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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the United States would be "responsible for Ukraine's defeat" if Congress fails to approve the Biden administration's $106 billion request to fund the wars in Ukraine and Israel, among other security issues.

Yellen made the remarks Tuesday to reporters while on a trip to Mexico City, calling the funding "utterly essential" and as a pre-condition for the International Monetary Fund to keep funds flowing uninterrupted into Ukraine, according to Reuters.

"I've talked to members of Congress, my colleagues have. I think they understand this, that this is a dire situation and we can hold ourselves responsible for Ukraine's defeat if we don't manage to get this funding to Ukraine that's needed, and I'm including direct budget support here because that's utterly essential," Yellen said.

She issued the rebuke the same day that President Zelensky's chief of staff said something very similar before a security conference in D.C.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:40

They haven’t used them for many purposes that we’ve seen yet, but presumably they are planning to.

January 6 was a big deal on this front, as we learned that it was possible and apparently legal for the government to demand location data and identify people as being in a place based on that location data.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:39

On Wednesday President Joe Biden suggested that if Congress doesn't send Ukraine more money, now, it may 'embolden' Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade a NATO ally, which would precipitate "American troops fighting Russian troops."

The threat was not persuasive.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:32

Volodymyr Zelensky failed to prepare Ukraine properly for the war with Russia and will “pay for his mistakes,” warned Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

The former heavyweight boxing champion made the comments to Swiss news outlet 20 Minuten.

Klitschko was asked if he was surprised to see Zelensky’s popularity declining across the country.

“No. People see who is effective and who is not, and there were and are many expectations. Zelensky is paying for the mistakes he made,” he responded.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:31

The US government has announced new regulations that aim to keep Chinese batteries out of cars sold in the United States, a move that could push up the price of electric vehicles for American drivers.

The Biden administration on Friday proposed rules that would cut subsidies for vehicles that contain Chinese-made battery components, or are found to be produced by a company with strong ties to the Chinese government.

China is the world’s leader in EV battery production, dominating almost “every stage of the EV battery supply chain,” according to a 2023 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Starting next month, following a 30-day period for public comment, vehicles with these components will no longer be eligible for a full $7,500 US tax credit, which allows consumers to save money when buying a new electric car.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:31

As ominous indicators mount, a disconnect persists as many believe the economy is thriving. The collapsing yield curve, paralleled by the decline in oil prices, is underscored by emergency bank REPO interventions. Despite these red flags, some remain oblivious to the economic downturn.

Hedge funds’ consistent sale of US equities for the third consecutive week aligns with fading inflation expectations for the S&P 500, signaling potential challenges in earnings and sales estimates. A discernible shift to a risk-off mood is evident, further accentuated by extreme semiconductor inventory levels, poised for potential destocking, which could exert downward pressure on demand and lead to weaker pricing and margins in the sector.

Adding to concerns, the Federal Reserve is predicted to cut interest rates six times in 2024, recognizing clear signs of an economic slowdown according to ING Economics. The alarming dip in US job openings to a two-year low, reminiscent of March 2021 levels, contributes to the narrative of a faltering economy.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:27

Two days after the referendum on Essequibo, a territory disputed between Venezuela and Guyana, the government of Nicolás Maduro is moving forward to try to enforce what was approved Sunday in a vote that registered almost no participation in the streets but which Chavismo hailed as a victory with 10.4 million voters, reawakening a crisis of credibility in the country’s electoral authorities. In a television appearance Tuesday, Maduro presented a new official map of Venezuela with Essequibo incorporated, without the disputed delimitation, during a Council of State in which he announced a series of measures and upcoming legislation to cement Caracas’ possession of the territory and its resources. Earlier, Maduro had sent a military contingent to Puerto Barima on the Venezuelan Atlantic border, close to the limits of the area under claim.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:26

An old territorial dispute in South America is reaching its most tense point in decades. The territory known as Essequibo has been mutually claimed by Guyana and Venezuela since the 19th century when Guyana still belonged to the United Kingdom. In 1897, the Venezuelan and British authorities agreed to submit their dispute to an arbitrary international court in Paris, which ruled that the land belonged to the UK. For decades, the arbitration decision was accepted by Caracas, but in 1948 Venezuelan authorities revealed some irregularities in the trial, which were documented in old government files. As a result, the decision was considered null, and years later, in 1963, Venezuela formally submitted its territorial claim to the United Nations, and the dispute remains unresolved till today, when the interests of foreign oil companies threaten to increase the tensions.

As a region rich in oil, Essequibo has recently entered the map of the large multinationals in this sector, especially the American Exxon Mobil. More than that, the economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela and the political alignment of Guyana with Washington contribute to create an even more controversial scenario. Guyana has the support of the large private oil sector and the American government, while Venezuela remains alone. Last year, the case was filed with the International Court of Justice, but Venezuela did not accept it and remained out of the trial.

However, in a sentence on December 18, 2020, the Court proclaimed its competence to intervene in the dispute, despite Venezuela’s position. It is necessary to highlight that, regardless of any decision taken by the Court over who really has sovereignty in Essequibo, this sentence must be considered null, since the absence of Venezuelan consent prevents the execution of the sentence. The need for consent is one of the most elementary principles of international law and the very fact that the Court declares itself competent already leads us to question whether its judges are really impartial – clearly, the norms of international law are being violated in favor of Guyana.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:26

There are many indicators that the Navy is at increasing risk of mission failure.

  1. Missing recruiting goals by thousands for two years in a row, missing its goal for FY 2023 by over 7000 new recruits. The impact of missing recruiting goals is cumulative. Its impact does not subside if in subsequent years deficits are not made up. Lack of manpower adds to the strain of a Navy struggling to meet its national priorities overseas. Failing to recruit enough people to man the Navy is a result of many factors. Since the Afghanistan debacle, the public’s faith in the military has plummeted to new lows. With relatively low unemployment, the competition for young people is high. American youth are less fit, less capable of serving in the military than at any time in our history. Fewer young people want to serve as the political left teaches them to hate our country, academia promotes socialism, and race hustlers malign our country for its supposed racism and white supremacy. Divisive ideologies like Critical Race Theory and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are now promoted vigorously up and down the chain of command in the Navy. These ideologies alienate the youth of what for generations was the most fertile recruiting grounds, white, southern, Christian Americans. This demographic is now increasingly averse to serving in our new politically correct Navy of DEI, Pride month, correct pronouns, drag queens, and transgender people. If the Navy cannot recruit now for the existing numbers of ships we have, we have no hope whatsoever of filling out the ranks of a Navy with much higher numbers of ships.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:23

 Portland public school teachers will now take gender identity and race into account before disciplining students, according to an agreement between the school district and its teachers union.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:23

That plastic water bottle you regularly drink from could one day decompose into tiny particles that wreak havoc in your brain.

New research shows that nanoplastics—microscopic particles broken down from everyday plastic items—bind to proteins associated with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.

These stealthy nanoparticles have already infiltrated our soil, water, and food supply. Now, they may pose the next great toxin threat, fueling a wave of neurodegenerative disease.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:22

As the 2024 U.S. election cycle kicks into gear, Citigroup ponders the potential fiscal implications under different election outcomes.

Perhaps most interesting is their prediction of a high likelihood of Republicans gaining control of the Senate, although falling short of a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority​​. This, however, does not guarantee smooth sailing for the GOP. With the Democrats' current grip on the Senate (51-49), Republicans would need to not only retain competitive seats but also snatch at least one from key states like Florida or Texas​​.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:21

Hunter Biden will be slapped with contempt of congress if he skips out on his Dec. 13 closed-door deposition, according to a Wednesday letter from House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan to Hunter's defense attorney, Abbe D. Lowell.

"Contrary to the assertions in your letter, there is no ‘choice’ for Mr. Biden to make; the subpoenas compel him to appear for a deposition on December 13. If Mr. Biden does not appear for his deposition on December 13, 2023, the Committees will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings," reads the letter, issued a week after Lowell suggested that Hunter should instead be allowed to testify publicly.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:21

What a year.

It feels as if government Grinches and corporate Scrooges have been working overtime to drain every last drop of joy, kindness and liberty from the world.

After endless months of being mired in political gloom and doom, we could all use a little Christmas cheer right now.

Unfortunately, Christmas has become embattled in recent years, co-opted by rampant commercialism, straight-jacketed by political correctness, and denuded of so much of its loveliness, holiness and mystery.

Indeed, the season for giving has turned into the season for getting…and for getting offended.

To a nation of snowflakes, Christmas has become yet another trigger word.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:18

The issue to carry on providing military and financial support to Ukraine remains one of the hot topics on Capitol Hill. And if the aspirations of the Democrats to give the American taxpayers' money to Zelensky remain stable (more than 75%), the voices inside the Republican Party about the need to finally end it are increasingly heard.

Regular postponements of the voting dates in the U.S. Congress on the allocation of billions of dollars for the provision of "emergency assistance" to Ukraine reflect serious inter-party contradictions on this matter. Thankfully, the Democrats have not been able to gain any advantages to date.

We’ve managed to find out some details of the secret talks between CIA Director William Burns and Zelensky, where Mr. Burns personally warned the Ukrainian president about the "upcoming financial difficulties" that Kyiv will face shortly.

Burns mentioned that the Democratic Party is going through a tough time, and Biden needs to focus on the presidential election now. In this regard, the CIA Director hinted to Zelensky that more funds allocated to Ukraine must be transferred back to the United States "to ensure democracy's triumph." He recalled that if Trump wins the presidency, the financial assistance may end by the beginning of 2025.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:17

Money supply growth fell again in October, remaining deep in negative territory after turning negative in November 2022 for the first time in twenty-eight years. October's drop continues a steep downward trend from the unprecedented highs experienced during much of the past two years.

Since April 2021, money supply growth has slowed quickly, and since November, we've been seeing the money supply repeatedly contract year over year. The last time the year-over-year (YOY) change in the money supply slipped into negative territory was in November 1994. At that time, negative growth continued for fifteen months, finally turning positive again in January 1996. 

Posted on: Dec 07 09:17

If the Democrats wanted to fund the Ukraine, they would just agree to border security.

They wouldn’t even actually have to enforce it (they haven’t so far).

Posted on: Dec 07 09:12

The Senate’s top Democratic appropriator is warning that accepting Speaker Mike Johnson’s fallback idea for government funding would be “absolutely devastating” for federal agencies and families across the country if bipartisan spending negotiations falter.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:11

The owner of a Flagstaff, Arizona, firing range and gun store says the city is violating his First Amendment rights by refusing to renew an advertising contract he’s had since 2019.

City officials did not respond to emails and telephone messages seeking comment for this story before press time.

During a recent city council meeting, a deputy city attorney said city leaders are reviewing advertising policies. He took issue with how the dispute was portrayed in news reports.

“The city is not abusing its power to advance an anti-gun agenda,” deputy city attorney Kevin Fincel told the council.

Rob Wilson owns Timberline Firearms and Training. He purchased ad time on the video monitors over the baggage carousels in the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, along with other Flagstaff businesses, in 2019.

He decided to advertise in the airport while traveling for his other job as a consultant with the U.S. Navy when he saw how many tourists pass through the airport.

Posted on: Dec 07 09:10

The US and Sweden have signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) that will grant the US military access to bases across the Nordic country as Stockholm has abandoned its centuries-old policy of neutrality.

The Pentagon said the deal will allow “US forces to operate in Sweden, including the legal status of US military personnel, access to deployment areas (and) prepositioning of military materiel.”

Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson inked the pact with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Tuesday and said it “will create better conditions for Sweden to be able to receive support from the United States in the event of a war or crisis.”

The deal comes as Sweden is still waiting for Turkey and Hungary to approve its NATO bid. The US State Department said the DCA with Sweden will “apply seamlessly before and after Sweden’s accession to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).”

Posted on: Dec 07 09:04