It’s not unusual, in fact is typical, for presidents to ditch campaign promises. One such promise Joe Biden made on the campaign trail was a “no first use” of nuclear weapons.
That was then, this is now.
“The Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy rejected limits on using nuclear weapons long championed by arms control advocates and in the past by President Joe Biden,” Bloomberg reports.
Citing burgeoning threats from China and Russia, the Defense Department said in the document released Thursday that “by the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.” In response, the US will “maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment” without ruling out using the weapons in retaliation to a non-nuclear strategic threat to the homeland, US forces abroad or allies. (Emphasis added.)
POLARIS 21 was a large-scale French naval exercise in the Mediterranean that took place from November 18 to December 3, 2021, off the island of Corsica between France and Spain.
Officially, the aim of the training was to test the capabilities of the sea and air elements to face future wars, using the latest systems and naval vessels to develop tactics.
The scenario of the exercise—which saw the participation of 23 ships, one submarine, 65 aircraft and 6,000 personnel from six NATO nations including the U.S.—was to enable the Allies to maintain control of the Mediterranean in the event of a threat from the Russian air force and navy.
Journalists have come into possession of documents which detailed plans for the NATO coalition to use the POLARIS exercise to send a French carrier strike group to preemptively attack Russia in the case of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, which the U.S. and NATO were in the process of provoking. The UK signed an agreement with Ukraine that granted it access to naval bases in Ukraine that could be used to attack the Russian Federation.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the great documents of history.
With that in mind, it is especially ironic and unfortunate when human rights is used by the culture of war as part of its weaponry.
During the Cold War from the 1950’s through the 1980’s, the United States and its allies used accusations of their human rights violations as a way to justify labelling the Soviet Union as the enemy.
After all; the culture of war cannot function without an enemy. It is not enough to claim that the enemy is arming in order to attack us, but it is necessary to add that the enemy is barbaric and against our values such as the values of human rights. This requires government control of information which has become the principal arm of the culture of war.
There is a concerted effort in the United States and Europe to intimidate, smear, and silence anyone who dares criticize Ukraine’s government or the Biden administration’s policy on the Russia-Ukraine war. The latest example was the decision of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to retract an open letter it had sent to the president just days earlier urging him to give higher priority to diplomacy as a way of ending the bloodshed. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the caucus, offered an explanation that quickly drew derision from multiple quarters. "The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting."
Ironically, the letter itself was a rather tepid venture. Indeed, the signatories went out of their way to emphasize their support for Ukraine and praise the Biden administration for the financial and military aid it had given to Kyiv. The fawning opening paragraph epitomized the tone. "We write with appreciation for your commitment to Ukraine’s legitimate struggle against Russia’s war of aggression. Your support for the self-defense of an independent, sovereign, and democratic state has been supported by Congress, including through various appropriations of military, economic and humanitarian aid in furtherance of this cause. Your administration’s policy was critical to enable the Ukrainian people, through their courageous fighting and heroic sacrifices, to deal a historic military defeat to Russia, forcing Russia to dramatically scale back the stated goals of the invasion."
A Pentagon official told reporters on Monday that US military personnel have recently begun onsite inspections of US-provided weapons inside Ukraine, confirming a small US military presence on the ground.
The official said that the return of a “defense attaché and Office of Defense Cooperation personnel” to Ukraine has enabled the inspections. Both the defense attaché and Office of Defense Cooperation personnel are based at the US embassy in Kyiv.
Webmaster addition: This sounds suspiciously like the 'advisers' in Vietnam!
Negotiations between the US and Iran on the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, have been stalled since early September. The Biden administration hasn’t officially said it’s done with the talks, but Malley’s comments are the surest sign that diplomacy between Washington and Tehran is dead.
Malley echoed other administration officials and said that the JCPOA is “not our focus right now” and that the US is going to focus on other issues, including supporting protesters inside Iran.
“It is not on our agenda. We are not going to focus on something which is inert when other things are happening… and we are not going to waste our time on it… if Iran has taken the position it has taken,” Malley said at a Carnegie Endowment event, according to Axios.
The digital Covid vaccination certification, or “passport,” is a mobile app that instantaneously affirms the vaccinated status, Covid test results, birth date, gender, and/or other identifiers of its holder. The information is usually mosaicked in a QR code, read by a proprietary scanner, and linked to a government registry. Led by New York, California, and Louisiana, as many as 30 states are rolling them out. The Biden administration announced last spring that it would wrangle them under national standards but so far it hasn’t. Internationally, the EU and a growing number of countries are adopting them, from repressive regimes like Bahrain to democracies like Denmark.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern heralded her country’s My Vaccine Pass as the keycard to the kingdom. “It’s actually really straightforward. If you’ve got a vaccine pass, you can do everything,” she announced, flashing a friendly shark grin. “Basically, that’s it.”
This past June, Senator Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser Matt Duss (an alumnus of the Saudi- and UAE- funded Center for American Progress) published a widely discussed essay in The New Republic in which he declared that American liberals and progressives need to prioritize expressions of “solidarity” with Ukraine over policies that might put an end to the bloodshed.
In this Duss, a reliable weathervane of liberal opinion, is hardly alone among liberal commentators and policy practitioners, after all, Democrats on the Hill unanimously voted for each of President Biden’s billion dollar aid packages to Ukraine.
What accounts for the enthusiasm for war in Eastern Europe against Russia among American liberals?
Webmaster addition: That is a good question! I am old enough to remember a time when Republicans were seen as the war hawks and Democrats as anti-war.
Ukrainian president Zelensky has warned US Republicans that if they win next week Ukraine needs more than just weapons. Ukraine also needs cold, hard cash to pay its bills. Ukraine’s endless demands even irritated President Biden, according to a new article on CNBC. Also: 60 years ago we almost saw nuclear war. Cooler heads prevailed. Today we are back…without cooler heads.
In a stunning example of corporate filth, Elon Musk, who bought Twitter for about $44 Billion, is now finding evidence the previous Executives may have engaged in literal fraud; not only against Musk to boost the purchase price, but also against the Court wherein they filed suit to force him to buy the company!
This morning, Musk tweeted the following, apparently containing excerpts from internal Twitter Executive email/direct messages:
At first glance, casual observers are saying this certainly explains why twitter’s senior counsel and CEO were fired — with cause.
They get No stock options, no bonuses, no golden parachutes.
If what Musk Tweeted holds true, he can go after billions from the board and executive committee; and perhaps the advertisers have some roll in the deception as well.
Following months of pressure from arms control groups, the State Department released its first detailed plan on how it intends to stop U.S. weapons from being diverted away from their intended use in Ukraine.
The new policy focuses on one major area: stopping the illegal trade of powerful yet portable weapons like Javelin and Stinger missile systems, which could be used by non-state groups to destroy large vehicles or even shoot down commercial planes. The multi-year plan sets out to train Ukrainians on how to keep track of such weapons, bolster border security to stop smuggling, and work with Ukraine’s neighbors on how to identify and stop illicit weapons sales.
Rachel Stohl of the Stimson Center welcomed the policy as a first step, noting that “these are things that should be written into all weapons transfer agreements.” But she lamented that the plan does nothing to address small arms, which can have a major impact in war.
Ukrainian officials say they’re not worried they will lose military aid if the GOP takes over after the midterms, but they fear the economic aid may dry up. Kyiv is expecting the US to hand over at least $18 billion to cover its budget deficit for 2023.
Daniel Vajdich, a lobbyist for the Ukrainian government, told POLITICO that Ukraine expects even “more robust” weapons packages from Republicans but is worried about the budgetary aid.
Webmaster addition: Vajdich has made Ukraine an even more important factor in the midterm elections.
Three and a half years. Five parliamentary elections. Four months of campaigning. Around 12.5bn shekels ($3.5bn) spent.
After all this, Israelis still have no idea whether a new government will be formed after the election on Tuesday, and certainly have no clue who their next prime minister will be.
The infamous deadlock between the opposition “Bibi bloc” - the unholy alliance between far-right and ultra-Orthodox led by Benajmin Netanyahu - and the strangest ever anti-Netanyahu coalition is still there.
Even the last-minute small adjustments are transitions of voters within the blocs, with no transfer of votes between the opponents. According to the latest polls Netanyahu’s bloc will win 60 seats and his opponents sit on 56 to 60, if you add the Palestinian Hadash-Taal list. Governments need a majority of at least 61 to govern.
Speaking on Oct. 27 at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned the sanity of those who would "spoil relations with China at the same time they are supplying billions-worth of weapons to Ukraine in a fight against Russia."
In answer to a question on "the growing tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan," Putin labeled visits by top U.S. officials to Taiwan a "provocation." Putin added:
"Frankly, I do not know why they are doing this. … Are they sane? It seems that this runs completely counter to common sense and logic … This is simply crazy.
"It may seem that there is a subtle, profound plot behind this. But I think there is nothing there, no subtle thought. It is just nonsense and arrogance, nothing else. … Such irrational actions are rooted in arrogance and a sense of impunity."
Ron Unz [Harvard ’83] has posted a 5900 word article about 21st century racial discrimination in the Ivy League, and concludes that in spite of the ”Asians. Asians. And Asians” focus of legal action and Conservatism, In fact, it’s actually non-Jewish white Americans who are ”hardest hit.”
Twitter is playing more tricks ahead of next Tuesday’s General Election. Today, it was reported that Trump-Endorsed Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem’s Twitter account was suspended without cause.
Less than a day before polls open, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu said that far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir is a viable candidate for police minister if Netanyahu’s bid to reclaim the premiership is successful.
“I don’t disqualify him” for the post of public security minister, but “there are a lot of candidates,” Netanyahu told Army Radio on Monday, in his first interview with the state-sponsored outlet since losing the premiership last year.
“Likud has to be the biggest party, and only then I can appoint ministers like Ben Gvir and [Bezalel] Smotrich,” Ben Gvir’s running mate in the Religious Zionism-Otzma Yehudit alliance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he hopes for "normalisation" of ties between rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan who pledged not to resort to force in their territorial dispute after tripartite talks, reasserting Moscow's role as Caucasus powerbroker.
The summit was held as Western engagement grows in the volatile Caucasus region, where Russia – distracted by its war in Ukraine – is palpably losing influence after decades of domination.
The initiative comes a month after the worst clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan since their war in 2020.
"It was a very useful meeting that created a very good atmosphere for possible future agreements," the Russian president told journalists.
"Russia will do everything to find a definitive and comprehensive settlement" of the conflict, he said. "It is in everyone's interest to normalise relations.
Prussian Major General Carl von Clausewitz famously drew on his own experience in the Napoleonic Wars to examine war as a political phenomenon. In his 1832 book “On War” he provided a frequently quoted pithy summary of war versus peace, writing in terms of politico-military strategy that “War is a mere continuation of politics by other means.” In other words, war-making is a tool provided to statesmen to achieve a nation’s political objectives when all else fails.
One can reject the ultimate amorality of Clausewitz’s thinking about war while also recognizing that some nations have historically speaking exploited war-making as a tool for physical expansion and the appropriation of foreigners’ resources. As far back as the Roman Republic, the country’s elected leaders doubled as heads of its consular armies, which were expected to go out each spring to expand the imperium. More recently, Britain notably engaged in almost constant colonial wars over the course of centuries to establish what was to become history’s largest empire.
With the Supreme Court considering whether it’s Constitution for Harvard and UNC to discriminate against Asians to benefit blacks, the Washington Post is trying to keep the Democrats’ Coalition of the Fringes united for one more week
The Air Force is allowing unvaccinated instructor pilots to return to the air after barring them from flight this summer, the service confirmed Oct. 28.
Maj. Gen. Phillip Stewart, the head of 19th Air Force, said Oct. 25 that it is “in the best interest of the Air Force” for instructors to resume their regular in-flight duties until further notice, according to a memo obtained by Air Force Times.
It sounds like the authors are next going to reveal the Big Secret: that Harvard can’t get rid of affirmative action because African-Americans are ever increasingly being buried by Asians, who are growing both in quantity and quality of test scores and grades. Without society continuing to give blacks a big fat thumb on the scale forever, blacks would more or less vanish from elite academia and be replaced by countless Asians.
The chance that an individual Asian will score 1400 to the maximum of 1600 on the SAT appears to be about two dozen times greater than an individual black will score that high. The white to black gap, in contrast, is only about 7 to 1.
You could make the argument that in 2003 when Sandra Day O’Connor put a 25 year time limit on affirmative action being allowed to violate “equal protection of the laws,” she was being naive, both about the genetics of racial differences in performance but most of all about the Asian Crush that was much less noticeable 19 years ago.
But then Bollinger and Stone chicken out and revert to the usual Blame Whitey rhetoric.
“The Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review is, at heart, a terrifying document. It not only keeps the world on a path of increasing nuclear risk, in many ways it increases that risk. Citing rising threats from Russia and China, it argues that the only viable U.S. response is to rebuild the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal, maintain an array of dangerous Cold War-era nuclear policies, and threaten the first use of nuclear weapons in a variety of scenarios.” Stephen Young, Union of Concerned Scientists
Maybe you’re one of the millions of people who think the US would never use its nuclear weapons unless the threat of a nuclear attack was imminent.
Well, you’d be wrong, because according to the recently-released Nuclear Posture Review, the bar for using nukes has been significantly lowered. The new standard reads like this: (nukes can be used) “in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.”
“Defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies”??
That’s a pretty broad net, isn’t it? That could include anything from a serious threat to national security to an ordinary economic competitor. And that loosy-goosy definition appears to be just what the authors were looking for.