Scores of Palestinian civilians have been killed over the last few hours as Israel continues its genocidal war on the Gaza Strip for the 135th day.
Scores of civilians, including many children and women, were killed and others wounded in Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling in central Gaza.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that approximately 40 civilians were killed, while dozens sustained various injuries as Israeli forces targeted several homes in the town of Al-Zawayda, the city of Deir al-Balah, and the Nuseirat refugee camp.
In Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, at least 20 Palestinians were killed in a series of Israeli strikes that targeted civilian homes in and around the city.
A group of Israeli soldiers in the elite Givati Brigade have refused to take part in military operations in the Gaza Strip, accusing the army of neglecting their psychological and physical well-being, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
Since the Israeli army began its ground invasion of in Gaza at the end of October 2023, the Givati Brigade, which includes elite fighters, has participated in the most difficult battles in the enclave and lost many of its leaders and members, forcing the army leadership to “temporarily” withdraw them from the battlefield.
Palestinian Resistance groups have repeatedly defeated Givati and other elite forces in Gaza, pushing them to withdraw from certain areas after costing them many soldiers between dead and wounded.
Claire's Observations: Although this will get little to no mention by the US press, this is a significant development, and not a welcome one, for the IDF.
I stopped keeping track of how many new orphans I had operated on. After surgery they would be filed somewhere in the hospital, I’m unsure of who will take care of them or how they will survive. On one occasion, a handful of children, all about ages 5 to 8, were carried to the emergency room by their parents. All had single sniper shots to the head. These families were returning to their homes in Khan Yunis, about 2.5 miles away from the hospital, after Israeli tanks had withdrawn. But the snipers apparently stayed behind. None of these children survived.
On my last day, as I returned to the guest house where locals knew foreigners were staying, a young boy ran up and handed me a small gift. It was a rock from the beach, with an Arabic inscription written with a marker: “From Gaza, With Love, Despite the Pain.” As I stood on the balcony looking out at Rafah for the last time, we could hear the drones, bombings and bursts of machine-gun fire, but something was different this time: The sounds were louder, the explosions were closer.
This week, Israeli forces raided another large hospital in Gaza, and they’re planning a ground offensive in Rafah. I feel incredibly guilty that I was able to leave while millions are forced to endure the nightmare in Gaza. As an American, I think of our tax dollars paying for the weapons that likely injured my patients there. Already driven from their homes, these people have nowhere else to turn.
As U.S. House members grapple with whether to give $60 billion more to Ukraine, they must also grapple with the checkered nature of the intelligence they’ve been fed.
On July 13, 2023, President Joe Biden announced Russian President Vladimir Putin “has already lost the war.” That was six days after C.I.A. Director William Burns, normally a sane voice, had called the war a “strategic failure” for Russia with its “military weaknesses laid bare.”
Earlier, in December 2022, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines reported that the Russians were experiencing “shortages of ammunition” and were “not capable of indigenously producing what they are expending.”
We advise caution, as these same people now say that Ukraine can prevail if the U.S. provides $60 billion more. Do they think they can change geography, overcome Russian industrial might, and persuade the Russians that Ukraine should not be a core interest of theirs
Israel was behind attacks on natural gas pipelines that occurred inside Iran last week, The New York Times has reported, marking an escalation of Israel’s covert operations.
The Times report cited two unnamed Western officials and a military strategist affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). They said the attack, which hit two pipelines in the provinces of Fars and Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari, required deep knowledge of Iran’s energy infrastructure.
The Western officials said the attack was meant as a symbolic move and didn’t cause much damage, but Iranian officials said the attack caused disruptions in at least five provinces across Iran. According to the Times, energy experts estimate the sabotage knocked out about 15 percent of Iran’s daily natural gas production.
Iran has called the attack a “sabotage and terrorist” attack but has not yet blamed Israel. The military strategist affiliated with the IRGC said the Iranian government was aware that it was carried out by Israel. After previous Israeli covert attacks inside Iran, Iranian officials have usually waited a few days to assess the situation before formally blaming Israel.
Claire's Observations: It appears that Israel is "softening up" Iran's infrastructure as a prelude to a much larger attack. The question now is not if, but when.
And when this happens, how many American troops will be deployed, please?!? And do not think, for a second, that Israel hasn't asked for, and been assured by the Bidenistas, that US troops will come to their aid, for such an attack.
But there is a question I hope (and pray) is keeping US and Israeli leadership awake at night; what if Russia and China come to the aid of Iran, should such an attack happens?!?
Would we be facing World War III, and the potential for nuclear annihilation, should this happen?!?
The US is threatening to veto a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza at the UN Security Council as the US continues to provide political cover for the Israeli massacre of Palestinians.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement that if the resolution, which is being drafted by Algeria, was brought to a vote, it would not be adopted.
Thomas-Greenfield justified US opposition to a ceasefire by pointing to US efforts to push for a new hostage deal between Israel and Hamas. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vetoed hostage talks last week, and Qatar, the mediator of the negotiations, said Saturday that things were not looking “promising.”
Claire's Observations: Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, a word, please: civilized nations cannot possibly conflate alleged "self-defence" with genocide. With the the threats on this issue you have made, you have proven, incontrovertibly, that the United States of America has become one of the most uncivilized nations on the face of this planet, right behind Israel.
You understood, full well, that no hostage deal is going forward, yet lied to the UN Security Council about the state of hostage negotiations with Qatar for which the US government is allegedly " pushing"; why did you do that?!? To attempt to " justify" the unjustifiable carnage in Gaza?!?
Madam Ambassador, congratulations: you have proven yourself just another soulless party apparatchik , who has had her conscience surgically removed.
We are meant to believe that history unfolds randomly and chaotically. But, if we look closely, we can see certain repeating patterns reflecting the way in which major world events are frequently manipulated behind the scenes. As the drums of war grow louder in 2024, we present, by way of warning regarding the agenda concerned, this chapter from Paul Cudenec’s essay on the history of the corrupt Rothschild empire.
There was a period in the 19th century when the Rothschilds gained a certain reputation for defending the peace in Europe, but with hindsight this appears to have been yet more expediency on their part.
When their self-interest in the form of their investments required stability, they were against the disruption caused by war, but this was never a moral principle.
Indeed, the whole success of their dynasty was founded on the way in which they exploited the opportunities presented to them by the wars that followed the French Revolution of 1789.
Ferguson writes that “the Rothschilds were presented with undreamed-of business opportunities by the revolutionary wars”,  while Bouvier defines the Rothschilds as “that family of merchants made rich by the long European war of 1792 to 1815”. 
According to historian Egon Caesar Corti, “it was in the profits made from war at that time that we can find the real origins of the subsequent enormous fortune of the House of Rothschild”. 
The Rothschilds made money out of war in a range of different ways, not all of which were entirely legal. “The disruption of established patterns of trade and banking created room for ambitious risk takers”, as Ferguson puts it.
In the aftermath of the recent Bitcoin ETF approvals, BlackRock’s Larry Fink revealed that soon everything will be “ETF’d” and tokenized, threatening to fractionalize not just existing assets and commodities, but the natural world, reducing most living things into Wall Street financial products to be traded on a single, universal ledger.
Just one day after the January 11 approval of 11 Bitcoin spot ETFs – including BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) – by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, BlackRock Chair and CEO Larry Fink sat down with Bloomberg’s David Westin to discuss the implications of the world’s largest asset manager entering the Bitcoin market.
Not one to mince words, Fink articulated a clear framework for his company’s approach to Bitcoin, and furthermore for BlackRock’s intention to replicate similar ETF products for other assets. “If we can ‘ETF’ a Bitcoin, imagine what we can do with all financial instruments.” Fink continued, speaking about Bitcoin itself, stating “I don’t believe it’s ever going to be a currency. I believe it’s an asset class.”
Tuesday, February 21 is the big day and 'moment of truth' for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his legal team. That is when two high court judges in London will hear arguments on whether Assange can appeal a ruling to extradite him to the United States, where he would most certainly spend the rest of his life in prison, likely in a harsh 'supermax' federal facility. The hearing is scheduled through Wednesday.
Stella Assange, his wife, has warned that if the judges rule against Assange, he could be on a plane to US soil in a matter of days. He would be removed from the high security Belmarsh prison for a trial in the US on espionage-related charges and publishing state secrets, where a 175 year jail sentence would await him.
Claire's Observations: Please remember; nothing ever published in Wikileaks.com, was ever proven incorrect; Assange's "unpardonable sin", in the minds of the Elites, was that he embarrassed them, by saying "the quiet part out loud." about what they were doing, which meant that this country, and the entire world, knew what they were doing.
If Assange is convicted and jailed, it is the end of any pretense of free speech in the US., and there should be memorial services held, nation-wide, for the death of honest journalism immediately thereafter.
Right now, to the US Deep State, Assange is, a "Live Liability"; and that "Deep State" hates Live Liabilities with an almost unimaginable passion. If he is convicted and jailed in the US, I would not bet against an alleged "suicide" here, to finish him off, courtesy of that same Deep State.
In a world of populist policies, the notion of taxing billionaires to alleviate the financial burdens of the middle class stands as a tempting narrative. Advocates tout it as the quintessential solution to income inequality, promising a redistribution of wealth that lifts the masses from their fiscal woes. However, this narrative, so alluring in its simplicity, crumbles upon closer examination, revealing a multitude of complexities and pitfalls that belie its benefits.
Central to the fallacy of taxing billionaires lies a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics of government spending and deficits. Proponents of this approach often overlook the inconvenient truth that as most governments increase spending even when tax receipts rise, deficits soar to unprecedented heights, burdening future generations with a mountain of debt and always increasing taxes for the middle class.
Taxing the rich is the door that leads to more taxes for all of us. The case of the United States is evident. No tax revenue measure is going to wipe out an annual two trillion dollar deficit. Therefore, the government announces a large tax hike for the wealthy and disguises it with more taxes for everybody and higher inflation, which is a hidden tax
San Francisco’s Elections Commission has, for what is believed to be a first time in history, appointed a non-U.S. citizen, who isn’t legally allowed to vote, to serve as an official.
The officer, Kelly Wong, was sworn in on Wednesday, according to local news outlet KQED. It reported that Ms. Wong, an immigrant rights advocate, is a native of Hong Kong who arrived in the United States in 2019 for graduate studies.
She was sworn in by Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin during a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall after winning unanimous support from the board.
“This appointment is a milestone for all immigrant and marginalized communities throughout SF,” Ms. Wong said in a LinkedIn post on Thursday. “Representation matters: thousands of immigrants living in the city hold stakes in politics and there’s no better way to have us be represented than to serve in leadership positions.”
“I am deeply committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of immigration status, has a seat at the table in shaping the future of our city.”
The appointment of a non-citizen to city boards, commissions, and advisory bodies was made possible in a 2020 vote, which saw voters pass the proposal by lawmakers to remove the standing requirement that candidates seeking office hold U.S. citizenship.
Claire's Observations: As wonderful as this lady may be, this appointment sets a very dangerous precedent for this country; why was there no US-born candidate considered for this job, and did they even have a chance at getting it, considering the City's eagerness to appoint a non-US citizen?!?
Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong is predicting political turmoil, civilian unrest, war and a big economic downturn in 2024 in a new report called“The Year from Political Hell.”
It’s not just a US election year, but it is an election year for more than half of the world. This is a global phenomenon which no one can be sure of the outcome.
Armstrong explains, “This is not just the United States election. This is what you hear on the news locally..."
" However, step outside this country, and, for example, Indonesia just voted in a leftist government. You have the EU going for elections. You have on May 2nd all the local elections in Britain. You have Russian elections on May 7th. 60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out. I mean it’s all over the place.”
On the war front, get ready for more mass killing, and don’t be surprised if it goes nuclear. Armstrong predicts,
“There will be nuclear weapons. The neocons keep telling people on Capitol Hill that Russia would never use a nuke because they know we would use them back. That is nonsense! If you are about ready to conquer somebody, and this is all they’ve got left, they are pushing the button...
These people, all they want is war. They don’t care. They really do not care. They don’t care about the economy. They don’t care about anything.”
Armstrong says the coming war will make the economy “crash in 2024” as people get scared, spend a lot less and save a lot more. Armstrong says,
“What we are looking at is a contraction in spending because of uncertainty.
This is what these neocons are creating, and they don’t want to listen to anybody, and it is just their agenda, and they don’t care what happens to the country...
We are looking for a contraction of 12% to 18%. GDP is not going to be rising, but you are going to find inflation still rising.”
Armstrong also says to look for “a rebellion in government debt” as people lose faith in governments around the world. This rebellion in government issued debt will include US Treasuries, according to Armstrong. This means interest rates will continue to trend upward and not downward.
On volatility in the markets, Armstrong predicts, “Look for volatility to start around July, and there may be some false flags too.”
Armstrong continues to say Trump is still looking like he can “win in a landslide in 2024,” but expect the Deep State to pull every dirty trick in the book to keep him out of office.
“If Trump gets back in power, they are all fired. . . . They know they are losing power. Instead of reforming and doing the right thing, they clamp down and they think they can retain power by pressing us even more. Sorry, but that’s what creates revolution.”
In closing, Armstrong says, “Pretty much everything is going wrong for the Deep State. . . . confidence in government has collapsed everywhere.”
This is what makes the Deep State Dems, RINOs and Neocons very dangerous
Claire's Observations: When someone like Armstrong is making predictions like these, the American people need to listen, because this gentleman has an annoying habit of being right, and is no fear-monger.
I would love to list a litany of facts to prove Armstrong wrong right now, but I cannot.
Please: food; water; medicines; and the development of a small local social network you can trust, are all key and critical right now.
We have previously discussed the increasingly aggressive role of the White House Counsel’s Office (WHCO) in defending President Joe Biden, including spreading disinformation about various investigations. WHCO spokesman Ian Sams has taken the lead in attacking critics and denying facts related to corruption and other allegations.
Sams is not a lawyer. He is a political operative who has worked extensively for Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee, including a stint with Hillary Clinton. He was recently accused by the former head of the WHCA (and my former student) Jon Decker of giving false statements concerning the Special Counsel’s report.
There have been previous controversiesover instructions given to the media by the White House. While the media has often been accused of maintaining a largely unified front protecting the President, actual memos directing their responses insulted many in the media. That is just not how this is done. You have to maintain certain proprieties and appearances.
Indeed, when the President recently snapped at a reporter by saying “that is not the judgment of the press,” it seemed to say the quiet part out loud in the ability of the White House to dictate coverage.
Democratic Socialist Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) encouraged Democrats to "vote uncommitted" in the Feb. 27 presidential primary due to the Biden administration's handling of the conflict in the Gaza strip.
An "uncommitted" vote is a form of protest designed to send a message.
"Right now, we feel completely neglected and just unseen by our government," Tlaib said in a video to Michigan residents filmed outside of a civic center in Dearborn. "If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote uncommitted."
On Wednesday, Tlaib was the only member of Congress to vote against a resolution condemning Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack on Israel. In her message, she said she wants voters to "support life" and "stand up for every single life killed in Gaza."
"It is important, as you all know, to not only march against the genocide, not only make sure that we’re calling our members of Congress and local electeds," said Tlaib, who in November accused Biden of supporting "genocide" in Gaza
Claire's Observations: I intently disagree with Tlaib's having voted against the resolution condemning Hamas for the October 7th attack on Israel. This was slaughter, pure and simple, and no civilized group or nation has a right to slaughter the innocent.
Having said that, although I find Tlaib's campaign Quixotic in the extreme here, understanding the degree to which the US government has been compromised by Israel, and disagreeing with her on nearly every other stand she has taken during her tenure in Congress, I sincerely believe that she has got this one point right. By providing the bombs and bullets enabling Israeli genocide in Gaza, the US government is complicit in this genocide.
And through our silence as citizens of this country, we are also complicit in this genocide.
This is why, as an American who does care greatly about the future of this country, I cannot, and will not, be silent. No principled country in the world can conflate "self defense" with" genocide", which is precisely the stance the Israeli government has taken here.
Rahm Emanuel, a US Dementocrat political "fixer" had the following wonderful turn of phrase: "Never let a serious crisis go to waste". Netanyahu has his own problems with his coming corruption trial, and is using this crisis to attempt to "bob and weave" out of his court troubles, even though he may well be courting World War III with his actions.
But I am certain that he is happy, understanding his place in Israeli history has already been permanently cemented, as "The Butcher of Gaza", who turned his country into "The Assassination Nation" of the Middle East.
During a recent appearance on MSNBC, a black activist lawyer suggested that crime in the United States could be completely eliminated if all crime was just legalized.
The comments were made by Ben Crump, who specializes in civil rights cases and was the attorney for the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.
“We can get rid of all the crime in America overnight, just like that,” Crump told his fellow guests, one of whom was civil rights activist Al Sharpton.
“And people ask ‘how attorney Crump?’ – change the definition of crime.”
“Of course!” responded another guest.
“If you get to define what conduct is gonna be made criminal, you can predict who the criminals are gonna be,” added Crump.
Another guest responded by saying that suggested all black people were criminals by their nature.
“They made the laws to criminalize our culture – black culture,” responded Crump.
Respondents on X asserted that Crump was essentially acknowledging someone he probably didn’t intend to.
Claire's Observations: One of the respondents on X made the comment, "Criminal behaviour in America is just black culture?!? Wow,I did not know that!!" And I must honestly confess, neither did I. For Crump to have "gone there" in a public interview, is one hell of a smack in the face to any law abiding Black person in this country; but will any Black activist call him out on this statement?!? I am watching/listening for this to happen, And I am hoping like heck, that it will. But right now, I am not seeing/hearing any public challenges to these statements.
In 2023, the world experienced another wave of science and technology (S&T) innovation, from the introduction of the first over-the-counter birth control pill in the U.S. to the stunning growth of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence.
This map, via Visual Capitalist's Niccolo Conte, explores the world’s top 50 science and technology hubs leading these innovations based on data from the Global Innovation Index 2023. Hubs were ranked by their combined share of international patent applications and scientific publications
East Asia Dominance in S&T
The world’s five most significant science and technology hubs are in East Asia.
The top-ranked Tokyo-Yokohama cluster made up just over 10% of all patent applications between 2018-2022.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) asked Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, whether the FDA is conducting active surveillance and if there are any specific health markers they’re studying that may signal trends requiring further inquiry.
“Every time we go through and do the safety surveillance, we start back, and it goes back to 2020. In some cases where we’re looking for certain things, we might use a different window, but indeed, we have to look from the beginning of the period of surveillance. I can turn it over to Dr. Jernigan because he can speak for CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] in that regard,” Dr. Marks said.
“So with regard to myocarditis, we certainly have been monitoring the issue with various different data systems. I think the most recent data really demonstrates that you’re about eight times less likely to get myocarditis if you’re vaccinated compared to those that are unvaccinated,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC responded.
Rep. Malliotakis told Jernigan she wanted to know about “everything,” not just myocarditis.
Dr. Jerrigan asked her to repeat the question, and she asked again whether the FDA was conducting extended safety surveillance on early recipients of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Most of the reports that we get of adverse events are in the few weeks following the vaccination,” Jernigan said. In terms of monitoring these over time, Jernigan said the agency has “vaccine effectiveness” systems in place at the CDC.
Neither Jernigan nor Marks referenced any active surveillance initiatives being undertaken by their agencies to monitor people who received the original COVID-19 vaccines for long-term health effects.
“There is no system in place for long-term vaccine safety surveillance in this country,” Ms. Liz Willner, founder of OpenVAERS, told The Epoch Times.
Claire's Observations: I would really love to know from where, precisely, Dr. Jernigan gets the data about people being 8 times less likely to suffer myocarditis, post-vaccination; this is very cold comfort to the families of people who died of myocarditis, post vaccination, or who were injured for life, post-vaccination.
News of Alexei Navalny's death in a Russian prison prompted a lot of dishonest and bad takes. Let's cut through the propaganda by highlighting some of the best and most informative takes on this news. Following that, we'll close with a brief hedged investing update.
Did Putin Have Navalny Killed?
Possibly, but given current information, Navalny's death seems similar to that of Gonzalo Lira: both regime opponents in ill health who likely received poor treatment in prison (though as Zero Hedge noted, Biden is making hay of Navalny's death while he said nothing about Lira's). As our friend Sergei Witte pointed out, Navalny's health had been weakened by a hunger strike.