"'Congress shall make no law respecting an institution of religion.' -- The First Amendment to the Constitution

A Nativity scene (or a Menorah for that matter) is not a law, it is a decoration. And on that basis, even though I myself am an atheist, I do not have a problem with Nativity scenes on government property, other than they are a reminder that those are the people we are bombing to steal their oil.

I do draw the line at the Ten Commandments being on display on government buildings with its prohibitions against lying, theft, and killing, as that clearly is a case of false advertising!" -- Michael Rivero

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“We can never allow ‘Warp Speed’ to ‘trump’ informed consent in this country ever again”. Governor DeSantis talking about his new legislation.

Posted on: May 25 07:47

Vanity Fair published a defamatory rant Tuesday wherein leftist polemicist Bess Levin likened Twitter CEO Elon Musk to the former head of the Ku Klux Klan.

Levin's piece, categorized as "news" on the gossip magazine's website, was entitled, "Report: Ron DeSantis Will Formally Announce His 2024 Bid With Elon Musk, Because Apparently David Duke Wasn't Available."

David Duke is a former grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan who ran for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.

The article, which served to reveal more about its author than the intended subject matter, has attracted significant criticism online.

Posted on: May 25 07:45

Fury is mounting over the revelation that the Aberystwyth Parkrun women's record is still held by a eunuch who brutally slashed and stabbed three UK Athletics staff over questions of his eligibility to compete as a female athlete.

What's the background?

Michael Jameson, who changed his name to Lauren Jeska, attempted to murder Ralph Knibbs at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium in March 2016.

According to the Guardian, at the time of the attack, Jeska's status as a female athlete was under review, as there were concerns he had a significant advantage over the real women with whom he was competing. The murderous transvestite had, after all, bested women in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 English Fell Running Champion and as well as in the British Championship in 2012.

Jeska, who did not "transition" or have his testicles removed until he was 26 years old, reportedly refused to provide relevant samples of his testosterone levels and other documentation to the governing body, prompting officials to void his race results in September 2015.

Posted on: May 25 07:33

The 2014 referendum in Crimea on whether to join Russia accurately reflected the will of the people, Marine Le Pen said on Wednesday, addressing an inquiry before the French National Assembly. The National Rally leader was appearing before a parliamentary commission investigating “Russian influence” in France, to address accusations that her party took two loans from a Russian bank.

“I fully support the referendum,” she told the lawmakers. “I think that Crimea's residents expressed their will freely by a vote, in order to reunite with Russia. I think that it was absolutely legitimate.”

Le Pen explained that she has consistently maintained her position that the peninsula was Russian long before it was “given away” to Ukraine “at the whim of a dictator” for 60 years, referring to the decision of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to redraw internal borders in 1954. The Russian Empire had acquired Crimea from the Ottomans in the 18th century.

Posted on: May 25 07:30

The US and UK should leave Iran alone, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, has said. The official also suggested that the two nations are dismayed by the success of China’s efforts to reconcile Iran and Saudi Arabia.  

Speaking on Wednesday at the International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues, Naryshkin said he would advise the “Anglo-Saxons to take care of their own internal civil conflicts. Or better yet, go to their old pal – the devil.” 

According to the official, Washington and London view the recent normalization of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a strictly negative light. He claimed that the two allies are wary that Beijing’s diplomatic activities in the region could undermine their long-term strategy to weaken the Islamic Republic.  

Posted on: May 25 07:29

The fighting between Sudan’s military and a powerful paramilitary force has displaced more than 1.3 million people, the U.N. migration agency said Wednesday.

The International Organization for Migration said the clashes have forced over 1 million people to leave their homes to safer areas inside Sudan. Some 320,000 others have fled to the neighboring countries of Egypt, South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and Libya.

The fighting erupted on April 15 after months of escalating tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces commanded by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The conflict derailed Sudanese hopes of restoring the country’s fragile transition to democracy, which was disrupted by a military coup led by the two generals in October 2021.

Posted on: May 25 07:28

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is urging African countries to abandon their stances of neutrality towards his country’s war with Russia.

Many African countries have refused to take sides in the European conflict, with several abstaining from votes at the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia’s invasion. Ethiopia is one of them.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, on Wednesday, Kuleba said Ukraine was “very upset that some African countries chose to abstain” and called them to lend Ukraine diplomatic support “in the face of Russian aggression.”

“Neutrality is not the answer,” he told reporters. “By being neutral towards Russian aggression against Ukraine, you project neutrality to the violations of borders and mass crimes that may occur very close to you.”

Posted on: May 25 07:28

More than a million Somalis have been displaced within their own country in just over four months through a "toxic" mix of drought, conflict and floods, humanitarian agencies said Wednesday.

Around 433,000 people were forced from their homes between January 1 and May 10 as a grinding Islamist insurgency raged and clashes broke out in the breakaway Somaliland region, the UN refugee agency UNHCR and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said.

in addition, "over 408,000 people were displaced by floods sweeping across their villages and another 312,000 people were displaced by ravaging drought," they said in a joint statement.

Posted on: May 25 07:27

Former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has slammed the military’s plans to set up regional commands, asking if it was preparing for a war.

Megawati, head of the Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which includes President Joko Widodo, also questioned the rationale behind the proposal announced by Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, who described the initiative as a key security strategy.

“They say that there will be one command in one region. I say, cut it off,” Megawati told an event organised by a government-run think tank founded by her father and Indonesia’s first president Sukarno.

Posted on: May 25 07:27

Russia plans to move its newest nuclear submarine to a permanent base in the Kamchatka Peninsula in August, according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, as Moscow steps up its military presence in the Pacific.

The Generalissimo Suvorov, which entered service at the end of 2022, carries up to 16 nuclear-tipped Russian Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, each of which can carry more than one nuclear warhead.

Webmaster addition: The Bulava carries six warheads of 150 kilotons each.

Posted on: May 25 07:24

Lotifi Hassan Misto was going about his business herding sheep in Syria’s Idlib province May 18 when a US drone strike blew him to smithereens.

Pentagon officials immediately trumpeted ‘We murdered an al-Qaeda leader bent on terrorizing the homeland’. That could well have been a recorded response that has been played hundreds, maybe thousands of times since the War of Terror began 22 years ago this September.

But the Pentagon fable quickly fell apart when family members came forward to defend Misto and were backed up by terrorism experts. They told the Washington Post Misto was likely not affiliated with al-Qaeda.

A Pentagon official offered an ‘oops’ stating “We are no longer confident we killed a senior AQ official. But another official claimed the person they killed was al-Qaeda without offering an iota of evidence. “Though we believe the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda.” With that the Pentagon has gone silent, refusing to release any details of the sheepherder killing attack.

Posted on: May 25 07:20

Argentina is in talks to renew and potentially expand its currency swap line with China, a central bank source said on Wednesday, as the South American country battles tumbling foreign reserves that threaten its ability to meet payments.

The country has free access to some $5 billion as part of the China currency swap agreement that totals 130 billion yuan ($18.81 billion). The two countries activated the usable portion in January to help bolster Argentina's embattled peso.

The government source said the central bank was "advancing towards the renewal of the swap and discussing the possibility of increasing the unrestricted amount", with the aim to have an agreement ready to sign by the end of May.

Posted on: May 25 07:19

The IRS opened an examination of journalist Matt Taibbi’s 2018 tax return on Christmas Eve of last year — three weeks after he exposed sensitive documents about government officials pressuring Twitter to censor content.

The House Judiciary Committee said Wednesday it obtained that detail and other information about the case from the IRS following the outcry over a tax agent visiting Taibbi’s home on March 9, 2022 — the same day he testified to Congress about the “Twitter Files.”

Documents provided to the committee “raise more questions than they answer,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel in a letter requesting that he make further disclosures.

The IRS told the committee it was trying to ensure the reporter wasn’t the victim of identity fraud, Jordan wrote.

Posted on: May 25 07:18

In the aftermath of the first round of elections in Turkiye, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech on 23 May where he vowed that the opposition will be “erased from politics,” in what was seen as a threat to his main rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

“We will attack the polls on May 28 … opposition leaders will be erased from politics,” Erdogan said at a rally of his supporters in Malatya ahead of the runoff election scheduled for this coming Sunday.

At the start of the month, Erdogan’s government launched a crackdown on politicians, journalists, lawyers, and activists affiliated with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who have endorsed Kilicdaroglu.

Erdogan’s latest remarks come two days after the formal endorsement of Erdogan by Sinan Ogan, an ultranationalist third-place contender in the elections. With Erdogan already in the lead in the first round, it is expected that Ogan’s endorsement has pushed the president further up in the race.

Posted on: May 25 07:17

Israeli occupation forces blocked all the entrances of  Al-Mugayyier village, to the east of Ramallah,  for the 12th day in a row, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Local sources told WAFA that Israeli forces continued to block the main entrances of the village, preventing the villagers from entering and leaving it and forcing them to take long detours to reach their destination.

Posted on: May 25 07:16

Germany’s Commerzbank AG has suspended its correspondent banking relations with at least three Lebanese financial institutions citing a “lack of profitability,” according to unnamed banking sources that spoke with Lebanese daily L’Orient-Le Jour.

But despite the claims made by the German bank, experts believe this is a “pretext” and say the decision is more likely a result of Lebanon’s possible grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) over money laundering concerns and the issuance of a red notice by Interpol against Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh.

Speaking to Al Akhbar, monetary advisor Ghassan Shammas also revealed that banks in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and the rest of the Scandinavian countries have adopted a “de-risking policy to end or reduce their dealings with Lebanese commercial banks.”

While the “de-risking” policy is usually adopted as a precautionary measure by banks over poor profitability or money laundering concerns, fears are mounting that this could snowball into a complete severance of relations by western banks given the complete inaction of Lebanon’s political class to address the dire economic crisis.

Posted on: May 25 07:15

Israel's public prosecution announced that it would oppose the early release of long-term Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa on the grounds that he suffers from terminal cancer.

Daqqa, who has been detained since 1986, was diagnosed with a rare type of bone marrow cancer several months ago and has been in and out of hospitals due to successive health setbacks.

Israel's Prison Service's (IPS) medical administration said after diagnosing him that "his days are numbered and there is an immediate risk to his life".

Sana Salama, Daqqa's wife, told Middle East Eye that the 60-year-old prisoner is currently in intensive care receiving intensive antibiotics to treat a new lung infection.

Posted on: May 25 07:14

The head of a new US State Department unit tasked to coordinate efforts aimed at countering Beijing reportedly plans to step down next month, the department’s second high-ranking official with a China portfolio to announce a departure in less than two weeks.

Rick Waters, head of the State Department’s recently created Office of China Coordination, and known informally as its “China House”, will leave the position just six months after it was established to manage what Secretary of State Antony Blinken called “the scale and the scope of the challenge” posed by the country.

“Secretary Blinken has benefited tremendously from Rick’s expertise on China and Taiwan over the past two years and is grateful for his work establishing China House,” Bloomberg cited State Department spokesman Matthew Miller as saying, without giving a reason for the departure.

Posted on: May 25 07:14

Just when one is tempted to conclude that Ukraine’s sycophantic backers in the West can’t embrace policies that are more detached from reality, leading figures in that faction manage to plumb new depths of absurdity. The latest example is a May 22 Wall Street Journal op-ed by Bernard-Henri Lévy. He fumes that one of Vladimir Putin’s chief weapons in his war against Ukraine “is Russia’s status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which entails the power to block any resolution. It’s a legacy of World War II and the decision to reserve this status to the five victors, including the Soviet Union.”

But “the Soviet Union no longer exists,” Lévy emphasizes. Consequently “Russia’s permanent membership and the veto power it confers have no legal basis.” After delineating Russia’s “war crimes” since 1991 (real or exaggerated) while ignoring similar international behavior by the United States and its European allies, Lévy finally comes to the meat of his proposal. “Ukraine can and should inherit the rights of a fallen Russia. Remove the Russian Federation from its seat as a permanent member and transfer it to Ukraine.”

Posted on: May 25 07:12

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky made an unexpected trip to Britain last week on a whistle-stop tour of European capitals, pleading for more powerful and longer-range weapons to use in his war against Russia. 

What was hard to ignore once again was the extent to which the UK is playing an outsize role in Ukraine.

Last year, shortly after the start of the war, the then-prime minister, Boris Johnson, hurried to Kyiv – presumably on Washington’s instructions – apparently to warn Zelensky off fledgling peace talks with Moscow. 

At around the same time, the Biden administration made clear it favored an escalation in fighting, not an end to it, as an opportunity to “weaken” Russia, a geo-strategic rival along with China.

Since then, the UK has been at the forefront of European efforts to entrench the conflict, helping to lobby for the supply of weapons, training and military intelligence to Ukrainian forces.   

Posted on: May 25 07:11

The United States is widely monitoring one of the western regions of Iraq's Al-Anbar to build its second military base in the province after the Ain Al-Assad base, an Iraqi security source revealed, as cited by local media outlets.

The media suggested that the US chose Al-Jazira area to construct its military bases due to its large oil and gas fields, as well as other mines.

According to the reports, the area is one of Iraq's completely safe regions and has not witnessed any attacks for a long time.

Informed Iraqi sources had previously revealed that the US occupation forces are not planning to withdraw from Iraq and are attempting to expand the Ain Al-Assad base by obtaining lands around it.

Tags: IRAQ
Posted on: May 25 07:09

US Central Command claimed they killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in a May 3 drone strike when announcing it on Twitter even though they had no confirmation of who died, CNN reported Tuesday.

The victim of the drone strike turned out to be 56-year-old Lotfi Hassan Misto, a father of 10 who was killed while herding his sheep in the Idlib countryside. Relatives and neighbors said he had no affiliation with al-Qaeda, and terrorism experts told The Washington Post there was no evidence that he did.

The announcement made by CENTCOM on Twitter said: “At 11:42 am local Syrian time on 3 May, US Central Command Forces conducted a unilateral strike in Northwest Syria targeting a senior Al Qaeda leader. We will provide more information as operational details become available.”

Unnamed Pentagon officials told CNN that the announcement was ordered by Gen. Erik Kurilla, the commander of CENTCOM. One official said Kurilla’s subordinates urged him to hold off on the tweet until they knew who they killed, although two other officials denied that happened.

Posted on: May 25 07:07

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Wednesday that cooperation between Russia and China has reached an “unprecedented high” due to pressure both nations are facing from the West.

“Today, relations between Russia and China are at an unprecedented high level,” Mishustin said in talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing.

“They are characterized by mutual respect of each other’s interests, the desire to jointly respond to challenges, which is associated with increased turbulence in the international arena and the pattern of sensational pressure from the collective West,” Mishustin.

Posted on: May 25 07:06

Biden administration officials have said that the US is looking into reports of US military equipment being used in a cross-border raid that was launched from Ukraine into Russia’s Belgorod region.

Both Russia and the militias that launched the attack said US armored vehicles were used in the raid. But the Biden administration is claiming the reports aren’t confirmed.

“We are looking into those reports, but as I’ve said, we have not yet reached any conclusions about them,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a press briefing on Wednesday. Miller refused to say what potential consequences there would be for Ukraine if US equipment were used in the attack or if there would be any at all.

Posted on: May 25 07:05

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is aiming to strike a deal soon with the White House on raising the debt ceiling, he indicated to reporters Wednesday afternoon.

McCarthy said staff planned to meet at the White House “to try to finish up the negotiations” between House Republicans and President Joe Biden that day and made clear that spending cuts remain a condition of any debt ceiling hike.

The speaker also caveated that “there’s a number of places that we are still far apart.”

House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act in April, which would raise the debt ceiling through early next year while drastically reducing spending. The bill’s provisions include blocking Biden’s student loan bailout, rescinding recent funding to the IRS, repealing climate-related parts of the Inflation Reduction Act, and expanding work requirements for welfare recipients.

The cuts are meant to help rein in government spending that, according to Republicans, has driven growth of the national debt, which stands at $31 trillion.

Posted on: May 25 07:04

Republicans in the House are rallying behind Speaker Kevin McCarthy in his negotiations with President Joe Biden over the debt ceiling, as conservative leaders are circulating a memo encouraging McCarthy to “hold the line” on critically important spending reforms as the essential core of any deal with the White House.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) – a leading House conservative – circulated a memo to his GOP colleagues on Wednesday outlining the popularity of the major spending reforms in Speaker McCarthy’s debt ceiling plan, undoing the attempted gaslighting of congressional Republicans by sharing the polling data associated with key spending reductions showing that a majority of Americans support lowering spending to 2022 levels or below.

Conservative leaders nationwide reviewing that material are now circulating a memo of their own showcasing the highlights of that “Dear Colleague” congressional memo, gathering signatures from policy and opinion leaders nationwide to reinforce the GOP’s confidence in both chambers that the majority of Americans stand with them on these demands for fiscal sanity, with a final memo to be released late Wednesday.

Posted on: May 25 07:04

The Ukrainian intelligence service says it’s attempting to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin. A high-ranking official admitted to actively plotting the Russian leader’s assassination after a recent drone attack on the Kremlin. 

“Putin is noticing that we are getting closer and closer to him,” Vadym Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate, told Welt in an interview. He added, Putin is number one on the kill list “because he coordinates and decides what happens.”

The Ukrainian intelligence official claimed his agency had failed to kill Putin because he “stays holed up.” Skibitsky suggested another attempt could be made soon as the Russian leader “is now beginning to stick his head out.”  

Ukrainian officials have admitted to previously attempting to kill Putin. Last year, Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda claimed, “There was an attempt to assassinate Putin…[It was an] Absolutely unsuccessful attempt, but it really happened… It was about [March 2022].”

Webmaster addition: The risk in assassinating Putin is that his replacement may be more hard-line and ready to escalate the war! Putin has shown remarkable restraint so far. I don't think that should be messed with!

Posted on: May 25 07:00

This is par for the course for the FBI, whose modus operandi has historically been to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” perceived threats to the government’s power.

Indeed, the FBI has a long history of persecuting, prosecuting and generally harassing activists, politicians, and cultural figures.

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, the FBI’s targets were civil rights activists, those suspected of having Communist ties, and anti-war activists. In more recent decades, the FBI has expanded its reach to target so-called domestic extremists, environmental activists, and those who oppose the police state.

In 2019, President Trump promised to give the FBI “whatever they need” to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism, without any apparent thought for the Constitution’s prohibitions on such overreach.

That misguided pledge sheds a curious light on the FBI’s ongoing spree of SWAT team raids, surveillance, disinformation campaigns, fear-mongering, paranoia, and strong-arm tactics meted out to dissidents on both the right and the left.

Posted on: May 25 06:59

There were in fact two main U.S. provocations.

The first was the U.S. intention to expand NATO to Ukraine and Georgia in order to surround Russia in the Black Sea region by NATO countries (Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria Turkey, and Georgia, in counterclockwise order).

The second was the U.S. role in installing a Russophobic regime in Ukraine by the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, in February 2014. The shooting war in Ukraine began with Yanukovych’s overthrow nine years ago, not in February 2022 as the U.S. government, NATO, and the G7 leaders would have us believe. 

Posted on: May 25 06:58