to as having ever existed.

The reason why no public trials will be held from now on is because, as we have seen, dissent is infectious. Thus, holding public trials risk further encouragement towards dissent. It is for this reason that dissenters must be removed swiftly and quietly in the middle of the night. Such disappearances will occur relatively regularly and will eventually become the new normal, however, it will not be traumatic for the collective. The subject will simply cease to exist as if it were all just a dream, the structure of our daily routine unaffected.

In order to ensure utmost compliance, the collective will be employing the use of children spies, this has already been occurring abroad, and proves to be very effective.

Purges and vaporizations will be a necessary part of the government mechanics and will become the new normal. We have already discussed the necessity for vaporizations, as for the necessity of purges, it is because the community will be built so as to remain in stasis, however, this can only be accomplished through artificial means, for it is not natural that a thing remain the same but rather that it either improves or deteriorates.

However, in order for the Party to maintain absolute control, there can be no change to the present except for that chosen by the Party, thus any change is a challenge to the Party. In order to facilitate an artificial environment of no change, resources must artificially be kept low, and purges need to occur so that this environment of scarcity is tightly controlled and maintained.

In order for us to achieve this, our economy will have to go through stagnation, we will need to decrease the amount of land used for cultivation, we will no longer add capital equipment needed for industrial growth and great blocks of the population will be prevented from working and will be kept half alive by State charity. The wheels of industry cannot be allowed to turn so as to increase the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed, and in practice the only way of achieving this is by continuous warfare.

War will continue under the Old Cold War doctrine. War will always be present, and yet will never be seen by the majority of our citizens, the reason for this being that war will not be about a real threat to security nor about real conquests but rather will be about maintaining the present status quo by exhausting the surplus of consumable goods, while also helping to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.

However, real war will be purely an internal affair, the war waged by the ruling group against its own subjects, with the object of the war as to keep the structure of society intact and unchanging.

A peace that is truly permanent under this new ideology is no different than an invisible permanent war. For peace in our new era will equate to stability through no change. This makes up our first Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.

Conclusion

All of these means are necessary if we are to realise that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism, and that oligarchy is the only means to achieving peace, freedom and strength for the collective.

However, we are still very far from this ideal and there is much that threatens its becoming, namely, the masses, or what we call the proles. So long as the masses believe that they are entitled to freedom of thought, our endeavours cannot succeed.

The individual must voluntarily relinquish this. It cannot be taken from them no matter the degree of control and no matter the threat of physical harm. An individual’s mind is theirs and cannot be taken, instead, the individual must be led to believe that it is in their best interest to relinquish their mind.

Let us do our best then to convince the individual that they are no longer fit to use their mind and let us pray that we are successful, for if we fail, our entire system of control fails with it.

“You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity…Reality exists only in the human mind, nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.”

– O’Brien in George Orwell’s “1984”

*  *  *

Cynthia Chung is the President of the Rising Tide Foundation and a writer at Strategic Culture Foundation, consider supporting her work by making a donation and subscribing to her substack page

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 23:55

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BRICS Summit Reaffirms That Russia Not As Isolated As NATO Suggests

BRICS Summit Reaffirms That Russia Not As Isolated As NATO Suggests

The recent BRICS summit managed to run its course this past week with very little fanfare, despite the fact that Russia is in the midst of a conflict with Ukraine that has led to a worldwide economic war. China is edging towards a potential invasion of Taiwan, and much of the planet is in the middle of a stagflationary crisis in the meantime.

The one major takeaway from the summit was the reaffirmed stance of the BRICS that they would continue to work closely with Russia in economic terms.  

Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, there has been a running narrative in the western media that sanctions and the removal of Russian access to the SWIFT network would crush the country within a few months, leaving them penniless and unable to project military power.  This has not happened.

A picture was painted by journalists and politicians of a completely isolated Russia, destroyed by a global cancel culture campaign that would de-nation them.  In reality, Russian trade, specifically their oil trade, has actually expanded.  Both China and India have increased their purchases of Russian oil while enjoying discounted prices.  Simultaneously, Europe and the US are suffering from oil and gas inflation and the EU is cutting vital oil and gas supplies from Russia.

Any economist with a brain and a familiarity with the BRICS could have predicted this outcome, but the bias within the mainstream media is a powerful thing.  If there were any doubts that the BRICS might distance themselves from Russia, these were put to rest in the BRICS statement on the Ukraine situation.  While supporting humanitarian efforts within Ukraine as well as diplomatic solutions, the BRICS member took swipes and NATO countries for opportunism and instigation.  In other words, there will be no breakup with Russia and BRICS markets will continue to remain open to them. 

This means that Russia’s war with Ukraine will be sustainable for many months to come, which means that sanctions and economic warfare will continue for many months to come.  Supply chain disruptions will continue unabated as Russian commodities remain off the market for the west, and this will add to the already high inflation we are currently dealing with.

Further economic escalation could even lead to BRICS allies engaging in trade warfare as well.  The situation has a powderkeg potential beyond anything the world has seen in decades.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 23:35

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The Depopulation Of Taiwan

The Depopulation Of Taiwan

Authored by Igor Chudov via Igor’s Newsletter,

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday about a massive 13% decline in births in Germany. Such a decline is a nine-sigma event, meaning that it is so unlikely to occur by chance, that it would naturally happen as rarely as an asteroid striking the Earth.

My article explored several more locales (UK, North Dakota, and Switzerland).

But no other place stands out as much as Taiwan does.

23% Drop in Birth Rate in Taiwan

According to a Taiwan government report, the birth rate dropped by 23.24% in May 2022, compared to May 2021.

I inputted historical birth rate data from Macrotrends for the years 2009-2021, and added the year 2022 as year 2021 adjusted down by 23.24%. Obviously, 2022 is not over and the number of Taiwanese babies to be born this year (or during the next 12 months) is unknown. So the chart below is an illustration of what would happen in the next 12 months if the 23.24% drop stays constant.

When expressed in “sigmas”, units of standard deviation, the 23.24% drop in the birth rate in Taiwan is a 26-sigma event!

This is can be described as “unimaginable” in terms of the likelihood of happening due to random chance.

The Wolfram-Alpha illustration of likelihood by sigma only goes to ten-sigma. They thought that it would be pointless to show more sigmas. Except a 26-sigma drop in birth rate just happened in Taiwan.

What Happened In Taiwan?

Health experts are quick to blame Covid for all sorts of health problems afflicting those they advised to vaccinate. It is not the vaccine, they say, it is Covid. We tried to protect you with the vaccine, they would always insist. But you got Covid anyway, thanks to the evil antivaxxers, and your problems are due to Covid — that’s their explanation.

We know for certain, though, that the drop in birth rate in Taiwan is NOT due to Covid. Yes, Taiwan is suffering from a terrible COVID pandemic right now (despite being 91% vaccinated), however, Covid in Taiwan only started around April 21 of 2022, and could not impact May birth rates much.

To see what could cause the extreme drop in births, go back 9 months from May 2022, so to September 2021.

Taiwan was a poster child for successful vaccination. 91% of all Taiwanese residents received a vaccine dose. By October 1, 2021, 56% of ALL people of Taiwan received Covid vaccines.

They got a fairly usual mix of “safe and effective” AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines.

People of Taiwan got their shots, felt assured that Covid-19 stops with every vaccinated person, and moved on with their lives.

I doubt that the people of Taiwan noticed anything at the end of September. They knew for sure that their vaccines were safe and effective and would not affect their sperm or pregnancies. So they proceeded with family plans just as before, trying to make babies on purpose, or partying and having fun and getting pregnant accidentally, just as people do elsewhere.

Except for 9 months later, they only gave birth to 77% of the number of babies expected.

I hope that the people of Taiwan will start asking their authorities: what is happening to us?

A Glimmer of Hope

If you are like me, and you like babies, children, and grandchildren, you are probably upset by now and are wondering what will happen to all of us. Let me mention a possibility that, although unlikely in my opinion, may make this drop in birth rates temporary.

Covid vaccines are known to “disrupt the menstrual cycle” and lower sperm counts. It is possible that some women, for a period of several months, could not conceive and become pregnant due to these disruptions. Because all Taiwanese women were vaccinated at almost the same time, those disruptions created a precipitous drop in birth rates.

My hope, as someone who likes people, is that this will turn out to be the case. However, in my opinion, we will likely see the opposite, and reductions in birth rates will be permanent. Why? Because vaccinating young people was a crime. It was not a mistake. Let me not explain why, in this article.

Crimes like this are NOT perpetrated to achieve a two-month drop in birth rates. Criminals of such nature who gave young people shots that they did not need, for sinister reasons, go for the jugular. Of course, not all people participating in vaccination campaigns were having such sinister intentions. But it is possible that some persons on top had criminal motives that they did not disclose.

Again, I hope that the preceding paragraph will turn out to be unfounded. I was, and am, against any of that happening, do not support anything that is happening in Taiwan, and I am very worried.

Time will tell.

They Told Us it is Safe

This fact check from Dec 5, 2020 says that the vaccine is definitely safe for pregnancy “because there is no evidence that it is unsafe”. No trial specifically for pregnancy and fertility was conducted. They just lied to us that it is safe — but had no way of knowing.

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Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 23:15

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The First Cut Might Not Be The Deepest

The First Cut Might Not Be The Deepest

Even Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid admits that he was “slightly surprised” at the results revealed by the following chart, lifted from his latest slidebook (available to professional subs).

It shows what the median US CPI was at the start of the 13 hiking cycles in the last 70 years and also where it was at the first cut after these hiking cycles. Three things stand out from this and the table you can see in the chart book.

  1. Median CPI at the first hike was ‘only’ 2.5% so the Fed has always tried to lean against inflation relatively early in the upswing. However, this time round they didn’t hike until we hit 8.5%.
  2. Median CPI at the first cut was a still high 4.4%. This supports the notion that in normal times the Fed looks ahead rather than at the current level. I was still slightly surprised it was as high as this at the first cut, which offers some support to the market view of 36bps of cuts priced between March and December 2023 even if inflation is still high.
  3. The median time from last hike to first cut was only 4 months. This short time frame also surprised me. Again this would support the market view of cuts being priced in relatively soon after this hiking cycle ends.

That, as Reid says, is the history, and it made Reid appreciate that cuts could come in this cycle when inflation is still high whether this would be a policy mistake or not. Where this cycle is so different though is that the first hike occurred very, very late in the inflation cycle. Whether this changes the dynamic, time will tell.

For what it’s worth, Reid’s base case remains that the Fed will find it very difficult to ease policy notably given that inflation is going to be harder to dislodge.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 22:55

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Abortion Clinics Start Closing After Roe v. Wade Ruling

Abortion Clinics Start Closing After Roe v. Wade Ruling

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Abortion clinics in multiple states closed their doors on June 25 following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to pass their own laws regulating access to abortion.

An exam room sits empty in the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St Louis, Mo., on May 28, 2019. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Around half of the states are expected to press ahead with banning abortion after the high court’s landmark ruling, according to the Guttmacher Institute, while in a handful of states with so-called trigger laws, abortion has already become illegal.

Abortion will either soon become—or already is—unlawful in at least 13 states, according to a tally by The Epoch Times: Idaho, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.

Bans in Mississippi and North Dakota will come into force when their respective attorneys general sign off, while Wyoming’s prohibition will take effect within days.

Tennessee will have its ban applied in 30 days, while Idaho and Texas will see bans applied 30 days after the official judgment. Abortion has become illegal in the following states: Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Utah.

Clinics Close

Alabama’s three abortion clinics stopped performing abortions as providers face prosecution under a law dating back to 1951.

Staff at the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville on Friday told women in the waiting room that they could not carry out any more abortions that day, though the women were given a list of out-of-state clinics still doing abortions.

At an abortion clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas, the doors to the patient area shut as soon as the Supreme Court’s decision was formally announced.

“No matter how hard we prepare for bad news, when it finally hits, it hits hard,” a nurse at the clinic told the BBC.

An abortion clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of three that performs the procedure in the state, was also shuttered on Friday.

Legal Uncertainty

Abortion clinics elsewhere—including Arizona, Texas, and West Virginia—stopped performing abortions for fear of prosecution based on laws that predate Roe v. Wade.

In Texas, where trigger laws don’t go into effect for another month, providers suspended abortions while they seek legal advice on whether they are subject to an abortion ban based on laws passed in the 1920s.

Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who announced the statewide closure of his agency’s office on Friday “in honor of the nearly 70 million unborn babies killed in the womb since 1973,” warned in a letter that prosecutors could immediately choose to pursue criminal prosecutions based on earlier laws that were unenforceable while Roe v. Wade stood.

Similarly, the existence of a 19th-century abortion ban in West Virginia led a clinic there to stop performing the procedure.

Several providers in Arizona halted abortions on Friday as they seek to determine whether pre-statehood laws may be grounds for prosecution.

Overall, repealing Roe v. Wade means that some 36 million women of reproductive age will lose access to abortion in their states, according to research from Planned Parenthood.

Predictably, the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has drawn mixed reactions, with demonstrators outside the Supreme Court voicing both indignation and jubilation.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 22:35

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/W3aGzd7 Tyler Durden

“More Money In Your Pocket” – Newsom To Helicopter Drop $17 Billion In “Inflation Relief” Stimmy Checks 

“More Money In Your Pocket” – Newsom To Helicopter Drop $17 Billion In “Inflation Relief” Stimmy Checks 

As the Federal Reserve attempts to crush aggregate demand through the most aggressive monetary tightening policies in decades to cool red-hot inflation, California Governor Gavin Newsom has come up with the brilliant idea to stoke even more demand through a new round of stimulus checks. 

Millions of Californians will be receiving up to $1,050 as part of a NEW middle-class tax rebate. 

“That’s more money in your pocket to help you fill your gas tank and put food on the table,” Newsom tweeted Sunday night. 

The “inflation relief package” is a staggering $17 billion and will provide relief payments on an income-based system. Bloomberg Law provides more details on how the stimulus scheme works for households:

Individuals making as much as $75,000 a year, or joint filers making up to $150,000, would get $350 each plus $350 for one dependent for a maximum of $1,050. Those with income up to $125,000, or $250,000 filing jointly, would get $250 each plus another $250 for one dependent for a maximum of $750. Those earning more than $250,000, or $500,000 filing jointly, would get $200 each plus $200 for one dependent for maximum of $600.

Newsom’s move to tackle high inflation by helicopter dropping billions of dollars in stimulus checks is utter nonsense and will only work counter to what the Fed is ultimately trying to achieve: recession by aggressively hiking interest rates and winding down the balance sheet to reduce aggregate demand, so consumer prices fall.

Newsom’s stimulus checks could temporarily fuel inflation in the state as households would instantly spend the free money on whatever they please. Solving inflation with more government will only worsen the situation. This is also something the Biden administration fails to see (read: Biden Economic Adviser Asserts That More Government Spending Will Solve Inflation Crisis)

How long until California Democrats beg for price controls as their policies could incite even more inflation? They can’t keep blaming ‘Putin Price Hike’ if their policies spike inflation. 

As no lessor authority than The Wall Street Journal Editorial board succinctly concluded:

“Too bad this bribe, er, incentive to vote Democratic won’t offset the state’s fast-rising cost of living, high taxes or the premium Californians pay for energy, water and housing, among other things, due to progressive policies.”

The Newsom manifesto appears to be from taxpayers according to their ability to the politicians according to their need.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 22:15

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