Thought for the day

"The problem we face today is that the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856- 1950)

When it comes to the National Archives, history has a funny way of repeating itself. And legal experts say a decade-old case over audio tapes that Bill Clinton once kept in his sock drawer may have significant impact over the FBI search of Melania Trump's closet and Donald Trump's personal office.

The case in question is titled Judicial Watch v. National Archives and Records Administration and it involved an effort by the conservative watchdog to compel the Archives to forcibly seize hours of audio recordings that Clinton made during his presidency with historian Taylor Branch.

For pop culture, the case is most memorable for the revelation that the 42nd president for a time stored the audio tapes in his sock drawer at the White House. The tapes became the focal point of a 2009 book that Branch wrote.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington D.C. ultimately rejected Judicial Watch's suit by concluding there was no provision in the Presidential Records Act to force the National Archives to seize records from a former president.

But Jackson's ruling — along with the Justice Department's arguments that preceded it — made some other sweeping declarations that have more direct relevance to the FBI's decision to seize handwritten notes and files Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. The most relevant is that a president's discretion on what are personal vs. official records is far-reaching and solely his, as is his ability to declassify or destroy records at will.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:20

Anthony Fauci

Tens or even hundreds of thousands more people all around the world are dying every week compared to pre-plandemic levels. And all available evidence points to Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) “vaccines” as the culprit.

Excess deaths, as they call them, continue to spike in nearly every industrialized country that pushed the shots on their populations. It is happening in the United Kingdom, Nordic Europe and North America – all places where Operation Warp Speed mass vaccination took place.

The numbers get a little hairy depending on which datasets you use as governments have been working overtime trying to conceal the truth. A deeper probe of the data, however, and it starts to show.

Unvaccinated people, meanwhile, are staying alive and, in most cases, are thriving while their “fully vaccinated” counterparts continue to develop VAIDS (vaccine-induced AIDS) or drop dead from “sudden adult death syndrome,” also known as SADS.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:19

Oil prices eased on Thursday, reversing course from the previous session, as rising output from Russia and worries about a potential global recession weighed on futures.

Brent crude futures fell 33 cents, or 0.4%, to $93.32 a barrel. U.S. crude futures fell 40 cents, or 0.5%, to $87.71 a barrel.

Prices rose more than 1% during the previous session, although Brent touched its lowest level since February.

Futures have fallen over the past few months, as investors have pored over economic data that has spurred concerns about a potential recession that could hurt energy demand.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:18

Aman arrested at Queen Elizabeth's Windsor Castle home on Christmas Day last year wearing a mask and holding a crossbow told security "I am here to kill the queen", a British court heard on Wednesday.

Jaswant Singh Chail, 20, who has been charged under Britain's Treason Act, had spent months planning the attack and trying to gain access to the royal family, London's Westminster Magistrates' Court was told.

Prosecutors said Chail, from Southampton in southern England, recorded a video before he entered the grounds of the castle to the west of London where the 96-year-old monarch mostly resides. She was there on the day of the intrusion.

"I am sorry for what I have done and what I will do. I am going to attempt to assassinate Elizabeth, queen of the royal family," he said in the video, in which he was seen holding a crossbow and wearing a face covering.

Audience at Windsor Castle

Britain's Queen Elizabeth presents the George Cross to representatives of the National Health Service Caroline Lamb, Chief Executive NHS Scotland, and Eleanor Grant, Palliative Care Nurse, Specialist University Hospital Wishaw, NHS Lanarkshire, during an audience at Windsor Castle, Windsor, Britain July 12, 2022.

"This is revenge for those who died in the 1919 massacre," Chail said, referring to an incident when British troops shot dead nearly 400 Sikhs in their holy city of Amritsar in northwestern India.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:18

British consumer price inflation jumped to 10.1% in July, its highest since February 1982, up from an annual rate of 9.4% in June, intensifying the squeeze on households, official figures showed on Wednesday.

The increase was above all economists' forecasts in a Reuters poll for inflation to rise to 9.8% in July, and will do nothing to ease the Bank of England's concerns that price pressures may become entrenched.

Despite warning that a recession was likely, the BoE earlier this month raised its key interest rate by 0.5% to 1.75% - its first half-point rise since 1995. It forecast inflation would peak at 13.3% in October, when regulated household energy prices are next due to rise.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:16

British two-year government bond yields surged on Wednesday to their highest level since the depths of the global financial crisis almost 14 years ago as stronger-than-expected inflation data fuelled bets on further Bank of England interest rate hikes.

Annual consumer price inflation jumped to 10.1% in July from 9.4% in June, official data showed on Wednesday, above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists and its highest since February 1982.

Two-year gilt yields rose more than 30 basis points on the day to hit a peak of 2.453% at 1216 GMT, breaking past a previous high set on June 21 to reach their highest level since November 2008, and were trading at 2.38% at 1434 GMT.

Financial markets are fully pricing in that the Bank of England will raise its main interest rate by at least half a percentage point to 2.25% - which would be its second big rate hike in a row - at the end of its next meeting on Sept. 15.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:16

Wall Street stocks sagged Wednesday as the market's July and August rally showed signs of fatigue, while European bourses were pressured by British inflation data.

US retail sales flatlined at $682.8 billion in July as gasoline prices retreated from record levels while American consumers boosted spending on furniture, food, electronics and at online stores.

Earnings from big-box US chains were also mixed, with Lowe's topping profit estimates but Target suffering a big drop in earnings as the retailer contends with rising costs.

All three major US indices retreated, with the S&P 500 shedding 0.7 percent.

"The market had been overbought, coming into this week," said Quincy Krosby of LPL Financial, who added that investors were trying to "digest" recent gains.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:15

U.S. retailer Walmart Inc. on Monday made a deal with Paramount Global to deliver the Paramount+ streaming service to the subscribers of its membership program in a bid to improve the competition with Inc.

Members of Walmart+ will access Paramount's "essential" plan, which costs $4.99 per month and includes commercials. It also offers a $9.99-per-month service without ads.

Paramount+ offers original series and popular movies from brands and production studios, including BET, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and several sporting leagues such as UEFA Champions League.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:14

American Unexceptionalism: 'The World Is Laughing At Us' - Woke Air Force Hosts Drag Show Event For Kids

The United States Air Force hosted a "kid-friendly" drag show at their Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) on Saturday as part of their "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summer Festival."

The drag show was hosted by Joshua Kelley, who performs under the name "Harpy Daniels – The Navy Drag Queen." Children were encouraged to attend the festival, as the website advertised "bouncy houses and face painting for the children."

Posted on: Aug 18 08:13

The Commerce Department has done little to halt the export of technology-related products to China despite the White House and Congress pushing to restrict tech transfers that could benefit the Chinese Communist Party.

The Commerce Department has approved the vast majority of technology-based export requests being shipped to China, according to data examined by the Wall Street Journal. Of the $125 billion in exports sent from the United States to China, just half a percent needed a license or approval. And of that half-percent, most were approved. The approval rate was revealed as the U.S. efforts to add pressure on innovation to fight China's race further to exceed the U.S. in innovation.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:12

A flurry of Turkish drone strikes in and around Kobane continued apace Tuesday, with at least 17 reported killed so far. This includes three Syrian soldiers and an unspecified number of Kurdish militia members.

That’s just the start of the Turkish action, as following the strikes, Turkish military forces crossed the border and started taking up positions inside northern Syria.

Turkey has been threatening a new round of offensives against the Kurds, saying it could begin “at any time.”

This would be just the latest in years of Turkish invasions of Iraq and Syria, almost always centered on going after Kurdish groups. Warnings from local mosques and social media warned residents not to leave their homes, and reiterated the view that the Kurds are in “terrorist organizations.”

Posted on: Aug 18 08:04

Should a human rights organization apologize for publishing important evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses?

If it does apologize, what does that suggest about its commitment to dispassionately uncovering the truth about the actions of both parties to war? And equally, what message does it send to those who claim to be “distressed” by the publication of such evidence?

Those are questions Amnesty International should have pondered far more carefully than it obviously did before issuing an apology last week over its latest report on the war in Ukraine.

In that report, Amnesty accused Ukrainian forces of committing war crimes by stationing troops and artillery in or near schools, hospitals and residential buildings, thereby using civilians effectively as human shields. Such practices by Ukrainian soldiers were identified in 19 different towns and villages.

These incidents did not just theoretically endanger civilians. There is evidence, according to Amnesty, that return fire by Russian troops on these Ukrainian positions led to non-combatants being killed.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:04

After an ugly overnight session turned uglier at the cash equity open, the US majors all spiked on the FOMC Minutes - for no good reason - then puked it all back into the close to end the day down relatively hard. Small Caps were the worst with the Dow the prettiest horse in the glue factory (but still lower on the day)...

Posted on: Aug 18 08:03

Under a recent court orderTwitter is now required to provide Elon Musk with access to documents compiled by a former executive that Musk says is a key figure in calculating the number of fake accounts that permeate the platform. 

The executive, former General Manager of Consumer Product Kayvon Beykpour, quickly disappeared from the halls of Twitter in April of this year when it was announced that Musk would be seeking to purchase the company. Beykpour was described in Musk's court filings as one of the executives "most intimately involved with" determining the amount of spam and bot accounts on Twitter.  Though the court denied Musk access to 21 other people involved in the company, it would appear that the battle over the social media giant is just beginning. 

Musk has accused Twitter of misrepresenting their user numbers, which they claimed only made up around 5% of their total traffic.  Musk asserted that the amount of bots was much higher, and noted that Twitter seemed to be stalling access to vital data while trying to rush litigation in a bid to force a sale before the company had to relinquish all the required information. 

Posted on: Aug 18 08:02

A group of family members of 9/11 victims has sent a letter to President Biden urging him to return the $7 billion in frozen Afghan reserves held by the US Federal Reserve to the Afghan people.

Earlier this year, President Biden signed an executive order that would make $3.5 billion of the Afghan funds available to 9/11 families. But in the letter that was sent Tuesday, 77 family members of 9/11 victims said receiving that money would be “morally wrong.”

The letter reads: “Any use of the $7 billion to pay off 9/11 family member judgments is legally suspect and morally wrong. We call on you to modify your Executive Order and affirm that the Afghanistan central bank funds belong to the Afghan people and the Afghan people alone.”

US officials said this week that the Biden administration has decided not to return any of the $7 billion to Afghanistan and suspended talks with the Taliban on the issue. One year since the Taliban’s takeover of the country, Afghanistan is facing a dire humanitarian crisis, with millions of Afghans facing starvation.

Posted on: Aug 18 08:01

Below is my column in USA Today on the diminishing role of Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department after a series of controversies.

As a well-known moderate, many of us had hoped that Garland could be a unifying presence at the Department; assuring a divided nation that justice would be pursued in an even-handed and apolitical fashion.

Yet, in controversy after controversy, Garland has failed to take modest steps to make such assurances.

After well documented cases of bias and false statements by FBI and DOJ officials in past investigations, there was a clear need for greater transparency and independence in investigations. Garland has consistently swatted away such options. This week, Garland stayed on that path and refused to release any part of the affidavit used as the basis for the search of Mar-a-Lago. This included the possible issuance of a redacted copy or even responses to specific concerns over the timing or basis for the search. While Trump has called for the release of the affidavit, Garland will not even release those sections dealing with the account of the prior discussions and agreements with the Team Trump. There is little proactive effort to anticipate or address such concerns as vividly shown in the last week.

Here is the column:

Posted on: Aug 18 08:01

Iran on Wednesday said that it is prepared for an unconditional prisoner swap with the US and said they were ready to work on the issue regardless of the status of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“The Islamic Republic has, through various channels, repeatedly announced its readiness to the American side to address the issue of the prisoners regardless of the JCPOA,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, according to Iran’s PressTV.

Iran’s offer came a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that 50-year-old Iranian-American Siamak Namazi has been in prison in Iran for 2,500 days. Several other US citizens are detained in Iran, and Tehran seeks the release of over a dozen Iranians that have been arrested in the US.

Many Iranians jailed in the US have been arrested over allegations that they violated sanctions. Kanaani said that Iran wants to help free Iranians who have “fallen victim to the injustice [practiced] by the US’s legal establishment based on the hollow accusation of [them] violating the oppressive and illegal American sanctions.”

Tags: IRAN
Posted on: Aug 18 07:58

The U.S. pharmaceutical giant Moderna has finalised arrangements with the Australian and Victorian governments to build the world’s first mRNA production facility located on a university campus.

An aerial view of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 21, 2002. (Getty Images)

The construction at Melbourne’s Monash University is expected to commence at the end of 2022, with production anticipated to begin by the end of 2024.

The company said that the facility is expected to produce up to 100 million mRNA respiratory vaccine doses annually, targeting respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, “and other potential respiratory viruses, pending licensure.”

Posted on: Aug 18 07:58

Last month FBI director Christopher Wray recalled at a speaking event in London that many Western companies were caught flat-footed at the moment of Russia's assault on Ukraine. "There were a lot of western companies that had their fingers still in that door when it slammed shut," Wray said of the Feb.24 massive military offensive.

But then he quickly transitioned to potential parallels over simmering Taiwan tensions: "If China does invade Taiwan, we could see the same thing again, at a much larger scale. Just as in Russia, western investments built over years could become hostages, capital stranded, supply chains and relationships disrupted," he said at the time.

And yet since that mid-July speech, the stakes and pressure have grown by leaps and bounds following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August 2nd-3rd visit to Taiwan, leading a Congressional delegation as the highest ranking American official to go there in 25 years, which triggered over a week of Chinese military and live-fire exercises which encircled the self-ruled island. 

Already, according to a fresh Wednesday announcement Apple is in the process of moving production of its MacBook and Apple Watch to Vietnam in a major development, though Apple and China have been inextricably linked for close to two decades. As TechCrunch details, "According to Nikkei Asia, Luxshare Precision Industry, Apple's Chinese supplier, and Foxconn, a Taiwan-based supplier, have begun test production of the Apple Watch in northern Vietnam."

Posted on: Aug 18 07:57

A top German official has trashed people who may be planning to protest against energy blackouts as “enemies of the state” and “extremists” who want to overthrow the government.

The interior minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Herbert Reul (CDU), says that anti-mandatory vaxx and anti-lockdown demonstrators have found a new cause – the energy crisis.

In an interview with German news outlet NT, Reul revealed that German security services were keeping an eye on “extremists” who plan to infiltrate the protests and stage violence, with the unrest being planned via the Telegram messenger app, which German authorities have previously tried to ban.

“You can already tell from those who are out there,” said Reul. “The protesters no longer talk about coronavirus or vaccination. But they are now misusing people’s worries and fears in other fields. (…) It’s almost something like new enemies of the state that are establishing themselves.”

Despite the very real threat of potential blackouts, power grid failures and gas shortages, Reul claimed such issues were feeding “conspiracy theory narratives.”

Webmaster addition: We will see this in the US soon.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:56

Candy maker Mars Canada Inc. has won a lawsuit against marijuana dealers who sold their cannabis-laced edibles online under the guise of Skittles.

Cannabis plants grow inside of Thrive Cannabis' production facility in Simcoe, Ontario, on April 13, 2021. (Tara Walton/The Canadian Press)

In a federal court ruling on Aug. 12, three cannabis retailers were ordered to pay Mars a total of $144,600 after they were found infringing the candy maker’s trademarks by marketing and selling THC-infused edibles in Canada with logo and packaging “almost identical” to official Skittles products.

The defendants West Coast Supply, Shrooms Online, and Flash Buds must each pay Mars $15,000 for breach of the Trademarks Act, $30,000 in punitive damages, and $3,200 in costs, Justice Patrick Gleeson wrote in his ruling, as first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter.

The judge condemned the conduct of the dealers, while noting they have “organized their online activities in a manner that protects their anonymity.”

I agree with the Plaintiff and find the Defendants’ efforts to remain anonymous support the conclusion that they had knowledge of the unlawful nature of their activity,” Gleeson said.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:55

In the nearly 20 years since the supersonic Concorde was retired, a new aeronautics company has developed a "sustainable" new airplane, that will shuttle between 60 and 80 passengers up to nearly 5,000 miles at a time, flying at Mach 1.7.

Denver-based Boom Supersonic has developed the "Overture," which will run on "100% sustainable aviation fuel" (SAF), powering four smaller wing-mounted engines to keep weight and temperature balanced. It will also incorporate carbon composite materials for a lightweight, yet robust air frame.

The company has already scored contracts from the US Air Force and two airlines - with United Airlines committing to 15 aircraft once safety requirements are met, as well as an option to purchase 35 more. Japan Airlines has also pre-ordered 20 of them, while the company is creating custom applications for the government.

SAF uses different types of waste products, such as used cooking oil to animal fat, to deliver the same performance as conventional jet fuel - just with a (claimed) reduced carbon footprint.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:53

As consumers are grappling with inflation, trying to cut down on non-essential spending, Disney served its fans another tough pill to swallow. The company announced that it’s raising the prices of Disney+ and Hulu later this year. The move comes as part of a broader restructuring of its streaming options, as Disney is simultaneously launching an ad-supported tier, which will keep the $7.99 price tag of the current ads-free subscription. The existing premium tier will be priced at $10.99 starting in December, up almost 40 percent from its current price.

As Statista's Felix Richter notes, Disney’s decision to raise its streaming prices comes just a few months after market leader Netflix took a similar step.

In January, Netflix had announced the second price increase in less than two years, bringing the price of its standard plan to $15.49 per month. The latest price increases come at an unpleasant time for consumers, who now face some tough choices when it comes to their entertainment budgets.

Webmaster addition: The biggest annoyance with the streaming providers is the many delays to get content, with HBO Max being the worst I have experienced.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:51

Russia's Black Sea fleet based in annexed Crimea has installed a new commander, RIA news agency cited sources as saying on Wednesday, after Russian military bases on the peninsula were rocked by explosions in the past nine days.

If confirmed, the removal of the previous commander Igor Osipov would mark the most prominent sacking of a military official in the nearly six months since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in which it has suffered heavy losses in men and equipment.

State-owned RIA cited the sources as saying the new chief, Viktor Sokolov, was introduced to members of the fleet's military council in the port of Sevastopol.

One source said it was "normal" that the appointment was not publicly announced at a time when Russia was conducting what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:49

Of the 123 million Americans alive in 1929 at least 3 million starved to death, some demographers say maybe 4 to 7 million.

A Depression is a period in time when Unpayable Debts are cancelled en masse. In 1923 Germany cancelled debts through hyperinflation. In 1933 America 31% of our money supply was cancelled in bankruptcy courts and in foreclosures.

We have a debt based system which means that we are not allowed to have money unless we first take out a loan. Bankers gave themselves the right to charge us interest on checking account money they made out of nothing. Americans starved to death due to debt cancellation and the lack of borrowing until WW II.

Alternatively, we could have a non-interest bearing currency like Lincoln’s Greenbacks. Dr Irving Fisher in the 1920s suggested that we not only issue Greenbacks but also ban fractional reserve banking, which would have ended all those bank runs in the 1930s.

He called his proposal 100% money. He could have ended the Depression in 90 days, saved us from starvation and also from a lot of unwanted wars. He also would have stopped the exploitation of interest which under the present system transfers all wealth from Main Street which does all the work to Wall Street parasites who collect interest on the money they created out of nothing.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:47

Scientists believe there is a one in six chance of a major volcanic eruption this century which could dramatically change the world's climate and put millions of lives in danger.

When the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted off the shore of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean in January, the blast was so huge that tsunamis hit the shores of Japan, North America and South America and Tonga itself suffered damage equating to almost a fifth of its entire GDP.

But an analysis of ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica by a team at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen found that a magnitude 7 volcanic eruption - which could be 10 to 100 times bigger than the one recorded in January - is a distinct possibility for this century.

Webmaster addition: "We need a volcano tax!!" -- Official White Horse Souse

Posted on: Aug 18 07:44

On June 10th, The Guardian’s Mark Townsend published an article headlined “Russia-backed network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified.” (“Russia-backed” has since been removed).

The article is based on what Townsend calls a “new analysis” that “reveals” a “network more than two dozen conspiracy theorists, frequently backed by a coordinated Russian campaign.” This network, Townsend claims, is “focused on the denial or distortion of facts about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and on attacking the findings of the world’s foremost chemical weapons watchdog,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). According to Townsend, I am named “as the most prolific spreader of disinformation” among the nefarious bunch.

In hawking this purported exposé of “disinformation”, Townsend violated every basic standard of journalism. He did not contact me before publishing his allegations; fails to offer a shred of evidence for them; and does not cite a single example of my alleged “prolific” disinformation. Instead, Townsend bases his claims entirely on a think-tank report  that also provides no evidence, nor even assert that I have said anything false. In the process, Townsend failed to disclose that the report’s authors — the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the Syria Campaign — are groups funded by the US government and other belligerents in the Syria proxy war. To top it off, Townsend fabricates additional allegations that his state-funded sources do not even make.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:43

A former Yemeni foreign minister said that France is preparing to secure the Balhaf facility in Yemen's unstable Shabwa province for the export of gas.

The Balhaf gas facility in Yemen's Shabwa province in June 2010

The key Yemeni liquefied natural gas facility at Balhaf is being used as a base by UAE troops [MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images-archive]

France could be gearing up to help protect a gas facility in Yemen to allow for exports in a bid to cut Europe's reliance on Russia, according to an ex-Yemeni foreign minister.

Abubaker Alqirbi tweeted in Arabic on Tuesday that "information is coming in" about "preparations being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility" and that this "could be the reason for events in Shabwa" and moves made by France.

Yemeni government forces recently clashed with UAE-backed southern separatist forces in gas-rich Shabwa province, where Balhaf is located, last week, leading to dozens of civilian and combatant casualties.

Posted on: Aug 18 07:42

The Met police has been asked to investigate Britons joining the Israeli army and potentially committing war crimes, but Richard Sudan explains that we shouldn't hold our breath given the UK’s history of double standards when it comes to Israel.


The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) highlighted reports of UK citizens being recruited by Israel to participate in military operations via the Mahal Volunteer programme. [GETTY]

Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police’s War Crime Unit, part of the Counter Terrorism Command (CTC), confirmed that it received “incredibly harrowing material” and eye witness accounts from those on the front line in the Ukraine war.

Scotland Yard subsequently stated that it would work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its probe to identify potential war crimes which may have taken place.

Speaking to the media about the evidence they had received, one officer working on the investigation as part of CTC said that “[i]n not far off 17 years in counterterrorism, (it is) some of the worst possible footage you could imagine seeing.”

Posted on: Aug 18 07:40