COULD USE SOME END-OF-THE-MONTH DONATIONS! THANKS!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2023
“When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint . . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . . they neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters.” -- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Volume 2
Apple has released emergency security patches for its core products just days after rolling out brand new versions of their operating systems.
On Thursday, the company updated iOS 17/iPadOS 17 and WatchOS 10 with fixes aimed at squashing several zero-day vulnerabilities that could leave a device open to malicious attacks. On its support pages for the iOS/iPadOS updates and the WatchOS update, Apple revealed that the vulnerabilities may have been actively exploited on versions prior to iOS 16.7.
iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch owners are urged to update their devices with this latest round of security fixes. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings, select General, tap Software Updates, and then tap the Update Now button. For an Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your phone. At the My Watch tab, head to General, select Software Update, and install the latest update.
The United States will provide an additional $116 million in humanitarian aid for Myanmar, Bangladesh and the surrounding region to support Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday.
With this new funding, the United States' total assistance for those affected by the crisis in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and the region totals more than $2.2 billion since August 2017, when over 740,000 Rohingya fled genocide, Blinken said.
Webmaster addition:When did the American taxpayer become the piggy bank for the rest of the world?
Bulgarian police on Thursday scuffled with supporters of the ultra-nationalist Vazrazhdane (Revival) party protesting against the policies of the pro-Western government, calling for the government to resign and for the closure of NATO military bases.
Hundreds of protesters opposing the EU member's support for Ukraine in its war with Russia gathered in front of the parliament building, waving Bulgarian and Russian national flags, blowing whistles and demanding an early election in the country which has gone through five polls in the past two years.
Many shouted "Resignation", while fully equipped riot police protected the government buildings, including the defence ministry at which some protesters threw eggs.
Bulgaria, which has sent arms to Ukraine, lifted its ban on Ukrainian grains last week.
The long-awaited meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took place on Wednesday. It hardly looked like what one might have expected years ago, but the tone and tenor should be cause for concern for many reasons.
Meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session, both leaders were trying to balance the reality of significant differences over policy and their desire to maintain a strong U.S.-Israel relationship despite the fact that many of their constituents have lost faith in that relationship. Netanyahu leads a far-right Israeli coalition that wants to continue receiving the lavish gifts of military aid and other means of financial support, as well as defense cooperation and strategic alignment with the world’s sole military superpower. But that sector of the Israeli right only wants the gifts if they are completely free, and chafes at paying even the nominal price — often merely rhetorical, symbolic, or, at best, window-dressing “concessions” — Biden and his Democratic party demand.
A suspect believed to be one of the masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial by a military judge following on from a medical panel recommendation.
The panel announced earlier this week that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, 51, had become psychotic and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being 'tortured' by the CIA in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
His pre-trial hearing was set to begin on Friday, he was facing trial alongside four others. Colonel Matthew McCall agreed with the panel's findings that al-Shibh's mental state meant that he would not be able to participate fully in his own defense or even to enter a plea.
A medical board said that the suspect had been rendered 'delusional and psychotic,' reports The New York Times.
Defense lawyers argue that the best hope of al-Shibh, a Yemeni accused of organizing one cell of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, regaining competency to stand trial is a step that some Americans are likely to find distasteful: for him to be provided with post-torture trauma care and no longer subject to solitary confinement.
A group of Venezuelan migrants were repelled from reaching a small Texan border town after border agents re-installed razor wire as the local mayor blamed President Joe Biden for the crisis that has seen thousands of migrants make it through.
Border agents have been left scrambling after 9,000 migrants and counting crossed the Rio Grande river from Mexico to reach the town of Eagle Pass on Friday.
Rolando Salinas, the mayor, blasted Biden for the influx of migrants on Thursday that has seen 'robberies and violence' skyrocket in the usually quiet town after 11,500 migrants flocked to his town in the last 10 days.
But for one group of Venezuelan migrants, their attempt to reach the town, home to 29,000 permanent residents, was blocked by re-installed razor wire. Video shows the group of men stranded on US side of the Rio Grande river after they were unable to cut through the wire.
However, they told another group of migrants attempting to cross to go back and cross in another area they thought would have weaker reinforcements.
The unfolding response in Eagle Pass, where Salinas declared a state of emergency, illustrates how Border Patrol agents have become overwhelmed in recent days by asylum-seekers on parts of the U.S. border with Mexico.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is meeting Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa today as he scrambles to rally more international support for his troops fighting Russia.
Mr Zelensky landed in the capital late on Thursday, and will today have talks with Mr Trudeau before addressing the Canadian parliament.
The Ukrainian leader will hope for a positive outcome after a difficult visit to Washington, where US president Joe Biden offered warm words of support and weapons - but rejected a request for longer range ATACMS missiles.
Mr Zelensky also faced skeptical Republicans who want to cut off aid to his country amid concerns over the slow progress of Ukraine's counteroffensive.
Some Republicans are threatening to block Mr Biden's funding requests, with one senator openly declaring that Congress 'should not be sending another blank check to Zelensky'.
It came just one day after Poland's prime minister announced he would no longer arm Ukraine amid a row over grain exports - in a move sure to delight Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Most Americans have absolutely no idea how close we are to the unthinkable. Even though leaders all over the globe have developed a really bad case of war fever, the vast majority of us here in the United States are entirely convinced that everything will be okay somehow. Most of us believe the talking heads on television when they assure us that our politicians have everything under control and that it is extremely unlikely that a nuclear conflict will happen. But on the other side of the globe they see things very differently. On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the United Nations that the world is being pushed to the brink of the “final war“…
The chilling remarks by the Ukrainian president were aimed at countries that have been ambivalent about who’s side they’re on since the conflict began in February 2022 and nations that were with him in the beginning but have pulled back on their support.
Russia’s invasion of his country is pushing the world to the “final war,” the Ukrainian president told world leaders attending the annual gathering in New York.
For once, I actually agree with Zelenskyy.
We are literally on the verge of an apocalyptic global conflict in which billions of people could die, and so we need to find a way out while we still can.
But during his speech, Zelenskyy made it abundantly clear that he has absolutely no intention of ever negotiating with Vladimir Putin…
Just 55% of the Pentagon’sF-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet was mission capable as of March 2023, a disappointing statistic driven by factors like a lack of depot capacity, insufficient supply of spare parts and overreliance on contractors, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
The watchdog’s assessment — published days after a Marine Corps F-35B went missing for over 24 hours in South Carolina — highlights a complaint frequently aired by government officials: prime contractor Lockheed Martin, along with its countless subcontractors, were given too much control over sustaining the stealth fighter, a situation officials told GAO is untenable for the program’s future.
“According to DOD officials, over the last several years program officials realized that contractor-led sustainment for the F-35 program was unsustainable due to high costs. Several DOD officials we spoke to during the course of our review expressed significant concern over the costs of contractor labor in the F-35 program,” GAO wrote in its expansive 96-page report [PDF] on sustaining the Joint Strike Fighter.
The fleet’s average mission capable (MC) rate of 55%, defined as when the aircraft can perform one of its tasks, is well below targets of 90% for the F-35A and 85% for the fighter’s B and C variants. Newer aircraft tend to have much better MC rates, but even they are well below the Pentagon’s targets and average closer to 60% for the fleet, according to figures compiled by GAO.
Webmaster addition: The Littoral ships, the Zumwalt, the F-22, the F-35; all this money spent on junk!
Millions of federal employees and active military service members will stop receiving paychecks — but many will be forced to report to work anyway.
Some national parks may close, museums could shutter and airports nationwide might see new disruptions and delays.
And the most pivotal federal aid programs — including those assisting the victims of the deadly wildfires in Maui — could struggle to provide urgently needed support.
In only eight days, the U.S. government is set to shut down, unleashing real and wide-ranging financial hardship on American families, workers and businesses. The lapse in funding would mark a fundamental breakdown in an ever-divided, intransigent Washington, where lawmakers this year have struggled — time and again — to fulfill their most basic fiscal responsibilities.
At the heart of the stalemate are renewed Republican demands for deep federal spending cuts, more than three months after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) finalized a deal with President Biden that was supposed to prevent this very brinkmanship. Far-right lawmakers have blocked the House this week from adopting a short-term measure that would sustain federal spending at its existing levels and buy more time for the two parties to work out a longer-term arrangement.
Russia, the United States and China have all built new facilities and dug new tunnels at their nuclear test sites in recent years, satellite images obtained exclusively by CNN show, at a time when tensions between the three major nuclear powers have risen to their highest in decades.
While there is no evidence to suggest that Russia, the US or China is preparing for an imminent nuclear test, the images, obtained and provided by a prominent analyst in military nonproliferation studies, illustrate recent expansions at three nuclear test sites compared with just a few years ago.
One is operated by China in the far western region of Xinjiang, one by Russia in an Arctic Ocean archipelago, and another in the US in the Nevada desert.
The satellite images from the past three to five years shownew tunnels under mountains, new roads and storage facilities, as well as increased vehicle traffic comingin and out of the sites, said Jeffrey Lewis, an adjunct professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
The Pentagon has determined that the training and support of Ukrainian forces is exempt from a potential government shutdown, according to the Defense Department, and will continue even in the increasingly likely event that Congress fails to pass a spending bill in the coming days.
The determination allows critical elements of American support for Kyiv, such as the training of Ukrainian forces and the ongoing transfer of weapons to Ukraine, to proceed in the midst of an ongoing counteroffensive.
“Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations,” said Defense Department spokesman Chris Sherwood. Operation Atlantic Resolve refers to the US effort to support Ukraine and to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. It was established in 2014 following the Russian invasion of Crimea.
But as recently as Tuesday, Sherwood had cautioned that a government shutdown could disrupt US aid to Ukraine, warning that the delivery of equipment and the US training efforts “could be impacted by furloughs of personnel and DoD’s suspension” of activities deemed not essential to US national security.
The V-22 Osprey flies like a bird and hovers like a bee.
Furnished with rotors at the end of each wing, the aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter but relies on its fixed wings to go the distance during flight. For this reason, some consider the Osprey the best of both worlds in aviation — others call it “the widow maker.”
Just a few weeks ago, three Marines died in an Osprey crash during a training exercise in Australia, bringing total fatalities involving the Osprey to over 50. And while there are certainly more dangerous aircraft out there (take the CH-53E helicopter, for example), what’s striking about the Osprey is that since the aircraft became operational in 2007, most of the fatalities involving the aircraft have happened during training exercises, not active operations.
Still, the Osprey isn’t historically reliable when it comes to combat readiness. In fact, the program missed the boat on meeting its reliability rate goals in every year from 2011 to 2021 — despite taking its first flight in 1989. The aircraft didn’t make its combat debut until 2007, having missed deployment to “Bosnia in 1995, Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003.” And for good reason — during the testing phase, the aircraft experienced four crashes resulting in 30 fatalities.
The tidal waves of damning evidence that the COVID-19 injections were known to cause disease, disabilities and death in adults and children keeps pummeling in. Yesterday, on DailyClout.io, Amy Kelly reported on the findings of “46 pages FOIA’ed (Freedom of Information Act) emails between CDC leaders, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Collins, and the White House, NIH, and HHS.”
Per Amy Kelly’s September 20, 2023, DailyClout.io article, the emails “show they (President Biden, Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky, Francis Collins, and HHS - Xavier Becerra) knew about vaccine-induced myocarditis and thrombotic thrombocytopenia - a blood clotting disorder.”
If you were seeking online therapy from 2017 to 2021—and a lot of people were—chances are good that you found your way to BetterHelp, which today describes itself as the world’s largest online-therapy purveyor, with more than 2 million users. Once you were there, after a few clicks, you would have completed a form—an intake questionnaire, not unlike the paper one you’d fill out at any therapist’s office: Are you new to therapy? Are you taking any medications? Having problems with intimacy? Experiencing overwhelming sadness? Thinking of hurting yourself? BetterHelp would have asked you if you were religious, if you were LGBTQ, if you were a teenager. These questions were just meant to match you with the best counselor for your needs, small text would have assured you. Your information would remain private.
Except BetterHelp isn’t exactly a therapist’s office, and your information may not have been completely private. In fact, according to a complaint brought by federal regulators, for years, BetterHelp was sharing user data—including email addresses, IP addresses, and questionnaire answers—with third parties, including Facebook and Snapchat, for the purposes of targeting ads for its services.
Two hundred and fifty years ago, Great Britain bequeathed to us our notions of due process and free speech. That country, however, no longer exists. Instead, we have a country that is demanding that Russell Brand, who has been accused of alleged sexual wrongdoing that occurred decades ago (charges he denies), must be deplatformed from Rumble, a site built upon free speech. Fortunately, Rumble is standing strong.
Russell Brand has admitted that he was a sex and drug addict. Then, he cleaned up his act. I don’t doubt that he did regrettable things during his years of debauchery, although whether he did anything illegal or even outside the bell curve of a sex-saturated society has never been examined in a law court of law.
During those same years of debauchery, Brand was an out-and-proud leftist, as well as an edgy (very edgy) comedian. Now, though, during his years of clean living, Brand has become something of a libertarian, talking to people like Tucker Carlson and Ben Shapiro because he stood against COVID and vaccine madness.
Given that Brand has been red-pilled and is becoming redder by the day, many conservatives think it’s not a coincidence that he has suddenly been accused of sexual wrongdoing dating back a couple of decades. Regarding the specific accusations, I haven’t read the details and, frankly, I’m not interested.
A surge in lab-grown diamonds flooding the market, coupled with a decline in luxury spending, has forced Russian mining giant Alrosa PJSC to temporarily suspend rough diamond sales to prevent prices from crashing further.
Bloomberg obtained a memo from Alrosa addressed to its customers, explaining rough diamond sales for September and October have been suspended as the company "strives to reverse the existing trend of diminishing demand."
Diamonds, watches, and other jewelry soared during the pandemic and peaked in the first half of 2022. We have covered the Rolex boom and bust extensively and have turned our attention to crashing diamond prices in 2023:
For years, green and socially responsible investments, aka ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), have dominated the investing world. However, according to Bloomberg, a seismic shift is underway as BlackRock and other money managers unwound an increasing number of 'green' products amid soaring backlash and investor scrutiny.
Data from Morningstar shows State Street, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Janus Henderson Group, and Hartford Funds Management Group have unwound more than two dozen ESG funds this year. The latest unwind comes from BlackRock, who told regulators last Friday it plans to close two ESG emerging-market bond funds with total assets of $55 million.
Jacinda Ardern may no longer be Prime Minister of New Zealand, but she was back at the United Nations continuing her call for international censorship. Ardern is now one of the leading anti-free speech figures in the world and continues to draw support from political and academic establishments. In her latest attack on free speech, Ardean declared free speech as a virtual weapon of war. She is demanding that the world join her in battling free speech as part of its own war against “misinformation” and “disinformation.” Her views, of course, were not only enthusiastically embraced by authoritarian countries, but the government and academic elite.
In her speech, she notes that we cannot allow free speech to get in the way of fighting things like climate change. She notes that they cannot win the war on climate change if people do not believe them about the underlying problem. The solution is to silence those with opposing views. It is that simple.
The Seattle City Council on Tuesday ruled that public drug use will soon be illegal in the city.
According to KIRO7, public drug use can now end in arrest - though there remains a large effort to funnel drug users into treatment programs.
CB 120645 adds the crimes of using a controlled substance in public space and knowing possession of a controlled substance to the statute's list of crimes. The move follows a Sept. 12 proposed ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council's Public Safety and Human Services Committee by a vote of 4-1.
During the disastrous Vietnam War, it was said that the US government treated the public like a mushroom farm: keeping it in the dark and feeding it with manure. The heroic Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers documenting the unrelenting U.S. government lying about the war in order to protect politicians who would be embarrassed by the truth. A half-century later, during the Ukraine War, the manure is piled even higher.
According to the U.S. government and the ever-obsequious New York Times, the Ukraine war was “unprovoked,” the Times’ favorite adjective to describe the war. Putin, allegedly mistaking himself for Peter the Great, invaded Ukraine to recreate the Russian Empire. Yet last week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg committed a Washington gaffe, meaning that he accidently blurted out the truth.
In testimony to the European Union Parliament, Stoltenberg made clear that it was America’s relentless push to enlarge NATO to Ukraine that was the real cause of the war and why it continues today. Here are Stoltenberg’s revealing words:
“The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition to not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn't sign that.
The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that.
So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. He has got the exact opposite.”
This is surely one of the strangest twists in official narratives in perhaps hundreds of years. The bad guys have been christened as the good guys, and the good guys have been purged, deplatformed, canceled, and demonized.
It’s a turn of events none of us could have imagined back in 2020. It cries out for an explanation. I truly fear knowing the answer as to why.
Just consider the fate of former New Zealand Prime Jacinda Ardern.
She locked down her country, trampling all rights of the people under the guise of controlling the spread of a virus. You could not go to church. You could not be unmasked. You could not leave the country and return. No one could travel there without official permission.
As bad as the United States and Europe were during this period, New Zealand was worse, and it was backed up by speech controls. Anyone protesting the policies was risking everything. And when the vaccine came along, Ardern outright said it: the people who get it will have rights but those who do not will not. It was a new biomedical caste system.
Eventually, the country did open. Now speakers decrying the whole period are attracting audiences in the thousands, and Ardern is widely unpopular. Her successor who continues to defend all this despotism is under a cloud and also deeply unpopular. The tables have completely turned. Of course the virus came anyway, as it must, so the junta that did this has turned their attention to climate change, the defense of censorship, and the escalation of the Russia/Ukraine war.
Five years ago, anyone would have supposed that a leader that acted this way would live in shame. I certainly assumed so. My supposition is that Ardern had made horrific misjudgments and would be widely decried as a confused tyrant. She would live out her days in disrepute, surely.
The four-star general in charge of the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command has defended a memo he sent to his officers earlier this year where he predicted the US would be at war with China in 2025.
“My assessment is that war is not inevitable, but the readiness I’m driving with that timeline is absolutely essential to deterrence and absolutely essential to the decisive victory,” Gen. Mike Minihan said last week when asked about his prediction, according to Defense One.
“There needs to be tension on readiness, more than just ‘be ready tonight.’ You need to have readiness that drives urgency. The urgency and the action are paramount,” he added.
Minihan noted that the memo, dated February 1, included the words: “I hope I am wrong.” But the memo to his officers ordered them to be prepared for a fight with China, and while the Pentagon distanced itself from Minihan’s timeline, the US is openly preparing for a direct war with China by building up its forces in the Asia Pacific and increasing military support for Taiwan.
The arms package is worth $325 million and uses the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows Biden to ship arms directly from US military stockpiles. The $325 million is being pulled from funds that became available after the Pentagon said it overvalued previous arms shipments to Ukraine, an “accounting error” that freed up an additional $6.2 billion in PDA to fuel the war.
The cluster bombs, known as dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM), are provided in the form of 155mm artillery rounds, which spread small sub-munitions over a large area. The arms package also includes air defense systems, HIMARS ammunition, other artillery rounds, and other equipment.
When announcing the arms package, President Biden said the first batch of Abrams tanks will be delivered to Ukraine next week. The tanks will be armed with depleted uranium rounds, a toxic ammunition linked to cancer and birth defects.
Pizza Hut Australia is sending data breach notifications to customers, warning that a cyberattack allowed hackers to access their personal information.
The notification warns that the hacker gained unauthorized access to Pizza Hut Australia systems storing sensitive info for customers who made online orders, as well as partial financial data and encrypted account passwords.
Vice President Kamala Harris will lead a new federal office of gun violence prevention, the White House said Thursday.
President Joe Biden will formally announce the new office Friday during a Rose Garden event where several advocates and lawmakers have been invited to attend.
Harris, who has played a leading role in gun safety policy, will oversee the office, according to a White House statement. Longtime Biden aide Stefanie Feldman, who has worked on gun policy for more than a decade, will serve as its director.
“The new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will play a critical role in implementing President Biden’s and my efforts to reduce violence to the fullest extent under the law, while also engaging and encouraging Congressional leaders, state and local leaders, and advocates to come together to build upon the meaningful progress that we have made to save lives,” the vice president said in a statement.
Apple released emergency security updates to patch three new zero-day vulnerabilities exploited in attacks targeting iPhone and Mac users, for a total of 16 zero-days fixed this year.
Two bugs were found in the WebKit browser engine (CVE-2023-41993) and the Security framework (CVE-2023-41991), enabling attackers to bypass signature validation using malicious apps or gain arbitrary code execution via maliciously crafted webpages.
The third one was found in the Kernel Framework, which provides APIs and support for kernel extensions and kernel-resident device drivers. Local attackers can exploit this flaw (CVE-2023-41992) to escalate privileges.
Democrat Senator John Fetterman on Thursday got choked up as he recounted being bullied for struggling to process language after his massive stroke in May 2022.
Fetterman spoke at a Senate Special Committee on Aging and was accompanied by people with disabilities.
John Fetterman got choked up as he recounted being bullied for his post-stroke symptoms. Fetterman is not a civilian struggling to recover from a stroke. He is a US Senator who is making decisions for hundreds of millions of people. Any criticism of his inability to speak is warranted.