"Americans deserve the freedom to choose a life without surveillance and the government regulation that would make that possible. While we continue to believe the sentiment, we fear it may soon be obsolete or irrelevant. We deserve that freedom, but the window to achieve it narrows a little more each day. If we don't act now, with great urgency, it may very well close for good." -- Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times
In the summer of 2021, officers from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service showed up at the Vancouver home of Ramin Seyed Emami, an Iranian Canadian musician and performer who hosts a popular Persian-language podcast.
Seyed Emami often features guests from inside Iran and delves into topics that are taboo in conservative Iranian culture, such as sex, mental health and losing religious faith.
One of the officers explained that the government of Iran had developed a list of people living abroad whom it deemed a threat to the regime, Seyed Emami said in an interview. The officer didn’t say whether the 41-year-old podcaster’s name was on it, but the implication was clear, and he was told to take security precautions.
Webmaster addition: "Bad Iran! BAD Iran!!" Like the US isn't doing the same thing.
The first sign of serious trouble for the drought-stricken American Southwest could be a whirlpool.
It could happen if the surface of Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir along the Colorado River that’s already a quarter of its former size, drops another 38 feet down the concrete face of the 710-foot Glen Canyon Dam here. At that point, the surface would be approaching the tops of eight underwater openings that allow river water to pass through the hydroelectric dam.
The normally placid Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reservoir, could suddenly transform into something resembling a funnel, with water circling the openings, the dam’s operators say.
If that happens, the massive turbines that generate electricity for 4.5 million people would have to shut down — after nearly 60 years of use — or risk destruction from air bubbles. The only outlet for Colorado River water from the dam would then be a set of smaller, deeper and rarely used bypass tubes with a far more limited ability to pass water downstream to the Grand Canyon and the cities and farms in Arizona, Nevada and California.
Such an outcome — known as a “minimum power pool” — was once unfathomable here. Now, the federal government projects that day could come as soon as July.
A federal appeals court panel has scrapped former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit aimed at derailing the FBI’s investigation of classified records stashed at his Mar-a-Lago estate after he left the White House.
The three-judge panel’s unsparing ruling moves to shut down an outside review of the Justice Department’s use of nearly 3,000 documents the FBI seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August. And it deals Trump a devastating legal setback as he seeks to block the criminal probe into his purported retention of national security information, theft of government records and obstruction of justice.
Kanye “Ye” West has been suspended from Twitter after he tweeted a now-deleted post featuring a swastika Thursday evening.
After a chaotic day that saw the rapper appear on Alex Jones’ Infowars show and repeatedly say he liked Adolf Hitler, Ye posted a series of controversial tweets, including supposed text messages between himself and Twitter CEO Elon Musk. Among the tweets, which included praise and support for Balenciaga following the recent backlash against the company, Ye posted a picture of a swastika merged with a Star of David. Twitter deleted the offending post and Ye’s tweet storm came to an abrupt end.
Webmaster addition: Kanye is either desperate for attention or he's working to disrupt anyone out of favor with the Biden administration.
Trump-Endorsed Abe Hamadeh’s lawsuit contesting the rigged and conflict-ridden Arizona Midterm Election was dismissed by a judge after Democrat Kris Mayes filed a motion against Hamadeh’s lawsuit.
The judge presiding over this case, Randall Warner, was appointed by Democrat Governor Janet Napolitano in 2007.
The Gateway Pundit reported last week that Hamadeh filed the state’s first Statement of Election Contest in the Arizona Superior Court.
The election was an uncertifiable disaster on Election Day when voting machines and printers suddenly stopped working at over 30% of voting centers the moment polls opened. Republican voters were forced to wait in extremely long lines, turned away from the polls, or told to deposit their ballots in the questionable “box 3” for misread ballots.
We have been struggling to understand the tragic events in the Ukraine, poring over a stream of current events to discover the master plan behind Putin’s strategy. We failed. Then we looked back to December last year. Suddenly it all clicked.
On December 15, 2021 Russia sent an ultimatum to the US and NATO. Two days later it was published, and the Russian Foreign Office invited the West to sign up and to agree to it, or at least begin discussing it. Not only was it not signed, it wasn’t even properly acknowledged. It was blatantly ignored, as though it were a demand from a teenager to an adult.
Pity, for it would have saved the world from the Ukraine War and Europeans from expensive bills, and the US from the terrible destruction and massive deaths of WWIII. Putin had made clear what he wanted, and it was a reasonable request. All that happened subsequently was brought about in order to achieve, at least, an adult discussion of these documents.
Police in white hazmat suits clashed with anti-lockdown protesters in the Chinese city of Guangzhou on Tuesday and Wednesday, providing evidence the uprising continues despite mounting threats of a brutal crackdown.
Chinese security officials actually used the word “crackdown” on Tuesday, teasing a Tiananmen Square-style ending for the biggest protest movement to sweep China since the 1989 student uprising – which might very well have toppled the Communist regime, had it not resorted to mass murder against the demonstrators and then pressured the civilized world into accepting it.
The uprising is still vigorous enough to push a flood of news and images past China’s censorship firewalls to the outside world, transmitting photos and videos from thousands of smartphones, so the battle that began in Guangzhou on Tuesday night was verified and reported by outlets like the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP):
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pulled a whopping $2billion worth of its assets from woke manager BlackRock, Inc. — the largest such divestment by a state opposed to the asset manager's environmental, social and corporate governance policies
The state's Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced on Thursday that the state's Treasury, which he oversees, would remove BlackRock as a manager of about $600million in short-term investments, and have its custodian freeze another $1.43billion in long-term securities with the firm.
The goal, he says, is to reallocate all of the money to other money managers by the start of 2023.
A focus of the California task force has been 'housing discrimination' - it has been estimated that it would cost around $569billion to compensate the 2.5 million Black Californians for setbacks between 1933 and 1977, according to the New York Times.
Webmaster addition: California was admitted to the union as a free state. There never were any slaves in California and thus no descendants. This is just another socialist reallocation of wealth.
The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is speeding up its design of a common payment system, which has been closely discussed for nearly a year with the Chinese under the stewardship of Sergey Glazyev, the EAEU’s minister in charge of Integration and Macro-economy.
Through its regulatory body, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the EAEU has just extended a very serious proposal to the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which, crucially, are already on the way to turning into BRICS+: a sort of G20 of the Global South.
The system will include a single payment card – in direct competition with Visa and Mastercard – merging the already existing Russian MIR, China’s UnionPay, India’s RuPay, Brazil’s Elo, and others.
That will represent a direct challenge to the western-designed (and enforced) monetary system, head on. And it comes on the heels of BRICS members already transacting their bilateral trade in local currencies, and bypassing the US dollar.
Twice-failed Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is now lobbying the Joe Biden White House to be the next nominee for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to a report.
FCC nominee Gigi Sohn’s confirmation vote has been put on the back burner as Senate Democrats’ one-member majority has struggled to find a way to confirm her.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, said that she will push to renominate Sohn, a radical progressive on technology issues, if Congress’s upper chamber cannot confirm her this congressional session.
Conservatives have slammed Sohn for threatening to use the federal government to silence conservatives, and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has said that she has not been honest about her potential business conflicts.
If the Biden White House moves in another direction to supplant Sohn, Biden could nominate Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) aide Didier Barjon.
Webmaster addition: I expect the first thing she will do is require all websites to have a government license, thereby bringing all websites under government control!
The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to pass a resolution imposing a contract on freight rail workers but rejected a concurrent measure that would give workers seven guaranteed paid sick days.
H.J. Resolution 100 passed the Senate by a margin of 80-15, surpassing the 60-vote threshold. The Biden Administration brokered a tentative deal in August between the unions and carriers, but rank-and-file members of four of the twelve unions in the deal rejected it. Paid sick leave for workers was a central hold-up to the deal moving forward.
On Monday, Biden called on Congress to impose the worker-rejected contract to avoid a national strike that would have begun on December 9 and would have carried substantial economic ramifications.
The resolution passed the Senate Thursday after voting against a concurrent resolution that would guarantee union members seven days of paid sick leave, which narrowly advanced from the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The legislation needed 60 votes but only received 52.
Webmaster addition: I remember another country where the government could tell you you had to work, where to work, and what your pay would be. It was called the Soviet Union!
A new poll finds 69 percent of Democrats surveyed believe that Arizonans were denied the “sacred right to vote” due to the Election Day polling site problems that happened in Maricopa County leading to hours-long lines.
Further 65 percent of Democratic respondents in the Rasmussen Reports survey agreed it likely affected the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Arizona between Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican candidate Blake Masters.
Overall, 71 percent of the likely U.S. voters thought it likely affected the outcome, including 40 percent who said it “very likely” did.
The female victim, who estimated the bag cost $2,325, confirmed to police that the navy blue bag that Brinton took in the surveillance footage indeed belonged to her. Brinton later took an Uber to the InterContinental St. Paul Riverfront hotel where he checked in with the blue bag, according to the criminal complaint. He later returned to the airport on September 18 with the same bag in hand when he departed for Washington, DC.
On October 9, police questioned Brinton about the bag and if he “took anything that did not belong” to him. Brinton reportedly responded, “Not that I know of.”
Two hours after the interview, Brinton then allegedly called the investigating officer and admitted to not being “completely honest.” According to Brinton, he mistakenly took the navy blue bag due to him being tired from his trip and “got nervous” when, arriving at his hotel room, he realized that the bag belonged to someone else. Not knowing what to do, Brinton then allegedly told police that he left the woman’s clothes in the hotel room drawers and took the bag with him anyway in order to keep up appearances.
Brinton has allegedly not returned the bag to the female victim and police said no clothing was recovered from the hotel room. His first court hearing is scheduled for December 19 in Hennepin County.
According to a new poll, perhaps not surprisingly, many Americans across party lines would like the U.S. to have a less interventionist and meddlesome foreign policy.
The results of a Morning Consult survey show that there continues to be substantial public support for scaling back U.S. military entanglements. Large blocs of Republicans and Democrats are in favor of less involvement in the affairs of other countries in general, and a plurality of Americans supports decreasing overseas deployments and reducing involvement in foreign conflicts.
While there were slight fluctuations over the course of the three-month survey, there were more voters that said they wanted a decreased military presence and a reduced role in foreign wars than chose the status quo or a larger role. The disconnect between what this plurality of voters wants and what the government is doing in different parts of the world is as big as it has ever been.
The Ronald Reagan Institute has released its annual poll on Americans’ trust in its military, and not surprisingly, it’s still in the dumps. While the organization says the free fall from 70 percent just five years ago is “stabilizing,” the fact is that only 48 percent of respondents expressed “a great deal of trust and confidence” in the institution — just three points up from 2021.
I wrote about the possible reasons for this last year. The organization’s head, Richard Zakheim, had acknowledged that the 2021 poll did not drill down on the reasons why respondents had lost faith in the one institution that up until then had still been held in high esteem by most Americans. He speculated that it was due to over-politicization, like the National Guard being used to crack down on protesters during the George Floyd protests in 2020. I thought that was ignoring the role our 20-years of failed wars had played in the perception of the military’s honesty and competence.
In the two years since nationwide social justice protests followed the murder of George Floyd, California has undertaken the nation’s most sweeping effort yet to explore some concrete restitution to Black citizens to address the enduring economic effects of slavery and racism.
A nine-member Reparations Task Force has spent months traveling across California to learn about the generational effects of racist policies and actions. The group, formed by legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020, is scheduled to release a report to lawmakers in Sacramento next year outlining recommendations for state-level reparations.
“We are looking at reparations on a scale that is the largest since Reconstruction,” said Jovan Scott Lewis, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who is a member of the task force.
Webmaster addition: So if we all start a riot, will the government give us money?
George was part of the land reform anti-monopoly school of Anglo-American thought, from Frederick Douglass to Thaddeus Stevens. Plunkitt was a machine politician, and proud of it. The battle between these two elements of America, the desire to conserve the public weal versus the desire to cynically plunder it, is still fierce today. It will probably never end.
And that brings me to the political conflict over our national parks, and the strange situation whereby a large government contractor, Booz Allen, somehow found itself in a position to rent us back our own land.
Every day, visitors to Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona hike into an area named Coyote Buttes North to see one of the “most visually striking geologic sandstone formations in the world,” which is known as The Wave. On an ancient layer of sandstone, millions of years of water and wind erosion crafted 3,000-foot cliffs, weird red canyons that look like you are on the planet Mars, and giant formations that look like crashing waves made of rock. There are old carvings known as ‘petroglyphs’ on cliff walls, and even “dinosaur tracks embedded in the sediment.”
The Wave is unlike anywhere else on Earth. It is also part of a U.S. national park, and thus technically, it’s open to anyone. Yet, to preserve its natural beauty, the Bureau of Land Management lets just 64 people daily visit the area. Snagging one of these slots is an accomplishment, a ticket into The Wave is known as “The Hardest Permit to Get in the USA” by Outside and Backpacker Magazines.
To apply requires going to Recreation.gov, the site set up to manage national parks, public cultural landmarks, and public lands, and paying $9 for a “Lottery Application Fee.” If you win, you get a permit, and pay a recreation fee of $7. The success rate for the lottery is between 4-10%, and some people spend upwards of $500 before securing an actual permit.
Three years ago, I bet that 99 percent of my readers had never heard of ORC. Of course by now almost everyone knows that ORC stands for “organized retail crime”, and it is prompting retailers to permanently shut down stores all over the nation. Right now, retail theft is happening from coast to coast on a scale that we have never seen in our entire history. Marauding bands of looters are barging into stores, grabbing as much merchandise as they can possibly carry, and then loading it into their vehicles. Online marketplaces make it easier than ever to turn stolen goods into cash, and at this point organized retail crime has become a multi-billion dollar business. As I have repeatedly warned my readers, America is descending into lawlessness. The thin veneer of civilization that we all depend upon on a daily basis is rapidly disappearing, and if we stay on this path our society will soon be completely unrecognizable.
The founder of a US-based website that earlier published the same un-redacted documents that WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange was later indicted for has invited the U.S. Department of Justice to make him a co-defendant with Assange.
“Cryptome published the decrypted unredacted State Department Cables on September 1, 2011 prior to publication of the cables by WikiLeaks,” John Young wrote in a Justice Department submission form, which Young posted on Twitter on Tuesday.
“No US official has contacted me about publishing the unredacted cables since cryptome published them,” he wrote. “I respectfully request that the Department of Justice add me as a co-defendant in the prosecution of Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act.”