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Texas school shooter Salvador Ramos once cut up his face with knives ‘just for fun,’ friends say

The gunman who slaughtered 19 kids and two teachers at a Texas elementary school reportedly exhibited increasingly bizarre behavior leading up to the rampage – including cutting up his face with knives just “for fun,” friends said.

Gunman Salvador Ramos’ friend Santos Valdez Jr., 18, said the two had been close, playing video games and basketball regularly, until his friend’s behavior began to “deteriorate,” the Washington Post reported.

At one point, he recounted, Ramos showed up at a park with scratch marks across his face and said he had been attacked by a cat.

“Then he told me the truth, that he’d cut up his face with knives over and over and over,” Valdez told the newspaper

Breaking: Beto O’Rourke Kicked Out Of Presser For Yelling At Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Failed Texas Democrat Senate and Presidential Candidate Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke just made a fool of himself in a press conference with Gregg Abbott. Gregg Abbott hosted a panel to discuss the tragic shooting that occurred in Uvalde yesterday.

This is a moment for unity, not division, as we fight against the forces of evil. But Beto, ever the opportunist, did not let the tragedy go to waste. The Democrat candidate for the governor’s race in November interrupted the presser, only to be escorted out by law enforcement. The panel roared in anger, including Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who called Beto a “sick son of a b****”.

He was completely correct to do so. Only Beto would exploit this moment for political purposes. That was uncalled for and morally wrong.

AI Inventing Its Own Culture, Passing It On to Humans, Sociologists Find

A new study shows that humans can learn new things from artificial intelligence systems and pass them to other humans, in ways that could potentially influence wider human culture.

The study, published on Monday by a group of researchers at the Center for Human and Machines at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, suggests that while humans can learn from algorithms how to better solve certain problems, human biases prevented performance improvements from lasting as long as expected. Humans tended to prefer solutions from other humans over those proposed by algorithms, because they were more intuitive, or were less costly upfront—even if they paid off more, later.

"Digital technology already influences the processes of social transmission among people by providing new and faster means of communication and imitation," the researchers write in the study. "Going one step further, we argue that rather than a mere means of cultural transmission (such as books or the Internet), algorithmic agents and AI may also play an active role in shaping cultural evolution processes online where humans and algorithms routinely interact."

Tucker Unleashes on Biden's School Shooting Speech: 'Desecrating the Memory of Recently Murdered Children'

After these comments, Fox News host Tucker Carlson lambasted Biden for his insensitivity and his badly partisan comments in the midst of tragedy.

“Frail, confused, bitterly partisan, desecrating the memory of recently murdered children … dividing the country in a moment of deep pain, rather than uniting,” Carlson said.

“His voice rising, amplified only as he repeats the talking points he repeated for over 35 years in the United States Senate, partisan politics being the only thing that animates him, unfit for leadership of this country,” Carlson continued.

Never Forget: Elizabeth Warren, Ilhan Omar, Others Tried to Get Cops Out of Schools to Make BLM Happy

As the nation digests news about another mass shooting in a public school, the reaction of national Democrats has been politically predictable.

There are the expected, strident calls for more gun control. The increasingly shrill demands from Democrats that the country disregard a core freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.

And what’s equally predictable is the fact that some of the loudest voices among Democrats for gun control have a good deal less concern for student safety when it suits the progressive agenda.

But some of the exact same politicians who started reflexively calling Tuesday for more gun control while the news of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, was still breaking have also been some of the loudest demanding schools be stripped of police to appease the most radical fringes of their party.

AOC says she's itching to ditch her Tesla after spat with Elon: Progressive rep says she wants to buy electric car made at unionized factory after Musk told her to stop flirting with him on Twitter

AOC has announced plans to ditch her Tesla, weeks after Elon Musk told her to stop flirting with him on Twitter.

The Green New Deal-backing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 32, told Bloomberg in an interview Wednesday that she wants to switch to an electronic car that is made domestically by unionized workers.

Currently, the only such vehicles she could consider are Ford's huge F-150 Lightning truck, which will be released later this year, or a Chevy Bolt.

The Democrat told the network that she purchased her Model 3 in 2020 around the time that the Covid-19 began.

AOC said that it was the only electric car that could get her from her Bronx-Queens district to the nation's capital on 'one, or one-and-half charges.'

Outrage as NRA to gather in Houston just days after Texas school massacre

Just days after the deadliest mass school shooting in Texas history, the National Rifle Association (NRA) – America’s leading gun lobbyist group – will meet a few hours away in Houston on Friday.

Ashton P Woods says they are not welcome in his hometown.

Webmaster addition: My 'too many convenient coincidences' alarm just went off!

Tucker: There is something really wrong

Sussmann billed Clinton camp on the day he talked Trump-Russia ties with FBI

The attorney who sparked an FBI investigation into since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between Donald Trump and a Russian bank billed Hillary Clinton’s campaign on the day he met with an FBI official.

Attorney Michael Sussman’s expense reports were admitted into evidence in court Tuesday before the prosecution rested its case against the lawyer, who’s on trial for lying to the FBI during the meeting.

Sussman had turned over “white papers” and other data on rumors of the since debunked tie between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank in 2016 while not revealing he was working on behalf of a client.

Biden Admin: K-12 Schools Must Put Boys In Girls’ Bathrooms To Get Federal Lunch Money

K-12 schools must allow boys into girls’ private areas to obtain federal funds for lunches, breakfasts, and snacks, the Biden administration announced this month. A U.S. Department of Education spokesman told The Federalist the Biden administration’s press releases from several agencies announcing this policy will be followed by formal rulemaking in June.

“It seems to be playing politics with feeding poor kids, which is really unfortunate,” John Elcesser, executive director of the Indiana Non-Public Education Association, said via phone amid weeks of attempting to sort out these new demands with government officials on behalf of private schools in his state. “Because if a school feels like they cannot participate because it’s in conflict with their mission or values, if a religious exemption is not granted, you’re taking away a program that’s feeding low-income kids.”

Agrichemical Industry Demands Biden Administration Rescind Support for Cancer Victims Before Supreme Court

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice urged the Supreme Court to deny a request by Bayer to review a verdict that found the corporation liable for damages from the use of its Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. Now, Bayer is using proxy organizations to place pressure on the Biden Administration and Justice Department to rescind its decision. Alongside a range of chemical industry umbrella groups, many of which—like Croplife America—Bayer is a member of, a letter was sent to President Biden expressing “grave concern” about the opinion filed by Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. Among a range of baseless claims, the agrichemical industry is deflecting lower court findings on the hazards and cancer risk of their products with the claim that their toxic chemicals are needed to feed the world, as crops shipments from Ukraine have been halted during the ongoing war. “The agrichemical industry has long tried to sell the idea that their toxic pesticides are needed to feed the world, as if to suggest that their motives are altruistic when, in fact, they have shown a callous disregard for life and a sustainable future,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. ” We can grow food without toxic chemicals and offer support for all the victims of war, with a reverence for healthy ecosystems and the life they support,” he said.

Bayer filed its petition with the Supreme Court in August 2021, seeking to reverse the case of Hardeman v. Monsanto, as Bayer assumed all liabilities associated with Monsanto when it purchased the company in 2018. In that suit, a California court found unanimously in favor of the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman. Mr. Hardeman told the jury he had used Roundup since the 1980s to spray poison oak and weeds around his property, resulting in his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2014. He was awarded $5.27 million, while the punitive damages were ultimately reduced from $75 to $20 million.

Bayer’s appeal to the Supreme Court includes two claims. The first is a preemption argument, suggesting that federal pesticide law preempts state-level “failure-to-warn” claims that form the basis of the Hardeman suit. To prevail under California’s failure-to-warn law, plaintiffs must prove that the product had knowable risks, the risks presented were substantial if used in a reasonably foreseeable manner, consumers would not have recognized those risks, defendants failed to warn consumers, and consumers were thus injured as a result.

As Democrats Talk About Punishing Catholic Church, Bishops Rally To Support Pelosi Ban

While Democrats like Dick Durbin talk about taxing the Church after the ban on Nancy Pelosi's communion rites, Catholic bishops are coming together to back Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone and the Church after he banned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in light of her position on abortion.

On Friday, Cordileone issued a letter stating because of Pelosi’s position on abortion and her recent calls to protect access to abortion at the federal level, she should not present herself to a priest for Communion at Mass.

An increasing number of bishops across the nation are expressing their backing, stating the ban should follow Pelosi regardless of which parish she attends.

Webmaster addition: "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -- James Madison

Freedom Denied: Military Fired 669 Soldiers For Not Getting Vaccinated

Almost every soldier in the U.S. Army - 97 percent - is completely immunized against COVID-19, bringing the service to nearly full compliance with the Department of Defense vaccine mandate, according to the military branch.

Just 3 percent of active-duty soldiers in the Army have not completely complied with the Pentagon’s August 2021 regulation that all troops receive their jabs.

They have until the end of June to receive their shots, plus booster, or be dismissed from the service.

This Is How Liberal University Students Treat America's National Shrines

The National Mall branch of the National Park Service announced early Saturday morning. “The Lincoln Memorial is closed this morning following a local university graduation celebration that left litter, broken bottles, and spilled wine and champagne covering the steps,” the National Mall NPS tweeted at roughly 9 a.m. Saturday morning. “We will reopen as soon as the area has been cleaned and made safe.”

The tweet linked to a picture of the site cordoned off with barriers and caution tape and a park worker sweeping up litter from the steps of the site. “Litter, broken bottles and spilled wine and champagne” were seen the morning after the unofficial gathering, NPS spokesperson Mike Litterst also noted.

Laverne Cox makes history as Mattel's first-ever transgender Barbie: 'I can't wait for fans to find my doll on shelves'

Laverne Cox has made history as Mattel's first-ever transgender Barbie, just days ahead of her 50th birthday on Sunday.

Following the exciting announcement, the 49-year-old performer could barely contain her excitement as she raved about a doll being made in her lifelessness.

'I can't wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection,' she said in a statement, obtained by Page Six.

Webmaster addition: I think this will probably be as bad a sales disaster as the Breaking Bad action figures!

EXCLUSIVE: Portrait of a teenage killer: Boyfriend of shooter's mother says the 'loner' 18-year-old stayed in his bedroom hitting a punching bag and wouldn't allow anyone in the house while friend says he would drive around shooting people with a BB gun

Salvador Ramos, 18, often stayed in his room on Hood Street, where he would repeatedly hit a punching bag by himself, his mother's boyfriend Manuel Alvarez told DailyMail.com.

Speaking from the front porch of the three-bedroom house at the end of the dirt road, he said ‘Salvador was a loner.’

‘He didn’t have many friends. Occasionally a "friend" came over,’ he continued, but noted the last time he saw he saw a friend over at the house was about six months ago.

Yes, HBO Max Knows Their App Sucks (And Want To Fix It)

Everyone who has used HBO Max has marveled at how impressively inept their app is -- the crashes, the laborious process to browse to the next episode, the crashes, the elusive episode selection menu itself, the crashes, the selective inability to remember certain shows you're watching while pushing others you once accidentally played for two seconds, the crashes, and the crashes make it feel like it was intentionally designed to piss you off. Also, the crashes (almost forgot). But, believe it or not, this is not just a social experiment to find out how many people they can get to throw their phones at their TV screens in anger: according to an HBO exec, the app's remarkable suckitude was Disney+'s fault.

Webmaster addition: HBO Max was tolerable up until a few days ago. Now, while it still works on my iPad, it simply hangs on the TV. Looking at how many complaints are being submitted, I wonder how downdetector.com can say there are no problems with HBO Max with a straight face!

Palestinian killed, over 90 injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers in West Bank: medics

A Palestinian teenager was killed and more than 90 others were wounded early on Wednesday during clashes with Israeli soldiers near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The statement said Ghaith Yamin, 16, was killed after he was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers during clashes in Nablus.

More than 90 Palestinians were injured, including 11 who were shot by live ammunition and 23 by rubber-coated metal bullets, the statement said, adding that more than 60 suffered suffocation after inhaling teargas.

Palestinian eyewitnesses said that Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers exchanged fire when Israeli soldiers escorted a group of Jewish worshippers who arrived at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus for prayers.

Shireen Abu Akleh: Weapons expert concludes Israeli soldier targeted veteran journalist

New evidence around the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank on 11 May suggests she was killed in a targeted attack by Israeli forces, a CNN investigation has found.

The investigation by CNN, based on two videos from the shooting scene and corroborated by an audio forensic analyst and an explosive weapons expert, suggests there was no active fighting nor any armed Palestinians near Abu Akleh in the moments prior to her killing.

The investigation cited videos of fighting between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters during the Israeli army raid on the Jenin refugee camp earlier in the morning of Abu Akleh’s killing.

The littoral combat ship’s latest problem: Class-wide structural defects leading to hull cracks

Half of the Navy’s littoral combat ship fleet is suffering from structural defects that have led to hull cracks on several vessels, limiting the speed and sea states in which some ships can operate, according to internal records obtained by Navy Times and confirmed by sea service officials.

The Navy has not previously disclosed the cracks in the Independence-class version of the LCS or the class-wide repercussions of the defects, nor has it identified which ships suffer from the issues.

OOPS!

Nuland-Pyatt Tape Removed From YouTube After 8 Years

The smoking gun proving U.S. involvement in the 2014 coup in Kiev has been removed from YouTube after eight years.

It was one of the most watched versions of the intercepted and leaked conversation between then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt, the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in which the two discuss who will make up the new government weeks before democratically-elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a violent coup on Feb. 21, 2014.

The two talk about “midwifing” the unconstitutional change of government and “gluing it together” and of the role then Vice President Joe Biden should play and what meetings to set up with Ukrainian politicians.

The U.S. State Department never denied the authenticity of the video, and even issued an apology to the European Union after Nuland is heard on the tape saying, “Fuck the E.U.” Mainstream media at the time focused almost exclusively on that off-color remark, ignoring the greater significance of U.S. interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

Consortium News has numerous times embedded the YouTube video in articles about the overthrow of Yanukovych. CN successfully embedded it earlier this week in an article now being written, but on Wednesday the video suddenly appeared this way in the draft article:

The Navy just launched a brand new ship it doesn’t even want

According to a Lockheed Martin press release, the company “is confident that the sailors of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 29, the future USS Beloit, will play a critical role in supporting maritime security and deterrence. The LCS Freedom-variant, operationally deployed today, is an unmatched and highly adaptable warship, designed to outpace the growing threat of our adversaries and fulfill the dynamic missions of the U.S. Navy.”

The Beloit is the latest Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship to take to the seas, although just how long the vessel will be cruising remains in question. While the Navy has planned for 35 Independence and Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships, a Government Accountability Office report published in February found that the LCS still “has not demonstrated the operational capabilities it needs to perform its mission.”

Sussmann Trial: Mook Outs Clinton as ‘Russiagate’ Shot-Caller

“The trial of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann crossed a critical threshold Friday (May 20),” Jonathan Turley writes at The Hill, “when a key witness uttered the name ‘Hillary Clinton’ in conjunction with a plan to spread the false Alfa Bank Russian collusion claim before the 2016 presidential election.”

The witness: Robby Mook, who managed Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign.

The revelation: According to Mook, Clinton personally approved the initial disinformation campaign that eventually became “Russiagate,” an attempt to explain/excuse Clinton’s poor performance and ultimate loss, and Donald Trump’s victory, as a function of Russian “meddling” in the election.

Zelensky Says Russia Must Pull Back Troops to Pre-War Positions Before Talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia must pull back its troops to pre-invasion positions as a precondition for negotiations, a condition that Moscow is unlikely to agree with.

Zelensky told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland via video link that he was willing to negotiate directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin but said Russia must take a step to show it is ready to “shift from the bloody war to diplomacy.”

“It’s possible if Russia shows at least something. When I say at least something, I mean pulling back troops to where they were before February 24,” Zelensky said. “I believe it would be a correct step for Russia to make.”

Russia and Ukraine were engaged in negotiations earlier in the war, but they have stalled, thanks in part to the billions in weapons being shipped to Ukrainian forces by the US and its NATO allies. Zelensky said Ukraine will continue to fight until “it reclaims all its territories.”

‘There Is No Off-Ramp’: A Recipe for Nuclear War

As if he were holding a gun at our back, President Joe Biden is pushing Americans ever higher on the escalation ladder with Moscow. Recently, former Russian President and current Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev warned that Washington and NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine risks becoming a “full-fledged nuclear war.”

In a message that should be heard loud and clear by the American people, Medvedev cautioned “the pumping of Ukraine by NATO countries with weapons, the training of its troops to use Western equipment, the dispatch of mercenaries and the conduct of exercises by the countries of the Alliance near our borders increase the likelihood of a direct and open conflict between NATO and Russia instead of their ‘war by proxy.’”

Leading up to the war, the State Department blatantly eschewed diplomacy which could have prevented Putin’s invasion. While at the same time, hawks in the Biden administration, the Senate, NATO, the CIA, and the Pentagon could be heard salivating, in public statements and major news outlets, with dreams of killing Russians in a long-coveted, protracted proxy war.

Why the Afghan government collapsed after the US withdrawal

The first sentence of an interim report released yesterday on the collapse of the Afghan military concludes that, “the single most important factor in the [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces’] collapse in August 2021 was the U.S. decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan through signing the U.S.-Taliban agreement in February 2020.”

Reuters adopted this sentence in its headline covering the report. But a deeper reading reveals that Washington built a dependent Afghan army reliant on open-ended U.S. combat support, which incentivized corruption, and ultimately lent credence to the Taliban’s narrative of a puppet government in Kabul. No reading of this latest report could lead one to reasonably believe that victory was just over the horizon.

Congress created the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, in 2008 to provide oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction activities and most recently instructed it to assess why the ANDSF collapsed so rapidly last summer. Over the years SIGAR has unveiled shocking degrees of corruption, oversight, deception, and incompetence in the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan. This report is no different, except that it bluntly describes the United States as the linchpin of the previous Afghan government’s success or failure.

Israeli forces kill 16-year-old Palestinian in Nablus

Israeli forces killed a 16-year-old Palestinian in Nablus during a raid on the city early Wednesday morning, just days after killing another Palestinian youth in Jenin.

The teenager was identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Ghaith Yameen from the Ras al-Ain neighborhood of Nablus. He was pronounced dead shortly after 2:00 am after he was shot in the head with a live bullet by Israeli forces.

Yameen was shot near Joseph’s Tomb in eastern Nablus, after Israeli forces escorted a group of Israeli settlers to perform prayers at the site, sparking confrontations with local youth.

Israel Tells US It Killed Iranian IRGC Colonel in Tehran

Israel has told the US that it killed a senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who was gunned down in Tehran on Sunday, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed intelligence official.

IRGC Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was shot five times by two gunmen on motorcycles outside his home. Israel was immediately suspected due to its history of targeted killings inside Iran.

Israeli officials haven’t publicly said they were responsible for Khodaei’s killing. But Israel typically does not officially take credit for attacks inside Iran, and its responsibility is usually revealed by leaks to the media.

Israeli officials claimed to the Times that Khodaei was involved with plots to kidnap and assassinate Israeli civilians and officials around the world. They said he was part of a covert IRGC group known as Unit 840. But Iran denies that Unit 840 even exists, and despite frequent Israeli claims, there is no evidence that Iran has attempted to target Israelis abroad.

DID KLAUS SCHWAB JUST THREATEN BRAZIL PRESIDENT BOLOSONARO FOR NOT SIGNING THE PANDEMIC TREATY? WE "POWERFUL" "HAVE THE MEANS TO IMPOSE THE STATE OF THE WORLD"

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro Says He Will NOT Be Signing the Pandemic Treaty

He said: “National sovereignty is not something to be handed over to the WHO.. just to join a club of seemingly advanced nations”

What an absolute saint!'

NYC SUBWAY SHOOTER WHO KILLED GOLDMAN BANKER HAD "ABOUT 20 PRIOR ARRESTS", INCLUDING MURDER CHARGE FROM 2017

Just two days ago we reported about the unfortunate death of a Goldman Sachs analyst, who was shot dead on the northbound Q train as it passed the Manhattan Bridge.

Daniel Enriquez, who joined Goldman's research division in 2013, was shot in the chest in an unprovoked attack. According to NYPost at the time, the family of Enriquez had only one message for Mayor Eric Adams:

"Do your job ... Get crime off the streets."

And they make a crucial point, especially as it relates to this specific attack. Why? Because it was revealed in follow up reporting yesterday that the suspect, 25 year old Andrew Abdullah of Brooklyn (who has now been placed in custody), had "about 20 prior arrests" for "assault, robbery, menacing and grand larceny", ABC News reported this week. '

In fact, the same report notes that he has "three cases that are still pending, including an April arrest for fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property for allegedly being found with a stolen motorcycle, as well as a June 2021 arrest for violating a protective order and March 2021 arrest for assault."

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DEPLOYS ANOTHER DISEASE THREAT TO PUSH GLOBAL SURVELLIANCE

The threat posed by monkeypox is real, very real. Or is it?

According to Dr. Robert Malone, not really. But you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. The way in which the virus is being covered, Malone recently noted, “provides a classical example of public health fearporn.”

CNN, one of the many outlets breathlessly covering the virus, “should be reprimanded for broadcasting irresponsible propaganda—misinformation and disinformation—under the guise of journalism,” wrote Malone. In his opinion, this virus and disease, “which is endemic in Africa,” is “readily controlled by classical public health measures.”

More importantly, it “does not [emphasis mine] have a high mortality rate.” This insignificant biothreat “has never been considered a high threat pathogen in the past.”

Malone finished by asking the media and so-called medical experts to “stop the fear mongering, misinformation and disinformation.”

Malone’s request has been ignored, with doctors around the world telling us to prepare for the worst. President Joe Biden has also joined the chorus of doomsayers. Not surprisingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) is also making noise.

More worryingly, the WHO is making moves, and these moves could have profound effects on billions of people around the world, including those residing in the United States.

FIREARM STOCKS SOAR OVER FEARS OF NEW GUN-CONTROL LAWS

Shares of gun and ammunition companies jumped Wednesday over speculation of new gun control laws in the wake of Tuesday's horrific mass shooting that killed at least 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. Investors anticipate increased sales ahead of calls for stricter gun laws by Democrats.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Smith & Wesson Inc. and Vista Outdoors Inc. were both up around 10%, American Outdoor Brands Inc. +6.5%, Sturm Ruger & Co. +5.5%, and Ammo Inc. +5%.

Gun makers' shares typically rise when Democrats call for stricter gun control measures after mass shootings because people buy on the fear that more rules could make owning a gun harder or costlier. This was the case in 2012 when gun sales soared after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, at Sandy Hook school.

Search trends for "buy a gun" immediately erupted Tuesday evening after the shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

China Holds Live Fire Combat Drills Near Taiwan As Response To Biden Defense Pledge

China on Wednesday revealed that it held fresh military drills near Taiwan while Joe Biden was wrapping up his first trip to Asia as president. A statement cited "joint patrol and combat readiness operations near Taiwan" while the US leader was in Tokyo where he was meeting with leaders of the other "Quad" nations of Japan, India, and Australia. The military further warned of "collusion" between the US and Taiwan:

Shi Yi, from the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command, said on Wednesday that the joint naval and air combat-readiness exercise by the People’s Liberation Army was a “solemn warning against recent collusion between the United States and Taiwan”.

The Wednesday statement was issued by the People‘s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, confirming it held live fire combat readiness exercises both in the waters and airspace around Taiwan. "It is hypocritical and futile for the United States to say one thing and do another on the Taiwan issue," the spokesman, Shi added.

During his Tokyo visit Biden surprised the media and officials by committing to defend Taiwan militarily when asked by a reporter what the US would do in the event of a Chinese invasion. The White House subsequently tried to walk back the comments, stressing that the One China status quo policy has not changed. Beijing condemned the statement, issuing its oft repeated line that the US is "playing with fire". The Biden pledge to defend Taiwan came Monday, with the PLA drills coming apparently the day after.

Mike Rowe Says Feds "Revoked" Film Permit Because Official "Didn't Like His Personal Politics"

"Dirty Jobs" television host Mike Rowe called out the General Services Administration (GSA) for canceling his production team's ability to film a new episode because of his "personal politics."

Rowe wrote a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, addressing the boilermaker workers at a facility overseen by the GSA that his permit to shoot was "suddenly revoked."

He said his film team received a call from a woman at the GSA about permits revoked for "security concerns." When asked about the security concerns, the woman had no response. She said: That decision had come down from "the very highest levels within the GSA."

They're Worried About The Spread Of Information, Not Disinformation

We’re in the final countdown to British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision on the fate of Julian Assange, with the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the United States due to be approved or rejected by the end of the month. Joe Lauria has a new article out with Consortium News on the various pressures that Patel is being faced with from both sides of this history-making issue at this crucial time.

And I can’t stop thinking, as this situation comes to a boil, about how absurd it is that the US empire is working to set a precedent which essentially outlaws information-sharing that the US doesn’t like at the same time western news media are full of hand-wringing headlines about the dangerous threat of “disinformation”.

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has an article out titled “‘Disinformation’ Label Serves to Marginalize Crucial Ukraine Facts” about the way the mass media have been spinning that label to mean not merely the knowing distribution of false information but also of information that is true but inconvenient to imperial narrative-weaving.

Sussman Trial Day 8: Ex-Clinton Lawyer Told Different Stories To Congress And FBI, Jury Hears

A lawyer representing Hillary Clinton’s campaign told members of Congress in 2017 that he took information about Donald Trump and Russia to the FBI on behalf of a client, even though he told the bureau previously that he was bringing the data on his own volition, jurors in federal court heard on May 25.

“I think it’s most accurate to say it was done on behalf of my client,” Michael Sussmann, the lawyer, told the House Intelligence Committee on Dec. 18, 2017.

Obamacare 'Time Bomb' To Hit Right Before Midterms

Congressional Democrats have yet another thing to worry about going into this year's midterm elections.

A temporary pandemic relief program aimed at lowering healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is set to expire unless Democrats can revive a reconciliation bill that extends the financial assistance past the end of the year. And that means striking a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

If they can't, roughly 13 million Americans will be hit with steep price hikes amid crippling inflation, in what Insider describes as a "time-bomb."

"There's no denying that if they are not extended, then there could definitely be a political impact," said healthcare policy analyst Charles Gaba.

Voters are set to receive notices about premium increases in late October, as they head to the ballot box for the November midterms. Others would find out during the ACA open enrollment period, which begins on November 1.

"If Congress lets the ACA premium help in the American Rescue Plan expire at the end of this year, middle-class people buying their own insurance would be hit hardest," tweeted Larry Levitt, vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Russia To Open Sea Corridors From Ukraine Ports Amid Wheat Crisis, But Warns Of Ukrainian Mines

After being accused of using the food supply as blackmail and a bargaining chip, Russia said Wednesday its military will open up protected sea corridors for international shipping to pass through from seven Ukrainian ports that have thus far been blockaded.

According to a defense ministry statement reported by Bloomberg late in the day, "Humanitarian maritime corridors from ports on the Black Sea and Azov Sea, including Odesa, will operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily."

The announcement comes two days after the head of the United Nations World Food Program David Beasley ripped Moscow for what he dubbed a "declaration of war" on global food security. He's been urging "political solution" to the crisis of blocked Black Sea ports, saying the war in 'the world's breadbasket' threatens to unleash "famine, the destabilization of nations as well as mass migration by necessity." Millions of people in 43 countries dependent on grain from the war-torn region are "knocking on famine’s door," he said.

However, Russia has stressed that its military is engaged in extensive and complex demining operations due thousands of mines dotting Ukraine's coast placed by Ukrainian forces, making international shipping dangerous and impossible. As reported in the independent Moscow Times:

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