"Americans have the will to resist because they have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." -- Yoshimi Ishikawa, Japanese author, in the LA Times 15 Oct 1992

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Republicans are monitoring the possibility of flipping the Senate majority in their favor during the upcoming election, a goal which is becoming more feasible as states claim GOP leadership.

Recent victories in the states of Montana, Maryland, and West Virginia have boosted the hopes of conservative leaders striving to gain control over the federal legislative chambers. Currently, Democrats dominate the Senate 51-49. They are faced with keeping 23 seats during the ongoing cycle, including protecting their claims in red states like Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia.

But key GOP victories in such states have led to increased hope for the Senate to be flipped following the November 2024 election.

One important win for Senate Republicans is the campaign of Larry Hogan, who was the widely liked governor of Maryland (a blue state) from 2015 through 2023. Hogan announced his run for Senate on February 9 via X, formerly Twitter, noting a desire to “fix the broken politics in Washington.”

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It is no secret that the left has been targeting children for years to advance their agenda. One Rhode Island educator witnessed firsthand the extent of how far they will go to ensure they eliminate the possibility of having students able to think for themselves.

Ramona Bessinger, a high school teacher in Providence, wrote a report detailing the “media literacy” program, which received over $700,000 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to DHS, the program, Courageous RI, was designed to combat disinformation. Bessinger, however, stated that the program’s objective was to “indoctrinate children.”

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A recent article in New Scientist, published in mid-February, has sparked controversy by advocating for a more permissive stance on cannibalism.

The publication defines cannibalism as the act of consuming other individuals and surprisingly suggests that ethically, "cannibalism poses fewer issues than you might imagine."

The article goes on to attribute our aversion to cannibalism to "Western religious traditions," which view the human body as sacred. It questions whether historical colonialism, which propagated racist stereotypes of cannibals to justify domination, has influenced our current perceptions.

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A Taliban official said journalists were committing "a major sin" by taking pictures, Afghan media reported on Wednesday.

Television and pictures of living things were banned under the previous Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, but a similar edict has so far not been imposed since authorities took back power in Afghanistan in 2021.

"Taking pictures is a major sin," Mohammad Hashem Shaheed Wror, a senior official in the justice ministry, told a seminar for department staff in the capital Kabul on Tuesday, according to footage broadcast by several media.

Claire's Observations:  Where, in the name of heaven, does the Taliban come up with these people?!?  Apparently, images which were taken by the press, were not to his liking, as the Taliban narrative, and what the images showed, must have been in an absolute collision. 

 Would those in the Taliban who really want to take the country back to the 18th century (including the weaponry) just please cordon off a bit of the country, and just put a wall around it, and not let anyone out or in?!?  That really would resolve their problems.  

I cannot imagine that intelligent Afghanis believe this for a second.

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Since Washington imposed sanctions on NATO member Turkey's defense sector in 2020 due to its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems and excluded Ankara from the F-35 'friends circle,' the country that bridges Europe and Asia has been accelerating the development of its own fifth-generation fighter jet. 

Turkey launched its TF-X project to produce a national combat aircraft in 2016. By 2017, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAS) signed a deal with Britain's BAE Systems, worth up to $125 million, to develop the next-generation fighter known as "KAAN." 

According to state broadcaster TRT, KAAN took off from an airstrip in Ankara, the capital, on Wednesday. The maiden flight lasted about ten minutes.  

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Google issued what Fox Business described as an "apology" on Wednesday for manually programming their "AI" Gemini to erase white people.

From Fox Business, "Google apologizes after new Gemini AI refuses to show pictures, achievements of White people":

The latest version of Google's Gemini artificial intelligence (AI) will frequently produce images of Black, Native American and Asian people when prompted – but refuses to do the same for White people.

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Gemini Experiences Senior Director of Product Management Jack Krawczyk addressed the responses from the AI that had led social media users to voice concern.

"We're working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately," Krawczyk said. "Gemini's AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that's generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it's missing the mark here."

That's the full extent of their "apology." 

Webmaster addition: The real question is why this bias was programmed into the code in the first place. Is Zuckerberg okay with this?

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As the presidential election approaches, the Biden administration is expanding its controversial initiative to control information and censor Americans by funding a new project that tracks the spread of “mis-, dis-, and mal-information (MDM)” by internet users. A public university in South Carolina is getting nearly $1 million from the government to map the spread of MDM in real time and create an online dashboard with an MDM tracker. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is doling out the funds to researchers at Clemson University to meet its reported mission of “improving knowledge and understanding of crime and justice issues through science.” The NIJ claims it provides objective and independent knowledge and tools to inform the decision-making of the criminal and juvenile justice communities to reduce crime and advance justice.

It is difficult to see how this project meets the agency’s mission, however. The government is giving Clemson researchers a bunch of taxpayer dollars to identify information and opinions it does not like by conducting the “first real-time mapping of the spread of MDM campaigns around contentious public events,” according to the grant announcement. The venture has been named “Networks and Pathways of Violent Extremism: Effectiveness of Mis/Disinformation Campaigns” and researchers assure their work will not be biased even though a leftist administration is funding the work, and most academics are themselves on the left politically. The research is essential, the Biden administration laughably asserts, to avert “violent extremism.” This is the explanation offered in the DOJ’s grant document: “Nationally publicized political events often become focal points of MDM, which are exploited by various individuals and groups to launch disinformation campaigns and trigger spontaneous or crowd-sourced diffusion of disinformation and violent extremism.”

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The US State Department has approved Italy’s requests for air-to-air missiles and small bombs worth $214 million.

In a recent announcement, the state department said Rome had requested 12 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) for $69.3 million.

The RTX-manufactured weapon is expected to improve the aerial combat capabilities of the Italian Armed Forces amid heightened regional tensions.

It is compatible with Italy’s American-made F-35 and F-16 fighter jets.

The contract also covers the provision of AMRAAM containers and support equipment, spare parts, and engineering, technical, and logistics support.

Claire's Observations:  For what, in the name of heaven, does Italy need these bombs and missiles?!?   Does it NOT trust the "NATO Umbrella" of defense, and is this why the clamor for more weapons?!?  I am sure the weapons manufacturers from whom the Italians are buying these systems, are ecstatic.  But seriously, one has to wonder just against whom these weapons are meant to be used?!?!?

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Today’s news is so flooded with stories that show the trends I’ve teen warning about that I can’t even begin to cover them all in the time I have to read through the news, organize it and then write an editorial. So, I’m going to go through them in a rather staccato style to give the thrust of each story. Maybe I’ll have more time to come back to some of the detail in next weekend’s Deeper Dive.

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The European Parliament on Wednesday asked members on its defense subcommittee to have their phones checked for spyware after it found traces of hacking on two devices.

Members and staff in the chamber's subcommittee on security and defense (SEDE) have had their phones hit with intrusive surveillance software tools, the institution said in an internal email.

All lawmakers in the subcommittee have been advised to take their phones to the institution's IT service to be checked for spyware, according to the email, seen by POLITICO.

The European Parliament is on high alert for cyberattacks and foreign interference in the run-up to the EU election in June.

POLITICO reported in December that an internal review showed that the institution's cybersecurity "has not yet met industry standards” and is “not fully in-line with the threat level" posed by state-sponsored hackers and other threat groups.

One member of the security and defense subcommittee went in for a routine check on Tuesday, which resulted in a discovery of traces of spyware on their phone. The member told POLITICO it wasn't immediately clear why they were targeted with hacking software.

Parliament's Deputy Spokesperson Delphine Colard said in a statement that "traces found in two devices" prompted the email calling on members to have their phones checked

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By: orraz
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Engineering forces of the Alexandroni Brigade cleared close to 30 kilometers of routes near Israel's northern border with Lebanon, the military said on Wednesday, granting it significant freedom of action on the northern front.

The Alexandroni Brigade, deployed from Metulla to Rosh Hanikra, is leading the defense battle against Hezbollah, the IDF noted.

Israeli house hit by anti-tank missile

In an additional incident in the north, a house in Metula was hit by an anti-tank missile, Israeli media said on Wednesday. No injuries were reported. 

Over the course of the war, under the direction and cooperation of the Air Force, more than 500 targeted attacks were carried out on enemy spots from the air and on the ground, and more than 2000 shells were fired into Lebanese territory.

Claire's Observations: It looks as though Israel is now "softening up Lebanese infrastructure" for the "full-on, upcoming invasion" they are planning.  The Lebanese government is in an absolute mess,  and their ability to defend any territorial integrity they may have left, has to be diverted to Hezbollah.  This is about to get very ugly very quickly.

And any guarantees for avoidance of civilians in the coming Lebanese genocide by Israeli government?!?  In the words of the sleazy , underworld character in a former TV series, "Fuggedaboutit"!!

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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has launched a “new crackdown” on journalists for sharing posts that include facts about the Israeli war on Gaza, MEMO understands.

Journalists are believed to be frustrated as they see this move as a submission to pressure from some pro-Israel groups.

Insider sources who spoke to MEMO on condition of anonymity fearing they could be targeted, confirmed that some Arab journalists have been subjected to a “new crackdown” that includes investigations and disciplinary actions for allegedly anti-Semitic behaviour.

This move came as BBC Director-General, Tim Davie, pledged to fight “any form of anti-Semitism” in the globally renowned news organisation.

Some Arabic service journalists in London and Middle East reporters have been investigated for “posting or sharing posts and tweets that are regarded as anti-Semitic.”

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The US military on Tuesday said that Yemen’s Houthis struck two US cargo ships a day earlier, confirming a statement made by the Yemeni group on the attacks.

US Central Command said the Houthis fired two missiles at the Sea Champion, a Greek-flagged, US-owned grain carrier, causing minor damage. The command said the ship could continue to its destination of Aden, Yemen.

The Houthis also fired a drone at the Navis Fortuna, a Marshall Islands-flagged, US-owned bulk carrier. The attack also caused minor damage, and the command said the vessel was able to continue its voyage to Italy.

CENTCOM also claimed that it struck a surface-to-air missile launcher in Yemen and a drone that was preparing to launch. The US has been bombing Yemen almost every day, but the strikes have done nothing to deter the Houthis.

From Monday night into early Tuesday morning, CENTCOM said that US and allied warships downed ten Houthi drones. “Between 8 pm on Feb. 19 and 12:30 am on Feb. 20, US and coalition aircraft and warships shot down 10 OWA UAVs [one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles] in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” the command said.

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Trump lawyer Alina Habba told Breitbart News Daily that she is going to “thoughtfully” and “methodically” respond to the ruling in New York’s fraud case against former President Donald Trump, stating that it is “going to be on the appeal” and “you can read it and weep.”

Habba spoke about the trial and the aftermath of a New York judge — Judge Arthur Engoron — ordering Trump to pay $355 million over allegations of fraud. The judge also banned Trump from conducting business in the Empire State for three years.

“Let’s just go to common sense, because the order that you’re reading is not common sense. It’s absolutely absurd …  and for me to try to explain to you how Judge Engoron got to his ridiculous number would mean I have to go speak about politics and the problem with the dual justice system and election interference right now. But the numbers are what they are. What bank, whatever, just write a check. So that’s how they feel they had a right to come in under a consumer fraud statute that’s never been used in this way and butt their nose into two private, sophisticated individuals in a contract that has never been breached. No loan defaults, no loss of money, no victims, no damages,” she said, adding that banks had nothing to do with the lawsuit and actually testified that they loved working with the Trump Organization.

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Qudra said the system was "deadly" as approximately 70,000 people were awaiting treatment, including around 10,000 cancer patients [Getty]

Only 800 wounded Palestinians have left the besieged Gaza Strip for treatment out of approximately 70,000 cases since Israel's war on the enclave began on 7 October, Gaza's health ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry's spokesperson, Ashraf al-Qudra, told Jordanian outlet Al-Mamlaka, that the process of getting the injured out of the strip for treatment was so slow that they were likely to die inside Gaza before they got the medical attention needed outside.

"Only 800 wounded have managed to get out since the beginning of Israel's aggression," he said, adding that the number included 400 cancer patients.

Qudra said the system was "deadly" as approximately 70,000 people were awaiting treatment, including around 10,000 cancer patients.

He also addressed the "systematic destruction" of Gaza's healthcare system, after Israeli attacks had targeted 150 hospitals putting 32 completely out of service and destroying 53 primary care centres.

Claire's Observations:  This is precisely the result the Israeli government wants from their genocide in Gaza; more Palestinian deaths through wounds and illness.

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