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Thought for the day
"Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent." -- Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
The threat of the conflict in Ukraine getting out of control is not just an ever-present concern, but a reality.
The authors of the RAND Corporation’s recent paper, 'Pathways to Russian Escalation Against NATO From the Ukraine War', warn US policymakers to be careful in their statements and moves. This is particularly when deciding on military postures, deployment patterns, weapons capabilities, and the like, so that the steps taken by them do not provoke the Russian leadership into pre-emptive or retaliatory strikes, including using non-strategic nuclear weapons, or taking the campaign into NATO territory.
This is totally in line with America's overall approach of doing the maximum to weaken Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine while avoiding being drawn directly into a war against Moscow.
The Chinese military will from now on conduct “regular” drills on the eastern side of the median line of the Taiwan Strait, Chinese state TV reported on Sunday, according to Reuters.
The median line is an unofficial line of control separating China and Taiwan that warships and military aircraft from the two sides usually do not cross.
Beijing launched large-scale live-fire military exercises around Taiwan this week in response to the visit of Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to the island. China considers the self-governing island its territory and opposes contacts between foreign officials and the Taipei government.
Biden and the mainstream news are not reporting that Americans are falling behind and employers have stopped recruiting for more than half a million jobs.
People in Britain are facing “a winter of dire poverty” amid skyrocketing energy costs, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Saturday, urging the government to approve an emergency budget.
According to the Labour politician, the continued increase in fuel prices places “35 million people in 13m households – an unprecedented 49.6% of the population of the United Kingdom,” in risk of fuel poverty in October. Calling the situation a “financial timebomb,” he added that “there is nothing moral about indifferent leaders condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and pensioners to a winter of dire poverty.”
This is why, Brown said, outgoing PM Boris Johnson, along with the Tory leadership candidates, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, “must this week agree an emergency budget.”
The Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Breaking Dawn on 5 August, citing security concerns over threats they had received from Palestinian Islamic Jihad after two senior members of the group had been arrested in the West Bank.
Israel's operation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza has entered its third day.
Earlier on Sunday, the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the PIJ, announced that its high-ranking commander in southern Gaza, Khaled Mansour, was killed during an Israeli airstrike in the city of Rafah on Saturday night. The information was confirmed by the IDF.
A senior Islamic Jihad commander in northern Gaza, Tayseer al-Jabari, was killed on Friday during the first hours of the operation.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, the death toll in Gaza has risen to at least 29 people, including six children, and more than 200 have been injured as a result of the Israeli airstrikes against PIJ targets.
The former president, who has repeatedly dropped hints about making another bid for the White House in 2024 in recent months, expressed considerable pride “to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars” during his 2021 farewell address.
The United States may be headed toward a new global military conflagration thanks to the “incompetent” and “evil” people running Washington, former president Donald Trump has said.
“All you have to do is look at the last 200 years, it’s gonna happen again. We could end up in World War III because we are being governed by incompetent people. It could happen,” Trump said, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Saturday.
“And this war will be worse than any war ever because we have weapons the likes of which nobody has ever seen before. But you say ‘where does it stop?’ ‘Where does it end?’ It probably doesn’t stop, because despite great outside dangers our biggest threat remains the sick, sinister and evil people from within our own country,” Trump added.
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters is touring the US with his solo concert and multimedia installation This Is Not a Drill. The legendary artist, who has taken a principled stand regarding the US-NATO involvement in the Ukraine conflict, earlier warned fans that if they can't stand his politics, they might just as well "F*** off to the bar".
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has slammed “war criminal” Joe Biden for “fueling the fire in the Ukraine”.
The English musician, singer-songwriter and composer, 78, is at present on his This Is Not A Drill tour across North America. Waters was interviewed by CNN anchor Michael Smerconish, as the media outlet covered his performances. When the host questioned elements of Waters’ set on stage, such as a 'War Criminals' montage featuring a photo of Joe Biden, the musician said:
“Well, he’s fueling the fire in the Ukraine, for a start. That’s a huge crime. Why won’t the United States Of America encourage [Volodymyr] Zelensky to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war?”
Last month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization warned that the Ukraine crisis and Western restrictions on Russian food and fertilizer exports had exacerbated the impact of food security issues already being felt by developing nations and even some wealthy countries. But who stands to benefit from the current emergency?
Russian Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev weighed in on the issue of global food security on Friday, warning that a crisis of planetary proportions is taking shape.
“The situation in global markets is difficult, especially for wheat. This season, due to a number of factors, including drought in the US and Europe, floods in Australia and bad weather in India, the global supply of milling wheat will drop. Also, due to climate anomalies, a decrease in the quality of wheat in North America is expected, first and foremost in the United States. All of this, together with logistical restrictions, could lead to serious risks in terms of global food security in the current agricultural year,” Patrushev said, speaking to ministry officials in Bashkiria.
Moscow's warnings to western countries about the dangers of uncontrollably pumping Ukraine with weapons appear to be starting to come true, with some US-supplied arms already surfacing on dark net markets and in international smuggling rings, Sputnik Arabic's investigation has shown.
Following a search across markets on the dark net – a separate part of the world-wide-web accessible, for example, through Tor browser – Sputnik managed to find an online shop dubbed "Weapons Ukraine" on the THIEF marketplace. True to its name, it’s readily selling weapons.
Express Delivery of 200 Rifles
"Weapons Ukraine" claims to be based in Kiev, has its name in Russian, and boasts about having conducted 32 successful deals confirmed by a guarantor – a middleman provided by the dark website to assure that a client gets their wares and the seller their money. The shop's owner offers M4S assault rifles courtesy of US arms suppliers for $2,400, well above the Pentagon’s price tag of between $600 and $1,200.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi completed her controversial trip to Taiwan on August 3 amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing. Pelosi has become the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the island, which is seen by China as its sovereign territory.
"Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a symbolic move in the context of a war for geopolitical advantage," says Joseph Oliver Boyd-Barrett, a professor emeritus at Bowling Green State University. "Her critics, not unreasonably, decry it as a gesture that might carry very painful consequences for the world and for the human species."
Nancy Pelosi landed in Taipei on August 2 in defiance of Beijing's protests. The US House speaker had kept her trip to the island secret until the very last moment. However, the American and Taiwanese press extensively speculated about her visit with the White House signaling that there would be nothing "uncommon" if Pelosi decided to arrive in Taipei.
Prior to Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, President Biden held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and expressed his commitment to the "One China principle." In response, Xi Jinping warned the US president about the possible negative consequences of Pelosi's visit. Nonetheless, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated on August 1 that the US "shouldn’t be intimidated by [China's] rhetoric or... potential actions."
The way, in which the White House handled Pelosi's controversial visit, "speaks volumes about the incompetence of the US government from top to bottom," believes US investigative journalist and author Daniel Lazare.
Opposing claims from Senate Democrats, a report from the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) suggests that the steps in the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) would have a marginal to negative impact on inflation.
Referring to the Build Back Better Act, a proxy for the IRA, the CBO wrote that the "estimate of the deficit reduction [for the Build Back Better Act] was lowered by $11.0 billion over the 2022-2031 period." Furthermore, CBO Director Phillip Swagel noted that if the bill passes, then "in the calendar year 2023, inflation would probably be between 0.1 percentage point lower and 0.1 percentage point higher under the bill than it would be under current law, CBO estimates."
Green code is needed to enter public areas. Red means quarantine/isolation. Authorities track people's movements thru these apps. Concern is this surveillance will stay long after covid is gone
In the past few years, China's PLA-Navy has increased its activities in the Indian Ocean, the region primarily dominated by the Indian Navy so far. In 2020, the Indian Navy chased away a Chinese research vessel after it came near India's strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Sri Lanka has asked the Chinese government to defer the visit of its research vessel Yuan Wang 5 at the Hambantota port until there have been "further consultations" on the matter.
In the letter, viewed by Sputnik, the Sri Lankan government acknowledged that it had granted clearance on 12 July - a day before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to Singapore - for the vessel's "to enter the Port of Hambantota for the replenishment purposes".
A Democratic congressional staffer impersonated a federal agent and led the Secret Service on a weeks-long manhunt between late 2020 and early 2021.
As Russia continues its special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, the West is sending billions of dollars on aid, weapons, and equipment for Kiev.
Scott Ritter, a military analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, offers his views on the West's motivation to provide continued financial and military assistance to Ukraine, the reasons why the US and EU are choosing to fuel the hostilities instead of encouraging Kiev to negotiate, and reflects on how long Ukraine's beneficiaries in the West will be able to afford such expenses.
Sputnik: The European Union on Wednesday moved to pour additional 500 million euros into Ukraine's military. In a statement on Twitter, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that EU states remain "focused and steadfast" in their support of Kiev. What goals are the US and EU pursuing by pouring more money into the Ukrainian military?
Scott Ritter: The hope is to transform the conflict that is ongoing in Ukraine as a result of the Russian special military operation into a protracted conflict that can lead to a stalemate that would result in significant Russian costs, both in terms of manpower and military equipment, but also financial costs, and thereby weaken Russia. Ultimately what they are visualizing would be a Ukraine strong enough to evict Russia from its borders.