Today's RBN show will be a rebroadcast!
“The politics of the destruction of the gas-line – whether it’s an act of war or what – but it was a slap in the face of Europe, saying, you know, “if you’re not going to play ball with me in Ukraine,” said the president… “I don’t care if it’s going to be harder for you to keep your people wealthy and warm.” Basically, that’s what he’s done. And that’s the real input of the story.” -- Seymour Hersh
Toxic smoke from US military burn pits at bases in Iraq following the 2003 invasion and occupation of the country has caused deadly cancers and respiratory problems in both US soldiers and Iraqis, the Washington Post reported on 18 March.
“Where soldiers established military bases, they burned their trash in the open, poisoning the air all around them,” the Post wrote. Batteries, human waste, plastic ration packs, medical waste, paint, petroleum, unexploded ordinance and even refrigerators were among the items burned.
Of the 150 burn pits at US military bases throughout Iraq, the pit in the town of Balad, 50 km north of Baghdad, was the largest, some 10 acres in size.
By 2008, some 150 tons of waste were burned there each day, at times creating a poison cloud thick enough to block out the sun, which caused farmers working the fields nearby to return home covered in soot streaks at the end of each day.
The U.N. World Food Programme has been forced to cut rations to 4 million Afghans this month, it said in a statement late on Friday, due to a funding shortfall in the midst of the country's severe humanitarian crisis.
"Due to funding constraints, at least four million people will receive just half of what they need to get by in March," the statement said, adding the U.N. food agency urgently needs $93 million in funding to reach 13 million people in Afghanistan in April.
Since the Taliban took over in 2021 the already poor country has plunged deeper into economic crisis and foreign governments cut development funding and enforced sanctions on the banking sector.
A Pentagon study has found high rates of cancer among military pilots and for the first time has shown that ground crews who fuel, maintain and launch those aircraft are also getting sick.
The data had long been sought by retired military aviators who have raised alarms for years about the number of air and ground crew members they knew who had cancer. They were told that earlier military studies had found they were not at greater risk than the general U.S. population.
In its yearlong study of almost 900,000 service members who flew on or worked on military aircraft between 1992 and 2017, the Pentagon found that air crew members had an 87% higher rate of melanoma and a 39% higher rate of thyroid cancer, while men had a 16% higher rate of prostate cancer and women a 16% higher rate of breast cancer. Overall, the air crews had a 24% higher rate of cancer of all types.
"All war is based on deception." -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
There is nothing new in a government lying to their people to start a war. Indeed because most people prefer living in peace to bloody and horrific death in war, any government that desires to initiate a war usually lies to their people to create the illusion that support for the war is the only possible choice they can make.
President George W. Bush told the nation and the world about the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom at 10:16 p.m. ET on March 19, 2003. As he spoke, American forces were already on the attack eight time zones away.
Bush said that the invasion was about “helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable, and free country.” And, he added, the mission “will require our sustained commitment.”
The Iraqis, of course, had not asked for that “help,” and a “sustained commitment” to a country 6,000 miles away was not what Americans wanted, but it was exactly what Bush and his neoconservative advisers wanted. Some had dreams of re-colonizing the Middle East; others had dreams of securing its oil.
New York’s stores and restaurants struggling after the pandemic have a new headache, besides inflation and crime.
A state court’s aggressive reinterpretation of a more-than-century-old law puts businesses on the hook for, potentially, billions of dollars in unexpected costs.
If you have a job, you probably get paid every two weeks — the most common schedule by which employers pay workers.
The federal government pays workers every two weeks, as does the city.
New York law has long carved out an exception: “A manual worker shall be paid weekly.”
The weekly pay provision goes back to 1890, when the Legislature held that “every manufacturing, mining or quarrying, lumbering, mercantile . . . corporation . . . shall pay weekly.”
The city of Paris is a mess right now.
Some might even say that it has always been a mess! Regardless, the point is that the authorities in Paris are trying to handle the situation before it gets truly out of control. Hundreds of citizens have been arrested as they continue to protest changes by President Macron to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 in France.
Breitbart reports that 217 people were arrested in the French capital during ongoing protests. Those protestors are outraged that President Macron lifted the retirement age without a vote by the National Assembly. These changes must take effect by 2030 per the order of the President.
The Chinese document “US Hegemony and its Perils” just came out on 20 February 2023.
It is very important – and says:
“Since becoming the world’s most powerful country after the two world wars and the Cold War, the United States has acted more boldly to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, pursue, maintain and abuse hegemony, advance subversion and infiltration, and willfully wage wars, bringing harm to the international community.
It has overstretched the concept of national security, abused export controls and forced unilateral sanctions upon others. It has taken a selective approach to international law and rules, utilizing or discarding them as it sees fit, and has sought to impose rules that serve its own interests in the name of upholding a “rules-based international order”.
The United States has been overriding truth with its power and trampling justice to serve self-interest. These unilateral, egoistic and regressive hegemonic practices have drawn growing, intense criticism and opposition from the international community.”
In five precise paragraphs, China analyses how the US exerts hegemony and abuse of global power in the fields of politics, military, economics, technology, and culture, media, social media as well as censorship.
The Chinese analysis is harsh but accurate – and China must be expected to act upon it.
It once appeared certain that President Donald Trump was set to be arrested and marched away in handcuffs Tuesday. Now this may not happen at all.
As TGP’s Joe Hoft has reported, Trump’s indictment is on hold until one more witness testifies.
Trump calls the man a “highly respected lawyer.” He says the witness supposedly has “conclusive and irrefutable” evidence totally exonerating him.
Karen Kingston is a biotech analyst and former Pfizer employee who understands complicated medical and biological contracts. Kingston has been doing a deep dive into the contract President Trump signed with Pfizer for their version of the CV19 vax. The contract proves Trump required Pfizer to follow the law to produce a safe and effective vaccine. The Pfizer vax was not safe or effective and violated the contract.
After striking their historic peace deal which was mediated by China in Beijing over a week ago, Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to make strikes toward full normalization of ties, after being archenemies for decades - and before that their peoples having been rivals for centuries when it comes to the religious Shia-Sunni divide.
An Iranian official has announced Sunday that the King of Saudi Arabia has issued a formal invitation to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to visit Riyadh in an unprecedented move. Raisi is said to have "welcomed" the invite from King Salman. Now what remains is setting a date.
Update (1500ET): We finally have a deal, and what was at first a CHF1 BN acquisition priceof Credit Suisse by UBS, which then rose to CHF 2 BN, has now cranked up one final time to CHF 3BN (US$3.25 billion), or 0.76 per share, specifically shareholders of Credit Suisse will receive 1 share in UBS for 22.48 shares in Credit Suisse. As part of the deal, the Swiss National Bank is offering a 100 billion-franc liquidity assistance to UBS while the government is granting a 9 billion-franc guarantee for potential losses from assets UBS is taking over, i.e., this is a taxpayer-backed bailout.
More importantly, however, the bank's entire AT1 tranche - some CHF16BN of Additioanal Tier 1 (AT1) bonds, a $275BN market - will be bailed in and written down to zero, to wit: "FINMA has determined that Credit Suisse’s Additional Tier 1 Capital (deriving from the issuance of Tier 1 Capital Notes) in the aggregate nominal amount of approximately CHF 16 billion will be written off to zero."
This wipe out, pardon, bail-in is the biggest loss yet for Europe’s $275 billion AT1 market, far eclipsing the approximately €1.35 billion loss suffered by junior bondholders of Spanish lender Banco Popular SA back in 2017, when it was absorbed by Banco Santander SA to avoid a collapse.
Germany said over the weekend that it is ready to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he ever travels to its territory, following the Hague-based International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant last week related to alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine.
German Justice Minister Marco Bushman stipulated the Russian leader will be detained if he steps foot on Russian soil. "I expect that the International Criminal Court in The Hague will swiftly approach Interpol as well as the contracting states and ask them for enforcement," Bushman told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley panned reports of the looming potential case against former President Donald Trump after the former commander-in-chief announced he may be arrested in the next week.
As The Epoch Times' Jack Phillips reports below, alleged unnamed court sources have told multiple news outlets that Trump could be indicted in the near future, while Trump said via Truth Social that he expects to be arrested by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office on Tuesday. Bragg’s office has not publicly confirmed reports that he may possibly indict the former president for allegedly misclassifying a $130,000 hush payment made to Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Trump has denied claims that he had an affair with Daniels in the early 2000s. However, unconfirmed reports alleged that a grand jury in New York has been empaneled and may be seeking an indictment of the former president.
But Turley said that based on those reports, the DA’s case against Trump “is legally pathetic” and “is struggling to twist state laws to effectively prosecute a federal case long ago rejected by the Justice Department against Trump.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that struck down a federal law preventing people under domestic violence-related restraining orders from having guns.
The Biden administration asked in its new petition (pdf) for the high court to hear the case on a “highly expedited schedule” because of the “significant disruptive consequences” of the lower court’s ruling. The petition was reportedly filed with the court on March 17 but had not been docketed as of press time.
The case comes as courts nationwide are playing catchup regarding the Supreme Court’s landmark June 2022 ruling in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen that held firearms restrictions must be deeply rooted in American history if they are to survive constitutional scrutiny.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on March 15 that the Bruen ruling offers little guidance to lower courts on interpreting the decision, as Courthouse News Service reported.
Before you read the following quote from a Fed employee, you had better set your coffee, beer or wine down so you don’t spray all over the carpet or the person next to you. This is how dense the Fed is when it comes to learning from its own mistakes after it first tried quantitative tightening (QT) in late 2017-2019 and failed miserably:
The principle lesson was that we can do QT. It had never been done in the size that the Fed was trying at the end of 2017, we accomplished that goal, we ran down the balance sheet successfully – you know, you had some volatility towards the end, but by and large it was a very successful program.“A Havenstein Moment.“
The truth is the Fed fell far short of its stated QT goal and had to hit the brakes and eventually even reverse course back to QE. So, it did not accomplish that goal. That’s an outright lie or bald-faced stupidity. Aside from that crash of the stock market in the final quarter of 2018 that was only averted as it entered a bear market because the Fed rushed in to say it would be backing off its planned interest hikes and its stated goal for quantitative tightening much sooner than it had originally indicated … and aside from that massive repo crisis I referred to as the “Repocalypse” in the latter half of 2019 … it went splendidly well.
Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, has agreed to buy its ailing rival Credit Suisse in an emergency rescue deal aimed at stemming financial market panic unleashed by the failure of two American banks earlier this month.
“UBS today announced the takeover of Credit Suisse,” the Swiss National Bank said in a statement. It said the rescue would “secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy.”
UBS is paying 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.25 billion) for Credit Suisse, about 60% less than the bank was worth when markets closed on Friday. Credit Suisse shareholders will be largely wiped out, receiving the equivalent of just 0.76 Swiss francs in UBS shares for stock that was worth 1.86 Swiss francs on Friday.
Extraordinarily, the deal will not need the approval of shareholders after the Swiss government agreed to change the law to remove any uncertainty about the deal.
The chief of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) David Pekoske said that the agency is considering biometric technology to reduce traveler processing times and reduce the number of screening officers. He made the comments at the South by Southwest conference, which focused on aviation security.
Pekoske noted that the TSA’s role is maintaining security and the transportation system and staying ahead of threats. For those reasons, it is “critically important that this system has as little friction as it possibly can, while we provide for safety and security.”
The TSA has been relying on biometric technology in the identification verification process. According to the agency, the newest technology it has been using is over 99% effective and does not have problems identifying darker-skinned people like the old technology.
“We’re upgrading our camera systems all the time, upgrading our lighting systems,” Pekoske said. “[We’re] upgrading our algorithms, so that we are using the very most advanced algorithms and technology we possibly can.”
“They went big last weekend, which was the right thing to do,” said the Chairman, a veteran of financial crises, the two of us discussing the ongoing bank run, how policy can end it.
“But the market always tests statements of confidence, whether from companies or the government,” he continued.
“This week, at the first real test, policymakers mumbled.”
Treasury Secretary Yellen’s responses to Senator Lankford in Thursday’s Senate hearing gave a glimmer of light to the worst fears of small business owners and savers at America’s non systemically important banks.
The administration’s failure to dash these fears for depositors of $2, $5, $10 million has created a two-tier banking system in which the big banks are safe and most others are not.
On Saturday, President Biden's social media galaxy brains tweeted out a twice-corrected lie, quoting the president telling said lie, that billionaires are getting away paying just 3% of their average earnings in taxes.
"You know the average tax billionaires pay?
No billionaire should be paying a lower tax than somebody working as a schoolteacher or firefighter," reads the erroneous tweet.
To which Musk replied: "I paid 53% taxes on my Tesla stock options (40% Federal & 13% state), so I must be lifting the average!"
"I also paid more income tax than anyone ever in the history of Earth for 2021 and will do that again in 2022."
On 24 February 2023, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a twelve-point plan entitled ‘China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’.
This ‘peace plan’, as it has been called, is anchored in the concept of sovereignty, building upon the well-established principles of the United Nations Charter (1945) and the Ten Principles from the Bandung Conference of African and Asian states held in 1955. The plan was released two days after China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi visited Moscow, where he met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s interest in the plan was confirmed by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov shortly after the visit: ‘Any attempt to produce a plan that would put the [Ukraine] conflict on a peace track deserves attention. We are considering the plan of our Chinese friends with great attention’.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the plan hours after it was made public, saying that he would like to meet China’s President Xi Jinping as soon as possible to discuss a potential peace process. France’s President Emmanuel Macron echoed this sentiment, saying that he would visit Beijing in early April. There are many interesting aspects of this plan, notably a call to end all hostilities near nuclear power plants and a pledge by China to help fund the reconstruction of Ukraine. But perhaps the most interesting feature is that a peace plan did not come from any country in the West, but from Beijing.
After French President Emmanuel Macron pushed through pension reform without a vote in parliament, the backlash has been fierce, and there is now a good chance that a no-confidence vote this week could collapse his government. Even if he survives the vote, commentators say that Marine Le Pen has never been in a better position, with the conservative populist emerging as the “victor” in the fierce debate over pension reform.
Macron’s decision to turn to Article 49.3 of the French constitution, which allows him to bypass parliament and increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 via decree, had been labeled the “nuclear option” by the French press.
For many years, the successive leaders of Kyrgyzstan could not capitalize on their country’s strategic location along the shortest route connecting China to Central Asia and further onward to the Middle East and Europe. Now, hopes are cautiously mounting that this might be changing. Current Kyrgyzstani President Sadyr Japarov is determined to redefine his country’s role in regional and wider international relations, as evidenced by his signing of agreements with the likes of Uzbekistan and China, among others, regarding improved cooperation on infrastructure and transit development (Akipress.com, February 7, 2022; Newscentralasia.net, January 28). This renewed optimism is based on the announced plans that, by the end of 2023, Kyrgyzstan will begin the construction of its part of the strategic China–Kyrgyzstan–Uzbekistan railway line (The Diplomat, September 26, 2022). Although the details of the funding mechanism for this project remain unclear, Kyrgyzstani officials are confident that all matters will be gradually resolved.
In January 2022, just around the time the Fed announced it was launching its most aggressive tightening campaign since Volcker, we warned "remember, every Fed tightening cycle ends in disaster and then, much more Fed easing"
Fast forward to just over a week ago, when the Fed tightening cycle indeed ended in disaster when SIVB became the first (of many) banks to fail, triggering a chain of dominoes that culminated with today's collapse of Credit Suisse - a systematically important bank with $600BN in assets.
And then, at 5pm, the easing officially began, because while a bunch of laughable macrotourists were arguing on FinTwit whether last week's record surge in the Fed's discount window was QE or wasn't QE (answer: it didn't matter, because as we said, it assured what comes next), the Fed finally capitulated, just as we warned over and over and over that it would...
The White House has come out against a ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow to potentially mediate between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart in Kyiv.
Xi is due to arrive in Moscow on Monday and is expected to speak virtually to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his talks with Putin. Xi’s trip comes after Beijing released a 12-point peace plan for Ukraine that called for the two sides to cease hostilities and for peace talks to begin.
Zelensky expressed openness to China’s proposal, but it was immediately rejected by President Biden.
“We don’t support calls for a ceasefire right now,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday, according to Newsweek. “We certainly don’t support calls for a ceasefire that would be called for by the PRC in a meeting in Moscow that would simply benefit Russia.”
Two important and revealing news stories appeared on the same day in late February. One announced that the United States and its allies imposed yet another round of economic sanctions on Russia. The other reported the conclusion of U.S. intelligence officials that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is considering selling military drones to Moscow. That story was even more specific than Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement a week earlier that Beijing was contemplating providing Russia with “lethal support”—including weapons and ammunition—to help the Kremlin’s war effort in Ukraine. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas‐Greenfield subsequently told the press that both President Biden and Secretary Blinken had conveyed warnings to their Chinese counterparts that such a move would be a “game‐changer” in U.S.-PRC relations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara would approve Finland’s NATO application before the country’s May election. Erdoğan made the announcement after meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Ankara.
Finland submitted a joint application with Sweden to join the North Atlantic alliance last May. While most members of the alliance wanted to expedite membership for the Nordic countries, Turkey resisted due to Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish groups that Ankara views as terrorists.
In June, Turkey signed a trilateral pact with the two Nordic countries that would see Sweden and Finland join NATO. However, Ankara has repeatedly said that it could not admit the two countries into the alliance because Sweden was not living up to their end of the agreement.
As the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq approaches, a leading research institute on Wednesday said that "the total costs of the war in Iraq and Syria are expected to exceed half a million human lives and $2.89 trillion" by 2050.
The Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs said that "this budgetary figure includes costs to date, estimated at about $1.79 trillion, and the costs of veterans’ care through 2050."