At the recent annual gathering of global elites in Davos, Saudi Foreign Minister Mohammad Al-Jaddan suggested that the kingdom was open to selling its energy exports to China in Renminbi.
This got the attention of petroleum economists and central bankers alike as both know that, for the last 48 years, Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf Arab states have been pricing and selling their crude exports exclusively in U.S. dollars.
Indeed, it was Richard Nixon’s Treasury Secretary William Simon who struck what was then a secret plan with the Saudis to essentially bankroll America’s widening trade deficits by pricing their oil sales in greenbacks and thereby increasing the amount of dollars in circulation and enhancing the dollar’s position as the global reserve currency. In return, Saudi Arabia would have unique access to U.S. military assistance and equipment.
This bargain made a lot of sense when the United States was the world’s largest importer of Saudi crude. This is no longer the case today, however, as it has been supplanted by China. In fact, China is not only the largest importer of crude and petrochemicals from the kingdom, it is also the largest purchaser of crude and petroleum products from all the Persian Gulf countries.
The past month has been nothing less than traumatic for the Palestinian people.
The massacre in Jenin, ongoing invasions, arrests, home demolitions; 36 people have been killed, eight of them children. Adam Ayyad, 15, was aware that a Palestinian under Israeli apartheid is always a potential target. The handwritten will he carried in his pocket the day he was shot began with the following words: “There were a lot of things I wished I could do, but we live in a country where realizing your dreams is impossible.”
Palestinians are enduring the rise to power of one of the most brazenly racist and brutal governments in the Israeli state’s history.
As soon as Prime Minister Netanyahu had received congratulations from Italy’s fascist prime minister Georgia Meloni and Hungary’s far-right prime minister Victor Orban, who encouraged him that “hard times require strong leaders […] It’s time to do big things,” and had sent condolences to his “dear friend,” India’s Prime Minister and hindutva strongman Narendra Modi, the government went straight to work against Palestinians.
The 1619 Project’s most harebrained idea is that the American Revolution was fought to preserve slavery. Slavery was barbaric, especially in the more southern states. But there was little slavery in the northern colonies, and they would not have risked their lives for its preservation.
The 1619 storyline could not have passed the laugh test unless many Americans were clueless on the British brutality that sparked the war.
Arthur Schlesinger Jr., President John F. Kennedy’s court historian and a revered liberal intellectual, declared in 2004, “Historians today conclude that the colonists were driven to revolt in 1776 because of a false conviction that they faced a British conspiracy to destroy their freedom.” But the British imposition of martial law, suspension of habeas corpus and censorship were not simply deranged fantasies of Thomas Jefferson.
Slavery did help spark the revolution, but it was “slavery by Parliament” — a common derisive phrase in founding-era America. The Declaratory Act of 1766 announced that Parliament “had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.”
A HIGH-DOLLAR INVESTOR in New York who generously supported George Santos’s congressional campaigns and related committees also bankrolled a group in Los Angeles seeking to oust the city’s progressive prosecutor.
Andrew Intrater, a Republican donor based in New York, has given more than $221,000 to George Santos’s congressional campaigns and related groups. In 2020, Santos claimed that Intrater was a client of his. Intrater also put more than half a million dollars into Santos’s previous employer, a company called Harbor City Capital that the Securities and Exchange Commission accused of operating a Ponzi scheme in 2021.
The mendacious New York House member, though, wasn’t Intrater’s only political interest. His focus apparently also includes local politics in California, where he gave $25,000 in seed money to a political action committee opposing Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón.
THE MEMPHIS POLICE Department unit that beat 29-year-old Tyre Nichols during a January 7 traffic stop was part of a division that operated with an annual budget of more than $28 million a year from the time of its creation in 2021 until it was disbanded over the weekend.
The department shut down the unit the day after police released body-camera footage of members of the unit beating Nichols to near the point of death. The father, skateboarder, and photographer died three days later in the hospital from injuries inflicted by the police.
The Memphis police unit, Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, or SCORPION, is part of a trend in policing in which highly armed groups of police are dispatched to “high-crime” areas that tend to be home to Black and brown residents.
The specialized units have been popping up all over the country, proposed in response to reports of rising violent crime. Some of the anti-crime units have been accused of excessive force; in the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Kentucky, police in 2020, that force was deadly. In addition, the units, as in the case of SCORPION in Memphis, are expensive to maintain, rekindling a national debate about the funding of police departments.
“The SCORPION unit is what ‘fund the police’ rhetoric looks like in reality,” Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell said in a statement to The Intercept. “Instead of pouring more money into militarized forces that brutalize, terrorize, and even murder, we should fund libraries, after-school programs, good jobs, and other investments proven to keep us safe.”
A FILING IN FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings is shedding light on the true extent of the crypto-trading powerhouse’s influence-peddling operation. Last week, FTX filed its creditor matrix, a document that lists former vendors and investors to the company.
The list includes nearly a dozen public relations experts — specialists who generate positive spin in the media on behalf of clients — as well as political consultants, think tanks, and trade groups.
Sometimes, the money went directly to political operations; Majority Forward, a dark-money group designed to elect Senate Democrats, received cash. In some cases, the hired guns, such as PR firms, were paid directly for their services. In others, the groups that received donations maintain that they are independent, but had interests aligned with FTX.
The filing, for instance, listed a donation to the Center for a New American Security, a prominent national security-focused think tank in Washington, D.C., that has worked to shape crypto regulations.
Washington and Manila are close to inking an agreement that would see four new American installations opened in the Philippines. The new sites are part of an American military buildup in the Indo-Pacific to prepare for war with China.
According to The Washington Post, negotiations are ongoing but a deal between Manila and Washington is nearing completion. Once completed, American forces are expected to have new sites at four Philippines bases.
Two of the new facilities will be located in Luzon, in the northern half of the country. The military sites are expected to be used in a future war between Washington and Beijing. The bases “could give U.S. forces a strategic position from which to mount operations in the event of a conflict in Taiwan or the South China Sea,” the Post reported.
In 2012, then-President Barack Obama adopted a more aggressive policy for China, the “pivot to Asia,” the largest military build up since World War II. Under the strategy, Washington has authorized billions of dollars for new bases, ships and weapons to be deployed to the Asia Pacific. The Pentagon aims to encircle China with two thirds of all U.S. air and naval forces.
The US Navy has stopped commissioning decompression sickness experiments on sheep that allegedly subjected the animals to horrible pain and injuries, including paralysis and cardiovascular collapse, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has said.
The animal rights group claimed a victory on Wednesday, saying the tests were halted as much as two years ahead of schedule amid lobbying efforts and legal action. The experiments were done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under a $389,000 grant from the Navy. “It’s a victory that will prevent more sheep from being abused in horribly painful tests,” the group said of the halt.
Webmaster addition: I smell a Pork Barrel here. The effects of rapid decompression have been known for 50 years. I don't see how continuing these experiments would produce significant new data. PETA did a good thing here.
The State Department notified Congress early last year that it would be opening an embassy in the Soloman Islands around the same time the Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific Strategy.
The strategy calls for the US to expand its military and diplomatic presence in the region as part of a buildup aimed at China. The US previously operated an embassy in the Solomon Islands, but it closed in 1993. According to The Associated Press, the new embassy is starting small with a chargé d’affaires and only two State Department staff and a handful of local employees.
Webmaster addition: I wonder if the US "exit" strategy to leave Ukraine is to start the war with China!
The leaders of the Marshall Islands, a collection of 29 coral atolls lying halfway between Hawaii and Australia, know exactly why the United States just agreed to a deal promising $700 million in new support over four years.
“It’s because of China. We’re not naive,” Marshallese Foreign Minister Kitlang Kabua said in an interview at a restaurant close to the country’s parliament in the capital of Majuro. It offered a view of a vast lagoon speckled with rusted fishing ships that bring in tuna, and the coconut palms that fringe the thin circle of land that makes up the Marshalls’ main atoll.
Fishing and harvesting are not, however, sufficient to support the country’s population of about 80,000.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) released a report on 31 January detailing the developments taking place across Israeli prisons over the past hours, which come in the aftermath of Israel’s massacre in Jenin and the subsequent Palestinian retaliation in Jerusalem.
According to the PPS, authorities in the Israeli Damon prison carried out a ‘massive crackdown’ on female prisoners, resulting in physical assaults against them and the unwarranted confiscation of their belongings.
In Negev prison, “a state of extreme tension prevails,” as 120 prisoners from sections 26 and 27 of the facility announced yesterday that they will be starting a hunger strike in protest of the collective punishment against them and of being stripped of basic necessities by prison authorities.
The report adds that over the past three days and continuing on into today, the Israeli prisons of Ofer, Negev, Megiddo, and Damon have witnessed extreme tension, as authorities continue to violently storm the prisoners’ sections and strip them of their belongings.
Webmaster addition: Collective punishment is a war crime.
And now for some Tuesday humor, brought to you by the US Treasury Department, which sees no indication whatsoever that US funds have been misused in Ukraine, following last week's massive political shake-up wherein some dozen top Ukrainian officials were booted from their posts amid persistent corruption, embezzlement and fraud allegations so glaring it even shocked the Ukrainians.
"We have no indication that U.S. funds have been misused in Ukraine," Treasury spokesperson Megan Apper said in Treasury's first comments since the 'shock' resignations.
In the official statement given to Reuters, the US government also hailed the supposed "safeguards" which the Ukrainians have put in place, though without actually specifying any: "We welcome the ongoing efforts by the Ukrainian authorities to work with us to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place so that U.S assistance reaches those for whom it is intended," Apper said.
Webmaster addition: Wow! I don't recall ever seeing a government agency move that fast before!!! Just one week to look through all those financial transactions involving billions of dollars! Who would have thunk it, especially from the government that lost $3 trillion just before 9/11!
A total of 35 Palestinians were killed by Israelis in January, making it the deadliest month for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since 2015.
Six of the fatalities were under the age of 18, with the youngest being 14-year-old Omar Lotfi Khumour. The victims also included 60-year-old Majda Abdel Fattah Obaid, who was reportedly shot dead while reading the Quran inside her home.
The vast majority were shot dead by Israeli troops, while three were killed by settlers.
More than half of those killed were in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, which, along with Nablus, has been the focus of near-nightly search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces since last year.
Israeli violence in the West Bank has been getting more deadly and frequent, prompting a rise in armed Palestinian resistance.
According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada.
On January 17, the Saudi minister of finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, announced that the Saudi state is open to selling oil in currencies other than the dollar. “There are no issues with discussing how we settle our trade arrangements, whether it is in the US dollar, whether it is the euro, whether it is the Saudi riyal,” Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg TV.
If the Saudi regime does indeed embrace substantial trade in currencies other than the dollar as part of its oil-export business, this would signal a shift away from the dollar as the dominant currency in global oil payments. Or measured another way, this would signal the end of the so-called petrodollar.
Will a shift away from the dollar in the global oil trade really lead to a big relative decline in the dollar? Probably and eventually. But a number of other dominoes would need to fall first, most especially the domino we call “Eurodollars.”
We previously discussed the movement in journalism schools to get rid of principles of objectivity in journalism. Advocacy journalism is the new touchstone in the media even as polls show that trust in the media is plummeting. Now, former executive editor for The Washington Post Leonard Downie Jr. and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward have released the results of their interviews with over 75 media leaders and concluded that objectivity is now considered reactionary and even harmful. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, editor-in-chief at the San Francisco Chronicle said it plainly: “Objectivity has got to go.”
President Biden has initiated a pistol brace ban via executive action—formally an ATF rule entitled "Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached 'Stabilizing Braces'"—because ATF is in its strongest position yet to begin systematically confiscating firearms from gun owners.
The U.S. Treasury began taking steps last week to avoid default on the nation’s $31.4 trillion national debt. The government has been here before, and it will keep arriving here until Congress finds a way to control its voracious appetite for spending. The political will to cut spending is hard to muster. Congressional history shows that the budget process itself creates incentives for excessive spending and budget deficits.
Entitlement programs have accounted for all the growth in federal spending relative to gross domestic product in the past 60 years, causing the persistent budget deficits during that period. Entitlement expenditures are determined differently from so-called discretionary programs. Spending on the latter programs is set by fixed appropriations of money. Entitlement expenditures aren’t fixed in advance but determined by the program’s level of benefits, its eligibility rules and economic factors.
Jurisdiction for entitlement legislation is dispersed among more than a dozen committees in each congressional chamber. In the House, the Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over farm-support payments and food stamps, the Education and Workforce Committee over student loans and grants, the Ways and Means Committee over Social Security, Medicare hospital insurance and welfare programs, the Energy and Commerce Committee over Medicaid (sharing responsibility for ObamaCare and Medicare Part B with Ways and Means).
In this system, no committee is accountable for total spending. Each committee has a reason to expand its programs and resist attempts to restrain them, but none have an incentive to keep overall spending down.
Prohibiting higher education institutions from using any funding, regardless of source, to support DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory initiatives;
And the ideological litmus test of DEI hiring statements are gone:
Prohibiting postsecondary institutions from using discriminatory political filters, including political loyalty oaths and DEI statements, in the hiring process;
This will wipe out the DEI bureaucracy. Expect the ACLU to claim this violated the court injunction [as to the STOP WOKE Act].
DeSantis previously had rejected the Advanced Placement African American Studies curriculum because it was too radical, pushing Critical Race Theory and promoting Black Lives Matter, among other things. Contrary to the lying media, he did not oppose the course, but objected to the leftist curriculum and wanted improvements.
Firefighters in Seattle were instructed to take down a "Thin Blue Line" flag from the public area of one of the fire stations. The flag a symbol that shows support for police officers. A similar symbol, with a thin red line, represents firefighters. Merchandise with that symbol are sold by the local firefighters union. It was recently decided that proceeds from the sale of "Thin Red Line" apparel would be donated to BLM.
The Seattle Fire Department told The Post Millennial in a statement, "leadership made a management decision to have a Thin Blue Line flag removed from a public area in one of the fire stations. While the SFD fully supports our law enforcement partners, the flag’s original meaning of support for police has been coopted by its use at rallies for extremist groups."
“Yet again, we’re seeing evidence of what happens to Black and brown people from simple traffic stops.” — Ben Crump, attorney for Tyre Nichols’ family
“It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.” — President Joe Biden
“[V]iolence like what happened to [Tyre Nichols] is about how some bad cops use their power over Black and brown victims.” — CNN’s Van Jones
Hey! Where’d all the “browns” go?
George Floyd, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and on and on and on — all black people, generally “justice-involved,” who resisted the police and ended up dead. Name a civilian killed by cops of any other race that led to international protests, billboards, renamed streets, hashtags, memorials, NBA jerseys, murals, busts, tribute songs or O magazine covers.
Only black people reflexively defend their own criminals. The “blacks and browns” scam is an attempt to rope Hispanics into the black community’s dysfunction.
Iran, a member of the Axis of Evil, has been attacked by the Forces of Good. Will it come to the Third World War? We shall see. But now from the beginning.
After the recent elections, Bibi Netanyahu had formed his sixth government after one-and-a-half-year break and Israelis opposing Bibi began a street revolt against the new government. They took a leaf from the Ukraine-2014 book, and created a Maidan in Tel Aviv, with up to a hundred thousand citizens gathering in neighbourhood squares every Sabbath. The would-be-revolutionaries are similar to US Democrats, while the government supporters remind us of US Republicans. To complicate the comparison further, note that Israeli Jews predominantly support US Republicans, and US Jews vote for the Dems. Yet this colour revolution on the streets and squares of Tel Aviv is a pro-American revolt (as is usual for colour revolutions). And US Dems, with their Israeli analogues are used to winning their revolutions, by whatever means necessary.
The new government has declared a plan for legal reform, directly confronting the Judicial Branch which has historically dominated the Executive Branch in Israel. Israeli judges do not like strong men, and often torpedo their measures. High Court judges are elected by other judges, and the High Court can overturn any Parliamentary or Government decision. In Israel, there is the additional ethnic tension between European (Ashkenazi) Jews and Oriental (Sephardic) Jews. All of them are against the Palestinians – with exception of the Communists. It would be a mistake to consider some of them being on the Left. There is practically no Left in Israel. This title has been seized by the gender-obsessed lesbians of Tel Aviv. As for Israeli men, they choose between Rightist or Far-Rightist.
There’s an unconfirmed rumor going around that poor Tyre Nichols of Memphis was beaten to death for similar reasons to why Ron Goldman got damn near decapitated in Brentwood in 1994. No proof of that rumor yet, but it’s worth remembering that we don’t know why he’s dead.
From Newsweek (not necessarily the most reliable source, but these days an interesting one):
So if ShotSpotter technology correctly identifies gunshots as happening in communities devoid of white people and with a surplus of non-whites (black and brown people, who produce black and brown individuals collectively committing nearly all the gun violence), it’s a bad thing police departments spend more resources trying to make these communities safer.
It’s stories such as these you realize how truly noble the motives and aims of the American Colonization Society were…
If white people were to completely abandon a city inhabited by now non-whites, deprive this population of all technology exclusively created by white people (ShotSpotter) and eliminate pesky police from the equation, how long until all semblances of western civilization evaporate in this scenario?
Beginning in the fall of 2023, The State University of New York System (SUNY) is implementing a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEISJ) graduation requirement for all incoming students.