I am a bit burned out and I need time to recuperate. Also, I have some other things I need to work on, including developing some other revenue…
"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government." -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
One week ago, when the Turkish Lira first tumbled below 20 against the USD, we warned that much more pain was in stock based on a rather dire analysis by Goldman of the central bank's reserve position, a much more ominous factor for the coming currency collapse then Erdogan's reelection.
Since then it's gone from bad to worse, with Reuters also jumping on the bearish lira bandwagon and reporting that the Turkish central bank's net forex reserves dropped into negative territory for the first time since 2002, standing at $-151.3 million on May 19, as the bank - following Erdogan's strict orders - scrambled to counter demand for hard currencies (USD, gold, crypto) ahead of Sunday's runoff vote.
Forex demand in Turkey surged to record levels ahead of May 14 on companies' and individuals' expectations that the lira, which lost 44% in 2021 and 30% in 2022, will plunge after the vote (spoiler alert: those fears have been justified).
A small, loose-knit group of certified public accountants (CPA) hopes to convince states to apply the same methods that accountants use to assure integrity in business to bolster voter confidence in elections.
“What we want to do is make sure that eligible voters can find it very easy to vote, and people who are not eligible to vote can’t,” retired Marine Reserve Col. Frank Ryan told The Epoch Times. “Then, we want to make sure that every vote that is cast is counted.”
Ryan, a CPA, is a retired state representative in the Pennsylvania House. He left the seat in December, specifically to work on election security, believing he could have a bigger effect on public policy outside the legislature than from within.
It isn’t the first time that he’s been involved in election security. In 2005, when Iraq held its first free election in years to choose an entirely new National Assembly, Ryan facilitated the country’s election. That year, Iraqi voters stuck their fingers in dye so no one could vote twice.
Webmaster addition: See HOW TO HAVE HONEST ELECTIONS
Over 2,000 stores across all retail sectors have closed in the past 12 months according to a recent report from UBS retail analyst Michael Lasser (available to pro subs in the usual place), and that is just the beginning. "As of 3Q’22 (latest available data), retailers shed -1,500 net stores. This number is already up significantly in ‘23 with the likes of Bed Bath & Beyond, Foot Locker, Tuesday Morning and others closing stores recently" the UBS economists wrote.
Poshepny said he knew it was wrong for America’s allies to sell U.S. government weapons on the black market and for the CIA to engage in drug trafficking. He wanted everyone to know, and he told anyone who would listen.
According to Poshepny, CIA officers who worked with Vang Pao directly oversaw and profited from the drug trade. Laotian CIA Station Chief Ted Shackley’s “pet from Miami,” David Morales, for example, “built a castle in Pakse from drug money.”
Poshepny also told Valentine that the huge campaign to publicize the search for American prisoners of war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia after the war was a “CIA psychological warfare operation that provided a cover for CIA efforts to track and try [to] assassinate 55 U.S. deserters who had escaped from military prisons, mostly Negroes and Hispanics guilty of fraggings, and had gone into tunnels and onto farms with the Vietcong.”
A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion released last week revealed that the FBI violated the constitutional rights of 278,000 Americans in 2020 and 2021 with warrantless searches of their email and other electronic data. For each American that the FISA court permitted the FBI to target, the FBI illicitly surveiled almost a thousand additional Americans. This is only the latest federal surveillance scandal stretching back to the years after 9/11.
The FISA law was enacted in 1978 to curb the rampant illegal political spying exposed during the Richard Nixon administration. After the 9/11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration decided that the president was entitled to order the National Security Agency to vacuum up Americans’ emails and other data without a warrant. After The New York Times exposed the surveillance scheme in late 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that “the president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander in chief, to engage in this kind of activity.” Gonzales apparently forgot the congressional impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. The Bush White House also asserted that the September 2001 “Authorization to Use Military Force” resolution Congress passed entitled Bush to tap Americans’ phones. But if the authorization actually allowed the president to do whatever he thinks necessary on the homefront, Americans had been living under martial law.
Federal judges disagreed with Bush’s prerogative to obliterate American privacy. The result was a 2008 FISA reform that authorized the feds to continue commandeering vast amounts of data. But under Section 702 of that law, the FBI was permitted to conduct warrantless searches of that stash for Americans’ data only to seek foreign intelligence information or evidence of crime.
If I wrote that we’re living in a world that bears an ever-increasing similarity to Communist regimes throughout history, a lot of people would scoff and say that I was being melodramatic. But research compiled by the Media Research Center and shared on social media by The Heritage Foundation shows, through documents acquired via the FOIA, that the Biden administration is using tax dollars to actively target political opponents and dissenters as potential domestic terrorists in a program with the acronym TVTP.
It’s an important read, and the supporting documents that follow the money are all here in this PDF. (I originally came across this information on a very interesting episode of Dan Bongino’s podcast.)
So, by definition, are you an extremist? A budding domestic terrorist? A violent threat?
Erik Prince, the man behind Blackwater, recently teamed up with an Israeli spy, creating a front company with her to help Israeli defense technology providers exploit loopholes and sell their products to the American military.
For years, Erik Prince – the founder of mercenary firm Blackwater (now Academi) – has been a major source of controversy. Ever since he left Blackwater over a decade ago, Prince has appeared in the news for pushing to privatize several wars, his ties to former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, his violation of international arms embargoes and his unusually close ties with Project Veritas, among other notable events and connections.
However, some of Prince’s antics in recent years have not yet made it into the news – namely his decision to team up with an Israeli spy to build a very secretive company that has – until now – evaded scrutiny. That company, Comframe Solutions, appears to operate as an intelligence front and explicitly targets parts of the American military involved in highly sensitive combat operations. As this investigation will show, Prince’s partner in Comframe – Lital Leshem – has been tied to a series of apparent, and admitted, Israeli intelligence front companies, several of which have a focus on technology. Yet Prince and his close associate Chris Burgess – Comframe’s supposed president – have done everything they can to hide their association with the incredibly secretive company. Why might that be and what exactly is Comframe up to?
NOT LONG AFTER the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration launched what it called the Office of Strategic Influence, which would seek to “counter the enemy’s perception management” in the so-called war on terror. But it quickly became clear that the office, operating under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, would be managing those perceptions with its own disinformation.
As the New York Times reported at the time, its work was to “provide news items, possibly including false ones, to foreign journalists in an effort to influence overseas opinion.” In the nascent Internet age, observers worried the propaganda could boomerang back on Americans.
“The question is whether the Pentagon and military should undertake an official program that uses disinformation to shape perceptions abroad,” the Times reported in 2004. “But in a modern world wired by satellite television and the Internet, any misleading information and falsehoods could easily be repeated by American news outlets.”
The debt ceiling agreement reached between the White House and House Republicans that was announced Sunday caps military spending at $886 billion for 2024, matching President Biden’s requested budget.
Republicans negotiating the debt ceiling deal only sought non-military spending cuts. The $886 billion cap for military spending represents about a 3.3% increase from 2023.
The White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) still need to get the debt ceiling agreement passed through Congress. Many hawkish Republicans will likely oppose the deal as they previously blasted Biden’s massive $886 billion request as “inadequate.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) slammed the debt limit deal in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. “The Biden defense budget was a joke before, and if we adopt it as Republicans, we will be doing a big disservice to the party of Ronald Reagan,” Graham said.
Several members of the Democrat Party in Congress are urging the White House to provide Kiev with significantly more military support. One representative wants the Joe Biden administration to place “non-combatant observers” on the ground in Ukraine.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) called for long-term investment in modernizing Ukraine’s military. He believes the upgraded weapons will turn the country into a “porcupine that can’t be swallowed.”
One suggestion Crow made was sending non-combatant observers to the battlefield to learn “through direct observation and communication with Ukrainian forces.” Crow did not specify if the personnel would come from the CIA, Pentagon or another agency. However, deploying any Americans on the battlefield risks them being killed by Russian soldiers.
Israel launched airstrikes in Syria on Sunday night, hitting targets near the capital Damascus that caused material damage, Syria’s SANA news agency reported.
A military source told SANA that the airstrikes were launched from the direction of the Golan Heights and that Syria’s air defenses intercepted some of the missiles. No casualties were reported in the strikes.
According to The Cradle, the incident marked the 17th time Israel has bombed Syria this year and the 12th time since a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria in February, killing thousands of Syrians.
Several of those airstrikes targeted the airport in Aleppo, a city that was severely impacted by the earthquake. The Israeli attacks put the airport temporarily out of service three times, cutting off a channel for earthquake aid.
It should not come as a surprise that U.S. officials and members of the foreign policy establishment have falsely portrayed Ukraine as a noble democracy. Such deceptions in pursuit of assorted US foreign policy objectives around the globe are nothing new. Throughout the Cold War, Washington routinely contended that "friendly" dictatorships were members of the "free world." More recently, officials in George W. Bush’s administration conducted a concerted propaganda effort that Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi was the George Washington of Iraq. Obama administration officials and their allies in the news media even sought to make the case that the Islamic jihadists trying to unseat Syria’s Bashar al-Assad were really democratic freedom fighters.
A similar effort is taking place to portray Ukraine as a vibrant democracy and the country’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, as a courageous champion of freedom. Biden administration officials and most members of the news media have dutifully promoted those images. The fawning reception given to Zelensky as he addressed a joint session of Congress in December 2022 was an especially graphic example.
There is extensive evidence, however, that Ukraine is in fact run by a corrupt, repressive oligarchy. That situation was true even before Russia’s February 2022 invasion gave Zelensky and his associates a rationale for intensifying their authoritarian practices. Matters have grown steadily worse since then.
A “civil society” is a community of individuals who are linked together by common interests and activities. Common interests include being able to walk the streets safely (peace) and to exercise such rights as freedom of speech (individual freedom). These shared interests allow common activities to flourish, including commerce and the education of children.
Civil society is possible only because most people want to live securely, protect their loved ones, and prosper. This laissez-faire attitude used to be a defining characteristic of Americans, but an engineered and well-financed cultural war is destroying America’s renowned tolerance. If the common interests of society break down and peace and freedom are replaced by violence and privilege, then common activities like free-market commerce and education cannot function.
One movement captures the raw destruction of this culture war against civil society - a demand for “Trans rights!” blasts across America. But a sharp backlash against it has also developed, epitomized by the boycott of Bud Light beer over the company’s use of trans activist Dylan Mulvaney as a new “woman” ambassador for its brand.
The media characterizes this backlash as antitrans hatred by conservatives, Christians, and other troglodytes. But few people care about the sexual or gender orientation of their neighbors. Critics of the trans movement are rebelling against the forced redefinition of biology, the destruction of women’s sports by trans athletes, the hijacking of children’s education, the medical experiment of gender-transitioning children, and the intrusion of penises in women-only spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, prisons, and shelters. Critics don’t want to oppress anyone; they want a return to civil society of peace and individual rights.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has another five years in power after defeating opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu in Sunday’s runoff election.
Kilicdaroglu was in the impossible position of trying to make up ground by simultaneously keeping the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party voters on board and attracting the voters of nationalist candidates from the first round.
It didn’t work.
Unrest has been ongoing for days in Serbian minority regions of northern Kosovo after controversial municipal elections resulted in ethnic Albanian mayors being installed in Serb-dominant communities. But what started as clashes between ethnic Serbs and Kosovo police has spiraled into violence as NATO troops have struggled to crackdown on raging protests.
Reuters has confirmed that NATO peacekeeping troops have been wounded and injured in the town of Zvecan, following Serb protesters attempting to gain entry into a local government building. NATO soldiers are also reportedly trying to protect other municipal buildings.
If you wish to wade through 99 pages of details, here's the full text of the Allegedly Final Debt-Ceiling Deal.
The Wall Street Journal has a synopsis in Biden, McCarthy Agree to Final Details of Debt-Ceiling Deal
With some conservative Republicans in both chambers signaling initial opposition to the deal, Biden urged both chambers of Congress to approve the agreement and said McCarthy would have sufficient votes in the Republican-led House to secure passage.
He also sought to quell concerns among Democrats over some of the deal’s provisions, such as additional work requirements for certain government safety-net programs, and rejected criticism from some progressive lawmakers that the agreement would let vulnerable people go hungry. “That’s a ridiculous assertion,” Biden said.
The crime wave that has been actively taking place in Philadelphia (among many other U.S. cities) is now starting to spread to the suburbs.
Crime statistics were up "double-digit percentages" in Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks counties - three major suburban counties that border Philadelphia county - from 2021 to 2022, according to the Delaware Valley Journal.
The Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System shows that increasing crimes include burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. Oddly, the report notes that Chester County, usually seen as a hotbed of crime near Philadelphia, saw its numbers decrease in almost ever statistical category.
In other words, the crime wave that started near the middle of 2020 appears to be moving out of the city and into the nearby suburbs. Larceny and auto thefts are seeing two of the biggest increases, the report wrote:
Abusive relationships follow a pattern. There’s a period of breaking the victim down, isolating them from their support systems, and making them dependent on the abuser. Then, the abused partner is maneuvered into the belief that she can’t get by on her own.
This master manipulation is how people become trapped in abusive relationships.
And, as I’m about to show, not all abusive relationships are one-on-one romantic relationships.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is in a tizzy over the debt ceiling deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy has reached with the Biden administration, not because Americans might be swallowed whole by inflation, but because McCarthy’s defense spending cuts might hurt Ukraine.
According to Graham, capping defense spending could “cripple” the U.S. military, and Ronald Reagan is rolling in his grave.
The health/science unit for fifth graders at Founders Memorial School in Essex Junction, Vermont will now refer to individuals as “person who produces sperm” or “person who produces eggs” instead of using the terms “male” or “female.”
This is the letter sent to parents:
Dear 5th Grade Families and Caregivers,
It is time for our science/health unit about the human body focused on puberty and the human reproductive systems. This unit will take place during the last few months of school. We will focus on the physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty and briefly introduce the basic structure and function of human reproductive systems. Students will be participating in whole group discussions and have private reflection time. There will also be three interview opportunities coming home throughout the unit.
A senior House Democrat told Axios that the majority of their caucus, “perhaps 100%,” are expected to vote in favor of the debt ceiling agreement negotiated by President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
“I expect the vast majority (and perhaps 100%) of Democrats to support it,” the Senior House Democrat told Axios reporter Andrew Solender. “Contingent on final text, most are surprised by how modest the concessions appear to be.”