"Americans deserve the freedom to choose a life without surveillance and the government regulation that would make that possible. While we continue to believe the sentiment, we fear it may soon be obsolete or irrelevant. We deserve that freedom, but the window to achieve it narrows a little more each day. If we don't act now, with great urgency, it may very well close for good." -- Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times
The United States is planning to slap new sanctions on Russia and China on Friday for alleged human rights abuses and Beijing’s support of supposed illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing officials familiar with the matter.
According to the newspaper, the assets of high-profile government and military officials as well as business leaders allegedly accused of corruption and human rights violations will be frozen in the United States under the planned action. The sanctioned individuals will also be banned from entering the US and doing business with them will be prohibited.
Also, the new restrictions may hamper international travel and financing for the affected government officials and businessmen, the WSJ writes. According to it, the Biden administration also intends to levy sanctions on several Russian defense companies and the country’s Central Election Commission.
Ukrainian culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko has issued a new demand to the West to halt performances of Russian music, Russian ballet and boycott other forms of Russian culture, arguing Ukraine is in a “civilizational battle.”
Culture Minister Tkachenko argued that Russia was engaging in a cultural war as well as a physical war against his country, claiming that the Russian armed forces have destroyed 800 objects from monuments to works of art and museums.
In an opinion article for the Guardian newspaper, Tkachenko wrote, “Russian culture has been used by members of the Kremlin to justify their terrible war,” and claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Russia and Ukraine are “one nation.”
“Boycotting Russian culture is an important step. We’re not talking about cancelling Tchaikovsky, but rather about pausing performances of his works until Russia ceases its bloody invasion,” Tkachenko said and added that Ukrainian cultural venues have already banned Russian works.
After just within the past week China's government dramatically pivoted from its ultra-harsh 'zero Covid' policy - a policy which had triggered unprecedented widespread protests against communist authorities and health officials as in some instances they barricaded whole neighborhoods into strictly controlled quarantine zones - toward what appears a full embrace of a more lax 'Swedish model' type approach, national health authorities are prepping the population for the coming Covid wave, which could impact an estimated 80 to 90% of the Chinese population, according to a fresh projection by Feng Zijian, a former deputy chief at China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It’s going to be inevitable for most of us to get infected once, regardless of how the Covid-fighting measures are adjusted," Feng said Tuesday during a virtual conference discussing the zero Covid offramp at Tsinghua University in Beijing. As a senior health official, Feng is part of the central government's task force in implementing new policies which has moved away from the 'one size fits all' mentality that guided Beijing's health response since the pandemic began.
Webmaster addition: So they will have natural immunity, whish works far better than the "vaccine." So the lockdowns can end.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday admitted that her participation in the Minsk Agreements between Ukraine and Russia in 2014 and 2015, was a deliberate deception; designed only to "buy time" for Ukraine to build its army for war with Russia. A war that is now presently taking place.
All this was PLANNED . . .
It is widely known that so-called "Conspiracy Theorists" believe almost all of the things going on politically in the world are "theater." They claim that the upheaval, dislocation, troubles are "all planned" long in advance. Most folks discount such claims as being too fantastic to believe, yet now we have actual proof that the present Ukraine-Russia war, was, in fact, planned as far back as 2014. All the troubles we have today from that war . . . were, in fact, planned.
In public remarks this week, Angela Merkel quite casually revealed that the Minsk Agreements of 2014 and 2015 were not signed with the intention of achieving lasting peace. Instead, they were signed, according to Merkel, "to buy time" for Ukraine during which it would strengthen for new conflicts with Russia.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, a few days before signing the Treaty on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in 1991, adopted a document according to which Kyiv was losing Crimea and western territories.
Federal officials forgave $809 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans handed out during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to more than 100 of the nation’s top law firms and another $635 million given to hundreds of elite accounting offices, according to a new analysis of government spending to be made public on Dec. 2.
As described by the Department of Treasury, the PPP was established in 2020 to provide “small businesses with the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead.”
The program was administered by the federal Small Business Administration, which made $787 billion in federal loans to companies and firms spanning all industries. The vast majority of the “loans” were subsequently turned into grants, which didn’t require repayment.
An investigation by Open the Books found that hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars went to top law and accounting firms even though most of them didn’t qualify as small businesses and didn’t have to lay off employees.
Open the Books is a nonprofit watchdog that uses public information laws such as the federal Freedom of Information Act to make government spending public, including “every dime online, in real time.”
The Epoch Times obtained an advance copy of the investigative report.
A Texas federal judge has ordered Southwest Airlines to reinstate Charlene Carter, the flight attendant who made headlines after a jury ruled that she was unlawfully fired for expressing pro-life views and for criticizing her union.
In a decision filed on Dec. 5, five months after a jury decided in Carter’s favor, Judge Brantley Starr remarked, “Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case.”
Starr granted Carter $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from Southwest; $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from the flight attendants’ union, Transport Workers Union of America Local 556; $150,000 in back pay, and $60,180.82 in prejudgment interest.
Although the jury voted that Carter deserved more than $5 million, laws and rules limit the amount that can be awarded in such cases.
“The jury also awarded front [or future] pay, but Carter would rather have her job back,” the judge wrote. “The Court reinstates Carter to her former position … If the Court opted for front pay over reinstatement, the court would complete Southwest’s unlawful scheme. Reinstatement is appropriate.”
Leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, roughly 95% of commercial office space was occupied across the United States, according to US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) – a nonprofit, non-government organization. By March 2020, occupancy plummeted to 10%, and has only recovered to 47%, according to a new NBER report which claims $453 billion in office commercial real estate value has been wiped out in an "office real estate apocalypse."
The mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic by global elites has severely eroded confidence in expert opinion. New information is emerging that senior officials doubted policies that were foisted upon the American public. By sharing the results of his deposition with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt exposed Fauci’s advocacy of face masks as insincere:
Another tidbit from the Fauci depo: In Feb 20 he emailed a friend advising her that masks were ineffective.
Confirmed again on Mar 31.
On April 3 he’s adamant masks should be worn even though he couldn’t cite a single study to prove it.
Mandates followed—Lives ruined.
Numerous studies disputed the efficacy of face masks, yet mask mandates rose to national prominence. During the apex of pandemic hysteria, the American Institute for Economic Research ran a series of scathing articles debunking the usefulness of face masks. In fact, one prominent 2020 study boldly admitted that mask use is primarily symbolic:
We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes...
The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflective reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that the conflict in Ukraine may end in 2023. Zelensky spoke about it in a video address for Politico (the publication recognised Zelensky Europe's most influential person).
See more at https://english.pravda.ru/news/world/155055-zelensky_ukraine_war/
Webmaster addition: You could end the war any time you want Vol.
On the first full day of his visit wherein he was lavishly greeted and given full red-carpet treatment after arrival in the kingdom (clearly more so that Biden's summer trip to Jeddah), Chinese President Xi Jinping met with King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, and wide-ranging economic and tech trade agreements were signed to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, along with pledges to expand military cooperation.
Among the commercial deals made, one name that featured prominently is sure to raise eyebrows in Washington, given the blanket ban and years-long controversy in the states: Huawei. Among the over $29 billion in agreements signed, The Wall Street Journal reports the Saudis are "setting up a Huawei cloud-computing region, building an electric-vehicle manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia and supplying green hydrogen batteries for a futuristic smart city the prince wants to build."
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has launched another criminal case on charges of high treason after its raid on churches and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, SBU said on its official Telegram channel on Thursday.
"The security service has completed its counter-intelligence measures at facilities belonging to the UOC-MP [the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate] in the regions of Kherson [joined Russia after a referendum], Cherkassy, Zhitomir and Volyn," the statement says.
The service claimed that a search in one of UOC-MP cathedrals revealed that some of its priests had Russian passports, issued earlier this year.
"Criminal proceedings have been launched in accordance with Part 2 Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine [state treason, committed during the period of martial law]," SBU said.
Frau Merkel revealed in her interview with the Zeit newspaper that the Minsk agreements were not an attempt to establish peace in war-torn Ukraine but they were aimed to give the Kiev regime more time to strengthen their military and prepare for a large-scale war.
The lady confirmed that all the Western authors of the current war in Ukraine, including herself, did nothing for peace in Europe, but tried their best to inflame the war against Russia as mush as possible on the territory of Ukraine and paying with the lives of the Ukrainian people:
I thought that the introduction of NATO accession of Ukraine and Georgia, discussed in 2008, was wrong. The countries did not have the necessary prerequisites for this, nor was it fully understood what the consequences of such a decision would have been, both with regard to Russia’s actions against Georgia and Ukraine, as well as NATO and its rules of assistance. And the Minsk Agreement of 2014 was an attempt to give Ukraine time.
Ukraine used this time to become stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. An illustrative example was the battle for Debaltseve. At the beginning of 2015, Putin could easily have overrun them at that time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do today to help Ukraine.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, together with 17 other state attorneys general, has demanded that shipping companies UPS and FedEx explain their newly implemented policies to track and record Americans’ firearms purchases, and disclose whether these policies have been coordinated with the Biden administration.
In letters sent on Nov. 29 to FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam and UPS CEO Carol B. Tomé, Knudsen and co-signers wrote that the shipping companies’ policies “allow your company to track firearm sales with unprecedented specificity and bypass warrant requirements to share that information with federal agencies.”
“What both of these companies are saying is that they’re doing this so they can better cooperate with law enforcement,” Knudsen told The Epoch Times. “That’s all fine and well, until you find out that that’s a violation of federal law.”
Does Putin realize that by needlessly prolonging the conflict he is not only causing unnecessary Russian casualties, but also he could be putting his leadership in danger? Many Russians believe that Putin is making Russia look foolish by inability to bring the conflict to a victorious close. This might also affect recruitment. There is no pride for youth to be in a military force that does not defeat a third world country like Ukraine. Considerations of this sort together with the ability a prolonged conflict gives Washington to expand Western participation in the Ukraine conflict, while building up NATO forces on Russia’s borders, raise serious questions about the wisdom, if any, of Putin’s go-slow limited military intervention. Playing a goody two-shoes role at the expense of your own country doesn’t make sense. Does Putin understand that he cannot simultaneous be at war with Ukraine and protect Ukraine?
Hill announced an increase in support for Russia among both parties of the US Congress. The number of US residents who advocate reducing support for Ukraine is increasing dramatically. This was stated by columnist Douglas Shawn in a material for Hill.
Shoen was concerned about the growth of pro-Russian sentiment and stressed that there are more and more supporters of this position among both parties of the US Congress.
"Republicans in Congress label their position as "realism", arguing that Washington cannot continue to help Ukraine because of inflation, which affects the lives of American families, and should not risk a nuclear war with Russia for the sake of a country thousands of miles away," he stressed.
The author of the material added that pro-Russian views and refusal to allocate aid to Kiev were previously noticeable only among Republicans. But gradually, the left wing supporters "loudly spoke out against the continued support of Ukraine in their letter to the Biden administration." The Democrats in a letter to American President Joe Biden stated that the conflict in Ukraine was the result of Washington's policy, but later they withdrew the document.
The board voted unanimously on Dec. 6 to fire Ziegler without cause, the Virginia school district’s spokesman, Wayde Byard, told The Epoch Times.
The move came after a special grand jury in Loudoun County released a 91-page report on Dec. 5 condemning Ziegler and other school officials for displaying a “stunning lack of openness” about the incidents.
The grand jury, made up of randomly selected Loudoun County residents, said Ziegler lied when he said there were no records of assault occurring in school bathrooms.
China’s steady easing of covid-19 restrictions finally allowed the beleaguered economy to begin reopening. Many experts expect a renewed demand for steel, which means an increased appetite for steel-making raw materials such as iron ore. Both analysts and traders believe the lifting the restrictions was a step in the right direction. This current positivity is clear in the price of iron ore futures, which have started climbing once again.
Ore futures rose this Monday after more cities in China eased their covid restrictions. According to one report, Citi Group believes that the gradual reopening of the economy could propel iron ore prices as high as $150 a ton by June 2023.
In the past month, iron ore prices have enjoyed a significant rise and fresh advancements. According to the report, this prompted Citi to upgrade its forecast for Australia’s top export. The organization also projects that iron ore will reach $120 on a three-month horizon, from its previous price of $110. However, if China initiates even more credit easing up measures, Citi claims ore prices could rally towards $150 a ton in the next three to six months.
Arizona Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA is changing her party affiliation to independent, delivering a jolt to Democrats’ narrow majority and Washington along with it.
“In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. ‘Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,’ she said.
“Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.”
On July 22, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California Senate bill 1327. The bill applied fee-shifting in cases where civil rights litigants filed lawsuits challenging California firearms law. In essence, if the plaintiffs filing the lawsuit did not win every part of a case against the state, the plaintiffs would be required to pay all the State’s costs. In the unlikely case where the plaintiffs won every part of their suit, they are not awarded any costs they have incurred.
On September 26, 2022, a number of plaintiffs filed suit against the state, claiming the bill violates the Supremacy Clause, the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. From the complaint:
1. Plaintiffs bring this suit to challenge the constitutionality of a recently enacted California law that seeks to suppress firearms-related litigation by putting civil rights litigants and their attorneys on the hook for the government’s attorney’s fees and costs if a case results in anything short of total victory for plaintiffs on every claim alleged in a complaint.
2. On July 22, 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 1327, which includes a one-way fee-shifting penalty in the government’s favor that applies solely to litigation challenging state and local firearm regulations. 2022 Cal. Stat. ch. 146, § 2 (adding Code Civ. Proc. § 1021.11(a)). In simple terms, Section 1021.11enables government defendants to recover fees if a firearms plaintiff loses on any claim in the case, while the plaintiff can only avoid liability for fees if it prevails on every claim in the case. Firearms plaintiffs, moreover,cannot be “prevailing parties” under Section 1021.11, meaning they are never entitled to fees.
Many of the ongoing challenges to California firearms law in federal court are directly implicated and endangered. As the law is worded, challenges that have been in the legal system for many years, which have already been all the way to the Supreme Court, and now remanded to the Ninth Circuit, could be rendered moot by the fear of plaintiffs of financial ruin under the new law.
Germany saw what is perhaps its largest police raid in history, involving 3,000 officers targeting 130 properties across nearly the entire country. With 25 “Reichsbürger” suspects arrested, that amounts to 120 police officers per suspect. It was quite the show of force, and in a sign that the media knew well in advance about the coming arrests, a number of suspects, including German aristocrat Heinrich XIII and former AfD MP Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, were photographed and filmed as they were perp walked out of their homes.
It is worth noting that nobody has been found guilty yet, but of course, even with the notoriously left-wing German media using the incident to whip up fear of the German right, the past may indicate the case could end up being more PR than reality.
The notorious “Nordkreuz” terror group, which was trumpeted by the media in 2017 as a far-right extremist network preparing for “Day X” — or the day when the group would carry out assassinations of left-wing opponents following the collapse of the German government — mostly fizzled out. At the time, politicians, journalists, and various anti-racist organizations jumped on the case, which involved up to 50 people, as an example of Germany’s growing far-right scene.
In the 1870s, the term “robber baron” was first used to describe an exploitative class of industrialists who utilized their wealth to create monopolies of resources and amass control in the fledgling United States. The name describes an illegitimate aristocracy of unelected plutocrats. John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie; all American industrial royalty whose names line the streets of America and the pages of our history books. One hundred fifty years later, we face a new global class of robber barons.
Once a year, the world’s richest and most influential people meet behind closed doors in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the future direction of the globe. Known as the World Economic Forum, they were originally founded in 1971 by German engineer Klaus Schwab. Look at any major global policy push in recent history, and you’ll likely find the fingerprints of the World Economic Forum. From climate alarmism to ESG investing to our obsession with sustainability and population control or a push for centralized and authoritarian government, we find the handiwork of the World Economic Forum.
Speaking to the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov hit out at the West’s hypocritical claims that there are restrictions to the list of weapons supplied to Kiev, emphasizing that Russia sees nothing of the sort.
"The Western [establishment] is rapidly moving towards expanding the range of supplies of increasingly heavy, long-range weapons. They cunningly, and eventually deceptively, characterize things as if there is a kind of a limit, some kind of self-restraint in this respect. We see nothing of the kind," the diplomat stressed.
NATO was aware of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s preparations for drone attacks on Russian airfields, head of Russia’s delegation to the Vienna talks on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov said.
"Provocations against Russia’s Dyagilevo and Engels strategic airfields, which involved Tu-141 Strizh jet combat drones, could have created serious nuclear security threats," the diplomat pointed out at a plenary session of the OSCE Forum on Security Cooperation. "NATO was aware of the preparations for the recent Ukrainian attacks on Russian military airfields. We immediately responded to them by conducting a massive strike on Ukraine’s military command system, defense industry facilities and related energy sites. No one should have any doubts that this is what will happen every time if Ukraine continues to carry out terrorist attacks," Gavrilov added.
He noted that work had been done in 2022 to restore and upgrade the Soviet-made drones that Ukraine had used in the attacks. The activities involved experts from the Kiev-based Luch Design Bureau and the United States’ Raytheon Technologies. "The drone was turned into a combat weapon with a range of action of up to 1,000 kilometers, capable of carrying out a high-explosive warhead weighing up to 80 kilograms and using the US Global Positioning System (GPS) for targeting," Gavrilov explained.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday announced that the Florida Disaster Fund has raised $59.2 million for Hurricane Ian emergency relief, after claiming that the Biden administration denied funding assistance.
$25 million came from the state of Florida, while donors provided $35.2 million, DeSantis' office said in a press release. The state funds will be used to acquire building materials, while donations will enable "verified nonprofit organizations to conduct critical temporary repairs on homes damaged by Hurricane Ian," according to the press release, and reported by the Daily Caller.
Webmaster addition: So Biden allowed his personal dislike for DeSantis to override helping the victims of the Hurricane. Not exactly wise rulership, is it?
Russia would like the EU to be an equal part of a multipolar world, but in this case it must not be 100% dependent on the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Primakov Readings forum on Wednesday.
"Of course, we would like the EU to be one of the poles of the new multipolar world, it still has all the opportunities for it. <...> The European Union will be able to participate equally in these processes when it realizes that it does not have to say 'I agree' to the United States 100% of the time," he said.
"But India, Brazil, Persian Gulf countries, regional associations in Africa and Latin America have more reasons to be part of the multipolar world, an equal part, than the EU," the top diplomat added.
The Texas legislature has subpoenaed investment firm BlackRock, together with its subsidiaries and affiliate entities in the state, for documents related to the institution’s promotion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.
The subpoena was issued by the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs last month and asks the sergeant-at-arms for the committee or any peace officer of the state to summon BlackRock and associated entities to appear before the committee on Dec. 15. The summoned entities are expected to produce for committee inspection “books, papers, documents, or other tangible things in the said corporation’s possession, custody, or control” which are related to “ESG factors” or “ESG integration practices,” the subpoena stated.
“The reason the committee is requesting the production of documents is to evaluate the investment practices of a financial services firm with a presence in Texas and how those practices affect the state’s public pensions,” it said.
In a statement to Fox, Texas Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes, chairman of the committee on state affairs, said that the subpoenaed documents are necessary to “uncover” the extent to which investment entities like BlackRock have been “playing politics using Texans’ hard-earned money.”
Back in August, the committee sent letters to BlackRock, as well as other investment firms like State Street, Vanguard, and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), to provide documents related to their ESG decision-making.
President Biden on Wednesday renewed a push to ban so-called 'assault weapons' during remarks at the 10th Annual National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence.
While discussing his meetings with the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims, Biden said he was able to get "the most significant gun law passed in 30 years," but that it was not enough.
"...Our work continues to limit the number of bullets that can be in a cartridge, the type of weapon that can be purchased and sold, the attempt to ban assault weapons, a whole range of things that are just common sense, just simple common sense," he said. "But you know, we did it before, you may remember, in the nineties we did it…And guess what, it worked. The number of violent mass murders reduced were significant, a lot of people’s lives were saved. You know, we can do it again."