Washington and Manila are close to inking an agreement that would see four new American installations opened in the Philippines. The new sites are part of an American military buildup in the Indo-Pacific to prepare for war with China.
According to The Washington Post, negotiations are ongoing but a deal between Manila and Washington is nearing completion. Once completed, American forces are expected to have new sites at four Philippines bases.
Two of the new facilities will be located in Luzon, in the northern half of the country. The military sites are expected to be used in a future war between Washington and Beijing. The bases “could give U.S. forces a strategic position from which to mount operations in the event of a conflict in Taiwan or the South China Sea,” the Post reported.
In 2012, then-President Barack Obama adopted a more aggressive policy for China, the “pivot to Asia,” the largest military build up since World War II. Under the strategy, Washington has authorized billions of dollars for new bases, ships and weapons to be deployed to the Asia Pacific. The Pentagon aims to encircle China with two thirds of all U.S. air and naval forces.
The US Navy has stopped commissioning decompression sickness experiments on sheep that allegedly subjected the animals to horrible pain and injuries, including paralysis and cardiovascular collapse, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has said.
The animal rights group claimed a victory on Wednesday, saying the tests were halted as much as two years ahead of schedule amid lobbying efforts and legal action. The experiments were done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under a $389,000 grant from the Navy. “It’s a victory that will prevent more sheep from being abused in horribly painful tests,” the group said of the halt.
Webmaster addition: I smell a Pork Barrel here. The effects of rapid decompression have been known for 50 years. I don't see how continuing these experiments would produce significant new data. PETA did a good thing here.
The State Department notified Congress early last year that it would be opening an embassy in the Soloman Islands around the same time the Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific Strategy.
The strategy calls for the US to expand its military and diplomatic presence in the region as part of a buildup aimed at China. The US previously operated an embassy in the Solomon Islands, but it closed in 1993. According to The Associated Press, the new embassy is starting small with a chargé d’affaires and only two State Department staff and a handful of local employees.
Webmaster addition: I wonder if the US "exit" strategy to leave Ukraine is to start the war with China!
The leaders of the Marshall Islands, a collection of 29 coral atolls lying halfway between Hawaii and Australia, know exactly why the United States just agreed to a deal promising $700 million in new support over four years.
“It’s because of China. We’re not naive,” Marshallese Foreign Minister Kitlang Kabua said in an interview at a restaurant close to the country’s parliament in the capital of Majuro. It offered a view of a vast lagoon speckled with rusted fishing ships that bring in tuna, and the coconut palms that fringe the thin circle of land that makes up the Marshalls’ main atoll.
Fishing and harvesting are not, however, sufficient to support the country’s population of about 80,000.
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) released a report on 31 January detailing the developments taking place across Israeli prisons over the past hours, which come in the aftermath of Israel’s massacre in Jenin and the subsequent Palestinian retaliation in Jerusalem.
According to the PPS, authorities in the Israeli Damon prison carried out a ‘massive crackdown’ on female prisoners, resulting in physical assaults against them and the unwarranted confiscation of their belongings.
In Negev prison, “a state of extreme tension prevails,” as 120 prisoners from sections 26 and 27 of the facility announced yesterday that they will be starting a hunger strike in protest of the collective punishment against them and of being stripped of basic necessities by prison authorities.
The report adds that over the past three days and continuing on into today, the Israeli prisons of Ofer, Negev, Megiddo, and Damon have witnessed extreme tension, as authorities continue to violently storm the prisoners’ sections and strip them of their belongings.
Webmaster addition: Collective punishment is a war crime.
And now for some Tuesday humor, brought to you by the US Treasury Department, which sees no indication whatsoever that US funds have been misused in Ukraine, following last week's massive political shake-up wherein some dozen top Ukrainian officials were booted from their posts amid persistent corruption, embezzlement and fraud allegations so glaring it even shocked the Ukrainians.
"We have no indication that U.S. funds have been misused in Ukraine," Treasury spokesperson Megan Apper said in Treasury's first comments since the 'shock' resignations.
In the official statement given to Reuters, the US government also hailed the supposed "safeguards" which the Ukrainians have put in place, though without actually specifying any: "We welcome the ongoing efforts by the Ukrainian authorities to work with us to ensure appropriate safeguards are in place so that U.S assistance reaches those for whom it is intended," Apper said.
Webmaster addition: Wow! I don't recall ever seeing a government agency move that fast before!!! Just one week to look through all those financial transactions involving billions of dollars! Who would have thunk it, especially from the government that lost $3 trillion just before 9/11!
A total of 35 Palestinians were killed by Israelis in January, making it the deadliest month for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since 2015.
Six of the fatalities were under the age of 18, with the youngest being 14-year-old Omar Lotfi Khumour. The victims also included 60-year-old Majda Abdel Fattah Obaid, who was reportedly shot dead while reading the Quran inside her home.
The vast majority were shot dead by Israeli troops, while three were killed by settlers.
More than half of those killed were in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, which, along with Nablus, has been the focus of near-nightly search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces since last year.
Israeli violence in the West Bank has been getting more deadly and frequent, prompting a rise in armed Palestinian resistance.
According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in any single calendar year since the Second Intifada.
On January 17, the Saudi minister of finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, announced that the Saudi state is open to selling oil in currencies other than the dollar. “There are no issues with discussing how we settle our trade arrangements, whether it is in the US dollar, whether it is the euro, whether it is the Saudi riyal,” Al-Jadaan told Bloomberg TV.
If the Saudi regime does indeed embrace substantial trade in currencies other than the dollar as part of its oil-export business, this would signal a shift away from the dollar as the dominant currency in global oil payments. Or measured another way, this would signal the end of the so-called petrodollar.
Will a shift away from the dollar in the global oil trade really lead to a big relative decline in the dollar? Probably and eventually. But a number of other dominoes would need to fall first, most especially the domino we call “Eurodollars.”
We previously discussed the movement in journalism schools to get rid of principles of objectivity in journalism. Advocacy journalism is the new touchstone in the media even as polls show that trust in the media is plummeting. Now, former executive editor for The Washington Post Leonard Downie Jr. and former CBS News President Andrew Heyward have released the results of their interviews with over 75 media leaders and concluded that objectivity is now considered reactionary and even harmful. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, editor-in-chief at the San Francisco Chronicle said it plainly: “Objectivity has got to go.”
President Biden has initiated a pistol brace ban via executive action—formally an ATF rule entitled "Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached 'Stabilizing Braces'"—because ATF is in its strongest position yet to begin systematically confiscating firearms from gun owners.
The U.S. Treasury began taking steps last week to avoid default on the nation’s $31.4 trillion national debt. The government has been here before, and it will keep arriving here until Congress finds a way to control its voracious appetite for spending. The political will to cut spending is hard to muster. Congressional history shows that the budget process itself creates incentives for excessive spending and budget deficits.
Entitlement programs have accounted for all the growth in federal spending relative to gross domestic product in the past 60 years, causing the persistent budget deficits during that period. Entitlement expenditures are determined differently from so-called discretionary programs. Spending on the latter programs is set by fixed appropriations of money. Entitlement expenditures aren’t fixed in advance but determined by the program’s level of benefits, its eligibility rules and economic factors.
Jurisdiction for entitlement legislation is dispersed among more than a dozen committees in each congressional chamber. In the House, the Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over farm-support payments and food stamps, the Education and Workforce Committee over student loans and grants, the Ways and Means Committee over Social Security, Medicare hospital insurance and welfare programs, the Energy and Commerce Committee over Medicaid (sharing responsibility for ObamaCare and Medicare Part B with Ways and Means).
In this system, no committee is accountable for total spending. Each committee has a reason to expand its programs and resist attempts to restrain them, but none have an incentive to keep overall spending down.
Prohibiting higher education institutions from using any funding, regardless of source, to support DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory initiatives;
And the ideological litmus test of DEI hiring statements are gone:
Prohibiting postsecondary institutions from using discriminatory political filters, including political loyalty oaths and DEI statements, in the hiring process;
This will wipe out the DEI bureaucracy. Expect the ACLU to claim this violated the court injunction [as to the STOP WOKE Act].
DeSantis previously had rejected the Advanced Placement African American Studies curriculum because it was too radical, pushing Critical Race Theory and promoting Black Lives Matter, among other things. Contrary to the lying media, he did not oppose the course, but objected to the leftist curriculum and wanted improvements.
Firefighters in Seattle were instructed to take down a "Thin Blue Line" flag from the public area of one of the fire stations. The flag a symbol that shows support for police officers. A similar symbol, with a thin red line, represents firefighters. Merchandise with that symbol are sold by the local firefighters union. It was recently decided that proceeds from the sale of "Thin Red Line" apparel would be donated to BLM.
The Seattle Fire Department told The Post Millennial in a statement, "leadership made a management decision to have a Thin Blue Line flag removed from a public area in one of the fire stations. While the SFD fully supports our law enforcement partners, the flag’s original meaning of support for police has been coopted by its use at rallies for extremist groups."
“Yet again, we’re seeing evidence of what happens to Black and brown people from simple traffic stops.” — Ben Crump, attorney for Tyre Nichols’ family
“It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.” — President Joe Biden
“[V]iolence like what happened to [Tyre Nichols] is about how some bad cops use their power over Black and brown victims.” — CNN’s Van Jones
Hey! Where’d all the “browns” go?
George Floyd, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and on and on and on — all black people, generally “justice-involved,” who resisted the police and ended up dead. Name a civilian killed by cops of any other race that led to international protests, billboards, renamed streets, hashtags, memorials, NBA jerseys, murals, busts, tribute songs or O magazine covers.
Only black people reflexively defend their own criminals. The “blacks and browns” scam is an attempt to rope Hispanics into the black community’s dysfunction.
Iran, a member of the Axis of Evil, has been attacked by the Forces of Good. Will it come to the Third World War? We shall see. But now from the beginning.
After the recent elections, Bibi Netanyahu had formed his sixth government after one-and-a-half-year break and Israelis opposing Bibi began a street revolt against the new government. They took a leaf from the Ukraine-2014 book, and created a Maidan in Tel Aviv, with up to a hundred thousand citizens gathering in neighbourhood squares every Sabbath. The would-be-revolutionaries are similar to US Democrats, while the government supporters remind us of US Republicans. To complicate the comparison further, note that Israeli Jews predominantly support US Republicans, and US Jews vote for the Dems. Yet this colour revolution on the streets and squares of Tel Aviv is a pro-American revolt (as is usual for colour revolutions). And US Dems, with their Israeli analogues are used to winning their revolutions, by whatever means necessary.
The new government has declared a plan for legal reform, directly confronting the Judicial Branch which has historically dominated the Executive Branch in Israel. Israeli judges do not like strong men, and often torpedo their measures. High Court judges are elected by other judges, and the High Court can overturn any Parliamentary or Government decision. In Israel, there is the additional ethnic tension between European (Ashkenazi) Jews and Oriental (Sephardic) Jews. All of them are against the Palestinians – with exception of the Communists. It would be a mistake to consider some of them being on the Left. There is practically no Left in Israel. This title has been seized by the gender-obsessed lesbians of Tel Aviv. As for Israeli men, they choose between Rightist or Far-Rightist.
There’s an unconfirmed rumor going around that poor Tyre Nichols of Memphis was beaten to death for similar reasons to why Ron Goldman got damn near decapitated in Brentwood in 1994. No proof of that rumor yet, but it’s worth remembering that we don’t know why he’s dead.
From Newsweek (not necessarily the most reliable source, but these days an interesting one):
So if ShotSpotter technology correctly identifies gunshots as happening in communities devoid of white people and with a surplus of non-whites (black and brown people, who produce black and brown individuals collectively committing nearly all the gun violence), it’s a bad thing police departments spend more resources trying to make these communities safer.
It’s stories such as these you realize how truly noble the motives and aims of the American Colonization Society were…
If white people were to completely abandon a city inhabited by now non-whites, deprive this population of all technology exclusively created by white people (ShotSpotter) and eliminate pesky police from the equation, how long until all semblances of western civilization evaporate in this scenario?
Beginning in the fall of 2023, The State University of New York System (SUNY) is implementing a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEISJ) graduation requirement for all incoming students.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is under fire for kicking out students wearing pro-life beanies inside. WYFF-TV in Greenville, South Carolina reported yesterday that parents of the students are considering legal action against the museum.
The United States was once a world leader for good reasons — now, we lead for many of the wrong ones.
Americans spend the most money on healthcare compared to other high-income countries, yet face the lowest life expectancy, according to a new study.
The Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan think tank that focuses on healthcare issues, released a new report this week, which compares the US to a dozen other developed nations, including the United Kingdom and Australia.
It revealed that US residents paid more per person, as well as a greater share of the country’s GDP, for healthcare. And despite paying top dollar, their life expectancy was just 77 years — well below the UK at over 80 years.
That’s because people in the US — at a rate of 336 per 100,000 as of 2020 — are dying more frequently of “avoidable” conditions. Case in point, nearly 43% of Americans are considered obese, whereas the average rate across 13 of the wealthiest countries is just 25%, researchers found.
According to the alumni lawsuit, Cornwell continually selected specifically “racially and sexually inappropriate musicals” for her theater classes to perform. She allegedly encouraged students to “get more intimate” during rehearsals. According to some of the students, she led private “intimacy rehearsals” for scene partners behind a locked door.
“During intimacy rehearsals, Cornwell called students into a special session in the evening and directed them to ‘have sex,’ meaning they had to practice whatever sexual conduct Cornwell desired for their roles,” the lawsuit alleges. “Cornwell would force the minor students to engage in open-mouth kissing, groping, and simulated sexual intercourse in order to ‘convince her’ that they sexually desired each other.”
Some of the alumni detailed specific instances where Cornwell was distinctly “aroused” during their rehearsals. As the students groped and kissed each other, Cornwell would cheer them on, encouraging them to “increase their level of passion” and make it look “more realistic.”
One of the former students, Ms. Andie Haddad, recalled a moment during a rehearsal where she and her scene partner were required to lay on the floor in the middle of her castmates with the lights off and were instructed to kiss and grope each other.
Haddad claims that the scene aroused Cornwell, even to the point that the instructor began yelling, “More, more, more!” at Haddad and her partner.
As a medical student and researcher, I staunchly supported the efforts of the public health authorities when it came to COVID-19. I believed that the authorities responded to the largest public health crisis of our lives with compassion, diligence, and scientific expertise. I was with them when they called for lockdowns, vaccines, and boosters.
I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.