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Thought for the day
"The supreme trick of mass insanity is that it persuades you that the only abnormal person is the one who refuses to join in the madness of others, the one who tries vainly to resist. We will never understand totalitarianism if we do not understand that people rarely have the strength to be uncommon." -- Eugene Ionesco
Judicial Watch announced today that it received previously sealed court documents, including depositions of IRS officials Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements, which show that they knew most Tea Party organizations were legally entitled to tax-exempt status in the run up to the Obama reelection in 2012.
The release comes in the December 2017 amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) filed by Judicial Watch in NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341). Judicial Watch argued that the documents sought may shed light on government misconduct, and the shielding of internal government deliberations does not serve the public’s interest.
Lerner’s and Paz’s depositions were sealed by Judge Barrett in April 2017, after Lerner’s and Paz’s lawyers claimed the two officials were receiving threats. The court finally ordered the unsealing of the depositions four years after plaintiffs requested the depositions be unsealed and only after plaintiffs filed for a writ of mandamus to force action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (In December 2017, Judicial Watch submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of plaintiffs’ request that the depositions should be unsealed.)
A Michigan Democratic congressional candidate’s former law firm claimed on its website that authorities "lead and manipulate" children in sex abuse cases to get "incriminating statements."
Carl Marlinga, the Democrat running to represent Michigan’s new 10th district in Congress, was the named partner for the criminal defense firm, the Marlinga Law Group.
The firm’s website highlighted the defense attorney services provided to clients, including those for violent crimes as well as sex crimes both online and off.
Joe Biden declared the pandemic "over" in an interview with 60 Minutes released on Sunday -- just in time for the midterms.
"The pandemic is over," Biden told CBS News' Scott Pelley. "We still have a problem with Covid. We're still doing a lot of work on it. It's -- but the pandemic is over."
Webmaster addition: "Mahi Dictum Est!" -- Official White Horse Souse (For those of you who don't speak Latin, that means 'I have spoken!'
A crazy man at a New York City McDonald’s took out an axe and demolished the restaurant during an altercation at 2:30 AM on Saturday morning.
The video of the incident went viral.
31-year-old Michael Palacios was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, three counts of menacing, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, Newsweek reported.
“Upon arrival of officers, witnesses at the location reported that the suspect got into a physical dispute with three unknown males inside of the location,” a spokesperson for the NYPD wrote in an email.
The spokesperson added: “The suspect removed an ax from his backpack and menaced the unknown males. The suspect intentionally caused property damage to the establishment. The individual was taken into custody by responding officers. A search incident to a lawful arrest, an additional knife was recovered from his backpack. Victims did not report any injuries.”
Palacios was released from jail without bail.
A feature of the modern age is Hollywood remaking or rebooting old cultural works by smearing them with elements of the new religion. Maybe they swap out the traditional male lead with a strong, independent female. Other times they will colorize a film that is set in a time and place when diversity meant variations on blue eye color. Nothing like a black Richard the Lionheart to subvert expectations.
That last bit, subverting expectations, is the cover story. When people point out the silliness of having black Vikings or a female Captain America, the usual suspects start chanting “subverting expectations” like an incantation. You see, it is not about their efforts to mock your culture. The real issue is your lack of imagination. That is why they have no choice but to subvert your expectations.
On the other side of it you find the conservatives, who insist that these things are done as a marketing gimmick to get attention. You see, according to the conservatives, these people only care about money, so they deface cultural products like classic films as a way to attract the new diverse audience by exciting the old audience. If you do not like it, just ignore it or build your own movie studio like Ben Shapiro.
One London evening in 1914, just after Great Britain had declared war on Germany, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey was in his parliamentary office talking to a journalist. This is not always advisable for today’s politicians, but in those days statesmen from Westminster and hacks from Fleet Street took dinner at the same club, or at least within the same social set, and his confidant was John Alfred Spender, editor of the influential Westminster Gazette. “The lamps are going out all over Europe,” said Sir Edward mournfully. “We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” A quotable quote, certainly, as long as we bear one thing in mind: Sir Edward was speaking figuratively.
Almost a quarter of a century later, Winston Churchill updated the phrase during a speech broadcast in America just before World War II, saying that “the lights are going out” across Europe, and referring of course to the rise of Hitler. Once again, he spoke figuratively. Eighty years after that, a man who has been called “literally Hitler” made a speech to the United Nations. In that speech, Donald Trump was not being figurative when he informed delegates that following the German energy model of almost complete reliance on power supplied by Vladimir Putin’s Russia would be ruinous. The German delegation openly mocked him. This has turned out to be unwise, particularly when you are from the country that invented the word schadenfreude.
The European Union presidency has called for an international tribunal over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The call, from the Czech Republic which currently holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, came after the discovery of hundreds of graves in Izyum, a town recently liberated by Ukrainian troops.
Many are said to be civilians, women and children among them.
"We stand for the punishment of all war criminals," Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said.
Ukraine says it believes war crimes have been committed in Izyum, where 59 bodies have been exhumed so far - with more expected from the graves in a forest at the edge of the city.
"In the 21st Century, such attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent," Mr Lipavsky said.
"We must not overlook it. We stand for the punishment of all war criminals," he said.
Webmaster addition: When have you seen a 'mass grave' with individual crosses and names on them?
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake rattled much of Taiwan on Sunday, which followed a 6.4 magnitude earthquake Saturday, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
The magnitude 6.8 quake hit around 2:44 pm local time (0644 GMT), with an epicenter in Taitung county, a town in the eastern part of the island nation. CWB said the quake was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).
The US Geological Survey initially reported that the quake registered a 7.2 magnitude but revised it to 6.9 -- still a higher reading than CWB's estimate.
Amid a two-month court battle which saw a federal judge side with a group of US Marines over the right to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine based on religious objections, the US Marine Corps has quietly dropped strict punishments for service members who are seeking exemptions.
A Sept. 14 notice reads that the "Marine Corps will not enforce any order to accept COVID-19 vaccination, administratively separate, or retaliate against Marines in the class for asserting statutory rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act."
The guidance references the temporary order blocking the Marines from taking action against individuals seeking a religious exemption.
The world’s billionaires - only 3,311 individuals - represent almost $11.8 trillion in wealth.
As Visual Capitalist's Avery Koop details below, the global billionaire population continued to grow in 2021, increasing by 3%. Over the same period, billionaire wealth also increased by 18%.
This map uses data from the Wealth-X Billionaire Census to visualize where the world’s billionaires live and breaks down their collective wealth.
Eritrea is mobilising armed forces due to the re-eruption of the conflict in northern Ethiopia, the Canadian government said on Saturday, raising fears that the fighting may intensify in a war that has already displaced millions and triggered a humanitarian disaster across northern Ethiopia.
"Local authorities have issued a general call for mobilization of armed forces in response to the conflict in northern #Ethiopia," said a Canadian travel advice tweet.
The Canadian government urged its citizens in Eritrea to limit their movements and monitor local media. It was not clear from the statement if Canada believed Eritrea was mobilising forces for offensive or defensive purposes.
Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel and Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Thousands in Haiti faced are facing water shortages after days of protest virtually halted distribution, witnesses said.
An approaching storm was causing more worry in the Caribbean country on Saturday.
Many residents of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince have been forced to shelter at home this week as gunfire broke out and burning tires blocked streets during protests over fuel price hikes and crime.
The unrest slowed or halted companies that typically deliver water in the city where daily high temperatures have been hitting 34 degrees Celcius (93 Fahrenheit).
Russian President Vladimir Putin held telephone talks with the leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan following clashes on the border of the Central Asian republics, the Kremlin said on Sunday.
"Vladimir Putin urged the sides to prevent further escalation and to take measures to resolve the situation exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means as soon as possible, and confirmed Russia's readiness to provide the necessary assistance to ensure stability in the Kyrgyz-Tajik border region."
Local leaders in Leicester have called for calm after police were deployed onto the streets of the English city following weekend confrontations between crowds of young men primarily from Hindu and Muslim communities.
The latest incident broke out on Saturday and into Sunday, with police responding to hold back crowds that flared up after "an unplanned protest", the BBC reported. It was unclear what sparked the protest.
Police said that most of those involved were in their late teens and early 20s. In a statement on Monday, Leicestershire Police said they had put in place a temporary cordon "to minimise harm and disturbance to communities".
Fifteen people were arrested on Sunday and remain in police custody, according to the statement.
The 'tentative' deal Joe Biden brokered between US freight rail firms and unions in the hopes of avoiding a massive economic disruption is at risk of collapsing.
Though the deal agreed to raise rail employees' salaries by 24 percent over five years and gave up to $11,000 in bonuses, union leaders said it remains 'intentionally' vague about sick leave and other days off.
Organizer for Railroad Workers United, Ron Kaminkow, said the average rail worker felt 'a lot of anger, confusion and hostility' towards the deal.
The average rail worker put it more bluntly: 'Workers are pissed off and this time we actually have a lot of leverage,' said one locomotive engineer, according to The Hill, 'I know I'm not going to accept anything less than what we deserve.'
Rail workers are scheduled to vote on the deal this Thursday, but if just one of the 12 railroad unions votes against the deal thousands of workers could go on strike and bring commerce to a halt across North America.
Last week's deal only addressed terms put forth by the industry's two largest union groups - the Brotherhood Of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and SMART - and did not meet all of the demands made of other groups.
Before we dive into this, it’s important to understand nitrogen and its role on Earth. The air human beings breathe is 78% nitrogen, 22% oxygen and 1% other stuff. Humans have been breathing nitrogen throughout their existence on Earth. Most nitrogen in Earth atmosphere is N2 molecules, which are mostly inert (chemically non-reactive). Nitrogen oxides, such as ammonia (NH3) and nitric oxide (NO) are the “bad” nitrogens that climate change people say will kill us all. But not having food will kill us all much quicker.
Nitrogen oxides are facts of life on Earth. Nitrous oxide (N2O), aka “laughing gas” and “whippets,” is the third-most abundant nitrogen oxide in the air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Natural sources of N2O, including the oceans and ground soil under natural vegetation, account for 62% of all N2O. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) are the two most prevalent nitrogen oxides. Most NO2 comes from tobacco smoke, stoves and heaters. The primary sources of NO are fossil fuel combustion and adding fertilizers to soil.
It’s true that the largest human contribution of nitrogen oxides is agriculture. But a 2017 study by the University of Virginia and The Organic Center found that organic farming (i.e. using manure and compost for fertilizer and no chemical pesticides) reduces new reactive nitrogen emissions by 64% versus “conventional” farming.
Yet less than 1% of U.S. farmland and only 4% of Dutch farmland is certified organic. Meanwhile giant corporations – Monsanto/BASF, DuPont/Dow, and Syngenta/ChemChina – make all those poisonous pesticides and own all seeds planted for foods via patents. These three companies control the entire global farming industry.
A member of the Afghanistan Trust Fund, Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, said that $150 Million should be delivered to the markets monthly in Afghanistan to stabilize the Afghan currency.
“Use of this fund should be done for the sole purpose of price stability to defend the value of Afghani. This process can be independently monitored and audited with an option to terminate in the event of misuse. Through this process, purchasing Afghani will increase,” he said.
Mehrabi, who is also member of Da Afghanistan Bank said that the trust fund was established in Swiss banks to preserve the Afghanistan’s Central Bank’s Assets. He said that the fund will go to Afghanistan.
“The $3.5 billion that are set aside for the benefit of Afghan people had to be protected ... and to do so, the fund for Afghan people was established,” Mehrabi said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a global food crisis aggravated by the war will be the focus of world leaders when they convene at the United Nations in New York this week, a gathering that is unlikely to yield any progress towards ending the conflict.
“It would be naive to think that we are close to the possibility of a peace deal,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday in advance of the high-level meeting of the 193 member states, which starts on Tuesday.
President Joe Biden pushed behind the scenes throughout the first year of his administration to close the Guantanamo Bay torture prison, the Wall Street Journal reports. Established in US-occupied Cuba under the George W. Bush presidency, Gitmo has a cruel legacy of America carrying out barbaric interrogation methods on mostly innocent people.
Set up in January 2002, the prison population is down to 36 from over 800. Each detainee costs American taxpayers about $15 million each year. However, many of the detainees have the US government in legal limbo. If taken to court, the methods used by the CIA’s torture program could become more public. Both Biden and his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, pledged to close the gulag.
Attempts to close the prison and transfer detainees have been met with persistent hawkish criticisms. Under pressure, Obama ultimately buckled and expanded the prison. To avoid meeting the same fate as his former boss, Biden is attempting a more covert route. However, it is unclear if the current administration will make closing Gitmo enough of a priority to get it done. Biden’s Pentagon is already moving forward with a plan from the Donald Trump administration to build a $4 million courtroom.
Hungary on Sunday pledged to meet all of its commitments made to the European Commission to unlock European Union funding after the EU executive proposed suspending some 7.5 billion euros for Hungary over corruption.
Development Minister Tibor Navracsics, in charge of negotiations with the EU, said he hoped Hungary's measures would be sufficient to convince the EU Commission that sufficient safeguards will be implemented to protect EU funds.
Corporate media somehow missed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s shocking charge, at his press conference Friday:
"We even see attempts at perpetrating terrorist attacks in the Russian Federation, including – I am not sure if this was made public – attempts to carry out terrorist attacks near our nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants in the Russian Federation. I am not even talking about the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant."
Putin was answering what seemed to be a canned question about Russia’s "restraint" amid, what the questioner called increasing "strikes, raids and acts of terror even on Russian territory. We are hearing all the time very aggressive statements that the final goal of Kiev and the West is Russia’s disintegration. Meanwhile, many think that Russia’s response to all of this is very restrained. Why is that?
Swiss legislators have given final approval for the country’s controversial purchase of F-35 fighter jets from the US, ignoring a successful petition drive that was supposed to force a public vote on the issue.
Switzerland’s lower house National Council voted to approve the $6 billion deal with US defense contractor Lockheed Martin on Thursday. The upper house, the Council of States, had previously approved the purchase of 36 F-35s.
The Swiss government, which received voter approval in 2020 to modernize the country’s fleet of fighter jets at a cost of up to $6.3 billion, reached a preliminary agreement with Lockheed Martin last year after choosing the F-35 over France’s Rafale, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the multinational Eurofighter Typhoon.
Ex-president says he warned Angela Merkel that Berlin’s dependence on Russian energy could lead to a “surrender”
Donald Trump suggested that Germany might soon cease being a country in the face of an escalating oil crisis.
During a rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday, Trump tore into his successor in the White House, taking aim at Biden’s energy policy and the so-called Green New Deal in particular. Trump claimed that the US was now independent of foreign energy sources and is on its way to becoming an independent country. “totally dominant in energy, bigger than Saudi Arabia and Russia combined,”Joe Biden reduced since the US to “begging for energy.”
Palestinian associations prepare the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, Lebanon, committed by Christian militias and the Israeli army between September 16 and 18, 1982.
The attacks on civilians "do not expire with the passage of time and constitute a bloody stain on the history of humanity," Maan Bachour, the coordinator of the civil campaign in support of Palestine in Lebanon, said and demanded compensation for the relatives of the victims.
In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, a country mired in civil war. A few months later, in September, militia members of the right-wing Phalange, in alliance with the Israeli military, raided the Sabra and Shatila camps, killing between 800 and 2,000 people. The final number of victims, however, was never established.
Forty years after Christian militiamen massacred Palestinian refugees and Lebanese nationals in the country's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, the horrors of the tragedy remain seared into survivors' memories.
Najib al-Khatib, whose father and 10 other family members were killed in the massacre, still remembers the stench of corpses.
Najib al-Khatib, 52, indicates a place that was laden with corpses after the Sabra and Shatila massacre 40 years ago
It "lingered for more than five or six months. A horrible smell," the 52-year-old Lebanese survivor said.
"They would spray chemicals every day, but the smell stayed," he said from the Sabra camp for Palestinian refugees, where he lives with his family.
From September 16 to 18, 1982, Christian militiamen allied with Israel are said to have killed between 800 and 2,000 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila camps on Beirut's outskirts. They also murdered at least 100 Lebanese and some Syrians.
Israeli troops, who had invaded in June that year as Lebanon's civil war raged, sealed off the camp while the militiamen went on their killing spree, targeting unarmed civilians.
Fortunately, nobody was injured when a massive sinkhole suddenly opened up in the middle of Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway on Saturday. However, the incident is a sobering reminder of the need for greater safety precautions. Although it is not yet completely clear what caused the sinkhole to appear, it is considered likely to be related to major construction work going on in the area, in which excavation work has diverted subterranean water flow.
The predictable result of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of the Kharkiv region was another information attack launched by the Kiev regime. Following the scenario played out in Bucha, the Ukrainian military discovered mass graves of “victims of the Russian occupation” in the city of Izyum.
In another attempt to blame the Russian military for nazism, the Ukrainian media reported on September 15: “The terrible footage are the graves of the victims of the Rashist occupation on the outskirts of Izyum. There are almost no names on the plates anywhere. Apparently, bodies are buried here from under the rubble of bombed houses, which have yet to be identified.” The reports did not mention that the town has been heavily shelled by Ukrainian artillery for about five months.
The very next day, the exhumation of corpses by the Ukrainian authorities began. About 400 bodies were reportedly found at the mass burial sites. Of course, the corpses of civilians and children with signs of torture were reportedly discovered.
The head of the Ukrainian Kharkiv administration, supported the claims: “there are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs, and one person is buried with a rope around his neck. Obviously, these people were tortured and executed. There are also children among those buried.”
Click to see full-size image
The Izyum massacre was staged just a day after EU chief Ursula von der Leyen visited Ukraine and said in an interview that she wants to see Russian President Vladimir Putin face the International Criminal Court over war crimes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his country is in talks with G-7 nations to set up a war crimes tribunal which would investigate and punish Russia and its top officials and military leaders for “war crimes”.
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” — Abraham Lincoln
It’s easy to become discouraged about the state of our nation.
We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.
It’s harder to believe that change is possible, that the system can be reformed, that politicians can be principled, that courts can be just, that good can overcome evil, and that freedom will prevail.
So where does that leave us?
The possible, even likely, collapse of the European economy would inflict some heavy costs to present European institutions. In this entry, Dr. Peter Nyberg and I detail why we believe we are likely to see some rupturing of the European Union (EU) as originally conceived.
This may occur in two ways: Either the European Union disintegrates completely, or it mutates into something unrecognizable to its original purpose. This comment concentrates on some of the factors causing disintegration.
The functioning of the EU has, until recently, been built on two political pillars that now appear to be crumbling. Primarily, German growth has made possible the joint financing (through low-cost debt, the EU budget, and the central banks’ clearing system) of unsuccessful economies without the EU forcing them to commit to politically unacceptable reforms. Beneficent global developments have made possible the concentration on economic integration while going slow on the much more contentious integration of cultural, social, and foreign policies.
The deterioration of the global economy, together with EU policies, now threaten industry and living standards in EU member states, reduce the scope of joint economic support, and force member states to rapidly evaluate their readiness for possibly radical reductions in their political self-determination. This is most evident in Italy.