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Thought for the day
"Arms are the only true badges of liberty. The possession of arms is the distinction of a free man from a slave." -- Andrew Fletcher 1698
In recent years, governments have been demonstrating their subservience to their billionaire masters in Big Finance, the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, BlackRock and the entire gamut of forces in the military-financial-industrial complex behind the ‘Great Reset’, ‘New Normal’ or whichever other benign-sounding term is used to disguise the crisis and current restructuring of capitalism and the brutal impacts on ordinary people.
In late 2019 and early 2020 (due to collapsing financial markets immediately prior to COVID) and during COVID (via COVID-relief packages), trillions of dollars were handed over to elite interests while lockdowns and restrictions were imposed on ordinary people and small businesses. The winners were the likes of Amazon, Big Pharma and the tech giants. The losers were small enterprises and the bulk of the population, deprived of their right to work and the entire panoply of civil rights their ancestors struggled for.
Because of the recent failures of Russian forces in the Kharkiv direction, Ukraine’s constant attacks on militia’s positions in the Donetsk People’s Republic, and the ongoing military assistance from Western countries to Kiev, Putin has no choice but to declare mobilization.
Despite the expected increase in discontent among part of the population with the need to take part in this war, even in Ukraine they are forced to admit that the situation may change drastically in the very near future. Ukrainian telegram channels publish videos of large queues of people who came to the military registration and enlistment offices after receiving summonses. The few stories about men allegedly being illegally arrested in broad daylight on the streets of Russian cities turned out to be fake.
In the Belgorod region, whose residents are regularly subjected to shelling from Ukraine, the turnout at the commissariats exceeded 80 percent in the first days of the mobilization. Volunteers, who have been helping the military since the early days of the war by purchasing and delivering everything they need, come to the assembly points themselves and share their impressions: there is a fighting spirit and no panic. There are also volunteers who came without any summons.
The federal government drastically overestimates income inequality in the United States by failing to account for certain welfare programs and income taxes on the wealthiest earners, according to a study released on Tuesday by the Cato Institute.
After more than fifty years in Washington, how is it possible that President Joe Biden still does not understand Iran’s terrorist leaders?
Why did Biden support President Barack Obama giving upwards of $150 billion in sanctions relief to the Iranian regime in 2015 in return for a nuclear deal that did not require Tehran to dismantle – must less destroy – its illegal nuclear program?
Why did Biden enthusiastically stand by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when everyone knew that the Iranian leadership couldn’t be trusted, had a history of cheating on nuclear agreements, were certain to cheat on this new one, and were certain to use that new funding to support anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Arab terrorist groups, from Hezbollah to Hamas to the Houthis?
Webmaster addition: The US is not supposed to interfere with the business of the Unites Nations!
A California high school with a “Social Justice Academy” is suffering in more traditional subjects like math, where students are getting dismal scores.
Some residents of California are slated to receive inflation relief checks of more than $1,000 in the coming weeks.
During remarks on Wednesday, the civilian head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) slammed China as a "challenge" to the alliance. In an interview with Reuters, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Beijing’s support for the war in Ukraine, its opposition to NATO expansion, and its territorial claims justify the alliance assigning China this label.
Largely in response to Washington’s increasing hostility, Moscow and Beijing have strengthened their ties for well over a decade. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, China and Russia carried out several rounds of military exercises. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met several times since the war began, reaffirming the two Asian powers’ growing ties.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid met Jordan’s King Abdullah II on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday, and afterward issued a statement that this represented a strengthening of Israeli-Jordanian ties.
That’s the good news.
Relations with Jordan are strategically important for both Israel and Jordan, and meetings such as these can only help improve communications and foster closer ties. It is good that ties with Amman, which suffered under Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure, are being strengthened. That is to be applauded.
White House officials have considered trying to get World Bank President David Malpass fired for not pursuing climate change policies with sufficient zeal, according to a Friday report from Axios.
Project Veritas was ordered to pay $120,000 to a Democrat consulting firm this week after a jury found the organization guilty on charges of breaking federal and Washington, D.C., wiretapping laws and fraudulent misrepresentation.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has been accused of threatening Italy as polls continue to predict a victory for the centre-right coalition of Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI), Matteo Salvini’s League, and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.
President Von der Leyen spoke on Thursday on a trip to the United States just days ahead of Italy’s national election on Sunday, saying: “My approach is that whatever democratic government is willing to work with us, we’re working together,” but added: “If things go in a difficult direction, I’ve spoken about Hungary and Poland, we have tools.”
League leader Matteo Salvini reacted with anger to the statement, saying the statement sounded like a threat: “These are disgusting words, the threatening tone is unacceptable,” he said, accusing the EU Commission chief of making an attempt to influence or even blackmail Italian voters, Il Giornale reports.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recently published its new Standards of Care guidelines, with a controversial chapter that seeks to include “eunuch” as part of the “transgender umbrella.” WPATH held a live-streamed session with two of the major contributors of the eunuch chapter at their annual conference on Tuesday.
Turkeys are selling for record high prices ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday as a resurgence of bird flu wipes out supplies across the US.
Avian influenza is devastating egg and turkey operations in the heartland of the country. If just one bird gets it, the entire flock is culled in order to stop the spread. Millions of hens and turkeys have been killed in recent weeks. As a result, prices for turkey hens are nearly 30% higher than a year ago and 80% above pre-pandemic costs. Just as concerning are inventories of whole turkeys, which are the lowest going into the US winter holiday season since 2006. That means there will be little relief from inflation for Thanksgiving dinner.
“There’s nothing appearing on the horizon to suggest anything new is going to surface to help ease the supply-side pain for Thanksgiving turkeys,” said Russ Whitman, senior vice president at commodity researcher Urner Barry. The new bird flu cases “are troubling and involve turkey meat birds, which will without doubt firm up an already firm scenario,” namely that there may be shortfalls during the holidays.
Webmaster addition: Phase 1 of a biological WW3?
The United Nations has been indifferent to Ukrainian attacks on the Donetsk People’s Republic as it voted Saturday on whether it should join Russia, an Italian observer from a UN-recognized nonprofit said.
“Unfortunately, we see that the UN is asleep. Not only when it comes to Donbass but also to other countries in a similar situation. The UN has not been reacting,” Vito Grittani told reporters in Donetsk.
Grittani heads the International Diplomatic Observatory (ODI-VG), which has consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council. He said shelling by Ukrainian troops has been going on “despite them knowing that people are voting.”
“We will report about this in our home countries,” he said, adding that Italian observers had also received threats and “recommendations” not to go to the polls.
Powerful storm Fiona slammed into eastern Canada on Saturday with hurricane-force winds - nearly a week after devastating parts of the Caribbean - as hundreds of thousands are without power in one of the strongest storms ever to hit the country.
The National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm, now called Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona after being downgraded from a hurricane, was crossing eastern Nova Scotia, bringing high winds - some the level of a Category 1 hurricane - and heavy rains.
The storm had weakened somewhat as it travelled north. As of 5 a.m., the storm was about 160 miles northeast of Halifax, carrying maximum winds of 90 miles per hour and barreling north at around 26 mph, the NHC said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message of greetings to participants, hosts and guests of an international forum on Christianity in the Caucasus marking the 1,100th anniversary of the Christianization of Alania, according to a telegram published on the Kremlin website on Saturday.
"Christianity was a powerful constructive and consolidating force for the peoples of ancient Alania that had a huge impact on the development of national script and habits and made a major contribution to the formation of high spiritual and moral ideals and values, which are carefully passed from generation to generation," Putin said in his telegram.
According to Putin, people of some 200 nationalities have inhabited Russia for centuries. "Their language and religion as well as economic structure have been our common property and have contributed to the cultural and ethnical diversity and true wealth of this country of which we are sincerely proud," the Russian leader emphasized.
Throughout 2022, Wall Street has repeatedly warned investors that a recession could be on its way.
From JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to former Federal Reserve officials, the world’s top economic minds have pointed, practically in unison, to the storm of headwinds facing the global economy and expressed fears about the potential for a serious downturn.
In the U.S., consumers are grappling with near 40-year-high inflation and rising interest rates, all while the world struggles to cope with the war in Ukraine, the European energy crisis, China’s COVID-zero policies, and more.
And even after a more than 21% drop in the S&P 500 this year, Wall Street’s best minds still think stocks have further to fall.
Monday, Sept. 26
3:30 p.m. (approximately) – NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 arrival at the agency's Kennedy Space Center
4:30 p.m. (approximately) – NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Flight Readiness Review media teleconference
5:30 p.m. – Watch a live feed from NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft (Streaming on NASA TV's media channel)
6 p.m. – Live coverage begins for NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impact with the asteroid Dimorphos (Impact targeted for 7:14 p.m.)
8 p.m. – NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) post-impact press briefing
Joe and Jill Biden on Friday night hosted and delivered remarks at a musical performance by Sir Elton John on the South Lawn.
A father of seven and pro-life warrior was arrested this morning in Pennsylvania by 25-30 FBI agents for protecting his son from crude actions reportedly made against his son by an abortion escort.
For over a week now Iranian men and women have protested against the brutal regime over the death of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Iranian woman passed away after being severely beaten by Iran’s “morality” police for improper veiling.
When asked about price inflation in his Sunday interview with 60 Minutes, President Biden claimed that inflation "was up just an inch...hardly at all." Biden continued the dishonest tactic of focuses on month-to-month price inflation growth as a means of obscuring the 40-year highs in year-over-year inflation. This strategy may yet work to placate the most ignorant voters, but people who are paying attention know that price inflation continues to soar.
Thus, while Biden may be pretending that it's all no big deal, the Federal Reserve knows it better do something about price inflation which even the Fed now admits shows no signs of even moderating.
Another 75 Basis Points
On Wednesday, the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee announced that it will again raise the federal funds rate by 75 basis points. According to the FOMC's press release:
Inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher food and energy prices, and broader price pressures. ...
The Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3 to 3-1/4 percent and anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate. In addition, the Committee will continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities, as described in the Plans for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet that were issued in May. The Committee is strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2 percent objective.
We usually don’t think about the wonderful service fossil fuels provide in terms of being a store of heat energy for winter, the time when there is a greater need for heat energy. Figure 1 shows dramatically how, in the US, the residential usage of heating fuels spikes during the winter months.
Figure 1. US residential use of energy, based on EIA data. The category “Natural Gas, etc.” includes all fuels bought directly by households and burned. This is primarily natural gas, but also includes small amounts of propane and diesel burned as heating oil. Wood chips or other commercial wood purchased to be burned is also in this category.
Solar energy is most abundantly available in the May-June-July period, making it a poor candidate for fixing the problem of the need for winter heat.
In some ways, the lack of availability of fuels for winter is a canary in the coal mine regarding future energy shortages. People have been concerned about oil shortages, but winter fuel shortages are, in many ways, just as bad. They can result in people “freezing in the dark.”
In this post, I will look at some of the issues involved.
The Russian Ministry of Finance and its central bank have agreed on a draft bill allowing bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments for international trade settlements, per a report from Russian news outlet Tass.
The bill “as a whole writes out how cryptocurrency can be purchased, what can be done with it, and how cross-border settlements can or cannot be made," said Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev.
The agreement follows a previous report in which Moiseev stated it was impossible for Russia to conduct international trade without the use of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies due to current circumstances concerning sanctions.
However, the Bank of Russia still opposes the legalization of cryptocurrency exchanges and settlements in cryptocurrencies within Russia, per the report.
The central bank’s sentiment continues to illustrate the divergence of opinion between regulators and government officials in Russia.
The House of Representatives on Sept. 21 passed an election law bill designed to address President Donald Trump’s legal efforts to decertify some electoral slates in 2021.
The bill, dubbed the Presidential Election Reform Act, passed in a mostly-party line vote with a handful of GOP defections. The final vote, coming in at 229–203, included the support of 221 Democrats and nine Republicans.
During the aftermath of the 2020 election, when Trump was trying to determine how to move forward on his claims of widespread election fraud, lawyer John Eastman was among the attorneys in Trump’s inner circle who supported an effort to refuse to certify electoral slates from states where concerns of election fraud were most prevalent.