Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell is given credit for popularizing the “Pottery Barn” rule of foreign policy. Though he denies using that exact phrase, in arguing against what became the disastrous 2003 U.S. attack on Iraq Powell made the point that, as in Pottery Barn, “if you break it, you own it.”
Bush and his neocons—ironically with the help of Colin Powell himself—did indeed break Iraq and the American people as a result “owned” Iraq for the subsequent 22 years (and counting). It was an idiotic war and, as the late former NSA chief Gen. Bill Odom predicted, turned out to be “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.”
Attacking and destroying Iraq—and executing its leader—not only had no value in any conceivable manner to the United States, it had negative value. In taking responsibility for Iraq’s future, the U.S. government obligated the American people to pick up the tab for a million ransacked Pottery Barns.
There was no way out. Only constant maneuvering and manipulation to desperately demonstrate the impossible—that the move had any value or even made any sense.
So it is with Ukraine. In 2014 the Obama/Biden Administration managed to finish what Bush’s neocons started a decade before. With the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Ukrainian government that year, the U.S. came to “own” what no one in their right mind would ever seek: an economic basket case of a country with a political/business class whose corruption is the stuff of legend.
Rather than admit what a colossal blunder the whole thing had been, the U.S. foreign policy establishment doubled down.
“Oh, this might be a neat tool to overthrow our own election: let’s pretend Trump is Putin’s agent!”
In fact Trump was impeached because a certain Col. Alexander Vindman—himself of Ukrainian origin and doing the bidding of a Ukrainian government installed by Washington—solemnly testified to Adam Schiff and his Democrat colleagues in charge of the House that Trump was clearly Putin’s puppet because his lack of enthusiasm for continuing to “own” Ukraine went against “the Inter-Agency Consensus.”
We “own” Ukraine and there is no way back—at least if the U.S. foreign policy establishment has its way.
That is why our hapless State Department today continues to peddle the fiction that Russia is about to invade – and thus “own”—Ukraine. U.S. foreign policy is one of projection: accuse your rivals of doing what you yourself are doing. No sane country would want to “own” Ukraine. Except the Beltway Think Tank class, thoroughly infused with military-industrial complex money.
That is why the U.S. government, though its Embassy in Kiev, is bragging about the arrival of $200 million in lethal aid, all pointed directly at Russia.
That is why the U.S. State Department is maintaining the fiction that Russia is about to launch a ground war to occupy Ukraine by dramatically announcing an “evacuation” of all “non-essential personnel” from its Embassy in Kiev.
It’s just too bad that we don’t share the opinion of who are really “non-essential” State Department personnel in Kiev: the last person out could be asked to turn off the lights.
By overthrowing an elected government in Kiev in 2014, the U.S. government disenfranchised millions of voters in eastern Ukraine who voted for the overthrown president. Those voters unsurprisingly came to view the U.S.-installed regime as illegitimate and sought self-rule under the concept of self-determination. As ethnic Russians, many of these successfully sought Russian passports.
Russia has been clear for a long time about Ukraine: it will not allow an armed invasion of eastern Ukraine that would result in the deaths of thousands of Russian citizens. Were the shoe on the other foot, the U.S.—and any country—could be expected to react the same way.
The U.S. is nearly the last country on earth that still holds to the WWII-era concept of war for territorial gain. Russia wants to “own” Ukraine like most people want to “own” a 2003 Saturn. That is why despite neocon/neo-liberal hype, magnified by the lock-step U.S. media, Russia is not about to invade Ukraine.
This fantasy is being pushed by those who desperately need to continue to gin up enthusiasm for a thoroughly idiotic and counterproductive imperial enterprise.
Biden while vice president sowed the regime change winds in Ukraine. Now his inept Administration will reap the whirlwind of that continuing train wreck and eventual dissolution of the country. No matter what Antony Blinken peddles to the contrary.
Even the comedian Zelensky knows this is a really bad joke.
Enough is enough. It is time to stop wearing masks, or at the very least to eliminate mask mandates in all settings.
This is especially urgent for children in schools and universities, who suffer the effects of masks for long hours each day despite being at exceedingly low risk for death or serious illness from COVID.
We have a responsibility, once and for all, to reject the ludicrous, ever-shifting narratives underpinning masks as effective impediments to the spread of COVID infections.
Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus
—former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams in February 2020.
The story changed from “masks don’t work,” to “masks may work,” to “masks work and you must wear one.” Now the narrative switches yet again: “cloth masks don’t work, so you should wear a surgical or ‘well-fitted’ mask,” or even wear two!
Note that even as COVID evolves into a less dangerous omicron variant, we are supposed to increase the hysteria level by wearing masks intended for surgeons maintaining a sterile environment over open wounds. We are told this by the same political, medical, and media figures who have been “frequently wrong but never in doubt” about all things COVID over the past two long years. And they spoke with just as much bogus certainty then as they do now.
Perversely, the Biden administration recently ordered 400 million surgical N95 masks for distribution across the country. Since N95 masks are considered disposable, and meant to be worn at most perhaps 40 hours, it is unclear what happens in a week or two when 330 million Americans run out of their “free” personal protective equipment.
The UK has sensibly ended its mask mandates, both in public places (offices and other workplaces, bars, restaurants, sporting events, theaters) and thankfully schools. One young university student broke down in tears at the news, lamenting the inhumanity of her experience over the past two years. As British Health secretary Savid Javid stated, “We must learn to live with COVID in the same way we live with flu.”
The arguments against masks are straightforward.
Masks don’t work. Or at least cloth masks don’t.
Even the CDC now admits what Dr. Anthony Fauci told the world in February 2020: cloth masks don’t work and there is no reason to wear one:
“The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you.”
I do not recommend that you wear a mask, particularly since you are going to a very low risk location.
CNN’s dubious medical expert Dr. Lena Wen, previously an uber-masker, now tells us cloth masks are “little more than facial decorations.” And heroic skeptic Dr. Jay Bhattacharya cites both a Danish study and a Bangladeshi study which found cloth masks show little efficacy in preventing COVID.
Are we seriously prepared to wear tight and uncomfortable surgical masks all day to evade omicron?
Masks are filthy.
Humans lungs and our respiratory system are designed to inhale nitrogen and oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is literally a waste product, removed from the blood via our lungs. Masks may not trap injurious levels of carbon dioxide against our nose and mouth, but they certainly get filthy very quickly unless changed constantly. They also encourage mouth breathing, which can cause “mask mouth” symptoms including acne, bad breath, tender gums, and lip irritation.
Why would we ever interfere with natural breathing unless we felt sick, displayed symptoms, and were worried about infecting others? And in that case, why not just stay home?
Masks are dehumanizing.
Humans communicate verbally and nonverbally, and masks impede both forms. Masks muffle and distort our words. Our facial expressions are important cues to everyone around us; without those cues communication and understanding suffer. Infants and toddlers may be most affected, as a lack of facial engagement with parents and loved ones impedes the human connections and attachments formed during childhood.
Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the symbolic effects when millions of Americans dutifully wear masks based on flimsy evidence provided by deeply unimpressive people. Facelessness—the lack of individual identity, personality, and looks—is inherently dehumanizing and dystopian. Like prison or military uniforms, masks reduce our personal characteristics. Mask are muzzles, symbols of rote acquiescence to an ugly new normal nobody asked for or voted for.
Risk is inevitable.
Risk is omnipresent, and heavily subjective (e.g., COVID risk varies enormously with age and comorbidities). Nobody has a right to force interventions like masks onto others, just as nobody has a right to a hypothetical germ-free landscape. Exhalation is not aggression, short of purposefully attempting to sicken others. People wearing masks arguably shed slightly fewer COVID virus particles than those not, but this does not justify banning the latter from public life. As always, the overwhelming burden of justification for any intervention—including mask mandates—must rest on those proposing it, not those opposing it.
In sum, Americans are not children. Tradeoffs are part of every policy, whether government officials admit this or not. We know how to coexist with flu, just as we live with countless bacteria and viruses in our environment. We will similarly coexist with COVID. The goal is not to eliminate germs, and zero COVID is an absurdity. A healthy immune system, built up through diet, exercise, and sunlight will always be the best frontline defense against communicable disease. But diet, exercise, and sunlight cannot be outsourced to health officials or mandated by politicians.
Whatever slight benefits masks may provide are a matter for individuals to decide for themselves. People who feel sick with symptoms should stay home. We can all wash our hands frequently and thoroughly. Otherwise it is time for Americans to assert themselves against the dubious claims and non-existent legality of government COVID measures.
It is time to get back to normal life, and that starts with visible human faces.
On COI #220, Kyle Anzalone discusses the recent talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. While no deal was reached, the two diplomats were able to make progress on limited issues. However, after the talks ended, America resumed its hostile policy by promising more weapons to Ukraine.
Kyle breaks down the recent CIA report on Havana Syndrome. The report – much to the displeasure of the mainstream media – finds HS is not caused by a foreign power.
Kyle updates the fallout from Obama’s Libya War. Chaos and war have spread through Africa’s Sahel in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Chad. America has long backed France’s terror war in the region. Biden sought to pull the U.S. from France’s fight to maintain control over its former colonies. Though the administration ultimately increased America’s support for the war to appease France after the AUKUS deal scuttled Paris’ submarine agreement with Australia.
On COI #219, Kyle Anzalone is joined by Dave DeCamp – News Editor at Antiwar.com – to review Biden’s first year as president.
Dave breaks down Biden’s Ukraine policy. At a recent press conference, Biden suggested, if there is a small Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. may not react. The White House immediately reversed the President’s statement. This confusion in policy comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to meet with his Russian counterpart.
Dave and Kyle discuss Biden’s Iran policy. Dave explains how Biden missed his opportunity to negotiate a more favorable deal with a moderate Iranian government. Now, Biden has set a deadline on the deal. But with a more hardline Iranian government in power, Tehran is demanding Biden live up to the commitments made by Obama.
Dave explains how Biden has failed to successfully hold Saudi Arabia accountable and end the war in Yemen. The US-aided Saudi slaughter of Yemen increased through 2021, despite Biden’s pledge to treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah state and end offensive weapon sales.
The Chinese regime is doubling down in its “zero COVID” strategy. In recent weeks, new covid cases have been detected in several cities. In a world of the more-contagious omicron variant, this is to be expected.
But what has been the Chinese state’s response? It’s more of the same. Lockdowns, travel suspensions, and more. NBC reports:
Tianjin, which detected China’s first community spread of Omicron on Saturday, is rolling out a second round of mass testing on its 14 million residents on Wednesday…The outbreak has already spread to Anyang, a city in Henan province some 300 miles (482 kilometers) away, prompting a full lockdown…Tianjin officials said at a news conference Tuesday that all bus services to Beijing had been suspended…On Wednesday, 425 flights were canceled at Tianjin Binhai International Airport, accounting for 95% of all scheduled flights…Tianjin authorities on Sunday ordered citizens not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary. Those who want to leave must present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours…
It’s hard to believe that anyone still believes that covid will go away if government authorities just “lock down harder.” But China is hardly the only example of how this delusion can win many adherents among the technocrats and the expert class.
After all, let it not be forgotten that much of the world had adopted a zero covid policy early on, and this absurd policy endured for months. In Europe, of course, millions upon millions of people were virtually locked in their homes for months on end. As Philipp Bagus reported from Spain in spring of 2020, one wasn’t allowed to go outside without facing the wrath of state enforcers.
In America, the “experts” frequently spoke out in favor of zero covid, stating that lockdowns could eradicate the disease and that people would have to stay on lockdown until that time. For example, on April 2 of 2020, Anthony Fauci endorsed this idea, stating that social distancing requirements could not be relaxed until there are “essentially no new cases, no deaths for a period of time.” Hawaii explicitly embraced zero covid, and adopted a policy in 2020 based on the idea that public schools would never reopen until there was no longer any “community spread” and “no new cases” were detected over a period of four weeks.
Needless to say, those were totally unrealistic goals. They reflected only the plans of technocrats who were more concerned with living out their bizarre fetishes for lockdowns and border closures that with gaining a better grasp of the situation or with respecting basic human rights. Even Australia—an island nation that could perhaps plausibly hope to actually close its borders—has given up on the idea.
In other words, the “experts” in America wanted to recreate Chinese despotism in America. They adopted a lockdown policy that had already long been rejected. Lockdowns were already expected to bring long term side effects, such as surges in mental health problems—some of the worst of it among the young—now being reported by hospitals. The WHO even concluded that lockdowns ought to be rejected because “there is no obvious rationale for this measure.”
But perhaps the media and government officials were so successful at sowing panic in the general population in the spring of 2020 that the health technocrats saw their chance to try a new experiment in social engineering that they had previously considered unfeasible.
Fortunately, though, by the middle of 2020, it became clear that lockdowns simply weren’t going to be tolerated by much of the general public. Most state and local governments in the US abandoned zero covid rapidly, although the usual totalitarians in the media bemoaned the end of the policy, insisting that the abandonment of lockdowns would drench the non-lockdown jurisdictions in blood. This was predicted for US states like Georgia, and for countries like Sweden—where lockdowns were quickly jettisoned or not imposed at all.
As time went on, it became obvious that the non-lockdown jurisdictions did not fare significantly worse than the locked down ones. Some areas—Sweden, for instance—fared better. Some of the world’s harshest lockdown regimes—such as those in Peru, Argentina, the UK, and New York—also had some of the worst rates of deaths per million.
For the zero-covid crowd, reality got in the way.
Neo-Zero COVID: The Pivot to Vaccines
The zero covid mentality endures, however. The second wave of the zero covid mentality came with the idea that with universal vaccination, covid would disappear.
And, of course, once vaccines began to appear, it was hailed as a magic bullet that would ensure that the vaccinated would be unable to spread the disease. This ideology was expressed in a rant by Rachel Maddow who back in March 2020 harangued her viewers with the “fact” that “virus stops with every vaccinated person.” She continued: “A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them, the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else.”
This was all a complete fabrication. The vaccine never stopped the spread, and with the advent of the omicron variant, it’s now apparently the case that the vaccine doesn’t even slow the spread. The virus is quickly spreading among vaccinated.
It’s no longer possible to even pretend that vaccination prevents transmission. The only argument left to supporters of the vaccine mandate is that vaccines help against serious disease and death. That’s excellent, but it has nothing to do with public health because it’s clear the unvaccinated aren’t the reason the disease has not been eradicated.
And then there is the fact that vaccination has, in part, likely contributed to new covid mutations. This isn’t new with covid. The idea that treatments can lead to new mutations is not new, of course, and it’s long been known that under a variety of situations, leaky vaccines can produce vaccine resistant mutations.
This is also known to occur in the case of covid. For example, in an article for the Journal of Physical Chemistry (December 2021), the authors note “vaccine-breakthrough or antibody-resistant mutations provide a new mechanism of viral evolution.” And specifically on covid, they write how mutations are often more common in places with higher vaccination rates:
we reveal that the occurrence and frequency of vaccine-resistant mutations correlate strongly with the vaccination rates in Europe and America. We anticipate that as a complementary transmission pathway, vaccine-breakthrough or antibody-resistant mutations, like those in Omicron, will become a dominating mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 evolution when most of the world’s population is either vaccinated or infected.
This can make things even worse when coupled with other covid mitigation measures. As Vivek Ramaswamy and Apoorva Ramaswamy explained in the Wall Street Journal last week it’s simply not realistic to think vaccines can be constantly adjusted to keep up with new variants. And,
Meanwhile, mask mandates and social-distancing measures will have created fertile ground for new variants that evade vaccination even more effectively. Significant antigenic shifts may create new strains that are increasingly difficult to target with vaccines at all. There are no vaccines for many viruses, despite decades of effort to develop them.
That is, vaccination isn’t making covid go away. The politically correct version of the narrative also completely denies that the failure of vaccines to prevent the spread is even a significant factor in the spread of new mutations. The purveyors of the narrative still insist that only the unvaccinated have any responsibility in the continued existence of the disease. Consider, for example, a recent mainstream media report quoting a doctor who dutifully repeated the political orthodoxy that “Without a large percentage of people being vaccinated, the virus has been allowed to mutate.” Specifically, he further claimed that if “roughly 70% of the population” were vaccinated or naturally infected, this would bring the spread of the disease to a halt through “herd immunity.” But—as the doctor now intones in a forlorn voice—that can’t be achieved because there hasn’t been enough vaccination.
But given his criteria, we should expect places with at least 70% vaccination rates to have halted the spread of disease, right? Not surprisingly, this has not happened. In Portugal, for instance, the fully vaccinated rate—is at 90 percent. In Chile, it’s at 87 percent. It’s 75 percent in France. So, surely the spread of covid has been stopped in all these places? The answer is no. New cases are raging in Portugal, Chile, and France, with all these countries hitting new highs in recent days.
Whether we’re talking about vaccine mandates or lockdowns, it’s clear the zero covid strategy has been an abject failure. They’re still trying it in some places like China where government propaganda is largely unquestioned and where people practice unquestioning obedience to the regime at a scale that makes the all-too-complacent West look downright rebellious by comparison.
Don’t expect the “experts” in any country to give up on their slogans any time soon. But it is clear that reality will eventually catch up with them. Whether or not any respect for human rights remains at the end of it all is another matter.
On COI #218, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman update the Iran talks, the new Cold War with China, and the genocidal war in Yemen.
Connor discusses the ongoing indirect negotiations in Vienna to restore the JCPOA. There are troubling signs that the Biden administration may be preparing for the talks to fail. House Republicans are demanding President Biden’s team immediately end the talks. Whatever happens, a decision is coming soon, and Biden’s team plans to continue scapegoating Trump. Although there are still positive statements coming from the EU foreign policy chief, the Chinese, and the Iranians themselves.
Connor covers China’s growing Middle East influence. Beijing and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are working toward building a free trade area and a strategic partnership. China is the GCC’s top trading partner and the region forms a centerpiece in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China recently invited Syria to join the BRI as well. Additionally, last year’s Tehran-Beijing comprehensive cooperation agreement is now entering its implementation stage.
Kyle and Connor talk about the U.S. military carrying out massive military exercises with Japan. Tokyo also sailed warships near Chinese-controlled islands twice in the last ten months. The U.S. just wrapped up war drills in the South China Sea including with an aircraft carrier strike group. Washington sent an Ohio class nuclear submarine to Guam, it carries dozens of nuclear warheads and 20 Trident ballistic missiles.
Kyle reports on the war in Yemen where the Saudis announced they will be increasing the bombings of the long battered country. Massive strikes, killing civilians, are being carried out including in the capital city. The Houthis have retaliated, they conducted a high-profile drone attack on Abu Dhabi that destroyed three oil tankers and killed three people. The UAE wants the U.S. to redeclare the Houthis a terrorist group. Such a move would make it even more difficult for aid to enter the blockaded and starving country. Most of Yemen’s civilians live in the northern territory held by the Houthis, the threat of U.S. sanctions would designedly deter most any humanitarian assistance.
After the Consumer Price Index surged last year to its highest level since 1982, politicians are feeling pressure from constituents to do something about it.
Last Monday, President Joe Biden announced $1 billion in grants, loans, and other assistance for small meat producers. Another costly government program will, supposedly, help tame rapidly rising beef and poultry costs.
Four giant companies control 85% of the market for meat—raking in massive profits while families pay higher prices. I'm glad @POTUS is taking steps to create a more competitive beef and poultry industry. We need to break up Big Ag and lower prices. https://t.co/EHQZWaD2du
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been on a tear lately, and there is a startling commonality between all these ideas:
Prices at the pump have gone up. Why? Because giant oil companies like @Chevron and @ExxonMobil enjoy doubling their profits. This isn't about inflation. This is about price gouging for these guys & we need to call them out. pic.twitter.com/kxiQkC2tYa
Consolidation in the semiconductor industry is causing shortages and supply chain bottlenecks that increase consumer prices and hurt workers. I'm urging @SecRaimondo to act swiftly to increase competition. https://t.co/Y7Izd6X0Fl
This is your brain on fiat monetary systems and central banking: price inflation is caused by everything except for printing loads of new money.
If Senator Warren believes that prices increase because of the greed of price gouging companies, does she believe that when prices fall, it is the result of corporate benevolence?
Business obviously have an incentive to contain their costs. But when they have to pay more for raw materials, transportation, and labor, they have no choice but to pass those rising costs onto customers.
Supply chain disruptions and other factors can contribute to rising retail prices in specific categories. The oversupply of the currency itself, however, is at the root of the inflation problem. Too many dollars chasing too few goods translates into broadly rising price levels.
The White House doesn’t seem to grasp this basic lesson either.
When asked about a recent CPI Index Report, Press Secretary Psaki immediately shifted blame to the greedy corporations raising prices on poor unsuspecting Americans so they can line their own pockets.
Surely these increases in prices have nothing to do with the fact that, according to the M2 Money Supply, 40% of all Federal Reserve Notes currently in existence have been printed in the last 24 months!
Americans of all stripes have felt the impacts of price inflation and are growing increasingly concerned. In a November press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked, “Why should Americans not be concerned that injecting another $1.75 trillion or more would further raise inflation?”
She answered, “Because no economist out there is projecting that this will have a negative impact on inflation.”
These “economists” should have spent more time reading Mises.
“As you cannot talk about something that has no name, you cannot fight it. Those who pretend to fight inflation are in fact only fighting what is the inevitable consequence of inflation, rising prices. Their ventures are doomed to failure because they do not attack the root of the evil. They try to keep prices low while firmly committed to a policy of increasing the quantity of money that must necessarily make them soar.”
With no sense of irony, politicians frequently champion expensive and wasteful policies and programs, without a moment’s consideration to how their own policies and programs could be harming those they seek to help.
The answer to price inflation isn’t subsidies, or bailouts, or price controls. To attack the root of the evil, sound money must mend a broken monetary system.
The White House says it will increase the number of covid tests available to schools by 10 million a month. [Link]
Biden tells federal agencies to begin testing unvaccinated employees weekly starting Feb 15th. [Link]
Senator Marco Rubio introduces a bill that will sanction Chinese officials the US claims are restricting the discovery of the origin of covid. [Link]
The US buys 600,000 doses of antibody covid treatment from GSK and Vir Biotechnology for an undisclosed amount. [Link]
The US donates 40,000 Pfizer covid vaccines to Haiti through Covax. [Link]
The lockdowns led to a spike in childhood pregnancies in southern Africa. [Link]
Homes in majority black and Latino neighborhoods in Chicago were twice as likely as homes in white neighborhoods to receive a traffic ticket from a camera. The infrastructure bill allows states to spend federal money on traffic cameras. [Link]
The Department of Justice creates a new unit to target domestic terrorism. [Link]
The Navy says an operator error caused the fuel leak in Hawaii that poisoned the drinking water of military families. The Navy says it will drain the fuel from the tanks that caused the spill. [Link]
An alleged member of the assassination team that killed Haitian President Jevonol Moise claims the current Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry had a role in the plot. [Link]
Over 170 Haitians were rescuced by the Coast Guard off the coast of Florida. [Link]
Senate Democrats introduce a bill that would sanction Russia if Russia invaded Ukraine. The bill is an alternative to Senator Ted Cruz’s bill that requires immediate sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. [Link]
US and NATO officials meet with Russia for talks. Russia says it is not offering the West ultimatums but needs concrete answers. [Link]
Thailand will buy four F-35s for over $400 million. [Link]
The FAA briefly halted West Coast flights around the time of the North Korea missile test. [Link]
A senior Pakistani Taliban member was assassinated in Afghanistan. [Link]
Pro-Israel lobbying groups are pushing the Senate to approve a bill that will give $1 billion in aid to Israel to buy more Iron Dome interceptors. The bill is being held up in the Senate after passing the House by Senator Rand Paul who is demanding that the funding come from money that was allocated to go to the non-existent Afghan government. [Link]
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says he expects conflict with Lebanon or Gaza soon. [Link]
An 80-year-old Palestinian man died of a heart attack while detained by Israeli soldiers. [Link]
France says the US and Iran are still far from a deal. [Link]
UAE-backed forces in Yemen were redeployed from the country’s Red Sea coast to central Yemen. Saudi Arabia claims the forces pushed the Houthi out of the Shabwah province and has also made gains in Maarib. [Link]
At least eight people were killed by a suicide bomber targeting a UN convoy in Mogadishu. [Link]
A doctor in Tigray’s capital city reports two people were killed by a drone strike. [Link]
On COI #214, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman cover the U.S.-Russia talks in Geneva, the JCPOA talks in Vienna, and the criminal legacy of America’s Guantanamo Bay torture prison.
Connor updates Iran’s regional diplomacy and the nuclear deal talks. The Europeans are increasingly admitting progress is being made. Even the Israelis appear increasingly split on the issue with Tel Aviv’s Military Intelligence Chief saying it would be better for Israel if the JCPOA is revived. According to a new poll, most Americans support the deal as well.
Kyle breaks down all the news out of Geneva and what the indications are for U.S.-Russian diplomacy. The Russians and the Americans are still at odds over Ukraine’s potential NATO membership, a red line for Moscow and a tripwire for war. Connor and Kyle note that it does appear the Americans are willing to negotiate missile placements, perhaps replacing the INF Treaty, and limiting the size and scope of both NATO and Russia’s military exercises. Though Kyle shows how the media is preparing Americans for the talks’ failure.
Kyle details the history of Guantanamo Bay, the torture of detainees, new facilities being built that cost millions of dollars, and Biden’s broken promises to close America’s gulag.
Last year’s Jan. 6 clash at the Capitol may be the most politically exploited ruckus in American history. Team Biden is doing a victory lap to mark the anniversary, but the feds continue covering up key information regarding that day’s events. Democrats are canonizing a false version of history to change voting laws to perpetuate many of the shoddy if not shady practices that tarnished the 2020 election.
After the fracas a year ago, Democratic members of Congress made ludicrous claims about the perils they faced that day. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said, “We came close to half of the House nearly dying” from the attackers. But the only person gunned down that day was 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, shot at point-blank range by a Capitol policeman.
While heavy penalties are justified for protesters who physically attacked police, President Joe Biden and his media allies portray clashes that day as an insurrection seeking to destroy American democracy. But Reuters reported in August that the FBI had found little or no evidence that the attackers were part of an “organized plot to overturn the presidential election,” with almost all protesters “one-off cases” unrelated to a grand scheme.
I don’t necessarily like to do so-called ‘annual prediction’ posts. Having written a ton of them for the newsletters I’ve written over the years, looking back on them is always a bit cringe-inducing. But 2021 was a crazy year and one where so much happened that changed the landscape it looks like one of those necessary evils for 2022.
In fact, I may wind up doing more than I normally do.
Is 2022 the Year Bitcoin Proves Itself on the World Stage?
It was a fascinating year for cryptos. One in which no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep up with everything that happened. Going to Bitcoin 2021 in Miami and seeing the clash of OG bitcoiners with the gold rush mentality of the industry it reminded me of the best of times at your typical precious metals conference.
Hey, even Ron Paul was there, which is always a treat.
But that said, 2021 was as strange as any year I’ve ever experienced. The real clash wasn’t in the various crypto fiefdoms per se, but what the emergence of crypto as a full-fledged investible asset class meant that grabbed and held my attention all year.
It was beyond the regular bull market mentality that morphed into mania by mid-year. It was the realization that bitcoin and crypto would begin asserting its potential as a safe-haven asset that was finally proven to more than just us fringe Austro-libertarian types.
Because of this the responses from what Michael Malice calls The Cathedral and what I call The Davos Crowd is what the real story was in 2021.
Capital inflow to cryptocurrency grew as China forced out mining and sent that capacity to the U.S. Global economic disruptions thanks to COVID-19 forced radical rethinking of energy policy. Bitcoin was finally exposed as uneconomic subsidized electricity rates in China, for example.
So, given this immense growth in the public mindshare in 2021, the title seems a moot question at first blush. In many ways Bitcoin has already proven itself.
But 2021 was just the warm-up act for the real economic showdown in 2022 between the Great Powers. The old system is clearly failing. It is the way it fails which will inform geopolitical tensions worldwide. These will take center stage as the titans of that old financial and political order fight for dominance over a shrinking pile of capital.
In the middle, bitcoin stands ready to perform the vital role of intermediary and escape valve for potentially trillions in capital seeking a safe haven from that storm.
And it’s very obvious that Davos is scared to death of not having control over the outcome of this story.
Lock it Down, Tune it Up
I spent most of 2021 making the argument that despite the endless procession of headlines and edicts from Davos and its quislings in decision-making positions all across the West, they were making big gains but leaving themselves more exposed to counterattack than they ever have before.
From ridiculous lockdowns to vaccine mandates it was clear that what we were watching was a pre-planned script of second-rate screenwriters. It was a constant barrage of micromanaging public opinion via complicit media, stoking fear to create division to rob people of something far worse than their reason, their reason for living.
But as the year went along the truth about COVID-9/11, the efficacy of masks and the intimidation of the medical industry reached a peak. No matter how much more they squeezed, there was a large enough percentage of people all across the world who simply said, “You know what? No.”
No masks. No jab. No job. No problem. No. No. A thousand times, No.
Because when anyone resorts to the level of bullying, bribing, coercing and lying that these people have engaged in it reveals just how shallow their power truly is.
And it’s plain as day to anyone whose mind is still free.
Too many see this story for what it is, a story for this thing to be successful. A bad horror movie meant to keep the weak and the indebted in a constant fight or flight response, while everyday another person looks up and says, “What in the actual hell are you talking about?”
At some point in every scam the mark confronts the scammer and the scammer then has a choice. Double down or run. Davos still thinks they can double down. Dr. Fauci now thinks he can go out and tell the truth out loud and still have credibility.
But those with real credibility just speak the truth once and the narrative collapses:
Ironically, the fact that the dominant strain is now a head-cold version of COVID should be good news. However, for many this had become a religion.
There will be those who try to cling onto COVID tyranny for as long as possible and in doing so, they will perpetuate a state of hyper-normalization that will be self-defeating.
Hyper-normalization is a phrase coined by the UK documentarist Adam Curtis, and it describes a state where the prevailing establishment narrative is so absurd and demonstrably false that only the most brainwashed True Believers can cling to it. Only the most corrupt and self-seeking policy makers will attempt to perpetuate it. Those who do espouse it are typically the greatest beneficiaries of the dysfunctional zeitgeist.
If you step back and think about the Davos narrative over COVID you realize that this is a plan that says trust the people in charge while also destroying your faith in them. For the hyper-normal, skewering their statist religion will spur them to new heights of violence rather than face their shame.
Because, eventually, there is a limit to threatening people for disobeying. Eventually people call the bluff.
Eventually people show up en masse and deliver a big “NO.”
The Patchwork Tyranny
COVID-9/11 was simply a means to an end. That end is nothing less than a reset of an immoral financial architecture that has squandered the capital and heritage of the entire West in the vain hope of salvaging the power and prestige of old European money. While Davos sold the Great Reset to that old money and the politicians to save their privilege they would have to fully destroy everything else, namely their subjects, and Build it Back Better.
It was badly premised on the idea that Communism would have worked if only the U.S. and Europe had joined Mao and Stalin during the last major cycle. It was never going to work. There’s too much wealth in the world to pull that off and technology is advancing too rapidly for them to control how we use it to our advantage versus theirs.
So, today we are witness to the willful destruction of some of the oldest cultures in the West, purposefully impoverishing hundreds of millions while simultaneously poisoning them to cull the herd of the unwanted. While we in control group of their grand experiment continue sitting back with our arms crossed saying, “No.”
They get weaker. We get stronger.
What happens in 2022 is Davos getting their plans implemented in a rough patchwork of tyranny. They’ll take the wins where they can get them—Germany, California, Canada, Australia, etc.—and hope it is enough to keep the program moving forward.
But having exposed themselves this badly those that have refused to date will not be bowed. They have nothing left to lose. And the costs of enforcement of this plan are rising too rapidly for it to be maintained.
Bitcoin Fixed Some of This, Too
This is why I think 2021 wasn’t Bitcoin’s year. 2022 is.
2022 is the year that Bitcoin becomes the means by which trillions in capital flee the chaos as Davos splinters, their control over important nodes of economic dynamism slips further and the people have the choice put in front of them clearly.
Your keys, your money. Their keys, your servitude.
Because we’ve reached that proverbial crossroads in time where more beatings ensures morale never improves, instead it hardens into something cold and implacable. As those places most under Davos’ control sink into ever-widening gyres of madness, the capital flight from them will be beyond anything the world has experienced in nearly a hundred years.
So, for my 2022 predictions, it all boils down to the following:
Bitcoin, along with gold, will assert themselves as the premier custodial assets for a world in chaos. Debt will become the dirtiest word in the English language over this period of history.
The trade in both gold and crypto will be volatile and choppy as day-to-day U.S. dollar funding needs will create false moves up and down. The Fed will defend the dollar. Bitcoin will peak and likely fall later in the year as the crisis in Europe reaches its zenith and the four-year bitcoin cycle asserts itself. It will be a titanic fight.
But the early trend will be the same as 2021, up. During the height of the crisis that emerges, bitcoin should be the premier asset of choice which investors flee into.
The groundwork for this capacity was laid in 2021. 2022 is the year it gets utilized. For capital that can’t move into bitcoin and for central banks who need to diversify reserves, gold will remain their asset of choice. Gold will play catchup in 2022 to bitcoin.
Because capital flows to where it is treated best. And despite the volatility, there are fewer places on earth that have the capacity to treat capital better today than Bitcoin.
This article was originally featured at Tom Luongo’s blog Gold Goats ‘N Guns and is republished with permission.
Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons Michael Carvajal resigns. [Link]
The Capitol Police want to add 840 new officers over the next three years. [Link]
The US donates 5 million Pfizer covid vaccines to Pakistan through Covax. [Link]
The US Treasury announced sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik. [Link]
US Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffery Feltman will leave his post at the end of the month. David Satterfield will be appointed to fill the role. [Link]
Protests in Kazahstan have killed at least 13 members of security forces and several protesters/rioters have been reported killed. Reuters reports Russia deployed security forces to assist the government. [Link]
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with the Russian defense minister. [Link]
The US, Canada, India, South Korea, Japan, and Australia are starting the Sea Dragon 22 war games. [Link]
Australia and Japan sign an agreement to expand their defense treaty. [Link]
North Korean state media claims it tested a hypersonic missile. [Link]
Israel carried out over 20 overnight raids in the West Bank on Thursday. In one raid, Bakeer Mohammad Hashash was shot in the head by Israeli forces after a confrontation. [Link]
The Pentagon claims Iranian-trained and supported militias are responsible for the attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria. [Link]
Eight rockets hit a US-coalition base in eastern Syria. No injures were reported. [Link]
Saudi Arabia is preventing fuel ships from reaching Yemen. [Link]
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