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"Beliefs are chains used to hold free minds in slavery. No chains of steel ever bound a human tighter than the chains made of beliefs." -- Michael Rivero
The debt ceiling deal reached by the Republican leadership and the administration is far from perfect in the eyes of anyone who cares about runaway government spending (which is the only government spending we know of). But it appears House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to block, at least for a year, the hiring of a field army of IRS soldiers. Like a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, it’s a good start, though there’s still a long way to go.
Among the hundreds of sections in the 99-page bill, No. 251 is “Rescission of certain balances made available to the Internal Revenue Service.” More specifically, the legislation, if passed and signed as is, cuts almost $1.4 billion “of the unobligated balances of amounts appropriated or otherwise made available for activities of the Internal Revenue Service” through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration had obtained an additional $80 billion for the IRS, more than six times its current annual budget. Funding for enforcement was to increase by 69% through fiscal 2031. Such a “generous injection of other people’s money” would mean, according to the Washington Free Beacon, that the IRS will “employ more bureaucrats than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined.”
The expansion will now be delayed for at least one fiscal year.
Of course hiring 87,000 new IRS agents, as the Biden administration hopes to, would do nothing to reduce inflation. It would, however, give the federal government greater power over a citizenry it wants so desperately to control. The FBI can arrest Americans, the intelligence communities can spy on us, but it’s the IRS that can, and does, terrify and ruin.
Members of the House’s most far-right contingent, the House Freedom Caucus, were under the impression that they were driving the debt ceiling process. It was, after all, their radical plan that passed the chamber last month, and McCarthy reportedly told this faction that he’d fight to secure their regressive priorities.
As the Fiscal Responsibility Act advances, and the Freedom Caucus realizes that practically all of its goals were discarded during the bipartisan negotiations, these House Republicans are not content to simply vote against the bill. Politico reported yesterday:
Conservative angst over the debt deal is threatening to trigger Kevin McCarthy’s biggest fear — a push to oust him from the speakership. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) on Tuesday became the first House conservative to explicitly state he is considering a push to strip McCarthy of the gavel over his recent deal with President Joe Biden.
North Korea's Kim Yo Jong, leader Kim Jong Un's sister, said her country would soon put a military spy satellite into orbit and promised Pyongyang would increase its military surveillance capabilities, state media KCNA reported on Thursday.
The remarks by Kim, a powerful ruling party official, came a day after a failed attempt at launching the country's first spy satellite, which plunged into sea.
Kim rejected condemnation of the launch by Washington and other countries as an infringement of its sovereign right to space development.
"It is certain that (North Korea's) military reconnaissance satellite will be correctly put on space orbit in the near future and start its mission," Kim said in an English-language statement carried by KCNA.
The Nebraska Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill that would create the first school choice program in the state’s history. Gov. Jim Pillen, R-NE, is expected to sign the bill into law.
LB753, also known as the “Opportunity Scholarship Act,” would “create a $100 million tax credit scholarship program” primarily serving “students from lower-income families, students with special needs, students who experience bullying, students from military families, students in foster care, and students who are denied option enrollment into a non-zone public school,” the American Federation for Children reported.
The average scholarship amount would be capped at around $9,200. Families in the lowest income brackets would have first priority.
The bill passed by a vote of 33 to 11. Of the 11 votes in opposition, ten were from Democrats and one from socialist independent Megan Hunt. Three Democrats, Sens. Mike McDonnell, Terrell McKinney, and Justin Wayne, joined Republicans in voting for the bill, while three other Democrats and two Republicans did not vote.
Update (2300ET): Hours after the House passed the debt ceiling bill, Axios reports that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gave Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) secret concessions to boost spending on Democratic districts in the form of "community project funding" in exchange for their votes earlier this evening, according to two senior lawmakers.
Will gold rescue Zimbabwe from the ashes of economic despair and usher in a new economic era?
Since Zimbabwe declared independence from the former Republic of Rhodesia in 1980, the southern African country has been ravaged by inflation and overall economic turmoil. Over the past 40 years, the annual inflation rate has only touched single-digit territory twice: 1980 (7 percent) and 1988 (7 percent).
Excessive money printing, fiscal mismanagement, economic sanctions, and currency instability have been the root causes of its perpetual financial crisis, resulting in political and social upheaval.
In 2008, Zimbabwe was given the unfortunate record of the highest inflation rate in the world, touching 250 million percent. This forced then-President Robert Mugabe and his government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar and begin relying on nine foreign currencies, particularly the U.S. dollar and the South African rand. In 2019, Harare introduced a new Zimbabwean currency, but it did not take long for the revival of hyperinflation, with the inflation rate surpassing 600 percent by March 2020.
The precise question one needs to ask is: What the hell is continuing to unfold in South Africa? An economic crisis is worsening, and extended rolling blackouts have been the norm over the last several months, but in the last week, multiple major railways have ground to a halt due to rampant theft of power cables.
Bloomberg said a 535-mile rail line used to haul iron ore and manganese from Kumba Iron Ore Ltd.'s giant Sishen mine in the Northern Cape province to west coast ports was paralyzed on Tuesday after criminal organized gangs stole power cables used to power electric locomotives.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy isn’t the only one demanding more military assistance from Joe Biden to protect Kiev from Russian forces. So, too, is a close Biden friend and financial backer, who owns several luxury car dealerships around the Ukrainian capital.
By sending billions of dollars in weapons and other military aid to help defend Ukraine, Biden also is securing the investments of millionaire car magnate John Hynansky, a Ukrainian American and longtime supporter of the president.
Over the course of Biden’s political career, Hynansky and his family have contributed more than $100,000 to his campaigns, Federal Election Commission records show. Hynansky family members have been guests at the White House, and Hynansky has floated hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to Biden family members, property records show. Hynansky’s son, Michael, who helps run his car empire, lent the use of his Lear jet to Biden when he was a senator.
Since Russia started shelling the area around Kiev in February 2022, the U.S. government has spent $77 billion to help Ukraine rebuild and repel future attacks.
Government ethics watchdogs say the president’s friendship poses a potential conflict of interest that demands a full accounting of how the massive foreign aid, which includes open-ended humanitarian and economic assistance, has been used and who has benefited from it. On the military side, moreover, billions of dollars have gone to unspecified areas, such as “security,” “intelligence,” and “training.” In the past, Hynansky has supplied the police cars and ambulances in several regions of Ukraine.
Kevin Morris is a globalist Hollywood super lawyer with a history of donating large sums of money to Democrats and Democrat operations before his special relationship with Hunter Biden. Morris also loves donating money to RINO groups. Morris donated $50,000 to Americans Keeping Country First, an organization that supports pro-Trump impeachment “Republicans.”
Morris first became close with Hunter Biden when he helped finish Hunter’s memoir for him. Their relationship has only grown from there.
California will send $95 million to flood victims in a long-awaited program to assist undocumented residents suffering hardship and damage from the recent months of storms.
The money will be available in many affected counties starting in June, according to the state’s Department of Social Services.
The announcement comes two months after Gov. Gavin Newsom promised flood victims that help would come from the state’s Rapid Response Fund. Since then his office provided few details despite repeated queries and criticism.
Nearly 10,000 photos from first son Hunter Biden's laptop are available to the public through a website that launched Thursday.
Former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler, the founder of the nonprofit research group Marco Polo, said his team took months to review thousands of photos dating from 2008 to 2019 before publishing them Thursday on BidenLaptopMedia.com.
"It's taken us a couple of months to, one, go through the photos, about 10,000 of them, and redact the genitalia on the photos," Ziegler told Fox News Digital.
"The number one thing we're about … is truth and transparency," he also said. "If the American people want to know what their first family is like, they're going to get it. And we're not going to be taking out photos that paint the Bidens in a good light."
Key members of Congress in the House and Senate are urging FBI Director Christopher Wray to turn over unclassified records "alleging a criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national."
So far, Wray has balked, in defiance of a Congressional subpoena, even though the public owns the records, and the public and Congress have the right to see them.
A whistleblower brought the existence of the documents to the attention of Congress. Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a statement saying Wray has confirmed the documents exist and are real.
In 2012, the House voted 255-67 to hold Obama Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents related to the Justice Department's Fast and Furious scandal, uncovered by my reporting at CBS News. It was the first time Congress took that action against a sitting Cabinet official.
After years of belligerent moves aimed at undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity virtually everywhere, be it Hong Kong, Xinjiang, South/East Sea China or Taiwan, the United States is showing no signs of ever stopping with its aggression against Beijing. As if billions of dollars worth of weapons earmarked for China’s breakaway island province weren’t bad enough, including at least 400 anti-ship missiles and the latest F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets, reports now indicate that Taipei and Washington DC are in talks about Taiwan gaining the protection of the US nuclear umbrella in a similar manner to Japan and South Korea.
According to RealClearDefense, citing local sources, Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu announced that the island is in talks with Washington DC about possibly being brought under the US nuclear umbrella. RealClearDefense warns that the move would likely be seen by Beijing as a clear escalation and would likely greatly increase the potential for a future war with China. This assessment can only be considered an understatement, as the Asian giant is essentially guaranteed to respond directly to such escalation. Being under the American nuclear umbrella entails several key changes that would be absolutely unacceptable to China and would certainly provoke an adequate reaction.
The Taipei Times reported that local defense experts find this a “positive for Taiwan”. On May 23, Institute for National Defense and Security research fellow Su Tzu-yun stated:
“Taiwan’s national security doctrine explicitly rejects the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, despite the nation facing the threat of such weapons being used against it. The extension of an ally’s nuclear umbrella over Taiwan would be significantly beneficial to Taiwan’s security.”
Manufacturers of 'forever chemicals' tried to cover up the dangers they posed for more than 30 years, a new report claims.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who reviewed dozens of company documents, found executives were first alerted to the health risks in 1961, but scientists said that they failed to raise the alarm until the 1990s.
Internal documents revealed chemical manufacturers DuPont and 3M were facing studies warning the chemicals, dubbed per- and polyFluorinated Substances (PFAS), could cause liver enlargement, poisonings and birth defects in children.
But the executives were alleged to have sat on the evidence and allow the chemicals to continue to be used in pots and pans, carpets, children's toys and even period underwear. They are used in paints and fabrics to make items non-stick or waterproof.
The FBI will allow leaders of the Oversight Committee to view the FD-1023 form they say proves President Biden was involved in a $5 million criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national.
The internal unclassified FD-1023 form apparently details an 'arrangement' for an exchange of money for policy decisions, the Republicans have said and issued a subpoena for last month.
Oversight Chair James Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke with FBI Director Christopher Wray by phone on Wednesday and Wray offered to let Comer and ranking member Jamie Raskin view the documents at the FBI headquarters in an attempt to stave off Comer's threat to hold Wray in contempt of Congress.
But Comer was left unsatisfied, and has said he will proceed with holding Wray in contempt if he does not hand over the document to the full committee.
Retail giant Target's market value plummeted on Wednesday by $13 billion as shares dropped by for the ninth consecutive day by a further 2.14 percent.
It comes as the chain seeks to recover from backlash against its female swimwear range which gives adult wearers the option to 'tuck' male genitalia.
The company's market value had been $74 billion - with shares trading at $160.96 - as of May 17. But stock fell later that week when it made 'adjustments' to its Pride merchandising plans, including removing displays 'that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior' at some of its stores, said CEO Brian Cornell in a statement last week.
Some Southern stores were forced to move merchandise - many of which were designed by Erik Carnell, a transgender man and self-proclaimed Satanist - to the back of stores.
President Biden’s decision last month to help Ukraine obtain F-16 fighter jets marked another crossing of a Russian red line that Vladimir Putin has said would transform the war and draw Washington and Moscow into direct conflict.
Despite the Russian leader’s apocalyptic warnings, the United States has gradually agreed to expand Ukraine’s arsenal with Javelin and Stinger missiles, HIMARS rocket launchers, advanced missile defense systems, drones, helicopters, M1 Abrams tanks and, soon, fourth-generation fighter jets.
A key reason for brushing aside Putin’s threats, U.S. officials say, is a dynamic that has held since the opening days of the war: Russia’s president has not followed through on promises to punish the West for providing weapons to Ukraine. His bluffing has given U.S. and European leaders some confidence they can continue doing so without severe consequences — but to what extent remains one of the conflict’s most dangerous uncertainties.
The U.S. and European allies urged caution on whether Ukraine should have the right to strike inside Russia, amid concerns that a potential escalation could drag them into a broader war.
Countries supporting Ukraine are taking varying stances on how it should beat back Moscow’s invasion, as Russian territory is increasingly targeted. The U.S. has publicly leaned against the strategy of attacks within Russia.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told reporters in Estonia this week that Ukraine “has the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia’s ability to project force into Ukraine itself.” Cleverly, who said he wasn’t commenting on Tuesday’s drone strikes on Moscow, added that “legitimate military targets beyond its own border are part of Ukraine’s self-defense.”
But other allies are more cautious. While France backs Ukraine’s right to defend itself, French military support should not be used to attack Russia, a French official said. The official added that if Ukraine wants to do more with its own forces, it’s not France’s place to dictate to Kyiv how to conduct this war.
Chinese researchers are claiming that the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, could be demolished with absolute certainty using hypersonic missiles.
The researchers conducted a war game simulation, which showcased China’s military sinking the carrier fleet by launching a relentless onslaught of 24 hypersonic anti-ship missiles across 20 intense battles. Their findings challenge the previously held notion that the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier fleet is invulnerable to conventional weapons.
The simulation unfolded in the disputed South China Sea, where the US vessels persisted in approaching an island claimed by China, despite repeated warnings. Chinese researchers demonstrated the long-range capabilities of their hypersonic missiles by launching some from distant locations like the Gobi Desert. The outcome of the simulation was bleak for the US, as nearly every surface vessel was shattered and ultimately sank under the devastating attack.
The probability of a 'Terminator scenario' caused by artificial intelligence (AI) is 'close to zero', a University of Oxford professor has said.
Sandra Wachter, professor of technology and regulation, called a letter released by the San Francisco-based Centre for AI Safety – which warned that the technology could wipe out humanity – a 'publicity stunt'.
The letter, which claims the risks should be treated with the same urgency as pandemics or nuclear war, was signed by dozens of experts, including AI pioneers.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak retweeted the Centre for AI Safety's statement on Wednesday, saying the Government is 'looking very carefully' at it.
Professor Wachter said the risk raised in the letter is a 'science fiction fantasy' and compared it to the film The Terminator.
Embattled JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon has hinted at a potential run for office, and has already gained the support of at least one fellow Wall Street boss.
'I love my country, and maybe one day I'll serve my country in one capacity or another,' the 67-year-old CEO told Bloomberg Television from JP Morgan Chase's annual Global China Summit in Shanghai on Wednesday.
'Everyone knows I am a patriot,' he added. 'I am a red-blooded, full-throated, free-enterprise capitalist.'
Dimon has repeatedly denied that he is considering a run for president and said he plans to stay at the bank for five more years.
The billionaire's remarks have now set off a fervor on Wall Street, with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman tweeting a lengthy endorsement for Dimon to take on President Joe Biden in a primary election.
Over $1.3 billion has been funneled abroad to China and Russia through 'pointless projects' over the last five years according to a compilation of taxpayer-funded grants uncovered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
Nonprofit transparency group Open the Books worked with Ernst to put together a new analysis of data from USAspending.gov, which found that between 2017-2022, U.S.-funded grants and contracts amounting to $490 million were paid to Chinese organizations and another $870 million was sent to entities in Russia.
According to Ernst's analysis, the U.S. handed out millions in strange 'pet projects' to its biggest adversaries.
The study found the State Department handed nearly $58.7 million to China, and used nearly $100,000 of that sum to promote 'gender equality' awareness through a series of New Yorker magazine cartoons.
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services shelled out over $770,00 to a state-run lab in Russia to put 'cats on treadmills.'
The questions had covered Ukraine, North Korea and Sudanese peace talks when one of the White House briefing room's more robust questioners hijacked proceedings on Wednesday afternoon.
After citing a secret F.B.I. file, an anonymous I.R.S. whistleblower and a Harvard-Harris poll earlier this month that found 53 percent of the public were suspicious of the first family's ties to foreign powers, The New York Post's Steven Nelson got to his question.
'So what do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the president is himself corrupt?' he asked.
'Jesus,' was White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's response, muttered off camera as she stared at her feet on the briefing room podium.