Thought for the day
"I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two are lawyers and three or more are the government." -- John Adams (1735 - 1826)
The United States and South Korea have "answered" Tuesday's ultra-provocative North Korean launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile which flew directly over Japan, triggering nationwide emergency alerts warning Japanese citizens to take shelter.
Yonhap news is reporting that allied militaries of S.Korea and the US have now launched 4 surface-to-surface missiles into the East Sea, in a clear and rare "response to the provocation" from Pyongyang, during the overnight hours (local time). There are simultaneous though unconfirmed reports that one of the South Korean missiles may have failed or crashed soon after launch:
Reagan approved plan to sabotage Soviets gas pipeline in 1982
The below article is from 1994 and obviously speaks to the lengths that certain elements in Washington (during the Cold War – and now) would be willing to go to in order to achieve its political and economic ends in Russia.
In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.
Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in “At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War.” Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of “cold-eyed economic warfare” against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William J. Casey during the final years of the Cold War.
At the time, the United States was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There were also signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.
“In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds,” Reed writes.
“The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space,” he recalls, adding that U.S. satellites picked up the explosion. Reed said in an interview that the blast occurred in the summer of 1982.
Who’s to blame for all the turmoil in the UK’s financial markets?
While the popular refrain pins the blame on Downing Street, a careful scrutiny of the events of the past few days will show that Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng just stepped on a land mine that had been long planted.
The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation plans to let any industry in the country to accept bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for international trade without restriction, per a report from local media outlet TASS.
Ivan Chebeskov, director of the Financial Policy Department for the ministry, explained in a recent interview.
"We are going to allow international settlements in cryptocurrencies for any industries without restrictions."
The Rutherford Institute has issued a public comment opposing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed rule on “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities,” which seeks to force healthcare workers to provide abortion and gender transition services, among other things. The proposed rule purports to affirm and implement the Biden Administration’s perspectives on nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as reproductive healthcare including abortions. However, Rutherford Institute attorneys warn that any attempt by the government to compel healthcare workers to provide services against their professional judgement, religious convictions, and conscience is unconstitutional.
“Healthcare workers should not face penalties for refusing to perform controversial medical procedures like abortions and gender transition services which go against their deeply held religious or ethical beliefs,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized, ‘Governments must not be allowed to force persons to express a message contrary to their deepest convictions.’ Even more so, governments must not be allowed to force individuals to perform acts that are contrary to their convictions.”
For months, I have been confident that Europe would suffer a financial crisis and a depression, as in a real economy catastrophe accompanied by a market crash. It might not be that severe and lasting as 1929, but the breadth would mean there would not be 1987 quick bounceback nor a 2008 derivatives crisis concentrated at the heart of the banking system. Even though that looked like financial near-death experience, the same factors that made it more acute in many respects also made it easier for the officialdom to identify and shore up the key institutions that took hits below the water line.
The short version of what follows is things are looking even worse now, and on multiple fronts.
Below we’ll discuss the rapidly accelerating real economy crisis, which is exacerbated by central bank tightening as pretty much the only line of defense against inflation that is almost entirely the result of a multi-fronted supply shock.1 Needless to say, the Fed raising interest rates (which Bernanke recognized as necessary in 2014 to tame bubbly asset prices but then lost his nerve) does nothing to get more chips from China or magically cure Covid-afflicted staffers so they can show up at work. But it will whack all sorts of speculators and financial firms who have wrong-footed their interest rate positions.
Russia's grain harvest is set to grow by about 5 million tonnes a year thanks to its incorporation of four Ukrainian territories, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said on Tuesday.
"Considering the arable land that exists there, I think at least 5 million tonnes of grain will be added to the Russian savings box. I also think that we'll get other crops," he was quoted as saying by the state news agency TASS.
The Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin was likely to sign laws on Tuesday to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, representing about 18% of Ukraine's internationally recognised territory.
All are partly or mostly occupied by Russian forces after an invasion that has sharply reduced Ukraine's grain crop and disrupted shipping in the Black Sea, as well as triggering a barrage of Western economic sanctions against Russia.
The US Supreme Court will be hearing two cases that are seeking to hold social media companies responsible for their role in contributing to militant attacks - which if successful, could set a huge precedent.
On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will decide whether or not social media platforms can be held liable for their users' posts. The court is expected to announce its decision before the court recesses for the summer late next June.
The cases were filed by relatives of victims of attacks in France and Turkey. One of the cases involves Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American who was studying in Paris in 2015. In November of that year, she was one of the people killed in the attack at La Belle Equipe bistro during the attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
Gunmen and bombers targeted the French national stadium, the Bataclan concert hall, restaurants and bars almost simultaneously, killing 130 people and wounding hundreds.
On 4 October, the Islamic Endowments Department in occupied Jerusalem reported that hundreds of settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque under strict protection from Israeli authorities.
According to the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA), 300 Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in successive groups via the Mughrabi Gate.
The settlers carried out provocative acts and were allowed to perform their religious rituals in the courtyard under the protection of Israeli occupation forces, while many Muslim worshipers were forcibly removed from the area.
According to local reports, “dozens of settlers blew the trumpet between the graves of Muslims in the Bab al-Rahma cemetery, which is adjacent to the eastern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” where hundreds of settlers performed Talmudic rituals.
Europe is facing a deepening energy crisis as it prepares for a cold winter. Gas prices have reached record highs, and supplies are running low, stoking fears.
Here is what to know about the energy crunch and what is coming up in the next few months.
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to authorize large construction projects in the West Bank in favor of Israeli settlers, as he continues to escalate in his attempt to garner support ahead of the elections.
Netanyahu, along with 30 members of the far-right Likud party, signed a declaration that calls for the development of settlements in the West Bank, under the slogan of “Moving Eastward.”
Politicians from Shas, United Torah Judaism, the Religious Zionist, and the Jewish Home party joined Likud in their support of the declaration announced by the Sovereignty Movement.
The signatories of the statement pledge to use all parliamentary tools at their disposal to implement these construction projects, including the undertaking of all necessary changes to laws in favor of facilitating the settlers’ projects.
However, despite the historic and political claim to the West Bank by Israelis, the declaration is intended to solve a pressing economic crisis in Israel rather than just fulfill a prophecy.
Jewish settlers on Tuesday chased Palestinian shepherds off their pastures in the Khillet Makhoul community, in the northern Jordan Valley, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Aref Daraghmeh, a local activist, told WAFA that Jewish settlers chased the shepherds as solidarity activists were in the area to monitor the settlers’ harassment of the Palestinians.
Katie Halper recorded a segment for The Hill’s Rising defending Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from attacks over calling Israel an apartheid state. The Hill presents itself as a channel that opposes cancel culture and censorship. Halper says she was told that The Hill has a ban on opinion videos about Israel. When she pushed to have it aired as a show segment, she says she was fired.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that China is seeking to “normalize” its stepped-up military activity around Taiwan, including Chinese flights over the median line, which came in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visiting the island.
“In the future, the activities of Chinese Communist military aircraft and ships entering our air defense identification zone, crossing the median line, and approaching maritime areas close to the island will gradually become more normalized,” the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said.
Since Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan at the beginning of August, China has been regularly flying warplanes across the median line, an unofficial barrier that separates the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. It was drawn by the US in the 1950s, but China had generally avoided crossing the line since then.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “gift” to NATO as the war in Ukraine has made many alliance members make plans to increase military spending.
Wallace made the comments at the Warsaw Security Forum, a two-day conference that started on Tuesday. According to The Associated Press, Wallace said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, European leaders became complacent and that Putin has become “in a sense, a gift to NATO.”
Wallace said Putin serves as a “pantomime villain” who reminded Europe that there is “really is somebody out there who really, really wants to not only challenge us but wants to inflict violence.”
For years, NATO has been pushing its European members to increase their military spending to at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP), a goal many alliance members did not meet. But since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, NATO countries are announcing plans to invest more in their militaries.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday signed a decree that ruled out any talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, declaring they would be an “impossibility.”
The decree was first put forward by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, the decree states “the impossibility of holding negotiations with the president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.”
The move formalized comments that Zelensky made on Friday following Putin’s approval of annexing four Ukrainian territorites. “He does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelensky said.
Dead in the Waters?
Pink Floyd co-founder and perennial pot-stirrer Roger Waters rocked the boat yet again after claiming that he’s on a Ukrainian “kill list” over his controversial political views on the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war. The 79-year-old English rocker dropped the bombshell conspiracy theory during an interview with Rolling Stone.
“Don’t forget, I’m on a kill list that is supported by the Ukrainian government,” declared Waters, who has repeatedly blamed Ukraine and the west for instigating the conflict. In September, the “Another Brick in the Wall” singer wrote an open letter to Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska in which he criticized “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine for having “set your country on the path to this disastrous war.” He also criticized the west for supplying Ukraine with weapons, even labelling President Joe Biden a “war criminal” who is “just getting started.”
Jen Psaki is usually wrong, not because she’s stupid, but because she’s an ideologue, a rabid partizan, and statist zealot. And, she seems to savor a well placed lie. But that’s expected from a former White House press secretary, and William and Mary graduate, who spent her entire tenure contorting the borders of reality, gleefully creating fictions to explain Joe Biden’s precipitous decline into senility.
Joe Biden has always been a dummy. Obama admitted it when he commented on Lunch Bucket Joes’ propensity to always screw things up. Biden is a comic book character inked and colored by media hacks and stooges like Psaki.
Jen’s recent statement is a concession to the spectacular proportion of Joe Biden’s failures. To ignore this would produce a lie that would simply be too big to sustain its own mass — even Psaki has to face the facts at some point:
“If it is a referendum on the president, they [democrats] will lose. And they know that.”
Director General of the Zaporizhia NPP Igor Murashov recently became very popular in the Mainstream Media. The Ukrainian media blamed Russia of illegal detention of the head of the largest nuclear power station in Europe. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sounded the alarm. Today, the truth was revealed.
On October 1, the head of the National Nuclear Power Generating Company of Ukraine Energoatom, Pyotr Kotin, accused Russia of detaining Murashov by a Russian patrol in the city of Energodar. He noted that Murashov is a “licensed person” who bears primary and exclusive responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety of the Zaporozhye NPP. The IAEA demanded Russia to clarify the situation.
On October 3, the head of the IAEA Mariano Grossi said that the director of the Zaporozhye NPP was freed. “I welcome the release of Igor Murashov… I have received confirmation that Mr. Murashov has returned safely to his family,” he wrote.
The Russian side has not officially commented on the situation until today.
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) can use its so-called “filter teams,” including the one that is being used to review documents seized at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
In the Korf v. United States case, the nine justices declined to hear a writ of certiorari (pdf) that questioned the legality of the filter team protocols. The rules allow agents and prosecutors who aren’t assigned to a case to examine seized materials that are claimed to be privileged before a judge issues a ruling.
Like the vast majority of cases the Supreme Court declines to hear, the justices on Monday did not provide an explanation why it rejected the Korf petition.
The case pertained to a DOJ money laundering probe that claimed that the use of a filter team was a violation of the Constitution’s 6th Amendment right to counsel.
“Only after the filter team has reviewed the documents would a court rule on whether privilege applies. That procedure needlessly and harmfully exposes assertedly privileged communications to the government’s eyes,” lawyers for Mordechai Korf, who the DOJ targeted with a civil forfeiture complaint in January, said in their filing.
Roughly 60% of Americans say they're living paycheck to paycheck - a figure which hasn't budged much overall from last year's 55% despite inflation hitting 40-year highs, according to a recent LendingClub report.
Even people earning six figures are feeling the strain, with 45% reporting living paycheck to paycheck vs. 38% last year, CNBC reports.
"More consumers living paycheck to paycheck indicates that many are continuing to lose their financial stability," said LendingClub financial health officer, Anuj Nayar.
The consumer price index, which measures the average change in prices for consumer goods and services, rose a higher-than-expected 8.3% in August, driven by increases in food, shelter and medical care costs.
Although real average hourly earnings also rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% for the month, they remained down 2.8% from a year ago, which means those paychecks don’t stretch as far as they used to. -CNBC
Tony Bobulinski, the former Hunter Biden associate who came forward in 2020 about messages on the younger Biden’s laptop, said the FBI never followed up with him despite promising to.
During an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson on Monday, Bobulinski asserted that former FBI agent Timothy Thibault—who was accused by GOP senators of having an animus against Trump and slow-walking the Hunter Biden investigation—never got back to him when Bobulinski came forward with the information ahead of the 2020 election.
“Tim Thibault, in his last discussion with my legal counsel, said, ‘Listen, we know Tony’s cooperating. We appreciate all the information he’s provided. We will follow up with you. We are definitely going to have him come in for a follow-up interview, or spend some more time on this,’” Bobulinski told Carlson. “And I haven’t heard from him since. Nor have my lawyers.”
Bobulinski in the interview again asserted that President Joe Biden was highly involved in his son’s overseas business operations. The president has denied that he had knowledge of Hunter Biden’s finances or deals.
Dependency upon government is a disease. Once it has been caught, it becomes chronic and does not reverse itself in a population until the system collapses under its own weight.
For many years, frustrated colleagues of mine who are either conservative or libertarian have posed the rhetorical question, “When will those liberals learn?” Surely, at some point (they reason), liberals will recognise that bailouts, entitlements, and a “planned” society simply do not work. It’s not even a question of whether liberalism is a laudable concept. The problem is that it just… doesn’t… work.
Of course, my colleagues are correct in their appraisal of the liberal concept. Unfortunately, they are gravely mistaken in their belief that there comes a point at which the liberal “bubble” pops and suddenly all liberals wake up and smell the coffee.
Emergency scenarios are being prepared in Sweden in case of power cuts. The Scandinavian country has had a dry and windless summer, which has resulted in less electricity being produced from renewable energy, while its nuclear power plants are not ready to supply consumers. Meanwhile, the economic situation is worsening as inflation skyrockets and housing costs continue to rise.
Falling energy prices, a worsening economy, and a change of government have all contributed to the declining economic situation in Sweden, according to a recent study by the Hungarian Oeconomus Economic Research Foundation. Consumer inflation hit an all-time high in August, reaching 9.8 percent, the highest in 30 years. The biggest increases were in housing and transport costs.
The analysis points out that, unlike Hungary, Sweden did not seek to compensate energy and fuel prices, but cut taxes; however, this did not live up to expectations. The Swedish government expects the economy to slow further next year, with industrial production possibly stagnating.
The Ukrainian government is prepared to give the Joe Biden administration virtual control over its selection of Russian targets. Kiev made the proposal in a bid to receive longer-range weapons from the White House, according to multiple sources speaking with CNN.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will provide a full list of possible targets while allowing the White House to veto any of the potential sites. Kiev is hoping the increased transparency will pave the path to Biden authorizing more weapons transfers. Zelensky made the offer to Washington to alleviate concerns in the Biden administration that new weapons will be used to target Russian territory.
Judge Joshua H. Roberts of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas issued a permanent injunction (pdf) against the ban and permanently enjoined the city against enforcing the directive.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, signed an executive order (pdf) in September banning firearms in all city-owned recreational facilities, stating that it was “crucial to take steps” to ensure that the city’s recreational facilities are “a safe place for children and all of the Philadelphia community to gather.”
The US Army along with all other branches of the armed forced (except the Air Force) have continued to fall short of recruitment goals this year. The Army reports a loss of over 15,000 new troops so far in 2022, while the US Marine Corp, Navy and Air Force are entering the next fiscal year with far less locked in recruits than normal.
Questions are rising about the reasons behind the steep decline in recruitment, with many suggesting that the “end” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have reduced interest in service.
The real reasons are rather plain to see, however, as the Pentagon and the US government shifts their political rhetoric to the extreme left.
For decades, the military has been comprised of 70% conservative/independent troops with views ranging from middle-of-the-road and libertarian to religious Republican. The vast majority of soldiers are not progressive and do not vote Democrat. That said, from 2021 onward there has been a change in the way recruits relate politically to the armed forces, perhaps because there has been a change in the way the military advertises.
The US Army in particular is famous now for one of the worst recruitment campaigns in military history; going full woke last year with a series of cartoon ads that promoted woke politics and targeted the tiny LGBT segment of the population.
“You could have a Chinese company on the moon in the 2030s claiming territory with a resource on it in the same way the Chinese have claimed the entire South China Sea,” warned Malcolm Davis, a space policy researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report released on May 17.
In “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “Buck Rogers,” “Flash Gordon,” and other science-fiction movies, space weapons are laser cannons, ion guns, blasters, and phasers that shoot impressive rays of light energy and blow up whatever they hit.
However, the reality of space wars is “low-moving rendezvous robot satellites, ground-based electronic jammers, and cyber weapons and lasers designed to disable satellites without producing space debris,” according to a January 2022 report by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
Unlike the movies, much of the threat in space will come from the ground through terrestrial control centers issuing orders to space-based assets. It will probably not entail battles between government spacecraft, but utility hardware, owned and operated by private companies with peaceful missions. A debris-clearing satellite, the property of a company in Palo Alto or Shenzhen, might be commanded from Earth to damage, defuel, or disrupt the trajectory or operation of a satellite from another country. Rather than firing an ion cannon, a Chinese space asset could disable a U.S. or Japanese satellite, making it difficult for allied militaries on Earth to navigate or fire effectively. And the defense against these attacks would be to use “bodyguard” satellites to push the offenders away gently.
The video below is of a fantastic speech that was given by new (incoming) Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni to the World Congress of Families in 2019.
In my opinion, the importance of this speech is that it really puts the lie to the mainstream media storyline that Meloni and her Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) are fascists. The words I am speaking in the video are an English translation of her words, and although I endorse many aspects of her platform, the views being presented are not necessarily mine. In particular, I agree with many of the points which she made (particularly about personal responsibility as well as the importance of family and children), but not all.