Washington Or Moscow: Decision-Time For Erdogan In Northern Syria

Washington Or Moscow: Decision-Time For Erdogan In Northern Syria

Authored by Tulin Daloglu via TheCradle.co,

Erdogan’s Syria choices seem increasingly limited by unflagging US support for his Kurdish foes. Turkey’s only option may be a Russian one…

In his 7 October statement renewing US national emergency powers in Syria, US President Joe Biden said: “The situation in and in relation to Syria, and in particular the actions by the Government of Turkey to conduct a military offensive into northeast Syria, undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, endangers civilians, and further threatens to undermine the peace, security, and stability in the region, and continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

The full statement obviously has several intended audiences, but then quite remarkably, veers to cast Turkey, a NATO ally, almost as an existential threat to the United States. Ankara understands that the exaggerated accusation may be a tactic to keep Turkey from carrying out military operations east of Euphrates River, currently controlled by US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) militias.

But whether Turkey aims to make this move is beside the point. What this harsh White House language seems to be communicating is a US red line whereby the Kurdish-controlled area in northeastern Syria is regarded as a federal district – as in Washington, DC or Puerto Rico. That is the crux of all that matters.

For years, US policymakers regarded Turkish misgivings over this issue as either paranoiac or conspiratorial. When Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a multi-billion-dollar energy package in 2013 by bypassing the central government in Baghdad, it was Washington that warned Ankara that such acts could only empower the Kurds’ drive for independence. To note, these contracts eventually did not yield any favorable results.

Fast forward to 2017, when Washington tamped down the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum quickly and decisively. The move made Ankara temporarily cool its concerns over the US’ stance on Kurdish nationhood, but found itself on alert again when the Pentagon began working closely with the YPG militia in Syria.

Turkey argues that the YPG is an extension of a group the US State Department classifies as a terrorist organization: the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The US maintains that its support of the YPG does not indicate hostility toward Turkey, its territorial integrity or national harmony; it merely needs non-US bodies on the ground to fight ISIS and, frankly, Syrian allied forces attempting to recover their resource-rich swathe of territory.

For years now, the American media has glorified the bravery of Kurdish fighters to generate sympathy, and cast Turkey as a racist state prepared to commit cross-border genocide against Kurdish populations. This simplistic approach in shaping people’s perception is one aspect of Washington’s policy agenda. The other part frames the US-YPG relationship as being merely transactional – the YPG maximizes its political and military power and the US scores gains against ISIS and the Syrian government.

The question is whether US-backed Kurdish forces are even an antidote to ISIS. Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford doesn’t think so. “The YPG militia cannot destroy ISIS,” he said in a recent webinar event. “An autonomous (Kurdish) administration is not going to resolve the ISIS problem.”

So then, why does Biden’s administration believe that Turkey undermines US counter-terrorism efforts enough to pose a national security threat? If one examines Washington’s own post-9/11 foreign policy track record in Turkey’s neighborhood, there’s virtually nothing resembling “peace, security, and stability in the region.”

Is Turkey single-handedly responsible for these American failures? No. Could the Kurdish militia pose a threat to Turkey’s national unity and peace? Yes. Does the YPG have a right under international law to defend itself? Let’s get honest here – these NATO allies no longer trust each other enough to look away. And frankly, neither Turkey, nor the US, nor the YPG have the right to invoke international law in their fights against each other inside Syrian territory.

The US-Turkey relationship has never been an easy one due to Ankara’s poor record of human rights and rule of law, and its 1974 Cyprus intervention. These differences have grown in recent years, and include Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program, its exposure to CAATSA sanctions, bitter fights over its acquisition of Russian S-400 anti-missile systems, and so forth. But no issue today is of more concern to the Turks than the Kurdish one, and Washington doesn’t want to hear it.

When then-Vice President Biden visited Ankara on August 24, 2016, Turkey launched its Operation Euphrates Shield in northeastern Syria. Whether Biden received prior notice remains a mystery; it was the first high-level US visit to Turkey after the failed 15 July putsch by the Turkish-banned Fethullah Gulen movement (Gulen enjoys asylum in the United States), and perhaps Ankara was feeling vindictive.

“We couldn’t understand if it was an internet game, if it was serious, when it happened,” Biden has said. The again, he also assured Turkey that the US would extradite Gulen if the evidence warranted a trial, and that it would cut support to the YPG if they did not withdraw to the east of the Euphrates river.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome later this month, but the way Washington is ignoring him after years of support is making him restless. The inner ranks of the Ankara beltway are still reeling from the speed at which Turkey went from downing a Russian fighter jet for its 8-second incursion into Turkish air space, to purchasing S-400s from Russia the next day.

Given Ankara’s chaotic past decade, nothing is taken at face value anymore. But the US is also no longer perceived as a respectful partner in building democracy and human rights. Today, it is regarded more as a cold-blooded, interest-driven power broker, with little loyalty. While Russia, China and Iran are also viewed as sanguine players, they at least appear to respect their alliances.

Neither of these rising regional powers can single-handedly shape the world order in the way the Americans have done for decades. But, together, they are jockeying to exert influence and maximize their benefits in the wake of Washington’s error-filled, foreign policy decline in influence. The more the US sidelines the interests of its NATO ally in favor of Kurdish militias, the more tectonic opportunities arise for Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran’s benefit.

Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met privately for almost three hours in Sochi on 29 September. It is in Putin’s interest to exploit or magnify US-Turkish differences to wrench Turkey away from its Western alliance, where anti-Erdoganism creates unprecedented opportunities for Russia. For years, Washington supported Erdogan in power; now Moscow is playing the same game.

The YPG recently killed two Turkish special operations police officers in northern Syria. Since then both Erdogan and Turkey’s Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar have spoken cautiously about their next step. On Friday, the Turkish president promised a “different” kind of anti-terror response in Syria, and took a swipe at the Americans: “The terrorists of the PKK, YPG and PYD are running wild in entire Syria, not only in the northern part. The leading supporters of them are the international coalition and the US,” he said.

It is unclear what Erdogan intends to do next. It could be a limited operation targeting only the Tel Rifaat area – which is under the supervision of the Russians, who have promised to clear out YPG militia. But Moscow will want something in exchange – likely, the complete removal of Turkish-backed militants in Idlib.

However, if Erdogan and Putin reached a comprehensive agreement in their latest bilateral meeting, Turkey could also aim for the area (30 kilometers deep, from Manbij to al-Malikiyah) of Operation Peace Spring, which Biden would fiercely oppose. Or it could do nothing at all. For Ankara, these are not easy times to make hard decisions.

One direction will leave Erdogan stuck with uneasy allies who militarily support his most belligerent foes. The other direction will see him abandoning all hope of territorial gains in the Levant, highlight his decade-long failed investment in Syrian regime-change, and place him firmly back within Turkey’s borders.

President Biden has either misread the tea leaves in the region or actively wants Moscow to exert even more influence over Ankara. Either way, Erdogan may find himself outmatched in the duel between Moscow and Washington. The end game could be a new West Asian order.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/19/2021 – 02:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3vq6rAD Tyler Durden

Who Will Be ‘Brave’ In Huxley’s New World?

Who Will Be ‘Brave’ In Huxley’s New World?

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

No wonder that the Tavistock Institute and the CIA became involved in looking at the effects of LSD and how to influence and control the mind.

 “ ‘Science?’….’Yes,’ Mustapha Mond was saying, ‘that’s another item in the cost of stability. It isn’t only art that’s incompatible with happiness; it’s also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled…I’m interested in truth, I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger. As dangerous as it’s been beneficent. It has given us the stablest equilibrium in history…But we can’t allow science to undo its own good work. That’s why we so carefully limit the scope of its researchers…We don’t allow it to deal with any but the most immediate problems of the moment. All other enquiries are most sedulously discouraged…Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness…[but] People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years’ War. That made them change their tune all right. What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? That was when science first began to be controlled – after the Nine Years’ War. People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We’ve gone on controlling ever since. It hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it, Mr. Watson – paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.’ “

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

Where does one start in discussing the famed fiction novel of Huxley? Although most agree that there is a definite brilliance to the piece, most are also confused as to what was Huxley’s intention in writing the extremely influential dystopic vision. Was it meant to be taken as an exhortation? An inevitable prophecy? Or rather…was it meant as an Open Conspiracy?

What do I mean by an Open Conspiracy?

If we are going to talk about such things our story starts with H.G. Wells, whom Aldous acknowledged he was most certainly influenced by, particularly by Wells’ novels “A Modern Utopia,” “The Sleeper Awakes,” and “Men Like Gods,” when writing his “Brave New World.”

Although Aldous is quoted as referring to Wells as a “horrid, vulgar little man,” (Wells was indeed not a very likeable individual) it was not for reasons one might first assume. Aldous did share a Wellsian perspective in that society should be organised based on a caste system. Perhaps this was one of the reasons Aldous was so fascinated with learning about India’s Hindu religious beliefs and practices, which had coexisted for centuries with a deeply ingrained caste system to which India is still struggling to remove itself from to this day. This is not to say that one caused the other, or that Hinduism has not offered a plethora of great works and insights, but that it had become corrupted and thoroughly intertwined with upholding India’s caste system at some point one cannot deny; that it was used to justify a system of hierarchy from slave to the god-like state of a Brahmin and that British imperialists had always been greatly fascinated by this form of social organization one cannot deny.

Aldous was always interested in the subject of religion, but more so for its uses in behaviourism and mental conditioning achieved through such techniques as entering states of trance where an individual’s suggestibility could be manipulated. Hypnopædia was not just some quirky sci-fi concoction. It is also why Aldous was so interested in the work of Dr. William Sargant, whom Aldous repeatedly refers to in his writings and lectures and who was involved with the Tavistock Institute and MKUltra. More on this in Part two.

These spiritual/religious studies are what shaped the core thesis of Aldous’ book “Doors of Perception” which is considered the instruction manual for what started the counterculture movement. The title is influenced by the poet William Blake who wrote in 1790 in his book “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,”:

if the doors of perception were cleansed then everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern

Another major influence for “Doors of Perception” was again H.G. Wells, from his book “The Door in the Wall,” which examines the contrast between aesthetics and science and the difficulty in choosing between them. The protagonist Lionel Wallace is unable to bridge the gap between his imagination and his rational, scientific side which leads to his death.

Aldous writes in his “Doors of Perception,”:

That humanity at large will ever be able to dispense with Artificial Paradises seems very unlikely…Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia [ancient Roman pagan festival], dancing and listening to oratory – all these have served, in H.G. Wells’s phrase, as Doors in the Wall…Under a more realistic, a less exclusively verbal system of education than ours, every Angel (in Blake’s sense of that word) would be permitted as a sabbatical treat, would be urged and even, if necessary, compelled to take an occasional trip through some chemical Door in the Wall into the world of transcendental experience. If it terrified him, it would be unfortunate but probably salutary. If it brought him a brief but timeless illumination, so much the better. In either case the Angel might lose a little of the confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning and the consciousness of having read all the books…But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out…

Aldous was always chasing the perfect drug that would be minimal in its physically destructive effects but would allow an individual to tap into an almost consumer state of a religious/spiritual out-of-body experience, a transcendence that promised a connection with the Infinite, inner peace and enlightenment.

Enlightenment and inner peace in a pill, ready for whenever one needed a short holiday from the “illusion” of reality.

The name Soma, which Aldous used to name his fantasy ideal drug in “Brave New World,” was based off a plant whose juices were used to create the spiritual drink which was described in both the ancient religious practices of the Vedic tradition and Zoroastrianism, which called the plant and spiritual drink by the same name, Soma. Today, it is a mystery as to what plant they were referring to in these texts. Huxley no doubt chased after this dragon the entire latter half of his life, and indeed, psilocybin mushrooms are theorised as one of the potential candidates for what could have been named Soma centuries ago.

It is perhaps here that people are the most confused about the character of Huxley. After all, he was obviously walking the walk so to speak, thus didn’t he truly believe that psychedelics were the path to freedom through enlightenment?

Well, the argument has been made that Huxley’s approach to LSD [and other psychedelics] was essentially oligarchic, that it was to be regarded as a dangerous substance to be sampled only by such fine and visionary minds as his own. That is, those who had the mental strength, the mental stamina to reach enlightenment; those who were too weak to sustain such mental rigours would become the very opposite, and risked falling into the dark pit of complete madness, although this in of itself was perceived by many to be a form of clairvoyance. After all, what is it to be mad in a world that is sickeningly and inhumanely “normal”? This is most certainly how Ken Kesey thought when writing his “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” that madness itself was a form of liberation from the shackles of capitalist societal constraints.

Perhaps madness was the goal, it was after all, much more attainable that the promised enlightenment…

As William Sargant noted in his book “Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brain-Washing” J.F.C. Hecker was studying the dancing mania phenomenon that occurred during the Black Death, which was a social phenomenon that arose in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people who would begin to dance erratically during the Plague, sometimes thousands at a time until they would fall from exhaustion or from injuries. It was thought to have arisen in Aachen, Germany in 1374 and quickly spread throughout Europe with one of the last observations of it occurring in 1518 in Alsace, France.

Hecker observed in his research on the dancing mania that heightened suggestibility had the capability to cause a person to “embrace with equal force, reason and folly, good and evil, diminish the praise of virtue as well as the criminality of vice.

Such a state of mind was likened to the first efforts of the infant mind, Sargant writes “this instinct of imitation when it exists in its highest degree, is also united a loss of all power over the will, which occurs as soon as the impression on the senses has become firmly established, producing a condition like that of small animals when they are fascinated by the look of a serpent.

I wonder if Sargant imagined himself the serpent…

It is no wonder that the Tavistock Institute and the CIA became involved in looking at the effects of LSD and how to influence and control the mind. And perhaps it is no coincidence that Aldous Huxley was in close correspondence with William Sargant to which Sargant even refers to Aldous’ “insights” multiple times in his book “Battle for the Mind.”

Aldous is also quoted in a lecture he delivered to the Tavistock Group, California Medical School in 1961:

There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.

Aldous goes on to state a year later in a lecture titled “The Ultimate Revolution” at UC Berkeley Language Center 1962:

Today we are faced, I think, with the approach of what may be called the ultimate revolution, the final revolution, where man can act directly on the mind-body of his fellows…we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude. This is the, it seems to me, the ultimate in malevolent revolutions shall we say, and this is a problem which has interested me many years and about which I wrote thirty years ago, a fable, Brave New World, which is an account of society making use of all the devices available and some of the devices which I imagined to be possible making use of them in order to, first of all, to standardize the population, to iron out inconvenient human differences, to create, to say, mass produced models of human beings arranged in some sort of scientific caste system.

Yes, yes we get it. This is all to be taken as “warnings” to the public, a terrible necessity that will come about if over-population is not addressed (as he makes clear in his Brave New World Revisited). With over-population comes over-organization which in turn leads to the scientific advances in technology which we are told by Aldous can only lead to totalitarianism. Thus, population growth and advances in the sciences are the greatest threat to humankind. Wait, that sounds oddly very much like the reasonings of Mustapha Mond, have we come around full circle, what exactly does Aldous agree and disagree with here? Are we to have a scientific dictatorship in order to avoid a totalitarian system in the form of a scientific dictatorship?

In H.G. Wells’ “Open Conspiracy: Blueprints for a World Revolution,” he describes his vision for a Modern Religion:

‘…if religion is to develop unifying and directive power in the present confusion of human affairs it must adapt itself to this forward-looking, individuality-analyzing turn of mind; it must divest itself of its sacred histories…The desire for service, for subordination, for permanent effect, for an escape from the distressful pettiness and mortality of the individual life, is the undying element in every religious system.

The time has come to strip religion right down to that [service and subordination is all Wells wants to keep of the old relic of religion]The explanation of why things are is an unnecessary effortThe essential fact…is the desire for religion and not how it came about…The first sentence in the modern creed must be, not “I believe,” but “I give myself.” ‘

Hmm, is this the same Revolution as Aldous is speaking about? After all, there is a lot of similarity between H.G. Wells’ description of his “Modern Religion” and what Aldous is preaching in his “Doors of Perception,” to which Wells is undoubtedly a large influence. The desire to escape from the distressful pettiness and mortality of the individual life, that the explanation for why one does something is not important, only to be motivated by the desire for release, for a complete catharsis that only the fervour of a “religious,” a “spiritual” experience can bring about.

It is the desire for, not the care for why. To believe is not even acceptable, because to believe pertains to thought, it is merely a matter of surrender, that you give yourself. It is not to act with reason but to be possessed by its very opposite; to be in a state of existence where there are no words, and thus there are no thoughts, just direct sensory feeling.

The ultimate achievement is to completely surrender oneself to the external world, perhaps to a dictatorship without tears…

The reader should be aware that Wells wrote a book titled “The New World Order” in 1940, and is the first that I am aware of to pioneer this now-infamous term. The reader should also be aware that Julian Huxley (Aldous Huxley’s brother) was a co-author of “The Science of Life,” a part of Wells’ trilogy “The Outline of History” (1919), “The Science of Life” (1929), and “The Work, Wealth, and Happiness of Mankind” (1932) to which Wells made no qualms should be regarded as the new Bible. Julian was also a prominent member of the British Eugenics Society, serving as its Vice-President from 1937-1944 and its President from 1959-1962. Interesting life choices from the authors of the “new Bible.”

In addition, Aldous’ grandfather Thomas Huxley (“Charles Darwin’s bulldog”) was the biology teacher of H.G. Wells and was one of the largest influences in Wells’ life, promoting the works of Charles Darwin and Thomas Malthus, for more on this refer to my paper. Although Thomas Huxley lived before the time of the “science” of Eugenics, he was a stout Malthusian and thus one can rather safely say would have been a eugenicist if offered the chance.

Thus, we should regard Aldous’ mention of the stylish ‘Malthusian belt’ in his “Brave New World,” under a more somber light perhaps…

And now we are ready to walk through the doors of perception on Aldous himself, the true Huxley behind the projected illusion. We may not find Infinity at the end of this excursion, but we will most certainly be better equipped to tell the difference between Huxley’s self and non-self, between what is real and what is false.

[This is Part 1 to a three-part series, Part 2 and 3 will cover the War on Science, the Battle for your Mind and Aldous Huxley as a pioneer for the counter-culture movement and its implications.]

Tyler Durden
Tue, 10/19/2021 – 00:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/3n571Ai Tyler Durden

Lloyd Austin To Stress “Open Door To NATO” In Visit To Ukraine & Georgia

Lloyd Austin To Stress “Open Door To NATO” In Visit To Ukraine & Georgia

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is traveling to eastern Europe this week, where he will reportedly tell countries on the “the front lines of Russian aggression” – in particular Ukraine and Georgia – that there is an “open door to NATO”, according to a senior defense official quoted in The Washington Times.

His trip will take him to both countries, after which he’ll go to Romania and on to Belgium to participate in a meeting of NATO defense ministers. “We are reassuring and reinforcing the sovereignty of countries that are on the front lines of Russian aggression,” the unnamed senior US official said further.

Both Ukraine and Georgia have have seen recent border conflicts and tensions flair up with their large, more powerful neighbor – including the Russo-Georgia War of 2008 centered on the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“Against that backdrop, defense officials said Mr. Austin will tell Ukrainian and Georgian leaders that there is an open door to NATO membership and that each country should take steps to qualify for membership,” the Washington Times continues. 

As for Ukraine, which earlier this year saw President Volodymyr Zelensky provocatively declare that “NATO membership is the only way to end war in Donbass”, Austin is expected to underscore “unwavering support” – according to a DOD announcement of the official trip:

In Ukraine, the Secretary will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Minister of Defense Andrii Taran to reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The visit will also serve as an opportunity to discuss Ukraine’s progress with the implementation of defense and defense industry reforms needed to advance its Euro-Atlantic aspirations as well as regional cooperation among Black Sea allies and partners.

Meanwhile, just before Austin’s arrival in the region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov took the opportunity to restate Russia’s “red line” in an interview with a French TV channel, saying “Ukraine’s accession to NATO would be the worst-case scenario” for which Moscow would respond with necessary “active measures”.


Via The Sun

“This is a scenario that goes beyond the red lines of Russia’s national interests. This is a scenario that could force Russia to take active measures to ensure its own security,” Peskov said. And addressing accusations earlier in the year of Russia threatening Ukraine’s sovereignty via a major troop build-up, he pointed out that “before the Russian troops were moved to that region, there were large NATO exercises held near the Russian border. Everyone talks about the concentration of Russian troops all the time, but nobody talks about the concentration of NATO troops.”

Austin’s trip comes on the heels of a rare visit to Russia of Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, where a US delegation said productive talks were had with the Russian side toward restoring deteriorated communications with Washington.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/18/2021 – 23:40

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After Backlash Over $600 IRS Bank Surveillance, Democrats Revise Proposal

After Backlash Over $600 IRS Bank Surveillance, Democrats Revise Proposal

Senate Democrats on Tuesday plan to release a reworked version of a Biden administration proposal to surveil US bank accounts – after their original plan to require financial institutions to report transactions on bank accounts with more than $600 in annual deposits and withdrawals was widely panned (i.e. most people). 

Now, the rule will apply to anyone with at least $10,000 in annual non-wage deposits or withdrawals, according to the Washington Post, which writes that the toned-down scope ‘intends to insure it applies to only larger account holders.’

We wonder, though, if this includes older Americans deriving at least $10,000 in annual dividends / interest outside of a traditional IRA (which is considered ordinary income when taken)? Or parents sending at least $10,000 per year to college-aged children? Or anyone paying cash for a car, or motorcycle, or literally anything that costs more than $10,000? Or those who have spent at least $10,000 in a year – which brings us back to ‘most people.’

I don’t know why they thought $600 would be a good number. $10,000 is definitely an improvement,” said former Obama and Trump IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, who thinks the threshold should be closer to $50,000. “The vast majority of people won’t be affected, but it will pick up more than just the idle rich.”

That said, some Democratic aides are skeptical whether even the altered version of the proposal will make it into the final Build Back Better package.

Democrats supportive of the proposal have pointed out that well-funded business lobbyists and Republican lawmakers have mounted an all-out campaign against the measure that has sometimes exaggerated or outright fabricated the extent of the changes. But opposition to the measure is not limited to Wall Street, and has extended to community banks influential with much of the congressional Democratic caucus. -WaPo

Over 20 GOP attorneys general have opposed the original proposal in a Friday letter to President Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, saying that it “stands in direct opposition to privacy that Americans are entitled to and deserve.” We can’t imagine they’ll change their stance in light of the changes.

At present, the rule change is nebulous. Perhaps Tuesday’s proposal will shed more light on exactly who Democrats are targeting with financial surveillance.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/18/2021 – 23:20

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Chinese & Russian Warships Jointly Sail Through Chokepoint Off Japan’s Mainland For 1st Time

Chinese & Russian Warships Jointly Sail Through Chokepoint Off Japan’s Mainland For 1st Time

In an unprecedented maneuver amid joint naval drills that just wrapped up in the region, a large group of Chinese PLA and Russian warships sailed through a key chokepoint very close to Japan’s mainland for the first time ever on Monday.

Ten naval vessels belonging to China and Russia passed through the northern Tsugaru Strait, Tokyo’s Defense Ministry said soon after the pass through. It comes after the two militaries just wrapped up four days of joint naval exercises, dubbed ‘Maritime Interaction 2021’, in the Sea of Japan from Oct.14 through 17.


Russian MoD image of the weekend drills.

It also comes after in recent months Japan has made it clear that it sides with Washington’s controversial Taiwan pro-independence stance, inviting the wrath and muscle-flexing of Beijing.

Nikkei Asia reported that “The warships sailed eastward toward the Pacific Ocean, likely as part of Naval Interaction 2021, a joint maritime exercise the two navies are conducting this month.”

The maritime monitoring site Naval News described the weekend Russia-China drills as follows:

12 planes and helicopters of the Pacific Fleet’s air arm and the Chinese Navy were also involved in the maneuvers.

During the joint maneuvers, the crews of the warships from both countries practiced joint tactical maneuvering, mine countermeasures, artillery live-firing against seaborne targets. They also searched for and blocked a simulated enemy’s submarine in the assigned area.

Russia’s military released footage showing the large-scale joint drills…

On Friday Russia’s Ministry of Defense had blasted the behavior of a US destroyer in the Sea of Japan, charging that the USS Chafee had come dangerously close to a Russian vessel while intruding on Russia’s territorial waters. Russian media reports said the two ships came within 60 meters of each other.

The US Navy later in the day refuted the claims, saying its ship was conducting legal “routine operations” in international waters while blaming the Russian warship for making an aggressive approach.

The Kremlin said the Russian Navy “chased” the US destroyer out of the area, with the two contradictory narratives still unsettled. Further the region has seen Russia and Japan locked in an island dispute that goes back to WWII. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a handful of encounters between US and Russian ships, given neither the US nor its ally Japan recognize the extent of what Russia claims as territorial waters.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/18/2021 – 23:00

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NHL Suspends San Jose Sharks Player 21 Games For Submitting Fake COVID Vaccine Card

NHL Suspends San Jose Sharks Player 21 Games For Submitting Fake COVID Vaccine Card

The Kyrie Irving effect is spreading.

In the latest farce involving pro sports covid “loopholes”, the AP reports that the NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The league announced the suspension without pay on Monday and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will also forfeit about $1.68 million of his $7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

There was a silver lining: the league also announced that a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated. Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Anna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.

But while Kane probably did not beat the crap out of his estranged wife, the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated, although one wonder what the real number is.

Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo. Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 games.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/18/2021 – 22:40

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“Because in All Matters That Deal Not With Railways His Knowledge Is Great”

The maritime shipping industry site gCaptain, which seems to be pretty prominent and often-cited, criticizes the appointment of the new U.S. Maritime Administrator (thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer):

[F]or the fourth time in a row, and during the worst shipping crisis of the century, the US Department of Transportation, has appointed someone to the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) who is not a captain and has no commercial shipping experience.

[October 14], President Biden announced his intention to nominate Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, US Navy (Retired), as the next US Maritime Administrator, a position that has been vacant since Rear Admiral Mark Buzby stepped down following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January.

Phillips is a highly decorated Navy leader with a long list of accomplishments and is highly respected by everyone gCaptain has interviewed. She was head of the Navy’s Climate Change Task Force and is a highly sought after consultant on climate security issues. She holds an MBA. She was chairman of a local government Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience project. She once captained a Navy warship. The appointment looks great on paper except for one kinda big problem. This is not a warship position. It’s a commercial shipping appointment and she has zero experience aboard any commercial ships. She does not even have experience leading navy military sealift ships.

I can’t speak to whether this criticism is apt, but it gives me the opportunity to quote one of my favorite Kipling poems, Public Waste, which begins thus (some of the specific references are lost on us, unless we know the history of late 1800s Anglo-Indian administration, but the overall thrust should be clear enough):

By the Laws of the Family Circle ’tis written in letters of brass
That only a Colonel from Chatham can manage the Railways of State,
Because of the gold on his breeks, and the subjects wherein he must pass;
Because in all matters that deal not with Railways his knowledge is great,

Now Exeter Battleby Tring had laboured from boyhood to eld
On the Lines of the East and the West, and eke of the North and South;
Many Lines had he built and surveyed—important the posts which he held;
And the Lords of the Iron Horse were dumb when he opened his mouth.

Black as the raven his garb, and his heresies jettier still—
Hinting that Railways required lifetimes of study and knowledge—
Never clanked sword by his side—Vauban he knew not nor drill—
Nor was his name on the list of the men who had passed through the “College.” …

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“Because in All Matters That Deal Not With Railways His Knowledge Is Great”

The maritime shipping industry site gCaptain, which seems to be pretty prominent and often-cited, criticizes the appointment of the new U.S. Maritime Administrator (thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer):

[F]or the fourth time in a row, and during the worst shipping crisis of the century, the US Department of Transportation, has appointed someone to the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) who is not a captain and has no commercial shipping experience.

[October 14], President Biden announced his intention to nominate Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, US Navy (Retired), as the next US Maritime Administrator, a position that has been vacant since Rear Admiral Mark Buzby stepped down following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January.

Phillips is a highly decorated Navy leader with a long list of accomplishments and is highly respected by everyone gCaptain has interviewed. She was head of the Navy’s Climate Change Task Force and is a highly sought after consultant on climate security issues. She holds an MBA. She was chairman of a local government Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience project. She once captained a Navy warship. The appointment looks great on paper except for one kinda big problem. This is not a warship position. It’s a commercial shipping appointment and she has zero experience aboard any commercial ships. She does not even have experience leading navy military sealift ships.

I can’t speak to whether this criticism is apt, but it gives me the opportunity to quote one of my favorite Kipling poems, Public Waste, which begins thus (some of the specific references are lost on us, unless we know the history of late 1800s Anglo-Indian administration, but the overall thrust should be clear enough):

By the Laws of the Family Circle ’tis written in letters of brass
That only a Colonel from Chatham can manage the Railways of State,
Because of the gold on his breeks, and the subjects wherein he must pass;
Because in all matters that deal not with Railways his knowledge is great,

Now Exeter Battleby Tring had laboured from boyhood to eld
On the Lines of the East and the West, and eke of the North and South;
Many Lines had he built and surveyed—important the posts which he held;
And the Lords of the Iron Horse were dumb when he opened his mouth.

Black as the raven his garb, and his heresies jettier still—
Hinting that Railways required lifetimes of study and knowledge—
Never clanked sword by his side—Vauban he knew not nor drill—
Nor was his name on the list of the men who had passed through the “College.” …

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Female Writer Who Won World’s Biggest Literary Prize Turns Out To Be Three Men

Female Writer Who Won World’s Biggest Literary Prize Turns Out To Be Three Men

An anonymous writer who has been likened to Italy’s pseudonymous Ellena Ferrante was just awarded a €1MM ($1.16MM dollars) literary prize for her dazzling work as a groundbreaking female author. There’s only one minor clarification though: she’s a he.

Well, she’s actually three men. According to the FT, Carmen Mola, an author who until now has been presented as a female university professor writing under a pen name because of her desire for anonymity (something nobody would question since progressive critics would simply assume she’s doing this to protect herself from online hate hate speech), revealed her true identity to the world when the main prize was awarded in the presence of the Spanish King.

When the writer’s name was called three men walked to the podium. It turns out, Mola was actually a collaboration between three Spanish TV writers (Mola is neither a woman nor an academic). Their names: Jorge Díaz, Agustín Martínez nor Antonio Mercero are academics. They have worked on scripts for shows including On Duty Pharmacy, Central Hospital and No Heaven Without Breasts.

“Carmen Mola is not, like all the lies we’ve been telling, a university professor,” said Díaz on winning the prize. “We are three friends who one day four years ago decided to combine our talent to tell a story.”

The group of men won the prize for a book titled The Beast, a historical thriller set during the cholera epidemic in 1834. During an interview with a Spanish newspaper, one of them claimed that they “didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name.”

“I don’t know if a female pseudonym would sell more than a male one, I don’t have the faintest idea, but I doubt it,” he added.

Carmen Mola was said by the men’s publishers, Penguin Random House, to be the pseudonym of a female writer born in Madrid. Mola was also described as a forty-something mother of three children, who worked as a professor while writing crime thrillers in her spare time.

“Mola”, or the men hiding behind Mola, has also been interviewed by the Spanish press, and a picture has been shared on her publisher’s website depicting a woman with her back to the camera who was identified as Mola.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/18/2021 – 22:20

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FDA To Allow “Mixing and Matching” Of COVID Boosters

FDA To Allow “Mixing and Matching” Of COVID Boosters

mRNA or a disabled adenovirus? According to the latest iteration of the “science” it’s really all the same and just jam it in there, because as the NYT reports, the Food and Drug Administration will allow Americans to “mix and match”, i.e., receive a different Covid-19 vaccine as a booster than the one they initially received, a move that could “reduce the appeal of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and provide flexibility to doctors and other vaccinators.”

In other words, the mRNA lobby has just booked the entire second floor at Scores and is hoovering up industrial amounts of Colombian marching powder while surrounded by the best silicone money can rent.

In the latest example that money talks and what was scientific consensus until this morning walks, the government would not recommend one shot over another, and may instead note that using the same vaccine as a booster when possible is preferable, but vaccine providers could use their discretion to offer a different brand, a freedom that state health officials have been requesting for weeks. Maybe one should check if the bank accounts of said state health officials have suddenly seen a mysterious inflow of outside funds that prompted their agitation.

In any case, the approach was foreshadowed on Friday, when so-called “researchers” presented the findings of a federally funded “mix and match” study to an expert committee that advises the Food and Drug Administration. The study found that recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot who received a Moderna booster saw their antibody levels rise 76-fold in 15 days, compared with only a fourfold increase after an extra dose of Johnson & Johnson.

We can only assume that this “study” is different than the one that took place just a few months ago that prompted the same NYT to report that “Britain Opens Door to Mix-and-Match Vaccinations, Worrying Experts“…

… and in which we read that:

Some scientists say Britain is gambling with its new guidance. “There are no data on this idea whatsoever,” said John Moore, a vaccine expert at Cornell University. Officials in Britain “seem to have abandoned science completely now and are just trying to guess their way out of a mess.”

It now turns out that Britain was simply early in guessing which way a whole lot of bribes money can sway the “science” du jour.

Amusingly, even as the FDA agonizes over greenlighting covid booster shots for Americans younger than 65 – having initially rejected the biotech/pharma lobbied outcome which has been eagerly sought by the Biden admin – Federal regulators this week are aiming to greatly expand the number of Americans eligible for booster shots. As such, the FDA is now expected to authorize boosters of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines by Wednesday evening; it could allow the mix-and-match approach by then. The agency last month authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for at least six months after the second dose.

Then, on Thursday, a CDC advisory committee will also take up the booster issue and will then issue its own recommendations (to go ahead and do it because science says “mix and match” is cool). By the end of the week, tens of millions more Americans could be eligible for extra shots.

So how exactly do we know that the “mixing and matching” that was anathema as recently as January is now to be encouraged? Well, because the “experts” emphasized last week that the new “data” was based on small groups of volunteers and short-term findings.

We repeat: small groups of volunteers and short-term findings of mixing and matching revealed that all is well, so by extension, the protocol is perfectly suitable for hundreds of millions over years if not decades.

Furthermore, only antibody levels — just one measure of the immune response — were calculated as part of the preliminary data, not the actual levels of immune cells primed to attack the coronavirus, which scientists say are also an important measure of a vaccine’s success. Then again, in a country that ignores natural covid immunity – because, well, that doesn’t lead to an even bigger yacht for certain biotech CEOs – this was to be expected.

It gets better: perhaps in an attempt to mitigate its previously reported on how experts were “worried” due to precisely this “mix and match” approach, the NYT notes that “while the research on mixing and matching doses is somewhat thin, even some scientists who have strongly criticized the Biden administration’s booster policy said that providers should be given a measure of discretion as the campaign ramps up.”

One wonders if these are the same “scientists” who strongly disagreed with a growing number of countries – such as Sweden, Norway and Finland – suspending use of the Moderna vaccine in young people “for precautionary reasons” following reports of “possible rare side effects.” Something tells us that that the answer is a resounding yes.

“If you look at the data, it certainly looks like it might be better,” Dr. Paul A. Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said of Moderna or Pfizer boosters for Johnson & Johnson recipients. “I think we should move quickly on this, because it’s already happening.” He should know – after all this is the same Dr. Offit who was “honored by Bill and Melinda Gates during the launch of their Foundation’s Living Proof Project for global health.”

Demonstrating just how extensively the scientific consensus can swing in under a year, at the meeting on Friday of the Food and Drug Administration’s expert panel – of which Dr. Offit is a member – top C.D.C. officials argued that providers needed latitude to offer different vaccines as boosters because – get this – patients might have had adverse reactions after their initial shots or presented other new concerns. In other words, a patient may not want a booster due to a bad experience with the original vaccine. So here’s the brilliant solution: just give them the other vaccine. And what’s most remarkable is that since this is fundamentally a ploy to get people who have had a JnJ vaccine to get a second, mRNA-based vaccine, the “scientific” thinking is that giving patients the same vaccine which was halted in various Scandinavian countries due to its “possible rare side effects” is literally what the doctor ordered.

Ultimately, however, money is involved and as most of our readers know by now, money can induce some truly creative “scientific” thought. Like for example the thinking by Pfizer and Moderna CEOs who know that they need this approval to continue making billions from the vaccine: the federal government will cover the cost of a different vaccine as a booster only if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the approach, officials told the NYT.

“I’d like to reiterate how important it is from a programmatic perspective to have a little bit of flexibility,” Dr. Melinda Wharton, a top vaccine official at the C.D.C., told the F.D.A. panel. The same “little bit of flexibility” why the NYT back in January called a mess” and “gambling”

And just to avoid potentially embarrassing questions about conflicts of interest, the ironclad clause was invoked – the public health interest. 

“From a public health perspective, there’s a clear need in some situations for individuals to receive a different vaccine,” said Dr. Amanda Cohn, another high-ranking C.D.C. official.

Finally, what would yet another scientific flip-flop be if it didn’t include, you guessed it, Anthony Fauci.

Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, publicly suggested on Sunday that the government was headed toward granting greater leeway, at least for Johnson & Johnson recipients. “I believe there’s going to be a degree of flexibility of what a person who got the J.&J. originally can do, either with J.&J. or with the mix-and-match from other products,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

A far cry from what he said in January, but that’s hardly news to anyone.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 10/18/2021 – 22:00

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