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Wed, 08 Feb 2023
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The Chinese 'spy balloon' story as manufactured crisis: An alternative reading

Chinese balloon
© The Billings Gazette/AP
Previous constant headlines of the Ukraine-Russia war were put on pause Friday into Saturday as the American public's attention and discourse got temporarily consumed by the bizarre Chinese 'spy balloon' saga, which grew more dramatic by the hour until it was shot down by the Pentagon over the Atlantic Ocean.

But few are currently asking the necessary deeper questions related to the timing. Given the last major balloon crisis to take over 24/7 network news coverage ended up being a complete hoax (remember the "balloon boy" stunt of 2009 which had the world breathless and on edge for a full news cycle?), the current context to the Chinese balloon story and the question of cui bono is worth a deeper dive...

Entrepreneur and geopolitical commentator Arnaud Bertrand, who as a Westerner has spent many years living in China and frequently attempts to correct the often misleading analysis of mainstream press reports, offers an 'alternative view' of what's fast unfolding below [emphasis ZH's)...

Cardboard Box

Europe's food prices set to soar up to 50% higher due to energy crisis

grocery supermarket europe
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has not only affected European security. It has also severely impacted the cost of living.

Comment: Europe sanctioned Russia, not the other way around, and so this rise in costs is solely the fault of Europe's pathocrats.

In Europe, prices for food and drink rose more in 2022 than ever before, with customers paying 10-15% more for products than the previous year. Inflation is set to continue through 2023.

Banana storage costs are now five times higher

Bananas, Luxembourg's favourite fruit, are set to become more expensive due to energy costs. The fruit is often kept in cold storage to ripen before it is placed in stores, which is becoming ever more expensive. Christophe Vandenbroeck, director of a cold storage site, explained that pallets of the fruit arrive in Anvers from Costa Rica and are kept in storage for 5-6 days before being shipped to supermarkets.

Comment: It should come as no surprise that a wave of strike action and protests attended by millions of people has erupted across Europe: France rocked by protests as 2 MILLION march against government reforms in 2nd wave of mass strikes to hit this month

Stock Down

EU to face diesel shortage & fuel price hike due to anti-Russia sanctions, warns Hungary's Energy Ministry

diesel truck tanker
© AP/Michael Probst
Diesel and other fuel is delivered to a gas station in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Jan 27, 2023
The Hungarian Energy Ministry said on Saturday that Europe may face an increase in diesel prices in light of the upcoming ban on Russian oil commodities that is expected to come into force on February 5.

Russia used to account for half of the EU's energy needs. Therefore, a bloc-wide ban will most likely trigger a fuel shortage across the continent.

On Friday, the G7 and Australia announced that they have agreed to implement a price cap on Russian fuel shortly after the EU issued a similar announcement.

Comment: Most of the trucks that carry Europe's freight are powered by diesel-powered, which means that the already fragile supply chain, that is also suffering due to strike action, will take yet another hit and could cause shortages of a great many other items: Strikes disrupt shipments at several oil refinery sites in France

Car Black

Jury sides with Elon Musk over 2018 tweets claiming he would take Tesla private

Musk +
© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Elon Musk
Elon Musk and Tesla have been cleared of wrongdoing in a lawsuit over a pair of tweets from the executive that investors say cost them billions of dollars.

After less than two hours of deliberation wrapping up a three-week trial, a jury in San Francisco ruled on Friday that the Tesla CEO had not deceived investors with two tweets posted in August 2018 about a Tesla buyout that never happened.

Musk had tweeted that he planned to take the electric carmaker private at $420 a share, and had "funding secured" to do so. The posts triggered stocks to surge over a 10-day period before falling back after Musk abandoned the deal, investors argued.

The decision marks an important victory for Musk, who is embroiled in several lawsuits and has aggressively fought any charges that he was guilty. The executive, who now is the CEO of Twitter after purchasing the company months ago for $44bn, has repeatedly defended his ability to tweet broadly.

The case was seen as a test of whether or not Musk could be held liable for his freewheeling use of Twitter. The billionaire testified on multiple days of the trial, arguing that his tweets were a democratic way to communicate and did not always affect Tesla stock the way he expected. "Just because I tweet something does not mean people believe it or will act accordingly," he told the jury.

Arrow Down

Twitter shutting down free access to its public data

© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, CA
Starting next week, Twitter users will have to pay to access the company's public data.

Early Thursday, Twitter's official developer account tweeted that starting Feb. 9, customers must pay a fee to access what is known as Twitter API. The tweet read:
"Twitter data are among the world's most powerful data sets. We're committed to enabling fast & comprehensive access so you can continue to build with us."
Twitter's Application Programming Interface has been used by third-party developers for years to create helpful bots and applications. Apps like Thread Reader, which condenses long tweet threads into easily digestible paragraphs, and Pikaso, which takes screenshots of tweets, are popular examples of apps created with Twitter's API.

Many of the most popular apps created with free Twitter API are not-for-profit and mostly simple novelty apps. Many of them will likely shut down or start their own subscription service to pay for access to Twitter API.

Comment: Musk is cleaning house. It is his commitment to make Twitter solvent then profitable.


UK's 'Nudge Unit' recommends various online psychological manipulations when people shop and travel to push a "net zero society"

facial recognition
Behavioral manipulation.

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) - started by the UK government to then in late 2021 become owned by Nesta, which describes itself as an independent charity focused on innovation - has a new report out.

And while its authors present it as a useful "guide" toward building "a net zero society," what observers critical of this content have taken away from it is that it is promoting, and detailing, various forms of psychological manipulation of people.

Comment: It's not so shocking when you realize they've been doing this all along via advertisements, popular culture media and mainstream news.

See also:

Black Magic

Satanic Temple opens abortion clinic where patients undergo 'religious ritual' before pregnancy termination

satan statue satanic temple
The Satanic Temple has created a telehealth abortion clinic in New Mexico called "Samuel Alito's Mom's Satanic Abortion Clinic" that will provide abortion inducing drugs to anyone who completes their Satanic religious ritual, a health screening, and a virtual appointment.

According to the clinic's website, "Samuel Alito's Mom's Satanic Abortion Clinic is an online clinic that provides religious medication abortion care. The clinic provides abortion medication via mail to those in New Mexico who wish to perform The Satanic Temple's Religious Abortion Ritual.'

The first step for a person to get an abortion through the Satanic Temple is to speak aloud the "religious ritual."

Comment: See also:

Bad Guys

Lindsay Clancy's defense attorney says she was over-medicated when she killed two of her children, injured another, and attempted suicide

lindsay clancy
A defense attorney for Lindsay Clancy told The Boston Globe his client was overmedicated on prescription drugs that sparked homicidal and suicidal thoughts on the evening she allegedly strangled her three children and attempted to kill herself.

In an interview that also touched on Clancy's current medical condition and upcoming arraignment, Kevin J. Reddington told the Globe that the medications prescribed to Clancy were "turning her into a zombie."

"The medications that were prescribed were over the top, absolutely over the top," he said, suggesting postpartum depression as another possible factor.

No Entry

Southlands residents share frustration over traffic calming measures

weston traffic calming
© John Wimperis
The planters on Southlands.
Residents in Weston have told a government minister that new traffic calming measures are "making our lives very difficult."

In November, planters were installed on Southlands to stop it from being a through-road, turning the residential road just around the corner from Weston High Street into a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN).

This is being done as a six-month trial.


The narrative is collapsing: Thailand drops a BOMBSHELL on Pfizer

Thailand's Princess Srirasmi
A few days after receiving her booster injection, the Thai princess "suddenly" collapsed. Three weeks later she remains in a coma. The Thai Royal Family was just informed that the initial "bacterial infection" diagnosis was in fact always untrue; thus, from the very start there was a coordinated coverup by the BigPharma captured authorities.

Comment: See also: