"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes." -- Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria

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In August, Ali Bongo, then-president of the Central African nation of Gabon, made a startling revelation to a top White House aide: During a meeting at his presidential palace, Bongo admitted he had secretly promised Chinese leader Xi Jinping that Beijing could station military forces on Gabon’s Atlantic Ocean coast.

Alarmed, U.S. principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer urged Bongo to retract the offer, according to an American national security official. The U.S. considers the Atlantic its strategic front yard and sees a permanent Chinese military presence there—particularly a naval base, where Beijing could rearm and repair warships—as a serious threat to American security.

“Any time the Chinese start nosing around a coastal African country, we get anxious,” a senior U.S. official said.

The charged exchange between Bongo and Finer in Libreville, Gabon’s capital, was just one skirmish in the great-power maneuvering between the U.S. and China in Africa. China is conducting a backroom campaign to secure a naval base on the continent’s western shores, American officials say. And, for more than two years, the U.S. has been running a parallel effort to persuade African leaders to deny the People’s Liberation Army Navy a port in Atlantic waters.


Claire's Observations:  Why does China's maneuvering in Africa appear to have the USA constantly on the back foot?!?  That is the question  which really needs to be answered out loud here.

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In an exclusive poll conducted by IFOP, the National Rally (RN) candidate Marine Le Pen is predicted to win the presidency in the second round of voting against Gabriel Attal in 2027. It is the first time any poll has shown her securing victory and becoming president of the nation.


In the same poll, if she were to face off against Édouard Philippe, she would tie him with 50 percent of the vote.

The groundbreaking poll, where she earned 51 percent of the vote against Attal, who serves as the current prime minister in the Macron government, has even garnered front-page coverage in France.

In July 2022, political scientist Jérôme Fourquet told Le JDD:

“We can’t rule out a Marine Le Pen victory in 2027. Recent figures published by his institute, Ifop, seem to corroborate this prediction.”

According to the study, Marine Le Pen is predicted to beat Gabriel Attal in the second round of the presidential election in 2027 for the first time, with 51 percent versus 49 percent for Attal.

The leader of the RN group in the French National Assembly is also neck and neck with Édouard Philippe, the current mayor of Le Havre and former prime minister, with 50 percent of voting intentions.


In addition, she is well ahead of the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, with 64 percent of the expected vote.

The poll is, so far, the first time she has performed so well, and only time will tell if her popularity continues to grow, especially with three years before the next presidential election.

However, it is worth noting that Marine Le Pen achieved an unprecedented score in both the second and first rounds of the last presidential election.

She obtained 42 percent of the vote against Emmanuel Macron, a result that contrasts sharply with the 17.79 percent obtained by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the second round in 2002

Claire's Observations:  The French Government, like so many of their brother and sister Euro States, have done this to themselves, and need to acknowledge  the incredible costs, culturally; financially, and in every way possible , of unfettered illegal immigration, and turn this around before the next round of national elections. Otherwise, Le Pen is likely to sweep the next set of national elections, and other parties will simply need to go home.  The French people are justifiably angry at the costs of illegal immigration, at every level.  You have a massive increase in crime; drugs; and people who just cannot function at an appropriate level before they can be hired, and are undercutting wages big time.  If you were a French hourly worker, how would you feel about someone taking your place in a factory line for 40% less than you were previous making?!?  Most probably, not very positively.

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"Oh What A Tangled Web Biden Weaves, When He First Practices To Deceive"

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by Tyler Durden

Sunday, Feb 11, 2024 - 10:40 AM

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson,

Joe Biden and his White House handlers continue to peddle misinformation if not lies about his removal of classified files...

The worst is that Biden - supposedly so unlike Trump - came forward willingly as soon as he realized that he had unlawfully, but inadvertently, removed and possessed classified files. And thus he cooperated fully and promptly with federal authorities.

The truth is far, far different.

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Biden removed files improperly both as a Senator and Vice President.

He held some of them in his unlawful possession for perhaps at least 14 years without a word to authorities, dating back at least to his departure from the Senate on January 15, 2009 when he resigned to become Vice President—or if not longer over his some 36-year Senate career.

In fact, in 2017 Biden was fully aware that he had wrongly removed these classified files. As Hur noted, there is a taped conversation on record between Biden and his ghostwriter to just that effect. Biden, at home in Virginia, was recorded as remarking, “I just found all the classified stuff downstairs”.

And yet Biden apparently did nothing. He never came forward to any federal authorities for nearly the next five years.

So given that knowledge, why did the attorneys belatedly disclose Biden’s possession of the files on November 2, 2022? Civic virtue? Altruism? Respect for the law?


Otherwise, Biden would have disclosed his unlawful possession at any time during either the intervening prior years when he was a private citizen or during the first 18 months of his presidency, when he knowingly still possessed classified files and still did nothing about it.

In truth, Biden would likely never have come forward, save for one insurmountable problem: Merrick Garland had likely decided to appoint Jack Smith as a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump files that the FBI had swooped into Mar-a-Lago looking for 3 months earlier on August 8, 2022.

In other words, knowing that Smith or a generic special counsel would very quickly be appointed (Smith was sworn in a little over two weeks later, on November 18, 2022), suddenly Biden and Co. preempted that announcement, in fear that Biden had done virtually the same thing as Trump—albeit without presidential declassification power and for at least 14 years in possession of classified files.

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With Israel on the verge of invading Gaza's southernmost city, Egypt is warning that such a move could trigger a suspension of the treaty that has maintained peace between the two countries since 1979, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday directed the Israeli Defense Forces to plan the evacuation of the city of Rafah, which lies on Gaza's southern border with Egypt and reportedly holds more than a million refugees already forced from their homes elsewhere in the 25-mile-long strip. 

One particularly sensitive slice of real estate is the so-called Philadelphi Route or Philadelphi Corridor, which stretches nine miles along the Gaza-Egypt border. Diplomatic accords establish limits on the number of troops that either Israel or Egypt can position in several delineated zones along and near the border, and certainly don't authorize large numbers of Israeli troops and armored vehicles. 

In late December, Netanyahu said the Philadelphi Route "has to be in our hands" if Gaza is to be effectively and permanently demilitarized. In January, an Egyptian official said, "It must be strictly emphasized that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations." 

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While an Egyptian diplomatic delegation visited Tel Aviv on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza, Mexican Egyptian President Sisi has rejected several phone calls from Netanyahu over recent weeks, sources tell the Journal

The threat that large numbers of Palestinian refugees could soon be pouring across the border raises many deep concerns for Egypt. Perhaps more than the challenge of managing a humanitarian crisis, if displaced Palestinians launch attacks on the IDF from Egypt, that could trigger Israeli retaliatory strikes across the border. If Israel doesn't allow the Palestinians to return, tensions between Israel and Egypt would be sharply increased for years to come.  

Nor does Egypt want to be seen as facilitating an ethnic cleansing of Gaza by Israel -- an option that was presented by Israel's intelligence ministry in the wake of the Oct 7 Hamas invasion of southern Israel, and embraced by various Israeli officials. 

Since the war began, Egypt has been reinforcing its border with Gaza, building a concrete, barbed-wire-topped wall that extends six meters into the ground below it, while also boosting surveillance capabilities, and moving tanks and armored vehicles into the vicinity. The Israel-Hamas war is proving costly for Egypt in other ways, as Suez Canal traffic has plummeted some 30%.  

Egypt's warning comes alongside expressions of concern by a variety of countries both inside and outside of the region:

  • "Military operations right now would be a disaster for those people, and it’s not something that we would support," said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
  • “Invading Rafah… which is the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of civilians whom the brutal Israeli aggression displaced will have [grave] consequences,” said the Saudi foreign ministry.
  • "Deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah - over half of Gaza's population are sheltering in the area," tweeted UK foreign secretary David Cameron.  
  • "The people of Gaza cannot disappear into thin air...[it is a] "humanitarian catastrophe in the making," said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. 
  • A Rafah invasion would create an "unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe," said EU Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell. 
  • Israel's plan "threatens to cause the loss of more innocent life and exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip," said the United Arab Emirates foreign ministry.

However, if past is prologue, watch for the Israeli government to disregard the protests of its partners and benefactors -- protests that may be offered primarily for domestic consumption.  

Claire's Observations: This is about to turn into a genocidal bloodbath, courtesy if the Israeli government and the IDF. And predictably, Biden is utterly  impotent to stop Netanyahu from doing precisely what hr wants to do, which is exterminate every Palestinian still breathing.  look for an horrific uptick in assassinations; disease; and starvation among all Palestinians in Gaza; Lebanon; and the West Bank.  This is going to be a blitzkrieg, and the number of dead, and catastrophically wounded, is going to accelerate massively. 


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In a congressional hearing last November on restoring trust in science, CDC Director Mandy Cohen kept evading questions on whether she would bring back mask mandates for toddlers.


“We have a lot of different tools to protect our children,” Dr. Cohen said during her cagey response.

Six days later, a BMJ journal published a study that foundmask recommendations for children are not supported by scientific evidence.

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Director Cohen’s scientific bumbling continued last week as her agency began fighting with CDC’s own researchers over another contentious declaration: N95 respirators work better than surgical masks. In recent years, mask advocates have shifted goalposts and demanded N95 respirators, which they claim perform better than surgical masks at stopping the COVID virus.

Not true say CDC’s own scientists, according to CDC documents I uncovered.

During a presentation last summer, a CDC expert stated there was no difference between N95 respirators and masks in stopping viruses. These findings have been supported by CDC scientists in a study CDC published on the agency’s website last November—just a few weeks before Director Cohen testified before Congress.

To shut down this controversy, CDC wrote a blog last week warning researchers that to suggest that facemasks and respirators are the same “is not scientifically correct.”

Claire 's Observations:  there is no better time to "Follow the money", as Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, during the Watergate fiasco.  What companies are making a "killing" (sometimes literally) by supporting these items as "mandatory/necessary" to prevent the spread of the virus?!?  Look at their P/L statements, and you will have a pretty good idea of which companies are "cashing in " on these items.

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Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a mini-meltdown after being exposed during the Tucker Carlson-Vladimir Putin interview for sabotaging the Ukrainian peace deal.

During the interview, Putin confirmed reporting that first emerged last year about Johnson’s role in prolonging the war.

David Arahamiya, the leader of Ukraine’s ruling party, revealed that Johnson had scuppered a peace deal that would have put an end to hostilities just a few months after the Russian invasion.

Putin confirmed this when he stated, “He had fixed his signature to some of the provisions, not to all of it. He put his signature and then he himself said, we were ready to sign it, and the war would have been over long ago. 18 months ago. However, Prime Minister Johnson came, talk to us out of it and we missed that chance. Well, you missed it. You made a mistake.”

Johnson was clearly rattled by the revelation.

Claire's Observations:  Typical British diplomatic deceptions; I am disgusted, but not at all surprised.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken back to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, this time "for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue," a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement.

"At this time, the Secretary is retaining the functions and duties of his office," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said. "The Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense, if required. Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties."

More information will be released "as soon as possible," Ryder said.

He said that the White House, Congress and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had all been notified.

The defense secretary previously underwent a minimally invasive surgical procedure for prostate cancer on Dec. 22, which led to a urinary tract infection and serious intestinal complications. He was hospitalized again on Jan. 1, but the White House didn't learn of it for three days -- secrecy that sparked intense scrutiny and criticism

Claire's Observations:  I am hoping that the current emergency can be treated safely and effectively on an outpatient basis; if it cannot, Austin needs to immediately resign, and name his 2nd in command as Secretary of Defense. This is very concerning,  and needs to be addressed immediately.,

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In a rare admission of the challenges faced by McDonald's, CEO Chris Kempczinski revealed that the first quarterly sales miss in almost four years could be attributed to consumers earning less than $45,000 a year cutting back on their visits. The CEO acknowledged that the shift towards more affordable home-cooked meals had become a prevailing trend, particularly among lower-income consumers.

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