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Thought for the day
"Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible." -- George Carlin
At Russia’s request, the UN Security Council will convene a meeting on Friday to discuss the apparent attacks on the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines that caused Russian to begin pouring into the Baltic Sea.
“Russia has requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council due to subversive acts against Nord Stream’s two lines,” Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, wrote on Telegram.
Moscow has rejected claims from Ukraine and some Western officials that it was behind the attack on the pipelines that Russia has invested billions in building. Suspicion has fallen on the US for the blasts after Radek Sikorski, a Polish member of European Parliament and Russia hawk, thanked the US for the incident on Twitter.
Russia said on Wednesday that its “special military operation” in Ukraine will continue at least until it captures all of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
Donetsk is home to the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which was first established in 2014, following the US-backed coup in Kyiv. The DPR and other Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine are expected to be absorbed by Moscow after referendums that concluded on Tuesday.
“The least I can say with an absolute clarity is that you all know well that not the whole territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic has been liberated. We are speaking here about the territory within its 2014 borders,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
Not satisfied with imposing anti-free speech and potentially discriminatory rules on law schools, the American Bar Association (ABA) supports prohibiting practicing lawyers from engaging in speech that could offend someone in a favored protected group, on pain of losing their law licenses.
We’ve been covering the ABA’s advocacy for anti-free speech and discriminatory ideology. During the past year, we’ve particularly focused on ABA’s abuse of its status as law-school gatekeeper to impose wokeness on law schools. You can find our previous coverage of the ABA here:
Continuing to reel from public protests and the international rebuke for their handling of them, Iran is going down the path so many others have tried, seeking a military solution.
To that end, Iran fired artillery at Kurdish groups in the area along the Iraqi border, killing 13. The attacks centered on Koya, east of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Irbil.
While the Kurds are seemingly unrelated to this issue, Iranian officials are claiming that they are fueling the latest unrest, and suggested that they are smuggling weapons to the protesters.
Iran also sent a drone in a direction of Irbil, and with Iraq requesting US action they shot down the UAV. CENTCOM said Iran’s indiscriminate attacks were a threat to stability.
The UN envoy for Yemen on Tuesday warned of the risk of more fighting breaking out in Yemen if the warring parties don’t agree to extend the current ceasefire, which is due to expire on October 2.
Fighting has been reported on the ground, and both sides have accused the other of violating the ceasefire. But Saudi airstrikes in Yemen and Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia have not been reported for months, marking the longest period of calm since the US-backed Saudi coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015.
UN envoy Hans Grundberg made the warning after holding talks with the Saudi-backed Yemeni presidential council in Riyadh and with Houthi officials in Oman. “We are at a crossroads where the risk of a return to war is real and I am urging the parties to choose an alternative that prioritizes the needs of the Yemeni people,” he said.
"The United States strongly supports the human rights of all Iranian women, including the right to peacefully assemble and to express themselves without fear of violence," Jennifer Gavito, deputy assistant secretary for Iran and Iraq at the State Department, said during an event hosted by The Atlantic Council.
"We will continue to enforce sanctions on Iranian entities perpetrating these human rights abuses, such as those imposed last week on Iran's morality police."
Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, died in hospital earlier this month after being arrested in Tehran by the special police unit that monitors women's clothing.
Webmaster addition: This is starting to feel like a repeat of the 2009 failed US coup against Iran.
Germany's gas consumption rose too much last week to levels higher than in previous years, and without considerable gas conservation—including from households—Europe's biggest economy will find it difficult to avoid gas shortages this winter, Germany's Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said on Thursday.
Starting from today, the agency—the regulator to impose rationing in case of severe shortages—will publish weekly figures about gas consumption in Germany. Last week's consumption from businesses and households at 483 GWh/week was well above the average seen throughout the 2018 to 2021 period when it was 422 GWh/week. Last week, German gas consumption rose by 14.5 percent compared to the average of the previous years, mostly because that week was colder than comparable weeks in the past four years.
However, the savings needed to avoid gas shortages should be achieved regardless of temperatures, the German regulator said today.
Webmaster addition: What? Did they run out of books to burn?!?
Iranian oil industry contract workers have warned the government to end its crackdown on protesters or they will strike, a move that could cripple a key sector of the economy.
"We support the people's struggles against organized and everyday violence against women and against the poverty and hell that dominates the society,” the Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers said on September 26.
Iran has been roiled by unrest that has spread to more than 80 cities and towns, including in the northwest, where 22-year-old Mahsa Amini lived before eyewitnesses and family said she was beaten -- and later died -- after being seized by the morality police in Tehran on September 13.
Labor protests in Iran also have been on the rise in recent months in response to declining living standards and state support as crippling Western sanctions wrack the economy.
Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law [Getty]
Israel continued its defiance of a 2016 UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate halt to all settlement activity in lands the Palestinians want for their future state, advancing plans for construction of nearly 2,000 housing units in the last three months, the UN Mideast envoy said on Wednesday.
Tor Wennesland told the council that no progress was made by Israelis and Palestinians on other demands in the resolution - preventing all violence against civilians, refraining from acts of provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, distinguishing between Israeli territory and territories occupied since the 1967 war, and exerting “collective efforts to launch credible negotiations.”
Webmaster addition: Imagine my shock...
The elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to prime minister of Saudi Arabia, days before the Biden administration was set to decide whether to grant him immunity in the final court case over Jamal Khashoggi's murder, has been accused of being a ruse to shield the crown prince from justice.
On Tuesday, King Salman ordered a reshuffle in which the crown prince, sometimes referred to as MBS, became prime minister, a post traditionally held by the king, in a move designed to protect him from litigation, according to plaintiffs in the US lawsuit.
"There is one reason, and only one reason, MBS has now added 'prime minister' to his many unearned titles: a desperate gambit for immunity in the lawsuit we've brought for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," tweeted Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn).
Back in July, Utah County Sheriff’s office announced that County Attorney David Leavitt and his wife were subjects of a child sex abuse investigation approximately 10 years ago involving ritualistic sexual abuse. Dozens of victims stepped forward at the time to make allegations against at least 15 members of the community.
At least 10 armed groups in Colombia, including former members of the FARC rebels who reject a peace deal and the Clan del Golfo crime gang, have agreed to participate in unilateral ceasefires, the government said on Wednesday.
President Gustavo Petro, who took office in August, has promised to seek "total peace" with armed groups, fully implementing a 2016 peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and meeting with dissidents and gangs.
"Each group with its own identity, nature and motivation is expressing its disposition to be part of a total peace, in this exploration phase we've asked them not to kill, not to disappear people and not to torture," Danilo Rueda, the government's high peace commissioner, told journalists at an impromptu press conference. "We are moving ahead."
The Navy has found more traces of jet fuel in the drinking water aboard the USS Nimitz after declaring the water safe following an initial leak into the ship’s potable water supply.
The Navy said last week that “traces of jet propellant-5 (JP-5)” leaked into the drinking water supply for sailors aboard the USS Nimitz on Sept. 16 “while operating off the coast of southern California.”
The crew “immediately took action” and deemed that the water was safe to use on Sept. 19, Lt. Cmdr. Adam Demeter, spokesman for the USS Nimitz, told Task & Purpose last week.
“After conducting a thorough flush and inspection of its potable water system, fresh water has been restored to the ship,” Demeter said in a statement on Sept. 21. “The water onboard the ship is safe for use and the health and wellbeing of all of our sailors is a top priority.”
South Korea's ruling conservatives on Wednesday said they would file complaints against a major TV station after it reported on President Yoon Suk-yeol's purported use of profanity during a recent trip to the United States.
The ruling People Power Party said it would ask prosecution authorities to launch a criminal investigation into MBC TV head Park Sung-je and three others, accusing them of defaming the president.
"They intentionally spread false information and defamed the president," the party said.
The Solomon Islands has told Pacific nations invited to a White House meeting with President Joe Biden it won't sign the summit declaration, according to a note seen by Reuters, prompting concern over the islands' ties to China.
Leaders from the Pacific Island Forum bloc have been invited to the two-day White House summit starting Wednesday, at which the Biden administration seeks to compete with China for influence in the strategically important South Pacific.
The Solomon Islands, which struck a security pact with China in April, wrote to the Pacific Islands Forum and asked it to tell the other members it wouldn't sign a proposed Declaration on the U.S.-Pacific Partnership, to be discussed at the summit on Sept. 29, and needed more time for its parliament to consider the matter, according to the note dated Sunday.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s husband, Perry Greene, has filed for a divorce.
The United States said Wednesday that Greek sovereignty over two islands was not in doubt after Ankara lodged a protest over the deployment there of US armoured vehicles.
Turkey on Monday summoned the Greek ambassador and complained to the United States after releasing aerial images that it said showed ships with the US armoured vehicles docking in Lesbos and Samos.
"Greek's sovereignty over these islands is not in question," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Pennsylvania GOP Governor Candidate Doug Mastriano released a great campaign ad today. It says everything you need to know about Mastriano and what he will do on his first day on the job.
Norway will deploy its military to protect its oil and gas installations against possible sabotage after several countries said two Russian pipelines to Europe spewing gas into the Baltic had been attacked, the prime minister said on Wednesday.
Gas leaks as a result of suspected sabotage discovered on the Nord Stream pipelines on Tuesday have roiled energy markets and heightened security concerns.
Norway is now Europe's largest gas supplier and a leading global oil supplier. It has over 90 offshore oil and gas fields, most of which are connected to a network of gas pipelines stretching some 9,000 km (5,590 miles).
"The military will be more visible at Norwegian oil and gas installations," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
The Kremlin denounced allegations by Western media that it was behind the suspected explosions of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
The risk to manufacturing, agriculture and distribution sectors in Florida is rapidly intensifying as powerful Hurricane Ian takes aim at the state’s southwest coast. But the economic ripple effects are likely to be felt well beyond the storm zone.
Experts are predicting severe disruption to supply chains from flooding, power outages and wind damage that could stall factory and farm production, as well as freight movement through major port, airport, highway and rail nodes. The Tampa-to-Orlando corridor is chockablock full of huge retail and e-commerce distribution centers.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Noru is similarly upsetting supply chains in Southeast Asia as it barrels across the South China Sea toward Vietnam.
The brief post-BOE euphoria has worn off, and risk-off sentiment returned to markets as concern about inflation and the global economy overshadowed the Bank of England’s desperate attempt to restore calm by restarting QE, exacerbated by more hawkish central bank talk and defiance by British PM Liz Truss's tax plan (which has been slammed from the IMF all the way to the White House). Treasuries resumed their slide with UK gilts, while US equity futures fell as European stocks extended a selloff that’s caused valuations to drop to their lowest since 2012. As of 730am, emini S&P futures slid 0.7% to 3704, recovering from losses as big as 1.5% earlier.
The dollar rose and Treasuries resumed their slump as investors focused on expectations the Federal Reserve will continue to deliver aggressive interest-rate hikes. The pound snapped a two-day gain and UK gilt yields rose as Prime Minister Liz Truss defended a giant package of unfunded tax cuts that sent markets into turmoil.
“Other than the dollar, there are not many assets that are trading constructively,” said Julia Raiskin, Asia-Pacific head of markets for Citigroup Inc. “The markets are very pessimistic. Investors are fairly on the sidelines.”
Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin has confirmed that the U.S. was not responsible for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline explosion, because the Pentagon told her so.
Despite accusations flying that the United States could have been involved in the blasts that have reportedly could scupper the pipelines permanently, and without any investigation having taken place, Griffin’s crack journalism has solved the case.
“There is no evidence or indication the US was involved in any way with the Nordstream 2 pipeline explosions,” Griffin tweeted.
“My question at the Pentagon briefing today: Can you rule out that the U.S. was involved? Senior Military Official: ‘Yeah, we were absolutely not involved.’ ”
Reuters quoted NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, saying attacks against EU critical infrastructure would be met with a "determined response." He called the acts "sabotage. "
"All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage.
"We, as Allies, have committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors. Any deliberate attack against Allies' critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response," a statement from the North Atlantic Council (NATO) read.
The momentum of franchise success and centralization of power are fatal...
Loonshots are like moonshots, only crazier and trickier to commercialize. Author Safi Bahcall titled his book on how to nurture change-the-world innovations Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.
But as Bahcall persuasively argues, loonshot innovations aren't enough. You also need to nurture franchises that commercialize the innovations into products and services that pay the bills and fund the search for loonshot.
Bahcall identifies two kinds of loonshots: product and system. One of his examples: the 747 Jumbojet was a product innovation, the SABRE airline reservation software was a system innovation. Both are essential.
WINK-TV meteorologist Dylan Federico has broken a cardinal rule of the internet by failing to even attempt to rescue a cat that was stranded on a bench as Hurricane Ian flooded the area.
Several White House reporters on Wednesday asked Karine Jean-Pierre about Joe Biden’s confusion over late Rep. Jackie Walorski.
An 84-year-old woman was shot while campaigning against a Michigan ballot measure that would legalize abortion until birth on September 20 in Lake Odessa.
Another milestone for the extremely confused elderly citizen in the White House basement.
Analysis of Google Trends data reveals that searches for ‘real estate market crash’ exploded 284% in the United States as of September 2022 – the highest level in Google Trends history.
The analysis by the Malibu real estate experts at RubyHome reveals that search interest for ‘real estate market crash’ exploded within the past month, an unprecedented increase in Americans looking for information and prognostication about the real estate market, according to Google search data.
This comes at a time when the US housing market sees mortgage rates rising at the fastest pace in history, surging above 7% after touching 6% just two weeks ago!
Event: On September 21, the Russian government began a mobilization of its citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service.