"The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it." -- John F. Kennedy

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Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times 

Attorneys general representing half of the country on May 1 sued President Joe Biden’s administration over a new rule requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including private sales.

Democratic lawmakers put their arms around one another as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announces the final vote count for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in the House of Representatives in Washington on June 24, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lawsuits in Florida, Texas, and Arkansas are asking the courts to block a rule from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that redefines “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms.

Under the new rule, almost every transfer of firearm ownership would require at least one party to have a Federal Firearms License and perform a criminal background check, including private sales.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland signed the new rule on April 10, and it goes into effect on May 10.

According to the 466-page rule, the only requirement for determining whether a person is engaged in the business of selling guns is whether the person is trading to “predominately earn a profit.” Previously, the defining characteristic was whether the dealer worked to earn a “livelihood.”

The new definition is in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), signed into law on June 25, 2022.

In the Florida case, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

According to the lawsuit Ms. Moody filed on May 1, the act was passed to balance gun owners’ rights against public safety concerns.

In the filing, Ms. Moody wrote that the BSCA’s sponsors assured voters that the law clarified that dealers were only those who earned their livelihood from selling guns. Ms. Moody claims that President Biden is stretching the language of the act to fit his political agenda.

Sensing an opportunity, the Biden Administration now seeks to exploit the minor changes to federal law enacted in the BSCA to implement President Biden’s preferred policies by executive fiat,” Ms. Moody wrote.

The other two lawsuits—filed in the Northern District of Texas and Eastern District of Arkansas—also decry the change as an unconstitutional infringement on Americans’ Second Amendment rights and an illegal attempt to circumvent the U.S. Congress and enact “universal background checks.”

President Biden has called for expanding the criminal background check requirement since his election in 2020.

Each suit asks its respective court to block the rule’s enforcement and find that it violates the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act.

ATF spokesperson Kristina Mastropasqua said the agency had no comment on the lawsuits.

The White House did not respond to requests from The Epoch Times for comment on this story.

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The phenomenal success the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has had since it began in 2005 has attracted attention from all corners of the political spectrum — for better or for worse. Israel is scared. Israeli thinktanks have described BDS as a greater threat to Israel than armed Palestinian resistance. At the same time, at the forefront of the movement against what is now widely called Israeli apartheid are Jews — Israeli and diaspora. This is not surprising, as Jews have traditionally been active in “political mobilisation and opinion formation”, according to Benjamin Ginsberg.

So it should not be surprising if the BDS movement itself experiences turmoil. For several years now, the UK Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) has conducted a policy of calling leading activists such as Paul Eisen, Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir — all Jewish — anti-Semitic for daring to point out that those who persecute Arab Muslims and Christians are not just Zionists but are invariably Jewish. That the Jews who have opted to take Israeli citizenship are increasingly racist, belligerent settlers who use their new identity to dispossess, terrorise and murder Palestinians, with the intent of forcing them to leave even the remaining 12 percent of the land once called Palestine.

These Jews have given Judaism a bad name, causing some “good Jews” to critique their own religious heritage and even disown it, such as American highschooler and winner of the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr Writing Award Jesse Lieberfeld, who came to realise, “I was grouped with the racial supremacists… I was part of a delusion.” For these Jews, Judaism today had been perverted by Zionism. Paying tribute to Jesse, ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon said, “Journeying from choseness is a life-struggle. From time to time you may feel lonely but you are never alone. Humanity and humanism are there at your side — for all time.”

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An upcoming Swiss-hosted summit aimed at de-escalating the conflict between Moscow and Kiev will spell the “collapse” of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s proposed ‘peace plan,’ former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has predicted.

Zelensky’s roadmap to resolve the crisis, which he has been promoting since 2022, calls for a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories Ukraine considers its own, for Moscow to pay reparations to Kiev, and for the formation of a war crimes tribunal. Russia has rejected the proposals as “unrealistic” and a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

In a Telegram post on Friday, Medvedev suggested that the peace conference, which will be held in the Swiss town of Burgenstock on June 15-16 and to which Russia has not been invited, could still be somewhat “beneficial” for Moscow.

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The issue of the complete confiscation of Russian frozen assets is no longer on the agenda of the G7, including due to fears of retaliatory measures, the Financial Times reports, citing officials from these countries.

Although Ukraine continues to demand the complete confiscation of Russian assets, G7 officials privately say that this issue is no longer being considered, the newspaper writes. Instead, they are exploring alternative ways to extract funds from frozen assets.

The FT emphasizes that European countries want to avoid the application of measures that involve the Russian assets themselves, "fearing retaliatory steps." The G7 and a number of other countries are also afraid of accusations of committing "any step that could amount to a violation of international law."

"From a legal point of view, this is unwise," Armin Steinbach, professor of law and economics at the Paris Graduate School of Commerce, told the publication.

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Crimea is part of Russia because its population voted in favor of joining in a referendum, Lithuanian presidential candidate Eduardas Vaitkus said in an interview with the ELTA news agency.

"Crimea belongs to Russia. Crimea used to belong to Ukraine. Even earlier, Crimea belonged to the Soviet Union. Even earlier, Crimea belonged to tsarist Russia — this way we will reach the Greek cities or the Crimean Khanate," the politician said.

According to him, Western countries "let the genie out of the bottle" when they recognized the unilaterally alienated Kosovo.

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by Tyler Durden

The green new deal and switch to "alternative' energy looks like it's going exactly as planned: costing the taxpayer trillions of dollars and generally pissing everybody off.

That was the case with a number of solar panel owners who are now finding it difficult to get their panels serviced, according to WBAL TV.

Solar panel installation is touted as offering benefits like reduced energy costs, environmental friendliness, and significant rebates. However, many homeowners have discovered a concerning issue within the industry: addressing technical problems can be exceedingly challenging -- if not outright impossible. 

Those interviewed shared experiences with various solar providers, each facing prolonged unresolved issues. 

Tom Lucas, who installed solar panels in 2018, initially saw higher electricity production. Yet, by 2022, 20% of his system failed, leading to considerable losses. Despite having a 25-year warranty from Invaleon Solar Technologies, the issue remains unaddressed.

Lucas commented: "I've been totally ghosted. All I want is a working system. To me, even though I'm generating some electricity, it's not right."

Lucas added: "They're a sales-oriented company. All solar companies are. They want to sell the next job. They want to get that installed and move on to the next sale. They're not service-oriented."

Steve Pilotte, an early solar adopter, has experienced ongoing problems since 2009. His current provider, Sunrun, has been unresponsive in fixing an inverter issue that started in 2020, despite multiple technician visits.

"Once again, in 2022, I followed up with them. And then 2023. And January 2024. I'm totally lost. I've never experienced a situation like this in my life."

Mike Rice, who leases from Spruce Power, saw his electricity costs drop significantly until 2023 when his meter malfunctioned. Despite the fault, Spruce has not compensated him for the energy lost during peak production times.

"No one called me to tell me my system is out. Not even credits. I'd just take credits so I can offset my future bills, but they won't do that," Rice said.

"I think they're more interested in putting solar up than repairing it," he concluded. 

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The North Atlantic Alliance is considering the possibility of deploying security and defense advisory missions in a number of countries in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel region, the EFE news agency wrote on Friday, citing NATO sources.

According to them, the group of experts prepared a corresponding recommendation after a request from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

It is expected that this issue will be considered by NATO later in May, and the initiative may be finally approved at the July summit of the alliance in Washington.

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Hundreds of riot police descended on a pro-Palestine encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) early on Thursday, and used flash bangs and rubber bullets to clear the protest site as screams rang out from behind the student-erected barricades.

Discarded tents and sleeping bags could be seen strewn across the main campus' Royce Quad at 08:00 local time (15:00 GMT), hours after police stormed the site and arrested hundreds of people.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said hundreds of people had been arrested at the encampment - which had been protesters' home for more than a week - but did not say how many were students or faculty. According to the university's student-run newspaper, the Daily Bruin, at least one UCLA professor was among those that were detained.

A series of photos and videos posted online purported to show police firing on demonstrators after tearing down the flimsy barricades.

Webmaster addition: A reminder that today is the 54th anniversary of the students being killed at Kent State.


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by Tyler Durden

How much do you trust the government, and its various institutions?

It’s likely that your level of confidence probably depends on a wide range of factors, such as perceived competency, historical context, economic performance, accountability, social cohesion, and transparency.

And for these same reasons, trust levels in government institutions also change all the time, even in the world’s most developed countries: the G7.

Confidence in Government by G7 Countries (2006-2023)

This chart, via Visual Capitaist's Nick Routley, looks at the changes in trust in government institutions between the years 2006 and 2023, based on data from a multi-country Gallup poll.

Specifically, this dataset aggregates confidence in multiple national institutions, including the military, the judicial system, the national government, and the integrity of the electoral system.

What’s interesting here is that in the G7, a group of the world’s most developed economies, there is only one country bucking the general trend: the United States.

Across most G7 countries, confidence in institutions has either improved or stayed the same between 2006 and 2023. The largest percentage point (p.p.) increases occur in Italy and Japan, which saw +13 p.p. and +11 p.p. increases in trust over the time period.

In the U.S., however, confidence in government institutions has fallen by 13 p.p. over the years. What happened?

Claire's Observations:  It's rather simple; people hate being lied to consistently by a government which (theoretically) represents them, but apparently only represents the interests of the very wealthy, and certain specific governments.

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Former President Donald Trump has a detailed plan for how to resolve the Ukraine conflict peacefully, but will not unveil it before the upcoming US election, The Telegraph newspaper has reported, citing a source close to Trump.

"There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage," the source was quoted as saying by the newspaper on Friday.

Trump president plans to limit his campaign to simple message that he will end the conflict, intending to win over voters in the United States who would like a peaceful resolution to the conflict, the source said.

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Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times 

People who received more than one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine were more likely to contract COVID-19, according to a new study.

A health care worker fills a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in an undated file image. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

An analysis of data from Cleveland Clinic employees found that people who received two or more doses were at higher risk of COVID-19, Dr. Nabin Shrestha and his co-authors reported.

The risk of contracting COVID-19 was 1.5 times higher for those who received two doses, 1.95 times higher for those who received three doses, and 2.5 times higher for those who received three or more doses, the researchers found. The higher risk was compared to people who received zero or one dose of a vaccine.

Even after adjusting for variables, the elevated risk remained.

“The exact reason for this finding is not clear. It is possible that this may be related to the fact that vaccine-induced immunity is weaker and less durable than natural immunity. So, although somewhat protective in the short term, vaccination may increase risk of future infection,” the researchers said in the paper, which was released as a preprint.

Dr. Robert Malone, a vaccine researcher who was not involved in the paper, told The Epoch Times that the paper served as “another acknowledgment that the products are not effective or are at very low effectiveness and are contributing to negative effectiveness [down the line].”

He noted that the researchers did not study vaccine safety among the employee population. The COVID-19 vaccines can cause a number of side effects, including fatal heart inflammation, according to the literature and death records.

Earlier studies and data have also suggested that people with more vaccine doses are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection, including previous papers from the Cleveland Clinic scientists and a study from Iceland.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has repeatedly declined requests to comment on outside research, recommends virtually all people aged 6 months and older receive one of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of how many shots they’ve received, although a meeting later in May is set to discuss whether to update the vaccine formulations to improve protection.

CDC scientists said in a paper published in February in the agency’s weekly report that the latest version of the vaccines, a monovalent targeting the XBB.1.5 subvariant, provided 49 percent effectiveness between 60 and 119 days later when the JN.1 virus strain was dominant. Supplementary data, however, showed that people aged 50 and older who received the previous bivalent version were more susceptible to symptomatic infection.

Authors disclosed no conflicts of interest and acknowledged at least five limitations, including how they used a proxy for infection with JN.1.

Another study, released ahead of peer review in April, estimated the effectiveness of Pfizer’s updated vaccine as 32 percent against hospitalization from late 2023 through early 2024. The research was conducted by scientists from multiple institutions, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Pfizer, many authors reported conflicts of interest, and some of the funding came from Pfizer.

People’s immune systems being trained to react to older virus strains at the expense of protection against newer variants is one theory for why the vaccinated might be more prone to infection.

“Multiple vaccine doses may have the effect of antibody-dependent enhancement or ‘original antigenic sin,’ which increase the infection response disproportionally to antibodies generated from the first vaccine dose, rather than from the current vaccine or the current infection, making the antibody response less effective,” Dr. Harvey Risch, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, told The Epoch Times in an email after reviewing the paper.

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Everything you need to know about modern day America. Next, will be the wholesale rejection of New Testament, and then the legislature for mandating circumcision. Judge Napolitano asked the question if we are in the post-Constitutional America. Yes, we are. Bill of Rights means nothing in Israel's slap-bitch, I mean the US. I never thought I would see this, but here we are. It is the act of national shame, but then again, by now the United States almost got used to humiliation. One more, one less doesn't make any difference. 

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Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on May 3 that it eliminated a Ukrainian military reconnaissance officer who had arrived from Lithuania to carry out terrorist attacks at military defense and energy facilities in the Moscow and Leningrad regions.

“Acting on instructions from the Main Directorate of Intelligence at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the saboteur was plotting to conduct a series of terrorist attacks in Russia, including targeting Russian Defense Ministry facilities in the Moscow Region and a member of a volunteers’ battalion and his volunteers’ center in St. Petersburg,” the FSB said in a statement.

The saboteur was caught emptying a cache full of weapons outside Gatchina in Leningrad which he was planning to use in an attack at a fuel depot in the Tosno district in the same region.

“He put up armed resistance [against FSB officers] using fire arms and was wiped out,” the FSB said.

Webmaster addition: I wonder how many saboteurs are already here in the US thanks to Biden's open border!

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The Anti-Defamation League has a long and storied history of attacking people it disagrees with, often Arabs, black people, and queer people. It rightly casts those who claim that Jews in the US fundamentally have a “dual loyalty” split between America and Israel, while consistently painting Israel’s detractors, especially those with Muslim roots, as having this same compromised loyalty. The ADL infamously collaborated with the House Un-American Committee in the 1940s and 50s, adopting a quasi-state role that also favors deeper (and unwavering) support for Israel.

Today, this supposed civil-rights advocacy organization’s 53-year-old leader appears to be continuing this tradition – though ADL faces a much tougher mission ahead. That’s because many Americans, particularly younger ones, are disgusted with the actions of the Israeli state, or at least with those of the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What is transpiring in Gaza is nothing short of a televised genocide, and it is impossible for any ordinary human being of a decent moral composition not to feel sympathy for the Palestinians.

Greenblatt is evidently desperate to turn the discussion away from the wanton slaughter of human beings by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by making this issue about alleged hate speech and about altercations against Jews on college campuses, even though many of the groups he has baselessly accused of connections to foreign states and designated terrorist groups are themselves Jewish.

Webmaster addition: What part of "killing children is wrong" is anti-Semitic?

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A blaze has engulfed a plant in Berlin belonging to German arms manufacturer Diehl, the local fire department has reported. The company produces the IRIS-T air defense system, several units of which the German government has supplied to Ukraine since late 2022.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday, the Berlin Fire Department reported that a “factory building is burning in which chemicals are also stored,” and that 190 personnel had been deployed at the scene.

“Air quality tests are being continuously conducted” in the area, the message adds.

Webmaster addition: Sabotage?

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Recent statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron are part of an ongoing “verbal escalation” by Western officials, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

In an interview with The Economist this week, Macron set out two key conditions for sending French troops to Ukraine: “If the Russians were to break through the front lines” and if there was a “Ukrainian request.” The French president also outlined his “strategic objective” of making sure Russia does not win in Ukraine, arguing that such a development would threaten European security.

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People with HIV, tuberculosis and cancer, as well as some with substance addictions will be forced to serve in the Ukrainian armed forces, according to new draft rules published by the Defense Ministry on Friday.

The new rules eliminate the status of ‘partial eligibility’, forcing those previously qualified as such to attend a military medical commission for reevaluation, the ministry explained. Military officials will decide on whether the health of draftees allows them to serve on the frontline or perform less demanding jobs in the rear.

For example, tuberculosis sufferers will only be rejected if they have serious lung damage and pose an active infection threat. People with less serious active illness will be ordered to show up for a new examination within six months. Those deemed “clinically treated” are to be given less demanding roles, while patients with “residue changes after a treated tuberculosis” can be sent to the frontline.

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Ukrainian military losses since the beginning of the year have surpassed 111,000 troops, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday, as he shared Moscow’s latest estimates from the conflict.  

Russian forces “continue to break up” Ukrainian defensive positions along the entire front line, the senior official reported during a ministerial meeting. Russia’s territorial gains this year have amounted to 547 sq km, he added. 

Shoigu accused the US and its allies of pressuring Kiev into disregarding the cost of continued fighting. As a result, Ukraine suffered 1,000 casualties daily throughout April, the minister claimed.

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The government of Israel is now essentially in a full diplomatic war with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the possible impending arrest warrants which could be issued anytime for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top officials, including the defense chief. 

The back-and-forth rhetoric has grown so heated that the Hague-based ICC has issued a new Friday statement warning against 'intimidation' of the court. While not naming Israel or any specific officials or actions, the statement warns that legal action could be take against those "threatening to retaliate" or else trying to "impede or intimidate" its officials and the world court's work.

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  • Cameron met Zelensky yesterday in Kiev reaffirmed UK commitment to seeing Russia militarily defeated at all costs.
  • Gave Zelenzky UK approval to use UK provided Missiles to strike deep inside Russia.
  • Also told Zelensky UK will provide US $ 3.74 Billion a year every year until Russia is militarily defeated.
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