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Thought for the day
"Tyranny is tyranny, no matter what its form; the free man will resist it if his courage serves." -- Judge Learned Hand
Russia's Black Sea fleet based in annexed Crimea has installed a new commander, RIA news agency cited sources as saying on Wednesday, after Russian military bases on the peninsula were rocked by explosions in the past nine days.
If confirmed, the removal of the previous commander Igor Osipov would mark the most prominent sacking of a military official in the nearly six months since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in which it has suffered heavy losses in men and equipment.
State-owned RIA cited the sources as saying the new chief, Viktor Sokolov, was introduced to members of the fleet's military council in the port of Sevastopol.
One source said it was "normal" that the appointment was not publicly announced at a time when Russia was conducting what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine.
Of the 123 million Americans alive in 1929 at least 3 million starved to death, some demographers say maybe 4 to 7 million.
A Depression is a period in time when Unpayable Debts are cancelled en masse. In 1923 Germany cancelled debts through hyperinflation. In 1933 America 31% of our money supply was cancelled in bankruptcy courts and in foreclosures.
We have a debt based system which means that we are not allowed to have money unless we first take out a loan. Bankers gave themselves the right to charge us interest on checking account money they made out of nothing. Americans starved to death due to debt cancellation and the lack of borrowing until WW II.
Alternatively, we could have a non-interest bearing currency like Lincoln’s Greenbacks. Dr Irving Fisher in the 1920s suggested that we not only issue Greenbacks but also ban fractional reserve banking, which would have ended all those bank runs in the 1930s.
He called his proposal 100% money. He could have ended the Depression in 90 days, saved us from starvation and also from a lot of unwanted wars. He also would have stopped the exploitation of interest which under the present system transfers all wealth from Main Street which does all the work to Wall Street parasites who collect interest on the money they created out of nothing.
Scientists believe there is a one in six chance of a major volcanic eruption this century which could dramatically change the world's climate and put millions of lives in danger.
When the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai volcano erupted off the shore of Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean in January, the blast was so huge that tsunamis hit the shores of Japan, North America and South America and Tonga itself suffered damage equating to almost a fifth of its entire GDP.
But an analysis of ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica by a team at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen found that a magnitude 7 volcanic eruption - which could be 10 to 100 times bigger than the one recorded in January - is a distinct possibility for this century.
Webmaster addition: "We need a volcano tax!!" -- Official White Horse Souse
On June 10th, The Guardian’s Mark Townsend published an article headlined “Russia-backed network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified.” (“Russia-backed” has since been removed).
The article is based on what Townsend calls a “new analysis” that “reveals” a “network more than two dozen conspiracy theorists, frequently backed by a coordinated Russian campaign.” This network, Townsend claims, is “focused on the denial or distortion of facts about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and on attacking the findings of the world’s foremost chemical weapons watchdog,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). According to Townsend, I am named “as the most prolific spreader of disinformation” among the nefarious bunch.
In hawking this purported exposé of “disinformation”, Townsend violated every basic standard of journalism. He did not contact me before publishing his allegations; fails to offer a shred of evidence for them; and does not cite a single example of my alleged “prolific” disinformation. Instead, Townsend bases his claims entirely on a think-tank report that also provides no evidence, nor even assert that I have said anything false. In the process, Townsend failed to disclose that the report’s authors — the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the Syria Campaign — are groups funded by the US government and other belligerents in the Syria proxy war. To top it off, Townsend fabricates additional allegations that his state-funded sources do not even make.
A former Yemeni foreign minister said that France is preparing to secure the Balhaf facility in Yemen's unstable Shabwa province for the export of gas.
The key Yemeni liquefied natural gas facility at Balhaf is being used as a base by UAE troops [MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images-archive]
Abubaker Alqirbi tweeted in Arabic on Tuesday that "information is coming in" about "preparations being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility" and that this "could be the reason for events in Shabwa" and moves made by France.
Yemeni government forces recently clashed with UAE-backed southern separatist forces in gas-rich Shabwa province, where Balhaf is located, last week, leading to dozens of civilian and combatant casualties.
The Met police has been asked to investigate Britons joining the Israeli army and potentially committing war crimes, but Richard Sudan explains that we shouldn't hold our breath given the UK’s history of double standards when it comes to Israel.
The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) highlighted reports of UK citizens being recruited by Israel to participate in military operations via the Mahal Volunteer programme. [GETTY]
Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police’s War Crime Unit, part of the Counter Terrorism Command (CTC), confirmed that it received “incredibly harrowing material” and eye witness accounts from those on the front line in the Ukraine war.
Scotland Yard subsequently stated that it would work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its probe to identify potential war crimes which may have taken place.
Speaking to the media about the evidence they had received, one officer working on the investigation as part of CTC said that “[i]n not far off 17 years in counterterrorism, (it is) some of the worst possible footage you could imagine seeing.”
The Israeli occupation forces today and last night detained at least 40 Palestinians in large-scale raids across the occupied territories.
Most of the arrests took place in the town of Tuqu, in the south of the West Bank, and in Yabad, in the north, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) and other sources.
Israeli forces rounded up 22 Palestinians after forcibly entering and searching the houses of their families in Tuqu, east of Bethlehem.
It’s tempting to visualize the overwhelming collective West debacle as a rocket, faster than free fall, plunging into the black void maelstrom of complete socio-political breakdown.
It’s tempting to visualize the overwhelming collective West debacle as a rocket, faster than free fall, plunging into the black void maelstrom of complete socio-political breakdown.
The End of (Their) History turns out to be a fast-forward historical process bearing staggering ramifications: way more profound than mere self-appointed “elites” – via their messenger boys/girls – dictating a Dystopia engineered by austerity and financialization: what they chose to brand as a Great Reset and then, major fail intervening, The Great Narrative.
Financialization of everything means total marketization of Life itself. In his latest book, No-Cosas: Quiebras del Mundo de Hoy (in Spanish, no English translation yet), the foremost German contemporary philosopher (Byung-Chul Han, who happens to be Korean), analyzes how Information Capitalism, unlike industrial capitalism, converts also the immaterial into merchandise: “Life itself acquires the form of merchandise (…) the difference between culture and commerce disappears. Institutions of culture are presented as profitable brands.”
NATO will increase its peacekeeping force in Kosovo if there is an escalation of tensions with neighbouring Serbia, the alliance's chief said on Wednesday, on the eve of EU-facilitated talks between the estranged western Balkan neighbours.
"We have now a significant mission, a military presence in Kosovo close to 4,000 troops," Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference after talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels, who stood alongside him.
"If needed, we will move forces, deploy them where needed and increase our presence. We have already increased the presence in the north. We are ready to do more."
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo flared this month when Pristina said it would oblige Serbs living in the north, who are backed by Belgrade and do not recognise Kosovo institutions, to start using car license plates issued in Pristina.
U.S. shale oil producers are in line to suffer more than $10 billion in derivative hedging losses this year if oil prices remain around $100 per barrel, Rystad Energy research shows. Many shale operators offset their risk exposure through derivative hedging, helping them to raise capital for operations more efficiently. Those who hedged at lower prices last year are in line to suffer significant associated losses as their contracts mean they cannot capitalize on sky-high prices.
Despite these hedging losses, record-high cash flow and net income have been widely reported by US onshore exploration and production (E&P) companies this earnings season. These operators are now adapting their strategies and negotiating contracts for the second half of 2022 and 2023 based on current high prices, so if oil prices fall next year, these agile E&Ps will be able to capitalize and will likely boast even stronger financials.
Anticipating the significant negative impact of these hedges, shale operators made a concerted effort in the first half of this year to lower their exposure and limit the impact on their balance sheets.
Many operators have successfully negotiated higher ceilings for 2023 contracts and based on current reported hedging activity for next year, even at a crude price of $100 per barrel, losses would total just $3 billion, a significant drop from this year. At $85 per barrel, hedged losses would total $1.5 billion; if it fell further to $65, hedging activity would be a net earner for operators.
Webmaster addition: Fracking is a disaster. Water poisoned, fish killed, land ruined, and no economic return!
A Paris-based intergovernmental organization has scandalously turned down a petition against a Swedish pharma company lodged on behalf of Iranians who suffer from a potentially fatal skin disease.
The petition was submitted earlier this year by the lawyer, who represents the patients afflicted with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a type of disease that causes fragile, blistering skin.
The US sanctions against Iran have been choking up the financial channels that could be used towards providing the Islamic Republic with the cure for EB sufferers and other direly-needed medical supplies.
Washington reinstated the cruel economic sanctions after unilaterally abandoning the 2015 deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
The petition had protested the submission of Mölnlycke, a Sweden-headquartered internationally active supplier of medical devices, to the sanctions, which has caused the company to withhold the bandages that are needed by those suffering from the skin condition.
President Biden’s behavior on the world stage risks sparking World War 3 with Russia, President Putin has warned.
“Today, the United States continues to act with no regard to other countries’ security and interests, which contributes to an increase in nuclear risks,” the Russian embassy warned in a statement on its Telegram channel.
“The [US’] steps to further engage in a hybrid confrontation with Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis are fraught with unpredictable escalation and a direct military clash of nuclear powers.”
Americans boast incessantly about their competitiveness and the miracles of their predatory capitalist system, but on examination these claims appear to be mostly thoughtless jingoism that transmutes historical accidents into religion. If we examine the record, US companies have seldom been notably competitive. There is more than abundant evidence that their efforts are mostly directed to ensure an asymmetric playing field that permitted them to avoid confronting real competition. And, in very large part, major US corporations have succeeded not because of any competitive advantage but by pressure and threats emanating from the State Department and military. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman stated the truth quite accurately when he wrote, “The hidden hand of the market will never work without the hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas.”
Xerox was once almost the only manufacturer of photocopiers in the world. Kodak was once almost the world’s only maker of cameras and photo film; Where are Xerox and Kodak today? More recently, Motorola was the leading manufacturer of mobile phones; Where is Motorola today? US-based RCA Victor was one of the largest producers of TV sets in the world. Where can you buy an RCA TV set today? Where are the great Pan Am World Airways and Continental Airlines? Where are E.F. Hutton, General Foods, RCA, DEC, Compaq? Where are American Motors, Bethlehem Steel, Polaroid cameras, and so many more? Gone, because they couldn’t deal with effective competition.
Investigative journalist Savanah Hernandez interviewed an MVM Inc. whistleblower who provided an inside scoop on how children are being moved every day throughout Texas.
“He says that in his office, two to five thousand children are moved per week,” Hernandez commented.
Hernandez said there are four separate offices in the Texas area.
“Between all of the offices, he’s saying around eight to ten-thousand kids per week and upwards of 30 to 40 thousand children per month,” Hernandez said.
Farmers in the Netherlands reduced nitrogen pollution by nearly 70 percent through a voluntary system. But the government says that is not enough and is demanding that they cut pollution by another 50 percent by 2030.
By the Dutch government’s own estimates, 11,200 farms out of the roughly 35,000 dedicated to dairy and livestock would have to close under its policies; 17,600 farmers would have to reduce livestock; and total livestock would need to be reduced by one-half to one-third.
The Dutch government has demanded that animal farming stop entirely in many places. Of the over $25.7 billion the government has set aside to reduce pollution, just $1 billion is for technological innovation, with most of the rest for buying out farmers.
This effort has sparked a fierce backlash among Dutch farmers, who argue that the government seems more interested in reducing animal agriculture than in finding solutions that protect the food supply and their livelihoods.
Since the US-engineered 2013-14 coup in Ukraine, American forces have taught Ukrainians, including neo-Nazi units, how to fight in urban and other civilian areas. Weaponizing Ukraine is part of Washington’s quest for what the Pentagon calls “full spectrum dominance.”
“[I]f you can learn all modalities of war, then you can be the god of war,” so said a Ukrainian artillery commander in 2016 while receiving training from the US Army.
The unnamed commander was quoted by Lt. Claire Vanderberg, a mortar platoon leader training soldiers as part of the Pentagon’s Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. The training has taken place at the absurdly named International Peacekeeping and Security Center, which sits close to the border with Poland near the Ukrainian town of Yavoriv. Western media reported Russia’s recent cruise missile attack on the base, but chose not to mention what has taken place inside.
THE U.S. NAVY mandates that a suicide hotline for veterans be accessible from the homepage of every Navy website, but a previously unreported internal audit found that most of the pages reviewed were not in compliance.
Sixty-two percent of the 58 homepages did not comply with Navy regulations for how to display the link to the Veterans Crisis Line, or VCL, which is run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a 2019 investigation conducted by the Naval Audit Service and obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act. Almost three years since the audit, The Intercept has found that many Navy homepages are still missing the required icon linking to a resource that has been shown to help veterans in crisis. In the eight years since the mandate was first introduced, hundreds of sailors and tens of thousands of veterans have killed themselves.
“When suicide crisis links and phone numbers are not prominently advertised on Navy Web sites, there is a missed opportunity to facilitate and encourage Sailors, civilians, and veterans to seek assistance in a critical time of need,” the audit reads.
OVER THE WEEKEND, the New York Times editorial board unveiled its endorsements for the state’s upcoming congressional primary elections, backing a slate of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in New York’s 17th District, Rep. Jerry Nadler in the 12th District, and Dan Goldman in the 10th District.
The spectacle of the Times endorsing three white guys was itself enough to draw attention, but capping it off by backing Goldman, a self-funding heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, has brought an unusual amount of attention to the paper’s endorsement process.
Laura Kealiher, who had missed a call from the district attorney’s office and learned about the arrest when the news became public, questioned the timing of the arrest: nearly three years after Sean’s killing and long after she had revealed Knipe’s identity (though she had publicly posted that she believed he was only a passenger in the car, and that another man was at the wheel). Kealiher also credited The Intercept, which filed a lawsuit against the city of Portland over the police investigation records in the case, with pushing police to finally solve it.
“They would have let this go nowhere if it hadn’t been for you guys,” Kealiher told The Intercept. “They literally, in my opinion, waited until they were like, ‘Oh, shit. They’re going to prove that we have not done anything even though we have all this evidence.’”
On Friday, August 19, Kiev is planning to stage a highly publicized false flag at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant during UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Ukraine, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Thursday.
"On August 19, the Kiev regime will be plotting a highly publicized provocation at the Zaporozhye NPP during UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Ukraine with Russia being accused of creating a man-made catastrophe at this power plant as a result," he warned.
"In order to prepare for the provocation, the command of the Dnieper task force is setting up radiation monitoring posts in Zaporozhye by August 19 as well as organizing drills among the units of the 108th territorial defense brigade, the 44th artillery brigade and the military units stationed in Zaporozhye for action under conditions of radiological contamination of the area," the spokesman stressed.
He said that the units of the 44th brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces are planning artillery strikes on the NPP’s premises from firing points in the city of Nikopol. "The blame for their consequences will be laid on Russia’s armed forces," the military official affirmed.
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Wednesday delivered a sweeping rebuke of her agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it had failed to respond quickly enough and needed to be overhauled.
“To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes, from testing to data to communications,” she said in a video distributed to the agency’s roughly 11,000 employees.
Dr. Walensky said the C.D.C.’s future depended on whether it could absorb the lessons of the last few years, during which much of the public lost trust in the agency’s ability to handle a pandemic that has killed more than 1 million Americans. “This is our watershed moment. We must pivot,” she said.
Her admission of the agency’s failings came after she received the findings of an examination she ordered in April amid scathing criticism of the C.D.C.’s performance. The report itself was not released; an agency official said it was not yet finished but would be made public soon.
The brazen raid of President Trump’s home in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, likely has its roots in the Russia collusion story with a particular focus on Peter Strzok and his affiliation with the CIA.
New Zealand health officials are seeing double the number of people feeling cough, fever, illness, this year over last year.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), admitted on Wednesday that the agency would be undergoing a restructuring, calling it a “reset” due to major “mistakes” in dealing with the pandemic.