"Racism is not dead, but it is on life support -- kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as racists." -- Thomas Sowell

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Israel continued to bombard Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah on 8 May, as over one million Palestinians there face an immediate threat after Israeli forces captured the city’s border crossing with Egypt the previous day.

“Overnight and into the early hours of the morning, the Israeli military continued to pound parts of eastern Rafah city,” Al Jazeera reported, adding that health facilities in Rafah are unable to accommodate large numbers of casualties.

Israel also targeted Rafah with white phosphorus munitions, which are illegal to use on civilians and civilian infrastructure and are considered a war crime under international law. 

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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US retailers have announced the closure of almost 2,600 stores in 2024 - just four months into the year.

Big names including Macy's, Walmart, Walgreens, Foot Locker and 7-Eleven have all said they are closing shops. 

But discount stores like Family Dollar and bankrupt 99 Cents Only have been worst hit, as have drugstores like CVS and Rite Aid. 

If the closures were to continue at the same rate for the rest of the year they would total 7,800 in 2024 - almost 40 percent more than the total in 2023.

Bricks-and-mortar locations are struggling in the face of competition from online. 

Scroll down for the full list of closures so far in 2024.

Tags: ECONOMY
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Palestinian medical teams on 8 May unearthed dozens of bodies from a third mass grave at what remains of Gaza City's Al-Shifa Hospital, raising the number of mass graves left behind by the Israeli army inside Gaza hospitals to seven.

The chairman of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, Ramy Abdu, said that the grave contains the bodies of “dozens of Palestinians, including women, children, and patients, executed by Israel.”

“We condemn in the strongest terms the crimes of genocide and the continuous killing committed by the occupation army against our Palestinian people,” the Government Media Office in Gaza said via Telegram.

“This brings the number of mass graves found inside hospitals to seven: one in Kamal Adwan Hospital, three graves in Al-Shifa Medical Complex, and three graves in the Nasser Medical Complex … 520 martyrs have been recovered from these graves so far,” the official statement details.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Israel shut down nearby Kerem Shalom, the main commercial crossing into Gaza, on Monday after four Israeli soldiers were killed in a rocket attack nearby the previous day.

UN officials said that deliveries via Erez crossing in Gaza’s north, which has been opened for limited supplies in recent days, were insufficient for meeting the needs of Palestinians concentrated in Rafah.

Aid agencies had “pre-stocked some aid within Rafah but said there were very low supplies of water and high-energy nutrition supplies needed to treat malnourished children,” Reuters reported.

The World Food Program said that its stocks in Gaza would only cover people’s needs for one to four days in Rafah, Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah.

The UN said that Gaza has only a day’s worth of fuel reserves in Gaza, and that with no fuel, the aid operation in the territory would be put “in its grave.”

The heads of three prominent Palestinian human rights groups – Al-Haq, Al Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights – called on third states to urgently intervene to stop a massacre on the scale of Srebrenica.

Thousands of men and boys were killed in that town when Bosnian Serb forces overran a UN safe zone in 1995. An international tribunal declared that massacre to be a genocide.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a signed article published in Serbian media on Tuesday that China stands ready to make China-Serbia ironclad friendship deliver more benefits to the two peoples. Serbia is one of the stops of President Xi's ongoing visit to Europe. What can be expected from this visit? How will the two countries deepen cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)? Global Times (GT) reporters Zhang Han and Wang Wenwen talked to Bojan Lalic (Lalic), director of the Belt and Road Institute in Belgrade and Katarina Zakic (Zakic), head of Regional Centre for Belt and Road, Institute of International Politics and Economics in Belgrade, on these issues.

Tags: CHINA/TAIWAN, ECONOMY, EUROPE
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On the calm South China Sea scattered with uninhabited shoals and reefs, cargo vessels loaded with containers move about every day. The tranquil waters host a vibrant array of marine species and sustain dynamic international trade and commerce, connecting regional countries with the outside world. 

On March 23, a supply vessel and two Coast Guard vessels of the Philippines broke the peace and tranquility as they intruded into the adjacent waters of Ren'ai Jiao, a shoal that has long been China's territory. They were heading toward the shoal in the name of resupplying necessities to a rusty warship which was illegally grounded there by the Philippines 25 years ago and is still garrisoned with troops. Ignoring the frequent reminders and restrained measures of China Coast Guard, the Philippine ship was determined to reach the shoal, but failed.

A drama full of crafty deception

Videos have shown that the supply vessel was actually carrying construction materials not food. The apparent purpose was to repair and reinforce the grounded warship, so that it could be some sort of outpost and give the Philippines a de facto permanent presence on Ren'ai Jiao. 

What's more intriguing is that on board the vessels were also Philippine journalists and media representatives from third countries busy taking footage. The "fruits of their labor," as past experience shows, are usually stories about how China was purportedly "intimidating smaller countries." 

Tags: CHINA/TAIWAN, PACIFICA
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For years, cybersecurity researchers at Citizen Lab have monitored Israeli spyware firm NSO Group and its banner product, Pegasus. In 2019, Citizen Lab reported finding dozens of cases in which Pegasus was used to target the phones of journalists and human rights defenders via a WhatsApp security vulnerability.

Now NSO, which is blacklisted by the U.S. government for selling spyware to repressive regimes, is trying to use a lawsuit over the WhatsApp exploit to learn “how Citizen Lab conducted its analysis.”

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. federal court in 2019 by WhatsApp and Meta (then Facebook), alleges that NSO sent Pegasus and other malware to approximately 1,400 devices across the globe. For more than four years, NSO has failed repeatedly to get the case thrown out.

With the lawsuit now moving forward, NSO is trying a different tactic: demanding repeatedly that Citizen Lab, which is based in Canada, hand over every single document about its Pegasus investigation. A judge denied NSO’s latest attempt to get access to Citizen Lab’s materials last week.

Tags: COMPUTERS/INTERNET/AI, ISRAEL
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There’s an adage among observers of American Middle East policy that suggests the Arab world can’t have democracy because it would be bad for Israel. Arab publics favor the Palestinians, the thinking goes, and will vote in governments that act accordingly — and that is a no-go zone.

Now, with discontent in the U.S. boiling over amid Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, the framing might need a small update: The U.S., it seems, can’t have democracy either, lest an American democracy end its support for everything and anything Israel wants to do to the Palestinians.

Recent weeks saw violent crackdowns on protests, the passage of bills severely curtailing American free speech rights, and lawsuits seeking to effectively outlaw student groups hostile to Israel.

A serious red line has been crossed: America’s democratic freedoms, expansive on paper, will simply not tolerate serious dissent on the U.S.–Israel relationship. As criticisms of Israel have become more mainstream, the attempt to shut them down entirely has become more extreme.

Webmaster addition: 

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, DICTATORSHIP, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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In the early hours of April 30, Columbia University President Minouche Shafik announced that negotiations with student protesters had failed. She ordered the students, who were demanding that the school divest from Israel, to disband their encampments and end their protests.

Instead, students occupied Hamilton Hall. They renamed the building — which has a long history of occupations — Hind’s Hall in honor of Hind Rajab, a 6-year-old Palestinian girl who was killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces after calling for help in January.

“Every dollar that we spend on policing, especially policing that is suppressing our constitutional rights in a democracy, is an affront.”

That evening, at Shafik’s request, the New York City Police Department stormed the campus for the second time in two weeks. Hundreds of officers in riot gear showed up around 8 p.m., violently mass arresting students, and stayed until at least midnight, when the university said the area had been cleared.

Mayor Eric Adams has called for Columbia to foot some of the bill, but New York City residents are, for now, the ones paying for that violent evening. Based on estimates of the size of the police force and the cost per officer, New York spent at least $200,000 on overtime alone for the four-hour raid to clear Hamilton Hall, according to an analysis by The Intercept.

Tags: CURRENT EVENTS, DICTATORSHIP, EDUCATION, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, PROTESTS/ REVOLUTION, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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  • Russian strikes were reported in Kiev;
  • Russian strikes were reported in Vinnytsia;
  • Russian strikes were reported in Poltava;
  • Russian strikes were reported in Kirovohrad;
  • Russian strikes were reported in Zaporizhzhia;
  • Russian strikes were reported in Ivano-Frankivsk;
  • Russian strikes were reported in Lviv;
Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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The Rafah border crossing into Gaza remained closed on Wednesday following its capture by Israeli forces, cutting off vital aid deliveries after the UN’s World Food Program warned Palestinians in northern Gaza are already facing a “full-blown famine.”

Israeli sources told The Times of Israel that the Rafah crossing with Egypt will remain closed amid Israeli military operations on the Palestinian side, and it’s unclear how long that will be. The US claims it’s opposed to Israel restricting aid shipments into Gaza, but President Biden backed Israel’s operation to capture the crossing, which has tightened the starvation blockade.

Israel claimed on Wednesday that the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing that connects Gaza and Israel was re-opened. But both the US and the UN said no aid entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom since there is no one to distribute it and there are active military operations in the area. Gaza border officials said six of their employees came under fire when trying to approach the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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President Biden told CNN on Wednesday that the US would stop sending heavy bombs to Israel if its military launched a major invasion of Rafah and acknowledged that Israel has been killing civilians with US-provided munitions.

The comments marked the first time Biden appeared to put conditions on US military aid to Israel, but it might not make a difference. A US official told The Washington Post a day earlier that Israel already had enough munitions supplied by the US and other countries to launch a full-scale assault on Rafah.

In the interview, President Biden claimed that Israel had not “gone in Rafah” despite launching an operation to capture the Rafah border crossing, ordering an evacuation of eastern parts of the city, and launching heavy airstrikes.

“I made it clear that if they go into Rafah – they haven’t gone in Rafah yet – if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem,” he said.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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The 2024 Election has been a tale of two leaders. One respects individual and state’s rights while the other one plows right over them in the quest for more power.

Donald Trump has advocated for states choosing their abortion policies. He wants more money in taxpayer pockets, not less.

Biden, on the other hand, wants Roe v. Wade reinstated. He is trying to ram through billions in student loan forgiveness paid for by American taxpayers without their consent. And now another concerning move by Biden is being exposed.

From Fox News:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott opposed a proposal that could shift members of the Air National Guard to roles in the Space Force without the consent of their respective governors.

The Republican governor argued the measure would sideline governors as the commanders in chief of the National Guard in each state and U.S. territory.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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Have you been able to keep track of the number of cases Trump is fighting against during the 2024 election year? Many believe this legal coordination against Donald is planned “lawfare.”

The former President has already fought a case in New York on property valuations for bank loans, and was fined an unprecedented sum to pay immediately in order to appeal. Thankfully, the appeals court knocked down the total to a high, but doable, number.

Recently the other New York case has made eye-rolling headlines as Michael Cohen, Alvin Bragg and Stormy Daniels seem determined to smear Trump. The third case in Georgia slammed into a brick wall as Fani Willis got grilled for impropriety.

The fourth, and final, case is in a federal court, let by the Trump-appointed Judge Cannon, questioning President Trump’s handling of classified documents. Which continues even as President Biden got a pass when Robert Hur called Joe an “elderly man with a poor memory,” and therefore unfit to stand trial before a jury.

This critical case on classified documents just got a major announcement from the judge, and it has huge implications for the 2024 Election.

Tags: COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, WHITE HOUSE
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Remember Jen Psaki? She was Biden’s infamous first press secretary. Her favorite phrase? Circle back.

Well, Psaki moved on from one of the most difficult jobs ever created (trying to make excuses for a serial liar).  Before she had even left, she already negotiated a cushy deal to work for the mainstream media.

Now she can speak freely about her perspective on the Washington Swamp. And you will never believe what she just said about Trump and his supporters.

From The Washington Examiner:

“I think many of them want to be close to power. They also assume or have this thought in their mind that ‘maybe Donald Trump will go away,’” Psaki said. “Maybe he’ll go to jail. Maybe he will die. Not to be too morbid, but maybe, I mean, he’s not a young man. Who knows what’s in their minds? They think, ‘Maybe I will be behind the Oval Office. Maybe I will be in the Oval Office.’”

Excuse me, Jen? You really think Trump supporters are hoping Donald will keel over?

Tags: ASSASSINATION, CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION
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Over the past few years, Donald Trump and his former vice president have drifted apart. Trump has come down hard on Pence for not backing him up regarding the 2024 election, and Donald’s fans have been unhappy with Pence as well.

But the former POTUS might be thanking Pence for one very complimentary letter.

Pence’s group, Advancing American Freedom (AAF), just sent a memo to congressional offices in D.C., and this note focused primarily on the controversial tax cuts Trump put in place during his term in office.

Most Democrats slammed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), claiming it only helped the wealthy and hindered the less fortunate. However, the AAF believes this isn’t true at all, and said the Act allowed household income to grow, while lowering marginal tax rates.

Tags: POLITICS/ ELECTIONS/ CORRUPTION, TAXES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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A new poll from Data for Progress and Zeteo found that the majority of likely Democratic voters believe that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza in its military campaign that’s been supported by President Biden.

When asked if they believed Israel was committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza, 56% of Democrats, 36% of Independents, and 23% of Republicans said yes.

The Biden administration has rejected the International Court of Justice’s ruling that it’s “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide and continues to support the brutal military campaign that’s killed over 34,800 Palestinians, including over 14,000 children.

Tags: ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS, WHITE HOUSE
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The Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow some prisoners to join the Ukrainian military as Ukraine is desperately trying to mobilize more troops.

Olena Shuliak, the leader of the ruling party Servant of the People, said the mobilization would be voluntary and that prisoners must have no more than three years left of their sentence to be eligible to serve.

Shuliak said in a Facebook post that the bill prohibits prisoners from joining the military if they’ve been convicted of certain crimes, including the murder of two or more people, sexual violence, crimes against “the foundations of national security of Ukraine,” and serious corruption offenses.

“Facing in the conditions of total war against an enemy with more resources can only be consolidated all forces. This bill is about our fight and preservation of Ukrainian statehood,” Shuliak said.

Tags: RUSSIA/ UKRAINE /BELARUS /CRIMEA, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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The White House rightly said it was “concerning” when Israel’s parliament laid the groundwork to shut down Al Jazeera within its borders in April. On Sunday, Israel made its move. The Foreign Press Association called it a “dark day for democracy”.

If the White House remains concerned, it has a strange way of showing it. Joe Biden and his administration have supported and encouraged recent censorial laws and court cases that virtually ensure that “dark days” are ahead at home as well.

The best-known example is the bill Biden signed into law last month to ban or force a sale of TikTok. Like Israel’s Al Jazeera ban, that law relies on unsubstantiated assertions of national security concerns, ignoring Justice Hugo Black’s prescient warning in the Pentagon papers case that “the word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the first amendment”.

Another thing the two laws have in common is that it’s an open secret that those concerns are pretexts for silencing the growing backlash against the Israel-Gaza war. Senator Mitt Romney essentially acknowledged as much in a recent conversation with Antony Blinken, the secretary of state. He wasn’t the first to say the quiet part out loud.

Tags: CORPORATE MEDIA, COVER-UP/ DECEPTIONS/ PROPAGANDA, DICTATORSHIP, ISRAEL, PALESTINE, TORTURE/ WAR CRIMES, WAR/DRAFT/ VETERAN AFFAIRS
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The Royal Air Force (RAF) has flown 200 surveillance flights over Gaza since December, it can be revealed.

The UK government refused to give any details about the flights which began on December 3 but Declassified has independently constructed a timeline.

The extraordinary number of missions over the past five months works out at well over a flight per day and continues as Israel invades the supposedly “safe” southern city of Rafah.

March saw the highest number of British spy flights over Gaza with 44 missions.

The new information comes amid speculation that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to issue arrest warrants for Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers. British officials could also face prosecution for complicity in war crimes, including defence secretary Grant Shapps.

Tags: GREAT BRITAIN/ UK, ISRAEL, PALESTINE
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