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Sat, 22 Jan 2022
The World for People who Think

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Red Flag

ZeroHedge: 'Global economy heading for mother of all supply chain shocks - China locking down ports to blame'

Comment: And now we turn to the financial experts who brought you 'PLAGUE! PANIC!' in 2020 for their take on how the 'Conomy is doing!...

Port Shanghai
© PortEconomics
Port of Shanghai
Over the past month, as Wall Street turned increasingly optimistic on US growth alongside the Fed, with consensus (shaped by the Fed's leaks and jawboning) now virtually certain of a March rate hike, we have been repeatedly warning that after a huge policy error in 2021 when the Fed erroneously said that inflation is "transitory" (it wasn't), the central bank is on pace to make another just as big policy mistake in 2022 by hiking as many as 4 times and also running off its massive balance sheet... right into a global growth slowdown.
And, as we have also discussed in recent weeks, one place where this growth slowdown is emerging - besides the upcoming deterioration in US consumption where spending is now being funded to record rates by credit cards before it encounters a troubling air pocket - is China and its "covid-zero" policy in general, and its covid-locked down ports in particular.

Pocket Knife

US official threatens Russia with 'sharp pain' inflicted 'very fast'

© AP/Sarabeth Maney
Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
The US has some 18 "different scenarios" up its sleeve to react to any form of Russian attack on Ukraine, leading official Victoria Nuland has warned, promising to inflict "sharp pain" on Moscow should it make such a move. Nuland, who currently serves as undersecretary of state for political affairs in President Joe Biden's government, made the thinly veiled threat in an interview with the Financial Times published on Saturday. Nuland said:
"I'm not going to preview 18 different scenarios ... I would simply say that our commitment and the conversation that we have with our allies is around inflicting very sharp pain very fast, if Russia makes this move in any form."
Western media, as well as multiple US officials, have repeatedly warned of an imminent "invasion" of Ukraine by Moscow over the past few months. Washington and its allies have cited the movement of Russian troops within the country's vast Western territory as 'proof' of such plans. Moscow has consistently denied the allegations, insisting it has a right to carry out military maneuvers within its borders as it pleases.

Nuland failed to specify any of the multiple scenarios she hinted at in the interview. At the same time, the official said the US was still open to dialog with Moscow, while revealing that Washington has been working on a written response to the comprehensive security deal draft proposed by Russia.

Comment: When the US comes out with blazing accusations, it is often a cover for its own covert actions. If anyone can deliver 'nasty' it is Nuland.

Russian Flag

Kremlin tells CNN about possibility of weapons deployment to Ukraine

© www.usnews
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Moscow considers talks with the US and NATO "unsuccessful," but there is no talk of military action, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

Russia has no plans to attack Ukraine, but could not say it would never deploy any weapons in its large southern neighbor, the Kremlin has told CNN, adding that Moscow is willing to talk, but only if its concerns are addressed.

Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's long-time spokesman, added that Russia is deeply concerned by a recent spiraling-up of tensions in Europe, in an interview scheduled for broadcast on Sunday. He told the host of the 'Fareed Zakaria GPS' show:
"We have too much tension on the border [with Ukraine]. We have too much tension in this part of Europe. It drags [in] more problems automatically. It is extremely dangerous for our continent."
According to Peskov, the only way forward for the US and NATO is to finally address Russia's concerns in earnest, instead of brushing them off. "This is the reason we are insisting on receiving a direct response," he explained, adding that Moscow expected an "extremely specific" response to its "extremely specific proposals."

Comment: As the US doubles down on its narrative, so must Russia. Escalation at this point in time is rhetorical.


US to train 'Ukrainian insurgents' in EU - media

Ukraine soldiers
© AP/Ukrainian Defense Ministry Press Service
Ukrainian soldiers launch US Javelin missiles in Donetsk region, Ukraine • January 12, 2022.
The US is mulling a strategy of subverting Russia's aims, without direct involvement, in case it invades Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Friday, adding that it may involve arming and training Ukrainian fighters in Europe.

American President Joe Biden has apparently not made up his mind about what his government would do in the event that Moscow occupies the former Soviet republic, the newspaper claims. However, it insists that officials have come up with a possible US response in case an attack does take place.

Washington apparently believes that Ukraine does not stand a chance against a potential Russian invading force in an open battle and it instead has focused on supporting Ukrainian "guerrilla" warfare on territory that could be occupied by Moscow, the report explains.

Comment: Someone ought to invent diplomacy.

Arrow Down

Biden turning US into 'large-scale version of Venezuela,' Trump claims

© AP/Ross D. Franklin
Former US President Donald Trump at a rally in Florence, AZ • January 15, 2022
Former President Donald Trump held his first campaign-style rally of 2022 in Arizona, lashing out at President Joe Biden's "destructive" economic policies, his vaccine mandates, and the alleged persecution of Trump's supporters.

Citing soaring inflation, rising gas prices, and shortages of food and consumer goods, Trump told a thousands-strong crowd in Florence, Arizona that Biden has caused "more destruction than five presidents in the last year," and has set America on a path to becoming "a large-scale version of Venezuela." The allegory was apparently referring to the hyperinflation that has plagued the Venezuelan economy over the past decade.

"Our country is being destroyed... it's not even believable," Trump told the crowd.

Though he has not yet formally announced another run for the White House in 2024, Trump has held several rallies since leaving office last year. At every one, he has restated his claims that Biden's electoral victory in 2020 was fraudulent, and Saturday's event was no different, with the former president claiming that "more and more" information was coming out to prove that the election was "rigged and stolen."

Comment: Do we need to say it? The rally was packed.


Turkey striving for rapid de-dollarization

© Unknown
The Dollar and the Lira
The process of de-dollarizing the Turkish economy will be accelerated in the coming weeks, according to Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati.

The government will step up the conversion of the nation's foreign currency holdings into Turkish lira, he said, adding that more than 131 billion lira ($9.69 billion) had been deposited in accounts under the plan.

The government program, unveiled last month, is intended to protect lira deposits from further forex depreciation, as well as to make citizens feel more secure when holding their savings in a bank.

Nebati said on Saturday, speaking to heads of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Istanbul:
"The decline in forex deposit accounts has begun. We will see the declining trend in the forex deposit accounts continuing downward quickly."
Turkey's economy is currently in crisis, with high inflation continuing to rise, while economic growth has stalled and the country's foreign-exchange reserves have plummeted.

Comment: Turkey appears to have a back-up plan and options. The US will not look kindly nor forgo response to abandonment of its primary leverage.

Snakes in Suits

The GOP senator Fauci called a 'moron' to introduce FAUCI Act on financial disclosures

© Greg Nash/AP
Senator Roger Marshall
A Republican lawmaker that Dr. Anthony Fauci called a "moron" earlier this week will introduce a financial disclosures bill known as the FAUCI Act.

Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall will introduce the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals Act after Fauci insulted him in the aftermath of a heated debate in the Senate earlier this week, a spokesperson for the senator told the Hill. The FAUCI Act would mandate that the Office of Government Ethics present the financial records for people such as Fauci on its website, an allusion to the initial dispute that prompted Fauci to call Marshall a "moron" on a hot mic during a Senate hearing.

Dr. Fauci has lost his reputation," Marshall said during a Thursday morning interview on Fox Business's Mornings with Maria.

Comment: Fauci defends taxpayer funding expenditures to investigate Wuhan lab. Feedback for this is indignant.


Ukraine changes its mind (again) on culprit behind cyberattack

cellphone ukraine cyberattack russia blamed
© Global Look Press / Pavlo Gonchar
One day after blaming Belarus, Kiev has now labeled Russia the perpetrator of a huge cyberattack

A Ukrainian ministry now says "evidence" indicates Moscow was behind Friday's attack on Kiev's governmental websites. The move comes after another official earlier pointed the finger at hackers backed by Belarusian intelligence.

The statement arrived less than a day after the deputy secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Sergey Demedyuk, blamed the incident on Belarus. The large-scale hack is said to have rendered the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies temporarily inaccessible.

Comment: Ukraine was blaming Moscow first, then Belarus, and now back to Moscow. Is the State Department not communicating clearly with Ukraine?

Star of David

Still squirming: Former Israeli PM Netanyahu 'negotiating plea deal in corruption case'

netanyahu corruption plea deal
© Maya Alleruzzo/AP
Benjamin Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases.
Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, a person involved in the talks said.

The deal, which could be signed as early as this week, could usher Netanyahu off the Israeli political stage for years, paving the way for a leadership race in his Likud party and shaking up Israel's political map.

Any deal would also absolve Netanyahu of an embarrassing and protracted trial that has gripped the nation and risks tarnishing his legacy. Reports of a deal angered critics, who said it would undermine the rule of law.

Comment: Imagine the ego required to brazen through the mountain of evidence against Bibi. That he is even talking plea deal must be a huge climbdown for that psycho. Perhaps he dreams of ruling from the shadows a la Obama?

Cowboy Hat

Debrief: Head of Russia-led bloc reveals details of Kazakhstan mission

CSTO russia peacekeepers  kazakhstan
© AP / Vladimir Tretyakov
Russian peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are pictured in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on January 13, 2022.
The arrival of the allied peacekeeping force had a "sobering effect" in Kazakhstan, the official believes

As the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) wraps up its peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan, the top official of the Russia-led military bloc talked about the course of the deployment and its results with RT.

Kazakhstan faced a rocky start to the new year, as a wave of violent unrest broke out on the back of protests triggered by a sharp hike in fuel prices. As the initially peaceful protest devolved into violence and rioting in a matter of days, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reached out for help from the six-member military bloc, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. He did so in accordance with Articles 2 and 4 of the Collective Security Treaty.

Comment: RT reports on the aftermath of the attempted coup:
At least 225 people, including 19 police officers and military servicemen, died in the recent violent unrest in Kazakhstan, the country's prosecutors have said. More than 4,500 others were reportedly injured.

The updated statistics relating to the wave of protest that gripped the country in early January were revealed by the Kazakh authorities on Saturday. A spokesman for the Prosecutor General's office stated during a press conference that at least 225 people had been killed. That figure includes police and military personnel, as well as civilians and those whom the government has described as "bandits."

During several days of violence, 4,578 people were injured, the official said, adding that among that number were nearly 3,400 law enforcement officers and soldiers.

The vast majority of those who perished during the unrest - 175 in total - died in the country's hospitals, a spokeswoman for the Health Ministry revealed at the press conference.

More than 20,000 people took part in the violent unrest, according to prosecutors, with some 546 criminal cases having been opened in the aftermath. Of those, 44 are said to be related to terrorism and 19 to murder. So far, law enforcement agents have detained nearly 700 suspects, with 446 of them having already appeared in court and been detained pending trial.


There have been claims from Kazakh officials that up to 20,000 "terrorists" took park in the violence. However, no evidence has been offered to support this figure, and claims that the assailants could have broken into morgues to steal the bodies of their comrades and "cover their tracks" were met with derision by analysts.