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No one saw this coming. Except just about everyone.
While Florida’s Stop Woke Act has been enjoined by a federal judge, DeSantis had a back up plan. I noted that plan on January 15, 2023, DeSantis Permitted To Gather Data On “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” in Public Universities, Judge Rules (emphasis added):
The State has filed with the 11th Circuit for a stay of the injunction pending appeal, to which the ACLU has responded and the State replied several days ago. So we may hear soon from the 11th Circuit if Judge Walker’s injunction continues pending appeal.
But in the meantime, as we previously reported, DeSantis has required Florida public higher education institutions to provide data on the funds and programming supporting DEI.
So, the ACLU filed a motion claiming the state request for data violated the court’s prior injunction….
The Court in a short form order quickly found there was no violation of the injunction…
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said the United States will increase its deployment of advanced weapons such as fighter jets and bombers to the Korean Peninsula as it strengthens joint training and operational planning with South Korea in response to a growing North Korean nuclear threat.
Austin made the comments in Seoul after he and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup agreed to further expand their combined military exercises, including a resumption of live-fire demonstrations, and continue a “timely and coordinated” deployment of U.S. strategic assets to the region, according to their offices.
Austin and Lee also discussed preparations for a simulated exercise between the allies in February aimed at sharpening their response if North Korea uses nuclear weapons.
Austin’s trip comes as South Korea seeks stronger assurances that the United States will swiftly and decisively use its nuclear capabilities to protect its ally in face of a North Korean nuclear attack.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN in an interview he was ready to consider the role of a mediator in the Ukrainian crisis if all stakeholders ask him to do so.
"If asked by all relevant parties, I’ll certainly consider it, but I’m not pushing myself in," he said, adding that his country’s close ally, the United States, will also need to ask.
Netanyahu told CNN he had been asked to act as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev in the very beginning of the Ukrainian crisis.
The premier said he was an opposition leader at this point, but did not answer the question of who asked him. He also said the request was unofficial.
The U.S. Government, and its allies, frequently advocate for “a rules-based international order” (or, going even farther, they presume that “the rules-based international order” already exists) and they always avoid stating what its relationship would be (or supposedly is) to international law — the body of international laws that have been established under the authority of the United Nations — and they also avoid saying how such “international rules” would be drafted, or even what organization(s) would be authorized to do that, or even how such an organization would become authorized to do it. They don’t say what these “international rules” are (or would be): none of these “international rules” are described, though some advocates appear to assume that such “rules” already exist. The stupidity that they all assume to exist among the public, who presumably won’t recognize and reject this transparent fraud and won’t reject the blatant grabbing for unauthorized global power by the U.S. regime that is behind it, might be excessive, but they assume it, anyway, in order then to state other frauds, which are based upon that fraud.
The fraud’s objective is to replace the authority of the United Nations, by whatever the U.S. Government will say is an “international rule.” The hope, there, is that the U.S. Government will replace the U.N. and will come to dictate to the rest of the world whatever the U.S. and its allies can agree to label as being an “international rule.” This ‘international rule’ would then become enforced by America’s 900 foreign military bases around the world (plus the 749 U.S. military bases within the U.S. itself).
Increasingly, ever since the U.S. Government, without authorization from the U.N, invaded and destroyed Iraq on 20 March 2003, on the basis of lies that America’s ‘news’-media stenographically reported to the public even though knowing them to be false — and while those media were hiding from the public the proof that they were false — the U.S. Government has been increasingly brazen in ignoring international law entirely, so as to attain its short-term goals for achieving additional conquests. This is not, at all, surprising, from a Government that even violates blatantly its own Constitution.
In his interview published by The Washington Post on January 30, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov, admitted the responsibility of the Kiev regime for the terrorist attacks on the Russian territory.
The “young and brave Ukrainian” who is serving as the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine tried his best to assure the interviewer that Ukrainian intelligence keeps Russia in awe; but in fact, he confirmed the terrorist nature of the Kiev regime.
In his interview, he assured that Kiev has its agents in Russia involved in preparation of various attacks.
“There are people who plant explosives. There are drones. Until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored, there will be problems inside Russia.” he said.
The head of Ukrainian military intelligence also claimed that Kiev is trying to recruit Russians “who understand that Russia should be different.”
So far, the Kiev regime attempted to deny its links to any attacks in Russia.
A drunken thief was injured after falling on the sword of a statue of St. Michael the Archangel that he was trying to steal from a church in Monterrey, Mexico.
Local media reported that during the early hours of Jan. 14, Carlos Alonso, 32, allegedly went to the Christ the King Parish in downtown Monterrey to rob the church.
In the darkness, Alonso reportedly jumped over the fence in front of the church entrance, broke a glass door, and entered the church.
While trying to flee with a statue of St. Michael the Archangel, the alleged thief tripped and fell on the angel’s sword, seriously injuring his neck.
Gonzalo Lira did a video recently on the race riots he sees coming to America this Spring. I want to go a bit deeper. True, we can expect the usual suspects at ANTIFA and BLM (Black Lives Matter) funded by billionaires. He mentioned the recent murder of a Black motorist by 5 Black police officers in Memphis. I would add that quota cops can be just as dangerous as quota engineers, lawyers and professors.
Gonzalo sees World War III as the collapse of the American Empire. I recently wrote that Putin said Nyet to WW III when he announced the creation of an Army that the whole of NATO could not touch. He is upgrading to the S-500 air defense system. By comparison the US Patriot system is highly inferior to the Soviet S-300 of the late 1970s.
Putin will be adding 5 divisions of artillery. Russia, unlike America, never passed legislation to close 80,000 manufacturing plants so they could become a post-industrial nation. Russia will be able to fire up to 90,000 artillery shells and rockets a day. When they get their 1,000th Tornado MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) , they will be able to fire volleys of 12,000 rockets that are as accurate as HIMARS but with a 50% greater range and twice the payload. They are upgrading their naval cruise missiles to the Mach 9 Zircon. Meanwhile, the US Navy is sporting subsonic cruise missiles. Did I mention the Mach 12 Kinzhal missile which digs a 98 foot (30 meters deep) hole in the ground where its target used to be?
No military man will go to war against Russia even if the Neocons insist.
The number of the repair crew workers that were killed in a Ukrainian strike on a railway bridge in the Zaporozhye Region has increased to five, Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the We Are Together with Russia civil society group, told TASS on Tuesday.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the interim governor of the Zaporozhye Region, earlier said four people were killed and five were wounded in the Ukrainian strike on the bridge in the village of Svetlodolinskoye. According to preliminary data, Ukrainian forces had fired three projectiles at the bridge using a HIMARS multiple launch rocket system.
"Five people have been killed and four wounded. Ordinary workers, and not servicemen, or law enforcement personnel," he specified.
"Ukrainian forces are taking out anything that’s related to the organization of normal, sustainable logistics in the liberated territories. That strike is due to systemic terrorist activity to incapacitate the Zaporozhye Region’s transportation infrastructure."
South Africa’s energy crisis is teetering on the edge of a major political and economic crisis.
Bogged down by inefficiency, ineptitude, and severe levels of corruption, the country’s power utility Eskom has proven incapable of providing sufficient and reliable energy to the nation's grid, despite the domestic abundance of coal. Once one of the most reliable utilities in Africa, Eksom now exists in a state of constant emergency which is currently threatening to push the country into civil disarray and economic catastrophe.
Eksom desperately needs to service its poorly maintained power plants. On any given day, Eksom operates at about 50% capacity. Rolling blackouts, known locally as ‘load shedding’ have become a normal and expected part in day-to-day life in South Africa. “It even has predictable stages,” Forbes reported in a recent excoriation of Eksom operations, “ranging from Stage 1 (reducing power for two hours at a time over a four-day period) through Stage 8 (reducing power for 12 hours out of every 24).”
In the last 12 months, however, these blackouts have gone into overdrive, with the power going out several times a day and up to 12 hours at a time. Adding insult to injury, Eksom has added a steep energy tariff to help bolster their own failing finances. The issue has transformed to a semi-accepted nuisance to a barrier to local livelihoods and the functioning of the national economy. Supply chains that rely on refrigeration to keep the shelves stocked, such as the dairy industry, have had to throw out their products. As a result, South Africans are angry. Civil unrest is on the rise, and protesters are not only targeting Eksom but also the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
As Statista's Martin Armstrong details below, the index scores them on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (clean) with the average score just 43 out of 100.
More than two thirds of countries scored lower than 50, as 155 countries have made "no significant progress against corruption over the last decade."
The last edition of the research found that anti-corruption efforts have stalled of late, as many countries used the Covid-19 pandemic "as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances."
In 2022, the countries with the lowest perceived level of public sector corruption were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden.
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon says transgender criminals convicted for raping women are women, despite a car crash interview in which she appeared to flip flop all over the place.
The controversy began after 31-year-old Adam Graham, who was was found guilty of raping the two women during frenzied sex attacks, was sent to Scotland’s only all female prison.
Only when on trial for the attacks did Graham announce that he was “transitioning” into a woman, a process which seemingly culminated in him wearing a bad wig and cheap make-up.
The rapist was clearly trying to exploit Scotland’s ludicrously woke legal system in which biological males who identify as women can be sent to female prisons.
After a massive public backlash, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her belief that “trans women are women,” no matter how many actual women they have violently raped.
Cash is now king in Lebanon, where a three-year economic meltdown has led the country's once-lauded financial sector to atrophy and turned the country into a Venezuelan-esque hyperinflationary hell. The country has been hit hard by events over the past few years, starting with COVID.
In August 2020, the city of Beiruit was practically destroyed by a massive blast which killed at least 200 people and triggered as much as $15 billion in damage...
Did the prominent monk, writer, social critic, and opponent of the American role in the Vietnam War, Thomas Merton, strangely succumb to a faulty fan while attending a monastic conference in Bangkok, Thailand? That’s what Associated Press reporter, John T. Wheeler, reported with a dateline of Bangkok on the day of the death, December 10, 1968. One can read that same characterization of the event even today on the web site of Merton’s home Abbey of Gethsemani, near Bardstown, Kentucky.
Thailand was in the thick of the Vietnam War theater of operations at the time. Some 80% of the air attacks on North Vietnam and virtually all of those on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos originated there. America’s war wounded were treated there and many who succumbed from their wounds were flown back to the States from Thailand. On one such flight, they were accompanied, ironically, by the dead Merton, who had been one of the war’s most influential opponents. Along with Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, he was the third major Vietnam War opponent to die under suspicious circumstances in 1968. Although Richard Nixon was the president-elect at the time, we might be reminded that Lyndon Johnson was still the president.
Had the public information situation then been what it is today, very likely lots of people would have been weighing in with the question in that lead sentence. Who’s ever heard of anyone being killed from being shocked to death by a household appliance, much less a fan? The only time this writer has ever heard of it was when a radio fell into a bathtub, but I suppose something like a hair dryer might also produce the same fatal result. (In fact, in the actual 1997 keynote address to the biennial meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society [ITMS], not in the formal transcription here, James W. Douglass reported that his friend Andrew Young had told him that Merton had died when a hair dryer had fallen into his bathtub, and Douglass joked about it because Merton was bald.)
The very first question that any skeptics of the day would have wanted to ask would have been, “What did the autopsy show?” After all, that’s what autopsies are for, to determine the cause of death. How do we know that the faulty fan that was found lying across his supine body that was clad only in boxer shorts or the bottom half of summer pajamas actually killed Merton? Without an autopsy, all speculation about cause of death is nothing more than that. It’s just so much blowing of smoke. An early such smoke blower, currently cited on Merton’s Wikipedia page, was the French Benedictine monk, Jean Leclercq, who was one of the conference’s organizers, writing on February 26, 1969:
How exactly did [Merton’s] death come about? We will never know exactly and with certitude. There are already a number ofscenarios circulating—the sort of thing you expect when an extraordinary person dies. Some have begun spreading the rumor that the last moments of his life were in the presence of a statue of the Buddha. Others have suggested that he was assassinated like Martin Luther King had been. On the evening of his death two different versions were already being put forth by the media of Thailand and the United States. Papers in the United States only made mention of electrocution; those in Thailand spoke only of a heart attack. On both sides there was a desire to explain his death in such a way as to forestall certain hypotheses, none of which are all that significant. In all probability the death of Thomas Merton was due in part to heart failure, in part to an electric shock. Neither one nor the other alone would normally be fatal. (Emphasis added)
Russia says it has obtained documents that reveal US-funded laboratories in Ukraine have been creating biological weapons components and testing them on the population of the country.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that a few months into Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine, Russian troops began compiling data related to the role and functions of US biolabs in the country.
“Russian troops have secured over 20,000 documents, reference and analytical materials, and interviewed eyewitnesses and participants in American military-biological programs” since the start of the war in February last year, said the commander of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov.
The general said that the documents “confirm… the focus of the Pentagon on creating biological weapons components and testing them on the population of Ukraine and other states along [Russia’s] borders.”
Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Bill Gates again responded to questions about his relationship with sex offender financier Jeffrey Epstein, saying that “there was never any relationship.”
“I had dinner with him and that’s all,” Gates said in response to a question from an Australia Broadcasting Corporation reporter. When pressed further, Gates said that “there never was any relationship of any kind” after being asked if there is a connection between Epstein and the Gates Foundation.
The reporter, Sarah Ferguson, asked if he regretted the relationship, saying that it went against the wishes of his ex-wife, Melinda. “You’re going way back in time. But yeah, I will say for the, you know, over [the] hundredth time that I shouldn’t have had dinners with him,” Gates said in the interview, published Jan. 30.
Ferguson noted that Epstein was involved in “sexually compromising people” and asked whether his ex-wife warned him about that. “No,” Gates said.
President Biden's 70-person social media team tweeted a photo of the president in the new Hummer EV. They celebrated the president's push to 'electrify and greenify' America.
The president has signed an Executive Order that sets a new target to make about half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles. The main idea behind the EV push is to "cut emissions," according to the Executive Order.
Though there's a dirty side to clean energy, one of these inconvenient truths is the very EV the president is sitting in pollutes more than a typical gasoline-powered sedan, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
ACEEE revealed the inconvenient truth about the Hummer EV in a report last year:
Emissions per mile driven are lower for EVs than for similarly sized gasoline-powered cars, but they are not zero. The Chevy Bolt EV is responsible for about 92 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile when accounting for emissions from the electric grid. (The CO2 calculations are based on the national average, but electric grid emissions vary considerably across the country.) The gasoline-powered Chevy Malibu causes over 320 grams per mile. Comparing larger vehicles, the original Hummer H1 emits 889 grams of CO2 per mile and the new Hummer EV causes 341 grams, demonstrating that behemoth EVs can still be worse for the environment than smaller, conventional vehicles.
Despite the world-beating rally in Chinese assets, positioning data show a clear dichotomy among investors’ views on the nation.
While hedge funds have boosted their exposure to Chinese stocks to near an all-time high again, mutual funds – which tend to have a longer-term investment horizon — remain significantly underweight, according to Goldman Sachs. Such a divergence shows that Chinese assets are viewed only as a three-month “trade,” rather than a three-year “investment.”
China’s manufacturing and services survey data Tuesday confirmed that the economy is bouncing back. The International Monetary Fund also raised China’s growth forecast this year by 0.8 percentage point to 5.2%, making it one of few major economies that may see growth accelerate this year.
With the economy healing, it’s not surprising that foreign investors are scooping up Chinese stocks hand over fist. The inflow into equities via the stock connect in January reached a record $21 billion, already exceeding the influx for the whole year of 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said that his Egyptian counterpart delivered a message from Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on Russia to “stop” its war in Ukraine.
Lavrov met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Moscow and told reporters that Shoukry “conveyed a message” from Blinken, who was in Cairo on Monday. “Russia is ready to listen to any serious proposal that is aimed at resolving the current situation in its comprehensive context,” Lavrov said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Lavrov said that the message was that Russia should “should stop, that Russia should quit, and then everything will be fine.” He said Blinken “omitted” something from the message, pointing to recent comments from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who called for Russia’s defeat in Ukraine.
Webmaster addition: I get a sense the US is looking for a clean exit strategy; one in which the US doesn't look like it lost another war.
The world is a mess, but Washington is determined to fix it. The secretary of state flies around the globe issuing instructions to friends and foes alike. When foreign officials refuse to listen, Uncle Sam dons his mailed fist.
First come sanctions to back his commands. Washington’s ability and willingness to conduct economic warfare is nonpareil. The U.S. and its allies understandably fret over Chinese economic coercion, such as trade restrictions, bans on tourism, and restrictions of investment. However, the Treasury Department issues new economic sanctions almost daily. Thousands of governments, businesses, officials, and others are presently on its naughty list.
With nary a thought, let alone serious debate, Congress also penalizes other nations—friends as well as foes—that flout its will. Worst is imposing economic sanctions on already impoverished populations in an attempt to oust or influence their governments. Americans pay for such controls, which greatly complicate international investment, trade, and services, but foreign peoples suffer far more.
Ukraine will hold a summit with the European Union in Kyiv this week, the government announced Tuesday, as it expressed hope the conference would bring the war-battered nation closer to membership in the bloc almost a year after Russia launched its invasion.
Kyiv also announced it expected to receive up to 140 modern battle tanks from its Western allies, while the prospect of more advanced weapons for Ukraine came from the United States.
In his evening address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he hoped the Friday summit would reflect a high "level of cooperation and progress" with the 27-member bloc, which Kyiv has long sought to join.
Armenia on Tuesday asked President Vladimir Putin to take a tougher line on Nagorno-Karabakh and for Russian peacekeepers to end what it calls Azerbaijan's blockade of the only road leading to the enclave.
Armenia said Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had spoken to Putin about the resulting humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and had "highlighted" the importance of Russia taking the necessary steps to overcome it.
"In this context, reference was made to the activities of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh," the Armenian government said in a statement.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but its 120,000 inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Armenians and it broke away from Baku in a first war in the early 1990s.
Azeri civilians identifying themselves as environmental activists have been facing off since Dec. 12 with Russian peacekeepers on the Lachin corridor, the only road across Azerbaijan that links Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.