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"'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
Ukraine has asked Berlin to provide it with long-range air-launched missiles that could potentially reach Moscow, a spokesperson for Germany’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Saturday.
On Friday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported, citing two unnamed “insiders” within the German military, that Ukraine “urgently wants” Swedish-German Taurus missiles. These munitions could be allegedly placed on US-made F-16 fighters, which are now being considered for delivery to Kiev by several Western countries.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is said to have asked for the missiles during his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin earlier this month. For now, it is unclear whether Berlin, which earlier said it did not have any F-16s to send to Kiev, will grant this request.
Boris Johnson has held discussions with Donald Trump about Ukraine during his tour of the US, in an apparent attempt to make the Ukrainian case to the skeptical former US president.
Johnson met Trump “to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the vital importance of Ukrainian victory”, his spokesperson said. It is understood that they held the talks on Thursday.
The former prime minister – who faces continued questions at home over allegations about lockdown-breaking parties at Chequers and No 10 – has been in Dallas, where he met Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, and Las Vegas, and made the latest in his recent sequence of highly lucrative corporate speeches.
The discussions with Trump, the location of which has not been divulged, probably centered on Johnson, a vehement international cheerleader for the Ukrainian cause, trying to impress his ideas on the former president.
Before Johns Hopkins University graduates moved their tassels to the left on Thursday, they were sent off with a virtual livestream from a surprise commencement speaker: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“The United States has also not lost a single day in helping Ukraine repel the Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy said. “President [Joe] Biden, a strong bipartisan coalition in Congress and most of all the American people have … risen to this occasion and are leading the free world to secure freedom in Europe.”
In his speech, Zelenskyy focused on the importance of time, a resource he said is more valuable than oil, uranium or lithium.
“Non-binary” former Biden administration official Sam Brinton led the Washington, DC, chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a radical anti-Catholic drag queen group at the center of the Los Angeles Dodgers Pride Night controversy, Fox News reported.
The drag queen group made headlines this month after being uninvited, then re-invited to the Dodgers’ tenth annual Pride Night celebration on June 16.
After receiving backlash from religious groups, the Dodgers rescinded an invitation to the radical anti-Christian organization. However, the Dodgers walked back its decision and announced Monday that the drag queen group would be re-invited to the team’s Pride Night.
The Dodgers offered “sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families,” in a statement issued after the announcement.
The joint military exercise conducted by the US and South Korean forces involved the deployment of hundreds of troops and dozens of tanks, artillery systems and aircraft.
Washington and Seoul have once again demonstrated exactly how much they care about peace on the Korean Peninsula by holding a massive live-fire military exercise on South Korean soil right next to the border with North Korea, a country well-known for regarding such moves as antagonistic and provocative.
During the exercise, the US and South Korea deployed some 2,500 soldiers and 610 items of military hardware such as tanks, artillery systems, attack helicopters, fighter aircraft and drones, according to a statement issued by the South Korean Defense Ministry and disseminated by media.
NATO plans to support Ukraine by creating a Ukraine-NATO Council during the July summit in Vilnius instead of giving it a concrete plan for becoming a full-fledged member, for which Kiev has repeatedly requested, the European news outlet reported on Friday, citing sources.
NATO diplomats told media that the alliance will have to find the right balance between maintaining the open-door policy and supporting Kiev's aspirations without directly admitting the country to the bloc.
The UK has sent its special forces to 19 countries since 2011, according to a report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), a London-based charity that conducts research on global armed violence. The deployed British operatives trained foreign militants, carried out assassinations, and reportedly fought alongside child soldiers.
In a report published on Tuesday, AOAV stated that British operatives have been deployed to fight or surveil hostile forces in Algeria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Somalia, the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and Oman, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.
Some of these deployments were into locations in which British troops were already fighting, as was the case in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, UK Special Forces (UKSF) continued their operations in both countries long after regular forces withdrew. In Afghanistan, hundreds of civilian deaths were attributed to night raids by British and American special forces between 2009 and 2012.
The Serbian armed forces have been put on high combat alert based on a decree issued by President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Aleksandar Vucic, the Vecernje Novosti newspaper reported on Friday.
According to the newspaper, the Serbian president issued a decree ordering the armed forces to immediately move to the administrative border of Kosovo and Metohija as a response to [Prime Minister of the unrecognized Republic of Kosovo Albin] "Kurti’s special police <...> using violent tactics against the Serbian residents of Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic."
The head of state also called on NATO officials to take urgent measures to end the violence being perpetrated against the Serbian population of Kosovo, the report said.
Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently traveled to Texas in an effort to maintain support among prominent elected Republicans for the Ukraine War. Johnson notably traveled to Kiev during the early days of the war to tell Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the NATO powers would not support a peace deal with Russia.
Jimmy and Americans’ Comedian Kurt Metzger talk to The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal about the reasoning behind the war machine and defense manufacturers sending the wildly unpopular Johnson to do their bidding in Texas.
Colonel Douglas Macgregor shares devastating details about the Ukraine-Russia war, but also outlines the danger facing the United States financial system, government, corporate donor corruption and the military-industrial-congressional complex. The corruption within the US government has reached a dangerous and sickening level.
A Los Angeles County judge on Thursday said she will dismiss a lawsuit that the stars of 1968's Romeo and Juliet filed over the film's nude scene, finding that their depiction could not be considered child pornography and they filed their claim too late.
Superior Court Judge Alison Mackenzie ruled in favour of a motion from defendant Paramount Pictures to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Olivia Hussey, who played Juliet at age 15 and is now 72, and Leonard Whiting, who played Romeo at 16 and is also 72.
Mackenzie determined that the scene was protected by the First Amendment, finding that the actors "have not put forth any authority showing the film here can be deemed to be sufficiently sexually suggestive as a matter of law to be held to be conclusively illegal."
Children are to be vaccinated against polio in a bid to stop it spreading – as health bosses warned that “nobody wants this illness for their child”.
The renewed vaccine programme comes after polio was found in 30 sewage samples in north-east London last year, including in Hackney.
The NHS initially launched an urgent jab rollout that reached more than 375,000 children between August and the middle of March. Around half of those vaccines were given in the first two months.
But the city’s health chiefs said there are still children who are not fully up to date and could be at risk of catching polio.
The European Parliament's decision to consider a resolution to prevent Budapest's EU presidency in 2024 is a political action by left-wing lawmakers, but Hungary will still take over the presidency, the Hungarian government told Sputnik on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga said that the European Parliament intended to vote on a resolution to prevent Budapest's EU presidency, scheduled for the second half of 2024.
"This is just another political action by the European left. Hungary is a full member of the European Union. It has already held the presidency of the European Council, so the same will happen in 2024," the government said.
Russia has warned the United States and Britain are "tempting fate" by sending warships into the Black Sea amid the war with Ukraine.
"We call on the Pentagon and the British navy, which are sending their warships into the Black Sea, not to tempt fate in vain," Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesperson said in a televised statement on Friday.
Russia will defend its borders using all possible means including military force, he warned, noting, British warships sailing off the Russian coast in Crimea are "not more than a target" for Russia's Black Sea fleet's defense forces.
Earlier this week I was invited to attend a lecture about the conflict in Ukraine by Prof. John Mearsheimer in Washington D.C. The introducer began with the question: what is the difference between American Republic and American Empire, and offered John Quincy Adams' answer: the Republic represents the march of the mind, while the Empire represents the march of the soldier. The Republic embraces neutrality while the Empire embraces manifest destiny. The Republic cultivates separation of powers while the Empire cultivates limitless power of the executive…
Professor Mearshimer took the stage to present a rather condensed view of the conflict in Ukraine and his own judgment that Russia will win and that Ukraine would lose: the outcome that's all but inevitable and hard to argue with. The conflict is a war of attrition with both sides trying to bleed the other white. In this type of war, the outcome depends on three key factors:
The year was 1974, and in Washington DC Richard Nixon, crippled by scandal, was about to become the first U.S. president to resign. As the end approached, he called his vice president, Gerald Ford, to the Oval Office, to give him some last-minute advice.
At all costs, Nixon said, Ford must keep Henry Kissinger as his Secretary of State. 'Henry is a genius,' he said. 'He'll be very loyal, but you can't let him have a totally free hand.'
Later, Nixon was more forthright. 'Ford has just got to realise there are times when Henry has to be kicked in the nuts,' he told an aide. 'Because sometimes Henry starts to think he's president. But at other times you have to pet Henry and treat him as a child.'
Genius, spoiled child, world statesman, alleged war criminal — such are the labels pinned to Henry Kissinger, who turns 100 today, an astonishing milestone at the end of a truly extraordinary political career. As with any centenarian, the sweep of Kissinger's life is mind-boggling. Born only five years after the end of the Great War, he fled Hitler's Germany and shook hands with China's Mao Zedong and the Soviet Union's Leonid Brezhnev.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with an 94-year-old Minnesota grandmother who was wronged when her county forced the sale of her condominium over unpaid taxes, and kept the proceeds that far exceeded the taxes she owed - the latest "home equity theft" to make headlines.
The case followed a report late last year by the Pacific Legal Foundation which found that 12 states and DC allow local governments and private investors to seize far more than what is owed from homeowners who fall behind on property tax payments.
Writing this opinion was Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote in Tyler v. Hennepin County that "The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more."
Target executives, embracing "woke" capitalism, were completely oblivious, or maybe just ignorant, to the "Bud Light moment." After Bud Light pulled the plug on advertisements with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney because of damaging boycotts by conservative beer drinkers, the trans community launched a boycott of their own because the brewer abandoned Mulvaney. A similar situation is unfolding with Target as Democrats are furious with the retailer's move to remove LGBTQ products from storefronts.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a diehard progressive, tweeted this week, "CEO of Target Brian Cornell selling out the LGBTQ+ community to extremists is a real profile in courage."
Newsom appears furious with Cornell's directive to a number of US stores to remove LGBT-themed products ahead of June Pride month. A Target insider told Fox News swimsuits for transgender people to gender-fluid coffee mugs, as well as many other LGBTQ+ products were either removed from the storefront or shifted to the back of stores to mitigate consumer boycotts.
"This isn't just a couple of stores in the South. There is a systematic attack on the gay community happening across the country," the governor said.
Until the fighting begins, national military strategy developed in peacetime shapes thinking about warfare and its objectives. Then the fighting creates a new logic of its own. Strategy is adjusted. Objectives change. The battle for Bakhmut illustrates this point very well.
When General Sergey Vladimirovich Surovikin, commander of Russian aerospace forces, assumed command of the Russian military in the Ukrainian theater last year, President Vladimir Putin and his senior military advisors concluded that their original assumptions about the war were wrong. Washington had proved incurably hostile to Moscow’s offers to negotiate, and the ground force Moscow had committed to compel Kiev to negotiate had proved too small.
Surovikin was given wide latitude to streamline command relationships and reorganize the theater. Most importantly, Surovikin was also given the freedom of action to implement a defensive strategy that maximized the use of stand-off attack or strike systems while Russian ground forces expanded in size and striking power. The Bakhmut “Meatgrinder” was the result.
Florida’s citrus industry posted its worse harvest since 1937, which should give orange fans some pause at the supermarket.
Damage from the 2022 hurricane season, combined with the impact of citrus greening disease, is ravaging the Sunshine State’s orange crop.
This will likely cause citrus prices to skyrocket nationwide, as Florida farmers recorded its smallest orange harvest in 90 years, according to the state’s latest agriculture report.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in January that only 18 million boxes of Florida oranges would be on the market in 2023, a 56 percent drop from last year.
One would not know it from looking at the S&P which just hit a 2023 high, but there is a bit of a bankruptcy crisis sweeping the US where companies are filing for bankruptcy at the fastest pace in 13 years, in a clear sign of a tightening credit squeeze as interest rates rise and financial markets have locked out all but the strongest borrowers.
The increase is most visible among large companies, where there were 236 bankruptcy filings in the first four months of this year, more than double 2022 levels, and the fastest YTD pace since 2010 according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Americans, on average, estimate that a family of four needs a minimum income of $85,000 annually to “get by” in their community, marking a considerable increase from a decade ago. The past decade has witnessed not only an increase in the average income required but also a notable shift in the upper range of income expectations.
During that time, the proportion of Americans who believe that a family needs more than $100,000 to get by has tripled to 30%, while 18% now estimate it to be between $75,000 and $99,999, and 31% think it is $50,000 to $74,999. Half as many Americans now as in 2013 believe a family of four can get by on less than $50,000 annually. This includes 3% who estimate a figure lower than $30,000, and 11% who cite a figure between $30,000 and $49,999.