"I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance." -- Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sent a letter to House January 6th Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) on Wednesday demanding preservation of committee records for the incoming Republican controlled Congress next January. McCarthy also said Republicans would hold hearings on why the Capitol was “not secure” on January 6, 2021.
The mother of a Robb Elementary school shooting victim has filed a federal lawsuit against law enforcement, the Uvalde school district, 16 officers, the gun shop where the shooter purchased the weapon, and gun manufacturer Daniel Defense.
The West’s loss of its leading positions may provoke NATO to make rash and irresponsible decisions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday, speaking at a meeting with students of the "Dialogue in the name of the future" education program.
"The expansionist globalism displayed by this aggressive bloc is unprecedented. I am convinced that the global majority is perfectly aware of the threats posed by this course taken by the alliance, and comprehends that the Westerners’ realization that they have lost their superior standing may cause NATO to take ill-conceived and irresponsible steps," the Minister underscored.
According to Lavrov, these very assessments will define the positions of most countries during the discussion of the future of global security.
Lavrov noted that, during the last NATO summit in Madrid, it was declared that the Alliance now bears global responsibility.
As the war in Ukraine has dragged on for nine months and a cold winter is setting in, people all over the world are calling for a Christmas truce, harkening back to the inspirational Christmas Truce of 1914. In the midst of World War I, warring soldiers put down their guns and celebrated the holiday together in the no-man’s land between their trenches. This spontaneous reconciliation and fraternization has been, over the years, a symbol of hope and courage.
Here are eight reasons why this holiday season too offers the potential for peace and a chance to move the conflict in Ukraine from the battlefield to the negotiating table.
Albanese, who previously rejected public pressure to push for Assange’s release, said that he raised the issue with US officials in recent meetings. “The government will continue to act in a diplomatic way, but can I assure the member … that I have raised this personally with representatives of the United States government,” Albanese said.
“My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration – that it is time that this matter be brought to a close,” the Australian leader added.
“What we talked about today is . . . working to adapt in concrete ways to meet the challenge,” Blinken said after the meeting. He said ways that European countries could take action against China is to use “export controls” to protect sensitive technology.
The North Atlantic military alliance officially declared in a strategy document back in June that China poses “systemic challenges.” Blinken said that he now sees a “growing convergence” on how NATO and the EU view China, although some European countries are reluctant to go along with the policies the US is pursuing.
Russia's defence minister said on Wednesday that the armed forces should use new advanced weapons systems in the conflict in Ukraine.
"It is necessary to continue the modernisation and creation of promising systems with their subsequent use during the special military operation," Sergei Shoigu said at a defence ministry meeting of senior generals.
Shoigu, one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, did not specify which advanced weapons should be used, though he said he wanted to discuss with the generals new ways of improving artillery and missile attacks.
"New ways of using them in combat are being tested," Shoigu said, without giving specifics.
Serving in the U.S. armed forces is dangerous, especially for women. Despite being a minority, making up only 16.5 percent of the military, nearly 1 in 4 U.S. servicewomen reports being sexually assaulted — a rate far higher than that of men. Years of analysis of the issue, handwringing, and incremental reforms have failed to stem what has been called an “epidemic.”
But sexual assault of men in the military is also widespread and vastly underreported. Each day, on average, more than 45 men in the armed forces are sexually assaulted, according to the latest Pentagon estimates. For women, it is 53 per day, according to a September 2022 Pentagon report that uses a new euphemism “unwanted sexual contact” as a “proxy measure for sexual assault.” Nearly 40 percent of veterans who report to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, that they have experienced military sexual trauma, or MST — sexual assault or sexual harassment — are men.
The nuclear powers must avoid any military confrontation among themselves, including one which involves conventional weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with participants in the Dialogue for the Future scientific and educational program. A transcript of his speech was uploaded to the Foreign Ministry’s website.
Lavrov recalled that at Moscow’s initiative earlier this year, leaders of the permanent members of the UN Security Council confirmed that there could be no winners in a nuclear war and that it should never be unleashed.
"Russia's position is much broader: in addition to the inadmissibility of such a war, it is necessary to avoid any military clash between nuclear powers, even with the use of conventional weapons. An escalation could get out of hand," he stressed.
Lavrov pointed out that Moscow would continue to uphold global security and stability.
The russian federation has deployed own air bridge to China, while An-124s cargo planes frequently turn off their transponders…
A striking number of Antonov cargo planes are currently operating between China and Russia.
Flight tracking services record regular flights of the An-124 Ruslan heavy cargo transport aircraft of the russian company “Volga-Dnepr” to China. At the same time, russia’s planes do not always turn on the transponder, which makes it difficult to track them. In general, we are talking about about ten flights over the last week.
The US Administration is open for a ‘serious and sustained’ dialogue with the authorities of North Korea without any preconditions, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.
"We are open to serious and sustained dialogue with the DPRK," he said. "We've made clear in both public and private communications that we have no hostile intent towards the DPRK, we are prepared to meet without any preconditions."
"And yet Pyongyang has today completely rejected this sincere outreach," he noted. Sullivan said that if North Korea opts for taking a different track, the United States is "prepared to explore practical steps that would increase regional security and address the interests of both sides."
Webmaster addition: Looks like the boys in DC finally realized that North Korea is a nuclear power!
Amid Ukraine's bid to join the European Union, former Russian President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he believes it would take more than half a century for the war-torn nation to get EU membership. According to Medvedev, Ukraine may get the 27-member bloc membership by the 2050s and "the economic and political bloc could break up before then". His "speculative" comment came nearly two days after the European Commission recommended designating Ukraine as a candidate for the European Union.
Notably, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy applied for EU membership just four days after his Russian counterpart started a "special military operation" against Kyiv. The 'desperate' call of Zelenskyy was also heard by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, as she carried the questionnaire book along with her when she recently visited the war-torn country for the first time. However, Medvedev took a jibe at the application and claimed Ukraine has been aspiring to become an EU member since 2014 and added the wishes have been unfulfilled since then. Further, he said that the admission of Ukraine to the European Union is similar to the building of communism in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).
In May that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, along with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, filed a lawsuit (Missouri v. Biden ) against the Biden Administration, including Biden himself, Anthony Fauci, the Department of Homeland Security and nearly a dozen federal agencies and Secretaries.
Twitter owner Elon Musk on Wednesday confirmed what everyone with two functioning brain cells and intellectual honesty already knew; the social media giant has "interfered in elections."
In a discussion over a Reuters article in which the company's former head of trust and safety says Twitter is 'not safer' under Musk, user @EvaFoxU posted: "Twitter has shown itself to be not safe for the past 10 years and has lost users’ trust. The past team of "trust and safety” is a disgrace, so it doesn’t have any right to judge what is being done now," adding "They had a chance, but they sold their souls to a corporation."
To which Musk replied, "Exactly. The obvious reality, as long-time users know, is that Twitter has failed in trust & safety for a very long time and has interfered in elections."
The European Union threatened Elon Musk with a ban on Twitter if demands are not met over banned accounts, content moderation, targeted advertising and an audit, according to a report Wednesday by the Financial Times. The threat came during a videoconference call between Musk and EU commissioners.
On a visit to Tehran, Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani gave the Iranian government an outline of the security plan agreed between Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, in a bid to prevent an Iranian ground incursion against Kurdish groups operating in northern Iraq.
According to Iraqi sources, the agreement between Baghdad and Erbil included in particular the formation of joint units made up of Iraqi army, border guard and Peshmerga forces and their deployment along the border with Iran. The agreement also covered the prevention of any form of support to the Iranian opposition by the regional Kurdish government or local political parties.
Ahead of Sudani's visit Tehran had on Monday already welcomed the Iraqi government's decision to send troops to the border area with the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Twitter’s decision to stop enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy has put another bullseye on Elon Musk's back.
“In my view, Twitter now is jumping to the front of the queue of the regulators,” Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, told POLITICO.
“Mr. Musk seems to want to attract a lot of attention,” she added when asked about the Commission’s stance on Twitter’s decision not to remove falsehoods related to the ongoing global pandemic. “I think he succeeded in attracting the attention of the regulators, also with a recent decision not to assess COVID-related disinformation.”
Webmaster addition: So Europe blocks Twitter and Elon Musk shuts off Starlink for Europe.
The Chinese people have had enough of the brutal “zero-Covid” policies of the authoritarian CCP-controlled country. Citizens have been suffering under cruel measures for years leading to isolation, starvation, and even suicide.
The parents of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are currently in Israel. This was reported on one of the Telegram channels.
According to the authors of Nezygar, on May 6, the father and mother of the Ukrainian leader received Israeli citizenship. Already at the age of 19, Zelensky’s parents entered the country and settled in the family house of businessman Igor Kolomoisky.
Analysts of the Telegram channel emphasized that the parents of the head of Ukraine decided to buy a villa and three cars for a new passport. The acquisitions cost them 790 thousand euros.