"In 1960, the USSR accused the U.S. of running an aerial spying program over its territory. Our government denied it to the American people, only admitting it when confronted with the captured U-2 pilot Gary Powers. Americans were genuinely shocked that their government would lie to them. Today the lying has become so routine that people are no longer shocked. There can be no true democracy when government manipulates the people with spin, hype, propaganda, phony 'leaks,' and outright lies." -- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was accused of blackmailing the American people on Monday by claiming that if the $118 billion Israel-Ukraine aid bill is not passed then US troops could be sent to fight on the frontlines "in Eastern Europe."

"We're at a turning point in America. This bill is crucial and history will look back on it and say did America fail itself," Schumer told Morning Joe. 

"If we don't aid Ukraine, Putin will be walk all over Ukraine, we will lose the war and we could be fighting in eastern Europe and a NATO ally in a few years," he added. "Americans won't like that."

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The Biden administration continues to deny any connections between the war in Gaza and the ongoing conflicts involving U.S. forces in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

The White House’s position that these are all unrelated conflicts that are just cropping up at the same time can’t be squared with the evidence showing that the war in Gaza has fueled regional instability and violence, including the recent drone attack by an Iraqi militia that killed three American service members and injured more than 40 at a base in Jordan earlier this week.

As much as the administration might want to keep the conflict confined to Gaza, the truth is that it has spread to several other countries. It is a disservice to the American people and to American military personnel to pretend that U.S. support for the war in Gaza hasn’t already had serious negative consequences for regional stability and for American forces in the region when it clearly has.

When he was asked about this “same, larger conflict” at a press conference on Wednesday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby dismissed any link between Gaza and the U.S. fight with the Houthis or the back-and-forth strikes between local militias and U.S. forces.

“I absolutely don’t agree with your description of the same, larger conflict. There’s a conflict going on between Israel and Hamas…and we’re going to make sure that we continue to get Israel the support that they need to defend themselves against this still viable threat,” Kirby said. “There were attacks on our troops and facilities in Iraq and Syria well before the seventh of October, certainly in the last administration as well. As for the Houthis, they can claim all they want that this is linked to Gaza, but two-thirds of the ships that they’re hitting have no connection to Israel whatsoever. So it’s just not true, it’s a falsehood.”

Kirby’s answer is misleading and false. The umbrella group in Iraq that claimed responsibility for the attack in Jordan, the Islamic Resistance of Iraq, explicitly stated that its attack was connected to the war in Gaza. The Houthi leadership has been emphatic that their attacks will continue for as long as the war does. The decision of other actors to jump on a cause’s bandwagon may be cynical or not, but there is no denying that they have jumped on the bandwagon

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I have relatives who are still in northern Gaza – months after Israel ordered all its inhabitants to leave their homes.

One of my cousins told me his entire life now revolves around surviving another day – or even another hour.

“Here in the north, bombardment and destruction became the new normal. Nowhere is safe,” he said in a desperate tone.

On 19 December, Israel committed a massacre in al-Nazla, the neighborhood where he lived.

“Israel killed more than 100 people, but there is no one to cover what is happening,” he added.

The day after, Israel bombed two houses opposite his house.

“Thank God, no one was killed,” he said, referring to that particular incident.

On 23 December, Israeli forces launched a land invasion in his area, leaving behind more mass destruction.

“Our family’s house, my grandfather’s house, my uncle’s house, and nearly 20 other homes in our street alone were flattened to the ground.”

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Even the US business magazine Forbes expressed surprise at the reimposition of US sanctions on Venezuela’s gold sales and its threat to do the same with oil. The oil sanctions especially, if reinstated, would precipitate higher gas prices and further debilitate the Venezuelan economy, forcing more people to leave the country out of economic necessity. 

The Venezuelan government, for its part, has not been contrite. Vice President Delcy Rodríguez protested “the wrong step of intensifying economic aggression against Venezuela.” She warned that if Washington takes the threatened measures, Venezuela will cancel repatriation flights returning Venezuelan immigrants back from the US.

Is Biden shooting himself in the foot in an election year with major vulnerabilities from inflation and unpopular immigration? The New Times describes these weaknesses as a “major crisis” for the incumbent US president. Adding to the Democrats’ woes, many Venezuelans in the US – driven here by sanctions – support Republicans

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The Biden administration is trying everything to better the situation for the Israeli government except by withdrawing its financial and munition support which are the only two measures that could bring Israel to its senses.

There are now several small wars in the Middle East which may soon accumulate into a big one. Israel is fighting Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. It is fighting a silent resistance in the West Bank. On its norther borders it is involved in daily clashes with Hizbullah and various Palestinian resistance groups.

Israel is also bombing Syria and killing Iranian envoys to that country. Iraqi and Syrian resistance groups are attacking U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. is bombing these groups for more or less therapeutic purposes while trying to not hurt them too much. In the Red Sea the Ansarullah government of Yemen is blocking sea traffic related to Israel, the U.S. and UK. The U.S. and UK are bombing Ansarullah positions even as they know that no amount of bombing will change its position.

People in other Arab countries, while seemingly calm, are enraged over Israel's genocidal behavior in Gaza. Their leaders try to keep their distances from the wars but at some point may well be forced to take sides in it.

Meanwhile the U.S., the alleged superpower, is hapless and helplessly trying to achieve results that are way beyond its abilities.

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If even one United States-linked bomb hits Iranian soil in the coming days, Tehran is promising to retaliate against American military targets all throughout the Middle East.

As the world waits to see how President Biden responds to the killing of three U.S. soldiers by Iranian-backed militias in Jordan, Iran is drawing a red line that it is ordering the West not to cross, or else.

Biden says he has already decided what Iran’s punishment will be, but has not yet publicly disclosed what it is. This came after numerous meetings between Biden and military and national security advisers who presented him with a range of potential options that include:

  • Striking Iranian assets in the Persian Gulf
  • Targeting Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq
  • Launching a cyberattack
  • Launching strikes on Iranian territory to take out commanders and key military sites
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[The War on Drugs is now widely recognized as a failed public policy that has resulted in mass incarceration and the over-militarization of American police forces. This article provides a historical lens on that failure, going back to the time when Bill Clinton, a key architect of the modern War on Drugs with Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden, was governor of Arkansas.—Editors]

Jean Duffey is a kindly 76-year-old grandmother living in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, who has a story to tell that is fit for a John Le Carré spy novel or John Grisham crime caper.

The story begins in 1990 when as a 43-year-old deputy prosecutor in Saline County, Arkansas, just north of the capital, Little Rock, Duffey was asked by Prosecutor Dan Harmon and his assistant, Richard Garrett, both Democrats, to head a drug task force for Saline, Hot Springs and Benton counties.

Very quickly, as she told CovertAction Magazine in an exclusive interview, the task force began to unearth evidence exposing deeply rooted, drug-related corruption that went all the way up to Harmon’s office and that resulted in the cover-up of murder.

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Several rights experts have warned that Israel is working to create a buffer zone along the borders of the Gaza Strip, warning that the move would amount to a war crime.

The experts made the remarks on Sunday, saying the Israeli regime has systematically destroyed buildings in the besieged enclave amid its ongoing aggression.

They also stressed that displacement of Gazans including from the border area could breach the laws of war.

Adi Ben Nun, a professor at the Hebrew University of al-Quds who has carried out an analysis of satellite imagery, said since the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas carried out a surprise attack against the occupying entity in early October, Israeli forces have targeted structures in Gaza within a kilometer (0.6 miles) of the border.

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 Elnur Beisenbaev, an MP of the ruling Amanat Party in Kazakhstan, said the government was pandering to paedophiles for failing to insist on 'surgical castration'. 

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A Maryland woman got an email thanking her for the purchase of a new phone at Verizon. Minutes later, her contact information at Bank of America had changed.

The problem? She didn't do either transaction and had two-factor authentication on her accounts. We all know criminals have multiple ways to steal your identity, but 7News is sending out a warning.

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Parts of Pennsyvania's Courts' website went down on Sunday due to a denial of service cyberattack, according to 6ABC.

PA Systems like PACFile, the use of online docket sheets, PAePay, and the Guardianship Tracking System were all affected, the report says. 

"At this time, there is no indication that any court data was compromised, and the courts will remain open and accessible to the public," the court said in an obligatorily reassuring sounding statement over the week. 

As 6ABC noted, a denial of service attacks works by flooding a network with traffic until a server is either unusable or crashes altogether. 

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A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature on Monday would bar state agencies from celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month or displaying rainbow Pride flags on state property at anytime of year. 

Oklahoma’s “Patriotism Not Pride Act,” introduced by Republican state Rep. Kevin West, would prohibit state agencies from using public funds to “develop, organize, administer, engage in, promote, or endorse any activity, including any event, initiative, official communication, social media post, educational program, or public campaign, that aims to promote or recognize Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Pride Month or any event with a similar theme.”

If enacted, the bill would trigger an immediate state of emergency “necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety” and would also ban any flag “that represents sexual orientation or gender identity” on state property or grounds.

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Prisoners in the US are part of a hidden workforce linked to hundreds of popular food brands

A hidden path to America’s dinner tables begins here, at an unlikely source – a former Southern slave plantation that is now the country’s largest maximum-security prison.

Unmarked trucks packed with prison-raised cattle roll out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where men are sentenced to hard labor and forced to work, for pennies an hour or sometimes nothing at all. After rumbling down a country road to an auction house, the cows are bought by a local rancher and then followed by The Associated Press another 600 miles to a Texas slaughterhouse that feeds into the supply chains of giants like McDonald’s, Walmart and Cargill.

Intricate, invisible webs, just like this one, link some of the world’s largest food companies and most popular brands to jobs performed by U.S. prisoners nationwide, according to a sweeping two-year AP investigation into prison labor that tied hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of agricultural products to goods sold on the open market.

They are among America’s most vulnerable laborers. If they refuse to work, some can jeopardize their chances of parole or face punishment like being sent to solitary confinement. They also are often excluded from protections guaranteed to almost all other full-time workers, even when they are seriously injured or killed on the job.

The goods these prisoners produce wind up in the supply chains of a dizzying array of products found in most American kitchens, from Frosted Flakes cereal and Ball Park hot dogs to Gold Medal flour, Coca-Cola and Riceland rice. They are on the shelves of virtually every supermarket in the country, including Kroger, Target, Aldi and Whole Foods. And some goods are exported, including to countries that have had products blocked from entering the U.S. for using forced or prison labor.

Many of the companies buying directly from prisons are violating their own policies against the use of such labor. But it’s completely legal, dating back largely to the need for labor to help rebuild the South’s shattered economy after the Civil War. Enshrined in the Constitution by the 13th Amendment, slavery and involuntary servitude are banned – except as punishment for a crime.

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From today, millions of UK customers will see ads at the beginning, end, and even during their favourite shows and movies.

And the only way to avoid these frustrating interruptions is to pay an additional fee of £2.99 per month.

On social media, many frustrated Amazon subscribers have slammed the streaming service as 'greedy'.

Some have even threatened to cancel their accounts over the change, with one writing: 'I'm definitely going to make sure this is the last month with Amazon'. 

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City leaders claim the asylum crisis is causing NYC to run out of money, however the city’s comptroller who oversees spending says thats not the case… plus the Mayor recently rolled back some of the cuts to police/sanitation. Whats really going on here?

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U.S. manufacturers are recovering from an extended slump in activity and their energy consumption is about to start rising, with the risk of tightening an already tight diesel market.

Reuters market analyst John Kemp reported the index for manufacturing activity had improved to 49.1 for January from 47.1 in December. The latter figure was the highest since October 2022, Kemp noted in his report, adding that the trend signaled a return to growth.

As manufacturing activity improves, however, diesel demand begins to increase in lockstep. This might be problematic in case of a fast recovery because distillate inventories in the U.S. remain below the five-year average, by 5%, per the latest weekly petroleum report of the Energy Information Administration.

The state of distillate inventories, with the total as of January 26 standing at 10 million barrels below the 10-year seasonal average, per Kemp, is better than it was in late 2023. At that time, distillate stocks were 19 million barrels below the 10-year average. Even with the boost in stockpiles, the distillate supply balance remains elusive.

This means that if manufacturing activity continues to improve, it will soon enough lead to higher fuel prices, which would in turn pressure that same manufacturing activity before too long, constraining any growth.

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Politicians love to talk.

It’s a big part of the job. You talk in legislatures. You talk at committees. You talk to voters. You talk to reporters. If you’re lucky, you’re asked to talk on TV, the radio, or other popular platforms.

Politicians crave the attention. It’s validating. It means that you’re important. You’re a somebody with important things to say. You’re noticed. People listen.

Politicians know that the bigger their job, the more careful they have to be when they’re talking to an audience – however small or large. That’s especially true if you’re a cabinet minister or a “leader”. Too much unscripted talking can be dangerous.

So, more often than not, what politicians say while they’re talking is forgettable or worse, meaningless. They have to stick to their talking points. They adore cliché.

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Conservatives have attacked a provision of the new border security bill that would only allow legal challenges to be made in Washington D.C.

The bill would strip the power of Texas and other states to challenge some of the its provisions in their local federal court.

Conservative commentators were quick to denounce the provision, contained on page 221 of the bill. Bill Shipley, who was a federal prosecutor for over 20 years, decried the its court provisions on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.

"This would prevent plaintiffs - like the State of Texas - from filing suit in Texas federal courts. This is corrupt," he wrote.

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