I need to reach a wider audience!
I need to reach a wider audience!
“…most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
On March 13th, the Pentagon rolled out its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The results were — or at least should have been — stunning, even by the standards of a department that’s used to getting what it wants when it wants it.
The new Pentagon budget would come in at $842 billion. That’s the highest level requested since World War II, except for the peak moment of the Afghan and Iraq wars, when the United States had nearly 200,000 troops deployed in those two countries.
$1 Trillion for the Pentagon?
It’s important to note that the $842 billion proposed price tag for the Pentagon next year will only be the beginning of what taxpayers will be asked to shell out in the name of “defense.” If you add in nuclear weapons work at the Department of Energy and small amounts of military spending spread across other agencies, you’re already at a total military budget of $886 billion. And if last year is any guide, Congress will add tens of billions of dollars extra to that sum, while yet more billions will go for emergency aid to Ukraine to help it fend off Russia’s brutal invasion. In short, we’re talking about possible total spending of well over $950 billion on war and preparations for more of it — within striking distance, in other words, of the $1 trillion mark that hawkish officials and pundits could only dream about a few short years ago.
Should the price of gold ever shoot up from its current price by, say, another $1,000 in the coming weeks or months due to an unexpected “black swan” event, banking giant JPMorgan Chase would more than likely find itself underwater due to the massive gold derivative short positions it currently holds.
Dr. Stephen Leeb, one of the world’s top money managers, says that JPMorgan’s gold derivate short positions are so numerous and large that they likely exceed the entirety of the bank’s assets on hand – which is a very dangerous position in which to be.
“What I lose sleep over is how much exposure does a bank like JPMorgan have to the [gold] derivative market,” Leeb is quoted as saying, adding that it is an “open secret” in the gold market that JPMorgan is heavy in gold derivative short positions.
Twitter has taken down a GitHub listing in which a significant amount of the social media site’s source code was leaked, according to a legal finding on Friday acquired by The New York Times.
The leaked code appeared to have been available on GitHub for several months before Twitter sent a copyright infringement takedown on Friday. It included “proprietary source code for Twitter’s platform and internal tools,” according to the filing. The code is no longer available on GitHub since that time.
WARNING: Graphic content— Fox News host Tucker Carlson weighs in on gun control following the Nashville school shooting on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'
British actor Orlando Bloom made a surprise appearance in the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday to bring his personal encouragement to the war effort against Russia.
He is the latest in a long line of Hollywood stars who have made the journey to the war-torn country to be pictured alongside Zelensky.
Bloom, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, arrived over the weekend and visited the leader in Kyiv to personally deliver a gift from his Buddhist mentor and a message from his mom.
AP reports at his meeting with Zelensky, Bloom said “he was struck by the courage and resilience of Ukrainians, who despite the war remain strong.”
Actor Mark Hamill has joined an increasingly long line of Hollywood stars seeking to insert themselves into the Ukraine conflict with his voice, mustering a Jedi knight’s sonorous gravitas, now used on an air raid app to warn of incoming attacks from Russia.
“Attention. Air raid alert. Proceed to the nearest shelter,” says Hamill over Air Alert, an app linked to Ukraine’s air defense system.
When the threat is no longer at hand the 71-year-old American screen veteran simply signs off with “The alert is over. May the Force be with you.”
The whole time his delivery is in character as Luke Skywalker, the Verge reports, adding some of the lines contain recognizable quotes from the Star Wars franchise like “Don’t be careless. Your overconfidence is your weakness.”
Pro-transgender groups want to conceal the manifesto of transgender school shooter Audrey Hale from public scrutiny.
Hale killed three children and three adults after leaving a still-hidden manifesto explaining her motives, according to Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake.
While Republicans such as Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) are calling for the manifesto to be released, several LGBT organizations are calling for the manifesto to remain hidden from the public.
The executive director of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) Jordan Budd stated, “It should not be published.” Budd also pivoted away from the shooter’s motive and directed the focus on firearm ownership, saying, “The focus should be on how this was able to happen in the first place. There should not be such easy access to deadly weaponry.”
California’s Mammoth Mountain ski resort officially broke the record for winter snowfall on Wednesday — by a whopping 27 inches, after two-and-a-half feet of snow fell on the Sierra Nevada in yet another storm.
The European Union is developing proposals on what to do with assets of the Russian central bank that were seized by member states. According to European officials, the bloc may invest the money and give the returns to Ukraine.
Anders Ahnlid, a Swedish diplomat who leads the commission exploring what to do with the Kremlin’s money, told Politico that whatever decision is made will be without precedent. "There is a consensus among [EU] member states that it’s important to examine very, very carefully, what can be done under the instructions that we’ve been given, including that what is going to be done will have to be in compliance with EU and international law," she said. "We are in an exceptional situation and probably any solution that we will come up with will be of a nature that hasn’t been there before."
The RESTRICT Act, introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tom Thune (R-SD), is aimed at blocking or disrupting transactions and financial holdings linked to foreign adversaries that pose a risk to national security, however the language of the bill could be used to give the US government enormous power to punish free speech.
Warner, a longtime opponent of free speech who, as Michael Krieger pointed out in 2018 (and confirmed in the Twitter Files) pushed for the 'weaponization' of big tech, crafted the RESTRICT act to "ake swift action against technology companies suspected of cavorting with foreign governments and spies, to effectively vanish their products from shelves and app stores when the threat they pose gets too big to ignore," according to Wired.
Bad actors listed in the bill are; China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
In reality, the RESTRICT Act has very little to do with TikTok and everything to do with controlling online content.
In very specific terms a lot of U.S. websites would be impacted. Why? Because a lot of websites use third-party ‘plug-ins’ or ‘widgets’ or software created in foreign countries to support the content on their site. The “Restrict Act” gives the DNI the ability to tell a website using any “foreign content” or software; that might be engaged in platform communication the U.S Government views as against their interests; to shut down or face a criminal charge. In very direct terms, the passage of SB686 would give the Dept of Commerce, DNI and DHS the ability to shut down what you are reading right now. This is a big deal. -The Last Refuge
We have become guinea pigs in a ruthlessly calculated, carefully orchestrated, chillingly cold-blooded experiment in how to control a population and advance a political agenda without much opposition from the citizenry.
This is mind-control in its most sinister form.
With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.
Take this latest shooting in Nashville, Tenn.
The 28-year-old shooter (a clearly troubled transgender individual in possession of several military-style weapons) opened fire in a Christian elementary school, killing three children and three adults.
Already, fingers are being pointed and battle lines are being drawn.
Hungary and Poland have both voted against the European Commission’s new proposal to extend a regulation that requires a 15 percent reduction in the use of natural gas from member states, said Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó at the EU Energy Council in Brussels on Tuesday.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Szijjártó said at a press conference at the summit that the European Commission has come up with a proposal that would again require a reduction in natural gas consumption instead of pursuing more worthwhile goals like investing in infrastructure.
Such a regulation was already adopted last year despite Hungarian and Polish opposition, but this one poses a greater threat to Europe’s economy. The previous reduction was during the winter period, when it is actually easier to reduce gas consumption. Although this may seem counterintuitive, gas usage during the winter includes residential and commercial building heating, and it is easier to cut gas usage for heating. In the summer, industrial consumption dominates gas consumption, and cutting gas during this period is far more difficult, even if overall consumption is lower.
A leading Asian studies expert is weighing in on how the U.S. can diminish the threat China poses to Taiwan, even as tensions between the two countries remain high.
“I think the first thing we need to do is clear a backlog of arms sales to Taiwan. We sell Taiwan advanced military hardware, and a number of important platforms that the Taiwanese have purchased have been backlogged, and this has been going on for years now,” says Jeff Smith, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“The second thing we need to do, I think, is help the Taiwanese to develop even better deterrence strategies and denial strategies and acquisitions,” Smith says. “What can we do? What are the most effective military platforms that Taiwan could purchase and use in order to deny China if it decides to launch an invasion or at least to hold out long enough for the cavalry?” It’s widely though that the U.S.—and possibly others, including Australia and Japan—would intervene in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
Okay, this is just getting silly. We just explained why the various attempts to tax Google and Meta to fund the owners of news organizations (often hedge funds who have a long history of pocketing any cash and cutting jobs) is a clear attack on the open web. And yet, many people keep pushing these laws.
What’s not often mentioned in these debates is the soft corruption going on. As we’ve described, soft corruption is not the blatant bribery/corruption that people normally think about, but it’s when anyone looking at a politician’s actions sees the obvious transactional nature of the process. With the link tax proposals, it’s in the fact that politicians really need local news media to endorse their campaigns to get re-elected. Put that together with the fact that the entire purpose of these laws is to take cash from one industry and forcibly hand it over to media orgs, and you can see why some politicians are so attracted to proposing them.
America is deteriorating so quickly that it’s hard to consider it a first-world nation due to the lack of clean drinking water. There was a massive chemical spill in Bristol, PA, on Friday. Officials failed to make an announcement until Sunday afternoon. Numerous people have sent me links saying they first learned about the chemical spill through TikTok, not traditional media. Over 1.5 million people call the Philadelphia area home, as it is the sixth-largest city in the US. The city sent out a mass text on Sunday, but the surrounding areas were not informed. At this time, the government is doing absolutely nothing to help.
The Philadelphia Water Department claimed that the tap water was safe to use until midnight on March 27, 2023. They claimed the water was safe for an additional day AFTER their mass text triggered panic buying. No one, absolutely no one, trusts the government, and there has been a massive run on the stores reminiscent of March 2020. The government claims that New Jersey has not been impacted, but they are urging NJ residents to conserve water. Don’t worry; they’re “monitoring the situation.”
Israel edged closer to civil war over the weekend than at any point in its history. By Monday night, in a bid to avert chaos, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to put a temporary halt to his plans to neuter the Israeli courts.
By then, city centres had been brought to a standstill by angry mass protests. The attorney general had declared Netanyahu to be acting illegally. Crowds had besieged the parliament building in Jerusalem. Public institutions were shuttered, including Israel’s international airport and its embassies abroad, in a general strike. That was on top of a near-mutiny in recent weeks from elite military groups, such as combat pilots and reservists.
The crisis culminated with Netanyahu sacking his defence minister on Sunday evening after Yoav Gallant warned that the legislation was tearing apart the military and threatening Israel’s combat readiness. Gallant’s dismissal only intensified the fury.
Levi's is undergoing a word salad of what they characterized as a "digital transformation journey" of diversity, equity, inclusion and sustainability, by partnering with an AI company to use computer-generated fashion models which they will use to "supplement human models," Engadget reports.
Engadget's Will Shanklin also nails what's going on - writing: "Although that sounds noble on the surface, Levi’s is essentially hiring a robot to generate the appearance of diversity while ridding itself of the burden of paying human beings who represent the qualities it wants to be associated with its brand."
Levi Strauss is partnering with Amsterdam-based digital model studio Lalaland.ai for the initiative. Founded in 2019, the company’s mission is “to see more representation in the fashion industry” and “create an inclusive, sustainable, and diverse design chain.” It aims to let customers see what various fashion items would look like on a person who looks like them via “hyper-realistic” models “of every body type, age, size and skin tone.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told The Associated Press on Wednesday that if the Donbas city of Bakhmut falls to Russia, he would be pressured to “compromise” with Moscow.
“Our society will feel tired” if the Russians win in Bakhmut, Zelensky said. “Our society will push me to have compromise with them.”
He said if Bakhmut falls, Russian President Vladimir Putin could “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran” as leverage to seek a ceasefire deal that would involve Kyiv ceding territory to Moscow. “If he will feel some blood — smell that we are weak — he will push, push, push,” Zelensky said.
China on Wednesday warned that it would respond if Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) while she visits the US as part of a trip to Central America.
Tsai departed for her trip to Guatemala and Belize, two countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taipei. On the way there, Tsai will spend two days in New York, and on the way back, she will stop in Los Angeles on April 4 and 5, where she’s expected to meet with McCarthy.
Beijing views any official contact between Taiwan’s president and high-level US government officials as an affront to the one-China policy. In August 2022, China launched its largest-ever military exercises around Taiwan in response to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visiting the island.
TikTok has been all the rage in Washington lately. Not for the reasons which lead some 150 million Americans to use it, but because of the rush by politicians to try to ban the app, which is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company.
Two major bills that would impose sweeping restrictions on Chinese-owned software are working their way through the House (HR 1153) and Senate (S 686), while TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was recently brought before the House Commerce Committee for hostile questioning. The executive branch is also seeking to force ByteDance to sell the app to an American owner, against Chinese opposition.
Those raising the alarm about Chinese ownership of TikTok cite invasive surveillance practices, privacy violations created by excessive collection and exploitation of user data, addictive design features, and harmful content. But all of these disturbing characteristics are also ubiquitous features of American-owned big tech apps ranging from Google to Facebook to Instagram, and were in many ways pioneered by American Silicon Valley companies.
The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 made several things about the American political system abundantly clear.
First, there was a remarkable consensus between the two political parties. While Americans, eager to individualise the follies of empire, typically blame George W Bush for the devastation visited upon Iraq, it was Democrat Joe Biden who, as then head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agitated for the invasion and Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker who refused to bring articles of impeachment against Bush for falsifying reasons for the invasion.
It was also Democratic President Bill Clinton who, before Bush, had enforced genocidal sanctions on Iraq that led to the deaths of countless children.
Members of Congress inveighing against online “harm”; a nervous tech executive defending his company’s policies; thinly veiled threats about regulatory changes. If you tuned into C-SPAN last Thursday, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were looking at the rerun of a pre-2022 hearing, when Democrats used their control of Congress to haul Facebook personnel before them to harangue. Almost, but not quite.
Instead, this particular grilling was made possible by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and instead of Facebook, it was TikTok CEO Shou Chew in the firing line. And as a result, there’s now a US ban on TikTok being seriously discussed in the corridors of power.
Over five hours long, the hearing was at times a darkly hilarious reminder that the lawmakers most gung ho about clamping down on tech platforms are not exactly tech-savvy. Rep. Richard Hudson and Chew had an extended back and forth as the GOP House member demanded to know if TikTok “access[es] the home WiFi network.” “How do you determine what age they are then?” Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter asked, before being told that, like many social media platforms, users are asked their age. Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Crenshaw seemed to think Chew was a Chinese citizen, despite the fact that he’d mentioned four times earlier that he hails from and lives in Singapore.
In this video, we discuss the huge news that the new Toyota CEO just confirmed. The company are still focused on diversification. Instead of going full EV, Toyota will continue to offer a variety of powertrains, including hybrids, plug-ins, hydrogen fuel cells, and some battery-electric models. We explore the reasons behind this strategy, the challenges and opportunities it faces, and the reactions from investors, customers, and competitors. Is Toyota making a smart move or falling behind in the EV race? Watch the video to find out!
Hundreds of worshippers gathered at a Kyiv monastery on Wednesday for what could be the last service their branch of the Orthodox Church holds there because it faces eviction following allegations it has links to Moscow.
Against the backdrop of Russia's war on Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has been ordered by the government to leave the vast 980-year old Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery complex by the end of Wednesday.
The government says the UOC broke tenancy agreements and constructed buildings illegally. The UOC denies this and says the government has not shown it any documents proving this.
At a House Armed Services Commitee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke about drag queen story hours on military bases.
A new bill in Congress would end U.S. military presence in Somalia. It’s a nice idea but don’t get too excited because Congress voted down a bill to end military presence in Syria earlier this month. The Somalia War Powers Resolution directs President Biden to remove armed forces from Somalia. The President escalated military presence there in May of 2022 with an additional 500 troops. The U.S. says it is fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia, a group that was formed when the U.S. backed an invasion on Somalia in 2006. This is truly the definition of vicious circle.