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…
"Virtue gives birth to tranquility, tranquility to leisure, leisure to disorder, disorder to ruin… and similarly from ruin, order is born, from order virtue, from virtue, glory and good fortune." -- Niccolò Machiavelli
Key members of Congress in the House and Senate are urging FBI Director Christopher Wray to turn over unclassified records "alleging a criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national."
So far, Wray has balked, in defiance of a Congressional subpoena, even though the public owns the records, and the public and Congress have the right to see them.
A whistleblower brought the existence of the documents to the attention of Congress. Rep. James Comer (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a statement saying Wray has confirmed the documents exist and are real.
In 2012, the House voted 255-67 to hold Obama Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents related to the Justice Department's Fast and Furious scandal, uncovered by my reporting at CBS News. It was the first time Congress took that action against a sitting Cabinet official.
After years of belligerent moves aimed at undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity virtually everywhere, be it Hong Kong, Xinjiang, South/East Sea China or Taiwan, the United States is showing no signs of ever stopping with its aggression against Beijing. As if billions of dollars worth of weapons earmarked for China’s breakaway island province weren’t bad enough, including at least 400 anti-ship missiles and the latest F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets, reports now indicate that Taipei and Washington DC are in talks about Taiwan gaining the protection of the US nuclear umbrella in a similar manner to Japan and South Korea.
According to RealClearDefense, citing local sources, Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu announced that the island is in talks with Washington DC about possibly being brought under the US nuclear umbrella. RealClearDefense warns that the move would likely be seen by Beijing as a clear escalation and would likely greatly increase the potential for a future war with China. This assessment can only be considered an understatement, as the Asian giant is essentially guaranteed to respond directly to such escalation. Being under the American nuclear umbrella entails several key changes that would be absolutely unacceptable to China and would certainly provoke an adequate reaction.
The Taipei Times reported that local defense experts find this a “positive for Taiwan”. On May 23, Institute for National Defense and Security research fellow Su Tzu-yun stated:
“Taiwan’s national security doctrine explicitly rejects the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, despite the nation facing the threat of such weapons being used against it. The extension of an ally’s nuclear umbrella over Taiwan would be significantly beneficial to Taiwan’s security.”
Manufacturers of 'forever chemicals' tried to cover up the dangers they posed for more than 30 years, a new report claims.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who reviewed dozens of company documents, found executives were first alerted to the health risks in 1961, but scientists said that they failed to raise the alarm until the 1990s.
Internal documents revealed chemical manufacturers DuPont and 3M were facing studies warning the chemicals, dubbed per- and polyFluorinated Substances (PFAS), could cause liver enlargement, poisonings and birth defects in children.
But the executives were alleged to have sat on the evidence and allow the chemicals to continue to be used in pots and pans, carpets, children's toys and even period underwear. They are used in paints and fabrics to make items non-stick or waterproof.
The FBI will allow leaders of the Oversight Committee to view the FD-1023 form they say proves President Biden was involved in a $5 million criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national.
The internal unclassified FD-1023 form apparently details an 'arrangement' for an exchange of money for policy decisions, the Republicans have said and issued a subpoena for last month.
Oversight Chair James Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, spoke with FBI Director Christopher Wray by phone on Wednesday and Wray offered to let Comer and ranking member Jamie Raskin view the documents at the FBI headquarters in an attempt to stave off Comer's threat to hold Wray in contempt of Congress.
But Comer was left unsatisfied, and has said he will proceed with holding Wray in contempt if he does not hand over the document to the full committee.
Retail giant Target's market value plummeted on Wednesday by $13 billion as shares dropped by for the ninth consecutive day by a further 2.14 percent.
It comes as the chain seeks to recover from backlash against its female swimwear range which gives adult wearers the option to 'tuck' male genitalia.
The company's market value had been $74 billion - with shares trading at $160.96 - as of May 17. But stock fell later that week when it made 'adjustments' to its Pride merchandising plans, including removing displays 'that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior' at some of its stores, said CEO Brian Cornell in a statement last week.
Some Southern stores were forced to move merchandise - many of which were designed by Erik Carnell, a transgender man and self-proclaimed Satanist - to the back of stores.
President Biden’s decision last month to help Ukraine obtain F-16 fighter jets marked another crossing of a Russian red line that Vladimir Putin has said would transform the war and draw Washington and Moscow into direct conflict.
Despite the Russian leader’s apocalyptic warnings, the United States has gradually agreed to expand Ukraine’s arsenal with Javelin and Stinger missiles, HIMARS rocket launchers, advanced missile defense systems, drones, helicopters, M1 Abrams tanks and, soon, fourth-generation fighter jets.
A key reason for brushing aside Putin’s threats, U.S. officials say, is a dynamic that has held since the opening days of the war: Russia’s president has not followed through on promises to punish the West for providing weapons to Ukraine. His bluffing has given U.S. and European leaders some confidence they can continue doing so without severe consequences — but to what extent remains one of the conflict’s most dangerous uncertainties.
The U.S. and European allies urged caution on whether Ukraine should have the right to strike inside Russia, amid concerns that a potential escalation could drag them into a broader war.
Countries supporting Ukraine are taking varying stances on how it should beat back Moscow’s invasion, as Russian territory is increasingly targeted. The U.S. has publicly leaned against the strategy of attacks within Russia.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told reporters in Estonia this week that Ukraine “has the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia’s ability to project force into Ukraine itself.” Cleverly, who said he wasn’t commenting on Tuesday’s drone strikes on Moscow, added that “legitimate military targets beyond its own border are part of Ukraine’s self-defense.”
But other allies are more cautious. While France backs Ukraine’s right to defend itself, French military support should not be used to attack Russia, a French official said. The official added that if Ukraine wants to do more with its own forces, it’s not France’s place to dictate to Kyiv how to conduct this war.
Chinese researchers are claiming that the world’s largest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, could be demolished with absolute certainty using hypersonic missiles.
The researchers conducted a war game simulation, which showcased China’s military sinking the carrier fleet by launching a relentless onslaught of 24 hypersonic anti-ship missiles across 20 intense battles. Their findings challenge the previously held notion that the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier fleet is invulnerable to conventional weapons.
The simulation unfolded in the disputed South China Sea, where the US vessels persisted in approaching an island claimed by China, despite repeated warnings. Chinese researchers demonstrated the long-range capabilities of their hypersonic missiles by launching some from distant locations like the Gobi Desert. The outcome of the simulation was bleak for the US, as nearly every surface vessel was shattered and ultimately sank under the devastating attack.
The probability of a 'Terminator scenario' caused by artificial intelligence (AI) is 'close to zero', a University of Oxford professor has said.
Sandra Wachter, professor of technology and regulation, called a letter released by the San Francisco-based Centre for AI Safety – which warned that the technology could wipe out humanity – a 'publicity stunt'.
The letter, which claims the risks should be treated with the same urgency as pandemics or nuclear war, was signed by dozens of experts, including AI pioneers.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak retweeted the Centre for AI Safety's statement on Wednesday, saying the Government is 'looking very carefully' at it.
Professor Wachter said the risk raised in the letter is a 'science fiction fantasy' and compared it to the film The Terminator.
Embattled JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon has hinted at a potential run for office, and has already gained the support of at least one fellow Wall Street boss.
'I love my country, and maybe one day I'll serve my country in one capacity or another,' the 67-year-old CEO told Bloomberg Television from JP Morgan Chase's annual Global China Summit in Shanghai on Wednesday.
'Everyone knows I am a patriot,' he added. 'I am a red-blooded, full-throated, free-enterprise capitalist.'
Dimon has repeatedly denied that he is considering a run for president and said he plans to stay at the bank for five more years.
The billionaire's remarks have now set off a fervor on Wall Street, with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman tweeting a lengthy endorsement for Dimon to take on President Joe Biden in a primary election.
Over $1.3 billion has been funneled abroad to China and Russia through 'pointless projects' over the last five years according to a compilation of taxpayer-funded grants uncovered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
Nonprofit transparency group Open the Books worked with Ernst to put together a new analysis of data from USAspending.gov, which found that between 2017-2022, U.S.-funded grants and contracts amounting to $490 million were paid to Chinese organizations and another $870 million was sent to entities in Russia.
According to Ernst's analysis, the U.S. handed out millions in strange 'pet projects' to its biggest adversaries.
The study found the State Department handed nearly $58.7 million to China, and used nearly $100,000 of that sum to promote 'gender equality' awareness through a series of New Yorker magazine cartoons.
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services shelled out over $770,00 to a state-run lab in Russia to put 'cats on treadmills.'
The questions had covered Ukraine, North Korea and Sudanese peace talks when one of the White House briefing room's more robust questioners hijacked proceedings on Wednesday afternoon.
After citing a secret F.B.I. file, an anonymous I.R.S. whistleblower and a Harvard-Harris poll earlier this month that found 53 percent of the public were suspicious of the first family's ties to foreign powers, The New York Post's Steven Nelson got to his question.
'So what do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the president is himself corrupt?' he asked.
'Jesus,' was White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's response, muttered off camera as she stared at her feet on the briefing room podium.
Four months after The Guardian and other European media outlets revealed the world's leading carbon credit certifier sold worthless offsets to major corporations, the head of Washington-based Verra has stepped down.
"I am writing to let you know that after nearly 15 fantastic years as the CEO of Verra, I have decided to step down," Verra's CEO, David Antonioli, wrote in a LinkedIn post last week. He's leaving the role after dominating the multi-billion dollar carbon offset market for years and certifying over a billion dollars in credits through its verified carbon standard (VCS).
French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that NATO should offer “concrete and tangible security guarantees” to Ukraine as the alliance is debating what to offer Kyiv at a NATO summit that will be held in Vilnius this July.
Macron acknowledged it’s unlikely that Ukraine can obtain full NATO membership, as all 31 members would need to agree, but called for an upgrade to the alliance’s relationship with Kyiv.
“I’m not sure we will have a consensus…for full-fledged membership. Let’s be clear,” Macron said at the GLOBSEC forum in Slovakia, according to Defense One. “I think we have to build something between the security provided to Israel and a full-fledged membership … I think we need to talk concrete and tangible security guarantees.”
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party continues to soar higher in the polls, with nearly one out of five German voters saying they would vote for the party, according to an INSA poll conducted for the Bild newspaper.
The poll shows that 10.9 million people, or 18 percent of the population, would vote for the AfD. It also shows that 15.7 million people, or 26 percent of the population, said they were open to voting for the party.
The poll places the AfD in third place, just behind the Social Democrats (SPD), who are at 20 percent. The Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) are in first at 28 percent. The Greens, meanwhile, have crashed to their lowest polling result since 2018 and now stand at 13 percent.
The commander of the Czech Republic’s armed forces said the North Atlantic alliance and Russia are on the path to a direct war. The general described the potential war as the “worst-case scenario” but emphasized that it remains a distinct possibility.
General Karel Rehka, the chief of the Czech armed forces general staff, told his country’s parliament on Monday about the potentiality of a war between NATO and Russia. “No one wants it at all, but it is not impossible. It is necessary to stop saying that this is not possible, because it is simply possible. It can happen and it is necessary to prepare for it in the long run,” he said.
“We view war between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance as the worst-case scenario, but it is not impossible,” Rehka continued. “It is possible… [Russia] is currently on a course towards a conflict with the Alliance.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan traveled to Saudi Arabia and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan the Crown Prince of the UAE, and India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval earlier this month. The White House stated the meeting was to “advance their shared vision of a more secure and prosperous Middle East region interconnected with India and the world,” which is undoubtedly an effort to rebut recent moves by China in the Middle East like the détente China brokered between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The UAE and the Southern Movement
Dave DeCamp reported on how the Saudis have reiterated that all sides are intent on peace, but it is unclear when a deal will be made. The report also highlights how the Southern Transitional Council signed a national charter to restore the 1990 borders in a new bid to split Yemen between the northern and southern regions. The Southern Movement was around long before the Houthis took over Sanaa, and they have tried to separate from Yemen since the country reunified in 1990.
Let’s be clear about one thing: seditious conspiracy isn’t a real crime to anyone but the U.S. government.
To be convicted of seditious conspiracy, the charge levied against Stewart Rhodes who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for being the driving force behind the January 6 Capitol riots, one doesn’t have to engage in violence against the government, vandalize government property, or even trespass on property that the government has declared off-limits to the general public.
To be convicted of seditious conspiracy, one need only foment a revolution.
This is not about whether Rhodes deserves such a hefty sentence.
This is about the long-term ramifications of empowering the government to wage war on individuals whose political ideas and expression challenge the government’s power, reveal the government’s corruption, expose the government’s lies, and encourage the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.
This is about criminalizing political expression in thoughts, words and deeds.
US policy toward the People’s Republic of China (PRC) increasingly is designed to limit that country’s power and influence. Two goals stand out. One is to induce Washington’s allies, both in Europe and East Asia, to reduce their economic connections to the PRC. Although that strategy falls short of advocating comprehensive “decoupling,” it does seek to reduce Beijing’s leverage against the democratic West in such crucial areas as computer chips and pharmaceuticals. The second prominent element in Washington’s approach is to secure greater allied backing for a firm policy to support Taiwan’s efforts to preserve its de facto independence from the PRC.
2024 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has once again blasted the United States government for lying to the public and to the world about Ukraine, while calling out the Military Industrial Complex in particular.
It's not the first time. Earlier this month an avalanche of mainstream media headlines condemned his take when he told UnHerd the following: "We should have listened to Putin over many years. We made a commitment to Russia, to Gorbachev, that we would not move NATO one inch to the east. Then we went in, and we lied."
More recent speaking engagements wherein he utters unpopular truths on Ukraine have gone viral this week. In one of them, he tells an audience at a campaign event, "Our government is lying to us about it. The media is going on with the lie…It’s a laundering operation for the Military Industrial Complex."
Among Kennedy's chief talking points is that the country needs a "mature conversation" on the conflict, but that the American public is not getting that.
Interestingly, he said that while many Americans are moved by compassion for the Ukrainian people, including his son who actually early on went to fight within Ukraine's foreign legion, Washington has been deceptive in selling Americans on the billions in defense aid poured into the conflict.
The Biden administration’s attempt to thaw U.S.-Chinese relations has hit a significant snag.
The Chinese government said Monday that it has declined a U.S. request for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu, after Beijing had said several times that no meeting will be forthcoming as long as Li remains under U.S. sanctions.
There have been no direct communications between top military officials from the two governments for the last six months, and the hoped-for meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore was supposed to be the way to begin repairing ties. Contrary to President Biden’s statement in Japan last week that U.S.-Chinese ties would begin improving “very shortly,” the two sides seem as far apart as ever.
More than 1 million F-35 spare parts worth at least $85 million have gone missing over at least the last five years, according to a new Government Accountability Office report criticizing the program’s supply tracking.
Auditors said that because the government doesn’t have its own system tracking those parts, officials may not truly know how many spare parts are actually in the global spares pool, where they are, or their total value.
As a result, “the full quantity and value of these [lost] spare parts may be significantly higher” than the 1 million tally determined by the main contractor, Lockheed Martin, the document reads.
And disagreements between Defense Department offices and the main F-35 contractor, Lockheed Martin, over how to categorize missing parts are holding up the government’s effort to create its own reliable system to keep track of the parts, the GAO report states.