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Posted on: Feb 04, 2023
"The First Amendment says that you can say whatever you want. However, decency and common sense require that one carefully consider their words and ideas before opening their mouth (or hitting that keyboard). There are too many people in America who think the First Amendment is a license to simply be outrageous." -- Michael Rivero
Israeli forces closed crossing points with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, leaving thousands of Palestinians unable to go to work in Israel and the occupied West Bank.
Israel announced last week that it would shut down the key Erez crossing for a "security assessment".
The move comes after a recent flare up of tensions along the separation fence, where Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian on 19 July, leaving 11 others wounded, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
The Israeli army says that hundreds of "rioters" have gathered near the fence and "a number of explosive devices were activated".
As alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), a tick-borne disease that triggers an allergic reaction to red meat, sees a steep rise in cases, eyebrows are being raised over a coincidental alignment with research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
AGS, first reported in Virginia in 2008, has seen an alarming increase over the past few years. According to a recent press release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 450,000 people in the U.S. have tested positive for alpha-gal since 2010.
In 2021, the number of positive test results for AGS surged by 41.3% compared to 2017, and testing for alpha-gal peaked at 66,106 persons that year.
The same year, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a significant grant of $1,469,352 toward research into the Rhipicephalus microplus (“Asian blue”) tick. This tick is known to cause AGS, as verified by a publication in the ImmunoTargets and Therapy journal found in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
WiFi is electromagnetic waves in the 2.4 and 5 GHz ranges. It’s the same thing as the light you see, only it can penetrate walls due to its much longer wavelength. Just like light (and echolocation) these waves also reflect off various surfaces and, when reconstructed properly, can be used to create an image.
Development of this technology goes back at least as far as July 2005, where researchers claimed at an IEEE Symposium that they had created an ultra-wideband high-resolution short pulse imaging radar system operating around 10 GHz. The applications for which were explicitly for military and police use, providing them with “enhanced situation awareness.”
Washington and some NATO partners made a strong effort to see if Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky could be put on a peace track with Russia. The effort failed, and Zelensky’s visit to the UN and Washington is aimed at creating support to continue the war – in particular, achieving a commitment from Congress to approve another $24.9 billion in assistance and new weapons for Ukraine’s arsenal.
Writers and producers are near an agreement to end the Writers Guild of America strike after meeting face-to-face on Wednesday, people close to the negotiations told CNBC’s David Faber on Wednesday.
The two sides met and hope to finalize a deal Thursday, the sources said. While optimistic, the people told Faber, however, that if a deal is not reached the strike could last through the end of the year.
On Wednesday evening, the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers released a joint statement that the two groups met for bargaining and would negotiate again on Thursday. Representatives didn’t respond to requests for further comment.
Global debt has surged to a staggering $307 trillion, marking an increase of $10 trillion in just the first half of 2023. This soaring debt level is ringing alarm bells and has pushed liabilities to record highs, up by an astonishing $100 trillion over the past decade. It’s becoming increasingly clear that we are on the brink of a monumental debt crisis.
S&P Global’s recent revelation that global debt has breached the $300 trillion mark for the first time in history is nothing short of jaw-dropping. To put it in perspective, this debt load represents a mind-boggling 349% of the world’s GDP. If this debt were evenly distributed among the global population, every man, woman, and child would bear a debt burden exceeding $36,000.
In essence, this is an incomprehensibly massive debt bomb, and the fuse has been ignited by inflation. The dynamics are interconnected: bond yields, among other factors, are influenced by inflation. As inflation made its way into the financial system in 2021, it was only a matter of time before bond yields started to rise.
Rep. Thomas Massie accused Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday of lying during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about his knowledge of federal law enforcement activities during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
Massie (R-Ky.) previously tangled with Garland in October 2021 over the same issue, questioning whether undercover FBI agents were present at the storming of the Capitol.
Shots were fired at the US Embassy in Lebanon on Wednesday evening, spokesperson Jake Nelson told Reuters. He added that no injuries were reported.
“At 10:37 pm local time, small arms fire was reported in the vicinity of the entrance to the US embassy,” Nelson said.
“There were no injuries, and our facility is safe. We are in close contact with host country law enforcement authorities.”
The incident took place on the anniversary of the deadly suicide car bombing of one of the buildings belonging to the US diplomatic mission in Beirut in 1984. The attack carried out by Islamist militants claimed the lives of 23 people, including two Americans.
A campaign group which successfully ended affirmative action is now suing New York's prestigious West Point military academy, claiming it discriminates against white applicants.
Students for Fair Admissions, founded by Edward Blum, is seeking to erase an exemption in the SCOTUS ruling which is allowing US Army schools to keep using race as a factor in admissions.
It cited the example of two white high schoolers it believes were perfect candidates for the prestigious upstate New York school, who Students for Fair Admissions believes are banned under current rules 'from competing for admission on an equal footing'.
This comes after President Joe Biden pushed for the military to be allowed to continue filtering applications by race - despite the racial makeup of the Army already being more diverse than the general population.
The Biden administration is sending 800 troops to help the Texas National Guard in Eagle Pass, where a state of emergency has been declared after 4,000 migrants flooded into the town yesterday.
Before sunrise this morning, another 250 were waiting to be processed. Hundreds more are expected today in what many residents say is the worst border crisis they have ever seen.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday eviscerated President Biden for allowing the unfolding disaster.
The only migrant shelter in the city, Mission Border Hope, has now been overrun with migrants. Many fled from Venezuela and arrived in the US via Mexico. Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas declared a state of emergency yesterday.
Two teenage boys believed to be behind the sick hit-and-run homicide of a retired police chief in Las Vegas have been named as they are charged as adults.
Jesus Ayala, 17, and Jzamir Keys, 16, are suspected of intentionally striking Andreas Probst, 64, while he was riding his bicycle down an empty highway in the northwest of the city at around 6am on August 14.
Ayala was arrested the same day accused of being the motorist behind the wheel of the 2016 Hyundai Elantra which hit the retired cop.
Meanwhile Keys, who was detained this week following a police appeal for information, is believed to be the passenger who goaded the attack and filmed a sick video.
The duo were transferred to the Clark County Detention Center on Wednesday and they will face charges of murder with a deadly weapon, battery and attempted murder in Las Vegas Justice Court, according to local reports.
GM also said it would not provide supplemental unemployment benefits 'due to the specific circumstances of this situation.'
Job cuts were also announced by Stellantis, the maker of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, including 68 workers in Ohio, and possible another 300 in Indiana. Ford also laid off 600 employees in Wayne, Detroit on Friday.
It comes as the United Auto Workers Union began a historic labor strike on Friday after its previous contract with Stellantis, Ford and GM expired.
The U.S. Constitution was a collaborative effort undertaken by many of America’s Founding Fathers. James Madison played an especially crucial role in drafting the supreme law of the U.S., and as such is often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution.” One can’t help but wonder what President Madison would think about the results of a new survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. In short, the poll suggests a troubling number of Americans are incredibly uninformed when it comes to their own constitutional rights.
Even worse, the 2023 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey, an annual poll released every Constitution Day (Sept. 17), also found that a significant number of Americans can’t even name the three branches of the government. More specifically, while two-thirds of Americans (66%) can name the three branches, 10 percent can only list two, another seven percent can only name one, and an astounding 17 percent can’t name a single branch.
Meanwhile, when respondents were asked to name all of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, most Americans (77%) could only name one — the freedom of speech.
Webmaster addition: When I went to school, we had to memorize the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Today's schools focus on gender pronouns, LGBTQ, and why you should hate white people!
As tech luminaries like Elon Musk issue solemn warnings about artificial intelligence’s threat of “civilizational destruction,” the U.S. military is using it for a decidedly more mundane purpose: understanding its sprawling $816.7 billion budget and figuring out its own policies.
Thanks to its bloat and political wrangling, the annual Department of Defense budget legislation includes hundreds of revisions and limitations telling the Pentagon what it can and cannot do. To make sense of all those provisions, the Pentagon created an AI program, codenamed GAMECHANGER.
“In my comptroller role, I am, of course, the most excited about applying GAMECHANGER to gain better visibility and understanding across our various budget exhibits,” said Gregory Little, the deputy comptroller of the Pentagon, shortly after the program’s creation last year.
Charlotte Beattie couldn’t say when she began to suspect that her boyfriend had committed the murder that sent his own son to death row. It probably crossed her mind almost 20 years ago, when an Oklahoma City police detective showed up to ask about Anthony Sanchez, who had been charged with killing a young woman found at a nearby lake. Jewell “Juli” Busken, a 21-year-old ballet student at the University of Oklahoma, was raped and murdered just before Christmas in 1996. The case remained cold until 2004, when Sanchez’s DNA was linked to the crime. But when the homicide detective showed Beattie a forensic artist’s sketch of the supposed killer, it didn’t look like Sanchez, she recalled. It looked more like his father, Glen.
Webmaster addition: So, the much vaunted DNA tests can throw a false positive! That will hopefully trigger retrials of wrongfully convicted people!
A F-35 jet could have crashed on Sunday due to poor weather in South Carolina, new audio suggests - as questions mount as to why the disastrous training exercise was allowed to proceed.
The F-35B Lightning II which the unnamed Marine pilot was flying is believed to be at risk of malfunctions if it flies in thunderstorms, according to a Forbes investigation in November.
Its sister jet, the F-35A, is more severely affected and cannot fly within 25 miles of lightning.
The issue lies within the F-35's OBIGGS (Onboard Inert Gas Generation) system, which pumps nitrogen-enriched air into its fuel tanks to inert them, preventing the aircraft from exploding if it is struck by lightning.
'F-35B and C variants have some of the same OBIGGS issues as the F-35A, but have been able to alleviate operational impacts,' said Chief Petty Officer Matthew Olay, spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office, in an email to Forbes last year.
In Tuesday's meeting at Turkish House on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, "the two leaders decided to continue advancing bilateral relations in trade, economic matters and energy," Netanyahu's office said, and extended reciprocal invitations for visits "soon."
Some have lost their houses, while others do not trust that the calm will hold. For many, it’s not the first time they have been forced to flee their homes.
Among them is Munira Abu Aamsha, 63, who left the camp near the city of Sidon in southern Lebanon with her family, ducking from alleyway to alleyway under a rain of bullets.
She has been sleeping for the past 10 days with her daughters and grandchildren in a classroom converted into a dormitory at a vocational training center run by the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, in the nearby town of Sebline.
The tanker at the center of the latest dispute between the United States and Iran, the Suez Rajan, quietly slipped away from the U.S. earlier this week using a new identity, the St Nikolas. The ship became the center of attention in what the U.S. Department of Justice highlighted as the first-ever criminal resolution involving a company that violated sanctions by facilitating the illicit sale and transport of Iranian oil.
The Suez Rajan, a 12-year-old crude oil tanker, had become tangled in the mysterious web of Iranian dealings in the efforts to avoid U.S. and international sanctions on the oil trade. At the time, the vessel was owned by an affiliate of U.S. investment firm Oaktree Capital Management, Fleetscape which had financed the vessel for its operator Empire Navigation of Greece. In February 2022, the U.S. Justice Department contends Empire received $1.2 million for the charter of the Suez Rajan (158,500 dwt), a tanker registered in the Marshall Islands.
Court documents show the steps taken, with the Suez Rajan, which was empty at the time, instructed to make a ship-to-ship transfer receiving a small amount of crude from one tanker, the CS Brillance (300,000 dwt tanker registered in Panama). A few days later, another Greek tanker, the Virgo (305,700 dwt) arrived and made a second transfer to the Suez Rajan, although the captain was instructed to show a single transfer from the first vessel in the logs. The U.S. successfully argued the captain and chief officer working for Empire falsified the records of the oil transfer in the logs of the Suez Rajan to conceal the fact the vessel loaded a sanctioned cargo of Iranian crude from the Virgo.
The United Nations said Wednesday it has documented more than 1,600 cases of human rights violations committed by authorities in Afghanistan during arrests and detentions of people, and urged the Taliban government to stop torture and protect the rights of detainees.
Nearly 50% of the violations consisted of “torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said.
The report by the mission’s Human Rights Service covered 19 months — from January 2022 until the end of July 2023 — with cases documented across 29 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. It said 11% of the cases involved women.
It said the torture aimed at extracting confessions and other information included beatings, suffocation, suspension from the ceiling and electric shocks. Cases that were not considered sufficiently credible and reliable were not included in the report, it said.
Just over ten years ago, Lord Justice Leveson proposed tougher legislation of newspapers amidst general horror that journalists had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler.
His proposals were greeted with fury.
In the Daily Mail Richard Littlejohn said they meant the “suppression of free speech.” This was, added Littlejohn, the “classic hallmark of a fascist regime.”
Mike Harris for the Daily Telegraphwarned that “three centuries of press freedom will be consigned to the dustbin of history, with investigative journalism almost impossible and shackles imposed on our much-loved local press”.
Every title from the Murdoch press, Associated Newspapers and the Telegraph – the hegemonic groups which account for approximately 75% of mainstream newspaper readership – denounced the Leveson reforms.
Meanwhile they united to launch a concerted campaign – the so called free speech network – to block them.
The Estonian army will soon stand up a unit solely dedicated to loitering munitions, drawing on lessons from the Ukrainian war, the battery’s prospective commander told Defense One.Estonian Land Forces Maj. Andrei Šlabovitš said he believed it would be the first unit of its kind in NATO, whose members have been watching the Ukrainian military’s extensive use of these one-way attack drones.
“Estonia is probably correct in saying they are the first to deploy loitering munitions,” said Larry Dickerson of Forecast International, a defense data and consulting firm owned by Defense One parent company GovExec.
“Others are also thinking about wider use of loitering munitions and how to best integrate them with their militaries,” Dickerson said. “The market is changing due to the press coverage loitering munitions are getting from the Russo-Ukrainian War.”
The U.S. Army is currently testing loitering munitions for use in infantry brigade combat teams, after first fielding them with Army Special Forces.
Secret Pakistan arms sales to the U.S. helped to facilitate a controversial bailout from the International Monetary Fund earlier this year, according to two sources with knowledge of the arrangement, with confirmation from internal Pakistani and American government documents. The arms sales were made for the purpose of supplying the Ukrainian military — marking Pakistani involvement in a conflict it had faced U.S. pressure to take sides on.
The revelation is a window into the kind of behind-the-scenes maneuvering between financial and political elites that rarely is exposed to the public, even as the public pays the price. Harsh structural policy reforms demanded by the IMF as terms for its recent bailout kicked off an ongoing round of protests in the country. Major strikes have taken place throughout Pakistan in recent weeks in response to the measures.
The protests are the latest chapter in a year-and-a-half-long political crisis roiling the country. In April 2022, the Pakistani military, with the encouragement of the U.S., helped organize a no-confidence vote to remove Prime Minister Imran Khan. Ahead of the ouster, State Department diplomats privately expressed anger to their Pakistani counterparts over what they called Pakistan’s “aggressively neutral” stance on the Ukraine war under Khan. They warned of dire consequences if Khan remained in power and promised “all would be forgiven” if he were removed.
Since Khan’s ouster, Pakistan has emerged as a useful supporter of the U.S. and its allies in the war, assistance that has now been repaid with an IMF loan. The emergency loan allowed the new Pakistani government to put off a looming economic catastrophe and indefinitely postpone elections — time it used to launch a nationwide crackdown on civil society and jail Khan.
“Pakistani democracy may ultimately be a casualty of Ukraine’s counteroffensive,” Arif Rafiq, a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute and specialist on Pakistan, told The Intercept.
No one seems to know. Readers who follow developments in China closely, know that relations between the two superpowers have grown increasingly strained in the last few years. But while the US has taken a more hostile approach to China, no one seems to know why. Was there something in particular that China did that angered Washington leading to the imposition of economic sanctions, technology blockades and military provocations in the Taiwan Strait?
No, there’s no indication that China did anything. What changed was Washington’s approach to China. And—as you’ll see—Washington’s approach changed very quickly and very dramatically. China went from friend to foe almost overnight.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US maintained a policy of engagement with China that accelerated its development and transformed the country into the main engine of global growth. In December, 2001, China was granted “most-favored-nation”(MFN) status which was followed shortly after by its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). These developments allowed China to access western markets which turned China into a manufacturing center for US multinationals like Nike, Apple and Dell. China’s opening also triggered a surge of foreign investment which pumped up growth while strengthening its financial assets and bond market. In short, US policy laid the groundwork for the “Chinese miracle” which set the stage for a great power conflict with the US.
No other country in the world is more responsible for China’s meteoric rise than the United States. Now, however, the foreign policy establishment has decided that it doesn’t like its own creation. It doesn’t like the fact that China took advantage of the opportunities it was given to transform itself into a peer competitor of the United States. It doesn’t like the fact that China’s economy is growing more than twice as fast as America’s and is set to surpass the US within the decade. It doesn’t like the fact that China is building a 21st century, state-of-the-art infrastructure grid that will economically integrate a large part of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia into the world’s biggest free trade zone. It doesn’t like the fact that China’s expansive economic/political strategy will inevitably replace the “rules-based international order” with a Chinese-led system in which the renminbi is the world’s reserve currency and China’s financial markets are the largest and most liquid in the world. America’s foreign policy establishment is not happy about any of these developments especially since it is largely responsible for all of them.
“The war in Ukraine has driven an increase in sales across the portfolio for sure,” says Matthew Bragoni, a representative of Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense (EBAD).
Bragoni, a US army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is standing by his company’s stall in London at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI). This biannual arms fair is the jewel in the crown of the global weapons industry.
“Everyone’s well aware that the US military has been donating [to Ukraine] a lot of product that was in stock,” he observes. “And so we’re seeing the second order effect where these purchases – as the US emptied out their inventory – they’re re-buying”.
EBAD is based in the US state of Connecticut. Bragoni is the director of their group which is focused on delivering products to “warfighters around the world”. These range from missile parts down to explosives for clearing minefields, which are now being sent to Ukraine – “something we’re very proud of”, Bragoni notes.
Not so long ago, following French President Emmanuel Macron’sBeijing visit, many in the U.S. reacted to his expressed desire to avoid confrontation with China with indignation, labeling the leader a fool and a puppet.
Evidently, the backlash didn’t phase Macron. He doubled-down, saying that “being an ally does not mean being a vassal… [or] mean that we don’t have the right to think for ourselves.” When it comes to responding to fluctuating China-U.S. tensions, Macron believes that for Europe no response is the best response.
And as much as some Americans might wish he was wrong, he is not.
Macron is not witless. He is making a case that prioritizes his country’s tangible interests, not the U.S.’s. These include focusing on his region, avoiding conflict with a major global power, and remaining a relevant actor in world affairs.
Critics like The Spectator World’s John Pietro may label Macron’s call for European strategic autonomy “fantastical” and “unpopular,” but reality is not on their side.
In fact, Macron’s view is very popular. According to the European Council on Foreign Relations, close to three-quarters of Europeans believe that the Continent should pursue increased independence vis-à-vis American military power. Additionally, the report shows that majorities in all surveyed countries believe that Europe should remain neutral in any conflict between China and the U.S. over Taiwan.