Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Senatorial Kayfabe On Mayorkas Changes Nothing - But It Is Entertaining...,

KATV  |  Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., chastised Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday over his alleged mishandling of the southern border.

Mayorkas has been the subject of intense GOP scrutiny as the migrant crisis continues to overwhelm U.S. sanctuary cities. While the House issued articles of impeachment against the border czar this week, the Senate was quick to shoot them down.

Nonetheless, Mayorkas remains a polarizing figure on Capitol Hill. Sen. Paul criticized Mayorkas while hearing his testimony during a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“How did the murderer of Laken Riley get into this country?” the senator asked, invoking the name of the 22-year-old allegedly slain by illegal migrant Jose Ibarra. “What is the statute that allowed you to do it? How could you sleep at night having done that?”

Also slamming Mayorkas was Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who grilled him over repeatedly changing his answers when asked about how Ibarra entered the U.S.

“[Ibarra] was paroled into the United State due to lack of detention capacity,” Sen. Hawley said. “You and I both know you know this.”

You just never wanted to cop to it,” the senator added. “You testified falsely under oath.”

Mayorkas also took heat this week from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who suggested he “should have deported” Riley, a U.S. citizen, to keep her safe.

"Her parents would have appreciated that," the congresswoman added.

U.S. sanctuary cities are now using significant funding to care for migrants. New York City recently announced a $53 million pilot program to distribute prepaid debit cards to migrant families. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston last week touted his decision to cut back on $45.9 million worth of expenses as the city deals with an ongoing influx of migrants.

Monday, April 22, 2024

MTG Isn't Vulnerable To The Intelligence Communities' Primary Control Vector

Rogan and Carlson also touch upon the effects of technology and social media on personal interactions and societal norms. They discuss the negative impacts of constant connectivity, lamenting the loss of meaningful face-to-face interactions.

"When people lie and when people bullshit and gaslight, it's more offensive now than it's ever been before," Rogan points out.

"The lies aren't sophisticated. It's something incredibly insulting and demeaning to tell me a lie when I know it's a lie."

And then the discussion gets ominously dark as the pair reflect on the re-authorization of the 'spying on Americans' bill (we note that the two gentlemen met before the bill was re-authorized).

'Kiddie Porn' blackmail fear...

Stunningly, Carlson tells Rogan that congressmen were "terrified" that intelligence agencies will frame them with "kiddie porn" if they openly opposed the "warrantless spying" bill.

Specifically, he says US lawmakers "told" him that they are "worried" about being punished by intel agencies if they oppose reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

"People don't say that because they're worried about being punished. They’re worried about someone putting kiddie porn on their computer. Members of Congress are terrified of the intel agencies. I'm not guessing at that. They've told me that — including people on the intel committee, including people who run the intel committee," Carlson said.

"The people whose job it is to oversee and keep in line these enormous, secretive agencies whose budgets we can't even know - their 'black budgets'," Carlson continued, raising his hands into air-quotes.

That it is "tyranny", not democracy, for "unelected people who are not accountable to anyone making the biggest decisions", Carlson raged, to force congressmen to support reauthorizing "warrantless spying" of American citizens because "they're threatened."

"They're the parents, the agencies are the children. They're afraid of the agencies. That's not compatible with democracy."

“It’s playing out in front of everyone, and no one cares and no one does anything about it,” Carlson said.

"I think the reason is because they’re threatened. And if you look at the committee chairman who allowed this shit to happen year after year, they’re all - and I don’t know, people say, ‘Oh, they’re compromised or being blackmailed,’ whatever. I don’t have evidence of that. But I know them. And they have all the things to hide. I know that for a fact."

“It’s not a stretch of imagination to imagine that, you know, some committee chairman who’s allowing warrantless spying on Americans to continue, or whatever abuse they’re allowing... It’s not impossible to imagine that some guy with a drinking problem or a weird sex life — and that’s very common, very common up there — that’s why they’re doing it. Because they don’t want to be exposed,” Carlson added.

“I said to somebody, a very powerful person, the other day, in a conversation in my kitchen, an elected official - holds a really senior position...

But I was like, ‘All these people are controlled. They’ve all got weird s*x lives, and all these things they’re hiding, and they’re being blackmailed by the intel agencies.’

And he said, and I’m quoting, ‘I know.’ I was like, okay, so at this point, we’re just sort of admitting that’s real? Like, why do we allow that to continue?”

Saturday, April 20, 2024

CIA Showed The House Speaker Its Pictures Of His Little Johnson.....,

davidstockman  |  What Johnson’s impending Waterloo means, therefore, is not merely the prospect of another wild and wooly succession battle, but actually that there is no point at all in the preservation of a Republican majority and GOP House Speaker. After all, the Washington GOP has become so infected with neocon warmongers and careerist pols who spend a lifetime basking in the imperial projects and pretensions of the world’s War Capital that apparently the best the House GOP caucus could do when it ejected the previous careerist deep stater from the Speaker’s chair was to tap the dim-witted nincompoop who currently occupies it.

The Republican party is thus truly beyond redemption. As JFK once said about the CIA, its needs to be splintered into a thousand pieces and swept into the dustbin of history.

Indeed, when you look at the calamitous fiscal trajectory embedded in the CBO’s latest 30-year fiscal outlook, you truly have to wonder about what miniature minds like Congressman Johnson’s are actually thinking. That is to say, the latest CBO report published in March presumes that there will never be another recession and no inflation flare-up, interest rate spike, global energy dislocation, prolonged Forever War or any other imaginable crisis ever again—just smooth economic sailing for the next 30 years.

And yet, and then. Even by the math of this Rosy Scenario on steroids the public debt will reach $140 trillion at minimum by 2054. In turn, that would cause interest payments on the public debt with rates no higher than those which prevailed between 1986 and 1997 to reach $10 trillion per year.

You simply don’t need paragraphs, pages and whole monographs worth of analysis and amplification to understand where that is going. The nation’s fisc is now on the cusp of descending into the maws of a doomsday machine. So how in the world do these elements of Johnson’s offering make even the remotest sense?

Speaker Johnson's Foreign Aid Boondoggle:

  • Indo-Pacific aid: $8.1 billion.
  • Israel: $26.4 billion.
  • Ukraine: $60.8 billion.
  • Total: $95.3 billion.

Apparently, it’s because Johnson and a good share of the Washington GOP have succumbed wholesale to neocon paranoia, stupidity, lies and hollow excuses for warmongering. For crying out loud, Putin has no interest in molesting the Poles, to say nothing of storming the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. He is certainly no Ghandi, but well more than smart enough to recognize that with Russia’s GDP of $2.2 trillion and war budget of $80 billion there would be no point in going to war with NATO’s $45 trillion of GDP and combined war budgets in excess of $1.2 trillion.

Likewise, China’s $50 trillion debt-ridden Ponzi would collapse in months if its $3.5 trillion flow of export earnings were disrupted after attempting to land its single modern aircraft carrier on the California coast. And Iran has no nukes, no intercontinental range missiles and a GDP equal to 130 hours of US annual output.

So, some Axis of evil!

Yet that’s exactly what the Speaker said this morning after going to too many Deep State briefings and apparently having his own johnson yanked once too often. The Swamp creatures surely see the lad’s naivete and blithering ignorance as a gift that doesn’t stop giving. That is to say, a “mark” who knows nothing at all about the world from sources not stamped, “Top Secret (lies)”.

Speaker Mike Johnson: “We’re going to stand for freedom and make sure that Putin doesn’t march through Europe… we’re the greatest Nation on the planet, and we have to act like it”,

This is a critical time right now, a critical time on the world stage. I can make a selfish decision and do something that’s different but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing. “I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important. I really do. I really do believe the intel and the briefings that we've gotten.

I believe Xi, Vladimir Putin and Iran really are an axis of evil. I think they’re in coordination on it. “So I think that Vladimir Putin would continue to march through Europe if he were allowed. I think he might go to the Balkans next. I think he might have a showdown with Poland or one of our NATO allies.

To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live-fire exercise for me as it is so many American families. This is not a game, this is not a joke.

Needless to say, our dufus Speaker doesn’t know the “Baltics” from the “Balkans” where Serbia and other Russian friendlies are definitely not quaking in their boots about Putin.

In point of fact, however, it is not hard to see that the civil war and territorial dispute between Kiev and Moscow over the Donbas and rim of the Black Sea from Mariupol to Odessa is a one-off of Russian and regional history and Washington’s mindless push of NATO eastward to Russia’s very doorstep.

The light-yellow area of this 1897 map gave an unmistakable message: To wit, in the late Russian Empire there was no doubt as to the paternity of the Donbas and the lands adjacent to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. Already then, they were part of the 125 years-old New Russia, which had been assembled by purchase and conquest during the reign of Catherine the Great.

Indeed, it was only in 1922 that the yellow area—essentially demarcating the four provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, which recently voted to rejoin Russia—was appended to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the great humanitarian and map-maker, V. Lenin.

And yet Speaker Johnson now wants to crash the Republican Party on enforcing a map drawn by one of history’s bloodiest monsters. It’s come down to that.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Permanently Neutered - Israel Disavows An Attempt At Escalation Dominance

MoA  |   Last night Israel attempted a minor attack on Iran to 'retaliate' for the Iranian penetration of its security screen.

The current exchange happened after Israel, in clear violation of international law, bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

The aim and success of last night's attack is yet unknown:

Israel carried out retaliatory strikes against Iran early Friday morning local time, reportedly targeting locations in the west of the country. Explosions were heard in the city of Isfahan, prompting commercial flights to divert from their routes.

Senior US officials speaking to ABC, CBS and NPR confirmed the strikes.
...
Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported at around 5:30 a.m. local time (10:00 p.m. EST Thursday) that explosions were heard in Qahjaverestan, northeast of Isfahan.

A senior Iranian military official in Isfahan told the Islamic Republic News Agency that the explosions were caused by Iran's air defenses that fired at a suspicious object east of Isfahan. Isfahan's international airport is located just northeast of Qahjaverestan.

Two discarded first stages of Israeli ROCKS aero-ballistic missiles have been found in Iraq. ROCKS, a derivative of Sparrows ballistic target rocket, are air-launched, stand-off, air-to-ground missiles.

They may have hit something near Isfahan or they may have been taken down by Iranian air defense.

No Iranian or Israeli officials have commented the attack. The IAEA said that no Iranian nuclear facility has been hit.

As both sides are currently silent, and as there are no signs of further escalation, the strike will likely conclude the current exchange.

As a consequence of its strike in Damascus Israel has lost its escalation dominance. Iran managed to penetrate its external security screen just like Hamas had penetrated Israel's internal security screen on October 7 2023 when it broke out of Gaza to collect hostages.

Those who moved to Israel because they thought that it could provide them with security should reevaluate their decision.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Israel Cannot Lie About Or Escape Its Conspicuous Kinetic Vulnerability

nakedcapitalism |  Israel has vowed to respond to Iran’s missile attack over the last weekend, despite many reports of US and its allies urging Israel to declare their defense against a very large-scale Iran missile barrage to be a victory. The US and Iran both appear united in wanting to stop further escalation. But Israel has a mind of its own, as demonstrated by its stunning attack on Iran’s embassy grounds in Damascus which initiated this crisis.

It’s possible that Israel could use a cyber attack to retaliate. But that seems unlikely given Israel’s long established policy of making hard hits back in response to assaults. It also seems unlikely given what Alastair Crooke has described as the implicit premise of Israel, that Jews in its borders would be assured of safety. That sense of security took a body blow on October 7. Israelis seem almost driven to re-establish their appearance of military potency.

The next question is whether Israel can be herded or coerced into what would amount to a negotiated attack on Iran, as in hitting targets conveyed to Tehran in advance so it could bolster defenses and get personnel and high-value equipment out of the way. There is still a possibility that Israel could engage in deception, as in communicate it would strike certain locations, then hit different ones.

Another possibility is Israel blowing up Al Aqsa mosque. That would be disproportionate and would set the entire Muslim world on fire. From a recent post at NC by Kevin Kirk:

So the Temple Institute Organization, based in Jerusalem (and supported by Henry Swieca, a wealthy New York financier), who are committed to building the 3rd Temple and restoring animal sacrifice, have swung into action and submitted an application to the Israeli police to use knives to slaughter 5 perfect red heifers as part of a purification ritual elucidated in Numbers Chapter 19 of the Bible. This ceremony, which is taking place on a specially built altar situated on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple Mount, is set to take place in April 22nd, which is during Passover. Once the purification ceremony has been undertaken then the stage is set for the building of the Temple, leading to the coming of the Messiah and the final battle between good and evil on a hill just outside Haifa called Tel Megiddo, or, as it is called in the Bible: Armageddon.

Some Israelis are already planning their Temple Mount project. Echoes of Israel developers promoting their plans for Gaza post-Palestinians, but with vastly higher stakes:

For now, we will limit ourselves to the focus of Western concern, that of a kinetic attack on Iran. A remarkable story at the Financial Times, prominently places as a “Big Read”, Ukraine’s air defence struggle shows risks to Israel, departs radically from Anglosphere practice of heavily propagandized coverage about both the Ukraine and Gaza (and now Iran) conflict. It’s quite the twofer. It not only admits what until recently has been verboten, that Russia has seriously weakened Ukraine’s air defenses and the West can’t do much to shore them back up. It also provides a detailed description of Iran’s barrage and discusses how despite claims of success, they showed Israel vulnerability, particularly to a sustained campaign by Iran. This is not all that different from what you see in the independent media.

So why is the Financial Times making so many admissions against Western interest? It’s not as if these facts are not well known among insiders, particularly the military. My guess is this is an effort to influence Israel loyalists in political circles, particularly the US, as well as private Israel influencers, that escalating with Iran has very high odds of turning out badly for Israel. Nevertheless, it’s surprising to see so much candor while events are still in play.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Show Must Go On....,

antiwar  |  President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US wouldn’t join Israel in any offensive action against Iran, multiple media outlets have reported.

US officials are touting Israel’s defense of Iran’s attack as a victory, and that’s the message Biden conveyed to Netanyahu, a sign the US doesn’t want the situation to escalate. Iran fired over 300 missiles and drones at Israel, which was a response to Israel’s bombing of Iran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1.

“Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange. It took out the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp] leadership in the Levant, Iran tried to respond, and Israel clearly demonstrated its military superiority, defeating this attack, particularly in coordination with its partners,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters, according to The Times of Israel.

In a statement on the attack released by the White House, Biden said he would convene with other G7 leaders to “coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.”

Israeli officials claimed 99% of the Iranian missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems and with assistance from the US, Britain, and Jordan. Some missiles got through and damaged the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel. Only one person was injured in the attack, a seven-year-old Bedouin girl in the Negev, and nobody was killed.

Iran gave Israel plenty of time to respond to the attack by announcing it fired the drones hours before they reached Israeli territory, and Tehran said it gave other regional countries a 72-hour notice. Iranian officials said the attack was “limited” and made clear they do not seek an escalation with Israel.

But Tehran is also warning it will launch an even bigger attack if Israel responds. “If the Zionist regime or its supporters demonstrate reckless behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement on Sunday.

While the US is signaling it seeks de-escalation and won’t support a potential Israeli attack on Iran, it’s unclear what Israel will do next. The Israeli war cabinet convened to discuss the situation on Sunday, and Israeli media reports said they agreed a response would come but didn’t decide on where or when.

Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz vowed Israel would respond but signaled it wouldn’t be imminent. Gantz said the “event is not over” and that Israel should “build a regional coalition and exact a price from Iran, in a way and at a time that suits us.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Biden also told Netanyahu “that the United States is going to continue to help Israel defend itself,” signaling the US would intervene again to help Israel if it does choose to escalate the situation and comes under another attack.

Israel’s bombing of the Iranian consulate in Syria killed 13 people, including seven members of the IRGC. Israel has a history of conducting covert attacks inside Iran and killing Iranians in Syria, but the bombing of the diplomatic facility marked a huge escalation.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Iran Breached And Spec'd The Complete Iron Dome While Hitting Its Targets With Hypersonic Missiles

simplicius  |  Now, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts.

This strike was unprecedented for several important reasons. Firstly, it was of course the first Iranian strike on Israeli soil directly from Iranian soil itself, rather than utilizing proxies from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, etc. This alone was a big watershed milestone that has opened up all sorts of potentials for escalation.

Secondly, it was one of the most advanced and longest range peer-to-peer style exchanges in history. Even in Russia, where I have noted we’ve seen the first ever truly modern near-peer conflict, with unprecedented scenes never before witnessed like when highly advanced NATO Storm Shadow missiles flew to Crimea while literally in the same moments, advanced Russian Kalibrs flew past them in the opposite direction—such an exchange has never been witnessed before, as we’ve become accustomed to watching NATO pound on weaker, unarmed opponents over the last few decades. But no, last night Iran upped the ante even more. Because even in Russia, such exchanges at least happen directly over the Russian border onto its neighbor, where logistics and ISR is for obvious reasons much simpler.

But Iran did something unprecedented. They conducted the first ever modern, potentially hypersonic, assault on an enemy with SRBMs and MRBMs across a vast multi-domain space covering several countries and timezones, and potentially as much as 1200-2000km.

Additionally, Iran did all this with potentially hypersonic weapons, which peeled back another layer of sophistication that included such things as possible endoatmospheric interception attempts with Israeli Arrow-3 ABM missiles.

But let’s step back for a moment to state that Iran’s operation in general was modeled after the sophisticated paradigm set by Russia in Ukraine: it began with the launch of various types of drones, which included some Shahed-136s (Geran-2 in Russia) as well as others. We can see that from the Israeli-released footage of some of the drone interceptions:

Monday, April 15, 2024

The Deep State Overplayed Its Hand And Has Completely Lost Control Of The Global Situation

nakedcapitalism  |  I recently came across this piece from the Century Foundation titled “A Bolder American Foreign Policy Means More Values and Less War.” Its central argument is that the US must “recenter values” like “multilateralism and human rights that are core to its identity.”

The Century Foundation calls itself a “a progressive, independent think tank,” and this particular piece appears to mean well but is just as disconnected from reality than all the neocon think tanks’ war mongering policy papers saying Washington will prevail as it takes on Russia, China, Iran, and whoever else it feels like.

The Century Foundation authors possess a Hollywoodized idea of America that isn’t a land filled with brutal class struggle but virtue, which flow out into its foreign policy that stands for international humanitarian or human rights law. I think anyone with a basic understanding of current events or recent history knows how ridiculous this is, and yet it is repeated ad nauseam by every purported think tank. I suppose this is a classic example of Upton Sinclair’s saying that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” but I think the Century Foundation is onto something with its focus on values. It’s just that it has it backwards. The problem is that values are what has the US  on the brink of starting World War III in multiple locations.

So what are the core values that do have it such a position – and whose are they?

I think the story of former US President Herbert Hoover is instructive. He had interests in mines in Russia until they were seized by the Bolsheviks. [1] Hoover never forgot about it and remained terrified of Communists for the rest of his life – and for good reason considering how much he stood to lose.

Though Hoover got booted out of office in 1932, he played a central role in organizing capitalists to counter worker organization both in the US and abroad. His legacy lives on at Stanford’s neocon Hoover Institution. Throughout his life, he remained a major admirer of pre-Soviet Russia: “At the top was a Russian noble family and at the bottom 100,000 peasants and workers with nobody much in between but the priesthood and the overseers.”

That pretty much sums up the capitalist class’ enduring vision not just for Russia, but everywhere. Ownership of Russian mines or Opium Wars in China might not factor much into my or your everyday life, but you can bet it’s an important part of American ruling class ideology. Whose values? The dominant value at play there is a belief that as Western capitalists they have a right and a duty to exploit and profit off of every corner of the globe. Just like capital must dominate labor, it must expand and find new sources of revenue. If governments in Russia and China impede that progress, they must be destroyed.

Rather than bromides like more American “values,” the following are some questions or thought exercises for think tanks to consider – whether they want to win another war or maybe even quit starting so many of them.

Can You Practice Realpolitik with Gangsters? 

The US is a market state that is dominated by and run for transnational capital. Its foreign policy and the military are a tool of the American oligarchy. Therefore, any serious policy discussion needs to deal with the fact that national interests as they’re expressed today are not in any real sense national but representative of the interests of a small cohort of the super wealthy.

When US officials go on about spreading “freedom,” they’re not lying. It’s just their idea of freedom is a state devoted to high profits – free from the political whims of local populations that could degrade an investment’s expected return.

Let’s remember there likely wouldn’t be any problem with Russia had Putin not put an end to the 1990s shock therapy administered by the Western finance capitalists who were making a killing by pillaging Russian resources. Like Bert Hoover, they’re haunted by that opportunity snatched away from them, and they’ve been trying to get it back for a quarter century now.

The question is will American capital ever voluntarily give up? Will it ever say “okay, we’re satisfied with what we’ve got here, you do your thing in your sphere of influence”?

It’s not like Moscow and Beijing haven’t tried. Russia for example floated the idea of joining NATO or working out some other security arrangement. For decades after the end of the USSR, Russia tried to be accepted into the West’s club to no avail.

China, too, constantly repeats the refrain that the world is big enough for both Beijing and Washington. It invited the US to join it in its Belt and Road Initiative. The US could have helped steer projects that would have benefited both countries. While such cooperation between the two big powers wouldn’t be a panacea for all the world’s problems, it would likely mean a lot better spot than current one.  Instead the US wanted the whole pie and instead we got the TPP, sanctions, export bans, a new Cold War, a spy balloon scandal, the disastrous effort to weaken Russia before taking on China, the successful effort to sever Europe from Eurasia to disastrous effect for Europe, and the desire to see a Ukraine sequel in Taiwan and/or the South China Sea.

There is a lot of confusion over why the West keeps escalating in a losing effort. Why, for example, are Western governments going around begging for shells to send Ukraine rather than accepting the L? The desperation seems to stem from the creeping realization that their system is coming undone. The entire post-WWII elite American mindset is built on the foundation of worldwide profit expansion via silicon and fire, and if they throw everything at Russia and lose, well a whole new domino theory could come into play – one where parasitic Western finance capital is driven back. (Granted it might in most cases be replaced by a more local form, but it’s nonetheless frightening for the Western honchos.)  Just look at what’s happening to France in Françafrique! And the US in the Middle East!

The fact that the West can no longer even manufacture enough weapons to supply its proxy wars almost certainly means that the dominoes will keep falling.

 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Israel Absorbs The $1 Billion Price Tag For Last Nights Fireworks Show And Calls It A Day

middleasteye  |  It cost Israel more than $1bn to activate its defence systems that intercepted Iran's massive drone and missile attack overnight,  according to a former financial adviser to Israel's military. 

"The defence tonight was on the order of 4-5bn shekels [$1-1.3bn] per night," estimated Brigadier General Reem Aminoach in an interview with Ynet news.

Aminoach highlighted that the staggering price tag stands in contrast to the relatively low amount that Iran had spent to launch its assault, which some estimates have put at less than 10 percent of what it cost Israel to stop the attack. 

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel on Saturday, in response to an Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria that killed two senior Revolutionary Guard commanders earlier this month.

Israel said its military forces and its allies had intercepted 99 percent of the missiles, but some ballistic missiles penetrated Israeli defences and hit the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel. 

"If we're talking about ballistic missiles that need to be brought down with an Arrow system, cruise missiles that need to be brought down with other missiles, and UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], which we actually bring down mainly with fighter jets," he said. 

"Then add up the costs - $3.5m for an Arrow missile, $1m for a David's Sling, such and such costs for jets. An order of magnitude of 4-5bn shekels."

David's Sling is a weapons system meant to intercept medium to long-range rockets and missiles. The Arrow system was designed to thwart long-range missiles, including the types of ballistic missiles Iran launched on Saturday and of long-range missiles launched by the Houthis in Yemen.

 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Before Y'alls Time - But We Don't Have Any Voices Like Carl Rowen Any More...,

LATimes  |  If you’ve ever heard that soothing voice or read those scholarly sentences, you’d know it’s him. Syndicated columnist Carl Rowan has a signature style.

That jowly baby face and genial manner have been fixtures among the talking heads on PBS’ “Inside Washington” since 1965. His voice can be heard on 25 major-market radio stations broadcasting “The Rowan Reports,” a daily radio commentary. He has written seven books, some of them bestsellers.

But lately, Rowan, an elegant and polished black man of 69 years who writes and speaks in the terse and precise prose common among the well-educated of his generation, has become something of an attack journalist on a self-appointed mission to bring down the current leadership of the NAACP.

His bitterly critical columns, distributed by the King Features Syndicate and published in 100 newspapers across the land, are the major reason the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People is facing its greatest crisis. NAACP Executive Director Benjamin F. Chavis was forced to resign late in the summer amid allegations first raised by Rowan--that he used the organization’s money to settle a sexual discrimination suit brought by a former employee, opening the organization’s financial practices to unprecedented public scrutiny.

Rowan’s current target is NAACP Board Chairman William Gibson, who had been Chavis’ most ardent supporter. By repeatedly demanding that Gibson resign, Rowan has set himself apart from most mainstream reporters--black or white--who tend to steer clear of pointed and determined criticism of the NAACP. But Rowan relishes the combat of writing to incite change--regardless, he said, of whether his targets are white-led government institutions, such as the FBI under former director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s, or the current NAACP leadership.

During a wide-ranging interview conducted recently in the living room of his rambling northwest Washington home, Rowan defended his hard-edged columns. He called them “a service,” written with the intention of educating the public and instigating reforms within an organization he views as necessary to the interests of African Americans.

Rowan rejected the argument that he is bent on destroying the NAACP. In fact, he says, the organization absolutely has a role in the post-civil rights generation. “Take this (recent mid-term) election. The NAACP in a good and normal time would have been out there for weeks trying to get blacks out to vote,” he said. “They have been virtually paralyzed by all their money troubles and could only do a little trifling stuff.”

Once Gibson is out of office, Rowan said, and a new management team is in place, he will use his column to urge supporters to send money back into the NAACP.

“There is a group preparing for the moment when (Gibson) steps down so they can say to the nation, as I will say, ‘The time has come to rush to the rescue to the support of this organization because the United States would be a lesser place without an NAACP,’ ” Rowan said. “But no way will I ask anybody to give a nickel as long as (Gibson) is there at the head of the NAACP because I know the extent to which the meager funds of the NAACP have been abused.”

Rowan also brushed aside suggestions he was an “Uncle Tom” or tool of the mainstream media, noting his 43 years as a Life Member of the NAACP. Among the highlights: Rowan “worked closely with (then NAACP attorney) Thurgood Marshall in the days way before Brown v. Board of Education.”

As A Boy, I Listened To Paul Harvey EVERY Saturday Morning - Like Clockwork...,

 

Friday, April 12, 2024

What Has Robbed The American People Of Their Outwardly Expressed Religion?

theatlantic  | Did the decline of religion cut some people off from a crucial gateway to civic engagement, or is religion just one part of a broader retreat from associations and memberships in America? “It’s hard to know what the causal story is here,” Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, told me. But what’s undeniable is that nonreligious Americans are also less civically engaged. This year, the Pew Research Center reported that religiously unaffiliated Americans are less likely to volunteer, less likely to feel satisfied with their community and social life, and more likely to say they feel lonely. “Clearly more Americans are spending Sunday mornings on their couches, and it’s affected the quality of our collective life,” he said.

Klinenberg doesn’t blame individual Americans for these changes. He sees our civic retreat as a story about place. In his book Palaces for the People, Klinenberg reported that Americans today have fewer shared spaces where connections are formed. “People today say they just have fewer places to go for collective life,” he said. “Places that used to anchor community life, like libraries and school gyms and union halls, have become less accessible or shuttered altogether.” Many people, having lost the scaffolding of organized religion, seem to have found no alternative method to build a sense of community.

Imagine, by analogy, a parallel universe where Americans suddenly gave up on sit-down restaurants. In surveys, they named many reasonable motivations for their abstinence: the expense, the overuse of salt and sugar and butter, the temptation to drink alcohol. As restaurants disappeared by the hundreds, some mourned their closure, while others said it simply didn’t matter. After all, there were still plenty of ways for people to feed themselves. Over time, however, Americans as a group never found another social activity to replace their dining-out time. They saw less of one another with each passing decade. Sociologists noted that the demise of restaurants had correlated with a rise in aloneness, just as the CDC noticed an increase in anxiety and depression.

I’ve come to believe that something like this story is happening, except with organized religion playing the role of restaurants. On an individual basis, people can give any number of valid-sounding reasons for not frequenting a house of worship. But a behavioral shift that is fully understandable on the individual level has coincided with, and even partly exacerbated, a great rewiring of our social relations.

And America didn’t simply lose its religion without finding a communal replacement. Just as America’s churches were depopulated, Americans developed a new relationship with a technology that, in many ways, is the diabolical opposite of a religious ritual: the smartphone. As the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes in his new book, The Anxious Generation, to stare into a piece of glass in our hands is to be removed from our bodies, to float placelessly in a content cosmos, to skim our attention from one piece of ephemera to the next. The internet is timeless in the best and worst of ways—an everything store with no opening or closing times. “In the virtual world, there is no daily, weekly, or annual calendar that structures when people can and cannot do things,” Haidt writes. In other words, digital life is disembodied, asynchronous, shallow, and solitary.

Religious rituals are the opposite in almost every respect. They put us in our body, Haidt writes, many of them requiring “some kind of movement that marks the activity as devotional.” Christians kneel, Muslims prostrate, and Jews daven. Religious ritual also fixes us in time, forcing us to set aside an hour or day for prayer, reflection, or separation from daily habit. (It’s no surprise that people describe a scheduled break from their digital devices as a “Sabbath.”) Finally, religious ritual often requires that we make contact with the sacred in the presence of other people, whether in a church, mosque, synagogue, or over a dinner-table prayer. In other words, the religious ritual is typically embodied, synchronous, deep, and collective.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Class Not Race Is The Dividing Line In American Politics

realclearpolitics  |  Batya Ungar-Sargon, the deputy editor of Newsweek and author of the new book, Second Class: How the Elites Betrayed America's Working Men and Women, speaks with RCP Washington bureau chief Carl Cannon on Thursday's edition of the RealClearPolitics radio show.

"People don't talk about it like it is an outrage," she said about the transformation of the Democratic Party into something other than a party for the working class. "It is such a fait accompli at this point that we forget that it is outrageous for a party that used to represent labor, the little guy against big corporations and the rich, completely abandoned that constituency to cater to an over-credentialed college elite on one hand, and the dependent poor on the other. And it is double outrageous because that party still masquerades as the party of the little guy, even though it is not the case anymore."

"It started with the handshake agreement between both parties that we're going to become an economy that embraced free trade," she said. "That was Bill Clinton's contribution to this, signing NAFTA into law and trade agreements that resulted in the offshoring of 5 million manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico."


"And then President Obama showed up and said repeatedly those jobs are not coming back, and pioneered this idea that everyone was going to go to college and become part of the knowledge industry, and that was going to be the pathway to the American dream. And then it became the only pathway to the American dream!"

"Joe Biden played his part by effectively opening up the border, decriminalizing illegal border crossing, and welcoming in 11 million new migrants to compete with working-class Americans for the jobs that remained here," she said.

"It's true that immigration raises the GDP in the aggregate. The problem is nobody lives in the aggregate. GDP is not equally distributed across the nation. We know the top 20% now has 50% of the GDP at its disposal. The very people who love to rail against the 1% are the people who have made the largest gains in the last 50 years, and they are the consumers of low-wage migrant labor, which is why, of course, they want more of it. It is an upward transfer of wealth from the working class to the elites who consume that labor."

"If you bring in 11 million people and you know they are going to be employed as cleaning people, landscapers, and in construction, you have effectively stolen wages from the Americans who were employed in those jobs. It is just obvious supply and demand."

Carl Cannon asked: "Do they really hate the working class, or are they just in their politically correct bubble and don't see what they're doing?"

"They can not stand the idea that they will lose, even if they lose in a very obviously democratic way," Ungar-Sargon said. "They are very comfortable when they can sit there on cable news making millions of dollars to sneer at the working class. They're comfortable when the working class can't clap back."

"This was really Obama's revolution, the idea that the 'smart set' should run things. We should have an oligarchy of the credentialed. But when the working class has their audacity to vote in their own interest and clap back by putting somebody like Donald Trump in power, that sneering contempt turns to hate."

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Fake It Till You Make It Incompetents Need To Return The Oxygen They Stole In Memphis...,

tri-statedefender  |   Sharing their experiences with crime reduction, The Black Mayors’ Coalition on Crime wrapped up a two-day conference at the Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis on Thursday, March 28.

Memphis Mayor Paul Young hosted Black leaders from 18 U.S. cities during the meeting that began Wednesday, March 27. 

“People want the short-term solution. They want to figure out how we are going to stop crime today. And then, we want to figure out how to stop crime in the future. In order to do that, there has to be an intense dialogue,” said Young.

In addition to Washington D.C., they came from several states with large African-American populations, like Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina and California. 

“We have a lot of violence around convenience stores and gas stations,” Mayor Tishaura Jones told Action News 5 after the conference. “So how can we hold those business owners accountable and also bring down crime? (We’re also finding that ) some of the things that we’re already doing, we’re finding that other mayors are doing as well.”

Strategies were front and center in the discussion. They included Operation GOOD in Jackson, Miss. and Operation Scarlett in Charlotte, N.C. According to proponents, both have paid dividends in their respective communities.

Operation GOOD is a nonprofit with ambitious goals to curb recidivism, reduce violence and tackling blight, for example. Operation Scarlett is an ongoing anti-luxury car theft operation that was expanded to 11 states and 152 law enforcement agencies. So far, 132 vehicles have been retrieved.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis also appeared at the event.

Russ Wiggington, president of the National Civil Rights Museum, moderated the conversation. 

The Council on Criminal Justice, a think tank devoted to criminal justice policy, began the conference with a keynote presentation.

To allow attendants to speak freely, no media were invited to the event. However, Young has suggested future meetings could be open to the public and virtual. It’s a sentiment matched by Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Jr. of Jackson, Miss.

“We’re ensuring amongst ourselves that this will not be the last engagement, but that we will continue to lean in,” Lumumba said at a post-conference press event.

Latest Crime Stats

Although crime rates in Memphis has dropped recently, they are still above pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, the Memphis-Shelby County Crime Commission statistics reflect a 6.4% drop in fourth quarter of 2023, over 2022’s final period. This includes murder, burglary, robbery, theft, weapons and drug charges. Property crimes fell 10.1% too.

However, violent crime in Memphis bucked the trend. In addition to 398 homicides in 2023 – breaking the 2021 record – the major violent crime rate rose 7.4% in Memphis. Shelby County saw inflated numbers too, with a 6.3% jump over 2022.

To date, there have been over 80 homicides in 2024. Memphis has the highest number of all the cities represented during he meetings. Most have seen a decrease.

The Black Mayors Coalition on Crime is the latest in a series of conversations Young has recently held to address crime early in his first term.

Monday, April 08, 2024

The Surgeons That Crafted This Monstrosity Should Be Shot With Hot Pee....,

 

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Cornpop And The Cornholios....,

 

Saturday, April 06, 2024

The Rock Regrets His 2020 Endorsement Of Joe Biden

newsweek  |  Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was booed by members of the audience of The View after expressing regret for his endorsement of President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Boos were heard on Friday morning after the airing of a short clip from a recent Fox News interview with the actor and professional wrestling star, who is set to return to the ring for the first time in eight years at this weekend's WWE WrestleMania event.

Johnson said that he was not "happy with the state of America" in the clip and revealed that he would not be endorsing Biden in this year's election because he feels his 2020 endorsement had caused "division."

"The endorsement that I made years ago with Biden was one that I thought was the best decision for me at that time," Johnson said. "Am I going to do that again this year? That answer's no, I'm not going to do that."

"I realized what that caused back then was something that tears me up in my guts—back then and now—which is division," he added.

The View crowd responded to Johnsons remarks by loudly booing, seemingly taking co-host Joy Behar and the show's other co-hosts by surprise with their overwhelmingly negative response.

"Should I pay any attention to someone who gives an interview on Fox where they lie every day?" Behar asked the crowd, before questioning whether celebrities should "endorse public figures" or "keep their politics to themselves."

Some in the audience could be heard responding "no" after Behar asked if celebrities should make endorsements. A short time later, the crowd made their opinions on former President Donald Trump's 2024 candidacy clear after co-host Sunny Hostin weighed in.

"I do think we're living in a time where we have someone [Trump] running for president that is an existential threat to democracy," Hostin said, prompting loud cheers and applause from the audience.

"Now is the time—if you have a platform—you must be active, you must speak out," she added, drawing additional applause.

While endorsing Biden in 2020, Johnson described himself as a "political independent and centrist" who was making his first public endorsement due to the outcome of the election being "critical."

 

 

 

Friday, April 05, 2024

The Scottish Hate Crime Law Empowers The State To Lock You Up At Will

FT  |  Author JK Rowling has attacked Humza Yousaf, calling Scotland’s first minister “bumbling and illiberal” and stoking a row over the country’s contentious new hate crime law. 

The creator of the Harry Potter franchise was responding to criticism from Yousaf on Thursday that posts she had made on X earlier in the week identifying transgender women as men were “offensive and upsetting”. Rowling posted on X: “Most of Scotland is upset and offended by Yousaf’s bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism, but we aren’t lobbying to have him locked up for it.” 

Rowling, a leading gender-critical feminist, used her social media profile to test whether the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act would criminalise promoting the importance of biological sex over gender identity. The legislation, which came into effect on Monday, has triggered a row between the author and lawmakers, and thrust culture wars into the forefront of Scottish politics. 

Yousaf in an interview with the BBC hit out at the author’s provocative posts on social media, insisting the law had a high threshold for criminality and was not intended to respond to those who are “upset or insulted”. The legal difficulties in balancing the protection of vulnerable communities with the right to free speech have opened up a new line of attack for the opponents of the Scottish National party and Green coalition, with them characterising the legislation as an example of unworkable progressive policymaking. It comes as opinion polls fail to provide a clear picture of voting intentions ahead of the general election later this year. 

 A YouGov poll this week predicted a UK landslide for Labour in which it would become the largest party in Scotland, winning 28 seats north of the border to the SNP’s 19. A Survation poll last week forecast that the SNP would hold 41 seats to Labour’s 14. The act widens the existing crime of stirring up racial hatred to include other protected characteristics, such as sexuality, gender and disability, with the threat of jail terms of seven years. 

Thousands of complaints have reportedly been made to the police about Rowling’s posts, as well as about a speech Yousaf gave to parliament in 2020 during which he complained about the number of senior positions of authority held by white people. Police Scotland, which has yet to announce the number of allegations of hate crimes it has received, earlier this week decided Rowling’s posts, in which she invited the police to arrest her, were not criminal. The force also decided against logging Rowling’s posts and Yousaf’s speech as “non-crime hate incidents”. 

The police, who note such incidents when allegations do not breach the threshold of criminality, use these records to monitor trends, but opponents say this process has a chilling effect on free speech. The police decision sparked an angry response from Murdo Fraser, a Conservative MSP, whose post last year on social media saying identifying as non-binary was as valid as “choosing to identify as a cat” did get logged. Fraser on Wednesday accused Police Scotland of political bias. “They have taken a different approach to comments made by the SNP first minister to those made by an opposition politician,” he said. “It is hard not to conclude that Police Scotland has been captured by the SNP policy agenda.”


Thursday, April 04, 2024

Now That The Spectacular Dr. Chelsea Clinton Is On The Case - I'm All In!!!

stanford  |  In a special episode recorded in front of a live audience, Dean Lloyd Minor welcomes Chelsea Clinton, a bestselling author and an advocate for public health and early childhood education. They discuss the importance of accountability for scaling global health initiatives, and the power of storytelling to counter misinformation in science and health. They also talk about finding motivation through conscious optimism and rebuilding public trust through support of individuals, families, and communities. Along the way, they share memories of Chelsea’s time as a Stanford undergraduate and their overlapping memories of their home state of Arkansas.

Chelsea Clinton is vice chair of the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, working to improve lives, inspire emerging leaders, and increase awareness around public health issues. At the foundation, she is active in the early child initiative Too Small to Fail, which supports families with resources to promote early brain and language development; and the Clinton Global Initiative University, a global program that empowers student leaders to turn their ideas into action. A longtime public health advocate, Chelsea uses her platform at the Clinton Health Access Initiative to address vaccine hesitancy, childhood obesity, and health equity. In addition to her foundation work, Chelsea also teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and has written several books for young readers, including the #1 New York Times bestseller She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. She is also the co-author of The Book of Gutsy Women and Grandma’s Gardens with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and of Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? with Devi Sridhar. Chelsea’s podcast, In Fact with Chelsea Clinton, premiered in 2021, and she is a co-founder of HiddenLight Productions. Chelsea holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford, a master of public health degree from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and both a master of philosophy degree and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Evidently I Missed The Executive Order Repurposing Easter...,

WashingtonTimes  |  President Biden stoked more outrage over his decision to honor Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, which was also Easter, by issuing a head-scratching denial Monday as the White House blamed the political backlash on “misinformation.”

As he left the 144th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Mr. Biden was quizzed by reporters about House Speaker Mike Johnson’s denunciation of the transgender proclamation as “outrageous and abhorrent.”
“Speaker Johnson called it ‘outrageous’ that Easter Sunday was Transgender Day of Visibility. What do you say to Speaker Johnson?” asked a reporter, according to the White House pool report.
Mr. Biden replied: “He’s thoroughly uninformed.”
When pressed for details, the president responded: “I didn’t do that.”
He offered no further explanation, but critics pointed to his proclamation on the White House website honoring Transgender Day of Visibility, which has been held on March 31 since it was created by a transgender activist in 2009.
Also falling this year on March 31 was Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar. The date varies from year to year.
“I, Joseph R. Biden … do hereby proclaim March 31, 2024, as Transgender Day of Visibility,” said the White House proclamation issued Friday and signed by Mr. Biden.
“I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination based on gender identity,” Mr. Biden said in the proclamation.
Mr. Johnson posted the proclamation on X with the comment: “This you, @JoeBiden?”
Conservative media critic Stephen L. Miller asked on X: “Did anyone in the press pool then show him his own statement?”
Rep. Wesley Hunt, Texas Republican, asked on X: “Is the Biden Administration backtracking after the political backlash they’ve received in the last 24 hours?”Hours later, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused critics of promoting “misinformation.” She said it was “unsurprising that politicians are seeking to divide and weaken our country with cruel, hateful and dishonest rhetoric.”
“It is dishonest what we have heard the past 24 hours. It is untrue what we heard over the weekend,” she said at the press briefing.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said Monday that “President Biden is right.”
“He did nothing in conflict with the ‘tenets’ of Easter, which he celebrated yesterday,” Mr. Bates told The Washington Times. “Nor did he choose the date of March 31 for Transgender Day of Visibility, which has been set since 2009.”
Mr. Biden has issued proclamations marking Transgender Day of Visibility since taking office in 2021, but his decision to do so this year with Easter falling on March 31 struck conservative Christians as tone-deaf at best and a slap in the face to Christianity at worst.
Easter is the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox, or March 21.
“This is a direct assault on Christianity. It’s evident the left is determined to undermine our religion and traditions,” Rep. Diana Harshbarger, Tennessee Republican, said Saturday on X. “This isn’t just blatant disregard, it’s intentional.”
The Trump campaign called the transgender proclamation “appalling and insulting.”
“We call on Joe Biden’s failing campaign and the White House to issue an apology to the millions of Catholics and Christians across America who believe [Easter Sunday] is for one celebration only — the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said Trump national press secretary Karoline Leavitt.
Mr. Biden and first lady Jill Biden issued a statement Sunday sending “our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday.”
Easter reminds us of hope and the promise of Christ’s resurrection,” they said. “As we gather with loved ones, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice.”
Other Democratic officials, including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, issued proclamations this year declaring March 31 as Transgender Day of Visibility, or TDOV.
After Democrats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a TDOV declaration, CatholicVote President Brian Burch accused them of choosing “to mock Christianity on its holiest day of the year.”
He said the 15-year-old transgender event should have been moved to avoid conflicting with Easter.
“They may claim that this holiday is always on March 31, but it is a fake and arbitrary observance which was invented in 2009 compared with the 2,000-year history of Easter,” Mr. Burch told The Washington Times. “This would never be tolerated with any other religious tradition, and that’s the point. Christianity is their target.”

The Senatorial Kayfabe On Mayorkas Changes Nothing - But It Is Entertaining...,

KATV  |   Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., chastised Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday over his alleged mishandli...