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"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it" -- Mark Twain
Good news of a tentative deal for the U.S. debt ceiling impasse may quickly turn out to be bad news for financial markets.
U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy on Saturday reached a tentative deal to raise the federal government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling, two sources familiar with the negotiations said, potentially averting an economically destabilizing default.
But the deal still faces a difficult path to pass through Congress before the government runs out of money to pay its debts in early June.
"This will be pretty good for the market," said Amo Sahota, director at KlarityFX, adding that it may give more reason for the U.S. Federal Reserve to feel confident about raising rates again.
"Although we want to see what the ... deal looks like," Sahota added.
While an end to uncertainty would be welcome, the relief that may come from a deal may be a short-lived sugar high for investors. That's because once a deal is reached, the U.S. Treasury is expected to quickly refill its empty coffers with bond issuance, sucking out hundreds of billions of dollars of cash from the market.
According to Mediaite, examining the ratings of Fox News primetime shows an average loss of one million viewers per night since firing Tucker Carlson on April 24.
Fox News spokesperson responded to the Carlson-linked drop in primetime ratings, saying that the network is still the No. 1 cable news channel.
“For more than 21 years, Fox News Channel has been cable news’ most-watched network in all categories with more Democrats, Independents, and Republicans now tuning in than either CNN or MSNBC,” Fox News said at the time. “Attracting more than 50 percent of the cable news-viewing audience with the top 12 programs in cable news, Fox News’ powerhouse team of journalists, analysts, and opinion hosts are trusted more by viewers than any other news source.”
Election irregularities have haunted Maricopa County, Ariz. for the past ten years, raising doubts about the legitimacy of a number of elections, including the 2020 presidential election, where Biden’s state-certified victory was a tiny fraction of the overall vote, and again in 2022 in the election between Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake.
Since then, Republicans in Arizona — and other states with election issues — have sought to reform the state’s elections to help ensure that everyone in the state can feel confident that results were conducted fairly. Democrats have aggressively opposed the efforts and on Friday, Hobbs vetoed several bills from the GOP-controlled legislature — including four bills that would make elections more transparent.
Senate Bill 1135 sought to eliminate Arizona’s affiliation with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) and shift voter registration to an outsourced third-party entity. Furthermore, the bill required the use of blue or black pens when marking ballots. Senate Bill 1105, which suggested permitting election personnel to tally early ballots at polling locations on Election Day, was likewise declined. Senate Bill 1066 required private voter registration organizations to prominently print “Not from a Government Agency” on envelopes sent to voters. And finally, Senate Bill 1180 sought to prevent organizations from providing a financial incentive based on the number of voter registrations they collect.
It’s like she’s not even trying to pretend to care about elections being fair and honest.
Nine people were injured when gunfire erupted along a beachside promenade in Hollywood, Florida, sending people frantically running for cover along the crowded beach on Memorial Day.
The nine people hurt Monday evening included six adults and three children, according to Yanet Obarrio Sanchez, a spokesperson for Memorial Healthcare System. All of the victims were in stable condition, she said.
Police spokesperson Deanna Bettineschi said four children between the ages of 1 and 17 were hit, along with five adults between 25 and 65. One was in surgery late Monday while the others were stable, she said. It was not immediately clear if the hospital was counting a 17-year-old as an adult.
Several of the wounded were taken to a children’s hospital, Bettineschi said.
The shooting happened shortly before 7 p.m., Bettineschi said. A fight broke out, at least one gun was pulled and shots were fired. At least one person was in custody, but police were looking for more suspects.
When Sen. Dianne Feinstein entered a hearing room this month to reclaim her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee after a monthslong absence, she was accompanied by a phalanx of aides.
Two staff members settled the 89-year-old California Democrat into a chair at the dais as the assembled senators greeted their ailing colleague with a round of applause. When Feinstein spoke — during a vote on one of several of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees whose approval had awaited her return — she appeared to read from a piece of paper handed to her by a female aide seated behind her.
“I ask to be recorded as voting in person on the three nominees considered earlier, Mr. Chairman, and I vote aye now,” she said.
The aide knelt next to her and whispered into her ear in between votes — popping up repeatedly from her seat to confer with the senator, at one point clearing away the paper Feinstein had read from and presenting her with a folder that appeared to contain background information about the nominees.
The scene was typical of Feinstein’s day-to-day existence on Capitol Hill, where she is surrounded by a retinue of staff members who serve not only the roles of typical congressional aides — advising on policy, keeping tabs on the schedule, drafting statements and speeches — but also as de facto companions to a senator whose age, frail health and memory issues make it difficult for her to function alone.
When James Comey just spoke to Trump, he took notes. When he formally interrogated Hillary, he claimed he never took notes. Those who question if there has already been a coup by the Deep State should rejoice in this testimony before the Home Land Security Council.
Those little people in the Wizard of Oz exemplified talent and humanity. The soul-less bastards who assembled in Hiroshima over the past weekend are the anti-thesis of the Munchkins — physically taller than the Munchkins — except for Zelensky and the U.K’s Rishi Sunak — but utterly devoid of morals and the gravitas of statecraft. What a clown show!
Ursula von der Leyen’s strident remarks on the need to strengthen the confrontation with China exemplifies the delusion:
“It is important for us to offer real alternatives to, for example, China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. And here is our joint initiative on infrastructure investment outside Europe, outside the G7. We are talking about a €600 billion package that the EU is launching together with the US and other countries for targeted infrastructure investments in the global South. We will have to take giant steps”.
Rather than try to pour oil on troubled waters, the G-7 band of miscreants are intent on trying to set that oil on fire. Their gathering in Hiroshima, the site of the first use of an atomic bomb, was rich in irony. Notwithstanding their hollow antagonistic rhetoric about defeating Russia, they refused to accept the fact that the Ukrainian Army that they trained, funded and equipped was whipped decisively in Bakhmut by a much smaller force of alleged band of criminal conscripts –the Dirty Dozen times 3000. In reality, the Wagner Group was not solely responsible for defeating the NATO-backed force. Wagner received ample support from Russia’s regulars, who launched unrelenting artillery and aerial barrages.
Anyone who is not a D.C. Democrat has long been suspicious of Black Lives Matter. The founders of this activist group have gotten rich over the years, even as their only contribution to America has been deadly riots. Recently, the official organization has been in hot water on the news that it is in debt by millions of dollars.
But that’s only the beginning of BLM’s troubles.
One of its co-founders, Patrisse Cullors, left the group after people learned how rich she’s gotten. She used much of the money donated to the group to buy several, multi-million dollar houses. You probably didn’t know, however, that she signed a massive contract in 2020 with Warner Bros. She was supposed to provide the studio with lots of pro-black content. But now, old Warner Bros is done.
“Our office prosecutes all acts of violence, regardless of political motivation, the same.”
So said U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves—under oath, mind you, and with a straight face—during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee earlier this month.
Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) questioned Graves’ disparate treatment of Black Lives Matters rioters who terrorized Washington, D.C., in 2020 versus Trump supporters involved in the events of January 6, 2021.
Although the start of both incidents was a mere seven months apart, they are a world away in terms of accountability.
In what Graves calls the “Capitol Siege” investigation, more than 1,000 Trump supporters have been criminally charged. Graves, a Biden appointee, has promised to double that caseload before he’s finished. His office announces new arrests every week.
That, however, is not the case for rioters who caused far more violence and inflicted far more damage in the nation’s capital in 2020. The rioting that began on May 29, 2020 at Lafayette Square prompted the lockdown of the White House; Donald Trump, his wife, and teenage son were ushered to an underground bunker for their safety as looters and arsonists repeatedly tried to scale the fence and break through police barricades erected outside the White House.
Republican voters have been bashed over the head repeatedly with the message that Ron DeSantis is the more “electable,” new and improved version of Donald Trump. This was always a ridiculous talking point, as if an enigmatic figure such as Trump could be replicated, with all peculiar virtues retained and vices purged. But this shtick for DeSantis had life only so long as it remained an untested hypothesis. Under the pressure of a head-on collision with Trump, the careful ruse of “Trump without the baggage” is collapsing like a cardboard cutout.
DeSantis’ disastrous Twitter launch, rationalized as bold and forward thinking by his supporters, is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is DeSantis is lacking quite a bit more than Trump’s “baggage.” Without his rival’s authenticity or charisma, DeSantis has relied on an annoyingly overbearing political operation to stay afloat. But sly maneuvering is precisely what Republican voters despise most in a politician today. Oddly enough, DeSantis appears to have even changed how he says his last name. One can imagine Trump having a field day with his understudy’s prevarications on the debate stage: “Tell us, Ron, Is it Duh-santis or DEE-santis?”
DeSantis’ surrogates want to talk about nothing but “policy,” perhaps as a distraction from the fact that he’s such an uninteresting character. It’s hard to trust a man who isn’t comfortable in his own skin. One could hardly lay such a charge against Trump. His supporters know that the chaos is part of a package deal that comes with a forceful and uncontrollable personality. With DeSantis, they get a boring, vacillating careerist pretending to be his more popular rival. The premise here was bound to end in failure once the rubber hit the road.
Late last week, we were the first to correctly summarize what the bottom line of the so-called "debt ceiling deal" meant for the US, for future generations of Americans, and for the ridiculous melodrama gripping Washington: a -0.2% of GDP cut in nominal spending.
That's right: that 0.2% cut in spending is what all the brewhaha was over, a cut which will not only push total debt to $35 trillion by the end of Biden's term, but will not even put a dent in the long-term US debt trajectory which even the CBO has no problem as showing in its full, hyperinflationary glory.
Jordan Neely was given a hero’s funeral in Harlem last Friday, eulogized by New York’s most prominent race activists before an audience of the city’s Democratic elite. Neely died on May 1 on a New York City subway car, after being restrained by a Marine veteran who was trying to protect his fellow passengers from Neely’s psychotic outbursts.
Neely has been turned into a symbol of a racist system of law enforcement and of civilian values that exaggerate the threat of mentally ill vagrants to keep minorities down. Three weeks after Neely’s death, on May 21, another homeless man in New York City slammed a woman’s head into a subway car, likely paralyzing her for life, if she even survives. Neely’s champions have been silent about this latest subway assault.
All the pathologies afflicting American cities were present in that earlier fatal encounter and its aftermath: the grotesque parody of compassion that is conventional homeless policy; government’s elevation of the supposed interests of the anti-social and dysfunctional over those of the law-abiding and hard-working; anti-white race-baiting and racial bathos.
But the May 1 confrontation between the ex-Marine Daniel Penny and the mentally ill Neely stands for more than failed policy. Reaction to Penny’s intervention illuminates as well the war on manly virtues and their attempted replacement with an emasculated dependence on bureaucrats and social workers.
One week ago, when the Turkish Lira first tumbled below 20 against the USD, we warned that much more pain was in stock based on a rather dire analysis by Goldman of the central bank's reserve position, a much more ominous factor for the coming currency collapse then Erdogan's reelection.
Since then it's gone from bad to worse, with Reuters also jumping on the bearish lira bandwagon and reporting that the Turkish central bank's net forex reserves dropped into negative territory for the first time since 2002, standing at $-151.3 million on May 19, as the bank - following Erdogan's strict orders - scrambled to counter demand for hard currencies (USD, gold, crypto) ahead of Sunday's runoff vote.
Forex demand in Turkey surged to record levels ahead of May 14 on companies' and individuals' expectations that the lira, which lost 44% in 2021 and 30% in 2022, will plunge after the vote (spoiler alert: those fears have been justified).
A small, loose-knit group of certified public accountants (CPA) hopes to convince states to apply the same methods that accountants use to assure integrity in business to bolster voter confidence in elections.
“What we want to do is make sure that eligible voters can find it very easy to vote, and people who are not eligible to vote can’t,” retired Marine Reserve Col. Frank Ryan told The Epoch Times. “Then, we want to make sure that every vote that is cast is counted.”
Ryan, a CPA, is a retired state representative in the Pennsylvania House. He left the seat in December, specifically to work on election security, believing he could have a bigger effect on public policy outside the legislature than from within.
It isn’t the first time that he’s been involved in election security. In 2005, when Iraq held its first free election in years to choose an entirely new National Assembly, Ryan facilitated the country’s election. That year, Iraqi voters stuck their fingers in dye so no one could vote twice.
Over 2,000 stores across all retail sectors have closed in the past 12 months according to a recent report from UBS retail analyst Michael Lasser (available to pro subs in the usual place), and that is just the beginning. "As of 3Q’22 (latest available data), retailers shed -1,500 net stores. This number is already up significantly in ‘23 with the likes of Bed Bath & Beyond, Foot Locker, Tuesday Morning and others closing stores recently" the UBS economists wrote.
Poshepny said he knew it was wrong for America’s allies to sell U.S. government weapons on the black market and for the CIA to engage in drug trafficking. He wanted everyone to know, and he told anyone who would listen.
According to Poshepny, CIA officers who worked with Vang Pao directly oversaw and profited from the drug trade. Laotian CIA Station Chief Ted Shackley’s “pet from Miami,” David Morales, for example, “built a castle in Pakse from drug money.”
Poshepny also told Valentine that the huge campaign to publicize the search for American prisoners of war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia after the war was a “CIA psychological warfare operation that provided a cover for CIA efforts to track and try [to] assassinate 55 U.S. deserters who had escaped from military prisons, mostly Negroes and Hispanics guilty of fraggings, and had gone into tunnels and onto farms with the Vietcong.”
A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion released last week revealed that the FBI violated the constitutional rights of 278,000 Americans in 2020 and 2021 with warrantless searches of their email and other electronic data. For each American that the FISA court permitted the FBI to target, the FBI illicitly surveiled almost a thousand additional Americans. This is only the latest federal surveillance scandal stretching back to the years after 9/11.
The FISA law was enacted in 1978 to curb the rampant illegal political spying exposed during the Richard Nixon administration. After the 9/11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration decided that the president was entitled to order the National Security Agency to vacuum up Americans’ emails and other data without a warrant. After The New York Times exposed the surveillance scheme in late 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that “the president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander in chief, to engage in this kind of activity.” Gonzales apparently forgot the congressional impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. The Bush White House also asserted that the September 2001 “Authorization to Use Military Force” resolution Congress passed entitled Bush to tap Americans’ phones. But if the authorization actually allowed the president to do whatever he thinks necessary on the homefront, Americans had been living under martial law.
Federal judges disagreed with Bush’s prerogative to obliterate American privacy. The result was a 2008 FISA reform that authorized the feds to continue commandeering vast amounts of data. But under Section 702 of that law, the FBI was permitted to conduct warrantless searches of that stash for Americans’ data only to seek foreign intelligence information or evidence of crime.
If I wrote that we’re living in a world that bears an ever-increasing similarity to Communist regimes throughout history, a lot of people would scoff and say that I was being melodramatic. But research compiled by the Media Research Center and shared on social media by The Heritage Foundation shows, through documents acquired via the FOIA, that the Biden administration is using tax dollars to actively target political opponents and dissenters as potential domestic terrorists in a program with the acronym TVTP.
It’s an important read, and the supporting documents that follow the money are all here in this PDF. (I originally came across this information on a very interesting episode of Dan Bongino’s podcast.)
So, by definition, are you an extremist? A budding domestic terrorist? A violent threat?
Erik Prince, the man behind Blackwater, recently teamed up with an Israeli spy, creating a front company with her to help Israeli defense technology providers exploit loopholes and sell their products to the American military.
For years, Erik Prince – the founder of mercenary firm Blackwater (now Academi) – has been a major source of controversy. Ever since he left Blackwater over a decade ago, Prince has appeared in the news for pushing to privatize several wars, his ties to former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, his violation of international arms embargoes and his unusually close ties with Project Veritas, among other notable events and connections.
However, some of Prince’s antics in recent years have not yet made it into the news – namely his decision to team up with an Israeli spy to build a very secretive company that has – until now – evaded scrutiny. That company, Comframe Solutions, appears to operate as an intelligence front and explicitly targets parts of the American military involved in highly sensitive combat operations. As this investigation will show, Prince’s partner in Comframe – Lital Leshem – has been tied to a series of apparent, and admitted, Israeli intelligence front companies, several of which have a focus on technology. Yet Prince and his close associate Chris Burgess – Comframe’s supposed president – have done everything they can to hide their association with the incredibly secretive company. Why might that be and what exactly is Comframe up to?
NOT LONG AFTER the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration launched what it called the Office of Strategic Influence, which would seek to “counter the enemy’s perception management” in the so-called war on terror. But it quickly became clear that the office, operating under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, would be managing those perceptions with its own disinformation.
As the New York Times reported at the time, its work was to “provide news items, possibly including false ones, to foreign journalists in an effort to influence overseas opinion.” In the nascent Internet age, observers worried the propaganda could boomerang back on Americans.
“The question is whether the Pentagon and military should undertake an official program that uses disinformation to shape perceptions abroad,” the Times reported in 2004. “But in a modern world wired by satellite television and the Internet, any misleading information and falsehoods could easily be repeated by American news outlets.”
The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans that was announced Sunday caps military spending at $886 billion for 2024, matching President Biden’s requested budget.
Republicans negotiating the debt ceiling deal only sought non-military spending cuts. The $886 billion cap for military spending represents about a 3.3% increase from 2023.
The White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) still need to get the debt ceiling agreement passed through Congress. Many hawkish Republicans will likely oppose the deal as they previously blasted Biden’s massive $886 billion request as “inadequate.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slammed the debt limit deal in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. “The Biden defense budget was a joke before, and if we adopt it as Republicans, we will be doing a big disservice to the party of Ronald Reagan,” Graham said.
Several members of the Democrat Party in Congress are urging the White House to provide Kiev with significantly more military support. One representative wants the Joe Biden administration to place “non-combatant observers” on the ground in Ukraine.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) called for long-term investment in modernizing Ukraine’s military. He believes the upgraded weapons will turn the country into a “porcupine that can’t be swallowed.”
One suggestion Crow made was sending non-combatant observers to the battlefield to learn “through direct observation and communication with Ukrainian forces.” Crow did not specify if the personnel would come from the CIA, Pentagon or another agency. However, deploying any Americans on the battlefield risks them being killed by Russian soldiers.
Israel launched airstrikes in Syria on Sunday night, hitting targets near the capital Damascus that caused material damage, Syria’s SANA news agency reported.
A military source told SANA that the airstrikes were launched from the direction of the Golan Heights and that Syria’s air defenses intercepted some of the missiles. No casualties were reported in the strikes.
According to The Cradle, the incident marked the 17th time Israel has bombed Syria this year and the 12th time since a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria in February, killing thousands of Syrians.
Several of those airstrikes targeted the airport in Aleppo, a city that was severely impacted by the earthquake. The Israeli attacks put the airport temporarily out of service three times, cutting off a channel for earthquake aid.
It should not come as a surprise that U.S. officials and members of the foreign policy establishment have falsely portrayed Ukraine as a noble democracy. Such deceptions in pursuit of assorted US foreign policy objectives around the globe are nothing new. Throughout the Cold War, Washington routinely contended that "friendly" dictatorships were members of the "free world." More recently, officials in George W. Bush’s administration conducted a concerted propaganda effort that Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi was the George Washington of Iraq. Obama administration officials and their allies in the news media even sought to make the case that the Islamic jihadists trying to unseat Syria’s Bashar al-Assad were really democratic freedom fighters.
A similar effort is taking place to portray Ukraine as a vibrant democracy and the country’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, as a courageous champion of freedom. Biden administration officials and most members of the news media have dutifully promoted those images. The fawning reception given to Zelensky as he addressed a joint session of Congress in December 2022 was an especially graphic example.
There is extensive evidence, however, that Ukraine is in fact run by a corrupt, repressive oligarchy. That situation was true even before Russia’s February 2022 invasion gave Zelensky and his associates a rationale for intensifying their authoritarian practices. Matters have grown steadily worse since then.
A “civil society” is a community of individuals who are linked together by common interests and activities. Common interests include being able to walk the streets safely (peace) and to exercise such rights as freedom of speech (individual freedom). These shared interests allow common activities to flourish, including commerce and the education of children.
Civil society is possible only because most people want to live securely, protect their loved ones, and prosper. This laissez-faire attitude used to be a defining characteristic of Americans, but an engineered and well-financed cultural war is destroying America’s renowned tolerance. If the common interests of society break down and peace and freedom are replaced by violence and privilege, then common activities like free-market commerce and education cannot function.
One movement captures the raw destruction of this culture war against civil society - a demand for “Trans rights!” blasts across America. But a sharp backlash against it has also developed, epitomized by the boycott of Bud Light beer over the company’s use of trans activist Dylan Mulvaney as a new “woman” ambassador for its brand.
The media characterizes this backlash as antitrans hatred by conservatives, Christians, and other troglodytes. But few people care about the sexual or gender orientation of their neighbors. Critics of the trans movement are rebelling against the forced redefinition of biology, the destruction of women’s sports by trans athletes, the hijacking of children’s education, the medical experiment of gender-transitioning children, and the intrusion of penises in women-only spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, and shelters. Critics don’t want to oppress anyone; they want a return to civil society of peace and individual rights.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has another five years in power after defeating opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Sunday’s runoff election.
Kilicdaroglu was in the impossible position of trying to make up ground by simultaneously keeping the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party voters on board and attracting the voters of nationalist candidates from the first round.
It didn’t work.
Unrest has been ongoing for days in Serbian minority regions of northern Kosovo after controversial municipal elections resulted in ethnic Albanian mayors being installed in Serb-dominant communities. But what started as clashes between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo police has spiraled into violence as NATO troops have struggled to crackdown on raging protests.
Reuters has confirmed that NATO peacekeeping troops have been wounded and injured in the town of Zvecan, following Serb protesters attempting to gain entry into a local government building. NATO soldiers are also reportedly trying to protect other municipal buildings.
If you wish to wade through 99 pages of details, here's the full text of the Allegedly Final Debt-Ceiling Deal.
The Wall Street Journal has a synopsis in Biden, McCarthy Agree to Final Details of Debt-Ceiling Deal
With some conservative Republicans in both chambers signaling initial opposition to the deal, Biden urged both chambers of Congress to approve the agreement and said McCarthy would have sufficient votes in the Republican-led House to secure passage.
He also sought to quell concerns among Democrats over some of the deal’s provisions, such as additional work requirements for certain government safety-net programs, and rejected criticism from some progressive lawmakers that the agreement would let vulnerable people go hungry. “That’s a ridiculous assertion,” Biden said.
The crime wave that has been actively taking place in Philadelphia (among many other U.S. cities) is now starting to spread to the suburbs.
Crime statistics were up "double-digit percentages" in Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties - three major suburban counties that border Philadelphia county - from 2021 to 2022, according to the Delaware Valley Journal.
The Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System shows that increasing crimes include burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. Oddly, the report notes that Chester County, usually seen as a hotbed of crime near Philadelphia, saw its numbers decrease in almost ever statistical category.
In other words, the crime wave that started near the middle of 2020 appears to be moving out of the city and into the nearby suburbs. Larceny and auto thefts are seeing two of the biggest increases, the report wrote:
Abusive relationships follow a pattern. There’s a period of breaking the victim down, isolating them from their support systems, and making them dependent on the abuser. Then, the abused partner is maneuvered into the belief that she can’t get by on her own.
This master manipulation is how people become trapped in abusive relationships.
And, as I’m about to show, not all abusive relationships are one-on-one romantic relationships.