Thought for the day

"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin." -- Mark Twain
"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - You may know that your society is doomed." -- Ayn Rand, 'Atlas Shrugged', 1957

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The White House announced Thursday that President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia this Monday.

The talks will mark the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since President Biden came into office in January 2021. They are expected to discuss multiple issues, including Ukraine and the simmering tensions between the US and China over Taiwan.

A senior US official said that the meeting was about better understanding each other, but major differences aren’t expected to be resolved. “One of the main objectives is really about deepening their understanding of one another’s priorities and intentions and, where possible, with the goal of reducing misunderstandings and misperceptions,” the official said, according to The South China Morning Post.

Tags: CHINA, WHITE HOUSE
Posted on: Nov 11 08:44

I felt it then. I feel far more certain of it now. My dad, who died in 1983, was a member of what came to be known as the Greatest Generation, those who served in World War II. In fact, he volunteered the day after Pearl Harbor (though he was then old enough that he might not have been drafted) and ended up in the U.S. Army Air Corps — there was no separate Air Force in those days — with the First Air Commandos fighting the Japanese in Burma.

And here was the strange thing: though he had souvenirs of that war in his closet, including an old mess kit, a duffle bag filled with papers, his major’s hat, and various wartime badges, and as a boy I was fascinated, he would never really talk about his time at war. The only exceptions were those sudden outbursts of anger because my mother had shopped at a nearby grocery store whose owners, he claimed, had been war profiteers, or later because I had gone to a Japanese restaurant or bought a German car (a Volkswagen). Mind you, I thought I knew all there was to know about his war experience because he used to take me to the war movies of the 1950s where we both watched Americans ever triumphant, ever satisfied, ever glorious — and he never said a word about them, which seemed to validate everything I saw on screen.

Tags: WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
Posted on: Nov 11 08:44

The defense sector spent over $101 million on federal lobbying during the first three quarters of 2022 and affiliates of these companies have contributed $17.5 million to members of Congress during the 2022 midterm election cycle as of Oct. 19, a new OpenSecrets analysis found.

Congress is expected to pass the largest Pentagon spending bill in history after the midterm election. A huge share of the potential $858 billion package passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee – which still needs to be approved by both the House and Senate – will likely go to companies in the defense sector. One-third to half of the money allocated to the Department of Defense and related programs went to defense contractors from 2001 to 2020, the Brown University Costs of War Project found

The lion’s share of Pentagon contracts have historically gone to five companies – Lockheed MartinRaytheonBoeingNorthrop Grumman and General Dynamics. These five companies spent $44.5 million of the total $101 million the sector has spent on federal lobbying during the first nine months of 2022.

Aerospace and defense prime contractors –those that bid to work directly with the government on certain contracts – dramatically consolidated from 51 in the 1990s to just these five companies today, according to a February report from the Department of Defense. 

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
Posted on: Nov 11 08:44

In one of the most disappointing results of Tuesday’s election, a deep-red state voted against a law that would have protected infants born alive during botched abortions.

On Tuesday, voters in Montana rejected Legislative Referendum 131, which would have required that medical treatment be given to infants who survive attempted abortions.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:42

GOP Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters are likely to make large gains as ballots continue to be counted in the Grand Canyon State.

Lake has already overcome a double-digit election night deficit to pull within less than one percentage point of rival Katie Hobbs in the governor’s race.

As of Thursday afternoon, approximately 16,700 votes separated Lake and Hobbs, down from 183,000 on Tuesday night. In the Senate race, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly leads Masters by roughly 5 percentage points or about 100,000 votes with 70 percent of the vote in.

 

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Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:41

Former Trump administration Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke won his race to represent the newly created 1st Congressional District of Montana.

The Associated Press called the race for Zinke Thursday with the former U.S. Navy SEAL defeating Democrat Monica Tranel by 49.7 percent to 46.4 percent or about 8,000 votes.

As of Thursday afternoon, Republicans had won 209 seats of the 218 needed to control the House of Representatives, while the Democrats held 191, according to The New York Times.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:39

Cohen said a poll worker removed two USB sticks from the machine before the results were completely uploaded. Because one has results on it and one does not, officials are unsure of the actual results.

Superior Court Judge David Bauman has given the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections approval to open the machines.

Tags: COMPUTERS/INTERNET, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, VOTE FRAUD
Posted on: Nov 11 08:39

A piece of NASA's fallen Challenger has been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida nearly 37 years after the craft exploded 73 seconds into flight and killing all seven astronauts aboard.

It was found by a History Channel documentary diving crew who shared footage of the find with the American space agency because the 'large humanmade object' was in 'proximity to the Florida Space Coast.'

NASA confirmed it is a segment of the heat shield that was in the nose cone of the Challenger, marking 'the first discovery of wreckage' from 1986 craft in more than 25 years,' History Channel proudly announced on Twitter Thursday.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
Posted on: Nov 11 08:21

 Infowars host Alex Jones was temporarily blocked from transferring any assets or spending money other than for ordinary living expenses by the judge overseeing the Sandy Hook defamation trial in Connecticut.

State court Judge Barbara Bellis, who oversaw the case in which a jury last month ordered Jones to pay nearly $1 billion for spreading lies about the 2012 elementary school massacre, issued the freezing order late Wednesday over concerns that he was “looting” his own estate and hiding assets through a series of shell companies owned by family members.

“With the exception of ordinary living expenses, the defendant Alex Jones is not to transfer, encumber, dispose, or move his assets out of the United States, until further order of the court,” Bellis said in the one-page order.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:19

President Joe Biden on Thursday evening said Democrats still have a hope of holding on to the House, with control still in the balance despite Republican gains.

'It's still alive,' he told reporters as he left the White House for a major trip to Egypt and on to Asia for a series of major international summits.

'It's still alive. But it's like drawing an inside straight.'

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
Posted on: Nov 11 08:19

Climate delegates were accused of hypocrisy after 400 private jets arrived in Egypt for COP27.

Numerous posts on social media criticised delegates for travelling by private jet to the UN climate summit.

Posts and reports included various estimates for the number of such planes bringing delegates to the gathering in the beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Tags: CLIMATEGATE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:13

Christine Drazan failed in her effort to become the first Republican elected governor in Oregon for 40 years on Thursday evening, when the tight race was called for opponent Tina Kotek.

Millions of dollars in backing from Nike founder Phil Knight and the impact of a former Democrat running as an independent had given Drazan a fighting chance of victory.

But with 86 percent of the vote counted, the Associated Press declared Kotek the winner, making her the second openly gay woman elected governor in the midterms.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:11

A lawyer working for Twitter warns that the social network could face billions in fines from the FTC over potential violations of the consent decree it's been under - resulting from Elon Musk's rapid-fire changes that impact user privacy.  

The note that was posted to the company's Slack and was viewable by all staffers goes on to say that its author has 'heard Alex Spiro (the current head of Legal) say that Elon is willing to take on a huge amount of risk in relation to this company and its users, because ‘Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC."'

Since taking the helm of the company, Musk has fired almost half its workforce, ended remote work for the remaining employees, said there was 'no way to sugarcoat' the firm's economic outlook and has gone back and forth with changes to its verification system and Twitter Blue. 

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA
Posted on: Nov 11 08:10

Donald Trump's attorneys urged a court to allow the special master to proceed with reviewing the 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, arguing he could experience irreparable damage without the review.

The arguments come as the Justice Department appealed the decision to let special master U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie review the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

In arguing that the special master's appointment be upheld on Thursday, attorneys James Trusty and Christopher Kise characterized the Justice Department's investigation as 'unprecedented' and as being carried out by 'the administration of his political rival.'

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:10

Riots broke out in Athens as thousands of people protested in the Greek capital in response to the soaring inflation rates befalling the country.

Molotov cocktails and rocks were thrown at Greek police on Wednesday as workers went on another general strike, walking off the job for 24 hours to demand pay hikes to alleviate the growing cost of living crisis.

The strike resulted in public transport grinding to a halt, including ferry operations to Greece’s many small islands. Public schools were also shut down and some government hospitals were forced to run at reduced capacity over staffing shortages, Euronews reported.

“We’re demanding an appropriate increase in salaries as our wages have been hit radically by such high energy prices and living costs,” Dimitris Georgiou, a telecoms worker said per The Guardian.

Tags: ECONOMY, EUROPE, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION
Posted on: Nov 11 08:09

Oil-laden tankers risk being left languishing at sea if insurers do not urgently get clarity on an unfinished G7 and European Union plan to cap the price of Russian crude, two senior industry executives told Reuters.

The Group of Seven (G7), which includes the United States, Britain, Germany and France, agreed in September to enforce a low price on sales of Russian oil.

U.S. officials said the move, which is due to start on Dec. 5, was aimed at allowing it to continue to flow, heading off a potential price shock after total EU bans were ratified in June.

And with just three weeks to go, time is running out to fully convince the shipping services industry it will work.

Tags: ECONOMY
Posted on: Nov 11 08:07

Russian President Vladimir Putin may take part in an upcoming summit of the G20 grouping of nations in Bali via video link, state news agency RIA said on Thursday, citing the Russian embassy in Indonesia.

As G20 host, Indonesia has resisted pressure from Western countries and Ukraine to withdraw its invitation to Putin and expel Russia from the group over the war in Ukraine, saying it lacks the authority to do so without consensus among members.

"The format of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's participation is being worked out," the agency quoted a diplomat as saying. "It is possible that he will take part in the summit via video conference."

Tags: ECONOMY, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
Posted on: Nov 11 07:36

Poor access to safe water has exacerbated a cholera outbreak rampaging across Syria's war-battered provinces, where local authorities are struggling to contain the spread with chlorine tablets and vaccines.

More than 35,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported across the country, according to the United Nations’ children's agency. UNICEF said only approximately 2,500 have been tested, of which nearly half were confirmed positive.

"Finding a single case of cholera means you've got an outbreak," said Zuhair al-Sahwi, the head of communicable and chronic diseases at the Syrian health ministry.

He said the curve had largely flattened, with a slowdown in the number of confirmed new cases daily.

Tags: SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE, SYRIA
Posted on: Nov 11 07:35

Ukraine will ask its foreign partners for help in funding Starlink satellite internet systems currently being provided for free by SpaceX if the company begins to demand payment, Ukraine's defence minister told Reuters on Thursday.

"We will try to find the funds. (We) have partners in different countries. We will ask them to help us, to assist us with finance aid also," Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview, when asked if Kyiv would cover the costs if SpaceX asked for payment.

Ukraine's armed forces rely on thousands of Starlink devices for connectivity on the front lines, where normal cellular signal is either missing or easily intercepted.

SpaceX owner Elon Musk, who recently acquired Twitter Inc, had previously complained publicly of the financial losses SpaceX was incurring in Ukraine, but later promised on Twitter to keep providing services "for free."

Tags: COMPUTERS/INTERNET, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
Posted on: Nov 11 07:35

Farmers are draining groundwater around Yemen's capital and removing soil to cultivate the narcotic green leaf qat that dominates life in the country, threatening to exhaust precious resources in the climate-vulnerable nation.

Chewing qat is a national pastime and demand is one of the few certainties in a nation torn apart by a seven-year war that has wrecked the economy and caused a dire humanitarian crisis and left millions facing hunger.

Qat can earn three times the revenue of any other crop but the steady cash flow comes at a heavy price. The bitter-tasting plant requires deep-well irrigation and disproportionate use of water, exacerbating Yemen's water scarcity problem.

The conflict has destroyed water infrastructure, leaving millions of people without safe water to drink or grow crops. The traditional terraced farming system, used as a source of food and livelihood in the arid and mountainous Arabian Peninsula nation, has been neglected.

Tags: MIDDLE EAST, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
Posted on: Nov 11 07:34

China has unveiled air-launched versions of its ship-based hypersonic missile and a standoff cruise missile at the Zhuhai Airshow, going on this week in the southern Guangdong province near Taiwan.

A pair of air-launched hypersonic missiles carried under the wings of a Xi’an H-6K bomber were at the show, which opened Tuesday and runs through Nov. 13.

Tags: CHINA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
Posted on: Nov 11 07:33

The family of jailed Egyptian-British activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is refusing food and water, demanded information on his health on Wednesday amid what they said were "rumours of force-feeding".

International concern has mounted since Abdel Fattah, 40, who is imprisoned in Egypt, escalated his months-long hunger strike by also declining liquids since Sunday, the start of the UN climate summit COP27 hosted by Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Tags: EGYPT, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION
Posted on: Nov 11 07:32

 Armenia ’s Defence Ministry reported Thursday that an Armenian soldier was wounded and in critical condition after being shot by Azerbaijani forces on the eastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Both sides accused each other of opening fire on border positions earlier in the week.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenia on Tuesday of not complying with the Russia-brokered peace agreement of November 2020 by not fully withdrawing its troops from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a government meeting that Azerbaijan started a “firefight” in order “to accuse Armenia.” Also on Thursday, Pashinyan proposed the creation of a demilitarized zone of three kilometers (nearly two miles) around Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in other territories bordering Azerbaijan.

Tags: ASIA, EUROPE, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
Posted on: Nov 11 07:31

Egyptian police have ordered public events and shops across the country to cease activity on Friday amid growing calls on social media urging people to join anti-government protests. 

Restrictions have been imposed on sports venues, youth centres, businesses, cafes, a film festival, and tourism offices, Middle East Eye has learned.

Incidents of police ordering shop owners to remain closed on Friday were reported in several cities. The only exception is the Cop27 summit currently taking place in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Middle East Eye reached out to five youth centres in Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Alexandria, and Asyut and each one of them refused to accept pitch booking requests citing “security reasons”. 

Tags: EGYPT, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION
Posted on: Nov 11 07:31

Three large insurance databases showed sharp increases in cases of severe brain inflammation after the Covid mRNA shots, according to a new peer-reviewed paper.

People who received the Pfizer jab or booster had a 40 to 70 percent higher chance over the next six weeks of encephalitis or encephalomyelitis. The Moderna jab carried an even higher risk after the second primary dose or a booster.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain itself, while encephalomyelitis is inflammation of nerve sheaths in the brain or spinal cord. Both can range from relatively mild conditions to serious or even fatal illnesses. The researchers reported 47 cases following Pfizer’s jab; they did not disclose an exact figure for Moderna’s.

Though the finding was published in the peer-reviewed journal Vaccine, it has received little attention – in part because the authors presented the findings in a way that made them seem less statistically robust than they were.

Tags: CONSUMER RIGHTS / PRODUCT REPORTS, SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
Posted on: Nov 11 07:28

Outraged at the military’s toppling of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government just 10 years after the start of a shaky transition to democracy, and horrified by a brutal crackdown on unarmed protesters in the immediate aftermath of the coup last year, the people of Myanmar have taken matters into their own hands. Some, like Saw Tun Moe, have gone on strike and joined the NUG’s parallel education and health services, while others have taken up arms against the military, despite very little training or weapons expertise, including by joining ethnic armed groups or newly formed civilian militias, known as the People’s Defence Forces (PDFs).

Tags: ASIA
Posted on: Nov 11 07:28

The Air Force Research Laboratory chose Colorado-based Advanced Space to build a spacecraft that will observe, detect and track objects around the moon.

The space services company won a $76 million contract for AFRL’s Oracle program, which will develop sensing, navigation and communication technology along with algorithms that could support situational awareness in cislunar orbit. Cislunar refers to the area between geostationary orbit — about 22,000 miles above the Earth’s surface — and the moon.

Tags: SCIENCE/ HEALTH/ CLIMATE/ NATURE
Posted on: Nov 11 07:26

While the world has slapped a wide variety of sanctions on Russia in the wake of Vladmir Putin’s illegal invasion and partial annexation of Ukraine, most of them have been relatively toothless. To hit Russia where it hurts, the world has to stop buying energy from the oil and gas titan. But slapping energy sanctions on the Kremlin while Europe was dependent on Russian oil and gas to keep the lights on would have been a pyrrhic victory at best. Finally, Europe is in a position to start getting serious about energy sanctions, but securing enough extra energy supply to replace Russian imports will be no easy feat.

Indeed, as Europe has inched closer to easing its energy dependence on Russia and has ramped up its sanctions on Russian energy bit by bit, the Kremlin has hit back hard, and European markets are still reeling. In early September when G7 countries agreed to impose a price cap on Russian oil, Russia responded by shutting off the flow of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline completely within a matter of hours, citing suspiciously timed maintenance.

Tags: ECONOMY, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
Posted on: Nov 11 07:25

Russia’s national security chief visiting Iran discussed Ukraine and ways to combat "Western interference" in their internal affairs with his Iranian counterpart.

Russia's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin met with Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Russian state news agencies said.

Nour News Agency, affiliated with the Iranian Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), announced in an English tweet that Patrushev was invited by Shamkhani, adding that he will also hold meetings with other high-ranking Iranians to discuss cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

Tags: IRAN, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA
Posted on: Nov 11 07:23

California is the place to go for people that want to experience what it is like to live in a liberal utopia where ordinary people pay big bucks in taxes to support the wasted life of the liberal ruling over them.

But it is also where obscene organizations are popping up and acting like experts in fields of debauchery.

One school District has decided to take funds away from education and pay them to an organization that promotes experts on training staff to understand how a transgender family setup works.

The Transfamily Support Services willingly accepted the money and the invite to come on campus in the Poway Unified School District PUSD in Poway, California. The District intends to pay $3,000 a year for people to go and teach what it means to be transgender.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, EDUCATION
Posted on: Nov 11 07:22