Friday, August 19, 2022

Coal is set for a record year...

Across The World Coal Power Is Back

Tyler Durden's Photo

Things not going well

Germany's Largest Refinery Slashes Output Due To Rhine's Low Water Levels

Tyler Durden's Photo
FRIDAY, AUG 19, 2022 - 03:00 AM

The current water levels on the Rhine River, a major inland infrastructure transit artery across Germany, are exceptionally low and have made certain parts of the river impassible by barge. Falling waters have already disrupted the flow of commodities and are exacerbating Europe's energy-supply crunch.

The alarming lack of water is contributing to a possible oil supply shock at Germany's largest oil-processing complex located on the banks of the Rhine, which is operated by Shell Plc. 

"Due to the low Rhine water level, we have reduced the capacity of Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rhineland. The situation regarding supply is challenging but carefully managed," the company said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters

Russia bypassing sanctions


How Russia is dodging Western sanctions with gray-market imports

A deeper dive into the gray market has meant that Russians continue to have access to such goods as iPhones and Zara dresses even months after their Western makers left Russia. But are these parallel imports even legal?

A re:Store shop in Moscow

Apple reseller in Russia re:Store continues to be well stocked with latest iPhone models thanks to parallel imports 

Russia has been importing goods without the consent of their Western manufacturers for months. It's part of a scheme aimed at helping the country bypass supply restrictions put in place by Western countries and companies in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Parallel imports, or gray-market purchases, into Russia totaled $6 billion (€5.9 billion) from May to July, Denis Manturov, Russia's deputy prime minister and minister of industry and trade, told reporters this week.

Russia launched the parallel imports scheme, covering goods ranging from auto parts to gaming consoles, in May as imports slumped due to Western sanctions and scores of foreign companies left its shores in protest against the war in Ukraine and to avoid any potential reputational damage.

"Russia is not going to do nothing in response to Western sanctions. So, it obviously has procedures in place to try and get a lot of critical imports that it needs to sustain the economy and maintain the war," Timothy Ash, an emerging-market strategist from BlueBay Asset Management, told DW. "The question mark and challenge will be what the West will do to try and tighten the sanctions regime to stop that from happening." 

What are parallel imports?

Parallel imports refer to goods that are imported into a market without their manufacturers' consent. To be clear, they are authentic goods, but they may be meant by the manufacturer to be sold in a different country or region.

For example, if a pair of Levi's jeans produced, packaged and priced for the Indian market is imported by a reseller to be sold in Germany outside of the apparel maker's certified distribution channels, then that's a parallel import.

Such imports are deemed to be on the gray market as they are sold by unauthorized dealers. Since brand owners have no control over the distribution of these goods, they are not covered by their warranty plans.   

2:05 min

Russia continues invasion despite sanctions

What is Russia doing?

In May, Russia released a list of Western goods eligible to be imported under the parallel imports scheme. The list included critical imports like warships, spare parts needed for railways and auto components as well as consumer goods like electronics and household appliances, clothing, footwear and cosmetics — goods that Russia said their Western manufacturers "refused to supply directly."

Some of the brands on the list were Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Continental, Ferrari, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Siemens, Duracell, Canon and PlayStation.

The Russian scheme offers importers protection from civil suits for bypassing official distribution channels.

Much of the unauthorized imports into Russia are coming via post-Soviet countries like Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus.

Are these gray-market purchases legal?

Parallel imports are typically not illegal. They are original, licensed products just obtained via parallel distribution channels, often more expensively.

"Gray and mysterious may only be the distribution channels by which these goods find their way to the importing country," according to a document published by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

"If products sold or imported by third parties fall within the scope of patents, trademarks or copyrights valid in this particular country, such sale or importation by third parties is generally deemed infringing," the document said.

The Russian scheme involves the international principle of copyright exhaustion, which allows a Russian company to import a product without the consent of the manufacturer as soon as it starts selling in any country in the world, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

This means when Apple, which is on the Russian parallel imports list, starts selling the iPhone 14 later this year, Russian resellers like re:store would be able to import them for sale despite the US tech giant pulling out of the country months ago.     

How do parallel imports support the Russian economy?

The Russian scheme is aimed at ensuring the availability of vital imports, which plunged following the exodus of Western companies.

Moscow expects parallel imports to touch $16 billion this year, a figure that would be equivalent to only 4% of overall imports in 2021. By comparison, total imports into Russia are expected to collapse by as much as a third this year.

"The biggest problem for Putin is going to be rebuilding the Russian military, which has been massively destroyed in terms of equipment in Ukraine. If the car production in Russia has stopped because they can't get electronics components, then imagine trying to rebuild a tank or build a tank or an airplane," Ash said.

Experts say the Kremlin expects the parallel imports scheme to serve yet another purpose. The various consumer and luxury goods on the list are meant to ensure Russians continue to go about their daily lives without much disruption in the face of Western sanctions. 

"Maybe, it's more a PR exercise aimed at the domestic audience trying to send the message that sanctions aren't working and that we're winning," Ash said.

What can the West do to curb parallel imports into Russia?

Since Russia is applying the international copyright exhaustion rule, Western companies may not be able to do a lot to prevent the parallel import of their goods.

Ash says Western governments could exhort countries and companies to not help Russia evade sanctions or even threaten them with secondary sanctions.

"The more Russia tells us about this, the more they are public about it, the more likely the West is to tighten sanctions to stop it from happening," Ash said.

Edited by: Hardy Graupner

It's because appeasement has worked so well in the past s/o

How is Biden still doing deal with Iran after assassination bids on US soil?

Vote fraud

Florida in Process of Arresting 20 Individuals for Voter Fraud

Teachers union are too influential ad unaccountable

Teachers union runs ad calling Conservative parents ‘extremists’

Reagan Reese, DCNF

The New Jersey chapter of the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association (NEA), published an ad labeling parents who speak out at school board meetings against Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender identity lessons as “extremists.”

The New Jersey National Education Association (NJEA) published a 15 second commercial discussing how New Jersey citizens should agree that students deserve “a world class education” that should be separate from politics, according to an Aug. 15 video. However, the video cuts to black and white photos of people yelling in crowded meetings with headlines of articles describing parent protests at school board meetings over CRT and gender ideology, with a narrator calling the parents  “extremist.”

When extremists start attacking our schools, that’s not who we are,” the video said. “People who only want to fight to score political points should take that somewhere else.”

The ad features articles such as “Some NJ Schools Under Siege” by, which is about groups that are working to remove LGBTQ and Critical Race Theory books from New Jersey libraries. “Don’t Say Gay Bill Introduced By NJ State Senator” by is also cited and reports the introduction of a bill that would prohibit lessons on gender identity until seventh grade and give parents the ability to sue if the law is broken.

“Defaming parents as ‘extremists’ for standing up for their children is right out of Merrick Garland and Randi Weingarten’s playbook,” Laura Zorc, executive director of Building Education for Students Together, a group focused involving parents in their child’s education, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “New Jersey’s parents deserve better than this NJEA slander – standing up for your children is NOT a political point, it is a parent’s responsibility. The NJEA should be ashamed for pretending they care more about children than their parents.”The video posted to the NJEA YouTube page has more than 25,000 views. The NEA has affiliates in every state and NJEA has membership options for aspiring, current and retired teachers, the group’s website stated.

“This ad reveals the true mission of the NEA, which is serving political bureaucrats,” Elisabeth Messenger, national executive director of Americans for Fair Treatment, which focuses “constitutional rights around union membership,” told the DCNF. “Let’s not forget the NEA spends $2 on politics for every $1 it spends on representing its members. The union should focus on providing excellent service to their members – not targeting parents.”

The NJEA has a “Center For Honesty In Education” that works to “combat disinformation, regressive policies, and dangerous rhetoric in local school districts,” according to the website. The branch partners with members of the community to “discredit bad actors who seek to politicize our public schools.”

The NJEA and the NEA did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

When a justice system gets 'woke'

West Village is epicenter of rising NYC crime: NYPD data

Helayne Seidman for NY Post
Infographic of West Village, Manhattan
Major crimes have increased drastically within the 6th Precinct.

Black on black murder...cerainly they must have participated in the BLM riots

NYPD releases video of brutal beatdown that killed NYC cabbie Kutin Gyimah


The NYPD released horrifying video of the brutal beatdown that killed a New York City taxi driver over the weekend as they made two arrests in the senseless crime.

Fernando Mateo, a spokesperson for the New York City Federation of Taxi Drivers, told The Post early Thursday that two male suspects surrendered to the police at the 101st Precinct in Queens late on Wednesday night.

Austin Amos, 20, and four other passengers allegedly carried out the assault on Kutin Gyimah, 52, after they tried to rob the cabbie around 6:30 a.m. Saturday in the Rockaways, police said.

Cops said Amos was last wearing clothing that matches that of the person who landed the final blow on Gyimah, sending him flying to the pavement outside of Arverne Playground, the video released Wednesday shows.

It’s unclear whether Amos was one of the two who turned themselves in to cops.

They say it out loud they hate you. You think they have bad ideas; they think you're bad!

James Carville: ‘Majority’ of GOP Voters ‘Really Stupid’ Evil Racists

The climate change cultists are intent on impoverishing you for 'equity'

As a result of western governments’ taking collective action under the auspices of a ‘climate change’ agenda, we are on the cusp of something happening with ramifications that no one has ever seen before.

Western governments’, specifically western Europe, North America (U.S-Canada) and Australia/New Zealand, are intentionally trying to lower economic activity to meet the intentional drop in energy production.

This is the core consequence of the Build Back Better agenda as promoted by the World Economic Forum.

Anyone who says there is a reference point to determine both the short-term and long-term consequences is lying. There is no precedent for nations’ collectively and intentionally trying to reduce economic activity.

Hiding behind the false justification that current inflation is driven by too much demand, central banks in Europe, the Bank of England, Bank of Canada and U.S. federal reserve are raising interest rates.  The outcome we are currently feeling is an intentional economic contraction and global recession.


Exposing the Democrat stormtroopers...the foot soldiers of the Democrat coup!

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
August 18, 2022

The FBI division overseeing the investigation of former President Trump's handling of classified material at his Mar-a-Lago residence is also a focus of Special Counsel John Durham's investigation of the bureau's alleged abuses of power and political bias during its years-long Russiagate probe of Trump.

Patrick Henry College
Brian Auten: Discredited over Carter Page spy warrants but still handling sensitive cases.

The FBI's nine-hour, 30-agent raid of the former president's Florida estate is part of a counterintelligence case run out of Washington – not Miami, as has been widely reported – according to FBI case documents and sources with knowledge of the matter. The bureau's counterintelligence division led the 2016-2017 Russia "collusion" investigation of Trump, codenamed "Crossfire Hurricane."

Although the former head of Crossfire Hurricane, Peter Strzok, was fired after the disclosure of his vitriolic anti-Trump tweets, several members of his team remain working in the counterintelligence unit, the sources say, even though they are under active investigation by both Durham and the bureau's disciplinary arm, the Office of Professional Responsibility. The FBI declined to respond to questions about any role they may be taking in the Mar-a-Lago case.

In addition, a key member of the Crossfire team – Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten – has continued to be involved in politically sensitive investigations, including the ongoing federal probe of potentially incriminating content found on the abandoned laptop of President Biden's son Hunter Biden, according to recent correspondence between the Senate Judiciary Committee and FBI Director Christopher Wray. FBI whistleblowers have alleged that Auten tried to falsely discredit derogatory evidence against Hunter Biden during the 2020 campaign by labeling it Russian "disinformation," an assessment that caused investigative activity to cease.

Auten has been allowed to work on sensitive cases even though he has been under internal investigation since 2019, when Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz referred him for disciplinary review for his role in vetting a Hillary Clinton campaign-funded dossier used by the FBI to obtain a series of wiretap warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz singled out Auten for cutting a number of corners in the verification process and even allowing information he knew to be incorrect slip into warrant affidavits and mislead the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.

         Wray: 'A number of' Crossfire agents are still employed but under a cloud.

In congressional testimony this month, Wray confirmed that "a number of" former Crossfire Hurricane team members are still employed at the bureau while undergoing disciplinary review. In the meantime, Wray has walled off the former Russiagate investigators only from participating in FISA wiretap applications, according to the sources.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sen. Chuck Grassley: Is Auten analyzing documents seized at Mar-a-Lago?

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked Wray for copies of recent case files and reports generated by Auten and whether he is included among the team the FBI has assembled to determine which of the seized Trump records fall within the scope of its counterespionage investigation and which fall outside of it.

Some former FBI officials worry that Auten, a top bureau expert on Russia and nuclear warfare, will have a hand in analyzing the boxes of documents agents seized from Trump's home on Aug. 8 to help determine if any of the alleged Top Secret material he kept there might have been compromised, potentially putting national security at risk. 

"It is a disgrace that Auten is still even employed by the bureau," said 27-year FBI veteran Michael Biasello. "I would substitute other analysts and agents."

An examination of the bureau agents involved in the Mar-a-Lago raid reveals other connections between them and FBI officials who played key roles in advancing the Russiagate hoax.
Jay Bratt: Probe coordinator traveled to Mar-a-Lago and met with Trump in early June. Then things got dicey.

Sources told RealClearInvestigations that Jay Bratt, the top counterintelligence official in Justice's national security division, who happens to be a Democratic National Committee donor, has been coordinating the Mar-a-Lago investigation with Alan Kohler, who heads the FBI's counterintelligence division.

Kohler replaced Bill Priestap in that post after Priestap stepped down from the bureau amid criticism of his role in the Russiagate probe. Kohler had worked at FBI headquarters under Priestap, specializing in countering Russian intelligence threats.

Before that, he worked in London as the FBI's liaison with British intelligence and law enforcement. The sources say Kohler was close to Stefan Halper, an academic and longtime FBI contractor whom the bureau ran as an informant in a failed effort to suborn Trump campaign officials. He also worked closely with Stephen Somma, a lead case agent in the Crossfire Hurricane probe whom Horowitz said was "primarily responsible" for some of the worst misconduct in the FISA warrant abuse scandal. Somma is a counterintelligence investigator in the FBI's New York field office, where he has been reassigned to the China desk.

American Security Today
Alan Kohler: Said to be close to Russiagate informant Stefan Halper.

In 2019, Kohler was promoted to special agent in charge of the counterintelligence division at the FBI's Washington field Office, where he worked alongside then-assistant agent-in-charge Timothy Thibault, who was reassigned by Wray just days prior to the Mar-a-Lago raid, after whistleblowers raised questions about political bias. They asserted that Thibault, who has taken aim at Trump and Republicans on social media, worked with Auten to falsely discredit evidence of alleged money laundering and other activities against Hunter Biden and prevent agents from investigating them.

The Washington field office's counterintelligence division is now run by Anthony Riedlinger, who previously worked at FBI headquarters as a section chief under Priestap. Some of the agents involved in the raid on Trump's home came from that Washington field office, according to the sources and FBI case documents.

Timothy Thibault: Said to have worked with Auten to discredit Hunter Biden evidence.

Bratt, the top counterintelligence official at Justice, traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early June and personally inspected the storage facility while interacting with both Trump and one of his lawyers. Trump allowed the three FBI agents Bratt brought with him to open boxes in the storage room and look through them. They left with some documents. After leaving, Bratt made a request to Trump's lawyer for increased security at the facility and asked to see surveillance footage from the security cameras. The lawyer complied with the requests. Months went by before the Justice Department took the politically explosive step of sending FBI agents unannounced to Trump's home, seizing documents, photos, and other items not just from the storage facility but from multiple rooms on the property, including the former president's office.

Former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker said the search warrant that agents obtained is quite wide-ranging. He pointed out that it authorized the seizure of any information in any form related to "national defense information," which he said "does not necessarily include classified material."

"This is a huge, broad search warrant and a huge, broad investigation leveled against the former president," Swecker said.

What's more, he said the physical search of the former president's residence was far more sweeping than first reported and included unsupervised snooping in several dozen bedrooms, as well as numerous storage rooms and closets, including those of the former first lady. FBI agents took numerous boxes and containers of documents and other material, including several binders of photos and even three passports held by the former president.

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
The FBI's Mar-a-Lago warrant: One classified file meant an entire box could be seized.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Merrick Garland, Attorney General: Did he seek to "narrowly scope" any search undertaken?

Although Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that the DOJ seeks to "narrowly scope any search that is undertaken," details of the warrant reveal agents had the authority to seize entire boxes of records – including those potentially covered by attorney-client privilege and executive privilege – if just a single document inside the container were marked with a classified marking.

Agents were allowed to also seize any containers or boxes "found together with" ones containing classified papers, according to ATTACHMENT B ("Property to be seized") of the warrant. In addition, the FBI agents were given the authority to confiscate "any government and/or presidential records created between Jan. 20, 2017, and Jan. 20, 2021," which covers Trump's full term in office. That meant they were able to take any item related to the Trump administration.

All told, dozens of boxes and containers were removed from Trump's residence, very few of which actually contained classified information, the sources said.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Bratt has given exclusively to Democrats, including at least $800 to the Democratic National Committee. The sources said he is close to David Laufman, whom he replaced as the top counterintelligence official at Justice. An Obama donor, Laufman helped oversee the Russiagate probe, as well as the Clinton email case, which also involved classified information.
David Laufman: "Mastermind" behind the strategy to dust off and "weaponize" the Foreign Agents Registration Act against Trump. Is a similar strategy afoot now? 

A Senate investigator told RCI that Laufman was the "mastermind" behind the strategy to dust off and "weaponize" the rarely enforced statutory relic – the Foreign Agents Registration Act – against Trump campaign officials, a novel legal move that the investigator noted is similar to the department's current attempts to enforce the Presidential Records Act against Trump – which is a civil, not a criminal, statute – by invoking the Espionage Act of 1917.

Laufman signed off on the wiretapping of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, which the Department of Justice inspector general determined was conducted under false pretenses involving doctored email, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and other malfeasance.

Suddenly resurfacing as a media surrogate for the Justice Department defending the Mar-a-Lago raid, Laufman has been a key source for stories by the Washington Post, CNN, and other outlets.

On CNN, for instance, he claimed the documents seized from Trump's storage were "particularly stunning and particularly egregious," and their discovery "completely validates the government's investigation" into the former president – though he quickly added, "Whether this investigation transforms into an outright criminal prosecution remains to be seen."

Swecker said that there is strong reason to fear that the FBI's counterintelligence division might politicize this case. 

"For sure, the FBI has dug themselves into a huge hole because of how they handled the Clinton (email) case and then Crossfire Hurricane and Hunter Biden," Swecker said. "Myself and many of my colleagues think they are treading on very thin ice here."

"Unfortunately," he added, "you can't recuse an entire FBI division."

Patel: 'It's Just Insane'

Former federal prosecutor and Trump administration official Kash Patel said the FBI may have a personal interest – and a potential conflict – in seizing the records stored by Trump.

He noted that Trump in October 2020 authorized the declassification of all the investigative records generated from the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane as well as the Clinton email investigation, codenamed "Midyear Exam," and he said that the FBI may have confiscated some of those records in its raid, ensuring they won't be made public. In addition, he said, the agency may be digging for other documents to try to justify, retroactively, their questionable, politically-tinged 2016 opening of the Trump-Russia "collusion" case, which came up embarrassingly short on evidence.

"Tragically, the same FBI characters that were involved in Russiagate are the same counter-intel guys running this ‘national security investigation' against Trump," said Patel, who deposed Crossfire Hurricane team members as a former House Intelligence Committee investigator.

Patel noted that the Horowitz report indicated FBI analyst Auten hid exculpatory information about Trump's adviser Page from other investigators and the FISA court, which should be more than enough to keep him at arm's length from other investigations involving Trump.

"And to top it all off, this guy admits [to Horowitz's investigators] he's unrepentant about his role in making up the biggest hoax in election history, and Wray still lets him be a supervisor at the FBI," he said. "It's just insane."

The Justice Department's national security division has ultimate authority over the grand-jury probe of Trump for possible violations of the Espionage Act, including alleged mishandling of classified material – the same statutes invoked in the Clinton email investigation. (In that case, in contrast, the FBI never searched the former secretary of state's Chappaqua, N.Y., mansion, where she set up an unsecured basement server to send and receive at least 110 classified emails and where she also received government documents by fax.)

Former FBI counterintelligence official and lawyer Mark Wauck said he is troubled by signs that the same cast of characters from the Russiagate scandal appears to be involved in the Mar-a-Lago investigation.

"If these people, who were part of a major hoax that involved criminal activity and displays of bias and seriously flawed judgment, are still involved, then that's a major scandal," he said in an interview.

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