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Posted on: Feb 04, 2023
"We trusted the government not to screw us, but they did. We trusted the tech companies not to take advantage of us. But they did. That is going to happen again, because that is the nature of power." -- Edward Snowden.
Having funneled billions of dollars worth of supplies to Ukraine, probably one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, the United States government suddenly had an idea to look into exactly how this money is being spent by Kiev.
A new team established by the US Department of Defense’s inspector general is going to be tasked with monitoring US assistance to the Zelensky regime. The team will be based at the US embassy in Kiev, it has been reported.
Paul E. Vallely, a retired US Army major general and chairman of Stand Up America US Foundation, told Sputnik that this move was primarily caused by the fact that the White House and the DoD “have not released any audits of the foreign aid to Ukraine."
"The same criticism was made in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems they want to deny specific use of the money," he said. "Billions of dollars into Ukraine to date have gone into corrupted officials/oligarchs' pockets and have been fenced into real estate, expensive cars. Now after much criticism, they want to establish a monitoring team to satisfy the media and American people."
He noted that the people of the United States "know that their tax dollars are being wasted in the Ukraine-Russia conflict - as they say, another unnecessary war," and that they are aware of the fact that "much of the military equipment the US generously supplied to Kiev has ended up in other countries/cartels."
A captured Ukrainian soldier from the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, Vitaly Dityuk, said that his unit commanders had been continuously dispatching troops across a minefield to storm the village of Opytnoye, near Donetsk, despite the high losses in personnel incurred from this tactical maneuver.
"In the evening, they brought us in, and in the morning, we received orders to storm Opytnoye. We went out in three groups of 20 people each, I was in one of the groups. We were forced to move along the wooded area, which had not been demined, and along a minefield, where we began to trip and set off mines," he told TASS.
He clarified that in his group alone, about ten people tripped and detonated mines, while the rest were hit by a Russian artillery barrage. Some of them were killed on the spot, while some troops sustained wounds of various degrees of severity. Dityuk himself was shell-shocked. "When I came to, I was already surrounded by Russian soldiers," he added.
Decades ago, Albert Einstein predicted gravitational lenses as part of his theory of general relativity. Another physicist at the time predicted that if the Earth and the gravitational lens, as well as a distant object, were lined up just right, we’d see a halo, ring, or mirror of that object. Einstein said we’d never observe it directly. However, the ESO’s Very Large Telescope has now captured evidence of an “Einstein Cross.”
Oil prices jumped on Thursday to a new ten-month high, with U.S. crude rising above $90 a barrel for the first time this year.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose by more than 1.9 percent on Thursday to reach a high of $90.29 a barrel, the highest level since November of last year.
Brent crude, the international benchmark most closely related to gasoline prices in the U.S., rose by nearly two percent to $93.68.
The rising price of oil comes at a particularly challenging time for American consumers. U.S. gasoline prices surged 20 percent last month, according to the producer price index data released Thursday. This accounted for 60 percent of the rise in the index for final demand goods, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
On Thursday, gasoline prices were once again on the rise across the nation. The national average gas price rose to $3.853 a gallon, up from $3.484 a day earlier. This is more than 50 cents higher than a month ago.
The prosecution’s case in the impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appears to have crumbled, with Andrew Wicker, former personal assistant to Paxton, admitting to defense attorney Tony Buzbee that photos of Paxton’s home indicate no renovations were made to the kitchen counter-tops nor to the kitchen cabinetry – one of the key claims against the Texas AG.
The alleged kitchen remodel was, according to Texas House lawmakers who approved 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton on May 27th, part of a quid pro quo scheme with real estate developer Nate Paul in exchange for Paxton helping him with a fraud lawsuit and preventing foreclosure on properties that he owned.
During Buzbee’s cross examination, however, Wicker was shown two sets of photos from 2020 and 2023 of the kitchen in the Paxton home. Buzbee asked Wicker, “We can see that there are no work done on the counter tops, can’t we?” With Wicker answering in the affirmative. The Paxton defense attorney followed up asking, “We can see that there was no work done in the cabinetry, can’t we?” The former personal assistant again responding in the affirmative.
Last week The National Pulse reported that another star witness for the prosecution against Paxton admitted to defense attorney Mitch Little that upon closer examination, many of the articles of impeachment appeared to have no basis in fact. Ryan Vassar, a former aide in the Attorney General’s Office, also admitted to Little that he had reported Paxton to the FBI with no actual evidence.
Argentina's leading presidential candidate Javier Milei - a self-described anarcho-capitalist who won the primaries with 30% of the vote - sat down with Tucker Carlson this week in Buenos Aires for a wide-ranging discussion.
Prior to the interview, Carlson documented first-hand the hyperinflationary perils of statism run wild...
When the progressive woke revolution took over traditional America, matters soon reached the level of the ridiculous.
Take the following examples of woke craziness and hypocrisy, perhaps last best witnessed during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.
The Biden administration from its outset wished to neuter immigration law. It sought to alter radically the demography of the U.S. by stopping the border wall and allowing into the United States anyone who could walk across the southern border.
Over seven million did just that. Meanwhile, Biden ignored the role of the Mexican cartels in causing nearly 100,000 ANNUAL American fentanyl deaths.
Then border states finally wised up.
They grasped that the entire open-borders, “new Democratic majority” leftwing braggadocio was predicated on its hypocritical architects staying as far away as possible from their new constituents.
So cash strapped border states started busing their illegal aliens to sanctuary blue-state jurisdictions.
Almost immediately, once magnanimous liberals, whether in Martha’s Vineyard, Chicago, or Manhattan, stopped virtue-signaling their support for open borders.
Human rights advocates and some congressional Democrats on Wednesday cautiously welcomed Washington Post reporting that the Biden administration has created a program to track and investigate allegations of foreign forces harming or killing civilians with weapons provided by the United States.
"The United States clearly has a vested interest in knowing what harm its weapons sales and security assistance cause to civilians," Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy Washington director Nicole Widdersheim told the newspaper. "Let's see if the Biden administration puts political will behind this good idea."
Let's review how to select a town that the rich won't ruin via gentrification / swarming in en masse and driving out locals who have to work for a living.
Yesterday I discussed how those enriched by two decades of Federal Reserve-inflated bubbles make housing unaffordable for the bottom 90% by gentrifying previously affordable neighborhoods and towns. Once the truly wealthy have snapped up all the most desirable properties in the most desirable enclaves, the merely millionaires start snapping up nearby properties, fueling a bidding war that soon pushes valuations out of reach of the working populace.
As I discussed in STVR/Airbnb Has Destroyed America's Resort Towns (8/30/23), the net result is the workforce of the gentrified town can no longer afford to buy or rent shelter near their work place. This forces them to commute long distances or give up and move away, leaving the town short of people to actually do the work of keeping the town operating.
Let's review how to select a town that the rich won't ruin via gentrification / swarming in en masse and driving out locals who have to work for a living.
Let's start by dividing the wealthy seeking a nice place to live where we can park some of our excess capital into four very different classes:
1. The most desirable class of wealthy residents is old money, families with deep roots in the town who quietly fund needed improvements and services with their wealth and who are protective of what makes the town a nice place to live. They have the clout to protect the town from the entitled vultures seeking to make a quick buck off gentrification and low-quality development.
Conservatives complain that they are losing the culture wars. And they are right. That won’t change until conservatives actually produce culture, which would be good for everyone. American culture would be enriched by art made by artists with diverse viewpoints and experiences.
Conservatives could start with independent and documentary films; they are increasingly influential but much less expensive than Hollywood movies. Yet, many, on both sides, don’t believe conservatives can make good films.
I disagree, and I am in a position to know. Along with my wife and business partner, Gina Cappo Pack, I have been producing documentaries for many years. Over 15 of our films have been nationally broadcast on PBS. All have won awards and garnered many favorable reviews. (A full list of our films along with clips can be found here.) So, I am a practitioner, a maker of culture, rather than a critic or expert.
In addition, I have run some major cultural institutions, including serving as president of the Claremont Institute, senior vice president for television programming at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and CEO of the United States Agency for Global Media, our government’s international broadcasters, including Voice of America. So, I also have the perspective of a media executive. Over the years, I have watched numerous conservative efforts to “take back the culture,” all pathetic failures.
Social media has been awash with videos of migrants storming the shores of Italy in recent days, and Italy’s nominally conservative government is being forced to respond.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, known for his hawkish stance on immigration during his tenure as interior minister in 2018, said on Wednesday that when 120 boats filled with migrants arrive on the shores of Italy at the same time, “it is not a spontaneous phenomenon, it is a declaration of war on Europe.”
The deputy prime minister of the right-wing government in Rome, who currently heads the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, referred to the fact that the boats with approximately 6,000 migrants docked on the island of Lampedusa in one day. He stressed that the problem was not exclusive to Lampedusa and that the situation threatened to “collapse Italian society as a whole.”
Webmaster addition: That could very well be the intention!
The EU needs to realize that when it points one investigatory finger at Chinese EV subsidies, three more point back at it.
Among the ironies behind the EU launching an investigation into Chinese EV subsidies is the fact that Europe’s own automakers also take advantage of China's low cost manufacturing base for vehicles.
Renault, for instance, markets its Dacia Spring as Europe's most affordable EV, according to Bloomberg, yet the vehicle is manufactured in China's Hubei province. It is priced at €20,800 ($22,300) in France, the report says.
Meanwhile Chinese company BYD is pushing its most affordable vehicle in Europe at a price of €38,000. Bloomberg lists several other models that price cheaper in China than in Europe here.
But that didn't stop Commission President Ursula von der Leyen from saying earlier this week that: “Global markets are now flooded with cheaper Chinese electric cars, and their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies."
"The economic data have been just surreally good. Even optimists are stunned, so why do polls show most Americans don't think the economy is doing well? There's a really profound and peculiar disconnect going on," huffedNew York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman on CNN earlier this week.
For context, economic confidence among U.S. adults remains low (-30 on a scale of –100 to 100). 42% of Americans view economic conditions as poor, and 67% think they are worsening.
Krugman, the Nobel Prize winner who said bitcoin was overpriced when it cost $7, believes slight downticks in core CPI (Consumer Price Index) amount to victory over inflation.
Tell that to those still dealing with grocery prices up over 17% since 2021.
Back here in reality, Americans have been burdened by hefty price inflation for 31 months. Although the last three months' CPI increases have not been as dramatic as prior ones, the trend is still far above the Fed's inflation target of 2% (which, itself, is much too high – a topic for another time).
An alternative measure of the prices and goods important to everyday lives, the Everyday Price Index (EPI), produced by the American Institute for Economic Research, reached an all-time high this month.
There is also the looming commercial real estate crisis, a decrease in real annual earnings, and rising energy costs.
Regime apologists like Krugman are either so out of touch that they can’t understand the reality faced by the middle class, or they are intentionally gaslighting the public ahead of a Presidential election. Either way, people have grown tired of the lies and incompetence, and they are looking for alternatives. Fortunately, bitcoin provides a recourse.
One of the consistent mercies of the SARS-CoV-2 “covid-19 pandemic,” even at its most virulent initial stages, has been the paucity of serious disease in childrengenerally, and healthychildren, universally. Covid-19 always was and remains a very highly age– and comorbid risk-stratified disease that targets the extremely frail elderly—especially those in congregate care—and the otherwise middle-aged to elderly with multiple (for example, ≥ 6!), severe, chronic comorbidities.
For the vast preponderance of the world’s population, and workforce, i.e., the ~94 percent under age 70-years-old, we now know that the most aggressive early variants, such as the Wuhan, Alpha, and Delta strains, conferred a very modest infection fatality ratio (IFR; covid-19 deaths/total covid-19 infections) of 0.1 percent, or 1 per 1,000 infections. This seasonal influenza-like IFR for those < 70, overall, dropped precipitously further in the pediatric age range (0-19-years-old) to 0.0003 percent, or 1 in 333,333. Such unalarming IFRs among those < 70, especially children, for the early SARS-CoV-2 variants, have been reduced by at least 3-fold more (so 0.1 percent/3; 0.0003 percent/3!) since the advent of the Omicron wave in early 2022, and its perhaps even milder related subvariants, that are continuing to emerge through the present.
During 3+ years, including the period when the most virulent early SARS-CoV-2 strains were predominant, through the Omicron wave, and till now, not a singlepediatric death due to covid-19, has been recorded in Rhode Island. This contrasts starkly with the three HINI influenza (swine flu) pediatric pneumonia deaths that accrued in a single flu season, during the 2009-2010 swine flu pandemic, mirroring recent national US pediatric influenza death trends. Comparative US pediatric influenza vs. SARS-CoV-2 mortality data since 2009, underscore how both pandemic, and bad seasonal influenza outbreaks—with which we cope, appositely, minus hysteria—pose a greater mortality risk to children, than SARS-CoV-2.
Because Dr. Brownstein had been employing a nutritional and oxidative protocol for treating a variety of viral illnesses during flu seasons for over three decades he felt that although SARS-CoV-2 was a new virus, it was still part of the coronavirus family.
Dr. Brownstein felt that since up to one-third of all flu-like infections come from the coronavirus family, his protocol had a good chance of being successful. “For nearly 30 years, we have had good success treating viral illnesses, why should this be any different?” Dr. Brownstein asked.
Every year between 12,000 to 52,000 Americans die during flu season from influenza. “None of my partners or myself could recall any of our patients dying from the flu over the last 30 years, and none of us can recall the last time we had a patient hospitalized from the flu,” said Dr. Brownstein.
“Think about it—let's say 25,000 Americans die every year due to flu-like illnesses. Multiply that by 30 years and that is a lot of patients dying. I think we haven’t seen our patients dying because of the support we were providing to their immune systems,” he said.
One of the treatments Dr. Brownstein used for those with respiratory issues was a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide and iodine—administered via nebulizer—every hour until they felt better.
“We’ve used this treatment for nearly three decades for lung problems. And the consistent theme I heard from people was after the second dose of that nebulizer solution they could breathe, and they felt like they were moving forward towards recovery,” said Dr. Brownstein.
Dr. Brownstein would call his COVID-19 patients daily until they were no longer at risk from the virus, and as treatments continued, reports were coming in that patients with even severe respiratory issues were feeling better.
Governor Grisham banned open and concealed carry under the guise of a “public health emergency.” The ban drew a surprisingly bipartisan backlash from both Republicans and Democrats.
The consensus from both sides of the aisle is that the government cannot suspend constitutional rights even for a so-called public health emergency.
Well, last month, Senate Democrats from the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions voted to strike down an amendment from the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act that would have prevented the President of the United States and the Department of Health and Human Services from declaring a public health emergency to push gun control.
The Braun Amendment, named for Senator Mike Braun, who introduced it, would protect gun owners from tyranny in the name of public health.
The $85 million is in the form of Foreign Military Financing, a State Department program that gives foreign governments money to purchase US arms. According to CNN, Egypt receives $1 billion in FMF annually, and $320 million of those funds is conditional and tied to human rights issues.
Some members of Congress want President Biden to withhold the full $320 million, but for now, the administration has only announced its intention to transfer $85 million. Of that amount, $55 million will be redirected to Taiwan, and $30 million will go to Lebanon.
The US State Department and Treasury announced on Thursday a large sanctions package targeting Moscow’s trade with some of Washington’s allies and partners. The aim of this new sanctions package, one of the largest yet, is to block off Russia’s access to money, financial channels and Western technology allegedly being used to bolster the Kremlin’s war effort.
Among those targeted are over 150 businesses and individuals from Russia to Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Georgia. Also in the crosshairs are the Russian energy sector, including Arctic liquified natural gas projects, mining, as well as factories repairing and manufacturing Moscow’s arms.
Washington penalized a recently established company in the UAE, for instance, which is said to be providing technology and engineering for Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project. Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has said that bilateral trade between the UAE and Russia grew to $9 billion last year, an increase of almost 70% during 2022.
James O’Brien, the head of the State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, told the Associated Press that Foggy Bottom’s goal is to “restrict Russia’s defense capacity and the liquidity it has to pay for its war.”
The Economist report reads: “Curtailing aid to Ukraine will only prolong the war, Mr Zelensky argues. And it would create risks for the West in its own backyard. There is no way of predicting how the millions of Ukrainian refugees in European countries would react to their country being abandoned. Ukrainians have generally ‘behaved well’ and are ‘very grateful’ to those who sheltered them. They will not forget that generosity. But it would not be a ‘good story’ for Europe if it were to ‘drive these people into a corner.'”
Zelensky also said in the interview, published on September 10, that anyone who is not supporting Ukraine is with Russia. “If you are not with Ukraine, you are with Russia, and if you are not with Russia, you are with Ukraine. And if partners do not help us, it means they will help Russia to win. That is it,” he said.
We’ve just learned that the office of the prosecutor and the “security service” of Ukraine have published press releases claiming to have put a stop to the activities of the “vicious Russian propagandist Yurii Sheliazhenko.”
Yurii Sheliazhenko has been formally charged by the Ukrainian government with the crime of justifying Russian aggression. The evidence is this statement which explicitly condemns Russian aggression.
Next week, Yurii will face prosecution in Kyiv, and members of World BEYOND War will be there to deliver a petition — please sign it now! — asking that the prosecution be dropped. If you can get to Kyiv next week and support Yurii, please contact us.
Federal elections officials appeared to have finally closed the door on bogus allegations that Rep. Matt Gaetz was involved in sex trafficking.
Newsmax reported on Wednesday that the Federal Election Commission tossed out a complaint filed against Gaetz by Cris Dosev, a Republican who has twice challenged Gaetz for his Panhandle congressional seat.
Dosev claimed the Fort Walton Beach Republican wrongfully used campaign contributions to cover legal expenses related to a 2020 Justice Department investigation of the sex trafficking allegations.
Federal investigators ended the probe in February and declined to charge Gaetz because there was no evidence he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, as was alleged by an anonymous source. Gaetz repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.
The House returned to session this week after the summer recess and only has until the end of the month — two weeks — to pass the 12 funding bills necessary to avoid a government shutdown.
In lieu of a long-term spending bill, the White House has urged lawmakers to pass a continuing resolution, a stopgap measure which would maintain current funding levels until a larger agreement is reached. In addition to the money needed to keep the government running, President Joe Biden’s $25 billion supplemental spending request for Ukraine also hangs in the balance.
The House Freedom Caucus, the roughly 50-member bloc of Republicans, has voiced strong opposition to a stopgap measure. In August, the group released a list of demands that would be necessary for them to approve the spending bills on the table. Included in the group’s statement from last month — which required the support of 80 percent of its members — is a rejection of “any blank check for Ukraine in any supplemental appropriations bill.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration and Senate Republican leadership have endorsed legislation that ties Ukraine-related assistance with increased disaster relief funding in an emergency spending package.
An American envoy and a Bahraini academic posed for the camera at a Washington hotel in October 2020, grinning ear to ear. They held a copy of an agreement between the U.S. State Department and the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence to combat antisemitism in Bahrain. Ellie Cohanim, then the U.S. assistant special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, called it “a model for a society that actively espouses religious freedom, tolerance and diversity of peoples.”
Thousands of miles away, in Bahrain itself, Sheikh Zuhair Jasim Abbas was sitting in a solitary confinement cell. His family had not heard from him since July. They would not again for several more months. According to a UN panel, the Shi’a Muslim cleric was allegedly beaten, starved, sleep-deprived, chained, attacked with water hoses, forbidden from using the bathroom, threatened with execution, and prevented from practicing his religious rituals.
The Abraham Accords, the diplomatic agreements between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, have been hailed as a victory for religious tolerance. The image of Muslims and Jews dancing together has convinced American policymakers from both parties that peace is breaking out across the Middle East. The Biden administration is reportedly offering the Saudi government a huge bribe — perhaps even a commitment to go to war on the kingdom’s behalf — to get Saudi Arabia into the Abraham Accords as well.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman seems to sum up the Biden administration’s logic: that a Saudi-Israeli agreement would “open the way for peace between Israel and the whole Muslim world” and “dramatically reduce the Muslim-Jewish antipathy born over a century ago with the start of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict.”
But the Abraham Accords are attached to a social order that is deeply unequal, divided along ethnic and religious lines. While Israel allows foreign Muslims to visit Jerusalem, it rules over millions of Palestinians against their will. (That conflict is more about nationalism in the here and now than “Muslim-Jewish antipathy.”) And while some monarchies in the Persian Gulf are beginning to embrace foreigners of different religions, those same states — especially Bahrain — treat their native Shi’a Muslims as a potential fifth column.
The commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa told reporters Wednesday that the US is considering moving its drone base in Niger following the July 26 coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
“There are several locations I’ll say that we’re looking at, but nothing’s firmed up. We have talked to some countries about it,” said Gen. James Hecker, according to Defense One.
The US’s main drone base in Niger, known as Air Base 201, cost $110 million to build and $20 million – $30 million each year to maintain. According to The Intercept’s Nick Turse, who focuses on US military operations in Africa, Air Base 201 is “the linchpin of the US military’s archipelago of bases in North and West Africa and a key part of America’s wide-ranging intelligence, surveillance, and security efforts in the region.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden during his trip to the United Nations General Assembly next week, a statement from the prime minister's office said on Thursday, without specifying the exact location of the meeting.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Schulz, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, according to his office.
The statement also said Netanyahu would deliver an address to the General Assembly on Friday morning.
Webmaster addition: Place your bets on how many standing ovations Netanyahu gets from the trained seals in Congress!
“Working in lockstep with the Ukrainian government, our allies and partners, international financial institutions, and the private sector, she will drive the United States’ efforts to help rebuild the Ukrainian economy,” Biden said in a statement. “This includes mobilizing public and private investment, shaping donor priorities, and working to open export markets and businesses shut down by Russia’s brutal attacks and destruction.”
Pritzker, a native of Chicago with Ukrainian family roots, heir to her family’s Hyatt hotel fortune and a prolific fundraiser for Democratic party candidates, served as secretary of commerce during the Obama administration.
Webmaster addition: How about reconstruction aid for the US? Starting with the dilapidated and dangerous rail system!