"War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. " --  Major General Smedley Darlington Butler

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In a rare moment of tensions among allies, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is demanding that German bank executives get serious about complying with anti-Russia sanctions, warning further that German banks could find themselves under sanctions.

She warned them of secondary sanctions meant to thwart deals with Russian entities in a meeting among bank leaders in Frankfurt. "Russia continues to procure sensitive goods and to expand its ability to domestically manufacture these goods. We must remain vigilant and be more ambitious," Yellen said. "I urge all institutions here to take heightened compliance measures and to increase your focus on Russian evasion attempts."

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In recordings obtained by The Grayzone, a self-proclaimed soldier from Israel’s infamous Netzah Yehuda battalion detailed his unit’s killing of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American, and flaunted his genocidal views. After announcing plans to sanction the battalion, the Biden administration has inexplicably pulled back.

The Biden administration has balked after announcing plans to sanction five units of the Israeli military accused of wanton human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank. “Four of these units have effectively remediated these violations, which is what we expect partners to do,” the US State Department has claimed, referencing unknown efforts by Israel to hold its soldiers accountable.

The fifth, un-remediated unit appears to be Netzah Yehuda, an all-male unit of Orthodox Jewish nationalists which operates almost exclusively in the Ramallah district of the West Bank. This battalion stands accused of widespread crimes including sexual assault and beating at least three older men to death while they were lying on the ground in custody. 

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking NATO countries to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukrainian territory, dismissing concerns of potential nuclear escalation.

“So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So, what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue,” Zelensky said in an interview published by The New York Times on Tuesday. “Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine.”

Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have expressed envy of Israel after the US and the UK helped intercept Iranian missiles and drones that were fired at Israeli territory. “This is what we saw in Israel. Not even on such a large scale,” Zelensky said.

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The UN said Tuesday that it halted food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah due to the lack of supplies and that no aid trucks were entering the Strip through the US-built pier, The Associated Press reported.

The vital Rafah border crossing has been closed to aid deliveries since it was captured by Israeli forces on May 7, an operation that was approved by President Biden. The UN estimates over 800,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah since Israel launched its assault, but hundreds of thousands remain, as it was estimated that 1.4 million civilians were sheltering in the city before the Israeli operation.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said it was also running out of food for central Gaza and is warning that “humanitarian operations in Gaza are near collapse” and food needs to enter the Strip in “massive quantities” or famine-like conditions will spread.

Only 21 aid trucks have entered Gaza through the $320 million US-built pier. Ten trucks went through on Friday and made it to the WFP, but on Saturday, 11 trucks that came through the pier were raided by hungry Palestinians.

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Israeli officials have agreed on a more “limited” operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah that won’t be opposed by President Biden, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported on Monday.

Ignatius said Israeli officials have reached a “consensus” about a “final assault” against four Hamas battalions Israel believes remain in Rafah.

Ignatius wrote: “Instead of the heavy attack with two divisions that Israel contemplated several weeks ago, government and military leaders foresee a more limited assault that US officials think will result in fewer civilian casualties and, for that reason, Biden won’t oppose.”

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Israeli forces thrust deeper into Jabalia in northern Gaza on Tuesday, striking a hospital and destroying residential areas with tank and air bombardments, residents said, while Israeli airstrikes killed at least five people in Rafah in the south.

Simultaneous Israeli assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip this month have caused a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

In Jabalia, a sprawling refugee camp built for displaced civilians 75 years ago, the Israeli army used bulldozers to clear shops and property near the local market, residents said, in a military operation that began almost two weeks ago.

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Israeli authorities seized broadcasting equipment from the Associated Press and blocked the outlet’s live feed of Gaza. The move is part of a crackdown on media in Israel. The White House expressed concern over the theft of the American outlet’s equipment. The AP reports the Israeli government later ordered the cameras to be returned to the journalists, and the feed was restored. 

On Tuesday, Israel seized cameras and broadcasting equipment used by the AP in southern Israel. Tel Aviv claimed that the AP was in violation of a new law allowing the government to ban Al-Jazeera. Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi argues that the law extends to any organization providing material to the Qatari-based outlet, giving him the power to shut down the AP livestream.  

The AP said the order they were given by authorities during the seizure was signed by Karhi, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. After the livestream was shut down, a senior AP official slammed Tel Aviv. 

“The Associated Press decries in the strongest terms the actions of the Israeli government to shut down our longstanding live feed showing a view into Gaza and seize AP equipment,” said Lauren Easton, vice president of corporate communications. “The shutdown was not based on the content of the feed but rather an abusive use by the Israeli government of the country’s new foreign broadcaster law.”

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by Tyler Durden

The primary appeal of fast-food burgers (even though the food is horrible for your health) is cheap and fast. In recent weeks, McDonald's indirectly admitted that three years of 'McFlation' was crushing burger demand among working-poor consumers, and there was an urgent need within the burger chain to reintroduce the $5 meal deal

X users have been disgusted with $18 Big Mac meals at some of the burger chain's restaurants nationwide.

Some were even reminded of the good old days when the same meal cost $5—right before the GFC and right before the Federal Reserve embarked on a decade of zero-bound interest rates and trillions of dollars in money printing that fueled financial asset bubbles. 

Fast forward to today, the persistent inflation storm is being driven by the US Treasury spending like it's in a depression (or spending an absurd $1 trillion every 100 days).

Bidenomics' stealth stimulus has resulted in massive economic miscalculation by the federal government and the Federal Reserve. It's not just ZeroHedge saying this, but Duquesne Family Office Chairman & CEO Stan Druckenmiller recently gave Bidenomics an "F." 

Real wages for most consumers have been terrible under Biden's first term. But not under Trump's... 

As the election cycle heats up, X user End Wokeness has reminded everyone about elevated food inflation impacting menu prices at McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Chick-fil-A. The data compared year-end 2019 menu prices at the three restaurants with current prices. The results are startling: Some menu items are up triple digits in several or so years. 

Food inflation has been problematic for Biden's campaign team to navigate. They've already given up on 'Bidenomics.' 

More recently, Biden's team has used popular buzzwords 'greedflation' and 'shrinkflation' to convince voters why Big Macs in certain states and towns now cost $18. This is a significant pivot from blaming 'Putin Price Hikes' for every economic mishap. 

It's difficult to believe Biden's greedflation story because government data shows that retail prices for ground beef and chicken have surged and remained elevated. Also, major commodity indexes tracked by Bloomberg and the United Nations have yet to come back down to Earth. All of this indicates companies had to push up prices to protect margins. 

The current issue is that inflation is being driven by reaccelerating commodity prices, while the US government is spending as if it's in a depression.

Meanwhile, clueless Democrats who ignore out-of-control government spending as the root cause of inflation are demanding price controls on food, similar to what communists or socialists do in third-world countries. The only problem with that is that price controls can trigger shortages or surpluses, longer lines, lower quality products, and, of course, misallocation of products.

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The pivot from Republic to Empire circa 1949 remains evident even today – fully one-third of a century after the Cold War ended and the Soviet Empire was swept into the dustbin of history. As depicted in the chart below, the War Capital of the World still deploys 173,000 troops in 159 countries and maintains upwards of 750 bases in 80 countries.

Indeed, in some sense it’s as if WWII never ended. As of 2020, Washington still had large military forces in places where they had arrived 75 years ago during the final span of WWII:

  • 119 bases and nearly 34,000 troops in Germany.
  • 44 bases and 12,250 troops in Italy.
  • 25 bases and 9,275 troops in the UK.
  • 120 bases and 53,700 troops in Japan.
  • 73 bases and 26,400 troops in South Korea
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American taxpayers are footing the bill for Ukrainian NGOs focused on smearing proponents of a diplomatic solution as "Russian disinformation" agents

Webmaster addition: So, the Biden administration is using our own money to attack our right to freedom of speech! Talk about acting like a Nazi!

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Authored by Salena Zit & Brad Todd via RealClearPolitics

To locate Joe Biden’s electoral problem, you need only to look on Sunday morning. Polling shows the mass-attending Catholic president trails Donald Trump by 10 points among those who attend religious services a few times a year or more. The score is reversed with voters who report they seldom or never attend church, with Biden leading by 10.

It’s the starkest divide in the electorate – and one that political journalists rarely mention, perhaps because, as a profession, journalists are more removed from religion than the average American.

Trump’s advantage with white evangelical Protestants is widely understood, but he also leads Biden by healthy margins among less politically conservative Christians. These findings in the recent Marquette Law School’s national poll of registered voters showed Biden trailing Trump by 18 percentage points with other members of his own Catholic faith, and behind Trump by 16 among adherents of mainline protestant denominations, which would include groups like Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians.

Those numbers are in the same range as the 24-point lead Trump posts among self-described “born-again” evangelicals. The same poll shows the race is reversed with non-Christian voters, with whom Biden holds a commanding 33-point advantage.

The irony of this schism proves a dynamic that is larger than these two men. Biden would tell you his Catholicism is integral to his own self-identity. Trump, meanwhile, was a high-living playboy who said he’d never asked God for forgiveness for anything, situating himself well outside the theology and lifestyle of most Christians.

In 2018, we wrote a book examining the realignment that brought Trump to power and identified what we called “King Cyrus Christians” as an important archetype in Trump’s coalition. These voters, mostly Catholic or evangelical Protestants, adopted Trump’s candidacy pragmatically, seeing in him a warrior who would battle their common political enemies. And with control of the Supreme Court in the balance in that 2016 election, they forged an alliance of necessity.

Survey research conducted for our book found these King Cyrus Christians (so named in a nod to the pagan Persian king who had delivered ancient Jews back to Israel and rebuilt their temple in Jerusalem) were not initially Trump’s most enthusiastic backers. Instead, the shock troops of first-wave Trumpism were the most secular and least traditional Republicans – and many were not Republican at all.

But over time, religious Republicans have gotten more comfortable with Trump, owing to his kept promise to deliver a conservative Supreme Court that not only reversed decades of erosion in religious liberty but also overturned the Roe v. Wade abortion precedent. Politics is about coalitions, and the arrangement between Trump and conservative Christians indisputably has delivered benefits for both sides.

Trump’s 2016 nomination was powered by secular Republicans, but his 2024 re-nomination showed no such schism. If anything, it was the reverse. Polling in the two GOP contests most dominated by religious voters, the Iowa Caucus and the South Carolina primary, showed him doing modestly better among evangelical than non-evangelical Republicans.

The religious divide that matters going forward in American politics is not about Trump, and it’s not about white evangelical Protestants. The question is whether Democrats can keep a place in their party for other religiously devout voters.

Democrats’ best electoral group – the so-called “nones,” those with no religious affiliation – is growing, particularly among younger generations. But as the party becomes dominated by those who actively reject religion, its platform becomes less appealing to those who don’t, as many Jewish Democrats are discovering as left-wing radicals show an ugly antisemitic side and opposition to America’s alliance with the Jewish state of Israel.

While “nones” are rising overall, they aren’t distributed proportionately around the country, clustering disproportionately on the coasts. If Democrats drive out the religious voters in their ranks, they will struggle to compete in a geographic footprint large enough to enable them to control Congress or win in the electoral college

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Authored by Marcel Dumas Gautreau via The Mises Institute,

Starting in 2020, things started to get strange in Africa for those who knew what to look for.

Normally, coups in Africa are nothing to write about. But starting in 2020, we saw six countries flip into a pro-Russian direction in just three years. Individually, they were a curiosity. Taken together, that rate of turnover outpaced even the most optimistic neoconservative ambitions for pro–United States regime changes in the Middle East. As General Wesley Clark summarized, “We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

That fourth country, Libya, is where our story starts.

Muammar Gaddafi and the Disposal Problem

In 2011, the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization destroyed the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. They had wanted to do it for a long time. A true cosmopolitan, Gaddafi had provided lawyers, guns, and money to black nationalists in South Africa, Palestinian Nationalists in Tunisia, Irish Nationalists in the British Isles, White Nationalists in Canada, and Armenian Nationalists in Turkey. The one ideology for which the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution had no patience or tolerance was radical Islamic Salafi jihadism. In March 1998, Libya was the first country to issue an Interpol arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden. The warrant received no attention or action. Five months later, Al-Qaeda bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224.

In September 2001, President George W. Bush told Congress that “every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Gaddafi took the US up on the offer, dismantling its weapons of mass destruction program under the United Nations’ supervision. It paid over $1 billion in reparations to victims of terrorism to get removed from the State Sponsor of Terror list. In 2008, future US Ambassador to Libya (and Benghazi embassy casualty) J. Christopher Stephens reported that “Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent.”

Gaddafi had been highly suspicious of the citizens who chose to join the brave Mujaheddin fighters of Afghanistan and surveilled them extensively, dutifully reporting them to other intelligence agencies whenever possible. In one particularly obscene case, a Guantanamo detainee named Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu was on the ground leading the Salafi jihadist group “Supporters of Sharia.” While hundreds are held in Guantanamo, being tortured without trial, the US knowingly released what it deemed a “probable member of al-Qaeda and a member of the African Extremist Network” to tear things up in Libya for them. A United Kingdom Parliamentary retrospective on the Libya overthrow later admitted, “The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.

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Authored by Savannah Fortis via CoinTelegraph.com,

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Butertin has shared his take on “superintelligent” artificial intelligence, calling it “risky” in response to ongoing leadership changes at OpenAI. 

On May 19, Cointelegraph reported that OpenAI’s former head of alignment, Jan Leike, resigned after saying he had reached a “breaking point” with management on the company’s core priorities.

Leike alleged that “safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products” at OpenAI, with many pointing toward developments around artificial general intelligence (AGI).

AGI is anticipated to be a type of AI equal to or surpassing human cognitive capabilities — the thought of which has already begun to worry industry experts, who say the world isn’t properly equipped to manage such superintelligent AI systems.

This sentiment seems to align with Buterin’s views. In a post on X, he shared his thoughts on the topic, emphasizing that people should not rush into action or push back against those who try.

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A decision made by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan to seek an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was an attempt 'to demonize Israel,' Netanyahu told ABC television channel.

"He's saying we're starving people?" the Israeli prime minister said in an interview with the US-based television channel. "We have supplied half million tons of food and medicine with 20,000 trucks. This guy is out to demonize Israel."

On May 20, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan requested that Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court issue arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, saying that the ICC has "reasonable grounds to believe" that they "bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on the territory of the State of Palestine (in the Gaza strip) from at least October 8, 2023.

Webmaster addition: Israel is demonizing Israel.

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The U.S.-led NATO axis whose neocon foreign policy was drawn up by Victoria Nuland finds itself embroiled itself in conflict after conflict, and as Ukraine has fallen apart it has invested everything into Israel's quagmire in Gaza. Journalist Pepe Escobar joined to provide initial comments on how Russia and China are changing everything on the world stage, and Danny Haiphong concludes in an analysis you don't want to miss.

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Authored by Julie Kelly via The Florida Capital Star 

FBI agents last week arrested a man from Maine for his involvement in the events of January 6. According to a Department of Justice press release, Lincoln Deming spent about 30 minutes inside the building after entering through an open door with Capitol Police standing by. Deming faces numerous charges including civil disorder and the dreaded “parading” in the Capitol misdemeanor.

The DOJ bragged in the press release about the government’s scalp count for its unprecedented prosecution of Jan 6 protesters. “More than 1,424 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol,” Matthew Graves, the Joe Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, boasted. The investigation into the four-hour disturbance, Graves warned, is “ongoing.”

Indeed. The DOJ, astonishingly, is on pace to arrest one J6 protester a day this year; Graves has stated his intention to bring the total caseload to at least 2,000 defendants before the statute of limitations expires.

If DOJ Didn’t Have Double Standards, It Would Have No Standards at All…Oh Wait

At the same time, the DOJ refuses to bring federal charges against pro-Palestinian demonstrators who in many instances engaged in similar if not worse conduct inside Congressional buildings over the past six months.

Graves’ spokeswoman recently confirmed to me via email that all cases stemming from arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters are being handled by the local D.C. prosecutor.

In other words, no federal obstruction of an official proceeding indictments against those who repeatedly interrupted Senate and House hearings to protest against the Israel-Gaza war. No federal “parading” charges for demonstrators who unlawfully occupied government buildings in Washington on multiple occasions. Even demonstrators who assaulted Capitol police outside the DNC headquarters last November do not face federal charges — a shocking double-standard since hundreds of J6ers have been federally charged with assault on police, even for minor confrontations, often resulting in lengthy prison sentences and pretrial detention in several cases.

Which makes recent comments by Attorney General Merrick Garland all the more outrageous — and demonstrably false. Before two House committees voted Thursday to advance contempt of Congress against Garland for defying a congressional subpoena demanding the audio recording of Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur last year, Garland mustered his most sanctimonious self to explain how House Republicans, not him, threaten the legitimacy of the DOJ — a “fundamental institution of our democracy,” Garland claimed. (Garland advised Biden to invoke executive privilege to prevent producing the tapes to Congress; Biden only too happily accepted his counsel.)

Garland audaciously claimed politics plays no role in determining what investigations his department pursues.

Claire's Observations:  "...... politics plays no role in determining what investigations his department pursues" , MY ASTROLABE!!!!!  We know when this guy is lying through his teeth;  he opens his mouth.... and words come out of it!!!

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Webmaster addition: Which is why schools don't teach critical thinking!

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The European Union intends to start formal negotiations on admitting Moldova and Ukraine to the association as early as June 25, the European edition of the Politico newspaper reported citing five diplomats.

According to Politico, the association's member states were ready to do this back in December, but the decision was postponed amid Hungary's disagreement and fears that the issue of EU enlargement could muddy the waters in the European Parliament elections to be held on June 6-9.

According to the newspaper, an EU-Ukraine intergovernmental conference is scheduled for June 25. The desire to make some progress on the issue of EU expansion stems from the fact that on July 1, the presidency of the EU Council will pass from Belgium to Hungary. According to the newspaper's sources, it is still unclear how Budapest would react to Ukraine being brought into the organization. "As always, it is impossible to predict what Hungary will do until we hear from [Prime Minister Viktor] Orban himself," a diplomat quoted by the newspaper said.

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Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries have taken note of the US-led collective West’s attempts to take Eurasia under control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"Attempts <...> by the US-led collective West to take the entire Eurasian continent under control are obvious, and we talked about it today," he said following a meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers.

According to Lavrov, NATO and EU officials are seeking to introduce their institutions in Eurasia and make the countries of the region obey their rules. He noted that Western institutions were "luring" Eurasian nations into anti-Russian activities in the fields of economy and security.

The top Russian diplomat emphasized that all member states realized the need to step up the activities of the SCO and its partners, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), among others. "The goal of developing common approaches to ensuring Eurasian security and Eurasian cooperation through the efforts of the continent’s countries is highly relevant," the Russian foreign minister stressed.

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