"A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." -- George Bernard Shaw

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Martin Niemöller’s warning about the widening net that ensnares us all, a warning issued in response to the threat posed by Nazi Germany’s fascist regime, still applies.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This particular slippery slope has to do with the government’s use of geofence technology, which uses cell phone location data to identify people who are in a particular area at any given time.

First, police began using geofence warrants to carry out dragnet sweeps of individuals near a crime scene.

Then the FBI used geofence warrants to identify individuals who were in the vicinity of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

It wasn’t long before government officials in California used cell phone and geofence data to track the number and movements of churchgoers on church grounds during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

If we’ve already reached the point where people praying and gathering on church grounds merits this level of government scrutiny and sanctions, we’re not too far from free-falling into a total surveillance state.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:53

There are many ways for a state to project power and weaken adversaries, but proxy wars are one of the most cynical. Proxy wars devour the countries they purport to defend. They entice nations or insurgents to fight for geopolitical goals that are ultimately not in their interest.

The war in Ukraine has little to do with Ukrainian freedom and a lot to do with degrading the Russian military and weakening Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power. And when Ukraine looks headed for defeat, or the war reaches a stalemate, Ukraine will be sacrificed like many other states, in what one of the founding members of the C.I.A., Miles Copeland Jr., referred to as the “Game of Nations” and “the amorality of power politics.”

I covered proxy wars in my two decades as a foreign correspondent, including in Central America where the U.S. armed the military regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala and Contra insurgents attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. I reported on the insurgency in the Punjab, a proxy war fomented by Pakistan.

I covered the Kurds in northern Iraq, backed and then betrayed more than once by Iran and Washington. During my time in the Middle East, Iraq provided weapons and support to the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to destabilize Iran. Belgrade, when I was in the former Yugoslavia, thought by arming Bosnian and Croatian Serbs, it could absorb Bosnia and parts of Croatia into a greater Serbia. 

Posted on: Mar 16 08:51

Defendants in the ongoing Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Breach trial suffered a defeat on Monday, as the court ordered that the defendants may not cross-examine an FBI agent for most of the defense attorneys’ allegations that spawned from internal FBI messages inadvertently leaked in court.

Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump-appointed judge, on Monday addressed allegations made by attorneys of the Jan. 6 defendants that targeted leaked internal FBI messages, which were revealed in court when Nick Smith, a defense attorney representing Ethan Nordean, cross-examined FBI Special Agent Nicole Miller on Thursday last week.

The judge denied all but one of the defendant’s arguments about the leaked messages. That leaves a narrowed space for the defendants to maneuver should they wish to upend the trial based on these messages alone.

Leaked Messages in the Crosshair

The leaked messages emerged when Smith showed in court hidden rows in an Excel spreadsheet provided to him by the DOJ, which contained thousands of lines of correspondence among FBI agents—mostly addressed to Agent Miller—in the agency’s Lync system. The files were “hidden” via a “filter” function in Excel, according to a Thursday filing by Nordean.

These messages include a directive from FBI personnel to Miller to “destroy” 338 pieces of evidence and another directive to Miller to “edit out” an FBI agent from a Confidential Human Source (CHS) informant report, the filing read.

Webmaster addition: American courts are no longer interested in the truth, but exist to enforce the will of the government (See Kari Lake's difficulties as one example).

Posted on: Mar 16 08:47

Over 100 of the world's governments are planning to push central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank may have given them the perfect opportunity to introduce this nightmarish surveillance tech.

The heightened fear of bank runs and the growing calls for more government controls to prevent another Silicon Valley Bank-style event has created space for governments to swoop in and present CBDCs as the solution.

Prepare for these talking points to become prominent as governments ramp up their efforts to push CBDCs:

Posted on: Mar 16 08:42

Democrat President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were among several high-profile politicians who took cash from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) affiliates before the financial institution dramatically collapsed last week.

Political action committees and individuals associated with the now-defunct SVB have donated extensively to leading politicians.

Silicon Valley Bank was one of the largest financial institutions in the United States when it collapsed last week.

It imploded on Friday as depositors rushed to withdraw their funds.

The SVB implosion marks the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:40

On Tuesday, March 14, the Israeli Knesset passed a first reading of a new bill that would allow the government to overrule decisions made by the Israeli Supreme Court. The bill also places the authority to declare a Prime Minister’s incapacity to govern solely in the hands of the government or the Knesset, which is currently the most right-wing government in Israeli history. 

The bill suggests that a PM is only considered incapable in the case of physical and mental incapability, meaning that charges of corruption, bribery, fraud, and breach of trust — charges which still linger over Netanyahu — would not be enough to remove a PM from power.

During the same Knesset hearing on Tuesday, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee voted to move for second and third readings of a bill that would empower Israeli intelligence agencies by giving them access to “personal information from airlines with regard to passengers on flights entering, exiting or passing through the State of Israel.” 

Posted on: Mar 16 08:39

A former Delta Air Lines pilot is raising awareness about issues with aviation safety, arguing that "we are at a critical waypoint" after observing "an unusual number of commercial aviation incidents" recently. 

According to Lee Moak, who piloted Boeing 767 planes for Delta and served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association, several occurrences within the last three months that came close to "resulting in tragic accidents" have to be addressed. In a Washington Post opinion piece titled "Airline safety is at a breaking point. We can't wait for tragedy to fix it," he cited several of these events.

"On Dec. 18, a United Airlines Boeing 777, just seconds into takeoff from the island of Maui, climbed to around 2,220 feet before entering a steep dive and coming within 775 feet of the Pacific Ocean," Moak wrote. As reported by the Seattle Times, United refused to reveal how many passengers were on board of the 312-person-capacity plane or what could have caused the aircraft to plummet.

According to the outlet, that flight took place on the same day that 36 people were hurt, including 11 serious injuries, on an extremely turbulent Hawaiian Airlines flight from Phoenix to Honolulu.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:38

The alacritous rescue of depositors at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank by the federal government over the weekend is getting a cynical and frustrated response from taxpayers.

Many of the people who The Hill spoke to for this article are nervous that the financial system could be crashing around them again — and angry that rich venture capitalists can get a speedy bailout from the government while expanded social services and loan forgiveness seem to be forever out of reach.

“What am I, surprised that our economy is run by people who own banks? No, it’s not a surprise. But yeah, it’s another example of total inequity and racism,” Ellen McTigue, a retired nurse practitioner from New York, told The Hill in an interview.

“No surprises there, but it is unfortunate and it’s wrong,” she said.

McTigue added she thought the government took a “better safe than sorry” approach that she understood.

But she still had concerns about the transparency of the failures and the government’s response, which insured extremely wealthy depositors well above the standard $250,000 limit provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Posted on: Mar 16 08:36

FOR EVERYONE WHO’S fought and bled for years to get Medicare for All in the United States, I’ve got some great news: The government just created it on Sunday!

Yes, this is Medicare for All Bank Deposits, rather than Medicare for All People. But if we think this through, we’ll see that both these things are great ideas and make sense for the same reasons — and there’s no reason that if we have one, we can’t have the other.

First of all, it’s important to understand what happened yesterday. Banks are intrinsically vulnerable to runs. They accept deposits from regular people and businesses, which is good, so we don’t have to keep sacks full of cash in our closet and pay armed men to guard them.

The problem is that we want to be able to come get our money out of the bank at any time. However, banks don’t keep sacks of all our cash in their vaults waiting for us. They loan deposits out and make other investments with them, leaving just a fraction of their deposits available to be withdrawn at any time. In the past, in the U.S., this meant that if rumors got going that a bank was insolvent, it didn’t actually matter whether or not the bank was healthy or not. Everyone would show up and try to get their money out first, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy: The very fact that people were scared a bank was insolvent could make it insolvent. (In fact, Silicon Valley Bank, whose failure led to Sunday’s swift government action, may have been accidentally destroyed by its own clients telling each other scary stories in a group chat.)

Posted on: Mar 16 08:34

In the face of increased scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, TikTok, owned by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, has hired Biden-connected consulting firm SKDK.

SKDK is a public affairs and political consulting firm that is considered the most well-connected left-leaning firm in DC.

Several top former employees at the firm now hold mid- to top-level positions in the Biden administration.

One of its co-founders, Anita Dunn, has been working as a senior adviser to the White House since last May, Politico reported.

She was also part of Biden's 2020 campaign. Other former SKDK employees in the Biden administration include Interior Department press secretary Tyler Cherry, deputy White House communications directors Herbie Ziskend and Kate Berner, and deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh.

Scrutiny into TikTok's ties to Beijing has been ongoing for a few years and a bipartisan effort to ban the app from government devices was successful.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:31

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urging that the US should take a “hard look” at sending F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv.

“After speaking with US, Ukrainian, and foreign leaders working to support Ukraine at the Munich Security Conference last month, we believe the US needs to take a hard look at providing F-16 aircraft to Ukraine,” the senators said in the letter.

The letter was led by Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and was also signed by Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine of (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Ted Budd (R-NC).

Other NATO countries are ready to send fighter jets to Ukraine, including Poland, which is willing to send its Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:30

Washington DC is abuzz with speculation over which Biden family member got a cut of a $3 million wire transfer to Hunter Biden associate John "Rob" Walker, just weeks after Joe Biden was no longer Vice President in 2017.

According to House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) - who last week said that evidence of CCP money flowing to the Biden family was "as bad as we thought," - revealed that bank records obtained via a subpoena have implicated a "new Biden family member" in the ongoing investigation into the first family's finances.

Comer told Fox News that Walker received a $3 million wire from two individuals tied to the Chinese Communist Party, which he then divvied up between Biden family members.

"The very next day after that wire was received, the Walker account started transferring money into three different Biden family members’ accounts, including a new Biden family member that’s never before been identified as someone being involved in the influence-peddling scheme," Comer told host Sean Hannity (as part of several recent interviews on the network).

Posted on: Mar 16 08:29

A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) official assesses that China’s growing pessimism over its relationship with the US is making Beijing prepare for a future war it would rather not fight, Voice of America reported Wednesday.

“China doesn’t want to start a fight with us over Taiwan,” Doug Wade, the head of the DIA’s China Mission Group, said at a virtual event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

“They will if they have to … they haven’t ruled it out,” Wade added. China’s official position is that it seeks “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan but doesn’t rule out using force.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:28

Infants and children 6 months through age 4 who received the three-dose primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are now eligible for a fourth dose — Pfizer’s bivalent booster shot.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday amended the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of Pfizer bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine for the younger age group, but only for those children who received the three-dose series before the FDA authorized Pfizer’s bivalent Omicron booster as the third shot in the primary series.

Under the amended authorization, children can receive their fourth shot two months after completing the three-dose primary series.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:27

As Tokyo spins up its defence industry for the country's largest military expansion since World War Two, it has run into a challenge: some of Japan's best-known brands are reluctant to invest in the military side of their businesses.

Japan, which renounced war in 1947, last year unveiled a five-year $315 billion military expansion to deter Beijing from using force in the East China Sea amid growing concern that Russia's attack on Ukraine - which it calls a "special operation" - could embolden China to invade Taiwan.

But a key part of Tokyo's strategy hinges on persuading commercial firms such as Toshiba Corp, Mitsubishi Electric Corp and Daikin Industries Ltd, which for decades have quietly armed its Self Defence Forces (SDF), to ramp up production.

In a country with an ingrained public sentiment against militarism, that is proving a hard sell for some of its suppliers, according to Reuters interviews with six government and company officials.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:24

The Polish military has deployed anti-tank barriers on its borders with Russia and Belarus to prepare for a potential escalation of the war in Ukraine.

Poland could be heavily affected by the conflict should it spread beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak recently tweeted photos showing his country’s security measures to protect its border with Kaliningrad Oblast.

He said the move is part of Warsaw’s deterrence strategy.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:23

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced $331m in new humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia during a visit to Addis Ababa aimed at improving the United States’ relations with the East African country.

The aid package was made public during a visit by Blinken to a United Nations logistics warehouse in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday after he met with the country’s leaders.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:22

If you have ever wondered, “where do America’s spies come from?” the answer is quite possibly the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown University. It is only a modestly-seized institution, yet the school provides the backbone for the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, State Department, and other organs of the national security state.

From overthrowing foreign governments and conducting worldwide psychological operations to overseeing drug and gun smuggling and a global torture network, the CIA is perhaps the world’s most controversial and dangerous organization. All of which begs the question, should an educational institution have any formal relationship with it, let alone such a storied school as Georgetown?

Yet, with more than two dozen ex-CIA officials among its teaching staff, the school tailors its courses towards producing the next generation of analysts, assassins, coup-plotters and economic hitmen, fast-tracking graduates into the upper echelons of the national security state.

The CIA has also quietly funded the SFS, as journalist Will Sommer revealed. The agency, based in Langley, VA, secretly donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the department’s work, despite Georgetown insisting on its website that this money came from anonymous donations from individuals.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:22

Washington vehemently opposing the foreign agent law is unsurprising. Thousands of organizations, including media outlets and rights groups in Georgia, have received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and U.S. Agency for International Development – which Power now incidentally leads – over the past three decades. Any reform that would further expose this hardly hidden but little acknowledged or understood fact might raise difficult questions about the independence of these entities and the sinister purposes they serve evermore.

That these organizations have a vested interest in keeping their U.S. financing under wraps was amply demonstrated by their pronounced presence at the forefront of the protests in Tbilisi. Many staffers at NED-funded NGOs also took to social media to shriek disapproval of the prospect of having to disclose their foreign funding – despite their employers in some cases already doing so voluntarily anyway.

As luck would have it, right when the thousands gathered outside Tbilisi’s parliament building appeared on the verge of storming the building, the Georgian government scrapped the foreign agent law. What accounts for the protesters’ visceral aversion to having to openly admit their relationship with NED by law?

Posted on: Mar 16 08:21

It's no surprise that a bank focusing on woke politics failed, former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell told Newsmax on Monday.

In his interview with "Prime News," Grenell said that "whenever you have an administration that is going to completely concentrate on diversity, equity, [and] inclusion-type of programs, you're going to have a huge problem."

Grenell continued: "Look, people go to a bank because they want to, you know, have loans; they want banking services. And yet this small bank had 1,500 climate-related loans. For a small bank, that's a lot. That's probably too much, and I think that's what was happening is that they were having too many people that we're looking at the peripheral issues and not at the substance."

The New York Times reported that Silicon Valley Bank issued billions of dollars to more than "1,550 technology firms" working in areas such as solar, "hydrogen and battery storage projects."

Posted on: Mar 16 08:18

Last week the Senate Democrat majority was hospitalized with Senator John Fetterman dispatched to a psych ward and Senator Dianne Feinstein, who doesn’t seem to know where she is, hospitalized for shingles. Fetterman and Feinstein didn’t let being hospitalized slow them down and went right on co-sponsoring bills even though the former had to be hospitalized because he couldn’t take care of himself and the latter no longer recognized colleagues.

Even in the Senate, Fetterman couldn’t understand what was being said and Feinstein wasn’t aware that she had announced her retirement. Despite that there are press releases from their offices and they’re cosponsoring legislation as if they’re functional and able to make decisions.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:17

Political author Dick Morris waged on Newsmax that the rush to rescue depositors of Silicon Valley Bank or, more precisely, a bank directly associated with Silicon Valley, which he terms as the "Democratic stronghold of the world," is as big a "crony payoff as you possibly can have."

"I think that the Silicon Valley Bank is enjoying a charmed life because it's in Silicon Valley," Morris told "American Agenda" on Monday.

"It's the Democratic stronghold of the world. And 99% of their people are probably Democrats and depositors that raised hell they're all democratic donors, so this is as crony a payoff as you possibly can have."

Morris's statement comes after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen proclaimed to CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the government's assistance to depositors is not a bailout, which some experts have deemed a game of semantics in order to quash fear of spreading contagion.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:16

One of the biggest financial stories of the moment is the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. And now Goldman Sachs is being pulled into the drama.

The investment bank is set to receive more than $100 million dollars after the failure of SVB, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. That’s because Goldman bought $21.4 billion of debt from the beleaguered bank, which came at a loss of $1.8 billion to SVB. (A spokesperson for Goldman declined to comment to the Times.)

Posted on: Mar 16 08:15

The United States Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission were investigating whether Signature Bank failed to prevent money laundering before the firm collapsed on Sunday.

Federal investigators in Washington DC and Manhattan, New York were specifically looking into the bank's dealings with cryptocurrency clients, to assess if the institution took sufficient steps to detect potential money laundering, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

It is not clear what came of the investigation, but the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was forced to take over operations of the bank on Sunday when it could not meet the demands of customers withdrawing their funds.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:14

Credit Suisse shares soared by over 35% on Thursday after the company secured a $54 billion lifeline from the Swiss National Bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence.

JPMorgan analysts still said the loan from the SNB would not be enough to soothe investor concerns and 'status quo was no longer an option', leaving a takeover for Credit Suisse - especially by rival bank UBS - as the most likely outcome.

Credit Suisse shares were indicated at 2.3 Swiss francs ($2.48), up 35% from Wednesday's close. 

Posted on: Mar 16 08:14

Credit Suisse shares soared by over 35% on Thursday after the company secured a $54 billion lifeline from the Swiss National Bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence.

JPMorgan analysts still said the loan from the SNB would not be enough to soothe investor concerns and 'status quo was no longer an option', leaving a takeover for Credit Suisse - especially by rival bank UBS - as the most likely outcome.

Credit Suisse shares were indicated at 2.3 Swiss francs ($2.48), up 35% from Wednesday's close. 

Posted on: Mar 16 08:09

 El Salvador’s government sent 2,000 more suspects to a huge new prison built especially for gang members Wednesday, and the the justice minister vowed that “they will never return” to the streets.

The tough statement came as the administration of President Nayib Bukele asked for yet another extension of an anti-gang emergency measures that would take the crackdown into its 13th month.

Over the last 354 days, about 65,000 people have been arrested in the antigang campaign. Human rights groups say that there have been many instances of prisoner abuses and that innocent people have been swept up in police raids.

The government announced the mass inmate transfer with a slickly produced video posted on social media. It showed prisoners forced to run barefoot and handcuffed down stairways and over bare ground, clad only in regulation white shorts. They were then forced to sit with their legs locked in closely clumped groups in cells.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:08

Americans need to be prepared to eat a lot less beef, because the size of the national cattle herd is steadily shrinking.  And of course this is happening in the context of a much larger crisis.  As I detailed in a previous article, even CNN is admitting that we are currently in the midst of “the worst food crisis in modern history”.  But even though children are literally dropping dead from starvation on the other side of the planet, a lot of people here in the United States refuse to take this crisis seriously.  As long as their stomachs are full they think that everything is just fine.  But the truth is that conditions are also starting to get tight here in the United States.

According to the latest biannual report from the USDA, the number of beef cows in this country has fallen to the lowest level since 1962…

Posted on: Mar 16 08:07

Macgregor: "The last thing Americans need is a war. No more political and military incompetence, ineptitude, corruption. They want an economy that works, and they're not going to stand around and watch the financial system go under. They want real leadership, not a cardboard cutout President."

Posted on: Mar 16 08:06

The US has the lowest life expectancy of all G7 nations, according to an alarming league table.

Seventy years ago people in America could expect to live until they were 68, with the country ranking 13th globally behind the likes of Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Although the average person now lives a decade longer than in 1950, progress has stalled compared to other developed nations.

Posted on: Mar 16 08:06