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January 23, 2022

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-007

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:



Prosecution Futures:

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on January 23, 2022 at 15:09 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

Any chance of Wallace and Grommet Truss being arrested for supplying arms to ukrops that would kill Russian passport holders in the Donbass?

Posted by: Jo | Jan 24 2022 12:27 utc | 101

"But why the hell do german media, without any exception ALL OF THEM, sing the US notes?"

To all those who recommend me to Udo Ulfkottes bashing of german media:
Ulfkotte is a problematic source, as he an anti-islamic and right wing author. Nobody I will refer to. May be he is right anyway.

Posted by: Jan | Jan 24 2022 12:29 utc | 102

Remembering that synagoge hostage drama still ?
Here's some background aka a very bleak & sinister account of "American Justice":
Who is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui…And Why Should We Care?

Aafia Siddiqui Sentenced: A Grievous Miscarriage of Justice
WkiLeaks revesls diplomatic cables

Bloody Notorious BAGRAM PRISON

Posted by: MD | Jan 24 2022 13:09 utc | 103

@78 schmoe

Novatek is a less likely target than Gazprom - firstly its pay owned by Total, second, part of the anti-NS2 coalition is due to intra-EU rivalries. NS2 is a safety net directly for Germany, and cuts out middlemen in the EU LNG space. Novatek on the other hand is more focused in the LNG space. This is a global market, and taking supply away anywhere on earth instantlu comes back to hit EU, and lowers utilization of the now overbuilt LNG import capacity in EU.

The Part of the motivation that comes from political obligations to the US, of course, applies to both. More expensive LNG helps US firms, and kicking the French hard become something of a hobby. Still, because EU regulatory cooperation is inflicted, Gazprom is the simpler (though at present less vulnerable) target, of the two.

In both cases the result of sabotage would be is EU losing its energy cost advantage over East Asia.

Posted by: ptb | Jan 24 2022 13:17 utc | 104

*part owned ... typo

Posted by: ptb | Jan 24 2022 13:17 utc | 105

sorry morning typos in abundance.

Kicking the fence *has* become. Not hard. Just a little

inflicted = *involves*

Posted by: ptv | Jan 24 2022 13:19 utc | 106

Posted by: Paco | Jan 24 2022 7:38 utc | 91

Thank you Paco. Like every other male I have a real crush on Maria, and I'm not surprised she has Truss's number.

The funniest thing is how long the Russians are going to make them wait. Three weeks!

Here is some sense peeking out in the UK, sprinkled with the usual personal insults. Grauniad, no less

A measure of autonomy in eastern Ukraine is the only way out of this crisis

Simon Jenkins

Nato’s treatment of Russia almost guaranteed a chauvinistic reflex. The way forward is to implement the Minsk settlement

Posted by: John Cleary | Jan 24 2022 13:42 utc | 107

China’s Digital Yuan is ready for use by the Chinese public at large. By October there were already 140 million people who had opened “wallets”(in certain test trial locations) and remember that this digital yuan has been designed, over the last 7 years, to act as a new technical payment system for international exchanges that will thus for the first time be free of Swift’s intervention and Washington’s judicial long arm…
This Digital Yuan will also be connected to block-chains that will handle the currency exchange between Yuan and local currency, the final payment as well as tax matters, transportation matters,… all this promises to erase the hefty bank commissions and lengthy bureaucratic delays which should catch the attention of the buyers of Chinese goods while reducing the volume of exchanges in US dollars.

To get a sense of how the digital Yuan is going to impact the world watch these 2 interviews of Richard Turrin who is one of the most knowledgeable English speakers about the subject.

Posted by: MD | Jan 24 2022 14:03 utc | 108

Prosecution Futures: Cryptocurrency Is a Giant Ponzi Scheme - Jacobin
Posted by b on January 23, 2022 at 15:09 UTC

If we substituted Stocks & Bonds for Cryptocurrency in the article it would be equally true (or false). But you will never see the likes of Jacobin magazine denounce Wall Street or the Federal Reserve, much bigger scams.

In the long term, the only people who make money out of Wall Street, are insiders like the Brokers, the Insurance Companies and the Banks.

Posted by: kral | Jan 24 2022 14:23 utc | 109

Bruised Northerner @14 Smart money says start a Go Fund Me page for airlifts for any Ukrainian in Canada willing to go back to The Ukraine...lobby the government to lift travel restrictions for as many as possible..... then notify the Russian MOD....plane loads of terrorists do fall from the air at times..... can't think of a better time!

Cheers M

Posted by: sean the leprechaun | Jan 24 2022 14:32 utc | 110

I have wondered for some time whether the "cookies" that Victoria Nuland provided the inhabitants of Kiev in December 2013 were in fact Mandelbrot, which is a Hanukkah treat.

Posted by: Lysias | Jan 24 2022 14:59 utc | 111

@77 "I suspect it was the post World War II reorganization of the media in those countries after their completed destruction and the surrender of those countries."

Of course it was. And the troops were, are, there to enforce the changes. The whole point at the time was to make sure IT didn't happen again. Whether they are still needed or not is another question.

Posted by: dh | Jan 24 2022 15:00 utc | 112

The Soobrazitelnyy and the Stoikiy, two missile corvettes, have left the port of Baltyisk for "a long rang mission".
I want to bet these two corvettes are gojng to cruise up and down the US cost, in front of Washington, DC.

Posted by: Passerby | Jan 24 2022 15:19 utc | 113

Does the ban of crypto currency in Russia cover the Chinese digital Yuan?

Posted by: m | Jan 24 2022 15:25 utc | 114

@ Lysias | Jan 24 2022 14:59 utc | 110

I have wondered for some time whether the "cookies" that Victoria Nuland provided the inhabitants of Kiev in December 2013 were in fact Mandelbrot, which is a Hanukkah treat.

If her bag of cookies was indeed a Mandelbrot Set, no wonder there is no end to the complexities in Ukraine.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 24 2022 15:42 utc | 115

Boric smeared Nicaragua and Venezuela again.

"Caracas, January 22, 2022 (—Gabriel Boric, president-elect of Chile, considers that the leftist governments headed by President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua “have failed.”

This piece in the Orinoco Tribune pretty much exposes Boric's woke, neolib core position: hard line against Pinochet supporters while establishing connecting links to the World Bank, IMF fake progressives.

Contrast the above article with this short one from the mainstream U.S. press.

3 countries in Latin America are positioned and operate in opposition to the Empire: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Everyone knows it-- Haitians, Mexicans, Brazilians... everyone. Latinos also know how much these 3 countries have suffered because of their resistance. Outsiders like me and fellow barflies can get a quick and fairly accurate impression of Latin American leaders by paying attention to their positions, statements and relations with the 3 "troika" countries. Mexico's president AMLO, for example, is publicly effusive in his support of Cuba, also appears supportive of Venezuela. That says something, in spite of the warm welcom he extended to Kamala Harris last summer. Ecuador's former president Rafael Correa immediately challenged Boric on Venezuela and Nicaragua via Twitter.

Boric is attempting to find a middle ground by wedging the troika away from Bolivia and Lula's Brazil while cozying up to the Empire's money people.
Watch how Lula, Bolivia's Arce, Peru's Castillo, Mexico's Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and Argentina's Fernandez interact with Boric. Couple this with the Chilean people, including the indigenous Mapuche. Add Bolivia's Evo Morales for a more comprehensive report card.
Bottom line, I don't like what I see from Boric so far.

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 24 2022 15:59 utc | 117

La Presse does Europe.

Macron inspiring youth in a stable (but not because he’s decided to run for re-election.)

Snow falls in Greece like that time in 1968 (can someone tell me who those parka-wearing folks are at the end of that video?? Nice coats. I could use one here, do they deliver from Athens?)

And from Agence France Presse, reports on this oil spill soiling the coastline in Peru. Caused by the Tongan volcano. Blame falls on Spain’s Repsol. Peru demands compensation, reports the Guardian. And today I read about a death in Spain from being trapped by carrots. Spain, what’s going on?

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 24 2022 16:14 utc | 118

follow up on previous post
Assassinated president Salvador Allende's granddaughter is in the Boric cabinet as defense minister. She's a biologist, grew up in Cuba. This article gives some of her bio, a bit confusing as Maya is referred to as "his, he..." which I think is a translation error.

I've read a bit more about Allende's grandson who a physician and lives in Canada. Ben Norton from the Grayzone has interviewed him and will likely have more in the future.
Here's an earlier interview of Sepulveda Allende by Norton. He's also on Twitter if you're into that.

ps. If we follow the money it doesn't look good for Boric: his finance minister is World Bank and IMF certified.

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 24 2022 16:14 utc | 119

On my post @ 117 - please note about those carrots pictured in that CTV article “Carrots are seen in this undated stock image”. Those aren’t the actual carrots that killed someone in Spain.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 24 2022 16:33 utc | 120

@112 The corvettes could be going for exercises near Ireland.

"Ireland’s foreign affairs minister has said that plans by Russia to hold navy military exercises off the coast of Ireland are “not welcome”.

The artillery drills at the start of February will take place in international waters, but within Irish controlled airspace and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)"

Posted by: dh | Jan 24 2022 16:37 utc | 121

@Posted by: m | Jan 24 2022 15:25 utc | 113

The e-CNY is not a cryptocurrency.

Posted by: Jun | Jan 24 2022 16:40 utc | 122

Breaking: Canada goes dark. At least the Global Affairs department (that’d be Foreign Affairs elsewhere) over the weekend. Details are sparse.

With that, I conclude the posts from Canadian news. Best wishes to b and the barflies!

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 24 2022 16:54 utc | 123

Posted by: Steven Starr | Jan 24 2022 0:07 utc | 53

Ulfkotte relates that journalists either went along with providing pro-American story lines or they rapidly became unemployed.

One is led to ask to what degree a similar degree of influence is asserted within western media? The lack of divergent coverage / opinion on issues such as Syrian gas attacks, Crimean "occupation," and the Skripal, Navalny conspiracies suggests a similar shaping of public opinion.

Posted by: schmoe | Jan 24 2022 0:32 utc | 55
Re RF recovery of NS2 costs

A parallel issue is the capital structure of NS2. While GAZPROM supplies the product the actual pipeline is owned by a mix of RF and EU firms. So the cost of pipeline closure would impact EU firms.

Posted by: Sushi | Jan 24 2022 16:57 utc | 124


Boric is, of course, Michelle Bachelet's "boy" 100% - which is to say, UN Agenda 2030 all the way. Boric gained support as an alternative to Jaduhue who who was much further to the left, but Boric's "left" is limited to the same wokeness there is in the US left or Germanies Greens. Pure puppetry.

Michele Bachelet is the head of human rights at the UN, which is astonishing in its silence regarding the starvation in Yemen or the spreading starvation in sanction ridden Afghanistan, or the obvious genocide by Ivan Duque's death squads in Colombia against what was left of the FARC. Bachelet is truly an evil figure and gets along really well with Fauci and Soros (Fauci loves visiting Chile which started out allowing Chinese vaccines but now is almost pure Pfizer, after one of his trips to talk to the Chilean COVID Tsar - it was literally that the Chinese vaccines were available and overnight "were no longer recommended" a few days later)

AMLO still resists the psychopathic empire, and if Lula is able to kick out Bolsonaro, things in Latin America can change alot.

Posted by: Simplicius | Jan 24 2022 17:17 utc | 125

There was an interesting comment on Naked Capitalism a few days ago claiming that Moderna patented part of the COVID genome before the pandemic. Here is the comment:

January 20, 2022 at 3:10 pm
Got a comment regarding a 19 nucleotide sequence from the covid genome matching a pre-pandemic Moderna patent eaten due to hearsay – here the goods:
Sequence Ctcctcggcgggcacgtag
Matches covid19 & Sequence 2 from patent US 11116737

Brian Beijer
January 20, 2022 at 5:43 pm
Okay, I’ll bite. Are you suggesting that Moderna patented the genome for Covid-19 before the pandemic? If so; this would be huge news. Like, revolutionary news. I can’t imagine that an assertion such as this wouldn’t get any feedback by the commentors on NC.

January 21, 2022 at 1:51 am
I also thought it was mad, but search for that 19 Nt sequence yourself on blast = 100s of covid virs genomes + when you select patents, you get that one. Not the whole covid genom btw, just seems to be partial evidence that the 1st covid genome was manipulated by humans. That the same humans have links to Moderna, yep, totally nuts.

The details of the analysis were posted on my VK page 2 days ago....

This analysis did not originate at NakedCapitalism...

My VK page....


Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 24 2022 17:24 utc | 126

Ukraine demands a diplomatic and political resolution.


Then why don't they implement the Minsk Agreements??? A diplomatic and political resolution, if
ever there was one???

Reality, the UkroNazis have been covinced by NATO into the Croatian solution to Republika Serbska.


What I cannot fathom... why Russia/China/Iran don't shut off all gas/oil flows to NATO...



Posted by: George W Oprisko | Jan 24 2022 17:32 utc | 127

Wel well well, stock exchanges have been going down for the last couple of days. -4% today across Europe. Looks like big business begins to realize that shit might really go down in Ukraine, and they don't want any major war disturbance (or even massive economic sanctions ? ) in trade and markets.
Maybe Biden and his ilk will take the hint. Apparently he plans to talk with some European idiots from Brussels, Paris, London, Berlin and Warsaw - so most of these will be foolish warmongers, hopefully Macron and Scholz will have the guts to tell them to go pound sand, but I wouldn't bet on it. Goldman Sachs might have to make some direct calls to the top to quiet them down.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 24 2022 17:33 utc | 128

"What I cannot fathom... why Russia/China/Iran don't shut off all gas/oil flows to NATO..." - George W Oprisko @126

Neither can I.

Posted by: spudski | Jan 24 2022 17:48 utc | 129

The so-called "Trusted News Initiative" is assuring the Gleichschaltung of MSM coverage of covid issues. Look it up.

Posted by: Lysias | Jan 24 2022 17:55 utc | 130

I am nothing but the empty net which has gone on ahead
of human eyes, dead in those darknesses,
of fingers accustomed to the triangle, longitudes
on the timid globe of an orange.

I walked around as you do, investigating
the endless star,
and in my net, during the night, I woke up naked,
the only thing caught, a fish trapped inside the wind.

Posted by: D0ng | Jan 24 2022 18:02 utc | 131

Daily Mail now reporting that Biden is getting ready to send 50,000 troops to Eastern Europe. That could explain stock market drop.

Posted by: Lysias | Jan 24 2022 18:02 utc | 132

Other news:

China continues to report success with their unrelenting full-court-press anti-Covid policy. Rapid containment + mass testing are depoloyed at mass scale.

To the repeated dismay of Western commentators, official figures show the latest significant wave of infections around Xi'an was stopped with a few thousand cases in total (i.e. about 15 minutes worth of US cases), with the lockdown lifted. The one near Beijing appears contained for the time being.

The policy drastically inconveniences tens of millions, with no individual choice whatsoever, but spares hundreds of millions from long-term chronic health effects, plus reduces mortality.

Posted by: ptb | Jan 24 2022 18:07 utc | 133

I am super scared. I will miss you all. Especially jen, and james from Canada. Thank you b for providing us this forum. I really hope I am wrong, but this doesn't feel like it will have a good ending. I am mostly sad for my daughter and her friends and her band. It is all so unnecessary. It's like some depressing Joy Division song come to life. God help us all

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 18:20 utc | 134

Is this breaking news?

British Court Rules Assange Can Appeal US Extradition

Posted by: librul | Jan 24 2022 18:25 utc | 135

We've discussed hypersonic missiles quite a lot but haven't really looked into how the game would change when hypersonic aircraft enter the fray. "China tests new engine, ‘likely to power hypersonic aircraft’" mostly discusses the engine. I would think that given the G-forces such aircraft would need to be drones. I recall the Nazis fielding a rocket powered aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, that remained a mostly experimental "Wonder-Weapon" and was ineffective. One can imagine a mixed salvo of hypersonic missiles and drones, and how fearsome they'd appear while approaching on a radar screen. Hypersonic drones could very quickly destroy B-52s well before they attain firing positions for their stand-off weapons. Such drones would make Naval targets as far out as Guam defenseless and push the Outlaw US Empire's defense line back to Hawaii and then to the mainland with the development of intercontinental hypersonic drones. It's possible Russia already has something like that given its huge lead in hypersonic technology.

Another muse--how much interdiction will Russia apply to the faux naval war games NATO pulled out of its ass, which are to take place in the Eastern Med? Perhaps deploy some underwater drones to liven up the activities?

And then there's Ukraine. For the Ukronazis to launch an attack with any chance of success, they'll need to employ massed artillery fire in an attempt to punch a hole in Donbass lines that will easily be detected just as Georgian artillery was in 2008. Far too many eyes will be watching for NATO to claim it was fired on first. Given the amount of time to prepare the battlespace, IMO it will be close to impossible for any advancing force to escape being channelized into ferocious kill zones. IMO Ukronazi forces will need a 10:1 superiority for any chance of success as casualties will be 80%+. On the Donbass side, much depends on how well dug-in and concealed its forces are, the accuracy of its counter-battery fire, its ammo supply, how well it prepared the battlespace, and the size and mobility of its reserves. The morale and motivation issues are easy with Donbass far above Ukronazis, the latter are susceptible to quick demoralization given the expected casualty rate.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24 2022 18:29 utc | 136


"It's like some depressing Joy Division song come to life."

Ceremony, though I love it.

Posted by: Gulo | Jan 24 2022 18:37 utc | 137

@127 Goldman probably starting shorting weeks ago. Few more days like this and they'll be buying back.

What was it Nathan Rothschild said in 1810? ‘Buy On The Cannons, Sell On The Trumpets’

Posted by: dh | Jan 24 2022 18:43 utc | 138

ptb @132--

China's mastery is due to its excellent tracing ability and all the experience it's gained in detecting how the virus is entering China--via cold/frozen supply chains and international shipping and mail. The tactic is similar to controlling malaria--you eradicate the mosquitos by eliminating their habitat. A good case study is China's preparation for the Olympics--they essentially created a massive bubble within which all will happen. The key factor that occasionally gets explained in Western media is Chinese trust their government to protect them before profits; so, they are willing to be patient as they know any quarantine's in their best interest. They're also mostly vaccinated with excellent vaccines and have excellent treatment regimens for those who do get infected, unlike the West in general and the Outlaw US Empire in particular.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24 2022 18:44 utc | 139

@ 136 - b side to Ceremony. Ian Curtis' last song before...

Joy Division - In A Lonely Place

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 18:44 utc | 140

@ lex.... relax, unless you are pulling my leg!! i am gone for a couple of days.. don't have easy access to the internut.. enjoy the music!

Posted by: james | Jan 24 2022 18:52 utc | 141

Another muse--how much interdiction will Russia apply to the faux naval war games NATO pulled out of its ass, which are to take place in the Eastern Med? Perhaps deploy some underwater drones to liven up the activities?

Hello Karl.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

TextIreland has told Russia its plans to host live-fire naval exercises off the country's coast are "not welcome".

Nice helpful map as well.

From this position they can interdict any shipping from North America AND they can hit anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Posted by: John Cleary | Jan 24 2022 19:25 utc | 142

lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 18:20 utc | 133

Don't worry, it is all under control. The question is whose?

I suspect we are seeing the beginning of lateral thinking by the Russians. ie. Who will do the same (or worse) to NATO and the US (with the EU and Israel thrown in for good measure). ie regular, but small pin-pricks.

Today, there was some sort of panic by the UK and US, with spy planes and a RQ-4A Global Hawk flapping around. One around Crimea, one (the Hawk) over Donbas and Kiev. One in Finland opposite Lulea in Sweden and one around Kalingrad, both from the UK. Swedish fighters were visible this morning, US fighters in the UK and a couple of large US planes left for the atlantic, from the UK escorted (at least part of the way) by US warplanes.

The French have commented they don't seee the reason for the panic.
*BUT; There has been a coup in Burkina Faso (Gold, gold, 4th largest producer) It could be the Wagner group will be the "advisors" to the new Government.
*BUT; The Russian have announced naval exercises 240 miles off the south-east of Ireland - EU sort of area. Ireland s not amused.
*BUT; Syrian and Russian fighters have started patrols along the Golan heights, which are slated to become regular. The "rules" or at least the radar capabilities vis-avis Israel have seen no more direct bombings and two or three aborted attempts.
*BUT, the declared Russian 40 ship exercises, at a location that is not yet sure.

Add to those items, the recent explosion on the Ceyhan pipeline (takes stolen Syrian oil from Kurdish area to Israel),
- and one gets the idea that the NATO/US/Israel pot is being "stirred and a bit shaken".

The Ukranian Zelenskists apparently want to start a war today all by themselves. Must be feeling the cold and wanting something to eat (Could be cold Turkey for Zelensky?). That does make about 130'000 troops and mercenaries. I wonder who pays them, the EU?
So of course stock markets in the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Russia have all slipped and fallen. Which doesn't help the Ologarchy sleep any sounder.

Why am I optimist? Simply that Western Europeans don't like to see their comfort shredded by the US and UK, and are now faced with the prospect of a war along all the Russian (Belarus) border, by a couple of non-Europeans. When common sense says that they would be much better off relying on the ELEZ. (Eurasian Landmass Economic Zone). The Baltic States, are being told they will have a massive influx of US troops (from where?) to screw up their countryside and economies. Even Lithuania has been told to make-up with China.

A situation that leads to a fundamental separation of interests.
So we shall see what transpires.


PS. All this is going to depend on the super-duper intelligence of Blinki, Stinki and other denizens of the corridors of white house, and their ability to rite sentences and do new maths. or something....


Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 24 2022 19:34 utc | 143

@col from oz, #97:

Thanks for a wealth of personnel profiles on the current policy decision process of the Empire. Most of these characters are unknown to me prior to reading them here :-).

Regarding China not marching on Taiwan, please don't be led to believe that it is because of China's fear of Empire interference that prevented them from taking military action. It has been well known for couple of decades now that the Empire don't stand a chance against China in the neighborhood of the so-called First Island Chain. By now it's probably extended all the way beyond the International Dateline. Prior to 2015 it's probably only a matter of how much price China have to pay in taking military action. Completion of the three islands in the so-called Scarborough Shoal has mitigated that price to near insignificance, unless of course the Empire decides to engage in hauling long range destructions against each other's population centers on Taiwan's behalf. The likelihood of that is on par with me winning the next $2 billion Powerball.

China has no intention to march on Taiwan because China has no taste for governing the 'Hanjians' (Sino-sellouts) living on Taiwan. The only concern is that Taiwan will be used as a military launching pad against mainland China. This is presently being managed effectively.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 24 2022 19:37 utc | 144

Another sign that China is catching up fast on new generation airplane engine development:

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 24 2022 19:45 utc | 145

@Gulag #82
I understand what you were trying to do; what I am pointing out is that you have clearly not built up an accurate understanding of the situation on both sides of the Ukraine border.
Nor is the military deployment scenario either relevant from troops on the border aspect or the higher level geopolitical aspect.
The reality is that Russia has the ability to deploy large forces, and supply them, anywhere in its near region. There is a reason why the 2 new Russian formations: the 1st Guard Tank army and the 20th Combined Arms army.
The 1st Guard Tank army is composed of formations in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod; the 20th Combined Arms army is in Voronezh.
The distance from Nizhny Novgorod to Ukraine is 1600+ kilometers; the distance from Voronezh to Ukraine is 800+ kilometers.
Note that the above 2 top level military formations are what the Russian army created specifically for offensive purposes.

The geopolitical - I've talked about this repeatedly. It is 100% clear that Germany and France are not all aboard the American war in Ukraine train. Any pre-emptive attack by Russia, barring pre-existing secret agreements with France and Germany, would extremely likely give credence to the American line that Russia is aggressive and bad. This is not to say Putin might not consider Europe a lost cause, or believe he can intimidate Europe etc but it does mean that there are clear and strong reasons why a pre-emptive Russian attack is not obviously the best way to resolve the Ukraine situation. Furthermore as I've also noted repeatedly - any resolution of Ukraine still leaves the greater issue of dual use/nuclear capable missiles in Poland and Romania. A pre-emptive attack to neutralize those would absolutely push the EU to the US side.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 19:46 utc | 146

Stonebird @143--

Nice listing of buts. Russia's Security Council met on the 21st with a nice cover story supplied by the Kremlin. I wonder how secure their video links are?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24 2022 19:58 utc | 147

@Jan #95
According to wiki

wiki source link: Deutsch Welle

Who is paying for it: Russia's energy giant Gazprom is the sole shareholder of the Nord Stream 2 AG, the company in charge of implementing the €9.5 billion ($11.1 billion) project. Gazprom is also covering half of the cost. The rest, however, is being financed by five western companies: ENGIE, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Uniper and Wintershall.

I did a quick web search of "XX withdraws from Nord Stream 2" - there is a note that Wintershall did (ironically owned by a Russian oligarch). There is also a note that "Uniper would not make more payments", but that same article noted that all loan payments from OMV, Shell and Wintershall are already completed.

As such, it is far from clear that your statement:

Dont mix up NS1 and NS2. The first is a joint russian-european project. The second was planned to be one, but Poland intervened and the european companies were pushed out by the EuGH. So NS2 is a pure russian project. Finance, technique, everything.

is correct. Yes, there are other companies that have withdrawn: Zurich for insurance etc etc but it seems the original 5 partners: 3 have paid all their loans in already, 1 paid some but stopped the rest (presumably), 1 is unknown.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 19:59 utc | 148

@dan of steele #100
That article is pure scammer BS.
Think about it for a minute. In order to use crypto payments, you need cell service or internet service on a desktop/laptop. You also need a seller who has the same. Now even ignoring very significant transaction fees (if doing bitcoin directly) via some other service like the various Lightning network setups - fees which are tiny for Western users but are very likely relatively huge in Afghanistan.
Does impoverished Afghan women/families and cell service+cell or internet service+computer really go together?

For that matter: what does the frozen assets of the Afghanistan nation have to do with payment using crypto?

The former is a stack of money that is being denied access to.

The latter is simply the ability to conduct a payment using funds you already have. If you have dollars, afghanis, Pakistani rupees or whatever, you certainly could pay too.

I have no doubt that some people in Afghanistan can/do trade crypto, but I am equally 100% sure these aren't poor people.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:06 utc | 149

Asia Times is something I literally never read. Previous to their paywall/signup wall, I would only go there to muse over Spengler's bankster nonsense and Pepe Escobar's articles reposted there.

However, they are running a pretty interesting series: the espionage stories of an American intel analyst that was posted in Japan for 3 decades: Robert Whiting espionage tales

There are 2 articles now with more forthcoming, presumably.
What is really interesting is the scale. Even just in these 2 articles, it is abundantly clear that US military and intel agency activity was immense: 6 U2s shot down (how many missions flown?). 873 commandos sent into China to kidnap and collect intel in 1962 alone. 3 P2V planes shot down - these were low level recon planes with as many as "13 men aboard".

Note the US wasn't at war with China - all these territorial violations were "peace".

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:15 utc | 150

This is interesting: James K Galbraith blames Reagan and Volcker for inflation due to the cancellation of the White House Council on Wage and Price Stability.

The Case for Strategic Price Policies

The cancellation of the Council is interesting, but I can't say I am much swayed by Galbraith's argument.

Galbraith attempts to exclude the 1970s inflation - when the Council existed - by saying

But in the 1970s, the practical conditions for maintaining a successful price policy started to erode. Problems multiplied with the breakdown of international exchange-rate management in 1971, the loss of control over oil prices in 1973, and the rise of foreign industrial competitors (first Germany and Japan, then Mexico and South Korea).

I'm sorry, but I don't see a single one of the above conditions which haven't existed in the entire period from the 1970s until now. The only differences are additively negative: China into the mix.

Oh, and Galbraith admits that Volcker was actually originally appointed by Jimmy Carter.

This looks like a case of a Liberal/Progressive experiencing Republican Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:20 utc | 151

karlof1 | Jan 24 2022 19:58 utc | 147

Why bother with secrecy? Claim all sorts of things, and let the USUK try to work out which is probable, and which is disinformation. More fun that way.

As all the plans are certainly already decided, and only the details might have to be improved as the opprtunities occur.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 24 2022 20:20 utc | 152

Bacevich tying the Vietnam and Afghanistan conflicts together
A Very Long War - on TomDispatch

Yves on Naked Capitalism is disparaging of it, but she clearly missed this paragraph:

For decades, the United States had exerted itself to uphold and enhance the advantageous position it gained in 1945. Its tacit goal was not only to hold the communist world in check but to achieve ideological, economic, political, and military primacy on a global scale, with all but the most cynical American leaders genuinely persuaded that U.S. supremacy served the interests of humankind.

I would quibble with the last sentence - I think we're well past the point of any ideological primary drive and well into decadent, self indulgent, stupid and myopic self promotion, but YMMV.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:23 utc | 153

Joe Luria at Consortium tries to make a case for “no smoking gun” tying the US to the Kazakhstan revolt. In the process, he doesn’t give much weight to Ablyazov and his Democracy movement. Let’s see if the US is going to make further efforts to keep this known crook out of Justice’ grasp.
<> says the Swiss-based French language Gotham News, in an article by Stéphane Bonifassi, has reported on the possibility of Kazakh “opposition leader” Mukhtar Ablyazov, who has been in exile in France since 2013, losing the status of a political refugee granted to him in 2020. The UK, Kazakhstan, & Russia are trying to get him extradited.

HRW and Amnesty International, the “International Community”, along with some in the US government, evidently succumbed to what you could call the ‘Magnitsky magnetism’, and pressured France in 2013 to grant provisional refugee status based on the likelihood he’d be persecuted & tortured otherwise. There is, adhering to Central Asian Oligarchs, abilities with creative manipulation of others’ money, & amazing talent for wiggling out of impossible situations. Ablyazov claims to have a net worth of 20$billion. As he claims to have financed the Kyrghstan revolt in 2005, he is also claiming his Democracy party in Kazakhstan has fomented this one. The US is on the hook for our NED types investing in the success of his ‘regime change’,efforts, as well as our pressuring the Kazakhstan government to take back and rehabilitate hundreds of homesick ISIS fighters. This piece, especially, might explain our not wanting to hear about any professional terrorist involvement.

Posted by: Dan Huck Sr | Jan 24 2022 20:27 utc | 154

@pepa65 #10
Yours is one opinion.
Mind is that there is nothing that any of the existing cryptocurrencies can do, that can't already be done.
"Smart Contracts" are anything but: they have been distinguished so far primarily via people losing money via bugs in them. Nor should this be surprising: we have had the practice of law for hundreds of years but still have lawyers. Software is younger but full of bugs. Combining the two doesn't make the end result better - it makes the end result the lowest common denominator between 2 practices that clearly don't produce lasting work.
The cryptocurrencies have value because people believe they have value. This is nerd art, not currency - and I am the utmost amused by NFTs explicitly bridging to the real value argument for crypto...

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:41 utc | 155

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:41 utc | 155

Smart contracts are in their infancy. There is plenty of useful activity in this regard on the Cardano/Ada mainnet given how recently they went live (and bug free AFAIK). I know very little about BTC other than a basic understanding of the blockchain and the marketplace including who's mining and who's holding.

That said, investing in crypto is no less imaginary than investing in one of the many bullshit IPOs and existing stocks given the massive volatility (by design) in the market and the constant wealth destruction -> wealth creation -> wealth destruction cycle. Other than a small number of publicly traded companies and indices, crypto is no less risky than buying stocks if you are actually using it to buy things and holding onto some in hopes that the value rises. Once again, however, I'm decidedly anti-bitcoin and ethereum not to mention the loads of other shitcoins. They really shouldn't be in the same conversation but for the lagging effects upon the other cryptos exerted by BTC's constant fluctuations. And they *weren't* in the conversation over at Jacobin where they repeatedly neglect to discuss the benefits of Proof of Stake and staking pools such as Cardano has implemented.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jan 24 2022 20:56 utc | 156

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 23 2022 23:28 utc | 46

Yes, Bitcoin has become a massive Ponzi scheme. Writing about that for Jacobin or anyone else is equivalent to a 6th grade book report now, though, as the author(s) avoid any mention of PoS and instead (correctly) point to all the flaws in the BTC, ETH (to a lesser degree - who knows if they'll ever get where they say they're going) and shitcoin ecosystem.

Bitcoin mining is done by way of Proof of Work (PoW) which requires a ton of electricity and, in the case of certain countries, massive subsidies granted to miners at the expense of the electrical grid, energy generation capabilities and the environment. BTC is incredibly slow to use as well.

Proof of Stake (PoS) is different. "Coins" aren't "mined" they're "minted" which requires vastly less energy and time.

I'm not some idiot who's all in or even close on ANY crypto; it's too volatile. But the same can be said of stocks and even bonds in these days. I'm far more willing to invest in something transparent like Cardano Ada than I am with Wall Street criminals who will tell you in their own prospectuses that they are actively betting against you (shorting the stocks you buy through them) and operating in the realm of hidden uber-fast algorithm-based trading that 'the rest of us' aren't even really privy to. Hell, at this juncture, the only "safe" investment is real estate, pending the current bubble popping I guess, lol.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jan 24 2022 21:05 utc | 157

Re: cryptocurrencies in general, I wish some of the skeptics would look into the impact that quantum computing might have on the various blockchains. It's a far more interesting way of looking at it than just writing it ALL off as a giant Ponzi scheme.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jan 24 2022 21:10 utc | 158

At least a week ago I visited the Disqus channel for GlobalTimes and saw that no new articles were listed. The last time I looked the comments section for new and already-existing comments had been removed. A curious decision by GT. I shot them a message asking if it's a deliberate choice and why, and have yet to hear back from them.

Posted by: joey_n | Jan 24 2022 21:56 utc | 159

*new and already-existing articles

Posted by: joey_n | Jan 24 2022 21:57 utc | 160

Guess who the idiots ar News Network/CBC have on as their guest analyst re Ukraine? Bill Fucking Browder!!

Posted by: spudski | Jan 24 2022 22:09 utc | 161

Thank you collective brain of MoA for walking me back from the edge. For whatever reason, this one got me more worked up than the rest. Thank you.

I would share some music or a cartoon or something, but it seems stupid and inappropriate at such a high end forum. Thank you all and sorry.

spudski - thanks for the tip. I am going to look for it now. Thanks everyone.

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 24 2022 22:24 utc | 162

@m #114
There is no ban on cryptocurrency in Russia.
There has been a ban on cryptocurrency mining.
It isn’t clear if Russia will follow the China path; China first stopped convertibility between RMB and crypto, then banned mining then banned all crypto.
There is certainly widespread abuse of cheap Russi electricity for crypto mining just as in China.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 0:35 utc | 163

@karlof1 #136
There is no discussion of hypersonic aircraft because they have no value.
Virtually zero loiter time and no protection against modern anti missile systems. No payload. Very poor targeting capabilities. Pilots would die if it did any type of significant maneuvering or fast acceleration. And certainly extremely expensive to build, maintain and operate.
The SR71 was basically hypersonic: Mach 3.2 and was a gigantic aircraft built to carry a few cameras and the crew. It could not so anything else.
There is no reason to expect any hypersonic aircraft built today would be any different barring the discovery of mini fusion reactors combined with anti acceleration tech.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 0:44 utc | 164

@Tom_Q_Collins #157
There is zero basis to believe smart contracts do anything better than existing contracts.
The reality is that financial flows are not constrained by technology but by regulation: AML, KYC, etc etc
As for your comment about crap stocks: not sure why that’s relevant. Why does the existence of crap stocks validate the existence of crap crypto?
The reality of crypto is that it is nerd art. It’s value lies in what people think it is worth.
Smart contracts are just the latest scam marketing method to sell intrinsically valueless bits.
Bitcoin has made the jump into HNW perception of reality; none of the others have and never will do long as they keep harping on functionality that is pure fantasy - because they’re going to have to prove it. 3 years ago, one of the big banks took 400 crypto proposals through their new functionality evaluation process. That process is a 4 stage series of tests.
Not one single crypto proposal made it to stage 4; only 3 made it to stage 3.
So my view isn’t just based on understanding the fundamental bullshit of the sector, it is based on real world attempts and fails.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 0:51 utc | 165



Why not share songs and cartoons? If we can't dance and laugh, what's the point of Revolution? No surprise MoA is serving up a Punk-inflected soundtrack. What did Henry Rollins say, "This is what Joe Strummer was preparing us for." Cept that funerial JD is too much...Try I Against I,

Posted by: Gulo | Jan 25 2022 2:35 utc | 166

Thanks Gulo! I saw the Bad Brains several times. Twice, maybe three times in SF or Oakland. (I grew up in the Bay Area) The best show was on a trip to New Orleans in the summer of...87 maybe. It was so hot that it practically started raining inside due to the condensed vapor gathering on the roof. Tipitina's was the venue. I think it was Professor Long Hair's club. I saw Gwar on that same trip. Thanks man. I don't want to act a fool in b's joint.

Back to business. People may find this interesting.

Roger Boyd - Blind US Foreign Policy

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 25 2022 2:47 utc | 167

I have spent the last 5 1/2 hours watching a US Senate hearing led by Senator Ron Johnson

He called it a panel discussion with the title Covid 19 - Second Opinion

I got to the video through a ZH posting which I cannot provide the link to but encourage barflies to watch.

Covid is significant because it represents financialization of the Western health care system with the "vaccine" mandate as the element of totalitarianism.

How our society responds to the Covid social event will presage our social organization future. Nuclear extinction is the only event I see as keeping the Covid lies from entering public discourse and I hope the God of Mammon elite love their children.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 25 2022 4:40 utc | 168

Thank you, psychohistorian @ 167 - I hope I can find it tomorrow. I just finished an article with comments @ :- "covid: the narrative is crumbling". Much important information therein, plus individal accounts. I found it very encouraging, in reference to your final paragraph.

And a thought to james - news of the Washington, DC protest against vaccine mandates had me thinking Grieved may have been involved with that; I very much hope all is well. A doctor in the NC comments gave the example of Albert Schweitzer, outside whose clinic was the sign "We will not turn anyone away."

Funny, I just was reading in "Les Miserables" where Jean Val-jean is being turned away from every possible restingplace...except one.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 25 2022 5:10 utc | 169

Buddy, can you paradigm?

I think that the gyrations of the US stock market on Monday are indicative of severe stress and potential imminent correction of some size.

I struggle with wondering if the Covid lies coming out or the geo-political situations are more forcing the financial nuclear option but I think we may be close to going down that road.

The public finance options are not mainstream yet internationally and so I can see where it is in the best interest of the God of Mammon folk to force the "global reset" before coherent alternatives to global private finance can mature.

Starving and fearful masses are not usually the ones to ask for structural change like public finance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 25 2022 5:11 utc | 170

This popped up on ZH this morning. I haven't looked closely at the data, but it may interest some. It is a large peer reviewed study from Brazil where ivermectin is used as a prophylactic. It suggests that "ivermectin prophylaxis program resulted in significant reductions in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths". I do not know the journal. I will look more closely at it later.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jan 25 2022 5:44 utc | 171

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 0:51 utc | 165

Smart contracts are just the latest scam marketing method to sell intrinsically valueless bits.

Nonsense. Ask an Ethiopian the value of a standard contract.

NASDAQ (the hucksters that THEY are) is even pushing it:

Bitcoin has made the jump into HNW perception of reality; none of the others have and never will do long as they keep harping on functionality that is pure fantasy...

While I do agree with you on BTC, I think you're too hung up on the definition of many things that you've chosen to embrace, the most important of which is that you seem like you think anyone who buys and uses crypto is expecting their coin to one day be worth $XXXXXXK. It feels like you've spent a lot of time with or talking to the stupid wannabe quants, aka crypto day traders or psycho 'hodlers' and none looking into the actual benefits. Anyway, other cryptos are/are on the verge of reaching that type of visibility to the "HNW" (which, undefined, I assume means high net worth - gag) crowd. Ether for one, previously Litecoin.

But that's exactly why something like Ada can actually be useful. It will never reach the ridiculous heights that BTC has. A currency becomes useless once nobody can afford it (trading for fractions of something is relatively new at least to the average American investor in stocks and bonds).

BTW, you're VERY strident on this subject. Almost too much so. Why is that and why can't someone else have a differing opinion on a topic that is by no means settled, despite your confidence that it is?

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Jan 25 2022 6:22 utc | 172

Cartoons and music:

(Rasputin Dancing Shoes)

(Iron Maiden - Writing on the Wall)

Posted by: Misotheist | Jan 25 2022 12:29 utc | 173

c1ue | Jan 24 2022 20:06 utc | 149

I believe my link spoke of the difficulty of getting fiat currency into Afghanistan. Though I have no personal experience, people who do send money to other countries tell me of the exorbitant fees charged by Western Union and it is quite well known that your personal information is passed onto intelligence services. As for having a wallet to receive BTC I find it hard to believe that Afghanis do not have access to a cell phone...and that is all you need to send and receive.

for me, crypto is a great thing. granted it has value because people choose to give it value but that is also the case with the USD, Euro, and just about any other fiat currency that is not backed with gold or silver.

BTC is undergoing a pretty big selloff at the moment and I am actually tempted to buy some. It will almost certainly increase in value due to its global acceptance and the fact that there will never be more than 21 million bitcoins.

as I mentioned, BTC is working for El Salvador to transfer monies into the country and I expect it will work for Afghanistan as well. At the end of the day, if it works for them and costs no more than Western Union, whats the problem for you?

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 25 2022 14:28 utc | 174

@Tom_Q_Collins #171

You said

Nonsense. Ask an Ethiopian the value of a standard contract.

There is no rule of law in Ethiopia.
There is rule of law, more or less, in the 1st world.
"Smart" contracts are an attempt to supercede the rule of law - hence the question: why bother?
Oh right, because there's money to be made. Fail.

You said

NASDAQ (the hucksters that THEY are) is even pushing it:

I believe that statement refutes your technotopian fantasy all by itself.

You said

While I do agree with you on BTC, I think you're too hung up on the definition of many things that you've chosen to embrace, the most important of which is that you seem like you think anyone who buys and uses crypto is expecting their coin to one day be worth $XXXXXXK. It feels like you've spent a lot of time with or talking to the stupid wannabe quants, aka crypto day traders or psycho 'hodlers' and none looking into the actual benefits. Anyway, other cryptos are/are on the verge of reaching that type of visibility to the "HNW" (which, undefined, I assume means high net worth - gag) crowd. Ether for one, previously Litecoin

Disagree 100%. IF the bubble ran on for another year, maybe ether would have made it. As it is, it is 100% clear that all of the other cryptos are hyenas following Bitcoin that will fail to get anywhere due to the fact that there aren't more pools of money to be had (crypto fantasists aside) and all of 2022 and likely at least part of 2023 is going to be extremely negative for all highly speculative asset classes of which crypto is most prominent.

You said

But that's exactly why something like Ada can actually be useful.

"can be useful" is a favorite term of the scammer - a promise that is sold on now but delivered on later.

A currency becomes useless once nobody can afford it (trading for fractions of something is relatively new at least to the average American investor in stocks and bonds).

Any real world currency is affordable - i.e. ALL of the fiat currencies. But cryptos ARE NOT currencies.

Trading for fractions is irrelevant - we have fractional jets, fractional home ownership etc etc. Yes, there are a handful of stocks that are more expensive, but anyone can buy 1 share. Fail.

You said

BTW, you're VERY strident on this subject. Almost too much so. Why is that and why can't someone else have a differing opinion on a topic that is by no means settled, despite your confidence that it is?

That's funny - have I ever said that no one should buy crypto?
Have I ever said they should be outlawed?
What I have stated are clear and factual reasons why crypto is a scam. As you correctly stated, any number of stocks in the market are scams - and I am equally critical of those *cough Uber Tesla Lyft Peloton etc etc*

I have in the past, on MoA, provided both windows into why Bitcoin rose in the 2020-2021 time frame, and predicted why it was going to crash (along with all the hyenas) in early 2022.

The reality, which I have been immersed in for many years now, is that cryptos primary use case has always been crime: money transfer limit law evasion in China and South Korea in the early days along with crime.

The use cases today have changed: many countries that were victims of the money transfer limit law evasion have banned crypto even as crypto enabled outright crime has surged, primarily because ransomware attackers have evolved (and increased ransoms).

Nonetheless, crypto today still has zero unique, legal real world use cases - you failed 100% to respond to the 400 failed crypto bank test. That's not true precisely - there is exactly 1 that I am aware of: the use of crypto to ensure positive credit reporting isn't abused, although there are plenty of ways for abuse there.

But more importantly, there are many structural and base motivation reasons why crypto is a scam.

1) Any creation of value from nothing is a potential scam. The greater the creation of value, the greater the likelihood of scam. You speak of Cardano or Solana or whatever - these are small compared to Bitcoin or ether but are still creating huge nominal value. Cardano market cap is $34 billion; Solana market cap is $28 billion. These huge sums created out of nothing have made the originators of these cryptos rich and provided both motivation and funding to keep promoting said cryptos.
Creating "something from nothing" is exactly what drives scammers - and are the reason why the entire crypto space has attracted all of the smarter grifters in the entire world.

Crypto is a criminogenic environment whatever technotopian idealists want to believe.

2) Crypto - smart contract or whatever - are 100% an evasion of real world legal and political structures. They devolve decisions to developers, decisions which are the proper domain of elected government and laws on books. Elected government and laws aren't perfect but they are at least legally subject to the will of the people and are also changed by same.

The reality is that all of the cryptos are subject to massive revision, even fundamental change, at any time for any reason by developers.

Ether's change last year, for example, to "reduce its supply" is a prime example as is the various bitcoin forks and what not.

The reality is that it takes an hour or less to churn out a new crypto - smart contract or whatever - these days because it is nothing but software.

So crypto can also be said to be a power grab by developers.

In summary:

Crypto isn't limited in supply, isn't currency, has no real world use cases, and is extremely criminogenic.

Crypto has no accountability to anyone but small numbers of developers and is arguably a literal political/legislative power grab by same at best; a money grubbing, self promotional perpetual motion machine at worst.

Buyer beware.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 14:32 utc | 175

Eurometaux is a European metals association.

They sent a letter to the EU warning of the negative effects of high electricity prices on non-ferrous metal industry

After a quadrupling of electricity prices, over half of the EU’s aluminium and zinc smelters are today operating at reduced capacity or have temporarily closed, together with a significant reduction in silicon output. The EU has temporarily lost 650,000 tonnes of primary aluminium capacity: about 30% of its total. Downstream industries are facing higher material costs, and Europe’s supply gap must be bridged with imports, often with a higher footprint.

Who is the largest producer of aluminum in the world? China (India #2, Russia #3)
Largest producer of zinc? China (Peru a distant 2nd)
Largest producer of silicon? China (Russia a distant 2nd, India 3rd)


Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 14:39 utc | 176

Wall Street On Parade is speculating that some regulatory scheme is pushing Citibank to divest

Is Citigroup Under Order From Its Regulators To Break Itself Up

On January 13, Citigroup announced that it was selling its consumer banks in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to UOB Group. The sale was expected to be valued at approximately $3.6 billion. Notably, Citigroup made sure to point out in its press release that it expected the transaction “to result in the release of approximately US $1.2 billion of allocated tangible common equity, as well as an increase to tangible common equity of over US $200 million.”

On January 18, Bloomberg News reported that Citigroup was in “advanced talks with Taiwan’s Fubon Financial Holding Co. for a sale of its mainland China consumer business….” Bloomberg reported that the assets “could be valued at about $1.5 billion.”

On December 23, Citigroup announced that it had “reached agreement with Union Bank of the Philippines on the acquisition of its consumer banking franchise in the Philippines.” Again, Citigroup emphasized the positive impact on its tangible common equity, stating that it expected the transaction to provide “an increase to tangible common equity of approximately $500 million.”

It is very unclear to me. Citibank left Brazil, for example, in 2016 - Brazil is THE largest market in South and Central America.

I think it is just as likely that the costs of AML/KYC plus inherent profitability of these far flung operations is nowhere as positive as anyone things. Citibank's presence in Brazil was very nominal: a few branches here and there but almost no ATMs outside of these locations, for example. I wouldn't be surprised if Citibank was around purely to serve the wealthy going between the US and Brazil - and the ongoing crackdown on international capital flight in Brazil (and elsewhere) certainly has had at least some effect.
Plus it isn't like Citigroup is a very well run company to start with. Even disregarding its near-death experience post 2008, their stock is still more than 90% down vs. 2007; I sold all my Citigroup in 2007 for an average of around $70. Citigroup stock price right now is $61 but they had a 10 for 1 reverse split in 2011 so the stock price is $6.10 vs. 2007. Nor have they benefited at all from the post 2008 Fed pump priming stock market boom - compare their stock price behavior vs. any other bank except Wells Fargo: JPM has more than tripled, for example.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 14:55 utc | 177

Peer reviewed Ivermectin vs. Covid

Ivermectin: a multifaceted drug of Nobel prize-honoured distinction with indicated efficacy against a new global scourge, COVID-19

Six of seven meta-analyses of IVM treatment RCTs reporting in 2021 found notable reductions in COVID-19 fatalities, with a mean 31% relative risk of mortality vs. controls. During mass IVM treatments in Peru, excess deaths fell by a mean of 74% over 30 days in its ten states with the most extensive treatments. Reductions in deaths correlated with the extent of IVM distributions in all 25 states with p < 0.002.

My personal experience with COVID and Ivermectin: I had purchased 4 courses of Ivermectin + Azithromycin when I was making 2 trips to Mexico for dental work.
My wife got COVID first - from partying with the Burning Man crowd - likely on December 15 as she started feeling symptoms on December 19. She thought it was just the flu and took cold medicine.
I was out of town, returned 12/21. I started showing symptoms on 12/24 although I had a bit of a scratchy throat on 12/23. I took Ivermectin+AZT on 12/24 as did my wife.
She confirmed a positive test on 12/26; I confirmed a positive test on 12/29 while she was negative. We both confirmed negative tests on 12/30.
While my wife's case was never serious even before Ivermectin, I never had anywhere near the level of illness she did. I basically had 1 day of infrequent but severe bouts of coughing. I was not low energy - we were moving to a new apartment 12/23 to 12/30 so I was personally shifting furniture, hefting dozens of large moving boxes etc.
I did, however, basically lie down for about a week after 12/31.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 15:06 utc | 178

(I’m behind on the blog, look forward to catching up but first)

In Canada, sources say. Sources say a lot about a lotta stuff.
Canada is about to give weapons to Ukraine.
Maybe the same CSIS guy that visited Patrick Armstrong warned the government on Friday that a Russian cyber attack was imminent. (Wait, I think that warning was from the Communications Security and whatever it is committee or something, I believe that’s the colloquially-known as “Five Eyes” department).
Reporter Mercedes Stephenson says the cyberattack was in retaliation for Melanie Joly’s (she’s from Montréal) visit to Kyiv (pronounced Keev in this report).

Money quote from PM Trudeau from his press conference yesterday at 2:10 in this video.

If that doesn’t work, it’s the video at the bottom of this:

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 25 2022 16:55 utc | 179

@c1ue & @Tom_Q-Collins

My way of understanding the use case for cryptos is an angolan chap who moves to nicaragua and now wants to send money back to his mum. Currently this involves two conversions - one into and one out dollars - takes time and costs money. If his mum has a crypto account of some kind, he can simply send her crypto. She doesnt even need a phone, just somewhere not too far away where she can access her account via a card. Maybe a local shop would have a machine. She could put her card in, see how much she has in the account, then buy things in the shop, maybe pay her bills etc... That's an example of how I see crypto revolutionising finance.

Then there are more generalised financial transfers. Why have all these middlepeople when you can use a single clearly priced intermediary such as an xrp token? Hence why ripple is in court, the use case is strong and threatens the power of traditional finance.

BTC simply claims to be a store of value. Like a gold bar, you can't do much with it except sell it. The value is all in the fact - or not - that another person will give you money to own it. Some people prefer to buy houses, shares, land, silver. BTC is easier to transport, comes with no tax liabilities and govts can't requisition it. BTC could also drop to zero and you won't even have a pretty ingot to put on your mantlepiece.

Some blockchains will crash and burn, some will come up with intriguing use cases we haven't thought of yet and demonstrate their value.

In terms of creating something from nothing, that is the very definition of money, no? Famously, it doesn't grow on trees. Instead it is printed by banks. The underlying value of any currency is its exchange value. Currently I can take, say, XLM and exchange it for a myriad of other crypto coins, or a myriad of real world currencies, so it has an exchange value. Many Turks bought into Algorand to hedge against the collapse of the lira. Whether that works out for them, they trusted crypto more than their fiat.

NFTs - I have no idea why people want to buy gifs, it sounds like a "too much money" problem and is the part of crytpo that most reminds me of the dutch tulip craze.

I think Cardano has the biggest vision of how micropayments (see the shop example above) can revolutionise the lives of those who currently don't have access to bank accounts - and have to pay a hefty price to have one if they do.

My tuppenceworth

Posted by: ahji | Jan 25 2022 18:23 utc | 180

Retention of Neutralizing response against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Sputnik V vaccinated individuals (D. Lapa, D. M. Grousova et al., January 19, 2022 — medRxiv preprint)

For the umpteenth time Sputnik V is shown to be a better vaccine:

  Vaccine /         % of vaccinated sera
  Time since the    that had neutralizing antibodies 
  second injection  to the Omicron variant
Sputnik V 0–3 months 80.0 3–6 months 68.8 6–12 months 55.6
Pfizer-BioNTech 2 weeks 76.5 3 months 58.8 6 months 35.3

Why is it better?

The advantages of Sputnik V are the use of native S glycoprotein (without proline-stabilization and other modifications that may move an immune response predominantly to the actively mutating receptor-binding domain of S glycoprotein–the Omicron variant has 16 mutations in RBD) and the use of a heterologous prime-boost vaccination regimen.

Posted by: S | Jan 25 2022 18:48 utc | 181

It seems Thailand has authorised home grown pot. Perhaps to reduce some US DEA visas?

Posted by: Dim sim | Jan 25 2022 19:47 utc | 182

@ajji #180
Your story is nonsense because you make several assumptions which show that you clearly have never conducted crypto transactions.
1) the number of shops that accept bitcoin are extremely few. You assume that mom in Nicaragua run to the local bodega equivalent and buy some rice and plantains with crypto - not the least bit clear.
Without these largely nonexistent stores, you are replacing a dollar/other fiat conversion (only 1 time BTW) with a dollar to bitcoin then a bitcoin to fiat conversion. Structurally worse even without the next issue
2) while there are all manner of abuses in the money transfer area - western Union comes to mind - none of them have the problem where either sender or recipient should routinely expect visibly different amounts arriving than were quoted when sent.
3) the fees involved even in lightning network bitcoin transactions are small only in first world terms. Let’s call it around $2. The thing is, these transaction fees apply *to every transaction*. So is it really cheaper to conduct business in bitcoin?
So the real solution to the problematic use case you outline, ahji, isn’t switching to bitcoin. It is passing a law in the IS that a money transfer business - any money transfer business - can only charge say 100% over their cost of transfer.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 25 2022 22:19 utc | 183

Cuba, Covid

Cuba continues its heroic path fighting covid.
"97.4% of Cubans confirmed with Covid-19 have been saved over the last two years despite the extreme difficulties placed on the island’s public health system by the U.S. economic blockade on Cuba.

With more than one million people diagnosed with Covid-19 since the first positive patients were confirmed in Cuba in March 2020, 97.4% of people who have become ill have been saved on the island. "

Other countries that have approved and are using Cuba's vaccines:
"Cuba’s Abdala vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization by Mexico, which joins Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iran, Vietnam and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in authorizing the use of Cuban-developed vaccines, produced by the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology."

This piece is in Cuba's newspaper "Granma"
Cuba expands studies of lingering after-effects of COVID-19

"Nearly one million Cubans have suffered a case of COVID-19, and given the after-effects of the disease, their full recovery is a priority for the country"

Posted by: m | Jan 26 2022 4:55 utc | 184

hit the wrong key too fast!
The above post was from me, migueljose

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 26 2022 4:57 utc | 185

Cuba, BRI
I believe Cuba international stature will rise significantly this year as it continues and accelerates its work with Latin American countries as well as China, Russia and Iran. Visits between China and Cuba are increasing in frequency. Cuba's medical assistance with covid is strengthening ties with Vietnam and Iran-- both countries are using Cuba's vaccines. Cuba is also becoming an essential ally with many countries who are battling the imperial machine. Quite simply, Cubans have resisted and fought the Empire for over 60 years and they are prevailing. They know the imperial playbook by heart.

I encourage barflies to take a look at the Cuban newspaper. It's in Spanish, English, German, French, Portuguese and Italian. The videos are in Spanish but there is lots of information on many topics that offer insight into this wonderful country whose people are so full of life, humor, music, dance... and who know how to fight!

Posted by: migueljose | Jan 26 2022 5:16 utc | 186

I don't use twitter, but as a Canadian I decided to show some like for our amazing truckers. Every single time I liked a tweet, I saw the number increase then immediately remove my upvote.

Posted by: ld | Jan 26 2022 6:02 utc | 187


1) That's why it's a developing market. Once upon a time there were no ATMs. Then there were no card readers. If the shop sees money in owning a crypto card reader, they'll invest in one. Already you can change any crypto into all major and many minor world currencies, that's on your card ready to be spent. I think it's a mistake to think this is all about BTC. I would put link, xrp, and ada at the current top of developing technologies. The various blockchains may end up like betamax or VHS - superceded by whatever tech comes next. But the point about using distributed networks to cut out the middle person is key to crypto. It's biggest threat is being made illegal. The reason to make it illegal is not that it has no use value

2) The transaction happens all at the same time. You want to exchange dollars for euros? That will happen at the same time using the xrp token as the intermediary. The price of xrp doesn't matter at that point, what matters is that xrp has a specific exchange rate to the dollar and the euro at the moment of transaction. Ripple need plenty of xrp out there so that they can cover any size of transaction in any manner of combination at any time between any entities. They would like xrp out there, that gives xrp value

3) The fee, in the end, is resources plus profit. If electricity becomes very expensive or ceases to be there in huge quantities, cryptos will disappear in the same way as cars disappear in the absence of rubber. If we are all walking around with bendy carbon-based solar panels and electricity is as available as radiation from the sun, the resource cost will be about zero and profit will follow other internet type systems. Very very small fractions added together make a tidy profit while keeping cost at something like 0.000000...add a number at the end

Posted by: ahji | Jan 26 2022 7:39 utc | 188

Posted by: Maracatu | Jan 23 2022 16:44 utc | 9
Posted by: migueljose | Jan 26 2022 5:16 utc | 184/185/186

Thanks you guys for posting Central/South American news. All the Russia, China, Ukraine, NATO, Iran, ME stuff is important for sure, but imho this blog/comments section leaves out that key region. The ‘Outlaw US Empire’ depends ultimately on its dominance in the Western Hemisphere as Eurasia is already lost.

P.S. Miguel Jose, be very careful with your identity re:#184-5. The last thing you need is to confused with that ‘m’ poster. :-)

Posted by: waynorinorway | Jan 26 2022 10:21 utc | 189

For the spanish-speaking:

Look up Horny Report.

Posted by: Misotheist | Jan 26 2022 15:14 utc | 190

A kind hearted father-daughter duo hand out 581 parkas plus hats and gloves to homeless people in Montréal, no strings attached. Giveaway of snowsuits for kids to follow.
(Really, it’s so pathetic that all these agencies and organizations, funded by governments and through fundraisers, to help the homeless don’t just make use of GoFundMe.)

La Presse does European politics —
BoJo speaks: promises the UK will continue to support freedom around the world
Lavrov speaks: promises to protect the citizens of Russia
(Do I need to put links?? It’s at

Canada too soft in language on Ukraine, excluded from Biden’s chat (fireside?) with the in-crowd from Europe.

“Language such as ‘we are deeply concerned’ doesn’t reflect the outrage felt by most Ukrainian Canadians at what’s currently transpiring on Ukraine’s borders. This government’s modus operandi is repeat the right buzz words without actually saying anything substantial.” (Says senior fellow at the Atlantic Council)

What?? Russian military exercises off Ireland, right on top of a bunch of data cables?? Can they really do that?

Retired vice-admiral Mark Norman gives some details.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Jan 26 2022 16:18 utc | 191

@ahji #188

You said

1) That's why it's a developing market. Once upon a time there were no ATMs. Then there were no card readers. If the shop sees money in owning a crypto card reader, they'll invest in one. Already you can change any crypto into all major and many minor world currencies, that's on your card ready to be spent. I think it's a mistake to think this is all about BTC. I would put link, xrp, and ada at the current top of developing technologies. The various blockchains may end up like betamax or VHS - superceded by whatever tech comes next. But the point about using distributed networks to cut out the middle person is key to crypto. It's biggest threat is being made illegal. The reason to make it illegal is not that it has no use value

It is clear you are young and don't have any idea how fast a truly useful capability rolls out. ATMs popped up, everywhere, in the US within 1 or 2 years.
The reason crypto rollout to stores and ATMs is so slow is because it has no actual benefit over existing fiat financial structures, particularly for daily/small purchases.

You said

2) The transaction happens all at the same time. You want to exchange dollars for euros? That will happen at the same time using the xrp token as the intermediary. The price of xrp doesn't matter at that point, what matters is that xrp has a specific exchange rate to the dollar and the euro at the moment of transaction. Ripple need plenty of xrp out there so that they can cover any size of transaction in any manner of combination at any time between any entities. They would like xrp out there, that gives xrp value

The reality is that conversion of fiat to other fiat is governed by laws. There is no speed barrier whatsoever in doing said conversion or transfer of funds - that's why ATMs in one country work in others. That is literally an instantaneous transfer of 1 fiat to another, dispensing cash.
The reason why transfers are slow for other means is because of AML/KYC. Or in other words, regulation.
For the above ATM/foreign country example, the transfer is less affected by AML/KYC because it is a person accessing their own money. It is also why there are daily limits - it is partly a risk prevention measure by banks but also an AML outcome.
Just because XRP is a stablecoin does not mean it is offering any new capabilities - particularly since XRP transfers to 3rd parties are not covered by the same AML/KYC regulations as real money...yet.

3) The fee, in the end, is resources plus profit. If electricity becomes very expensive or ceases to be there in huge quantities, cryptos will disappear in the same way as cars disappear in the absence of rubber. If we are all walking around with bendy carbon-based solar panels and electricity is as available as radiation from the sun, the resource cost will be about zero and profit will follow other internet type systems. Very very small fractions added together make a tidy profit while keeping cost at something like 0.000000...add a number at the end

No, the fee is largely profit.
Roughly 160K bitcoin will get mined this year - that's 6 billion dollars of revenue. The electricity cost is roughly 1/4 of that, so bitcoin mining is 75% margin. For countries with extremely low electricity costs like Paraguay, the profit ratio is significantly higher.

As for your comment on bendy blaberty blah - you clearly haven't actually tried charging a modern cell phone with a solar panel the size of your chest.
It takes a LONG time.

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 26 2022 16:44 utc | 192

Pretty interesting thread on Reddit talking about The Corporate Empire striking back against workers

There does seem to be a couple themes going on though:

1) Make America Great again by having teens do the work
High schoolers driving ambulances in NY

Truck driving license age minimum reduced to 18

Teen working hour limits increased

2) Get free labor however you can
Parents asked to be substitute teachers

National Guard driving school buses

Police brought in as substitute teachers

Full thread here

Posted by: c1ue | Jan 26 2022 16:53 utc | 193

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