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Chaos, Disorder and Distractions
Substack Daily Dose 9/18/2023
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As we noted earlier Monday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat (or something out of something), as he scrambles to avoid the fourth potential government shutdown in a decade before an anticipated September 1st drop-dead date.
Any House bill would still need to be reconciled with a Senate bill that would likely raise spending levels.
In the event McCarthy can't convince Freedom Caucus House Republicans to agree to a short-term 30-day continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at last year's levels into the fall, Society Generale's head of US Rates Strategy, Subadra Rajappa, lays out what has happened in previous shutdowns - and what might be in store for investors.
Government shutdowns, while disruptive, have generally been short-lived affairs, averaging just 8.8 days. However, some outliers like those in 1995 and 2018, which extended beyond 20 days, suggest that the current political climate might again facilitate a more prolonged face-off.
So, when the feds turn off the lights - investors historically shuffle into front-end Treasuries as a safe haven, while yields and stocks tend to seesaw - guided by investors' anticipation of a deal. The front-end and belly of the US Treasury curve generally outperform the long end, providing some directional cues for traders. However, the data is not uniformly so, as the Treasury market is more nuanced.
The nature and eventual outcome of the budget negotiations may determine how Treasury bonds react. The moves in the long end of the UST curve have been varied during previous episodes. The 30y yield rose in the week preceding thirteen out of nineteen of the previous shutdowns. Some of the selloff in the long end over the past few months has likely been prompted by increased worries over rising deficits and increased privately-held UST supply.
If a shutdown ends with a deal that significantly reduces future deficits, it could be a positive for the long end. On the other hand, a protracted political fight that does not result in any meaningful budget reform could prompt higher yields, as it would be another sign of gridlock in Washington, particularly in the context of the debt ceiling debacle and Fitch rating downgrade earlier this year. -SocGen
In the run-up to the five government shutdowns since 1995, the 2-year UST yield only rallied by 2 basis points, while the belly and the long end of the curve exhibited some sell-off.
On the long end, perhaps the most intriguing aspect is the divergent movements in the long-end yield. If this shutdown culminates in a deal that significantly trims future deficits, the long end could see a positive bump. But if we're treated to another theatrical episode of Washington gridlock, expect higher yields and increased anxieties about fiscal irresponsibility, especially after the recent Fitch downgrade.
As for stocks, While the S&P 500 typically suffers in the week preceding a shutdown, a different picture emerges during the shutdown itself - with the index averaging a 2.3% uptick since 1995.
This seemingly paradoxical behavior could be linked to a variety of factors, but it seems to align with the safe-haven bid favoring front-end Treasuries.
-Tyler Durden, Zerohedge
'Dire Consequences' For Billions: OPEC Blasts IEA's Fossil Fuel Demand Forecast, Warns Of 'Energy Chaos' On Unprecedented Scale — 3 Top Oil Stocks From Wall Street
The latest projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA) suggest that demand for oil, gas and coal will peak before 2030.
"This is the first time that a peak in demand is visible for each fuel this decade — earlier than many people anticipated," Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, wrote in an op-ed published in the Financial Times.
That forecast does not sit well with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
"It is an extremely risky and impractical narrative to dismiss fossil fuels or to suggest that they are at the beginning of their end," OPEC said in a statement.
"In past decades, there were often calls of peak supply and in more recent ones, peak demand, but evidently neither has materialized. The difference today, and what makes such predictions so dangerous, is that they are often accompanied by calls to stop investing in new oil and gas projects."
Passive income investments are one of the most trusted methods for riding out a recession so it's no surprise that people are turning to high-yield notes that pay a fixed 7.5% to 9%.
Investing in real estate just got a whole lot simpler. With as little as $100, average investors are becoming landlords thanks to this Jeff Bezos-backed startup.
According to OPEC Secretary General Haitham al-Ghais, the IEA's claims could have significant global repercussions.
"Such narratives only set the global energy system up to fail spectacularly. It would lead to energy chaos on a potentially unprecedented scale, with dire consequences for economies and billions of people across the world," al-Ghais said.
OPEC argued that the IEA's reasoning on fossil fuels is "ideologically driven" instead of fact-based. It also noted that fossil fuels still make up more than 80% of the global energy mix and that they provide "vital" energy security for the world.
OPEC's statement came on the heels of recent surges in oil prices. If you share this perspective on the enduring importance of fossil fuels, you might want to pay close attention to oil stocks. Here's a look at three that Wall Street finds particularly attractive.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM)
Commanding over $450 billion of market capitalization, Exxon Mobil is one of the largest players in the global oil and gas industry.
Shares enjoyed huge rallies in 2021 and 2022. And the latest rise in oil prices seems to give the stock more upward momentum: Over the past month, Exxon stock has climbed 8%.
The business continues to gush profits and cash flow.
According to the latest earnings report, Exxon earned $7.9 billion in profits in the second quarter. It also generated $9.4 billion of cash flow from operations and $5 billion of free cash flow.
The company is returning cash to investors, too. In the second quarter, Exxon paid $3.7 billion in dividends and spent $4.3 billion on share repurchases.
At the current share price, the stock yields 3.1%.
Morgan Stanley analyst Devin McDermott has an Overweight rating on Exxon and a price target of $124, implying a potential upside of 6%.
Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE:DVN)
Devon Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with operations focused onshore in the U.S.
In the second quarter, the company's oil production reached an all-time high of 323,000 barrels per day.
For the quarter, the company's operating cash flow totaled $1.4 billion. Free cash flow was $326 million.
"Our disciplined reinvestment rates allowed us to generate free cash flow for the 12th consecutive quarter, and we returned $690 million of capital to shareholders through a combination of dividends and share repurchases," Devon CEO Rick Muncrief said in a statement.
The company's latest quarterly dividend — to be paid on Sept. 29 — is 49 cents per share. Note that Devon pays a fixed-plus-variable dividend so the amount could change from one quarter to the next.
Stifel analyst Derrick Whitfield has a Buy rating on Devon and a price target of $79 — around 49% above where the stock currently sits.
Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:OXY)
Shares of Occidental Petroleum more than doubled in 2022. The company benefited from elevated oil prices. At the same time, it received more investor attention after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. revealed a sizable stake in it last year.
Buffett bought more shares of Occidental in 2023, with Berkshire owning 224.1 million shares of the company at the end of June.
In the second quarter, Occidental produced 1.22 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, which exceeded the mid-point of its guidance range.
Buffett isn't the only one to see potential in the oil giant. Truist Securities analyst Neal Dingmann has a Buy rating on Occidental and a price target of $80. Because shares currently trade at $66.26, the price target implies a potential upside of 21%.
Keep in mind that because of the volatile nature of commodity prices, even the largest oil companies can experience significant fluctuations in their share prices. If you appreciate the generous shareholder returns offered by the oil sector but aren't a fan of such volatility, it might be worth exploring reliable income plays outside the stock market, such as investing in rental properties with as little as $100 while staying completely hands-off.
-Jing Pan, Yahoo Finance
The war on energy and wasteful public spending have predictably driven up prices, particularly for food. This is not a bug for liberal policy, but a feature. As Vladimir Lenin said, “The worse, the better.” People have been conditioned to turn to Big Government for solutions to their problems, despite Big Government having caused most if not all of them. Unaffordable food is an easy problem to exploit.
Justin Trudeau says it is “not okay” that the people who provide Canadians with food make a profit doing so. So Big Government will have to step in, applying liberal logic by lowering prices with higher taxes:
As Founding Father John Marshall observed, the power to tax is the power to destroy.
Canada had no Founding Fathers. Rather than rebel, Canadians waited for the British Empire to wither away. It is not surprising that they are decaying more quickly into oligarchical collectivism, although the USA is not far behind.
What makes Justin Trudeau so dangerous is that he is hard to take seriously. He is a metrosexual soy boy. But he is also a tyrant whose ambitions might be worthy of a Bolshevik.
History buffs will recall that Stalin used control of the food supply to consolidate power. Most liberals sporting Ukrainian flag pins probably don’t know that Uncle Joe (as FDR called him) starved to death approximately 4 million Ukrainians during the Holodomor. But their leaders know.
Read More @ Moonbattery.com
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has revealed that the city will be partnering with the Economic Security Project to explore the creation of a government-owned grocery store in order to assist "historically underserved communities."
“All Chicagoans deserve to live near convenient, affordable, healthy grocery options. We know access to grocery stores is already a challenge for many residents, especially on the South and West sides,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson, according to an office press release. “A better, stronger, safer future is one where our youth and our communities have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. My administration is committed to advancing innovative, whole-of-government approaches to address these inequities. I am proud to work alongside partners to take this step in envisioning what a municipally owned grocery store in Chicago could look like.”
Johnson's release noted it aims to promote "food equity," and that estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that "63.5% of residents in West Englewood and 52% of residents in East Garfield Park live more than half a mile from their nearest grocery store, whereas in West Town less than 1% of residents experience this barrier to food access."
This initiative, if completed, would mark Chicago becoming the first major US city to launch a government-owned grocery store to deal with "food inequity," according to the release.
“The City of Chicago is reimagining the role government can play in our lives by exploring a public option for grocery stores via a municipally owned grocery store and market,” stated Ameya Pawar, a senior advisor at the Economic Security Project. “Not dissimilar from the way a library or the postal service operates, a public option offers economic choice and power to communities. A City-owned grocery store in the South or West side of Chicago would be a viable way to restore access to healthy food in areas that have suffered from historic and systemic disinvestment."
The administration has reportedly kicked off a feasibility study to see how the new store can succeed.
-Darian Douraghy, The Post Millennial
Shares in Chinese property giant Evergrande plunged by around 25 percent as markets opened in Hong Kong on Monday, following the arrest of several of the debt-ridden company’s employees in China.
Evergrande’s stock price dipped to 0.47 around 9 am in Hong Kong (0100 GMT) on Monday, before ticking back up, after closing at 0.62 Hong Kong dollars on Friday.
The drop comes two days after police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen said in a statement that several employees of Evergrande’s financial subsidiary, Evergrande Wealth Management, were arrested.
The authorities did not specify the number of employees or the charges against them.
The statement called on the public to report any cases of suspected fraud.
Evergrande, the world’s most-indebted property developer with an estimated debt of $328 billion (307 billion euros) at the end of June, has been at the centre of China’s deepening market crisis, raising fears of a global spillover.
Once a star player in an industry key to China’s economic growth, Evergrande’s enormous debt has been seen by Beijing as an unacceptable risk for the country’s financial system.
Authorities have gradually tightened developers’ access to credit since 2020, and a wave of defaults have followed — notably that of Evergrande.
On Friday, China’s national financial regulator greenlighted a takeover of Evergrande’s insolvent insurance subsidiary, Evergrande Life Insurance, by new state-owned vehicle Haigang Life Insurance.
WATCH: Alex Jones Raises Alarm Over Declassified Documents That Could Take Down the Whole NWO Control System
Alex Jones breaks down a now-viral Fox News report that corroborates what he has been reporting to the public for years: The government is testing deadly chemicals on the population.
“This is a mad scientist eugenics cult that has been in control of our main universities and in control of the leadership of the intelligence agencies & shadow government at least since 1947,” said Jones during Monday’s broadcast as he was unloading on the perpetrators of these declassified atrocities. “They believe there are too many people and they want to be able to play God and do these tests everywhere to have larger and larger teams of people that work for the system who will then go out and carry out these lethal and murderous operations against the people so they have a larger army in the future that’s been compromised that they can trust.”
“And that’s what the poison prion covid shot is about. It’s about getting a wider group of doctors, scientists, lawyers, and nurses that went along with the rollout of the lie. Then they discover it’s a fraud and still defend the fraud – they believe to cover their butts. And now you’ve corrupted a larger concentric ring of around that expanded base of people who will carry out any operation you want at any time. That’s how the system operates.”
Jones went on to stress that in order to fully understand the situation we are in we have to admit that we are at a war.
“What’s central to understanding the situation we are in is to admit that we are at a war,” said Jones. “And that war, that deindustrialization program, that rewilding program, that post-enlightenment system has gone from its testing phases to its operational phase.”
“This is a totally managed technocracy economy, in their own words, where they control every aspect of your life. This is dystopia being sold as the solution to the Hell they’re creating. But the artificial dystopia they’re making can be easily reversed and fixed as long as too much of the infrastructure isn’t destroyed.”
Jones added that we can get ahead of being soft-killed if the masses stop being politically ignorant:
“If we can get ahead of this and get people to be aware of what’s happening, the globalists will not be able to pull it off,” said Jones. “They can only get away with it if the public is politically ignorant of how this operates.”
“We have to admit true evil exists. We have to admit this is not the legitimate government. This is the military-industrial complex controlled by a small technological corporate scientific elite that Eisenhower warned us about.”
Jones’s remark on the self-described “mad scientists” of the establishment brings to mind the monumental insight he gave weeks ago about a horrifying lecture on the military applications of neurotechnology and how globalists regard the masses:
“They openly talk about this like we’re animals!” exclaimed Jones while dissecting a lecture by DARPA-funded neuroscientist Dr. James Giordano.
Image Credit: U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters as he leaves a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 14, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Republican House investigators handling an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden could subpoena his son, Hunter Biden, but are waiting for the right moment before taking that step.
Fox News host Maria Bartiromo repeatedly pressed Mr. McCarthy about a potential Mr. Biden subpoena during an interview on Sunday. The House speaker said such a subpoena is forthcoming, but indicated he would not let media pressure dictate its timing.
“There’s a strategy behind everything. We only follow facts. Hunter Biden will get subpoenaed, but when’s the appropriate time?” Mr. McCarthy said. “Do you do it because television wants it or do you do it around the facts and the timing? I think we should have the bank statements to actually know where did the money go, so you would know the questions to ask Hunter Biden.”
Mr. McCarthy said a premature subpoena of the president’s son might create a spectacle for fundraising purposes, but said he’d rather wait until Republicans have other pieces of evidence that can guide their questioning of the younger Biden.
In particular, Mr. McCarthy noted recent allegations President Biden and his son may have communicated back and forth through a number of different aliases and private emails while the elder Biden was serving as the vice president.
In at least one of these alleged pseudonymous emails, Republican investigators believe then-Vice President Biden’s son was looped in on a phone call his father had with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, at a time when the younger Biden was engaged in business in Ukraine. Republican investigators have raised allegations that President Biden leveraged his influence throughout his political career to benefit his family members in various business dealings.
“We also have 5,400 emails [in which] Joe Biden used as vice president a false name, that we have not been able to get yet,” Mr. McCarthy told Ms. Bartiromo.
Republican lawmakers and private organizations have requested access to these alleged pseudonymous communications, but have seen limited results thus far. Last month, the Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), alleging the executive branch agency had identified nearly 5,400 communications pertaining to the alleged pseudonyms, but that the agency had turned over none of those records.
“Wouldn’t it be smarter in an investigation that you were able to get all of those emails?” Mr. McCarthy said of these communications.
The Republican House speaker said impeachment investigators could eventually subpoena other members of the Biden family as well.
“It looks to me like nine Biden family members got money,” Mr. McCarthy said. “I want to see bank statements. I think they’d have to come before us to answer questions.”
NTD News reached out to the White House for comment about the developing impeachment inquiry. The White House did not respond by the time this article was published.
McCarthy Faces Pressure on Many Fronts
The Republican House speaker is moving forward with the impeachment effort amid criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
Mr. McCarthy said Republican investigators have been doing “a very good job” thus far in investigating the president and his family’s business dealings and that he wants those investigators to continue to set the pace. At the same time, Democrats have denounced the Republican House majority’s impeachment inquiry and impugned the evidence uncovered thus far.
After the launch of the impeachment inquiry, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said, “The illegitimate impeachment inquiry launched by Extreme MAGA Republicans is regrettable, reckless, and reprehensible. It is a political revenge tour that lacks any factual or constitutional basis.”
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) asserted that the Republican impeachment effort on the House side relies on “MAGA-laced conspiracy theories.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) outright claimed there’s “no evidence” to support the impeachment inquiry.
Some Republicans have also said they want to see more evidence before any potential move to impeach the current president.
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told The Epoch Times he would “wait to hear more” before deciding where he stands on the impeachment effort.
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) offered support for the impeachment inquiry process, but signaled he doesn’t want a rushed decision on impeachment charges.
“I have yet to receive any reports of sufficient evidence worthy of impeachment coming from the three House committees investigating President Biden and his family,” Mr. Santos told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement. “However, if the committee requires expansion of its scope via an impeachment inquiry, I would be in favor of that. A cheap impeachment that mirrors [former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s] political stunt against President [Donald] Trump last Congress after he left the White House degrades the significance of impeachment standards.”
Mr. McCarthy faces some political pressure even among Republicans fully in favor of the impeachment inquiry. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, for instance, have argued that the impeachment inquiry is a small measure of appeasement while they remain at odds with the House Speaker over other issues, like the 2024 government budget.
In a House floor speech moments after Mr. McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry, House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) criticized the House speaker for not doing more to force spending caps and called the impeachment inquiry “a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more.” Contrary to Mr. McCarthy’s timing preferences, Mr. Gaetz argued that House investigators should have already subpoenaed Hunter Biden.
Mr. Gaetz has also threatened to launch an effort to oust Mr. McCarthy from the House speakership. In his interview with Fox News on Sunday, Mr. McCarthy said an effort to oust him as the House speaker “would be exactly what the president wants.”
-Ryan Morgan, NTD
Kash Patel sues FBI director, former DOJ officials over secret targeting of personal records during RussiaGate
Kash Patel files lawsuit against the FBI and Department of Justice after the agencies obtained a subpoena for his personal records in November 2017 during his time working as a investigator for House Intelligence Committee during its investigation into the DOJ’s conduct during Crossfire Hurricane, now referred largely as RussiaGate. Patel was unaware of the subpoena until December 2022, when he was notified by Google about it. Patel says in 2017, that move, in and of itself was so shocking, that idea that essentially the Attorney General for the whole RussiaGate investigation threatened the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and his senior staffers, because we were uncovering corruption that preceded them. And what we would learn later is they were in on the corruption cover up. That's why they threatened us, it wasn't a lie.” Additional interview Texas Representative Steve Toth over the acquittal of Ken Paxton.
-Just The News
BREAKING NEWS: Hunter Biden Files Lawsuit Against IRS — Accuses Agents of Attempting to ‘Target’ and ‘Embarrass’ Him
Hunter Biden’s lawyers filed a lawsuit against the IRS this Monday, claiming that IRS agents have intentionally “targeted and sought to embarrass” the president’s son.
In his filing on Monday morning, Biden highlights two prominent instances involving IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who are both whistleblowers alleging mishandling of the IRS investigation into Biden.
Biden’s lawsuit seeks the court to declare that the IRS “willfully, knowingly, and/or by gross negligence, unlawfully disclosed Mr. Biden’s confidential tax information.”
Furthermore, Biden is requesting $1,000 in compensation for “each and every unauthorized disclosure of his tax returns,” even those that occurred subsequently.
Fox News Digital contacted the IRS for a statement regarding the lawsuit; however, they did not provide an immediate response.
“Biden is the son of the President of the United States. He has all the same responsibilities as any other American citizen, and the IRS can and should make certain that he abides by those responsibilities,” the lawsuit said.
“Similarly, Mr. Biden has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen, and no government agency or government agent has free rein to violate his rights simply because of who he is.”
“Yet,” the complaint says, “the IRS and its agents have conducted themselves under a presumption that the rights that apply to every other American citizen do not apply to Mr. Biden.”
Image Credit: Pixabay
Taiwan told China on Monday to stop its “destructive unilateral actions” after more than 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships were detected in areas around the self-ruled island.
Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory to be seized one day, and has ramped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taipei in recent years.
In the 24 hours between the morning of September 17 and 18, the defence ministry said it had detected a total of 103 Chinese planes, and it described the number as a “recent high”.
In a statement, it said the sorties “posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region.”
Beijing’s “continued military harassment can easily lead to a sharp escalation in tension and worsen regional security,” the ministry said, as it called on China to “immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions.”
Of the total number of warplanes detected, 40 crossed the so-called median line of the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from China, and entered its southwest and southeast air defence identification zone (ADIZ), the statement said.
China’s foreign ministry did not comment on the sorties, though its spokeswoman Mao Ning reaffirmed Beijing’s position that Taiwan belongs to China.
“What I would like to tell you is that Taiwan is part of China’s territory, and the so-called median line does not exist,” she said.
– ‘High alert’ –
Monday’s announcement by Taipei came after an uptick in the number of incursions by Chinese warplanes and ships last week.
Beijing said last week its troops were on “high alert” after two ships belonging to the United States and Canada sailed through the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said 68 Chinese aircraft and 10 naval vessels were detected around the island between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.
Some of those planes and warships were heading to an unspecified area of the Western Pacific to “conduct joint sea and air training” with China’s Shandong aircraft carrier, the ministry said.
The Shandong, one of two operational aircraft carriers in the Chinese fleet, was detected last week around 60 nautical miles (110 kilometres) southeast of Taiwan heading into the Western Pacific, Taipei authorities said.
Japan’s defence ministry also said last week its navy had detected six ships — including frigates, destroyers, one fast combat support ship and the Shandong — sailing through waters some 650 kilometres (400 miles) south of Miyakojima island, east of Taiwan.
It confirmed that jets and helicopters had been detected taking off and landing from the Shandong, though China has not commented officially on any drills being conducted in the Western Pacific.
– ‘Sacred part of China’ –
Analysts said China could be flexing its muscles to counter US influence in the Asia-Pacific, as it leads multiple rounds of military drills with allies across the region.
“China aims to counter the military containment of democratic allies led by the United States,” Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at Taiwan’s Institute for National Defence and Security Research told AFP.
Following last August’s visit to Taipei by Nancy Pelosi, then-speaker of the US House of Representatives, China staged its largest-ever war games around Taiwan.
Then in April this year, Beijing conducted a three-day “Joint Sword” military exercise to simulate the encirclement of the island, after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
In a comment on the Weibo social media platform, China’s Global Times state tabloid said Taiwan was a “sacred and inalienable part of China.”
“The People’s Liberation Army’s relevant combat training activities are necessary actions to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it added, referring to China’s military.
The Ukrainian government wants to prosecute Russia for crimes against nature (ecocide) in the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, arguing that Putin‘s forces have deliberately destroyed much of Ukraine’s natural environment since the war began in February last year.
Ukrainians highlight the over 67,000 square miles of the country covered with unexploded mines, rendering vast swaths of territory uninhabitable due to the danger as well as multiple forests across the country that have been deliberately razed or destroyed by the Russian army.
“We’ve been able to demine just 50 hectares out of 11,800 hectares so far… just imagine how many years it will take to clear all the mines,” says Volodymyr Savchenko, an employee at the Holy Mountains National Nature Park in eastern Ukraine.
Scientists are also trying to determine to what extent the soil has been poisoned by bombs, tank debris, and other weaponry as well as the impact the war has had on the country’s wildlife, including boars, deer, foxes, and moose.
“Nature gives us strength and inspiration. Russia’s destruction of our nature is akin to the destruction of Ukrainians… this is ecocide – 100 percent,” argues Ukrainian scientist Ivan Rusev.
However, ecocide is yet to be recognized as a crime in international law and is not incorporated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Only ten countries consider it to be a crime, such as France, Ecuador, Ukraine, and even Russia.
-Jake Welch, The National Pulse
The United States has decided to punish Egypt for its alleged non-compliance with human rights norms. It should be noted that the subject of human rights is traditionally used by the US to apply pressure on Egypt and many other countries in the region.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Washington will redirect $85 million in military aid, previously promised to Egypt, to Taiwan and Lebanon. And some American lawmakers insist on stripping Egypt of another $235 million in aid out of a total of $1.3 billion annually.
Not the first time
Last year, the US withheld $130 million to Cairo. The official reason was the same – human rights violations. Experts then started talking about putting a freeze on American-Egyptian relations, which had warmed under the administration of former US President Donald Trump. Trump had even called Egypt’s leader his “favorite dictator.”
But the current president, Joe Biden, has disliked Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi from the start. He criticized Egypt’s leadership during his presidential campaign, promising that there would be no more “blank checks for Trump’s ‘favorite dictator.’”
Egypt-US relationship: It’s complicated
The rift in relations between the US and Egypt arose with the arrival of the Arab Spring in 2011. Prior to that, Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years (1981-2011), had established close ties with Washington. It was under him that the US started allocating more than a billion dollars of aid to Egypt annually, which began to be provided after the Camp David Accords of 1979. Only Israel received more from the Americans.
However, Mubarak’s pro-US orientation did not help him in 2011. Everything happened according to the classic scenario – friendship with America’s authorities did not guarantee security, and at the critical moment, the US turned away from its ally and supported the rebels. This can also be seen in reports sent from Cairo by American diplomats, which were published by WikiLeaks.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood, having seized power from Mubarak, held on to it for only a year, this was a bitter lesson for the Egyptian elites that they are unlikely to ever forget. After the Egyptian Army ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in the summer of 2013, US-Egyptian relations deteriorated even further. This became apparent when President Barack Obama canceled the then-upcoming iteration of the biannual Exercise Bright Star, which is the foundation of military cooperation between Washington and Cairo. It was also in 2013 that the US imposed sanctions on supplying military aid to Egypt, which further marred relations between the two countries.
However, while Obama’s policies led to a decline in relations with Egypt, as well as almost all the other countries in the region, Trump, who replaced him, took concrete steps to change the situation a month after his inauguration on January 20, 2017. On April 3, Sisi paid his first official visit to the White House. This was not his first meeting with Trump, as they had met once before on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Many experts who followed the meeting in the Oval Office stressed that both leaders took the security issue seriously and hated political Islamism. This was the beginning of a reset period for relations between the two countries. But Trump is gone, Biden has come, and it seems that the crisis in relations is growing again.
Russia is the main obstacle
While relations with the US were worsening under Sisi, Egypt’s interactions with Moscow took a rapid upturn. In fact, the foundation was laid for military-technical cooperation. Billion-dollar contracts for military supplies began to be agreed upon. This included Ka-52 Alligator multi-purpose attack helicopters, which have become the most powerful combat helicopters in Africa, according to Military Watch. The publication also stressed that this deal was the result of the deterioration of Russia’s relations with the West.
Russian-Egyptian joint military exercises have been held more than once since 2015. And despite a short period of warming in US-Egyptian relations, Russia has become a special partner for Egypt – a stable and predictable one, unlike the US.
The positions of Moscow and Cairo on many regional problems have converged 100%, be it with respect to Palestine, Syria, or Libya. A common history of cooperation also plays a part in this. Soviet-Egyptian relations enjoyed their heyday in the 1950s and 60s, when thousands of specialists from the USSR boosted Egyptian industry. It was during this period that the country’s largest enterprises were built, including the Aswan hydroelectric plant, with the help of engineer Nikolay Malyshev, and the Helwan Metallurgical Plant, which was decommissioned just a couple of years ago.
In addition, many generations of Egyptian elites studied at Soviet universities, including the aforementioned Mubarak.
Egyptians fought with Soviet weapons for many decades, studied Soviet literature, and enjoyed the fruits of Soviet engineering. Egypt is the largest importer of Russian grain.
All this cannot be ignored by Egypt’s current leadership when building a dialogue with Moscow and making key decisions. These circumstances cannot be forgotten under even very strong pressure from the US. Washington, however, is not giving up.
Egypt has drawn conclusions
Of course, the constant pressure and blackmail the American government resorts to could not but provoke a response. So, after the launch of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, the Americans repeatedly tried to persuade the Egyptians to fully participate in the anti-Russian campaign. That is, to supply weapons to Kiev and join the economic sanctions against Moscow. Egypt flatly refused.
In August 2023, the WSJ reported that US officials, including Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin, repeatedly called on Egypt to begin supplying arms to Ukraine and join the collective effort to assist the Ukrainian government in overcoming its ammunition shortage. The weapons required included artillery shells, anti-tank missiles, air defense systems, and small arms. Trying to maintain a balance in its relations with Russia, Cairo did not respond to the Americans’ demands. The WSJ emphasizes that, despite Egypt’s partnership with the US and America’s annual military assistance of $1.3 billion, Cairo is in no hurry to quarrel with Moscow, as it depends on Russian grain.
A difficult choice for Egypt
Although the current decision to deprive Egypt of part of its American military support is nothing new, this time it has been caused not only, and not so much, by Cairo’s “inability to make progress in the area of human rights,” as it is by its unwillingness to actively support the Ukrainian army.
Egyptian political scientist Amr Eldiib said that US pressure on the Egyptian government has always been associated with attempts to sever Egyptian-Russian ties.
“It was clear that our country’s entry into BRICS would provoke an immediate response from America. And withholding $85 million is not a final measure. The Americans can withhold much larger amounts.”
The expert notes that the United States is also putting pressure on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to not provide Egypt with new tranches of loans until it begins helping Ukraine and publicly speaks out against Russia.
“Egypt and its leadership will certainly face a very difficult choice. The Egyptian economy, as well as most of the Egyptian army’s weapons, are American. In addition, the country is very economically dependent on the West. Since there are difficulties with Russian investments, the chances of forcing Egypt’s leadership to slow its development of relations with Moscow are increasing. The only thing that can support Russian-Egyptian cooperation is an increase in Russian investment in the Egyptian economy. Thus, the El-Dabaa nuclear project is in danger of being halted at the drop of a hat.
“Strategic relations between Cairo and Moscow will not be permitted to develop, especially given the economic and social situation in Egypt at this stage. Therefore, it’s necessary to act more decisively,” Eldiib said.
-Abbas Juma, RT News
Hundreds of apparent illegal immigrants were seen loudly celebrating as they rode on top of a cargo train headed into the United States amid record-high numbers of illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border.
Cheers and yells could be heard from many of the people who had boarded the train in footage of the occurrence that went viral.
A FerroMex train was seen traversing through the central Mexican city of Zacatecas, going northbound on its 750-mile journey to the US.
The footage reportedly went viral after it was posted on X by Fox News' Griff Jenkins, who said that the migrants are “clearly not heeding the message: ‘do not come.'”
Jenkins was referencing previous remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris, who in June instructed migrants from Guatemala: “Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders.”
This brigade of journeying illegal immigrants comes as the US is facing an unprecedented crisis of illegal immigration. In August alone, officials from US Border Patrol apprehended around 91,000 illegal immigrants who passed through the border as part of family groups, per data gathered by the Washington Post. This topped the prior one-month record, which totaled 84,486 families arrested in May 2019, under the Trump administration.
The crisis of illegal immigration has gotten so bad in some parts of the country that leaders in El Paso, Texas have now warned that mass groups of migrants will soon be sleeping on the streets due to housing capacity being maxed out. A reported 1,700 migrants crossed into the US via El Paso on just Thursday alone.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our community and the safety of our asylum seekers,” Mayor Oscar Leeser announced at a Friday morning news conference.
“We don’t want them sleeping on the streets, but at some point, we will run out of capacity.”
Another hard-hit part of the US is the state of Arizona, where the city of Tuscon's Border Patrol is reporting the highest number of illegal crossings in the country.
-Darian Douraghy, The Post Millennial
Los Angeles is reportedly spending $44,000 for each individual tent in a temporary tent village for homeless people in East Hollywood, The Messenger reports.
Image Credit: Jerry Washington exits his tent at an Urban Alchemy Safe Sleep Village. (Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times)
All told, it cost about $4 million to put up fencing, bathrooms, and staffing facilities for the village. Catering services and 24-7 staffing cost an additional $3 million per year, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Despite the high costs, the site is only temporary. It's located on a parking lot that will eventually be turned into public housing. But because it will take years for construction to commence on that project, the city decided to fill the space with tents in the meantime.
San Francisco-based nonprofit Urban Alchemy maintains the encampment. Launched in 2018 with a small grant, the group hires mostly former prisoners because they have the "ability to read people in unpredictable situations."
According to several lawsuits, however, some of those employees have engaged in abusive behavior.
After expanding to Portland and Austin, the group brought in $51 million in 2021.
Image Credit: Along with housing services Urban Alchemy staffers also reach out to homeless people in need of assistance on the street. Urban Alchemy/ Facebook
The nonprofit says it's offering a practical solution to provide affordable housing for the state's 172,000 homeless people, while also claiming to offer safety and autonomy.
The East Hollywood tent city contains higher quality tents 'than anything someone could buy from a typical camping store,' and include wooden platforms, full beds and storage lockers.
Image Credit: Armando Darnas inside a tent he sleeps in at an Urban Alchemy Sleep Safe Village. (Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times)
The nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Community Development, meanwhile, set up an office across the street to attract people who might be interested in reentering the workforce.
The nonprofit already oversees several camp villages across the state with varying styles. The residences at a tent city in Culver City are made from sturdy white canvas, while those in South Los Angeles are more humble, resembling store-bought camping gear. -The Messenger
According to the report, just 2% of the homeless in the East Hollywood encampment have transitioned to permanent housing, which Urban Alchemy blames on a lack of affordable housing in the city.
-Tyler Durden, Zerohedge
THE CLINTONS Clinton Global Initiative announces new proposal to help rebuild Ukraine, provide humanitarian support
The Clinton Global Initiative has announced a new organization to help rebuild Ukraine and provide humanitarian aid to those impacted by Russia’s 18-month invasion.
In New York, officials at the Clinton Global Initiative 2023 announced the CGI Ukraine Action Network, as well as numerous financial pledges, to support nonprofits working in Ukraine, as the two-day annual conference opens on Monday.
The new organization, which will be formally announced Tuesday, is designed to mobilize existing CGI partners and other leaders from around the world, to create and finance new commitments for Ukrainians.
It is the result of a collaborative effort between Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate, and Olena Zelenska, first lady of Ukraine.
Image Credit: The Clinton Global Initiative will announce the launch of the CGI Ukraine Action Network, as well as numerous financial pledges, to support nonprofits working in the country, as the annual conference opens in New York, early Monday, Sept. 18. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Russia first invaded the eastern border of Ukraine in February 2022. Moscow’s military has remained in the country, decimating its infrastructure, compromising its energy grid and shelling schools and civilian locations.
Political, business and philanthropic leaders who attended CGI hope the new organization will provide the nonprofits working in Ukraine a spotlight to magnify their impact and subsequently increase monetary commitments to their efforts.
The nonprofit Save Ukraine, which has opened community centers across the country to help families – and especially children – traumatized by the war, and rescue Ukrainian children who have been detained in Russia, is set to receive commitments of support during the conference.
The nonprofit said it intends to use the money to open more centers, said Olga Yerokhina, spokeswoman for the charity.
"We know that we have no choice – we must work hard and we are ready for that," said Yerokhina, who is based in Kyiv. "But we also have this feeling of, ‘Guys, please don’t leave us because we want to be with you.' If we are not with you, Russia is going to just erase us from the map of the world."
Image Credit: A woman looks at a destroyed building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sept. 17, 2023. (Ozge Elif Kizil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Actor Liev Schreiber, co-founder of BlueCheck Ukraine, which vets small Ukrainian nonprofits doing humanitarian work in their communities so that donors can learn about these smaller organizations and feel comfortable funding them, said a major goal of any nonprofit aimed at helping Ukraine is to remind people that Ukrianians are still suffering and struggling.
"The best possible outcome is keeping people aware that they are still [in] an existential situation," Schreiber said. "Democracies are designed to push back against impossible odds. And it's worked. It’s been a miracle in many respects.... It really is a David and Goliath story. It's extraordinary. And it’s not just them. It’s us supporting them. How can we give that up now?"
Schreiber spoke during a panel Monday morning about Ukraine's short- and long-term needs, along with Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Fran Katsoudas, Cisco's chief people, policy and purpose officer, and actor Orlando Bloom, who serves as UNICEF's goodwill ambassador.
"I’m super proud of the global community," Schreiber said. "This is a test for us. Do we really care? I think so far we've had remarkable success so far in supporting them. So many countries did something extraordinary to help. That's significant. We can't forget that."
Image Credit: Chelsea Clinton is joined by her parents Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton on stage during the Clinton Global Initiative, on Sept. 19, 2022, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton announced last month that the conference would seek more commitments to address the war in Ukraine, climate change, health care issues, gender-based violence, and other issues.
"Every day, billions of people around the world, even in the face of the most dire circumstances, make a profound decision to choose hope and keep going," the former president told The Associated Press in an emailed statement. "At CGI, we’re focusing on how to move forward in the face of daunting challenges – to act now, find new partners, and stick with it to make a positive difference in people’s lives."
The commitments are part of CGI’s theme of "Keep Going" this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
-Lawrence Richard, Fox News
Image Credit: Pixabay
US surgeons who transplanted a genetically modified pig kidney into a brain-dead patient announced Thursday they had ended their experiment after a record-breaking 61 days.
The latest experimental procedure is part of a growing field of research aimed at advancing cross-species transplants, mainly testing the technique on bodies that have been donated for science.
There are more than 103,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the United States, 88,000 of whom need kidneys.
“We have learned a great deal throughout these past two months of close observation and analysis, and there is great reason to be hopeful for the future,” said Robert Montgomery, director of the New York University Langone Transplant Institute, who led the surgery in July.
It was the the fifth so-called xenotransplant performed by Montgomery, who also carried out the world’s first genetically modified pig kidney transplant in September 2021.
Tissue collected during the study indicated a mild rejection process had begun, requiring intensification of immunosuppression medication.
By “knocking out” the gene responsible for a biomolecule called alpha-gal — a prime target for roving human antibodies — the NYU Langone team were able to stop immediate rejection.
The donor pig in this experiment came from a herd cultivated by Virginia-based biotech company Revivicor.
The herd has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a source of meat for people with hypersensitivity to the alpha-gal molecule, an allergy caused by some tick bites.
These pigs are bred, not cloned, meaning the process can be more easily scaled.
Early xenotransplantation research focused on harvesting organs from primates — for example, a baboon heart was transplanted into a newborn known as “Baby Fae” in 1984, but she survived only 20 days.
Current efforts focus on pigs, which are thought to be ideal donors for humans because of their organ size, their rapid growth and large litters, and the fact they are already raised as a food source.
In January 2022, surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical School carried out the world’s first pig-to-human transplant on a living patient — this time involving a heart.
He died two months after the milestone, with the presence of porcine cytomegalovirus in the organ later blamed.
Last week, Chinese scientists published a paper showing they had succeeded in hybrid pig-human kidneys in pig embryos, an alternative approach that also has the potential to one day help address organ donation shortages.
But the development raised ethical issues — especially since some human cells were also found in the pigs’ brains, experts said.
A San Jose, California, mother has had all four of her limbs amputated after contracting a bacterial infection from tilapia she bought at a local market, according to a friend.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about the bacteria in question — Vibrio vulnificus — earlier this month.
Laura Barajas, 40, bought the fish in late July, cooked it the following day and quickly became ill, friend Anna Messina said in a GoFundMe campaign for the family.
“It’s just been really heavy on all of us. It’s terrible,” Messina told the outlet. “This could’ve happened to any of us.”
After eating the fish, Barajas, who has a 6-year-old son, fell ill and went into sepsis, which was followed by kidney failure, her friend said.
She was put on a respirator and then into a medically induced coma.
“She almost lost her life,” Messina said. “Her fingers were black, her feet were black her bottom lip was black.”
Barajas’ health took a turn for the worse as she continued to fight the infection — resulting in a devastating medical decision last week.
“On September 13, 2023 all four of Laura’s limbs had to be removed in order to save her life,” Messina wrote in a GoFundMe update.
The CDC issued a warning about Vibrio vulnificus on Sept. 1 after the agency said an uptick in cases had been reported.
The agency said between 150 and 200 people contract the infection annually, and “about one in five people with this infection die — sometimes within 1–2 days of becoming ill.”
“Most people get infected with Vibrio by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters,” the CDC said.
“Some people get infected when an open wound is exposed to salt water or brackish water containing Vibrio,” it said.
“People can also get infected if an open wound comes in contact with raw or undercooked seafood. Open wounds include those from a recent surgery, piercing, tattoo, and other cuts or scrapes –including those acquired during aquatic activity.”
The CDC said simple measures to avoid contracting an infection include cooking oysters and other shellfish before eating them as well as hand-washing after handling raw shellfish.
The GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $60,000 toward its goal of $150,000 for Barajas’ medical expenses Monday afternoon.
“This family is in desperate need of our help,” Messina said of her friend’s financial situation.
“The mounting hospital bills are overwhelming, and Laura’s physical condition will necessitate significant changes to their lives as they adapt to her new circumstances,” she said.
In a GoFundMe update Monday, Messina said Barajas “is healing well and looking forward to moving out of the ICU into another room at the hospital.”
-Johnathan Jones, The Western Journal