"War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. " --  Major General Smedley Darlington Butler

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Paradevices

 

The most prominent pro-Israel group in American politics has promised to pour tens of millions of dollars into this year’s elections. But it’s mostly not talking about Israel.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has entered several congressional races so far, attacking some candidates and boosting their own. But the topic of Israel has come up only minimally, in a handful of Republican races. And the group hasn’t talked about Israel in Democratic primaries at all.

On Thursday, the group’s super PAC, United Democracy Project, released its first ads in one of the most competitive Democratic primaries this year — and one the Israel-Hamas war has been hovering over. And once again, it focused on other topics.

“Jamaal Bowman has his own agenda and refuses to compromise — even with President Biden,” says the first television ad from the super PAC, knocking him for voting against the bipartisan infrastructure bill and debt limit deal.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Israel's eight-month invasion of Gaza has caused major disruption to the water systems and supplies for the besieged enclave's 2.3 million residents.

The recent incursion into the southern Rafah governorate caused over half a million people to flee under the orders of the Israeli military, who have since bombed dozens of areas and seized control of the key border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, blocking the entry of vital supplies such as water and fuel.

At the start of the war on 7 October, Israel switched off water into the Strip, alongside electricity and other supplies. It was not until days later that the Israeli government reopened the border points to allow aid to enter.

Heavy aerial and ground bombardment has destroyed Gaza's water treatment plants and sewage system. A BBC satellite analysis from earlier this month found that more than half of Gaza's water facilities have been damaged or destroyed during the war.

Webmaster addition:  The Geneva Convention requires military forces to provide the basic needs of the civilian population. Withholding access to essential resources such as water from a civilian population can constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and may be considered a war crime.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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A former diversity program manager at Facebook and Nike has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for stealing over $5 million through an elaborate scheme involving fraudulent vendors, fictitious paperwork, and cash kickbacks.

Barbara Furlow-Smiles, 38, of Marietta, Georgia, served as Lead Strategist, Global Head of Employee Resource Groups and Diversity Engagement at Facebook, now known as Meta. From January 2017 to September 2021 she led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs at Facebook and was responsible for developing and executing DEI initiatives, operations, and engagement programs.

According to US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan, Furlow-Smiles had access to company credit cards and the authority to submit purchase requisitions and approve invoices for authorized vendors of Facebook. She used her position to cheat and defraud the company by causing Facebook to pay numerous individuals for goods and services that were never provided and got kickbacks from those individuals, often in cash.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, CURRENT EVENTS
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has banned his intelligence and security chiefs from meeting with U.S. officials and lawmakers multiple times since the war in Gaza began, three U.S. and Israeli officials told Axios.

Why it matters: Netanyahu seems to be trying to control what American politicians and diplomats hear from Israel — at a time when his government is deeply divided over his war strategy, and relations with the U.S. are growing more tense, the officials said.

Driving the news: Netanyahu's most recent push to control the messaging about the war came three weeks ago, when he banned directors of the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence and security agencies from meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the U.S. officials said.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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In a recent op-ed published in The New York Times, Mark Penn, chairman of the Harris Poll and former advisor to the Clintons, has raised concerns about President Joe Biden’s campaign strategy, suggesting that it leans too heavily to the left and risks alienating centrist voters crucial for the upcoming 2024 election.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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The Biden administration has unveiled a new program aimed at expediting the immigration court cases of certain single adults apprehended for illegal border crossings. Senior officials announced the initiative on Thursday, stating that it forms part of a broader strategy to address concerns about illegal immigration ahead of upcoming elections.

Webmaster addition: In other words, Biden is pandering to voters concerned about open borders.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, IMMIGRATION/GLOBALISM, WHITE HOUSE
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Senator Tim Scott recently appeared on the Sean Hannity show and called out the liberal media for ignoring Joe Biden’s relationship with Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who at one point in his life was a member of the KKK.

Scott and Sean brought up other examples of Biden’s racism, such as his ‘Jungle’ comments about school bussing and the fact that even Kamala Harris criticized him for that before she was chosen to be his running mate.

Tim Scott then goes on to talk about why Biden’s coalition is falling apart.

Webmaster addition: 

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian died in Sunday’s helicopter crash in the Islamic Republic’s East Azerbaijan province, Vice President Mohsen Mansouri has confirmed.

The entire nation was keeping an eagle eye on the situation after the news about the presidential helicopter’s "hard landing" was broken, Foad Izadi, associate professor at the Department of American Studies, Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran, told Sputnik.

"Last night I was going to television stations and on my way to the stations, and coming back home, I was seeing people in different squares gathering, praying for him [Raisi]," Izadi said.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, IRAN, ISRAEL, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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Did we just witness a moment that will permanently alter history?  As I write this article, the entire world is waiting for confirmation that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is either dead or alive.  If it turns out that he is dead, that will be really bad news, because that could push the Middle East to the brink of all-out war.  No matter what actually happened, there is no way that you are going to be able to convince Iranian leaders that the U.S. and Israel were not responsible for bringing that helicopter down.  So let us hope that Raisi survives, because if he doesn’t the Iranians will be overwhelmed with emotion and will begin planning how to avenge the death of their president.

Tags: MIDDLE EAST
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The second largest gas compressor station in Europe, Bilche-Volitsa in the Lviv region of Ukraine, has been destroyed.

Information about significant damage to the facility was received from local authorities and confirmed by independent sources.

The Bilche-Volitsa gas compressor station played a key role in ensuring gas supply not only to Ukraine, but also to other European countries. Its capacity made it possible to transport significant volumes of natural gas, which made it a strategically important facility in the region’s energy infrastructure.

The attack on the station took place at night. The damage was significant, and restoring the station will require significant time and financial costs.

Tags: ECONOMY, ENERGY, EUROPE, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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The financial system of the United States has been a symbol of strength, resilience, and stability for a long time, which has supported the nation’s economic power on the global stage. However, recent revelations and increasing evidence suggest that the country’s largest banks are on the brink of a severe crisis. This crisis is so deep that the chance of their recovery is questionable and can send devastating shockwaves through the entire financial system.

Tags: ECONOMY
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Some of the students who on Sunday attended the graduation ceremony at Morehouse College, one of the country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), turned their back on President Joe Biden as he delivered a commencement address.

The Associated Press reported that at least seven graduates and a faculty member sat with their backs turned as Biden spoke. A group of students even walked out as Biden received an honorary degree, according to The New York Times.

At least some of the graduates at the Georgia school appeared to be demonstrating in response to the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip as some of them were seen wearing a Palestinian flag or keffiyeh scarves around their shoulders or necks.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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Newsmax host Greta Van Susteren — and several others — questioned whether CNN anchor Jake Tapper was the right choice to moderate the agreed-upon debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

Van Susteren, who worked at CNN for a time herself, raised the question of Tapper’s personal bias — specifically when it came to former President Trump — and wondered whether he would be able to set aside his views and moderate fairly.

“Is Jake Tapper really the right one at CNN to moderate the debate?” she asked. “If you review his texts, he certainly has ‘put his cards on the table.’ Whether you are for or against Trump, it is imperative that the debate not only be fair but have the appearance of it … and if someone has already ‘put his cards on the table,’ is this really the right choice?

Webmaster addition: 

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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Londoners have been marching almost every week in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to hold the UK Government to account [GETTY]

The Metropolitan Police will be given new powers to shut down pro-Palestine protests after receiving criticism from a pro-Israel charity over how they have been handling marches in London, specifically their lack of tackling alleged antisemitism within these marches.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said on X that they have held a series of meetings with the Home Office and officials at Downing Street over the past few weeks to discuss the alleged issue of how the police handle the protests.

The CAA is a charity "dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance law enforcement" and has been branding pro-Palestine marches as antisemitic.

The Telegraph revealed that the Home Office is preparing to amend sections of the Public Order Act, allowing marches to be banned and public assemblies to be restricted.

These changes come after the head of the Met Police, Sir Mark Rowley, has been facing calls to quit after defending the police officer who called Gideon Falter, the chief executive of the CAA, "openly Jewish" at a pro-Palestinian rally in London.

Falter accused the police of doing "practically nothing" to restrict the protests.

The CAA said they turned to the government to call for clarifications on the Public Order Act to give the police "both the power and the duty to act" on the protests and to end the weekly marches.

Claire's Observations:  Apparently, the UK has been given its "marching orders" from Netanyahu to stop these marches as well; apparently, Israeli genocide is great; all other forms of genocide are horrific.  Now, you know.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, IRAN, ISRAEL, LEBANON, MIDDLE EAST, PALESTINE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE, WMD
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Trans-identifying Scottish Green Party candidate Sophie Molly tangled with “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling in a brief exchange on X, and things did not appear to go as planned.

The spat began with a post from Rowling announcing how proud she was to be a part of the soon-to-be-released book “The Women Who Wouldn’t Wheesht: Voices From the Front-Line of Scotland’s Battle for Women’s Rights.”

“I’m very proud to have contributed an essay to this book, alongside many women I’m proud to call my friends. For non-Scots, ‘wheesht’ means ‘be quiet’ or ‘hush up’, but I suspect you could have worked that out from the context …” Rowling posted on Thursday.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS
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In 2011, David Yamane, a liberal sociology professor from the San Francisco Bay Area, stood at a firing range with a gun in his hand for the first time. That single moment sparked a journey that would take him deep into the heart of America's gun culture, a world he had never imagined entering. Now, after twelve years of immersive research, Yamane shares his surprising experiences and insights in his new book, “Gun Curious: A Liberal Professor's Surprising Journey Inside America's Gun Culture,” set for release on June 1.

Published by Exposit Books, the book chronicles Yamane's transformation from a gun novice to a gun owner, AR-15 enthusiast, concealed carry permit holder and trained armed citizen. As an Asian American academic with deep liberal roots, Yamane's journey offers a unique perspective on the gun debate, one that seeks to bridge the divide between gun enthusiasts and skeptics.

Tags: RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
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Benny Gantz, a centrist member of Israel’s war cabinet, presented Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an ultimatum on Saturday, saying he would leave the government if it did not soon develop a plan for the future of the war in Gaza.

While Mr. Gantz’s departure would not topple the country’s emergency wartime government, the move would further strain a fragile coalition that has provided Mr. Netanyahu’s far-right government with a boost of international legitimacy, and it would make the prime minister even more reliant on his hard-line partners.

“If you choose the path of zealots, dragging the country into the abyss, we will be forced to leave the government,” Mr. Gantz said in a televised news conference. “We will turn to the people and build a government that will earn the people’s trust.”

Mr. Gantz, who leads the National Unity party, said he would give Mr. Netanyahu until June 8 — three weeks’ time — to develop a plan that would aim to secure the release of hostages taken to Gaza by Hamas-led militants on Oct. 7, address the future governance of the territory, return displaced Israelis to their homes and advance normalization with Saudi Arabia, among other issues.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Caroline Haskins

Last modified on Fri 17 May 2024 18.26 EDT

On 7 and 8 May in Washington DC, the city’s biggest convention hall welcomed America’s military-industrial complex, its top technology companies and its most outspoken justifiers of war crimes. Of course, that’s not how they would describe it.

It was the inaugural “AI Expo for National Competitiveness”, hosted by the Special Competitive Studies Project – better known as the “techno-economic” thinktank created by the former Google CEO and current billionaire Eric Schmidt. The conference’s lead sponsor was Palantir, a software company co-founded by Peter Thiel that’s best known for inspiring 2019 protests against its work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) at the height of Trump’s family separation policy. Currently, Palantir is supplying some of its AI products to the Israel Defense Forces.

The conference hall was also filled with booths representing the US military and dozens of its contractors, ranging from Booz Allen Hamilton to a random company that was described to me as Uber for airplane software.

At industry conferences like these, powerful people tend to be more unfiltered – they assume they’re in a safe space, among friends and peers. I was curious, what would they say about the AI-powered violence in Gaza, or what they think is the future of war?

Attendees were told the conference highlight would be a series of panels in a large room toward the back of the hall. In reality, that room hosted just one of note. Featuring Schmidt and the Palantir CEO, Alex Karp, the fire-breathing panel would set the tone for the rest of the conference. More specifically, it divided attendees into two groups: those who see war as a matter of money and strategy, and those who see it as a matter of death. The vast majority of people there fell into group one.

five men seated on stage under screen that says ‘the future of geopolitics and the role of innovation and technology’
Eric Schmidt, David Cohen, Gen Mark Milley, Alex Karp, and Andrew Ross Sorkin gather for a panel. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Palantir

I’ve written about relationships between tech companies and the military before, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by anything I saw or heard at this conference. But when it ended, and I departed DC for home, it felt like my life force had been completely sucked out of my body.

‘The peace activists are war activists’

Swarms of people migrated across the hall to see the main panel, where Karp and Schmidt spoke alongside the CIA deputy director, David Cohen, and Mark Milley, who retired in September as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, where he advised Joe Biden and other top officials on war matters. When Schmidt tried to introduce himself, his microphone didn’t work, so Cohen lent him his own. “It’s always great when the CIA helps you out,” Schmidt joked. This was about as light as things got for the next 90 minutes.

As the moderator asked general questions about the panelists’ views on the future of war, Schmidt and Cohen answered cautiously. But Karp, who’s known as a provocateur, aggressively condoned violence, often peering into the audience with hungry eyes, palpably desperate for claps, boos or shock.

He began by saying that the US has to “scare our adversaries to death” in war. Referring to Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel, he said: “If what happened to them happened to us, there’d be a hole in the ground somewhere.” Members of the audience laughed when he mocked fresh graduates of Columbia University, which had some of the earliest encampment protests in the country. He said they’d have a hard time on the job market and described their views as a “pagan religion infecting our universities” and “an infection inside of our society”. (He’s made these comments before.)

“The peace activists are war activists,” Karp insisted. “We are the peace activists.”

A huge aspect of war in a democracy, Karp went on to argue, is leaders successfully selling that war domestically. “If we lose the intellectual debate, you will not be able to deploy any armies in the west ever,” Karp said

Claire's Observations:  Thank you very much, but I don't want to be sold ANY war, ever again;  war to me, bespeaks a catastrophic failure of imagination, and the US and West have "indulged" in this failure for far too long.

I'm paraphrasing a statement from a  a recent article by Anne Wright the other day, but it makes sense here; you cannot create a military solution to what is essentially a diplomatic issue.

The wars against Iraq and Afghanistan?  Abject failures.  The war against Russia, using Ukraine as a US/Western proxy?!? About to become another abject failure. 

And to those Bidenistas, cheering a pathetically dementia-addled  By-di-Bye on to a second term, a thought; those who do not understand history, are doomed to repeat it.  Please do chew on that one for a while.

Tags: AFGHANISTAN, CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, CURRENT EVENTS, IRAQ, RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE, WMD
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The Chinese military recently showed off numerous robot dogs outfitted with machine guns on their backs during the country's biggest-ever drill alongside Cambodian troops, as Agence France-Presse reports.

The terrifying gun-toting robodogs were part of a massive 15-day military exercise called "Golden Dragon" in a remote training center in central Cambodia and off the country's coast.

During the drill, journalists watched as staff took the robodogs for a walk — but reportedly never fired the machine guns strapped to their backs.

It's a dystopian vision of what the future of warfare could look like. Experts have long warned that the use of armed drones or "killer robots," particularly autonomous ones, is an ethical minefield that should be internationally banned from the battlefield.

Tags: CHINA/TAIWAN, COMPUTERS/INTERNET/AI, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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President Joe Biden sharpened his racially-charged attack on former President Donald Trump during Sunday night's annual NAACP Detroit Branch Freedom Fund dinner.

'What do you think he would have done on January 6 if black Americans had stormed the Capitol?' Biden asked - as members of the crowd collectively gasped. 

The president then added, 'No, I'm serious. What do you think? I can only imagine,' as Trump has long promised to pardon those involved in the 2021 Capitol attack if he's elected to a second term in November. 

Biden's appearance at the 5,000-strong Detroit dinner capped off two days of travel dedicated to outreach to black voters in two key swing states - Georgia and Michigan

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has secured a temporary restraining order from a federal judge that prevents an unlawful rule promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) from taking effect while the case is litigated. 

On May 1, Attorney General Paxton led a coalition suing the ATF to prevent a new regulatory restriction that unlawfully attempted to abridge Americans’ constitutional right to privately buy and sell firearms. The Final Rule was arbitrary and capricious and flagrantly violated the Second Amendment. Despite Congress having recognized the legality of private firearms sales by non-dealers, the Biden Administration issued a new regulation that would subject hundreds of thousands of law-abiding gun owners to presumptions of criminal guilt for engaging in constitutionally protected activities. 

A federal district court has halted the implementation of the ATF rule until June 2, 2024, so that hearings may be held. 

“I am relieved that we were able to secure a restraining order that will prevent this illegal rule from taking effect,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The Biden Administration cannot unilaterally overturn Americans’ constitutional rights and nullify the Second Amendment.”

Tags: RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has confirmed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as the country’s acting president after President Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash that also killed Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, IRAN, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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The Israeli army has stepped up attacks across Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the central part of the besieged enclave, as US national security adviser Jake Sullivan travelled to Israel to hold talks with senior officials.

Sullivan was expected to press Israeli leaders on Sunday to take a more targeted approach in the country’s Gaza offensive and avoid a wider-scale assault on the southern city of Rafah.

He met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vowed to move forward with the Rafah offensive despite concerns from the United States.

Webmaster addition: Sullivan is this generation's version of Neville Chamberlain!

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, TURKEY, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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