"A fool contributes nothing and takes offense at everything." -- Aristotle

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Hours of private testimony by two of the top State Department officials who oversaw the evacuation from Afghanistan lays bare the confusion at the heart of the operation, and how they failed to respond to warning signs that the Taliban was sweeping across the country.

The result was a chaotic operation at Kabul's airport in August 2021 with Americans scrambling to get on flights after the extremist group had seized control of the country. 

American citizens had to pass through checkpoints run by the same gunmen who had spent years battling U.S. forces.

Yet even as the Pentagon prepositioned forces to support an evacuation as ground conditions worsened, the officials, Brian McKeon and Derek Chollet, said their priority had been to work out how to keep the U.S. embassy open. 

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Datacenter power issues in Ireland may be coming to a head amid reports from customers that Amazon is restricting resources users can spin up in that nation, even directing them to other AWS regions across Europe instead. Energy consumed by datacenters is a growing concern, especially in places such as Ireland where there are clusters of facilities around Dublin that already account for a significant share of the country's energy supply. This may be leading to restrictions on how much infrastructure can be used, given the power requirements.
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France has shifted its naval posture from intercepting drug traffickers and poachers to training for a conventional war, Rear Admiral Jacques Mallard has told Politico.

Mallard commands France’s only carrier battle group, built around the nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle. He spoke about the changes in an exclusive interview with the EU edition of Politico published on Wednesday.

“We’re moving from a world where we were pretty free to do as we pleased to one where we feel threatened on a more regular basis,” Mallard said. “We now train for other missions, in particular what we call high-intensity warfare.”

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Embarrassing, as its officials are in the US to discuss Olympics cyber threats
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Russia will do its utmost to identify the plotters and masterminds of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack and make their names public, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said at a meeting with the heads of international affairs committees of the BRICS countries’ parliaments.

"We will do everything to find out who ordered this brutal, bloody crime, who financed it, and who supplied the weapons. We will definitely bring this investigation to its logical conclusion. And we will disclose to the whole world who was behind and who organized the mass murder of civilians, including women and children," Matviyenko said.

At the same time, she stated that a number of countries "are trying to put pressure on the public opinion from the outside and say in advance who is guilty and who is not guilty."

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Lisa D. Cook is one of the world’s most powerful economists. She taught economics at Harvard University and Michigan State University and served on the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisers before being appointed, in 2022, to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, which controls the interest rates and money supply of the United States.

Despite her pedigree, questions have long persisted about her academic record. Her publication history is remarkably thin for a tenured professor, and her published work largely focuses on race activism rather than on rigorous, quantitative economics. Her nomination to the Fed required Vice President Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote; by contrast, her predecessor in the seat, Janet Yellen, now Treasury secretary, was confirmed unanimously.

The quality of her scholarship has also received criticism. Her most heralded work, 2014’s “Violence and Economic Activity: Evidence from African American Patents, 1870 to 1940,” examined the number of patents by black inventors in the past, concluding that the number plummeted in 1900 because of lynchings and discrimination. Other researchers soon discovered that the reason for the sudden drop in 1900 was that one of the databases Cook relied on stopped collecting data in that year. The true number of black patents, one subsequent study found, might be as much as 70 times greater than Cook’s figure, effectively debunking the study’s premise.

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Ukraine continues its attacks on Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi warned that it came “quite close” to a nuclear accident on Sunday after it was attacked by drones.

Dr. Chris Busby, a physical chemist and scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, shares his opinion about what the non-stop Ukrainian attacks on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant could result in with Sputnik.

We all know the Biblical story of the end of Samson. Having been betrayed and captured by the Philistines, Samson ends his life, and all the others around him, by exerting his great strength and pulling down the pillar he was chained to. The building falls down, killing him and all his captors. This has always been my worry about what I will call the Ukrainian conflict.

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New documents show that Dr. Anthony Fauci's top U.S. health aide intentionally tried to hide his discussions about the origins of COVID-19 by using his personal email. 

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, claimed a whistleblower provided him new bombshell materials obtained by DailyMail.com.

The unnamed whistleblower revealed emails showing that Dr. David Morens - Fauci's top aide at the National Institutes of Health - allegedly used his personal Gmail account to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to skirt federal transparency laws.

At the time, Morens' official government work email would have been subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that could have publicized his day-to-day communications.

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FBI files requested by Judicial Watch on the death of Ashli Babbitt have revealed that the bureau considered classifying her as a terrorist after she was shot and killed by Capitol Police on January 6th.

The information emerged from 62 redacted documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

“It is beyond belief that the Biden FBI gave Ashli Babbitt’s killer a free pass while engaging in a malicious months-long ‘criminal’ investigation of Babbitt herself,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated.

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A court in Vietnam on Thursday ordered the death penalty for a real estate tycoon found guilty in a financial fraud case totalling more than $12 billion US.

Vietnamese state media called it the country's largest-ever case of financial fraud.

The conviction of Truong My Lan came amid a government anti-corruption crackdown by Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says it is “preposterous” to suggest that President Joe Biden is importing millions of migrants to the United States to inflate political power in favor of Democrats.

During a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Mayorkas if it is a fact “that the number of illegal immigrants that you and the president allow into our country counts for congressional district reapportionment?”

Mayorkas initially responded, saying “I’m not sure I understand your question but I can surely share with you that I disagree with its phrasing.”

Kennedy asked again, “Isn’t it true that the number of illegal immigrants that you and President Biden have allowed into our country counts in allocating electoral votes?” to which Mayorkas eventually responded, “The notion, Senator, that we intend to allow illegal immigration is nothing short of preposterous.”

Webmaster addition: Well, that means it must be true! :)

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Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said on Wednesday that some parts of northern Gaza are already experiencing famine, which has been created by Israel’s US-backed bombardment and siege of the Strip.

Power made the comments in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing when asked about a cable sent by USAID to other US government agencies that said famine was already likely taking place in parts of northern Gaza and called the spread of hunger in disease “unprecedented in modern history.”

Power said the cable was based on a report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and told lawmakers the assessment was credible. When asked if that meant famine was already occurring in northern Gaza, replied, “Yes.”

“Food has not flowed in sufficient quantities to avoid this imminent famine in the south, and these conditions that are giving rise already to child deaths in the north,” Power said.

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Human heads eaten by crows, unidentified and decomposing body parts, and hundreds of corpses piled up and buried in mass graves are all that remained of the victims of the massacre at al-Shifa Hospital. The grim scene was something out of a dystopian movie, the product of the two-week siege of Gaza’s largest hospital that ended in its total destruction.

Following the completion of al-Shifa’s decimation, the Israeli army announced that it had been one of the most successful operations since the start of the war, claiming that it had arrested hundreds of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members in the medical compound. But the question that no one seemed to ask is how such a massive number of so-called “operatives” from Hamas and PIJ had gathered at al-Shifa with the full knowledge that the place had already been combed by the army once before and that Gaza City had been occupied by the army ever since.

Mondoweiss contacted many survivors of the events at al-Shifa. Most of them refused to speak and feared exposing their identities. A few accepted under the condition of anonymity, fearing that their testimonies would make them targets by the Israeli army and that they would be subsequently killed. In light of the testimonies gathered by Mondoweiss, a different picture emerges of what happened.

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Over 13,000 Palestinians have gone missing since the start of Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a report released on 11 April. 

This includes Palestinians trapped under the rubble of buildings destroyed by airstrikes, as well as those who have been forcibly disappeared and detained, or left buried in unmarked mass graves. 

In the report, Euro-Med called for “urgent international action to provide specialized teams and equipment to remove the rubble of homes and buildings bombed by Israeli army forces, rescue people trapped under its rubble who may still be alive, and recover thousands of bodies of others who died underneath since the start of the military attack on October 7.” 

“This estimate is based on the volume of initial reports of missing persons … It is difficult to estimate the true numbers of missing persons at this stage, given the continuing Israeli military attacks and the siege of many areas in which the Israeli army carries out its operations,” the report added. 

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The head of US Central Command, Gen. Michael Kurilla, arrived in Israel on Thursday to coordinate on a potential Iranian attack that might come in retaliation for Israel’s bombing of Iran’s consulate in Damascus.

Kurilla was expected to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Herzi Halevi, the head of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Separately, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Gallant and, according to the Pentagon, told him “that Israel could count on full US support to defend Israel against Iranian attacks.”

US officials believe Iran is planning to target Israel directly and could target military sites on Israeli soil. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that US intelligence indicates an attack could be “imminent.”

Iranian sources told Reuters on Thursday that Tehran has conveyed to Washington that it plans to respond but in a way that’s not meant to lead to a major regional escalation. The sources also said Iran wouldn’t be hasty, signaling the response might not come as soon as the US believes.

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Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that Israeli children in middle school — who range from 12 to 15 years old — will one day be fighting in the Gaza Strip.

“The war with Hamas will take time. Youth in middle school will one day fight in the Gaza Strip, as in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and against Lebanon,” he told Israeli media.

While predicting Israel’s brutal campaign in Gaza will last for years and years to come, Gantz also claimed that Israel was beating Hamas. “But the truth must be clear, and the head must be high for our achievements: military-wise – Hamas is defeated. Its fighters are eliminated or in hiding. Its abilities are cut off, and we will continue to hit whatever’s left. Victory will come, step by step. We are on our way to it and we won’t stop,” he said.

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Limor Son Har-Melech, a member of the Israeli Knesset and the hardline Jewish Power party, has said there are secret Israeli plans to establish settlements in the Gaza Strip, The New Arab reported on Wednesday.

Har-Melech told the Israeli Knesset’s TV channel that there was “a vision for the day after (the war on Gaza), and the only optimistic vision is the renewal of the settlement of Gaza. Of course this will happen in stages, I think this will happen whether we like it or not.”

She said that she was “speaking about secret matters because we can see the large opposition (from external parties).” She added that starting in the next session of the Israeli Knesset, “you will see practical steps, including plans, and work in government offices and security services. There is intensive work behind the scenes on this.”

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Americans need to be aware of the unbridled propensity of federal intelligence agencies to spy on all of us without search warrants as required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

These agencies believe that the Fourth Amendment – which protects the individual right to privacy – only regulates law enforcement and does not apply to domestic spying.

There is no basis in the constitutional text, history or judicial interpretations for such a limiting and toothless view of this constitutional guarantee. The courts have held that the Fourth Amendment restrains government – all government. Last week, the CIA asked Congress to expand its current spying in the United States.

Here is the backstory.

When the CIA was created in 1947, members of Congress who feared the establishment here of the type of domestic surveillance apparatus that the Allies had just defeated in Germany insisted that the new CIA have no role in American law enforcement and no legal ability to spy within the U.S. The legislation creating the CIA contains those unambiguous limitations.

Nevertheless, we know that CIA agents are present in all 50 statehouses in the United States. They didn’t arrive there until after Dec. 4, 1981. That’s the date that President Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which purports to give the CIA authority to spy in America – supposedly looking for narcotics from foreign countries – but keeps from law enforcement whatever it finds.

Webmaster addition: It was that last restriction on sharing info with law enforcement that led to the CIA's involvement and profiting from cocaine smuggling!

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Russia’s missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy system, the bombardment of its second-largest city and advances along the front are stoking worries that Kyiv’s military effort is nearing breaking point.

A dire shortage of ammunition and manpower along the 1,200-kilometer (930 mile) front and gaps in air defense show that Ukraine is at its most fragile moment in over two years of war, according to Western officials with knowledge of the situation.

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On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard held a heritage recognition ceremony for the medium endurance cutter USCGC Dependable, which has been performing rescues and busting drug-runners for an astonishing 56 years. The event served the purpose of a decommissioning, though not in name: Dependable will be laid up in an inactive shipyard status until her well-earned formal retirement, and her crew will transfer to new units in order to cover the service's manning shortfall

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On March 17 Niger’s National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) suspended its military agreement with the United States after a visit by senior U.S. officials to the capital, Niamey. A CNSP spokesman said the decision was made after the U.S. delegation warned the military regime against partnering with Russia and Iran. Niger, which hosts around 1,000 U.S. troops and a drone base, has been an important partner in Washington’s counterterrorism operations in the region. But relations have deteriorated considerably since July 2023, when Niger’s presidential guard removed democratically elected Mohamed Bozoum and installed General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

Russian influence looms large in Western discourse on the Sahel, and now informs U.S. policy and decision-making in places like Niger. This is a mistake. Outsized focus on Russia misunderstands the scale and scope of Moscow’s presence. More importantly, it ignores longstanding patterns of governance and denies the role of Africans in emerging pro-sovereignty movements and political blocs.Neither the U.S. nor Russia are in a position to force Africans to choose sides, efforts to do so will only result in rebuke.

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Once again defying the Supreme Court, Joe Biden is trying to provide billions in student loan cancelations. It appears he is trying to buy votes from college-educated voters. But this latest scheme may be shot down in the courts.

Biden was on the campaign trail to brag about his latest gift to already tax-burdened working Americans.

He visited a college to win over progressive voters angry at him over Israel. But while speaking, he made a certain claim—one that fact-checkers debunked decades ago. Now, he is being given a painful title.

From Fox News:
Social media users called out President Biden for claiming to be the first in his family to go to college in a recent speech…

Biden said, “I, like an awful lot of people in this audience, was the first in my family to go to college, and watch my dad struggle to help me get there.”

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Imagine a high school teacher in Texas, someone everybody trusted to guide and inspire the youth. But in this story, there’s a very sad and disturbing twist: instead of mentoring, this celebrated teacher, alongside her pimp son, was orchestrating a massive prostitution ring, all for their own gain. It sounds like a plot straight out of a movie, right? A decade ago, you might have laughed it off as “fake news,” but sadly, today, it’s a different story. Even more astonishing is that the higher-ups knew about this debacle but looked the other way. It’s a stark and rather disturbing reminder of how these deviant stories involving our nation’s children have become all too familiar in these dark times.

When the dark and sordid situation became known to school officials, instead of investigating and getting to the bottom of it, they attacked the teacher who brought the disgusting scheme to light.

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At the center of this dramatic saga was Officer Derek Chauvin, who was caught forever in a photograph that’s now etched in history, a moment with consequences neither he nor Floyd could have ever anticipated, linking two unlikely individuals for eternity. Each man has their role. The media, corporations, politicians, and entertainers all decided that Floyd, a lumbering oaf who once threatened to murder a pregnant woman, was the “hero” of this story, and Chauvin, the white cop, was clearly the villain. So, Chauvin ended up as the main target of everyone’s anger, pretty much tarred and feathered in the court of public opinion. Chauvin never stood a chance. He was walking the plank before he knew what hit him. Even his jury poll was tainted. The Derek Chauvin jury had a juror who lied about attending George Floyd rallies and knew members of his family

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