"When the government lies to We The People, it becomes an unconstitutional and hence illegitimate government, and we are not obligated to obey said government’s dictates, pay said government’s bills, or sacrifice our children in said government’s wars!" -- Michael Rivero

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Air Force pilots and others in rated fields who opt to stay in uniform can earn up to $600,000 over 12 years under the latest round of retention bonuses announced Nov. 30.

The fiscal year 2024 incentives offer manned aircraft and drone pilots, combat systems operators and air battle managers an extra $15,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on their assigned aircraft and the years to which they commit.

Annual bonus pay programs aim to keep airmen around to blunt the effects of a pilot shortage that has lasted decades, robbing the service of aviators in policy jobs that rely on their know-how to help the service plan for the future.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:40

Germany imported 2.5 times less gas in January-September this year compared to the same period in 2021, but failed to make any savings as prices also grew 2.5 times, Sputnik has calculated based on data from the German statistical office.

German gas imports in the first nine months of 2023 dropped to 47.9 billion cubic meters from 65.9 billion cubic meters in the same period last year. For comparison, the country imported as much as 121.7 billion cubic meters of gas in 2021, data showed.

At the same time, the average annual price per cubic meter of gas has risen sharply from 0.18 euros ($0.19) in 2021 to 0.45 ($0.48) this year. As a result, Germany's gas import bill stood at 21.3 billion euros in January-September this year compared to 22.2 billion euros in the same period in 2021, despite the significant drop in supplies.

On Saturday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz blamed Russia for cutting off pipeline gas supplies to Europe and the resulting spike in energy prices. Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev, in turn, said on social media it was Europe that had rejected Russia's gas supplies and accused the German leader of "lying through his teeth."

Posted on: Dec 11 08:38

The bursting of the tech and housing bubble is sending shockwaves through the markets, with ominous signs pointing to an impending economic downturn. San Francisco, a city synonymous with skyrocketing real estate prices, is witnessing a significant shift as condos are now priced under $1000 per square foot for the first time in eight years. This unsettling development comes alongside a series of WARN notices, indicating a rise in job cuts and economic uncertainty.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:22

A U.S. senator is asking for some straight answers about the extent governments have been able to spy on Americans through their smartphones.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon recently wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland to kick free information Apple and Google have said the federal government is keeping under wraps.

Wyden indicated that he had particular concern over information shared with foreign governments.

A report in The Washington Post said that based on a review of court records, searching what are known as push notifications in order to develop a map of a targeted individual’s contacts, was used in the investigations of participants in the protests of Jan. 6, 2021, and the Capitol incursion that followed.

The Post noted that every push notification that tells a user a friend contacted them creates what is called a token. Obtaining information in the tokens allows investigators to determine who contacted the user.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:17

“It’s insane, it’s just insane,” Valerie Haney kept saying as she emerged from her first day undergoing the Church of Scientology’s ultra-secretive “religious arbitration” process.

Dressed in a tight black minidress and thigh-high leather boots, which, with her long curly hair and spiky sharp fingernails, Haney presented a picture about as far as possible from the drab Sea Org uniforms she had been forced to wear for decades.

Her two attorneys, Guy D’Andrea and Graham Berry, were ready with their notepads, and all eyes were on Haney, who was set up in front of a portable backdrop in a hotel room at the Commerce Casino, just a mile away from Scientology’s massive printing plant warehouse southeast of Los Angeles—where she had just spent the past several hours reliving the most traumatic events of her life.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:17

Germany may have to wage a defensive war against Russia in the future, German televisions news program Tagesschau reported on Dec. 9, citing Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) Inspector General Carsten Breuer.

Breuer expressed concern about Russia's rearmament and the behavior of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, saying there will be no return to the times before Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Germany will have to get used to the idea "that one day we might have to fight a defensive war," he said.

Asked whether the Bundeswehr would be able to cope with a possible Russian attack on NATO after the war in Ukraine, Breuer replied, "Yes. Period. We have no alternative. We can defend ourselves and we will defend ourselves.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:13

Gerston Miranda and his wife were among thousands of migrants recently arriving at this remote area on Arizona’s southern border with Mexico, squeezing into the United States through a gap in the wall and walking overnight about 14 miles (23 kilometers) with two school-aged daughters to surrender to Border Patrol agents.

“There is no security in my country,” said the 28-year-old from Ecuador, who lost work when his employer closed due to extortion by criminals. “Without security you cannot work. You cannot live.”

A shift in smuggling routes has brought an influx of migrants here from countries as diverse as Senegal, Bangladesh and China, prompting the Border Patrol to seek help from other federal agencies and drawing scrutiny to an issue critical in next year’s presidential elections.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:12

Another electric vehicle (EV) startup is touting “holy grail” charging technology.

The news from UK-based Nyobolt might just rise to the billing, as it promises 155 miles on a six-minute charge, with production slated to start in 2024. 

Most EVs take much longer, sometimes even hours, to fully charge.

“With our unique technology we have … developed smaller battery packs that can deliver more power and charge in less time,” Nyobolt CEO Sai Shivareddy told BBC Top Gear.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:11

Israel supporters are like, “No no you don’t understand, the side that’s killing babies and incinerating families and assassinating journalists and starving civilians and bombing cultural heritage sites and carpet bombing entire neighborhoods and driving an indigenous people off their land are the GOOD guys.”

There is literally nothing Israel could do that its supporters wouldn’t defend. Try to fill in the blank in “Israel could _______ and people would defend it” with something that wouldn’t be true. Most of the insanely evil things you could put in that space are already actually being done. Genocide? They’re already doing that. Murdering babies? They’re already doing that. Killing thousands of children? Already doing that. Deliberately targeting and assassinating journalists, artists and scholars? Already doing that.

Israel supporters will defend any evil — literally any evil — as long as it is being perpetrated by their favorite regime. There are zero constraints of any kind, because Israel supporters are completely uninterested in morality. If they were, they wouldn’t be supporting one of the most immoral governments on this planet even after all it has done in the last two months.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:10

The song “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne comes to mind when analyzing the state of American banking, especially regional banks.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:09

Al Gore says that people having access to information outside of mainstream media sources is a threat to “democracy” and that social media algorithms “ought to be banned.”

Yes, really.

Gore made the comments during an appearance at the Cop28 climate change hysteria conference in Dubai.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:02

The Biden administration has proposed a new rule that would allow federal authorities to seize the patents of costly drugs that were developed using taxpayer dollars and to let third parties use those patents to make the drugs available more cheaply.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, on Dec. 7 published a set of draft guidelines for government agencies to evaluate when it might be appropriate to invoke what are known as "march-in" rights under the legal framework of the Bayh-Dole Act.

The Bayh-Dole Act, which is shorthand for the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980, grants the government the authority to suspend the patents of products of inventions that were developed with federal funding if those products or inventions are not made available to the public.

Posted on: Dec 11 08:01

The US Space Force's Boeing X-37B unmanned, reusable space plane will be launched atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on Sunday evening. 

The mysterious spaceplane is built by Boeing and operated by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office and the Space Force. Its last mission ended a little over a year ago after spending 2.5 years in low-Earth orbit. 

Posted on: Dec 11 08:01

Infighting at the American Civil Liberties Union shortly began after the group revealed on X on Saturday that it would represent the National Rifle Association in an upcoming Supreme Court case. 

Several of the ACLU's affiliates, such as the ACLU of Montana, the ACLU of North Carolina, and the New York Civil Liberties Union, wrote on X that they disagree with the ACLU's move to provide legal representation to the NRA. 

Posted on: Dec 11 08:00

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is doubling down on the state’s efforts to address its out-of-control homelessness epidemic. Inslee's latest maneuver involves a staggering $100 million proposal, aimed at bolstering the Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition (RCHA) fund, a critical arm of the state's program to clear encampments and provide housing for the unhoused along state highways.

This proposal comes on the heels of $149 million in funds focused primarily on counties west of the Cascade Mountains. Inslee's announcement during Thursday's press conference underscored his commitment to this initiative, originally dubbed the Rights of Way Safety Initiative and now rebranded as the Encampment Resolution Program.

"We know we can succeed when we do this, but we essentially are out of money. So, we need to continue appropriating the dollars necessary to get this job done," said Inslee.

The governor’s office touted the success of the program since its launch in spring 2022, citing the dismantling of 30 encampments and the transition of over 1,000 individuals into more secure living arrangements. However, a closer look at the Department of Commerce’s Right-of-Way Initiative dashboard paints a slightly different picture: 816 people in housing and 149 in permanent housing.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:59

Former President Donald Trump has several viable avenues to have the Supreme Court throw out federal charges he’s facing for his efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election, several lawyers and Constitution experts told The Epoch Times.

His best case is that the charges encroach on his First Amendment rights, but he might also successfully assert presidential immunity or argue the law was impermissibly stretched by prosecutors, the experts said.

President Trump was charged by Special Counsel Jack Smith on Aug. 1 with obstructing electoral vote counting by Congress on Jan. 6 and conspiring to do so in order to stay in power.

The conspiracy was allegedly carried out by spreading false claims that fraud and illegalities swayed the election outcome and using those false claims in attempts to convince various officials to overturn the results.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:57

A Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) complaint against data broker Kochava unsealed and published in early November reveals shocking new information about the company’s handling of extremely sensitive personal information pertaining to hundreds of millions of people in the United States. Among the explosive revelations: according to the FTC, Kochava maintains a dossier on virtually every living American adult. 

The complaint is the latest government filing in litigation the FTC initiated against the Idaho-based data broker in August 2022, alleging that the company violated the FTC Act because it engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices surrounding the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. Since then, Kochava filed and won a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. While the court agreed that the FTC’s theories of consumer injury were legally plausible, it held that the factual allegations in the original complaint were insufficient. But instead of dismissing the case entirely, the court gave the federal agency 30 days to file an amended complaint. The FTC filed its amended complaint in June 2023, providing more details about the company’s operations and resulting privacy harms.  

Among other disturbing revelations, the complaint describes in detail how the FTC obtained a free sample of cellphone location data from Kochava, and how FTC analysts were able to use that information to track someone who visited an abortion clinic back to their home. 

Posted on: Dec 11 07:56
Ukraine will become a member of NATO subject to reforms after the war, the military alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Monday.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, at which the alliance is expected to reaffirm its support for Ukraine’s defence against Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Whatever Stoltenberg might say, it is not going to happen. There is no purpose for Ukraine to be integrated to NATO except for U.S. self-aggrandization. Some assume that NATO membership would protect Ukraine from further attacks by Russia. It would not.

The U.S. itself does not believes that NATO membership protects any country from being attacked by Russia:

Posted on: Dec 11 07:48

A region of Gaza deemed a “safe zone” by Israel amounts to a tent city lacking aid, medical facilities, running water, or bathrooms. UN officials say the Israeli destruction of the besieged value has society on the verge of collapse. 

The Associated Press reported one of the safe zones is Muwasi. “The area has no running water or bathrooms, assistance, and international humanitarian groups are nowhere to be found, and the tents provide little protection from the coming winter’s cool, rainy weather,” the AP explained. “Some don’t even have enough materials to build a tent.”

Danila Zizi, from Handicap International’s office in the Palestinian territories, said, “[In Muwasi,] There are no services, there are no schools, there [are] no health services. There is nothing.” Residents told the AP, the lack of basic services was humiliating. “Residents say that one of the most humiliating aspects of life is the lack of privacy and poor hygiene.” The residents added, “There are no toilets, so people relieve themselves wherever they can. Some leave the camp and head to nearby hospitals to use their facilities.”

Posted on: Dec 11 07:47

Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said on Saturday that Israel was ready to act against the Houthis in Yemen if the US and its allies do not.

“Israel is giving the world some time to organize in order to prevent this but if there isn’t to be a global arrangement, because it is a global issue, we will act in order to remove this naval siege,” Hanegbi told Israel’s Channel 12.

The Houthis have been targeting Israeli-linked commercial vessels and firing missiles and drones at Israel in response to the Israeli onslaught in Gaza. Hanegbi’s comments came after reports that said the Biden administration told Israel to leave it to the US to take care of the Houthis.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:46

The Global South – or perhaps more acutely, the Global Majority – is a loose club of countries who share growing confidence in their economic strength and in their ability to resist US hegemony in favour of working with multiple poles in pursuit of their own national interest instead of America’s interests. The US has been unable to recruit the Global South into its historically convenient portrayal of an unprovoked Russian invasion or to pressure it into its sanction regime against Russia. And this emerging trend in the Global South is being cemented by the US position in the two wars being fought in Ukraine and Gaza. The price of the position the US is taking could be the loss of the Global Majority.

The main issue is not the issue of right or wrong. The Global South is consistently aligned with the US in its condemnation of Hamas’ atrocious attack on Israel on October 7. The main issue is the consistent application of international law. The essence of international law grounded in the charter system and the UN is its universal application. The main issue for the Global South is that UN led international law not be replaced in global affairs by a US led rules-based order in which the unwritten rules are made up as you go along and in which the rules are invoked when they benefit the US and its partners and are not invoked when they don’t.

What is at risk for the Global South is the preservation of international law; what is at risk for the US in the positions it is taking in Ukraine and Gaza is the Global Majority’s trust. In the eyes of the Global South, the US is being exposed as the hypocritical hegemon that invokes international law unevenly in the service, not of global justice, but of American advantage that it has long accused the US of being.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:43

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Washington this week to push for more aid as Congress is still negotiating a massive spending package that includes over $60 billion for Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Zelensky will meet with President Biden at the White House and hold talks with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA). He was also invited by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to speak at an all-senators meeting, according to CNN.

Last week, Senate Republicans blocked a $111 billion spending bill that includes military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan over an impasse with Democrats over border issues. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also voted against the bill after criticizing the idea of more unconditional military aid for Israel.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:41

As the third month unfolds since the Hamas-led 7 October Al-Aqsa Flood operation and Israel's scorched earth response on the Gaza Strip, it is evident that all is not progressing as planned for Tel Aviv. Both on the ground and in the online propaganda war, Israel's claims are consistently debunked and exposed as fake news.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:37

The aerial bombing campaign by Israel in Gaza is the most indiscriminate in terms of civilian casualties in recent years, a study published by an Israeli newspaper has found.

The analysis in Haaretz came as Israeli forces fought to consolidate their control of northern Gaza on Saturday, bombing the Shejaiya district of Gaza City, while also conducting airstrikes on Rafah, a town on the southern border with Egypt where the Israeli army has told people in Gaza to take shelter.

The full death toll from the past 24 hours was unclear but the main hospital in central Gaza, at Deir al-Balah, reported it received 71 bodies, and 62 bodies were taken to Nasser hospital in the main southern city of Khan Younis, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:35

Congressional leaders stripped a measure from this year’s defense policy bill that would have expanded compensation for victims of U.S. nuclear testing, drawing condemnation from lawmakers who had spearheaded the initiative and bitter disappointment from activists who hoped the blockbuster film “Oppenheimer” would bolster support for their efforts.

“This is a grave injustice,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who led the charge in favor of the expansion, said Thursday. “This bill turns its back on the people of the United States in defense of the lobbyists and the suits and the corporate entities who are going to get paid.”

The initiative had passed as an amendment to the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, earning bipartisan support in a 61-37 vote. The measure would have significantly expanded the 1990 Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which gave financial relief to some uranium miners and victims living downwind of the Nevada Test Site, where the U.S. carried out most of its nuclear experiments.

Posted on: Dec 11 07:34