WILL BE BACK LIVE MONDAY!
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in." -- Greek proverb
MIRANDA DEVINE: It's quite a bizarre response. Good faith seed money, I guess, is what they're going to hang their hat on, as if this Chinese company is just doling out millions of dollars to them as a pre-payment, as a down payment on some nefarious or some mysterious work they're going to do for them now that Joe Biden's out of office. That doesn't pass the sniff test. And there's a lot of evidence from Tony Bobulinski and others to show that that's not the case. And Hunter Biden was in financial trouble at that time. He was paying $37,000 a month alimony to his ex-wife. He was in a relationship with his brother's widow, Hallie Biden. And as well as that, his money from Burisma, the Ukrainian company, had been cut in half once his father was no longer vice president. So he needed this Chinese money.
US banks took out a combined $164.8 billion in loans from two Federal Reserve facilities over the past fortnight, Fed statistics released on Thursday showed. This came as lenders rushed to backstop liquidity in the event of bank runs in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse.
According to the data, US lenders borrowed $152.85 billion from the discount window in the week ending March 15, up from $4.58 billion in the previous week. The figure, which marks an all-time high, topped a record set during the 2008 financial crisis.
The borrowing came via the Fed’s discount window, which is a tool whereby the Fed provides liquidity to banks in the form of loans against safe collateral for up to 90 days. US lenders also obtained another $11.9 billion in loans through the Fed’s Bank Term Funding Program, a facility launched following the SVB collapse and under which funding is available for up to one year.
The US military sent another spy drone over the Black Sea on Friday, maintaining distance from the restricted airspace in which an MQ-9 drone, flying 'silently' without a transponder, crashed earlier this week after being intercepted by Russian jets.
Flight tracking sites showed a UAV with the callsign Forte10, identified as a RQ-4 Global Hawk, circling over Romanian airspace before flying south and east. The drone circled over the eastern part of the Black Sea, but never came closer than 100 kilometers to Crimea.
The Black Sea portion of the mission took only two hours, instead of the usual 12, one pro-Ukrainian observer tweeted, calling it “definitely the strangest route that I have ever seen the RQ-4 take.”
Unnamed US officials later confirmed the mission to Reuters, saying it was the first such flight since Tuesday’s incident. However, the Pentagon had previously said another drone had been dispatched to monitor a possible salvage operation by the Russian Navy.
Pakistan police have raided the Lahore home of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who is on his way to the capital, Islamabad, for a court appearance.
Khan was summoned by the court in relation to a state gift case in which he is set to be indicted on Saturday. Soon after his departure from Lahore on Saturday, police in the capital of the Punjab province carried out the raid at his residence, breaking down the entrance gate to gain access.
Amitabh Kant, India’s negotiator at the G20 summit, said on Wednesday that the world is too preoccupied with Russia’s war in Ukraine, and should “move on” to deal with issues such as global poverty.
“Europe cannot bring growth, poverty, global debt, all developmental issues to a standstill across the world – especially when the south is suffering, especially when 75 countries are suffering from global debt, especially when one-third of the world is in recession, especially when 200 million people have gone below the poverty line,” Kant said.
“Can that one war bring the entire world to a standstill?” he asked.
“Nutrition has been impacted, health outcomes have been impacted, learning outcomes have been impacted, people have become stunted and wasted and we are just concerned with one Russia and Ukraine war. The world needs to move on and Europe needs to find a solution to its challenges,” he said.
The US government has charged fugitive Chinese businessman Guo Wengui with conspiracy to defraud investors. The tycoon allegedly scammed hundreds of thousands of online followers by luring them with his anti-Beijing rhetoric into investing money in his businesses, US officials say.
The indictments against the entrepreneur and business partner Kin Ming Je were unsealed on Wednesday. He was identified in legal papers under the name Ho Wan Kwok and five aliases, including ‘Brother Seven’, ‘The Principal’, but is best-known as Guo Wengui.
Ukraine will remember those who backed it in its conflict with Russia and will hold those who did not accountable, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba warned in a BBC interview on Friday.
The choices every nation made during Russia’s military operation in Ukraine will be “taken into account in building future relations,” Kuleba said, adding that countries that have “misbehaved in the course of this war and mistreated Ukraine” would pay a price.
“If anyone in the world thinks that the way this or that country behaved – or treated Ukraine at the darkest moment of its history – will not be taken into account in building future relations, these people just don’t know how diplomacy works,” he stated, noting that “war is a time when you have to make a choice. And every choice has been recorded.”
Minnesota regulators said Thursday they’re monitoring the cleanup of a leak of 400,000 gallons of radioactive water from Xcel Energy’s Monticello nuclear power plant, and the company said there’s no danger to the public. The leak was first detected in November of last year.
“Xcel Energy took swift action to contain the leak to the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment,” the Minneapolis-based utility said in a statement.
While Xcel reported the leak of water containing tritium to state and federal authorities in late November, the spill had not been made public before Thursday.
“If at any point there had been concern for the public safety, we would of course, immediately have provided more information,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, told CBS Minnesota on Thursday. “But we also wanted to make sure we fully understood what was going on before we started raising any concerns with the public around us.”
I talk quite a bit about the limitations of the federal government and the need for the states to reassert their power to control their creation. Consider the number of federal agencies that do not legally exist, the fact that the supreme court does not issue rulings but offers opinions, and don’t forget about the fact that the states created the federal government, not the other way around. All point to a dangerous and illegal centralization of power in the federal government. So, you can probably imagine my elation to find legislation proposed in my adopted home state that codifies them doing exactly what I said all of the states need to do: Regain control of their creation in Washington, D.C. So, let’s take a look at this legislation, see what lessons we can learn from it, and maybe push representatives in other states to join in this march toward liberty.
I’ve read several pieces of legislation, but this one struck me for a few different reasons. First, the list of findings in section 3 is a master class in the constitutional republic that is America and the role and duty of the states in such a union. Then section 5 lists the standards by which federal actions will be judged, while section 8 lists the process for challenging those actions and shows a good understanding of our history and the seriousness of any such challenge.
While there are two bills, one in the House and the other in the Senate, as of this writing both bills are identical. For this article, I will use the House version of the bill as my reference. Let’s start with the findings of the General Assembly of Tennessee.
The US has called for an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the integration of the human rights of LGBTQ and intersex individuals (also known as ‘LGBTI’) into the organization’s efforts to maintain “international peace and security.”
According to a concept note released by the United States Mission to the UN, the US, along with co-sponsors from Albania, Brazil, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Japan, Malta, Switzerland, and the UK, intend to hold the meeting next week on Monday, March 20. The talks will also be joined by the LGBTI Core Group to “consider how to better integrate consideration of the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex persons into the UNSC’s work.”
In the note, the US stated that the UNSC has improved its ability to tackle the root causes of conflict and mitigate the effects of war by recognizing how abuses against members of marginalized groups serve to destabilize fragile societies. The US brought up the issue of protecting LGBTQ rights before the council in 2015 amid Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS) crimes in Iraq and Syria.
FSB and Rosgvardiya officers found an improvised explosive device on the territory of the Druzhba oil pumping station in the village of the same name in the Novozybkovsky district of the Bryansk region. This was reported to RBC by a source in the regional department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The telegram channels Readovka, SHOT and Baza also wrote about the discovery of an explosive device at the station.
According to the interlocutor of RBC, on March 16, the Interior Ministry received a call from the regional FSB department. The special service said that at about 14:40 an improvised explosive device was found near the transformer substation on the territory of the station located 60 km from the state border. The FSB clarified that the bomb could have been dropped from a drone.
The subject was examined by the staff of Rosgvardiya. They identified it as an improvised explosive device and defused it. The device, according to the interlocutor of RBC, had a metal body and was filled with powder elements in the form of balls up to 5 mm and plastic.
Ten migrants have fallen victim to actions by EU law enforcement officers on the border with Belarus, Spokesman for the Belarusian State Border Committee Anton Bychkovsky told TASS on Friday.
"This year, 10 [dead] migrants have been discovered, of which four have been found on the border with Latvia," the official said as he described the trend as unprecedented since the migration crisis erupted in 2021.
According to Bychkovsky, since early this year, Belarusian border guards have foiled attempts to push more than 4,500 migrants into the country, mostly from Poland.
Latvian, Lithuanian, as well as Polish law enforcement agencies regularly try to push illegal migrants into Belarus, as well as leave the bodies of refugees on the border. Last year, the Belarusian State Border Committee thwarted over 3,800 attempts, involving a total of 31,000 people, to push migrants from the EU into Belarus.
It was a momentous event, the importance of which is not perceived outside the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Iran reconciled... in China. Three signatures at the bottom of a document reshuffle all the cards in this region.
Since the 19th century, the Arab world was first dominated by the United Kingdom and France on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, then by the United States. These powers brought both freedom and oppression. The United Kingdom excelled in dividing the actors in the region and manipulating them against each other so as to exploit the region’s wealth with minimal military involvement. France was divided between the worst kind of colonizers and the most enlightened decolonizers. The United States has always had an imperial vision of the region, with the exception of a few years at the end of the Second World War when it supported the nationalists.
This period has just ended with the arrival of China. As always, China has watched for a very long time and acted slowly, with unwavering perseverance.
Air dominance is one of the key aspects of modern warfare, particularly for the political West and its numerous vassals and satellite states. At present, the Kiev regime is still not very reliant on such a doctrine as its dwindling stock of Soviet-era aircraft allows for very limited use of jets, particularly as Russian platforms, vastly superior in both numbers and capabilities, dominate the skies. Thus, the Neo-Nazi junta troops are forced to make do with what they have. The former USSR’s massive long-range ground-based air defenses somewhat offset this, as the Kiev regime inherited an enormous quantity of SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems, but this too is fading away as Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) hunt down the remaining air defenses.
In order to prevent this, NATO is moving toward fighter jet deliveries to Kiev as the very last step in conventional weapons supplies. The main issue with this has been the training of Ukrainian pilots to be able to fly NATO platforms, as the process normally takes years. Another important segment is that the pilots themselves are not too keen on transitioning to Western aircraft such as the F-16, for instance, which is much lighter and less capable than the Soviet-era Su-27 jets the Kiev regime forces have been flying. However, the chronic lack of spare parts and munitions for these jets is certainly making them less viable, even with the integration of Western weapons such as the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs.
The issue could be partially sidestepped in the coming days and weeks as Slovakia and Poland are moving to send their legacy MiG-29 fighter jets. Warsaw seems to be closer to completing this than Bratislava, as its much larger defense sector already has plans to replace the Warsaw Pact-era aircraft with the F-35A and South Korean FA-50. On the other hand, Slovakia hopes to make a barter deal with the US, aiming to get F-16s for the delivery of its MiG-29s to Kiev. It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will respond to these requests. Poland is the likelier candidate for immediate deliveries, in part due to its larger fleet of MiG-29 jets, as well as the fact that most of these are still operational, unlike the Slovakian ones (officially retired in 2022).
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Israeli regime’s murder of Rachel Corrie, an American pro-Palestine activist, in the Gaza Strip, but her parents are still battling for accountability and justice.
Corrie, a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was crushed to death by a 60-tonne Israeli armored bulldozer on March 16, 2003, while acting as a human shield to stop a Palestinian home from demolition in the Rafah refugee camp.
Since her death, which happened at the height of the Second Intifada (uprising), the 23-year-old activist has been remembered as an icon for the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s decades-long occupation.
“I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world,” she wrote just two weeks before her death.
For the sake of its own geopolitical interests the US administration supports the unprecedented legal bacchanalia unleashed by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Russian embassy in Washington said in a comments released on Friday.
"We took notice of the statements of representatives of the U.S. administration on the alleged justification of the decision of the International Criminal Court to issue warrants of the arrest for President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. For the sake of its own geopolitical interests Washington supports the unprecedented legal bacchanalia unleashed by the ICC, knowing full well that Russia, like the United States, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC," the Russian diplomats stressed.
"Allowing unacceptable remarks about the Russian leader, the U.S. authorities deliberately keep silent about their own atrocities in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya and Vietnam. Moreover, in an attempt to protect its citizens from international prosecution by all available means, the United States even takes odious measures," the added.
On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis conducted a press conference to mark three years since the U.S. promoted a “Slow the Spread” approach to COVID-19.
At the Winter Haven event, which took place at The Fire Restaurant on West Central Avenue, DeSantis was joined by Florida’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo.
In his speech, Dr. Ladapo stated that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have a “terrible safety profile” and questioned if anybody should be taking them.
“People believe that what is happening isn’t actually happening. These vaccines have a terrible safety profile… I’m not sure anyone should be taking them, that is the honest truth. I don’t think anyone probably should be taking them. They have a terrible safety profile,” Ladapo said.
It is almost surreal to contemplate the changes that took place over the past 12 months. One year ago this week, Sir Tony Blair published an article on the pages of his very important Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. It was titled, “The Immediate Challenge in Ukraine: Maximum Pressure Combined With Structured Negotiation” (as opposed to just ordinary kind of negotiation for simpletons).
The Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter opens his treatise with the statement, “Putin has badly miscalculated,” and drivels on about how the West "has impressively united to assemble a vast arsenal of sanctions which will over time collapse the Russian economy. ... in the end, this aggression may well herald the downfall of Putin." Sir Tony portrays the man himself as an anxious wreck, "detached from reality and with no one around him prepared to tell him the truth." In other words, an archetype of a megalomaniacal cartoon villain.
Florida Senator Rick Scott on Friday demanded answers from the Biden administration on a watchdog report that said grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was directed to China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, and pressed the administration to explain if it is barring future funding to the lab that some think is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Scott noted that an HHS report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that NIH failed to properly monitor their grant awards, including one to the Wuhan lab. The OIG report found that HHS grants to the non-profit group EcoHealth Alliance weren't properly monitored as they made their way to the lab.
"NIH allowed EcoHealth Alliance to sub-award the grant to the Communist Chinese government and failed to conduct proper oversight," Scott wrote. "American tax dollars should always be protected from waste, fraud, and abuse. It is vital that NIH provide oversight of how these funds are spent on grants."
One of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern American electoral history occurred in the weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election. On October 14, 2020 — less than three weeks before Americans were set to vote — the nation's oldest newspaper, The New York Post, began publishing a series of reports about the business dealings of the Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in countries in which Biden, as Vice President, wielded considerable influence (including Ukraine and China) and would again if elected president.
The backlash against this reporting was immediate and intense, leading to suppression of the story by U.S. corporate media outlets and censorship of the story by leading Silicon Valley monopolies. The disinformation campaign against this reporting was led by the CIA's all-but-official spokesperson Natasha Bertrand (then of Politico, now with CNN), whose article on October 19 appeared under this headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday ordered states to stop blocking contaminated waste from a fiery train derailment in Ohio from being sent to hazardous waste storage sites around the nation.
A handful of politicians and states have sought to block shipments from East Palestine, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who last week said he had stopped waste from the derailment from coming into his state.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said there was no reason for states to block shipments of the type of waste that certified facilities routinely handle every day.
Eventually, the Supreme Court may hear one or more challenges to Democrat-state laws that ban rifles Americans most commonly acquire for legitimate purposes, including self- and collective defense. Rupp v. Bonta, which challenges California’s ban, is moving as we speak, and its outcome may depend on which veterans of the United States Marine Corps the federal judge handling the case believes.
The Ninth Circuit has remanded the case to Judge Josephine Staton, of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (Western Division), for consideration in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (2022), that firearm-related restrictions are unconstitutional if they’re inconsistent with the nation’s history and tradition of restrictions, an argument made by then-Judge (now Supreme Court Justice) Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent in Heller v. District of Columbia (2011).