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Fri, 24 Mar 2023
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US arrests Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui, who backed Trump advisor Bannon

© Twitter
Guo Wengui meeting with Steve Bannon.
A Chinese tycoon wanted in China and closely tied to president Donald Trump's former political advisor Steve Bannon was arrested in New York Wednesday and charged with bilking some US$1 billion from supporters of his anti-Beijing activities.

The US Justice Department accused Guo Wengui and still-at-large British co-conspirator Je Kin Ming of stealing funds from participants in an investment scheme so they could buy luxuries, including a yacht, a 50,000 square foot (4,645 square meter) mansion and a US$3.5 million Ferrari.

A court official said late Wednesday that Guo pleaded not guilty but consented to detention in an initial arrest hearing.

Hours after his 6:00 am arrest at his Manhattan penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park, a fire broke out in his building, raising suspicions the two could be linked.


Tyson to close 2 chicken plants, cutting 1,700 jobs

© April L. brown/AP
Tyson Headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas
Tyson Foods Inc. plans to shut down two of its poultry plants and lay off nearly 1,700 workers as it tries to improve its chicken operations that produce about one-fifth of the U.S. supply.

Tyson notified the nearly 1,000 employees at its Van Buren, Ark., chicken plant on Monday that it would close on May 12, the company said. About 700 workers at Tyson's plant in Glen Allen, Va., also found out on Monday that its plant would close in May, according to the local United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents employees at the Virginia plant.

The Springdale, Ark.-based meat company said production would be shifted to other Tyson plants. The company said the closures were part of a broader plan in its chicken division to improve operations and use full available capacity at each plant.

"The current scale and inability to economically improve operations has led to the difficult decision to close the facilities," a company spokesman said in a statement.

People 2

Sexual politics is damaging young men

cartoon male is over
Masculinity has been in crisis for as long as anyone can remember. The usual explanation is that post-industrial society doesn't much care for brawn. We're all office dwellers now, mutely churning out spreadsheets for other spreadsheet producers. The theory makes sense as far as it goes. But something else has changed much more recently: a rejection of the very concept of masculinity.

The polling company YouGov found that just 8 per cent of people have positive views of white men in their twenties, by far the lowest of any ethnicity or age group. Males are routinely presented as inherently dangerous, aggressive and animalistic, incapable of controlling their own instincts. You can see it on public transport, where government adverts announce that staring is sexual harassment. Us blokes can't even be trusted to use our eyes properly.

Teenage boys are routinely disciplined by their schools for even the most minor infractions of an insurgent sexual politics. A friend's son at a smart English day school was recently hauled up for the crime of unprompted communication with a girl. The boy had sent a message introducing himself to a student from another school. There was, according to the friend, no sexual element to the message. It was a simple greeting. No matter. That kind of behaviour is unacceptable.

Comment: See also:

Stock Down

BlackRock's tyrannical ESG agenda

larry fink black rock esg policies
© Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Larry Fink owes investors an apology.
Is Larry Fink a threat to democracy?

As February turns to March, the finance world is waiting with bated breath for one of its most dubious annual traditions: The Larry Fink Annual Letter to CEOs. Since 2012, when the BlackRock chief executive wrote his first letter, the occasion has come to symbolise the growing threat both to shareholder capitalism and American democracy posed by investment houses' crusade to force the principles of ESG, or "environmental, social, and governance" investing, down the throats of companies, investors, and the public.

ESG first entered the investment and banking mainstream as a survival strategy. In 2009, BlackRock had acquired Barclay's Global Investors Ltd, making it the largest investment firm in the world with almost $3 trillion in assets under management (AUM), a sum larger than the total revenue of the US federal treasury. Politically speaking, BlackRock's emergence as an investment superpower could hardly have come at a worse time. Amid the wreckage of the 2008 Financial Crisis and then the ululations of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, public suspicion of big banks and corporations was at an all-time high. Finance, in particular, became a morality play: financial institutions were the greedy villains, while policymakers played the heroic civic advocates reining them in. For BlackRock, the chances of continuing to grow freely in such a hostile policy climate seemed remote.

Comment: It is heartening to see than within the ever-narrowing parameters of free-choice investing, that common sense is able to prevail. May the trend continue.

Bad Guys

Beware: Oscar-winning 'Navalny' documentary is packed with misinformation

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny, opening credits of the
"Navalny" is a slick production full of highly dubious claims, misinformation, and enough new Cold War propaganda impact to win an Oscar for best documentary.

The Oscar-winning 2022 documentary film Navalny tells the story of the opposition figure who has become the West's favorite Russian activist. Despite having garnered the support of about 2% of Russian voters, according to the polling firm Levada, Alexei Navalny is presented in the film as a national hero whose anti-corruption work made him such a threat to Vladimir Putin that he had to be targeted for elimination.

The film's authors are Canadian Daniel Roher, who admits to having never visited Russia or speaking Russian; Bulgarian Christo Grozev of Bellingcat, an "open source" media organization openly hostile to the Russian government, and which acknowledges financing by governments of the US, UK and EU. The production team also includes the Russian opposition activist Maria Pevchikh, who has worked for Navalny's organization but has lived mostly outside Russia since 2006 and in 2019 obtained a British passport. CNN and Der Spiegel, which have put their names on the findings put forward by the film, acknowledge they collaborated on an investigation with Bellingcat. This fact severely undercuts the film's credibility as an independent production.


Israeli forces kill man 'wearing suicide vest' following roadside bomb near occupied West Bank

Israeli soldiers
© Reuters
Israeli soldiers walk by a military base leading to the border crossing with Lebanon in Rosh Hanikra, northern Israel October 27, 2022.
Israeli security forces killed a man suspected of planting a roadside bomb that injured a man near the occupied West Bank this week, the military said on Wednesday, adding that the suspect's potential ties to the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah were being investigated.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortened a scheduled trip to Berlin on Wednesday, according to his office, which earlier said he had held consultations "on developments in national security".

While a preliminary itinerary circulated last week had said he would return on Friday, the new statement said he would return on Thursday.


See also: Over 400,000 protest in Israel against Netanyahu's 'dictatorial' judicial reforms, top IDF reservists refuse training in solidarity

Quenelle - Golden

7,000 tonnes of foul-smelling garbage pile up in Paris as 9 day strike extended for another 5 days

paris garbage
More than 7,000 tonnes of foul-smelling rubbish and waste continued to pile up in Paris, blocking doorways and pavements, as refuse collectors extended their nine-day strike for at least another five days in protest at Emmanuel Macron's plan to increase the retirement age.

With bin lorries grounded at depots and at least three waste incinerators in the Paris area at a standstill, the national government and the capital's socialist-run city hall were engaged in a bitter standoff over rotting debris in the city.

The interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, instructed the Paris police chief to make city hall force bin collectors to break their strike and go back to work. But the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said that while the city was working on its own solutions for urgent cases, it supported the strikes against pension changes.

Macron, you're screwed, all of Marseille is in the street

All against Macron the psychopath who is putting France into compulsory liquidation, all together against inflation, petrol, pensions, electricity, gas, etc.

Meanwhile over in the UK: Hundreds of thousands strike over working conditions, includes gov't border force, nurses, lawyers, teachers, transport workers, journalists


UK: Hundreds of thousands strike over working conditions, includes gov't border force, nurses, lawyers, teachers, transport workers, journalists

strike uk march 2023

Striking members of the National Education Union (NEU) on Piccadilly march to a rally in Trafalgar Square
Teachers, London Underground train drivers and civil servants joined striking doctors Wednesday in a mass stoppage as Britain's finance minister unveiled his tax and spending plans.

With hundreds of thousands of walking out, it was expected to be the biggest single day of industrial action since a wave of unrest began last year.

From nurses to lawyers, workers hit by a cost-of-living crisis have been striking across the economy, pitting unions against the government which insists big pay hikes are unaffordable and will only fuel inflation.

Comment: It's telling that despite the variety of professions involved, people are mostly striking over their salaries, rather than the more startling issues that have caused living standards to plummet, that are wreaking havoc on society as a whole, and presage much, much worse to come; reasons such as the overwhelmingly, demonstrably incompetent and corrupt political class; the contrived coronavirus crisis and tyrannical lockdowns; and the West's proxy war against Russia in Ukraine - to name but a few.

That said, even though this does perhaps reveal an unsurprising ignorance about the state of the world, perhaps picking a simple and easily agreeable issue is best, and it's a sign of just how bad life in the UK is becoming that people are protesting at all. And it's not just in the UK that mass strike action and huge protests are occurring: See also: France enters stage 2 of its multi-nation war games - troops staging mock battles on real city streets & amongst civilians in ominous urban warfare training scenario


California Gov. Gavin Newsom failed to publicly disclose his SVB ties while lobbying for a bailout

© shutterstock
California Governor Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom lobbied the White House and the Department of the Treasury about the pending bailout of Silicon Valley Bank, even as three of his private wineries had apparently been among the bank's clients, according to a Tuesday report by Ken Klippenstein of the Intercept.

According to Klippenstein's reporting, Newsom's personal relationship with SVB went beyond the wineries. One anonymous former employee who handled Newsom's finances told Klippenstein that Newsom "maintained personal accounts at SVB for years."

It is unclear whether those personal accounts were still active at the time of the bank's collapse last week. If they were, Newsom could have stood to benefit directly from the Biden administration's rescue package, which will reimburse SVB account holders even if their balances surpass the $250,000 limit insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.


Ukraine holding religious freedom hostage - Moscow

© AFP/Sergei Chuzavkov
A Ukraine SBU member during a raid on the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery
Religious freedom is being held hostage by the Ukrainian authorities, Russia's Foreign Ministry insisted on Wednesday.

Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was commenting on attempts to evict monks of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC) from the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery, which is considered the most important Orthodox Christian site in the country.

When asked the previous day about the planned eviction, Ukrainian Minister of Culture Aleksandr Tkachenko said senior clergy and church administrators should be the first to leave, as they had carried out "illegal construction" at the Lavra. "We'll be able to talk about the rest after that," he added.

The UOC monks at the Lavra, who are refusing to vacate the monastery and describe the eviction order as illegal, "always have a choice," Tkachenko continued. Their stance may "change drastically" once the leadership of the Moscow-linked church is out of the monastery, he suggested.

Comment: Pope Francis calls out the religious crackdown:
Pope Francis has voiced concern over the situation in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra following attempts by the Ukrainian authorities to expel monks from the country's iconic Orthodox Christian site.

Speaking at the end of a general audience on Wednesday, the pontiff said:
"I was thinking about the Orthodox monks in the Kiev Lavra. I ask warring parties to respect religious places. The clergy of any denomination are the support of the people of God."
His comments came after Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, last week issued an appeal to Christian leaders of various denominations and international organizations over what he described as "a sharp increase in state pressure on Orthodox Christians in Ukraine."

Referring to Kiev Pechersk Lavra, Kirill called for "every possible effort to prevent the forced closure of the monastery, which would lead to a violation of the rights of millions" of faithful.

For years, Ukraine has experienced religious tensions, predominantly between Kiev-backed non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which proclaimed independence from Moscow after Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring country in February 2022.

This, however, did not spare it from accusations that it covertly supports Russia, and raids have been carried out on numerous Orthodox monasteries across Ukraine, including the Lavra itself.
The internal destruction of Ukraine is nearly complete.

See also: