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Thought for the day
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have given way to permanent crisis management: to policing the planet and fighting preventative wars of ideological containment, usually on terrain chosen by, and favorable to, our enemies. Limited government and constitutional accountability have been shouldered aside by the kind of imperial presidency our constitutional system was explicitly designed to prevent." -- David C. Unger, The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs
Sixty-eight countries gathered on Russia’s far eastern coast to listen to Moscow’s economic and political vision for the Asia-Pacific...
The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok is one of the indispensable annual milestones for keeping up not only with the complex development process of the Russian Far East but major plays for Eurasia integration.
Mirroring an immensely turbulent 2022, the current theme in Vladivostok is ‘On the Path to a Multipolar World.’ Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, in a short message to business and government participants from 68 nations, set the stage:
The Biden White House is once again lying to the American people about the crippling inflation due to Joe Biden’s outrageous spending bills.
Twitter shareholders on Tuesday voted to approve Elon Musk’s buyout of the platform.
In an already fragile economy with inflation at 40-year highs, out-of-control government spending and broken supply chains, major freight railroads are preparing for a possible strike and service disruption as a September 16th deadline looms. The supply chain disaster under the Biden administration is poised to become even worse.
It appears that beggars can be choosers.
The beggar in this case is Germany - whose economic prosperity over the past two decades has been largely a function of its close mercantilist relationship with China (and, of course, the PIIGS-crippling euro which allowed Germany to benefit from a cheap, distributed and very much artificial currency instead of the always overvalued DEM) - which according to Reuters has chosen it no longer needs said prosperity, and on Tuesday Germany's economy minister, Robert Habeck, said the government was working on a new trade policy with China to reduce dependence on Chinese raw materials, batteries and semiconductors, promising "no more naivety" in trade dealings with Beijing.
Sources told Reuters last week the economy ministry was considering a raft of new measures to make business with China less attractive. And today was the first time the minister confirmed the tougher line was being translated into policy measures
Habeck told Reuters that China was a welcome trading partner, but Germany could not allow Beijing's protectionism to distort competition and would not hold back criticism of human rights violations under threat of losing business.
Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Jason Miyares, announced on Sept. 9 the formation of an “Election Integrity Unit” within his office that will ensure “legality and purity” in the election process by working with law enforcement, the Department of Elections, the State Board, and the broader community.
“I pledged during the 2021 campaign to work to increase transparency and strengthen confidence in our state elections,” said Miyares in a press release on Friday. “It should be easy to vote, and hard to cheat. The Election Integrity Unit will work to help to restore confidence in our democratic process in the Commonwealth.”
Headed by Miyares, the unit will have more than 20 attorneys, investigators, and paralegals from across the various divisions of the AG’s office. They are expected to monitor processes across Virginia’s 133 local electoral boards and general registrars and the bipartisan State Board of Elections starting with the upcoming midterms. Early voting begins in the state on Sept. 17, 2022.
The Republican Party of Virginia voiced its support for the unit, and said that the AG’s “bold initiative will increase transparency in our elections, restore confidence in our democratic process, and better ensure that every vote is counted in accordance with the law.”
When BofA's top Rates strategist, and former NY Fed analyst, Marc Cabana speaks, investors, the Fed - and even his former Fed co-worker and repo guru, Zoltan Pozsar - listen. And what Cabana has to say is always extremely important.
Two months after Cabana's rates team published a must read note in which it predicted that the Fed will be forced to end QT much sooner than expected...
"Fed QT that is stopped in Sept ’23 will result in $1tn less balance sheet reduction vs our prior estimates through end ’24. Over a similar period, early QT end would result in $780b less UST financing need + $350b of additional Fed UST demand (from Fed MBS paydowns reinvested into USTs)."
The third annual National Conservatism conference kicked off Sunday in Miami, Florida, bringing together a who’s who of figures associated with the so-called “New Right.” Topics of discussion included how to combat the rise of China, how to fight back against gender ideology, and, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation’s David Azerrad, how to resist the “blackpill” of living in a country in which “the elite is corrupt and so are the people”.
But the headliners were names that will be familiar to anyone with even a passing familiarity with current events - billionaire investor Peter Thiel and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose 2024 presidential ambitions are the worst-kept secret in American politics.
The billionaire warned that California is starting to seem like Saudi Arabia...
Peter Thiel delivered a typically contrarian speech at the NatCon conference
Thiel opened the conference with what, considering the circumstances, amounted to a contrarian speech.
The topic of his address was California, which in recent years has become a standard conservative punching bag.
But Thiel’s diagnosis of the problem was different.
In his view, the main problem with California is that, like Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, it is the victim of a “resource curse”.
That is, the wealth generated from California’s tech sector is so tremendous that it ends up distorting the state’s entire political economy.
Another one bites the dust...
Less than two weeks since Ravil Maganov, the vice president and chair of the board of directors of Russian oil giant Lukoil, died after falling out of a sixth floor hospital window in Moscow, another Russian energy executive has been found dead in mysterious circumstances.
39-year-old Ivan Pechorin, managing director of Putin's Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, fell off the side of a boat while sailing in the waters close to Russky Island near Cape Ignatiev, according to Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda.
On Tuesday the Kremlin addressed widespread speculation and rumors that President Vladimir Putin is planning to issue a full declaration of war as Russian forces pull back from Kharkiv, in a Ukraine counteroffensive that Kiev leaders and their Western allies are hailing as a major success. A war declaration would trigger mass mobilization and a draft.
"Russia is not planning to declare a mass national draft for the war in Ukraine," the Kremlin stated, amid reports its forces are suffering fatigue, low moral and manpower shortages. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized this is not under discussion at this point: "Not at this point. No, we are not discussing that," he said when asked about widespread reports, as quoted in TASS news.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and other officials shall not “take any action to implement or enforce H.B. 2243 in a manner that would remove any voter’s eligibility to vote in the 2022 general election or disqualify any otherwise-valid ballot on the basis of H.B. 2243,” U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, a Clinton appointee, said in the Sept. 8 order.
Bolton accepted a joint agreement and proposed order outlined by the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander for Equity Coalition and state officials, including Hobbs and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, presented to the court earlier on Sept. 8.
The officials and the coalition, which sued over the legislation in August, agreed that “the provisions of H.B. 2243 should not operate in a manner that would prevent any voter from (1) voting in the upcoming November 2022 general election or (2) having their vote be counted.” Hobbs and Brnovich also decided that the changes to the state election code shouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2023, because one of the laws that the legislation is amending isn’t effective itself until then.
“While we are pleased with this early agreement that protects the right to vote in the next election, we remain steadfast in our commitment to continue to fight both of these voter suppression laws for the long term,” May Tiwamangkala, an official with the coalition, said in a statement. “We are in this fight to protect the rights of all voters in our state, including those from the AANHPI communities.”
The Kiev Security Compact would end up "enslaving the European Union," so that the bloc never recovers, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik radio on Wednesday.
"This compact, these so-called working groups would get EU countries caught in such a knot, tying their hands so that they would end up hellishly enslaved and subsequently never restore their economic growth and development, nor even their former glory for that matter as well," the diplomat elaborated, taking aim at the Kiev Security Compact published on Tuesday.
A number of provisions mentioned in the compact, specifically those regarding weapons supplies, are already being implemented "on a much larger scale," Zakharova remarked.
"Weapons have been supplied to Ukraine non-stop," the diplomatic agency’s Spokeswoman continued. "The financial assistance being channeled to Ukraine in all of its forms, be it money transfers, or loans and so on, is unprecedented in recent history," she pointed out.
Politically we have the man that occupies the White House, Joe Biden, targeting Republicans by telling his leftist base that "MAGA" Republicans, are a threat to the very nation.
For the record, I find it very disturbing that to Democrats, the very term "Make America Great Again," causes them fear and mental anguish, when the entire country should want this nation to be great.
So, while politically Biden himself has escalated the ongoing "civil" war, pushing Americans one step closer to all out war in the streets, economically we are on the edge of complete destruction.
The Biden regime and their puppets in the media continue to smile and claim, gas prices are down, therefore inflation is lessened, yeah!!!!!
They ignore gas prices are still far higher than they were when Biden took office. Also please note the warnings from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that gas prices may surge yet again during the winter.
They ignore that more people are having to work multiple jobs just to survive and afford food which has seen price hikes at unprecedented levels.
Once again, Kiev makes clear its intentions to continue the war against Russia. On September 13, the Ukrainian government published a national security plan that provides for the extension of Western aid for decades. In the text, it is suggested that NATO states should continue to support Kiev in a variety of ways, including investments in the defense industry. In practice, the Ukrainian state has made an official statement that it intends to expand the conflict indefinitely, which makes any form of negotiation for peace impossible.
This document looks like an alternative to Ukraine’s unfeasible accession to NATO. Since 2014, Kiev has been planning to join the Western military alliance, but, despite the country having been used several times to attack Russian citizens and destabilize Moscow’s strategic environment, NATO has never really seemed interested in approving such a membership. By the rules of the alliance, states in conflict cannot be accepted, since NATO is a collective security pact that establishes that all members must cooperate with each other in case of war in any of the states. As Kiev had been in a civil conflict for the past eight years, membership would be impossible.
Obviously, this project became even more unrealistic with the start of the Russian special military operation. Despite actively helping Ukraine with military and financial assistance, the Western Alliance would not allow Kiev to gain membership as this situation would create an obligation for all other members to send troops to fight Russia. Then, faced with the impossibility of joining the alliance, the Zelensky government established a document of guarantees to create conditions for cooperation between Kiev and NATO.
The recently released document establishes the signing of the Kiev Security Compact, of which, among others, the US, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, Poland and Turkey would be signatories. This would allow various NATO powers to act in an integrated manner with the Ukrainian Defense Minister, despite the fact that the country is not a real member of the alliance. It is still determined that other bilateral pacts must be concluded, seeking to reinforce a policy of collective security. The text, however, makes it clear that Kiev will continue to seek its entry into NATO, with such pacts being just a way of establishing conditions of integration at a time when membership is not possible.
A new YouGov/Economist poll asking Americans about the likelihood of various "dire political scenarios" found that half the country think that within ten years the US will no longer be a global superpower and there will be a "total economic collapse."
Among 15 potential future scenarios involving instability or political violence, the one that most Americans consider likely in the next decade is that the U.S. ceases to be a global superpower (50% say this), followed by a total collapse of the U.S. economy (47%). Each of the 15 dire scenarios is considered somewhat or very likely in the next decade by at least 20% of Americans.
[...] 37% of Americans say [a civil war] is at least somewhat likely to occur.
In this first instalment of a new series, Iain Davis and Whitney Webb explore how the UN’s “sustainable development” policies, the SDGs, do not promote “sustainability” as most conceive of it and instead utilise the same debt imperialism long used by the Anglo-American Empire to entrap nations in a new, equally predatory system of global financial governance.
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is pitched as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” At the heart of this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.
Many of these goals sound nice in theory and paint a picture of an emergent global utopia – such as no poverty, no world hunger and reduced inequality. Yet, as is true with so much, the reality behind most – if not all – of the SDGs are policies cloaked in the language of utopia that – in practice – will only benefit the economic elite and entrench their power.
This can clearly be seen in fine print of the SDGs, as there is considerable emphasis on debt and on entrapping nation states (especially developing states) in debt as a means of forcing adoption of SDG-related policies. It is then little coincidence that many of the driving forces behind SDG-related policies, at the UN and elsewhere, are career bankers. Former executives at some of the most predatory financial institutions in the history of the world, from Goldman Sachs to Bank of America to Deutsche Bank, are among the top proponents and developers of SDG-related policies.
Are their interests truly aligned with “sustainable development” and improving the state of the world for regular people, as they now claim? Or do their interests lie where they always have, in a profit-driven economic model based on debt slavery and outright theft?
Last week, foreign correspondents in Israel were invited to participate in a rather strange event, a Zoom call with Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, chief of Central Command – conducted in Hebrew.
An interpreter was on hand to deliver the officer’s message in English, but the entire situation caused some consternation. The remarks themselves did little to clear things up.
The virtual news conference was called in an effort to get ahead of international coverage of the publication of the IDF’s investigation into the fatal shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh.
After Fuchs admitted there was a high possibility that the Palestinian American journalist was shot by an Israeli soldier who mistook her for an armed Palestinian, he also cited mitigating circumstances such as the massive gunfire in the area. A reporter for the BBC was compelled to interrupt the commander and challenge that claim.
Ukraine has made major requests for new weapons it wants from the US, including a longer-range missile system, as it plans to launch more offensives in 2023, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
According to a document presented to US lawmakers, among the weapons Ukraine wants is the Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile system that has a range of about 190 miles, significantly longer than any arms Washington has provided Kyiv up to this point.
The US has previously denied requests from Ukraine to send ATACMS over concerns they could be used to target Russian territory. But Washington has demonstrated throughout the conflict its willingness to escalate support for Kyiv despite the risk of provoking a response from Moscow.
The HIMARS systems that the US has been sending Ukraine have a range of 50 miles and were provided with the condition that they won’t be used to hit targets inside Russia, although the restri
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the plenary session of the 2022 Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on September 7. Photo: TASS Host Photo Agency via Reuters
A group of St Petersburg local politicians who called for President Vladimir Putin to be sacked over the war in Ukraine faces the likely dissolution of their district council following a judge’s ruling on Tuesday, one of the deputies said.
Nikita Yuferev said the judge decided that a series of past council meetings had been invalid, paving the way for it to be broken up by the regional governor.
Another council member, Dmitry Palyuga, said the same court then fined him 47,000 roubles (US$780) for “discrediting” the authorities by calling for Putin’s removal. Court officials could not be reached by telephone for comment.
Four more members of the Smolninskoye local council are due to appear in court in the next two days.
The heaviest fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the 2020 Nagorono-Karabakh war erupted early Tuesday morning, leaving at least 99 dead.
Armenia said Azerbaijan started the violence by launching intensive artillery shelling against Armenian military positions.
Azerbaijan claimed that its shelling was a response to “large-scale subversive acts” on the border that included attacks on its military.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that 49 Armenian soldiers were killed in the fighting, but he expects the total to rise. Azerbaijan said 50 of its servicemembers were killed in the flare-up.
There is no reason to be so trustful of Washington’s national security establishment, according to Michael Anton, a conservative Republican, former national security official under President Donald Trump, professor, and author of “The Flight 93 Election.”
In fact, this blind trust and support have led to an unaccountable yet powerful bureaucracy, not to mention destructive forever wars and potentially more to come.
Anton delivered these remarks Tuesday at the National Conservatism conference, which, as I’ve written earlier, has been focused mostly on domestic issues. But Anton’s speech capitalized on the Right’s concern for the entrenched “deep state” — which he described as made up of pro-government, mostly Democratic status quo careerists sharing both spiritual and geographic space in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) metro area — to warn about the dangers of a foreign policy and national security on autopilot that serves only that deep state’s interests.
President Joe Biden has approved another big spending package on arms for Ukraine, this one worth nearly $3 billion. He justified the expenditure with the usual lofty rhetoric: “Today and every day, we stand with the Ukrainian people to proclaim that the darkness that drives autocracy is no match for the flame of liberty that lights the souls of free people everywhere.” This, after toadying up to the criminally aggressive Saudi dictatorship.
Kiev warrants support. But what is the administration’s strategy? To fuel the war as long as governments are willing to fight and people are willing to die? Ukraine already has been ravaged by war. No one benefits from another endless war or frozen conflict.
The Biden administration has made no effort to pass European defense responsibilities to where they belong: the Europeans. For years, prosperous European allies have refused to take responsibility for their own defense, preferring to free ride on America.
Defense trade groups, seeking to sway Congress to add more for defense in a continuing resolution, say record-high inflation is costing the Pentagon $6 billion per month, endangering military readiness and throwing tech development plans off course.
The Aerospace Industries Association, National Defense Industrial Association and Professional Services Council ― which represent thousands of defense contractors ― asked congressional appropriators in a letter Monday to factor inflation into the CR and add money to allow new programs to start.
-The United States has given Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a visa to travel to New York for the United Nations' annual gathering of world leaders next week with half the delegation Moscow requested, a Russian diplomatic source said on Tuesday.
Moscow had asked Washington for 56 visas, according to a Sept. 2 letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia. The Russian diplomatic source said on Tuesday the United States had approved 24 visas.
Nebenzia had also noted in his letter that the flight crew for Lavrov's plane had not received visas. It was not immediately clear if Washington had granted visas for the Russian flight crew or if Lavrov would be expected to fly commercial airlines to New York.
Any damage inflicted on Ukraine's power and heating systems will seriously exacerbate living conditions this winter, especially for an estimated 6.9 million internally displaced people, the United Nations' migration agency said on Tuesday.
In response to a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east and south of the country in recent days, Russia has stepped up shelling of power stations and other infrastructure, causing blackouts in the city of Kharkiv and elsewhere.
"Any attempt to damage those facilities will have a terrible impact on the capacity to heat those cities," Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) told a group of reporters in Kyiv.
Musleh al-Shaer (left) sits beside a pictorial tribute to his daughter Layan, a victim of Israel’s latest major attack on Gaza.
It was a scorching afternoon in Gaza.
Layan al-Shaer, 10, wanted to play on the seashore.
“It was her idea that we go to the beach,” Layan’s mother Haala said. “She was so excited. ‘I want to have a trip to the beach before I go back to school,’ Layan told me.”
Using a van rented from a neighbor, several members of the extended family set off from where they live in the Khan Younis area.
Musleh, Layan’s father, stayed at home. Recalling how he waved at Layan as the van drove off, Musleh said: “I didn’t know that this would be the last time I would see the smile of my little girl.”
Soon after they had set out, a missile was fired at the truck from an Israeli drone. Israel had begun a major attack against Gaza on that day, 5 August.
While he was working on his land, a group of Israeli settlers armed with sticks, metal pipes, and M16s attacked Hafez Huraini and his son Muhammad. Hafez was badly injured, and both of his arms were broken. When a Palestinian ambulance arrived to evacuate him, the settlers slashed the tires, but the Israeli soldiers arrested Huraini, claiming he had hurt one of the settlers.
Two members of the Howeitat, a tribe in Saudi Arabia forcibly displaced to make way for the $500bn Neom megacity, have received lengthy sentences over their protests against the project, a UK-based rights group has reported.
Abdulilah al-Howeiti and his relative, Abdullah Dukhail al-Howeiti, were both handed a 50-year prison term and 50-year travel ban for supporting their family's refusal to be forcibly evicted from their homes in the Tabuk province of northwestern Saudi Arabia, according to Alqst.
The rulings in their cases, made by the Specialised Criminal Court of Appeal in August, come among a raft of similarly long sentences handed down by Saudi courts this summer.
The Emirati news website Al-Roeya has sacked dozens of editors and journalists after the publication of an article highlighting the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the cost of living for low-income residents of the UAE.
Raseef22, a Lebanese news website that revealed the mass sacking last week, reported that employees, journalists and senior editors were fired, and some of them questioned, before Al-Roeya's main online sections were shut down last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing everything he can to help de-escalate hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
"It is difficult to overestimate the role of Russia, and the role of Putin personally" in mediating between the two countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"The president is making every effort to contribute to the de-escalation of tensions on the border. These efforts are continuing," he added.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have blamed each other for overnight clashes along the border.