As the Russo-Ukrainian war enters 2023, its sustained intensity raises consternation amongst various policymakers in the US and Western Europe as to whether sanctions against Moscow are achieving desirable results. Despite the imposition of Western sanctions, there is no apparent end to the invasion in sight, nor are there any serious attempts at negotiations from Russia’s President Vladmir Putin. Thus, months into an aggressive sanctions regime on Russia, an assessment of the effectiveness of those measures on the Russian economy is necessary to determine whether policy goals are making satisfactory progress.
When the war began last spring, the United States sought to implement a maximum pressure campaign strategy against the Kremlin. Such a strategy materialized into a multilateral collaborative effort aiming to weaken key sectors of the Russian economy and isolate Moscow financially.
Yet Western sanctions aimed Russia aggression have existed well before Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. Current US sanctions on Russia predate Moscow’s most recent military incursion into Ukraine, beginning with President Obama’s EO(Executive Order) 13660 in 2014. EO 13660 authorized sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people. Succeeding orders such as EO 13622, EO 13685, EO 14065, and EO 10466 prohibited the importation of hydrocarbons, agriculture, and minerals from Russia. They further prevented US persons from conducting business with Kremlin- connected elites. As these examples elucidate, the United States has and continues to be committed to the imposition of economic restrictions against Putin and his enablers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday to "strengthen" Israeli settlements and arm thousands of Israelis after a series of attacks by Palestinians in Israeli-occupied territories.
The Israeli security cabinet on Sunday approved a series of controversial measures Netanyahu proposed a day earlier in the wake of two separate attacks against Israelis since Friday.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli forces sealed the home of Khairy Alqam, a Palestinian who killed seven Israelis outside a building used as a synagogue in the settlement of Neve Yaakov in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.
Israeli forces are expected to demolish the Alqam family home. Witnesses saw Israeli forces on the property after they blocked its entrances, with Palestinians clearing out their belongings. Security forces have detained 42 members of Alqam's family since the incident.
Israel routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis.
Deadlocked jurors are set to reconvene Monday in the case against a Pennsylvania pro-life activist who faces up to 11 years in prison for allegedly pushing a Planned Parenthood escort during a clash outside an abortion clinic.
Mark Houck, 48, was arrested by the FBI last September in front of his family at his home in rural Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, on charges that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act during an altercation he had with the escort in Philadelphia in October 2021.
Houck pleaded not guilty to violating the FACE Act, which prohibits "violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services."
Houck, a Catholic who routinely engaged in prayerful protests outside abortion clinics, was accused of pushing 72-year-old Bruce Love after the escort allegedly yelled at Houck's 12-year-old son. Both Houck and his son testified during the trial last week.
A 59 year-old male Finnish farmer took up skating at age 50, declared himself transgender, and performed yesterday under the female name Minna-Maaria at the opening of the European Figure Skating Championship.
Finland was proud to announce that they would be including the world’s “first trans figure skater” at the proceedings, only to discover Markku could not skate.
Covert training camps in the Jordanian desert are currently the site of British and American trainers developing young Lebanese men, loyal to the Christian warlord, Samir Geagea, according to chief editor of Al Mariah magazine, Fadi Abu Deya. In an interview given to Al Jadeed TV, Abu Deya claimed Geagea is sending fighters to Jordan for military training which is supported by the US and UK. Gegea’s media office has denied this allegation and has threatened to file a lawsuit against Abu Deya. The militia is allegedly tasked with attacks on Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance group.
However, from a reliable source inside Lebanon, Israel’s Mossad are training fighters loyal to Geagea in his headquarters at Meraab, Baalbek, and Dahr Al Ahmar.
In May 2008, Geagea told the Lebanese media Al Akbar that he had 7,000 to 10,000 fighters ready to face off with Hezbollah, and was asking for US support. Lebanon continues to be one step away from a new civil war along sectarian lines.
Geagea is supported by Saudi Arabia who demand Hezbollah to be demilitarized. The US shares this view with Saudi Arabia and Israel, who view the group as a terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia is willing to help Lebanon with their financial recovery, but their condition is that Hezbollah must be weakened.
Western countries agreed to supply tanks for use against the Russian invasion this week, prompting the Ukrainian government to push the envelope further, with discussions about more major military equipment advancing.
(above, clockwise from top left: German Frigate Lübeck (F214), German Leopard-2 Main Battle Tank, German 212A diesel-electric hydrogen fuel cell attack submarine, F-16 fighter jet)
Talk of NATO nations supplying long-range missiles, warships, submarines, and fighter jets is evident, with Ukrainian government figures seemingly tasked with acquiring new equipment wasting absolutely no time to push new ideas immediately after the dam burst on tank supply.
The shift from tank talk to fighter jets was, perhaps inevitably, almost instantaneous after the United States and Germany dropped their previous objections to sending offensive armour to Ukraine this week. Yet the conversation has, at the hands of Ukrainian politicians and diplomats trying to talk Western powers into sending more equipment, taken another leap forward.
Until it decided to confront Moscow with an existential military threat in Ukraine, Washington confined the use of American military power to conflicts that Americans could afford to lose, wars with weak opponents in the developing world from Saigon to Baghdad that did not present an existential threat to U.S. forces or American territory.
This time - a proxy war with Russia - is different.
For over a year, we have been dutifully tracking several key datasets within the auto sector to find the critical inflection point in this perhaps most leading of economic indicators which will presage not only a crushing auto loan crisis, but also signal the arrival of a full-blown recession, one which even the NBER won't be able to ignore, as the US consumers are once again tapped out. A month ago we said that in our view "that moment has now arrived"; the latest data from Fitch confirms as much.
But first, for those readers who are unfamiliar with the space, we urge you to read some of our recent articles on the topic of car prices - which alongside housing, has been the biggest driver of inflation in the past 18 months - and more specifically how these are funded by the US middle class, i.e., car loans, and last but not least, the interest rate paid for said loans. Here are a few places to start:
There is a virus going around and it’s a bad one. It’s killing people indiscriminately and will kill many more. We must fight it with everything we’ve got. Closing businesses, closing schools, canceling all public events, staying home…whatever it takes, for as long as it takes. It’s a scientific problem with a scientific solution. We can do this!
There was another story simmering under the first one.
It went like this:
There is a virus going around. It’s nasty and unpredictable, but not a show stopper. We need to take action, but nothing so drastic as shutting down society or hiding out for years on end. Also: the virus is not going away. Let’s do our very best to protect those at higher risk. Sound good?
[Editor: this is an excerpt from Blindsight Is 2020, by Gabrielle Bauer, now available from Brownstone.]
The first story traveled far and wide in a very short time. People blasted it on the nightly news and shouted it to each other on Twitter. They pronounced it the right story, the righteous story, the true story. The second story traveled mainly underground. Those who aired it in public were told to shut up and follow the science. If they brought up the harms of closing down society, they were reminded that the soldiers in the World War 1 trenches had it much worse. If they objected to placing a disproportionate burden on children and youth, they were accused of not caring about old people. If they breathed a word about civil liberties, they were told that freedumbs had no place in a pandemic.
The first story was a war story: an invisible enemy had invaded our land and we had to pour all our resources into defeating it. Everything else—social life, economic life, spiritual life, happiness, human rights, all that jazz—could come later. The second story was an ecological story: a virus had entered and recalibrated our ecosystem. It looked like we couldn’t make it go away, so we had to find a way to live with it while preserving the social fabric.
The two stories continued to unfold in tandem, the gulf between them widening with each passing month. Beneath all the arguments about the science lay a fundamental difference in worldview, a divergent vision of the type of world needed to steer humanity through a pandemic: A world of alarm or equanimity? A world with more central authority or more personal choice? A world that keeps fighting to the bitter end or flexes with a force of nature?
This book is about the people who told the second story, the people driven to explore the question: Might there be a less drastic and destructive way to deal with all this?
The Biden crime family made millions in Ukraine performing nefarious and criminal activities including espionage.
TGP reported on Thursday that the Bidens were using classified information to the benefit of the Hunter Biden family business.
Miranda Devine provided one email that appeared to include classified material from the US government.
TGP determined that this information from the 22-point email came from the US State Department and it was classified. This email included this classified information and Hunter had no security clearance or reason to have this information.
This was not the first time Hunter Biden had access to classified information.
Iranian authorities said three small quadcopter drones targeted a munitions factory in Isfahan and that its air defenses shot down one drone. The other two exploded above the building, causing minor damage but no casualties.
The Journal report cited unnamed US officials and people familiar with the operation, who said the attack came as the US and Israel “look for new ways to contain Tehran’s nuclear and military ambitions.”
The report said the attack took place next to a facility owned by the Iran Space Research Center, which has been sanctioned by the US for allegedly being involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Iran has yet to attribute blame for the incident, but Israel has a history of launching similar covert attacks using small quadcopter drones inside the Islamic Republic.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock bluntly stated in fresh remarks that Western allies are fighting a war against Russia. The remarks came during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday amid discussions over sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
While Baerbock’s words were largely ignored in mainstream media, a number of pundits on social media noted with alarm that the German foreign minister just essentially declared war on Russia.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has signed a law banning puberty blockers, hormones, and surgical sex change procedures for minors.
The Transgender Medical Treatment and Procedures bill, SB 16, will prohibit those under 18 from obtaining procedures “for the purpose of effectuating a sex change.”
“Legislation that impacts our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation,” Gov. Cox said in a statement.
“While not a perfect bill, we are grateful for Sen. Kennedy’s more nuanced and thoughtful approach to this terribly divisive issue.
“More and more experts, states and countries around the world are pausing these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences.”
Project Veritas released a new video yesterday where one of their undercover reporters recorded a conversation with Jordon Trishton Walker, an alleged “Pfizer Director of Research and Development, Strategic Operations – mRNA Scientific Planner.”
Everyone in the Alternative Media who has covered this, at least the articles I have seen, have concentrated on Walker’s statements regarding how Pfizer is experimenting with the idea of “Directed Evolution,” which Project Veritas and others claim is the same thing as “gain of function.”
I almost was not even going to cover this video, because for one thing, I do not approve of Project Veritas’s use of lies and deception to trap someone. Walker clearly asks the “reporter” to promise him not to tell anyone this, and you can clearly see in the video that the interviewer gives him a fist bump in an affirmative reply.
Secondly, as hard as this interviewer tried to get Walker to admit that Pfizer was already working on a method to make variants of the COVID virus more virulent, Walker repeatedly stated that this was just an idea that had been discussed, and that they had no idea whether or not it would work.
Perhaps that is why Project Veritas felt the need to bring in one of the new Superstar Pro-Vaccine doctors to give his opinion about how bad this was.
In the end, I did decide to give this interview some exposure on our network, not because of the claims that Pfizer could develop a lab version of a new deadly COVID virus variant, but because Walker admitted that Pfizer controls the U.S. Government health agencies that approve their drugs, and that this is “bad” for the American public, but good for business for the pharmaceutical companies.
We all already knew this was true, of course, but to get someone within Pfizer to admit this was true, is really quite damaging, and could potentially be used in a court of law if one could find an honest judge somewhere that would have the courage to rule against the criminal activities of Pfizer.
Here is a clip of the video with the main interview, minus the talking head pro-vaccine doctor’s comments.
US hegemonic, imperial policy against Nicaragua was clearly established in 1853-54. US pro-slavery President Franklin Pierce sent US Marines to Greytown (San Juan del Norte) to destroy the small city on the Atlantic coast of less than 100 houses because its population refused to cooperate with US robber baron companies constructing rail and transit lines crossing from east to west in Nicaragua utilizing the Rio San Juan Corridor. Greytown was totally destroyed.
Thus, was established the character of US American foreign policy in Central America, including Nicaragua, to the present – contempt for local autonomy, and wanton destruction and murder when locals dare resist.
There have been 49 Nicaragua presidential administrations from 1854 to 1979, when the Sandinista revolution triumphantly marched into Managua ousting the US’s long time favorite dictator Somoza. All but one administration, (Zelaya,1893-1909) had acted as agents of the United States commercial and financial interests. And due to Zelaya’s progressive interest in expanding the well-being of all Nicaraguans, he was forcibly removed by the USA in 1909.
After the revolutionary Sandinistas were voted out of power in a 1990 election conducted under threat of continued US war if the US-selected candidate lost, all the revolutionary gains of 1979-1990 were reversed by three US-approved Nicaragua administrations, 1990-2006.
Hi, I’m Dan Ellsberg. One of the foundation stones of our government here in the United States, for democracy and a republic, is our First Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids any law by Congress or the states abridging freedom of speech or of the press, along with freedom of religion or of assembly, that precluded the passage of a British type Official Secrets Act, which most countries have.
Almost no other country has a law singling out the press as protected by our freedom, by the First Amendment and the British type Official Secrets Act, which criminalizes any or all disclosure of information protected by the government executive branch. Even disclosure to the public or to the press or to Congress or Parliament is criminalized and subject to prison.
We’ve never had such an act because of our First Amendment. In fact, one was almost inadvertently passed by Congress in the year 2000, but it was vetoed by President Clinton as a clear cut violation of the First Amendment.
And he cited in his opinion accompanying that, some of the opinions in the Pentagon Papers case of half a century ago that had resulted from my disclosure of information that I had authorized possession of, as a contractor to the government at that time : 7000 pages of top secret documents about the history of U.S. decision making in Vietnam, which disclosed repeated sequence, by four different presidents, of lies and in effect, violations of the Constitution, treaties and in particular misleading Congress as to the costs for war. I was facing 115 years in prison, but not for Official Secrets Act, which we don’t have.
Sen. Ted Cruz sounded off on an email Hunter Biden sent to a Burisma colleague, alleging the correspondence indicates he had access to classified material as new information is revealed regarding the magnitude of Biden's latest scandal.
Cruz joined "Sunday Morning Futures" to discuss why the email was "unusual" and how it infers that he had "direct access" to the information that could be tied to Biden's alleged mishandling of thousands of records.
"Hunter Biden didn't write that," Cruz told Maria Bartiromo. "Hunter Biden is not an expert on Ukraine. He's not an expert on Eastern Europe. He's not an expert on Russia, but that email did help get him on the board of Burisma. It did help get him paid $83,000 a month because it showed a level of expertise not coming from him, but he was getting it from somewhere. That's clearly from some sort of briefing. We don't know whether it was a classified briefing or not, but that is the sort of analysis that is often within a classified briefing."
You could see this coming from 4,500 miles away—the distance from the Morning Joe set in the US to Auschwitz, in Poland.
For two days now, Morning Joe has been exploiting Joe Scarborough's trip to Auschwitz for International Holocaust Remembrance Day for craven political purposes: tying Donald Trump to the horrors of the Holocaust.
We predicted this in yesterday's item on Scarborough's trip. And the mudslinging was made concrete on today's show.
Russia today warned it is on the 'verge of a direct collision with the US and NATO' and it is 'very possible' there will be no nuclear arms control treaty with America after 2026 due to Washington's efforts to inflict 'strategic defeat' on Moscow in Ukraine.
Israeli occupation soldiers on Saturday opened fire in the direction of Palestinian journalists while covering an event in the town of Beita, near Nablus, the official news agency WAFA reported.
Palestinian journalist Wahaj Bani Moufleh told WAFA that he and his colleague, Mohammad Sumrin, were preparing a report on the Israeli army’s closure of the Beita entrance with cement boulders. Israeli soldiers shot live gunfire in their direction despite the fact that they were wearing vests clearly indicating that they were press.
Newly minted Republican senator JD Vance came right out of the gate on Ukraine aid last week, making not a strong case for more, but for oversight on the billions already allocated to Kyiv last year.
He and three dozen other Republican senators and members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, urging a full accounting of the level and scope of the security assistance sent to the war ravaged country to date.
“Taken together, the four Ukraine supplemental spending bills passed since the escalation of the Ukraine/Russia conflict in February of 2022 amount to arguably the fourth-largest discretionary appropriations bill,” the letter reads, calling on the OMB to release a “crosscutting report on U.S. government-wide expenditures for Ukraine and ‘countries impacted by the situation in Ukraine’ since February 24, 2022.”
More than 24 people have been killed and about 150 others wounded in an explosion targeting police at a mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, according to officials.
Muhammed Asim, Lady Reading Hospital spokesperson in Peshawar, told Al Jazeera at least 32 people were killed on Monday and more than 70 injured people were brought in for treatment. A Peshawar police official told Al Jazeera about 150 people were injured in total.
Tens of thousands of Israelis protested once again on Saturday against the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government's plan to weaken the judicial system.
Protests took place in several cities across the country, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, as well as in New York
Two demonstrations in Tel Aviv began at 19:oo (17:00 GMT), with one beginning on Kaplan Street and the other at Habima Square. Streets in and around the city were blocked off to traffic from the afternoon.
In Jerusalem, protests started in front of the president's residence beginning at 19:30.
Turkey warned its citizens on Saturday against "possible Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist attacks" in the United States and Europe after its Western allies cautioned their citizens in Turkey about possible terror attacks.
In two separate travel advisories, the Turkish foreign ministry recommended its citizens in the United States and European countries "act calmly in the face of possible xenophobic and racist harassment and attacks" and to "stay away from areas where demonstrations may intensify."
Recent increases in "anti-Islam and racist acts" reflect the dangerous dimensions of religious intolerance and hatred in Europe, the ministry said.
Several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy on Friday released security alerts for their citizens in Turkey that flagged "possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against places of worship."
This followed recent Koran-burning incidents in Europe. Sweden's foreign ministry also advised its citizens in Turkey on Saturday to avoid crowds and demonstrations.
Soldiers trying to leave the Army currently have their lives on hold due to a systems outage blocking their discharge paperwork, the service confirmed to Army Times Wednesday.
The outage, which is preventing the Army from issuing DD-214 discharge forms or processing retirement requests for approximately 4,000 troops, is due to “data processing issues,” according to the spokesperson for the service’s personnel directorate, Lt. Col. Joseph Payton.
The service interruption is affecting the Transition Processing System, Payton said, which produces the discharge forms and separation orders required for troops to access post-service benefits like Veterans Affairs disability pay, retirement pensions, the G.I. Bill and more.
“We anticipate (the Transition Processing System) to be fully functional within a week,” the spokesperson added. “Once it’s up and running, we will prioritize processing [discharge forms] for our transitioning Soldiers who have been impacted.”