“As interest costs go up in the United States, you get in this vicious circle, where higher interest rates cause higher funding costs, cause higher debt issuance, which cause further bond liquidation, which cause higher rates, which puts us in an untenable fiscal position.” -- Paul Tudor Jones, October 10, 2023

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by Tyler Durden

In what must be the first time California's 9th circuit has ruled in favor of the 2nd Amendment, non-violent convicted felons can now own guns.

The decision stems from a 2020 case, in which California resident Steven Duarte was arrested after tossing a handgun out of a moving car during a traffic stop. He was indicted by a federal grand jury for possessing said firearm while being previously convicted of "a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" in violation of the federal “felon-in-possession” law.

A customer shops for a pistol in Tinley Park, Ill., on Dec. 17, 2012. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Duarte had five prior non-violent criminal convictions in California; vandalism, felon in possession of a firearm, drug possession, and two convictions for fleeing a police officer - each of which is punishable by one year or more in prison. After pleading not guilty, Duarte's case proceeded to trial, where he was found guilty and sentenced to 51 months in prison.

Not so fast!

As the Epoch Times notes further, in a 2-1 decision handed down on May 9, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Mr. Duarte’s conviction violated the Second Amendment as applied to him.

Specifically, the court’s majority found that the federal government failed to prove that its felon-in-possession law supports disarming convicted felons for life under a two-step framework established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2022 “New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen” case.

The two-step process, put forth by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, first requires the court to determine whether the Second Amendment’s “plain text” covers an individual’s conduct. If so, then that conduct is presumptively protected, and the government must prove that its law is “consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

“Because Duarte is an American citizen, he is part of the people whom the Second Amendment protects,” Senior Circuit Judge Carlos Bea wrote for the majority.

“The Government argues only that ’the people‘ in the Second Amendment excludes felons like Duarte because they are not members of the ’virtuous’ citizenry,” he wrote. “We do not share that view.”

The burden then fell back to the federal government to show that its gun possession policy aligns with the “historical tradition” of the United States.

However, during the Early Republic era, Mr. Duarte’s past convictions either would have been considered misdemeanors, didn’t exist as a crime, or may have had predecessors for which the government failed to provide evidence of their existence, Judge Bea noted.

‘Historically Understood Meaning’

“Based on this record, we cannot say that Duarte’s predicate offenses were, by Founding-era standards, of a nature serious enough to justify permanently depriving him of his fundamental Second Amendment rights,” the majority opinion read.

“The Second Amendment’s plain text and historically understood meaning therefore presumptively graduate his individual right to possess a firearm for self-defense.”

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Authored by Pepe Escobar,

Get ready for what may well be the geoeconomic bombshell of 2024: the coming of a decentralized monetary ecosystem.

Welcome to The Unit  – a concept that has already been discussed by the financial services and investments working group set up by the BRICS+ Business Council and has a serious shot at becoming official BRICS+ policy as early as in 2025.

According to Alexey Subbotin, founder of Arkhangelsk Capital Management and one of the Unit’s conceptualizers, this is a new problem-solving system that addresses the key geoeconomic issue of these troubled times: a global crisis of trust.

He knows all about it first-hand: a seasoned financial professional with experience in investment banking, asset management and corporate matters, Subbotin leads the Unit project under the auspices of IRIAS, an international intergovernmental organization set up in 1976 in accordance with the UN statute.

The Global Majority has had enough of the centrally controlled monetary framework put in place 80 years ago in Bretton Woods and its endemic flaws: chronic deficits fueling irresponsible military spending; speculative bubbles; politically motivated sanctions and secondary sanctions; abuse of settlement and payment infrastructure; protectionism; and the lack of fair arbitration.

In contrast, the Unit proposes a reliable, quick and economically efficient solution for cross-border payments. The - transactional - Unit is a game-changer as a new form of international currency that can be issued in a de-centralized way, and then recognized and regulated at national level.

The Unit offers a unique solution for bottlenecks in global financial infrastructure: it is eligible for traditional banking operations as well as for the newest forms of digital banking.

The Unit can also help to upend unfair pricing in commodity trading, by means of setting up a new – fair and efficient – Eurasian Mercantile Exchange where trading and settlement can be done in a new currency bridging trade flows and capital, thus paving the way to the development of new financial products for foreign direct investment (FDI).

The strength of the Unit, conceptually, is to remove direct dependency on the currency of other nations, and to offer especially to the Global Majority a new form of apolitical money - with huge potential for anchoring fair trade and investments.

It is indeed a new concept in terms of an international currency - anchored in gold (40%) and BRICS+ currencies (60%). It is neither crypto nor stablecoin – as it’s shown here.

The Beauty of Going Fractal

The Global Majority will instantly grasp the primary purpose of the Unit: to harmonize trade and financial flows by keeping them outside of political pressure or “rules” that can be twisted at will. The inevitable consequence translates as financial sovereignty. What matters in the whole process are independent monetary policies focused on economic growth.

That’s the key appeal for the Global Majority: a full ecosystem offering independent, complementary monetary infrastructure. And that surely can be extended to willing Unit partners in the collective West.

Now to the practical level: as Subbotin explains, the Unit ecosystem may be easily scalable because it comes from a fractal architecture supported by simple rules. New Unit nodes can be set up by either sovereign or private agents, following a detailed rule-book in custody of the UN-chartered IRIAS.

The Unit organizers employ a distributed ledger: a technology that ensures transparency, precluding capital controls or any exchange rate manipulation.

This means that connection is available to all open DEX and digital platforms operated by both commercial and Central Banks around the world.

The endgame is that everyone, essentially, may use the Unit for accounting, bookkeeping, pricing, settling, paying, saving and investing.

No wonder the institutional possibilities are quite enticing – as the Unit can be used for accounting and settlement for BRICS+; payment and pricing for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU); or as a reserve currency for Sub-Saharan Africa.

And now comes the clincher: the Unit has already received backing by the BRICS Business Council and is on the agenda at the crucial ministerial meeting in Russia next month, which will work out the road map for the summit next October in Kazan.

That means the Unit has all it takes to be on the table as a serious subject discussed by BRICS+ and eventually be adopted as early as in 2025.

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Israel is nowhere close to defeating Hamas above or below ground. Ukraine is now on its third army and running out of time and press-ganged recruits

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting Kiev is a sign that the Biden administration is concerned about the situation at the front, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.

"On May 14-15, the US Secretary of State visited Ukraine," the diplomat noted. "It is obvious that the state of affairs on the frontline and the military failures of the Ukrainian army are triggering more and more serious alarm in the Biden administration."

The spokeswoman noted that the Washington Post said that Blinken arrived at a critical moment for Kiev, calling on it to hold on for as long as possible. "He sang a song, ate some pizza and left," Zakharova noted.

Webmaster addition: 


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Woke activists today often like to hearken back to nostalgic media from the 1960s; what they consider the golden era or genesis moment of far-left movements in British and US history.  These were the days when being a progressive was considered "counter-culture" and cool, with every major rock star and celebrity tapping into youth angst and hippie philosophy.  The progressive shift led to considerable social instability in the 1970s.

It is common these days to hear leftists in popular media argue that TV shows like Star Trek or Doctor Who were "always woke" and that they are simply carrying on the tradition.  This is simply not true.  While many productions in the US and in Europe displayed liberal sensibilities, woke activists are not liberal and do not hold liberal values.  They are, rather, a hybrid ideology combining elements of Marxism/communism/fascism, collectivism, moral relativism and narcissism.

One could argue that the woke cult is the natural end state, the unavoidable final evolution of liberal thinking.  That may be true, but that's a debate for another day.  The point is, the woke activism of today has very little in common with the political movements of the 1960s.  In fact, if you were to go back in time only 15 years ago and tried to explain to a typical Democrat in the US or Labour member in the UK what leftists are trying to get away with in 2024, they would laugh in your face and call you crazy.

In our decade nearly every major television and film franchise of the past has received the woke treatment; what leftists call "updating for modern audiences."  As a consequence, nearly every franchise has suffered an extreme collapse in audience number, ad revenues and box office receipts.  Why?  Because woke ideology is a fringe movement making up a tiny percentage of the population.  Almost no one likes it, hence the reason why "Get Woke, Go Broke" has become a rule rather than a theory.

Doctor Who has not been able to escape this rule despite being considered an open sci-fi world where almost anything goes.  The problem is, it doesn't matter what the canon technically allows or what the writers want - In the end the fans always dictate what succeeds and what fails.  When a show starts preaching at people about respecting gender pronouns, they aren't going to stick around to see what happens next.

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US President Joe Biden has finally accepted repeated challenges to debate Donald Trump, agreeing to square off with his Republican rival at least twice before voters go to the polls in November.

Both men accepted invitations from CNN and ABC News for debates that are scheduled to be held on June 27 and September 10, respectively. CNN said the first debate would be held in its Atlanta studio, with no audience present.

The agreements come after several months of challenges from Trump, including a statement in March calling for debates “anytime, anywhere, anyplace.” Biden had been non-committal in his responses, at one point saying, “It depends on his behavior.” In a video message posted Wednesday on X (formerly Twitter), the Democrat incumbent portrayed Trump as the reluctant challenger.

Webmaster addition:  The hard part for Biden will be getting that duct tape over Trump's mouth! 

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Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Modernity.news,

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah urged Lebanese authorities to ‘open the sea’ in order to flood Europe with a new wave of migrants.

Nasrallah made the remarks during a televised address at a rally marking the eighth anniversary of the assassination of late Hezbollah Resistance military commander Mustafa Badreddine.

The militant leader called for “a national decision that says: we have opened the sea… whoever wants to leave for Europe, for Cyprus, the sea is in front of you. Take a boat and board it.”

The comments are part of an effort to put pressure on the European Union, which announced earlier this month $1 billion in aid to Lebanon to pay for the country to keep Syrian migrants within its borders.

However, there is rising anti-Syrian sentiment within Lebanon, which is currently home to 2 million Syrians, the world’s highest number of refugees per capita. Natives angry at their presence have staged riots.

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Interview with Martin Armstrong by Piero Messina for SouthFront

Martin Armstrong is one of the most influential economists of our times. Someone called him the “Forecaster”, because that was the title of the biopic film that helped make his activities known throughout the world.

Those of Martin Armstrong are not just “predictions”, as his reflections are based on the compendium of precise mathematical formulas and analytical skills. We interviewed him to try to understand the current geopolitical context. From the crisis of Western democracies to the birth of the BRICS front, to arrive at profound reflections on the risk of a military conflict on a global scale, Armstrong interprets real-time data thanks to his diachronic “vision” and a decades-long effort of research and analysis . Armstrong’s work allows us to connect knowledge of the past to critical factors of the present time. For all these reasons, Armstrong’s analyzes are precious for understanding the present and orienting ourselves towards a future that appears full of unknowns and pitfalls.

Fukuyama advocated the end of history. Huntington spoke of a clash of civilizations. Is it possible to imagine a third way?

Our greatest threat is centralized control; that is what doomed communism. I agree with Huntington that the clash of civilizations will be based upon cultures and religion mainly because of centralized attempt to impose a unified culture.

At the end of the 1980s, the reference geopolitical model was the unipolar world, based on Western primacy. What cultural, military, and economic pillars is the Washington Consensus based on? Is it true freedom?

The military in economic pillars that dominate Washington today have nothing to do with freedom. They have to do with people who were unwilling to accept the collapse of communism. Whereby the enemy was transformed by communism to ethnic racism.

With the birth of the BRICS, is it possible to talk about a multipolar option? What are the limits that you see in this geopolitical dimension?

The birth of the BRICS was caused by these people we call the neocons who engaged in ethnic racism and targeted Russia by removing them from the world economy under SWIFT. This woke up many in the world, realizing that the dollar was now being weaponized and was no longer a monetary instrument exclusively. Nations began to realize if they did not conform to the commands of Washington, then they to could be removed from SWIFT. Thus they have divided the world economy bringing to an end globalization.

Your analysis and studies seems to reveal several critical issues regarding the stability of the so-called Western system. There is a profound crisis of democratic systems, there is a lot of mistrust towards mainstream information and above all there are “agents” external to the institutions (an example above all is the activity of George Soros) who seem to influence the choices of governments in the United States and Western Europe. What could happen in the immediate future and in the coming years?

It has been propaganda that we live under a democracy. We live under republics in which case the people are represented and have no right to vote on critical issues. Republics historically are the most corrupt forms of government compared to a monarchy or dictatorship which cannot be bribed. In a republic, all representatives lacking term limits are up for sale to the highest bidder. This has resulted in the collapse of confidence in government both in Europe and the US which have fallen below 30% – the lowest since WWII. External agents such as George Soros, Bill Gates, World Economic Forum, push personal agendas which has further undermined the confidence in our systems. It is the government that decides if we go to war or not. The people are never asked.

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EU ambassadors have agreed to place three Russian news outlets under sanctions, a move that would effectively ban them across the bloc. Moscow has threatened to take “retaliatory measures” against Western journalists in Russia.

The decision affects Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti, the newspapers Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Izvestia, and Voice of Europe, a Czech news site accused by officials in Brussels and Prague of spreading pro-Russian “propaganda,” EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova announced on Wednesday.

Jourova did not specify what measures would be taken against the outlets, but news organizations already sanctioned by the EU – namely RT and Sputnik – lost broadcasting rights in the EU and had their websites blocked across the union.

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While the world is commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Nakba on Wednesday, the catastrophe never ended, says a Palestinian-American trauma social worker and clinician.

In an interview with the Press TV website on the eve of the Nakba anniversary, Dina Elmuti, a first-generation Palestinian-American living in Chicago, who has extensively worked with Palestine-focused rights and advocacy groups, said the Nakba, which translates to "catastrophe", "never ended."

More than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homeland between 1947 and 1949, thousands of others were massacred and over 500 Palestinian villages and towns were completely wiped out by the occupying Zionist entity in what came to be known as ‘Nakba’.

“We have got to stare intergenerational trauma, the legacy of Zionism, theft, dispossession, and genocide right in the face,” said Elmuti, whose grandparents lived and survived the Nakba.

“The Nakba is not past. It remains continuous, as we see livestreamed today in Gaza. Zionists have been attempting to erase Palestinians from consciousness, and the face of the earth, from day one.”

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Putting British or other NATO boots on the ground in Ukraine would not make sense, but there are other ways of helping Kiev, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

Some officials in Kiev have proposed sending Western military veterans as civilian contractors to train Ukrainian soldiers inside the country in order to quickly raise enough brigades to offset battlefield losses. 

“I don’t want to step over that line that puts British, sort of, troops on the ground in Ukraine. I don’t think that makes sense to do. But what I do think is sensible is potentially moving training closer,” Shapps said on Wednesday, speaking to a Telegraph podcast about the situation in Ukraine.

“There may be other models that we could look at. Not something I would want to go into in detail currently,” the defense minister added.

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Benjamin Netanyahu has vehemently rejected Biden's plans for a post-war peace settlement in Gaza, reiterating 'there is no alternative to military victory' until Hamas is thoroughly defeated.

'The attempt to bypass it with this or that claim is simply detached from reality,' the veteran Israeli Prime Minister argued in a video released by his office on Wednesday.

With IDF troops edging closer towards a full-scale invasion of Rafah, and 600,000 people displaced from the southern city in just 10 days, both Israel's allies and critics continue to mount pressure to find a workable solution after talks in Cairo earlier this month failed to reach a resolution.

The United States has urged Israel to avoid vanquishing Hamas without a proper exit strategy amid fears the region could inherit a power vacuum with echoes of Iraq, breeding resentment and allowing terror to fester and thrive.

Webmaster addition: Netanyahu just told Biden to pound sand, even after all the money the US has given Israel over the decades.

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The pro-Putin prime minister of Slovakia is recovering in hospital after being shot in an assassination bid that triggered alarm bells across Europe.

Robert Fico was beckoned over to meet a crowd of supporters before a gunman leaned across and fired five times at point-blank range, sending the divisive politician sprawling to the ground.

Bodyguards pounced on the would-be assassin as Mr Fico was carried into a government limousine which sped away before he was airlifted to hospital.

Overnight there was confusion over the premier's condition, with deputy prime minister Tomas Taraba telling the BBC on Wednesday evening he was confident Mr Fico 'will survive', with local news outlets reporting that he was out of surgery and stable.

Other ministers, however, insisted throughout the night that Mr Fico remained in a critical condition.

Police detained 71-year-old poet Juraj Cintula on suspicion of the shooting in Handlova, central Slovakia.

Webmaster addition: The pro-Putin prime minister of Slovakia is recovering in hospital after being shot in an assassination bid that triggered alarm bells across Europe.

Robert Fico was beckoned over to meet a crowd of supporters before a gunman leaned across and fired five times at point-blank range, sending the divisive politician sprawling to the ground.

Bodyguards pounced on the would-be assassin as Mr Fico was carried into a government limousine which sped away before he was airlifted to hospital.

Overnight there was confusion over the premier's condition, with deputy prime minister Tomas Taraba telling the BBC on Wednesday evening he was confident Mr Fico 'will survive', with local news outlets reporting that he was out of surgery and stable.

Other ministers, however, insisted throughout the night that Mr Fico remained in a critical condition.

Police detained 71-year-old poet Juraj Cintula on suspicion of the shooting in Handlova, central Slovakia.

Webmaster addition: Why does the name Archduke Ferdinand keep running through my mind?!?

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Police arrested at least a dozen anti-Israel protestors as they cleared a lecture hall and student encampment at the University of California, Irvine. 

The University put out an emergency alert on Wednesday declaring a 'violent protest' after 'a group of several hundred protestors entered the UC Irvine campus and began surrounding' the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall. 

Officers from ten nearby law-enforcement agencies converged on the campus in riot gear, clashing with protestors and clearing the encampment. 

At least a dozen students were arrested, according to CNN, with many being secured with zip ties and led away by officers.  

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You just have to look around and see what’s happening to the restaurants in your area to understand that the U.S. economy is headed in the wrong direction. When the economy is booming, restaurants are full and chains open more locations to expand their business. But when the economy is struggling, restaurants get increasingly emptier, and underperforming locations go belly up. Sadly, it seems that a “restaurant apocalypse” has started to sweep across the country this year.

Faced with higher living expenses, most households have very little discretionary income to spend as a result of inflated prices, and that’s particularly true for our young adults.

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