Thought for the day

"Fascism is the adoption by vested interests in a society of an authoritarian form of government in order to maintain their vested interests and prevent the reform of that society." -- Carroll Quigley

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American special operators who are issued new short-barrel Sig Sauer Rattler personal defense weapons, or PDWs, may eventually be able to fire Soviet-designed 7.62x39mm ammunition from those guns. U.S. Special Operations Command says has an interest in buying 7.62x39mm caliber conversion kits for the weapons, which are already set to be able to be configured to fire .300 Blackout cartridges or 5.56x45mm rounds.

“Currently, the RSAR/PDW system is chambered in both the 5.56 NATO and .300 Black Out calibers,” the contracting notice says. “Due to developing requirements, USSOCOM is seeking 7.62x39mm upper receiver caliber conversion kits that are compatible with the SIG SAUER Rattler Lower Receiver.”

Posted on: Nov 04 08:44

Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a draft “victory” budget for 2023 that includes a record $38 billion deficit that Kyiv is expecting its Western backers to cover.

“Do everything to bring victory closer. It was with this philosophy that we drafted this budget,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said after the vote, according to Reuters. The budget passed with 295 lawmakers voting in favor, none opposing, and 35 abstaining.

Shmyhal said that the budget includes about $27 billion for military and security spending. To put the figure in perspective, the Pentagon says the US has pledged $17.9 billion in arms for Ukraine since the February 24 invasion. According to the German-based Kiel Institute, total US military aid for Ukraine since January 24 stands at about $27 billion.

Shmyhal has previously said that the US, the EU, and the IMF to pay for the $38 billion budget deficit. He expects the US to hand over $18 billion for the deficit and for the EU and IMF to contribute the rest.

Webmaster addition: I wonder who Ukraine expects to come up with that extra $38 billion! :)

Posted on: Nov 04 08:42

EvG explains, “Credit has increased dramatically through derivatives. All instruments being issued now by banks, pension funds, stock funds, it’s all synthetic. There is no real underlying payments in anything almost..."

" Therefore, my estimate for derivatives would be at least $2 quadrillion, and I think that is probably conservative. Then, we have debt on top of that of $300 trillion, and we also have a couple hundred trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities. So, we are talking about $2.5 quadrillion, and that’s with a global GDP of $80 trillion. So, there is a disaster waiting to happen, and especially because all this created money has created no value whatsoever...

I always knew this would collapse, and it’s taken longer than I expected, but I think we are at the end of a major era...

These derivatives, at some point in the coming few years, will actually turn into debt. Central banks will have to cover all the outstanding liabilities of the commercial banks as we are seeing now with Credit Suisse, Bank of England and etc. This is going to happen across the board. Whether it’s called derivatives or called debt, as far as I am concerned, it’s the same thing. It will have the same effect on the world financial system, which will be disastrous, of course.

EvG says the derivative markets were simply a way for financial institutions to carry debt and not show it on their balance sheets. In the end, everything will balance out. EvG goes on to say,

Nobody can repay the debt, and they can’t even pay interest...So, therefore, when the debt implodes, so will the assets that were financed by this debt.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:42

The largest city in Crimea and the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet woke up to heavy explosions and anti-aircraft fire during an attack Russian officials say included aerial drones and especially unmanned surface vessels (USV), both of which were 'suicide' or 'kamikaze' types mean to explode when they arrive at their targets.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have since released incredible footage purportedly from aboard several unmanned surface vessels used in the attack. The video shows the purported attack run on a guided missile frigate and Russian forces engaging the USVs with machine-gun fire.

The USVs appear to be of the same design as the mystery drone boat found near Sevastopol in September.

Russian officials claimed that only one vessel was slightly damaged while all Ukrainian aerial drones were destroyed and that "British specialists" were involved, without offering any proof. Russian-installed officials in occupied Crimea call it "the most massive since the beginning of the special operation."

The low-light footage clearly shows a Project 11356R Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate — one of Russia's most modern and powerful warships — underway, as well as Sevastopol harbor. There are reports that the Admiral Makarov, reportedly the Black Sea Fleet's new flagship after the Project 1164 Slava-class cruiser Moskva sank in April, was damaged in the attack. At this time, The War Zone cannot independently confirm reports about damage to the Admiral Makarov, though the low-light footage from the USV appears to show it getting very close to the missile frigate before cutting to other video of the harbor and an explosion on CCTV.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:42

Berlin must change the way it deals with China as the country lurches back toward a more openly "Marxist-Leninist" political trajectory, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote in an op-ed on Thursday.

In his article for POLITICO and the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Scholz defended his trip to China on Thursday but stressed that German companies would need to take steps to reduce "risky dependencies" in industrial supply chains, particularly in terms of "cutting-edge technologies." Scholz noted that President Xi Jinping was deliberately pursuing a political strategy of making international companies reliant on China.

"The outcome of the Communist Party Congress that has just ended is unambiguous: Avowals of Marxism-Leninism take up a much broader space than in the conclusions of previous congresses ... As China changes, the way that we deal with China must change, too," Scholz wrote.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:39

On 3 November, Jordanian King Abdullah II met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to stress the importance of stabilizing Syria through the unification of the land and people, as well as guaranteeing the safe return of refugees.

During the meeting, the Jordanian king highlighted several burdens that Jordan continues to face due to the war in Syria, including multiple drug smuggling attempts. The two also discussed regional developments and reviewed bilateral ties between Amman and Moscow and discussed the potential strategies to resolve the Russia-Ukraine war.

The two sides also discussed the topic of Palestine, to determine an effective negotiation strategy to achieve peace and reach a two-state solution.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:38

Twitter employees are bracing for a mass cull of jobs as part of Elon Musk’s attempt to cost cut by sacking 3,700 staff around the world following his $44billion takeover - around half the workforce.

Staff at the social media giant are set to discover their fates at 9am PST – with workers in the UK discovering the news in the middle of the night.

Those in New York offices are anxiously waiting for an email with the subject ‘Your Role at Twitter’ to drop into their inboxes by 12pm today, while those in London will find out their fates at 4pm.

Webmaster addition: If workers are being laid off, they must be given notice. How much varies from state to state. But if a worker is fired  for cause, there is no advance notice.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:34

Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear weapons program, US intelligence officials believe, as Tehran looks for a backup plan should a lasting nuclear deal with world powers fail to materialize.

The intelligence suggests that Iran has been asking Russia for help acquiring additional nuclear materials and with nuclear fuel fabrication, sources briefed on the matter said. The fuel could help Iran power its nuclear reactors and could potentially further shorten Iran’s so-called “breakout time” to create a nuclear weapon.

Experts emphasized to CNN, however, that the nuclear proliferation risk varies depending on which reactor the fuel is used for. And it is also not clear whether Russia has agreed to help – the Kremlin has long been outwardly opposed to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:27

South Korea scrambled about 80 fighter jets after detecting a large number of North Korean warplanes during a four-hour period Friday, the country’s military said, in a further escalation of regional tensions.

In a statement, the South Korean military said it spotted about 180 North Korean military aircraft between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time, a day after Pyongyang is believed to have conducted the failed test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Tensions in the Korean Peninsula began rising Monday, when the “Vigilant Storm” joint military drills began between the United States and South Korea, involving hundreds of aircraft and thousands of service members from both countries, according to the US.

North Korea accused the allies of provocative action and on Wednesday launched 23 missiles from its east and west coasts – the most missiles it’s fired in a single day – into waters either side of the peninsula, prompting Seoul to respond with three surface-to-air missiles.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:27

As the results of the election in Israel are being finalized – an election wherein millions of Palestinians living under Israeli dominance have no say—consternation outside of Israel among its supporters is ballooning. The reactions from Israel’s boosters are telling.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, a man almost as slavishly devoted to Israel as his predecessor, David Friedman, said, “It’s too early to predict the precise makeup of the coalition until all votes are counted.” But he “intends to keep working with Israel’s government on the two countries’ shared interests and values.”

Those interests and values, as reflected in what is certain to be the second largest party in Benjamin Netanyahu’s new governing coalition, include the most blatant racism, clear fascism, extreme hostility to LGBTQ+ people, and a leader, Itamar Ben-Gvir so radical that, in 2007, he was convicted by an Israeli court, of incitement to racism and support for a terrorist group. 

Posted on: Nov 04 08:27

Former president Barack Obama used a rally here Wednesday night to deliver perhaps his bluntest warning yet about the stakes of next week’s midterm elections for America’s system of self-government.

If the Republican candidates here are successful, Obama argued, “Democracy as we know it may not survive in Arizona.”

“That’s not an exaggeration,” he added. “That is a fact.”

Because victory for the GOP ticket, the former president proclaimed to a crowd of more than 1,000 in a high school gymnasium in southern Phoenix, would mean “election deniers serving as your governor, as your senator, as your secretary of state, as your attorney general.”

Webmaster addition: Obama should wink after that bit about 'as we know it'!

Posted on: Nov 04 08:25

 As Donald Trump inches closer to launching another presidential run after the midterm election, Justice Department officials have discussed whether a Trump candidacy would create the need for a special counsel to oversee two sprawling federal investigations related to the former president, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The Justice Department is also staffing up its investigations with experienced prosecutors so it’s ready for any decisions after the midterms, including the potential unprecedented move of indicting a former president.

In the weeks leading up to the election, the Justice Department has observed the traditional quiet period of not making any overt moves that may have political consequences. But behind the scenes, investigators have remained busy, using aggressive grand jury subpoenas and secret court battles to compel testimony from witnesses in both the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his alleged mishandling of national security documents kept at his Palm Beach home.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:25

The 2014 Ebola outbreak may have been borne out of an accidental lab leak at a US Government-funded facility, according to a bombshell analysis.

Virologist Dr Jonathan Latham — a former researcher at the University of Wisconsin — and journalist Sam Husseini say there are a number of inconsistencies in the official timeline of the West African epidemic.

They claim the virus likely emerged during ‘routine research activities’ from a laboratory in Kenema, Sierra Leone, which at the time was receiving funding from the US government for its work on Lassa fever.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:24

Justice Clarence Thomas voiced what we're all thinking.

What IS diversity, anyway?

Some of America's elite universities claim to know, as they defend the use of affirmative action in college admissions. But the dishonesty at the heart of their view is painfully obvious.

Their pitifully narrow understanding of diversity has damaged America.

'I've heard the word diversity quite a few times and I don't have a clue what it means,' Thomas said during oral arguments in the Supreme Court on Monday.

'Give us a specific definition of diversity…' he asked Ryan Park, the solicitor representing the University of North Carolina, alongside Harvard University, in their defense of race-conscious admissions programs.

It was a pointed question. Apparently, Park didn't see it coming.

'Racially diverse groups of people . . . perform at a higher level,' Park responded.

'The mechanism there,' he continued, 'is that it reduces groupthink and that people have longer and more sustained disagreement, and that leads to a more efficient outcome.'

Thomas' next cut went deep.

'I guess I don't put too much stock in that,' he replied, 'I've heard similar arguments in favor of segregation, too.'

Thomas is right to be skeptical.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:22

As President Joe Biden launched a final four-state campaign sprint on Thursday to boost struggling Democrats ahead of the midterms, he fired back at a key GOP criticism that the economy has lagged under his watch.

'Here's the deal: economic growth is up, price inflation is down, real income's up, gas prices are down,' said Biden at a rally near San Diego in support of Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, who is in a tight race to hang on to his seat.

By certain narrow measures, Biden's claims could be construed as true -- for instance, gas prices and inflation have retreated somewhat from the historic highs they hit over the summer.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:21

Paul Pelosi returned home Thursday after he was released from the hospital, the same San Francisco residence where he was attacked by a man wielding a hammer and suffered a fractured skull six days before.

The 82-year-old husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taken for treatment after David DePape allegedly broke into his San Francisco house with a hammer and beat him. 

'The Pelosi family is thankful for the beautiful outpouring of love, support and prayers from around the world,' Pelosi's office said in a statement.

Webmaster addition: Well, I guess Paul wasn't as badly wounded as we had all been told!

Posted on: Nov 04 08:18

Sen. Joe Manchin's eleventh-hour midterm pitch was imploring Congress to deal with the nation's 'crippling debt' by reforming Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and other programs he claims are 'going bankrupt.' 

The West Virginia Democrat told a Fortune CEO conference on Thursday he would like the next Congress to work on bipartisan entitlement reform to fix the programs that are facing 'tremendous problems.'

'We cannot live with this crippling debt,' Manchin griped, per Bloomberg. 'If we can't come to grips of how we face the financial challenges this country has, then we're all going to be paying a price that we can't afford.' 

Posted on: Nov 04 08:16

Republicans voters in Florida are using early voting in larger numbers than Democrats, including in the deep blue city of Miami, a sign of high enthusiasm among the GOP and a troubling indicator for President Joe Biden's party. The number of registered Republicans voting early in Miami-Dade County surpassed Democrats on Wednesday – one day after Biden visited the area to campaign for his party's candidates amid concerns the GOP will win control of the House in next week's midterm election. It's a good sign for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is seeking a second term, and for GOP Senator Marco Rubio, who's also running for re-election.

Posted on: Nov 04 08:15

John Fetterman, the Democrat running for US Senate in Pennsylvania, has defended his refusal to release in-depth medical records, following questions about his fitness as he recovers from a serious stroke.

'We have shown more, and shared more kinds of medical evaluation, more than virtually anyone unless you're running for the president,' Fetterman told CBS Evening News on Thursday.

However, Fetterman has resisted calls to release detailed medical records or allow interviews with his doctors, instead pointing to a one-page doctor's note he put out last month saying he had 'no work restrictions' and 'can work full duty in public office.'

Posted on: Nov 04 08:12

A senior Chinese diplomat called for cooperation with foreign firms, denounced the US Chips Act and reassured business leaders that "opening up" to overseas markets remains a national objective during a speech to foreign diplomats and state-owned enterprises.

In an apparent criticism of Washington's China-targeted Chips and Science Act, which offers financial incentives to tech companies that make semiconductor investments on American soil, foreign vice-minister Xie Feng described efforts to suppress China as "counterproductive".

"Presently, some countries are keen to forge small circles, instigate 'decoupling', build 'small courtyards with high walls', implement 'friendshoring', establish 'chip alliances', weave exclusive economic frameworks, and vainly attempt to gang up to contain and suppress China," Xie said in Beijing on Wednesday.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:53

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted 185-2 to condemn the U.S. embargo of Cuba for the 30th year in a row.

Why it matters: Although UN resolutions are non-binding and aren't legally enforceable, they carry political weight by illustrating the isolation of the U.S. position and the heft of global opinion against it.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:52

The United Nations refugee chief has called on countries to suspend any forced returns of Haitians to their country, where gang violence and political instability are fuelling a humanitarian and security crisis.

In a statement on Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi appealed “to all states to stand in solidarity with Haiti and urge them not to return Haitians to a country that is extremely fragile”.

Webmaster addition: I'm sure the Haitians will find Gitmo an improvement, right? Right? Hello?

Posted on: Nov 04 07:51

The United States believes China and Russia have leverage they can use to persuade North Korea not to resume nuclear bomb testing, according to a senior US administration official.

The official, who spoke to the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity, said that while the US had been saying since May that North Korea was preparing to resume nuclear testing for the first time since 2017, it was not clear when it might conduct such a test.

Webmaster addition: And I am certain that at this particular point in time, China and Russia will be eager to do whatever the US wants!

Posted on: Nov 04 07:50

The United States has asked the U.N. Security Council to meet publicly on North Korea on Friday, diplomats said, after Pyongyang fired multiple missiles, including a possible failed intercontinental ballistic missile.

The meeting request was backed by other council members Britain, France, Albania, Ireland and Norway, diplomats said.

North Korea has long been banned from conducting nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches by the Security Council, which has strengthened sanctions on Pyongyang over the years to try and cut off funding for those programs.

But in recent years the 15-member body has been split on how to deal with the hermit Asian state. In May, China and Russia vetoed a U.S.-led push to impose more U.N. sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:50

The global economy is on the path to hyperinflation and risks societal collapse if soaring prices are not brought under control, one of the world’s biggest hedge funds has warned.

rates rise recession

rates rise recession© Provided by The Telegraph

Elliott Management, the hedge fund founded by Wall Street billionaire Paul Singer, hit out at central bank rate-setters in an apocalyptic warning to clients as rate-setters bring the era of ultra-cheap money to an abrupt end.

The world economy faces an “extremely challenging” outlook and hyperinflation could result in “global societal collapse and civil or international strife”, the letter to clients said, the Financial Times reported. It said central banks have been “dishonest” in deflecting blame for the price surge from their prolonged use of ultra-loose monetary policy.

Elliott is one of the most influential hedge funds in the world and is feared in corporate boardrooms for its approach to investor activism.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:49

The FDA just told pro-abortion groups that they are putting women’s lives in danger by providing abortion drugs before they are pregnant.

Politico reports the federal agency spoke out against the new “advanced provision” abortion pill practice last week after Choix, Aid Access and other pro-abortion groups began advertising pills to keep at home in case a woman gets pregnant.

Although the FDA did not mention any enforcement actions, the agency did warn that the abortion drug mifepristone is not approved for advance provision and the groups that are selling it in advance are putting women’s lives at risk, according to the report.

An FDA spokesperson told Politico that the agency is concerned that women are not receiving proper care, such as checking for symptoms of a potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy or determining how far along she is in her pregnancy. The abortion pills do not abort unborn babies as effectively after 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:47

Republicans Senate candidate Gen. Don Bolduc expanded his lead over Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in New Hampshire, according to a Thursday Trafalgar Group poll.

Forty-seven percent support Bolduc, 45.7 percent back Hassan, and 3.2 percent are undecided. Libertarian Jeremy Kauffman has 4 percent.

Among Hispanics, Bolduc leads 70.2 – 17.7 percent over Hassan. Among black voters, Hassan only holds a 19.9-point lead (34.7 – 54.6 percent). Among white voters, Bolduc leads (46.9 – 46.4 percent).

The general also polled better than Hassan in every age demographic except 65 and older, likely because of her history as a former governor of the Granite State.

The survey sampled 2022 general election voters from October 30 through November 1, with a 2.9 percent margin of error. Respondents included 44 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican, and 21 percent unaffiliated.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:46

China's tech sector is scrambling to snap up experienced engineers from foreign companies that are scaling back operations in the country amid a crackdown by the U.S.

When word got out recently that U.S. chip developer Marvell was laying off hundreds of workers in China, job postings from top Chinese tech companies and local chip companies targeting them went up almost immediately. The companies seeking talent range from tech heavyweights like Alibaba Group Holding and Huawei Technologies to local chip developers.

"Looking forward to seeing resumes from our dear peers from Marvell. Come work with Alibaba Cloud to develop storage-related products," said Zhu Zongpeng, senior engineering specialist at Alibaba, in a post on Maimai, China's version of LinkedIn.

"We welcome any Marvell employees who want to work with us," a human resources manager at the world's top drone maker DJI wrote on professional networking website MaiMai. "I am always online."

Posted on: Nov 04 07:46

Africa Intelligence website said the Libyan American Alliance, chaired by Esam Omeish, is gearing up to deal another legal blow against Khalifa Haftar and has appointed as legal counsel for the plaintiffs lawyer Miya Griggs, who is close to the group.

The French website added that the plaintiffs are suing Haftar in the US state of Virginia and are seeking millions of dollars over a January 2020 attack on a military academy in Tripoli.

It said that alongside Ashraf Wajih Nubani, Griggs is representing three relatives of people who died on 4 January 2020 in a bombing raid on the military academy in Tripoli, when the capital was under siege by Haftar’s forces.

“The plaintiffs – Othman Bin Amara, Anas Al-Tayra and Miftah Al-Haris – are seeking $10m in compensatory damages and $10m in punitive damages for extrajudicial killings and torture. The case will be heard in the States by Judge Rossie David Alston Jr. whom then president Donald Trump appointed in in June 2019.” Africa Intelligence added.

Posted on: Nov 04 07:45

They are falling like ninepins, and the Tories have now given the weary people of Britain yet another prime minister.  And what a catch: stupendously wealthy, youthful – the youngest in two centuries – and a lawbreaker.  As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of Boris Johnson, he was fined for breaches during the partygate scandal, despite telling the Commons that he had attended no illegal gatherings.

The statement released in response to the fine was ice cool, belying the fact that he had become the first Chancellor ever charged with an offence while in office.  “I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence.”  He respected “the decision that has been made and have paid the fine.”  The outcome was always likely: not paying could have landed him in an even stickier situation.

Being sly with regulations is obviously something that runs in the family.  Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, ran into some trouble earlier this year when attention was brought to her non-domiciled (non-dom) status in the UK.  She owns a jaw dropping £700 million in shares in the Indian IT giant Infosys, from which she received £11.6 million in dividend income last year.

Declaring one’s domicile to be in another country can be a fine money saver: in this case, £2.1 million a year.  But Murty wanted to be generous and gracious – at least for her husband’s political ambitions.  “I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family.”

Posted on: Nov 04 07:45