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Countdown To Chaos
Substack Daily Dose 9/13/2023
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Consumer prices edged higher in August as a surge in oil prices contributed to an uptick in headline inflation, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday morning.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.6% over last month and 3.7% over the prior year in August, an acceleration from July's 0.2% monthly increase and 3.2% annual gain in prices.
The year-over-year increase was slightly higher than economist forecasts of a 3.6% annual jump, according to data from Bloomberg.
A significant rise in energy prices drove the bulk of those increases. Oil prices hit new year-to-date highs on Tuesday with West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) closing just below $89 per barrel. Brent crude futures (BZ=F) sat above $92 per barrel — the highest levels in oil prices since November 2022.
On a "core" basis, which strips out the more volatile costs of food and gas, prices in August climbed 4.3% over last year — a slowdown from the 4.7% annual increase seen in July, according to Bloomberg data. Monthly core prices rose 0.3%, slightly higher than economist expectations of a 0.2% month-over-month gain and also higher than July's 0.2% monthly rise.
The energy index decreased 3.6% for the 12 months ending in August on an unadjusted basis, although prices increased 5.6% on a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis after rising just 0.1% in July.
Gas prices rose 10.6% in August following a 0.2% increase in the previous month.
Within core inflation, rent prices continued to surge. The index for rent and owners' equivalent rose 0.5% and 0.4% on a monthly basis, respectively. Owners' equivalent rent is the hypothetical rent a homeowner would pay.
The shelter index was the largest factor in the monthly increase of core inflation, increasing 0.3% month-over-month and 7.3% over the last year. Still, both of those measures were down compared to July's 7.7% annual gain and 0.4% monthly jump.
Other indexes that rose in August included motor vehicle insurance, medical care, and personal care, BLS noted.
The indexes for lodging away from home, recreation, and used cars and trucks were among those that decreased over the month. The monthly prices for used cars and trucks dropped another 1.2% in August after seeing prices fall 1.3% in July.
The food index increased 4.3% in August over the last year, with food prices rising 0.2% from July to August. The index for food at home increased 0.2% over the month, after rising 0.3% in July.
The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.8% in August as the index for pork increased 2.2%. The index for other food at home increased 0.2% over the month and the index for cereals and bakery products rose 0.5%, according to the BLS.
Egg prices, however, fell another 2.5% month-over-month after dropping 2.2% in July and 7.3% in June.
US stocks edged lower in early trading following the release of the data. Treasury yields jumped about 9 basis points to trade around 4.3%.
To hike or not to hike?
Image Credit: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell (Photo by Aaron Schwartz/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Inflation has remained significantly above the Federal Reserve's 2% target. That, along with the upward pressure in oil and a labor market that, while softening, is still tight, adds to concerns that the Federal Reserve could continue to raise interest rates later this year.
But markets still expect the central bank to pause its hikes at its meeting later this month. Following the release of the data, markets were pricing in a roughly 95% chance the Federal Reserve keeps rates unchanged at its Sept. 20 policy meeting, according to data from the CME Group.
"In our view, the economy maintains decent momentum but is showing signs of slowing, and thus the Federal Reserve is likely to pause next week and wait for additional data to unfold for the November meeting," Brian Pietrangelo, senior vice president and managing director of investment strategy at Key Private Bank, wrote in a reaction to the report.
Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, agreed but warned one more rate hike is still possible before the end of the year: "The inflation print likely is not enough to tilt next week’s Fed call towards a hike, yet it also hasn’t entirely cleared up the question of a November pause vs. hike."
"The rise in headline should come as no surprise given the recent run-up in energy prices and the Fed will likely look through the number… for now," the economist continued. "But the general expectation was that core inflation would remain stable, if not decelerate this month, so the upside surprise probably leaves the Fed with a bad taste in its mouth and keeps it wondering if it still has more work to do."
Multiple economists said the slowdown in shelter prices is a good sign for the central bank, but that the higher increases seen in the prices of services and core inflation will likely "keep the Fed in a defensive stance," noted Eugenio Aleman, senior economist at Raymond James.
"The decline in core CPI (excluding food and energy prices) on a year-over-year basis is also a good omen for the Fed," Aleman said. "However, the decision for next week’s FOMC meeting will not be one to take lightly, especially because core CPI was higher than expected and because oil prices have continued to increase in September."
-Alexandra Canal, Yahoo News
Is the end of Google near? The Department of Justice filed its lawsuit against Google, and by extension Alphabet, in late 2020. While the particulars have been allowed to simmer in the background, the trial has moved forward. The lawsuit heralds a change in the landscape of the internet itself.
The DOJ hasn’t set its sights on a tech magnate since the anti-trust lawsuit presented to Microsoft over 20 years ago. Google’s case is a far different beast, with far larger ramifications for the tech giant. Instead of spending your day disseminating live tweets and articles, let’s take a closer look at what this means.
How Is Google Violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?
Before discussing why Google is being sued by the DOJ, it is important to shed a little more light on anti-trust laws. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is one of the older laws on the books, dating back to 1890. It is the first piece of American legislation aimed at monopolistic practices.
The DOJ alleges that Google is in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Google is alleged to hold exclusionary agreements with a variety of companies to maintain its default status as the search engine of choice. The tech giant itself pays around $10 billion annually in deals with Apple and other companies.
Google also has deals with various Android device manufacturers, which also opt for the service as its default search engine. Google has gone so far as to actually make it part of the agreement to use Android as an operating system. This also comes with a full suite of Google Apps as a requisite. This is directly linked to Section 2, which is also the main section of the law cited against previous lawsuits with AT&T and Microsoft.
What Are the Aims of the Department of Justice’s Lawsuit?
The Department of Justice is seeking to break the stranglehold Google has on the search engine market. By presenting the lawsuit, the overall aim of the Justice Department is to allow better competition. Companies like Microsoft have claimed they aren’t allowed to refine and develop Bing.
A statement given by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in 2020 stated, “As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the Department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door for the next wave of innovation.”
Other particulars from the complaint center around Google’s use of exclusivity agreements, forcing the installation of apps on devices against customer wishes, and offering subpar products due to its market dominance. A trial won by the DOJ could be the end of Google as the main driving force of internet searches.
Google’s response to the DOJ’s initial statement was quick. In a blog post from 2020 titled, “A deeply flawed lawsuit that would do nothing to help consumers”, Kent Walker attempted to directly address the complaint.
Google’s President of Global Affairs claims the lawsuit itself is flawed and dubious at best. Companies enter into exclusive search engine agreements because it is the best option, at least according to Google. Therefore, the company itself hasn’t really done anything wrong.
However, the rebuttal itself doesn’t really address the 90% market share it enjoys for search queries. Google has been the preferred search engine for decades and drives content practices for written, video, and other advertising practices.
The simple fact is that if you’re working on the web, you’re working around the rules Google sets. This isn’t a matter of adjusting to Bing and other services. Google rules the roost, and the company is rather swift to point out that alternatives are only a few steps away.
How Does Google’s Suit Differ From Microsoft’s?
Google’s lawsuit does share some similarities with the 1998 Microsoft trial. However, barring surface details, the particulars are far different. The 1998 Microsoft trial centered around the dominance of Internet Explorer, and, by proxy, Windows operating systems on PCs.
Smaller browsers, like Netscape, suffered greatly due to the anti-competitive practices enabled by Microsoft. Manufacturers using Windows as the main operating system of their machines would have to allow Internet Explorer to be installed, with no option of removal.
Now, it is important to note the DOJ did win its case against Microsoft. While the company itself wasn’t broken up due to a 2003 appeal, it has had a lasting impact on the company and computing as a whole.
In the 25 years since, Google has entered into new territory. While the tech giant does have a massive install base for its internet browser, its search engine is the main point of contention. Google Search isn’t just a requirement on PCs — it is seen in all mobile devices, Apple computers, and much more.
The company itself pays for this exclusivity but reaps the benefits of advertisers and other services relying on the search service. This is the crux of the DOJ’s argument, which is far different in scope than the 1998 trial against Microsoft.
The Long-Term Consequences of a Verdict Against Google
So, does the trial signal the end of Google? It very well could signal a change in the status quo. 2023 has been a year of massive changes, and the DOJ’s lawsuit against the tech giant is a landmark case. The longer-lasting impacts of the trial, if the DOJ wins, would effectively end Google’s dominance.
The company would no longer be allowed to pay for general exclusivity agreements with manufacturers like Apple. Instead, Google would become another simple option for search, like Bing and other search engines.
Now, this seems simple in scope, but you need to understand how vast Google’s reach actually is. Google accounts for over 90% of all search engine queries. It is the default search engine of the internet and a service that has become a common parlance for seeking information online.
By removing its ability to purchase exclusivity, Google loses its hold on the market. Competitors like Bing and Meta could very easily grow their advertising structuring to fill the void. Search engines would be more varied, given that they have enough users to actually drive traffic.
could very easily change the landscape of the internet, since queries are no longer tied to a central service.
The Opening Day of the Trial
September 12th marked the opening day of the trial. This is a slower process, mostly establishing opening statements. The actual process of anti-trust lawsuits is quite a complex beast, with this initial stage taking up to ten weeks. The DOJ’s opening statement had an ominous ring to it, with Kenneth Dintzner stating, “The case is about the future of the internet. If Google sets the rules, it will always be to their advantage.”
The statement of the lead attorney for Google, John Schmidtlein, was almost dismissive, “Users today have more search options and more ways to access information than ever before.” Calling back to the initial blog rebuttal, Schmidtlein reiterated that replacing your search engine is a matter of a few clicks.
This lawsuit is the end of Google in a sense. It will no doubt continue to be a major player in the online landscape. However, things are going to drastically change given the strength of the arguments and information gathered by the Justice Department.
It is too early to say what will become of Google, and whether it will continue to exist as the same entity. Microsoft was threatened with breaking up of its various departments decades ago, and a similar fate could be awaiting Google. The coming weeks are fraught with tension, as though the very fate of the internet itself hangs in the balance.
-Liam Frady, History-Computer
DEBANKED: THREE separate coin shop owners see bank accounts SHUT DOWN for no reason, all at the same time
An Ohio-based coin shop owner took to social media this week to inform the world that his regional bank, where he has been a customer in good standing for many years, shut down all six of his business and personal bank accounts suddenly without notice and for no stated reason. And it turns out the same thing happened to at least two other coin shop owners as well.
The coin shop owner, who deals in silver and gold, says he received certified letters from his bank stating that:
"After a recent review, we have decided to end our relationship with you and close your accounts ... As stated in your account agreement, we can close your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice. We will begin our closing process on September 6, 2023."
The coin shop owner received these letters out of the blue, and the bank in question refuses to explain why it made this sudden and unexpected decision. The man, his wife, and even his children are all no longer able to use the bank in question, and must now find an alternative.
"They're just closing all my accounts," the man explained. "They don't want to do business with me. They won't tell me why."
"I went to my local branch, who I have a good relationship with. Talked to the manager. She tried to find out. They wouldn't tell her. So here I was left thinking, wow, what is going on? What do they think I could have done?"
Banks don't like coin shops because they deal in sound money rather than fake fiat funny money
The man confirmed that he is in full compliance with all necessary regulations, including maintaining an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program. And yet, he and his family are still being punished for some unknown reason.
"I've been in business a long time," he said. "I know what to watch out for and avoid certain things or whatever. So I adhere to the law, and I've never had a problem, never. And it's very stressful when this happens."
"It's never happened to me in my life. I've never had my banks closed, and I had multiple accounts. Even my kids account with them was closed and my wife's account closed. And to me, this is just more confirmation to what's going on."
The man speculates that the banks do not like coin shops and other related businesses because of what they represent. Since coin shops deal in sound money, and banks deal in fake fiat funny money, there is a conflict of interest that, in cases like this, results in tyranny.
"I don't know what they think we're doing here," the man explained about his former bank. "Because everything's 100 percent legitimate, but for some reason they don't like it. And we all probably know why. And it's just a shame that they have that much power and that much ability and they could just close your stuff down just like that. Very unnerving. It's very unnerving."
In one of the other cases, a coin shop owner in Chicago dealt with a similar situation while banking at Old National Bank. According to her, the bank not only closed her accounts without warning, but also closed several accounts held by her family members – and none of those accounts even had her name on them.
When attempts to outright silence their opposition fail, the left resorts to de-banking its enemies instead. Learn more at Fascism.news.
-Ethan Huff, Natural News
Corporate bigwigs in the hunt for high ESG — Environment, Social and Governance — investment scores are casting nature in their own image. They have either forgotten or are choosing to ignore that men and women are created in the image of God. In other words, they’ve got it all backward.
In yet another example, Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a new video production on Tuesday, just in time for a new iPhone launch.
Don’t be fooled by what could be taken as a harmless comedy skit. Cook and company are deadly serious. They have personified nature into a goddess which — in the end — they can control in a perverse twist on paganism.
That’s not harmless. It’s audacious and mocks all beliefs in the transcendent nature of Creation.
If you can stomach the entire video, pay special attention to the end, where Cook appears to stare down “Mother Nature.” It’s not just bad acting on Cook’s part. The actress playing Mother Nature — Oscar-winning Hollywood liberal Octavia Spencer — looks away from the stare-down with Cook first and then walks away.
Watch the video below:
The video was quick to draw criticism on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter.
For many users, it was a blatant example of paganism — worshiping “nature” as a God. On many levels, they were correct. The video does portray nature as a divine personage to be treated fearfully — a throwback to the worship of pre-Christian societies.
But in one crucial aspect, the criticisms didn’t go nearly far enough. The truth is actually much worse.
One user wrote: “Make no mistake: people who called themselves atheists usually believe in something. For example, they worship nature. That’s their god.”
But Cook and the Apple crew aren’t worshiping nature so much as accommodating what they consider to be what’s in nature’s best interest (which the arrogantly believe they can determine).
What they actually worship is themselves. For his part, Cook, who is openly gay, has said being gay is one of God’s “greatest gifts.” Progressive Commandment Number One, “If there is a God, that God must do as I say or feel.”
Others were closer to the mark, but still not at the true conclusion.
One wrote: “When I saw this was one of Apple’s big highlights from their announcements today, and the amount of time/$$$ put into it… I was like… yeah… they’re completely pagan in their worship of the planet… Romans 1 baby… It’s not so much back as it never really left…”
However, the Apple video is different from any kind of pagan worship that I’ve read about or seen on TV. Though it seems to bow down to the idea of Mother Nature, in the end, it dominates her.
Another user made a strong point, but didn’t go all the way to the logical end, writing: “Worship Gaia all you want, but in the end, the Lord has endowed this earth with everything we need & to spare.”
As true as that is, there was more to this.
As the staredown at the end shows, what the ad actually demonstrates is that progressive elites don’t worship anything but themselves. They don’t want you to know this because any God-fearing person would immediately reject them and stop buying their products. So they play believe and act like they do, but they’re not very good at hiding their true intentions once you know what to look for.
Conservative author and commentator Jordan Peterson — a clinical psychologist — pointed out the naivete of worshiping nature — which can be both generously accommodating or savagely red in tooth and claw.
But the progressive elites can’t have that. They need to be the ones who give and take away, so they invent clever little videos in the hopes you will see them as they wish to be seen — worthy of your obedience.
A user with the handle “Doubting Thomas” might have come closest, posting: “We all cringed together, but we also know that Apple is most likely really doing this because they are making sure they have an exceptional ESG score. The climate cult is just Greek Mythology deity worship with a secular twist.”
Apple’s climate compliance video is clearly aimed at likely about a high ESG score, but the climate cult has nothing to do with mythology. It is purely secular and attempting to deify itself.
Romans 1: 21-25 reads:
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Romans 1 has harsher things to say about those who would worship the creature — themselves — rather than God. I doubt Tim Cook has read it. If he has. he pays it no heed.
That’s why you should read it — often.
Jack Gist, The Western Journal
On Monday, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley provided congressional oversight committees nine new documents related to the botched Hunter Biden investigation, according to a letter sent Wednesday morning to the House Judiciary Committee. The letter also contained a redacted 10th new document: the handwritten notes Shapley took during the Oct. 7, 2022, meeting in which Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss allegedly announced to his team that he was “not the deciding official on whether charges are filed” against Hunter Biden.
Those handwritten notes further bolster Shapley’s earlier testimony about the meeting and debunk counterclaims by the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office that Weiss had not said he lacked authority to charge Hunter Biden. What the other nine documents reveal, however, remains to be seen.
“Yesterday the Washington Post published a story reportedly based on a transcript it obtained of the Committee’s interview of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski,” the letter from Shapley’s Empower Oversight attorneys to the House Judiciary Committee opened. Sobocinski was one of seven attendees at the Oct. 7, 2022, meeting, in which — according to Shapley’s previous testimony, corroborated by an email he sent following the meeting — Weiss said he was “not the deciding official” on whether to charge Hunter Biden and that he had been denied special counsel authority to charge the president’s son in D.C. or California.
As The Federalist reported earlier Wednesday based on its review of the transcript of Sobocinski’s interview, “Sobocinski claimed he did not remember Weiss saying he had sought (and been denied) special counsel status or that Weiss had represented that he was ‘not the deciding official.’” Further, “according to Sobocinski, had Weiss said either of those things, he would have remembered it,” with the FBI agent implying Shapley’s claims were false.
According to the transcript, Sobocinski tried to discredit Shapley’s testimony and the email he had sent following the October meeting by stressing that Shapley had not drafted the email during the meeting and thus the notes were not really “contemporaneous” with Weiss’s supposed statements.
In its Wednesday letter to the Judiciary Committee, Shapley’s legal team responded to Sobocinski’s objections by providing the committee a redacted copy of Shapley’s “contemporaneous handwritten notes,” in order to let the committee “access the truthfulness and reliability of Mr. Sobocinski’s testimony.” Empower Oversight, which represents Shapley, further stressed in its letter that, unlike Shapley, Sobocinski took no notes during the meeting on Oct. 7, 2022.
Shapley’s handwritten notes taken during the meeting do indeed track the email summary he sent later that evening. In his notes, he wrote: “Weiss stated— He is not the deciding person.” This provides strong corroboration for Shapley’s email and his testimony.
Conversely, Sobocinski has nothing to corroborate his (lack of) recollection of the meeting. Sobocinski has also proven himself not credible by testifying that Weiss had ultimate authority to charge Hunter Biden anywhere, anytime — well, kinda, sort of, not really.
While Shapley’s credibility remains bars above Sobocinski’s, the bottom line is it doesn’t really matter what Weiss said during the October meeting. What matters is what happened and whether Biden’s Department of Justice refused to pursue tax felony charges in other venues and kept Weiss from doing so himself. What matters is whether the DOJ and FBI interfered in the Hunter Biden investigation.
On the first question, Americans may never get a clear answer, as Weiss continues to obfuscate and cover for Attorney General Merrick Garland. But on the DOJ and FBI’s interference in the Hunter Biden investigation, there is already overwhelming evidence establishing this scandal — and it isn’t merely coming from Shapley or his fellow IRS whistleblower. Rather, another whistleblower exposed the burying of the FD-1023 form, which implicated both Hunter and Joe Biden in a Burisma bribery scandal. That whistleblower also revealed to Sen. Chuck Grassley that FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten opened an “assessment” in August 2020 to improperly discredit “verified and verifiable” derogatory intel about Hunter Biden.
The nine new documents Shapley provided to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee may add even more evidence of the DOJ and FBI’s interference in the investigation of the president’s son. But unless and until the committees vote to release that information publicly, they will remain secreted from the American public. Likewise, the redacted portions of Shapley’s handwritten notes will remain confidential as potentially protected taxpayer information until the relevant congressional committees authorize their release.
That may happen sooner than originally planned, however, now that the White House is attempting to spin the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden as misinformation, with an assist from the DOJ and FBI lawyers representing Sobocinski.
-Margot Cleveland, The Federalist
In a recent campaign speech, former President Donald Trump declared his intention to ban child mutilation in the name of transgenderism and defund “transgender insanity.”
Speaking at a rally in South Dakota, he vowed: “On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content on our children.”
He added: “I will sign a law prohibiting child sexual mutilation in all 50 states.”
In addition, he promised to ensure men cannot participate in women's sports.
South Dakota already has a bill on the books that bans surgeries for transgender minors. Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed a bill into law last year that prevents patients under 18 from receiving puberty-blocking medications, sex hormones and gender transition surgeries; healthcare providers who violate the law could lose their licenses and face civil lawsuits.
At the sold-out rally in Rapid City, Trump picked up an endorsement from Noem, who said: “I will do everything I can to help him win and save this country.” There has been some speculation that Trump may be considering her as a potential running mate, although she denied that the matter had been discussed during a recent appearance on Fox & Friends.
Trump vows to punish doctors who carry out dangerous transgender operations
Trump has repeatedly expressed his opposition to mutilating gender-confused children. He released a video on his social media platform earlier this year in which he promised to punish doctors who provide such care to minors if he wins his reelection bid.
In the speech, he vowed to “protect children from left-wing gender insanity,” citing plans for a federal law recognizing just two genders and keeping men who claim they are women from joining women’s sports teams.
He said: “No serious country should be telling its children that they were born with the wrong gender,” adding, “Under my leadership, this madness will end.”
He also outlined plans to launch an investigation by the Justice Department into individual hospitals as well as the pharmaceutical industry to find out if they intentionally covered up the “horrific long-term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich.”
In addition, he said he intends to establish a private right of action for patients who are given “gender-affirming healthcare” as minors who later regret it.
During his previous term as president, Trump signed an executive order banning federal agencies from forcing their employees and the contractors they work with to embrace critical race theory. However, he did not do anything to prevent young people experiencing gender confusion from being chemically and physically mutilated via transgender treatments and surgeries.
Although he signed a bipartisan bill banning the practice of female genital mutilation, it was subsequently struck down. These practices have been rising in the U.S. as a result of immigration from parts of the world where they are performed routinely, such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Some of Trump's opponents in the race are taking a different view on the matter, with Governor Chris Christie coming out against any limits on transgender procedures despite their dangers. Christie believes that parents should be allowed to make these decisions for their children, seemingly ignoring the fact that it often leaves them infertile and involves removing healthy organs from their bodies.
However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also running, signed a law in 2021 that bans transgender athletes from women's sports. He has also approved a state rule banning transgender individuals from using Medicaid to fund their gender-affirming healthcare and laws prohibiting discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in the classrooms of public schools.
-Cassie B., Natural News
In the overnight and morning hours of Wednesday (local time) a major attack has ensued on Russia's key Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol. Multiple social media videos emerged showing massive blazes at the Sevastopol shipyard, with possible deaths, and at least 24 people being reported injured.
Initial reporting in Reuters and CNN strongly points to a missile attack, based on statements by Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhaev, who said "Our enemies attacked Sevastopol" and that "The air defense was at work."
The precise location of the large fire is the Kilen-Balka area of Sevastopol. Reuters reports that "A Ukrainian air attack early on Wednesday sparked a fire at the Sevastopol Shipyard in Crimea, injuring at least 24 people, the Russia-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said on the Telegram messaging app."
At least four of the injured have been reported as being in "serious condition".
Initial and unconfirmed social media photographs show what appears to be a direct hit on one or more military vessels docked at the naval port.
The aftermath of the attack was captured from multiple angles, appearing to confirm significant damage to ships and port infrastructure...
— Aurora Borealis 🤫 (@aborealis940) September 13, 2023
Open source analysts are already suggesting that at least one docked Russian submarine may have been taken out in the attack.
An assault of this size is indeed likely more than just the work of drones; instead Ukraine probably utilized long-range missiles supplied from Western NATO partners.
Currently, the Biden administration is moving toward supplying Kiev with either ATACMS or GMLRS missiles. These are long-range systems and the administration was previously reluctant to supply them on fear of direct escalation with Russia.
Huge initial fireball captured by local residents...
But this massive attack on Sevastopol seems another act of desperation. Given the failing counteroffensive, it looks like Kiev is "going big" on attacks against Russian territory, in hopes of sparking a broader conflict that draws NATO in, which Ukraine likely sees as its only hope.
One more item of note, presented with no commentary. A major attack takes place on Crimea by Ukraine takes place on the day Elon Musk's biography drops, amid mainstream media's desperate spin of the SpaceX founder's interference with Starlink in Ukraine, and at the same time there was a major, global, outage of the satellite internet service...
Image Credit: DownDetector.com
SpaceX acknowledged the Starlink outage on X at 2033ET, and then wrote at 2139ET on X that "The network issue has been fully resolved."
-Tyler Durden, Zerohedge
The United States Air Force is claiming that China is building up its military to prepare for a potential war with the U.S., and he said America must optimize its forces to counter the rising threat. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall on Monday warned that the U.S. must be ready for a “kind of war we have no modern experience with,” though he stressed, “war is not inevitable.”
“Our job is to deter that war and to be ready to win if it occurs,” Kendall said according to the Air Force’s military website. “We’re all talking about the fact that the Air and Space Forces must change, or we could fail to prevent and might even lose a war.”
Kendall said it was vital for the U.S. to prepare for war because China is developing its forces at a rapid pace. China has also created two new military branches: a force designed to counter aircraft carriers, airfields, and other critical assets, and a strategic support service that works to achieve information dominance in the space and cyber domains. The Air Force secretary said, “China has been reoptimizing its forces for great power competition and to prevail against the U.S. in the Western Pacific for over 20 years.”
“China has been building a military capability specifically designed to achieve their national goals and to do so if opposed by the United States,” he added.
U.S. ruling class members are attempting to get the public ready for a major war with China. “The Air Force and Space Force are incredibly capable, but we need to reoptimize the department for greater power projection and for great power competition,” Kendall said in his remarks. “The war we need to be most ready for, if we want to optimize our readiness to deter or respond to the pacing challenge, is not the type of conflict we have been focused on for many years,” he added. “If our power projection capability and capacity are not adequate to deter Chinese aggression against Taiwan or elsewhere, war could occur. If it does, and we cannot prevail, the results could cast a long shadow.”
-Mac Slavo, SHTFplan
Image Credit: Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shaking hands during their meeting at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur region on Sept. 13, 2023. (Vladimir Smirnov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that his country would “fully and unconditionally support” Russia’s “sacred fight” against the “hegemonic forces.”
Mr. Kim met with Mr. Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space launch facility in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East. The meeting took place a day after Mr. Kim’s arrival in Russia aboard his armored train.
The two leaders exchanged handshakes and Mr. Kim expressed his gratitude for the invitation. He signed the visitor book in Korean: “The glory to Russia, which gave birth to the first space conquerors, will be immortal.”
Mr. Putin gave his North Korean counterpart a tour around the building where Russia’s new space booster, the Angara, is assembled. During the tour, he was asked by a reporter whether Russia would help North Korea build its own satellites, and he replied, “That’s why we came here.”
“The leader of the DPRK shows great interest in rocket engineering; they are also trying to develop space,” he added, using North Korea’s official name the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Mr. Kim also expressed his “full and unconditional support” for Russia’s “sacred fight” to defend its security interests and said that North Korea will support Russia’s decisions “in the fight against imperialism.”
When asked if they would discuss military cooperation, Mr. Putin said that their talks will touch on “all issues.” These include economic cooperation, humanitarian issues, and the “situation in the region.”
After the tour, the two leaders headed a meeting of their delegations and then spoke one-on-one, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Neither nation has disclosed information about the purpose of their meeting. U.S. officials believe discussions about a potential arms deal between the two nations will likely occur during Mr. Kim’s visit.
North Korea Launches Missiles Ahead of Talks
Just hours before their meeting, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported. Japan also detected the launches, saying that the missiles flew on an irregular trajectory.
The missiles traveled about 650 kilometers (404 miles), according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). They were launched from the Sunan area between 11:43 a.m. and 11:53 a.m. local time.
“While preparing for additional provocations from North Korea, our military is closely monitoring activities and signs from the country in close coordination with the United States,” the JCS told reporters.
Image Credit: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) gestures as he speaks to Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Alexander Kozlov (R) in Khasan, Russia, in a still from video released on Sept. 12, 2023. (Governor of the Russian far eastern region of Primorsky Krai Oleg Kozhemyako telegram channel via AP)
The summit between the leaders of Russia and North Korea, both of which have become increasingly isolated internationally, is being watched closely by Washington and allies, who suspect they could agree to trade arms and defense technology.
U.S. and South Korean officials have expressed concern that North Korea would provide weapons and ammunition to Russia, which has expended vast stocks in more than 18 months of war in Ukraine. Moscow and Pyongyang have denied such intentions.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Moscow is seeking support from North Korea because “we have continued to squeeze Russia’s defense industrial base, and they are now going about looking to whatever source they can find for things like artillery ammunition.”
Providing Russia with weapons for its ongoing war against Ukraine “is not going to reflect well on North Korea, and they will pay a price for this in the international community,” Mr. Sullivan told reporters on Sept. 6.
Mr. Kim’s visit to Russia follows Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Pyongyang on July 27 to attend a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the cessation of the Korean War. He was joined by Chinese Communist Party politburo member Li Hongzhong.
According to South Korea’s spy agency, Mr. Shoigu may have proposed that North Korea join trilateral military drills with China. It remains unclear whether North Korea accepted the offer.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times
-Aldgra Fredly, NTD
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has pitched an economic-integration plan for Taiwan, while at the same time deploying a historically large fleet of warships and aircraft surrounding the self-governing island.
Released on Tuesday by the CCP’s Central Committee and Beijing’s State Council, the proposal was touted as a “blueprint” for Taiwan’s future development. Under the plan, the coastal province of Fujian would become a “demonstration zone” for the integrated development of Taiwan.
The proposal calls for allowing Taiwanese residents to live, work, and study on the mainland, initially in Fujian. Taiwanese businesses would also be allowed to hang a shingle in the neighboring province and would be encouraged to list their shares on Chinese stock exchanges.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have escalated in recent years amid rising concerns that China will attack the island. Washington has ramped up weapons sales to Taipei, and US politicians have made controversial visits to the island. China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan, has vowed to reunify with the breakaway province – by force if necessary. Only 13 nations recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country.
“Solving the Taiwan issue and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland is the unswerving historical task of the Communist Party of China, the common aspiration of all Chinese people, and the inevitable requirement for realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” the CCP said in its proposal.
Taiwanese MP Wang Ting-yu, a member of the island’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, called the integration blueprint “ridiculous.” Speaking in a video message on Wednesday, he said, “China should think about how it can take care of its bad debts, but not how it can conduct united-front work against Taiwan.”
Dozens of Chinese military planes and warships, including an aircraft carrier, were deployed in the Taiwan Strait this week. The display of military might was reportedly one of Beijing’s largest in recent years.
Just when you thought you’d seen it all: now, criminals are intentionally wrecking vehicles in order to carjack them, according to a new report from KIRO7.
Bellevue Police in Washington are alerting motorists to a new carjacking tactic taking place in their jurisdiction, the article says.
Officers responded to an attempted carjacking near the crossroads of Bel-Red Road and 156th Avenue Southeast in Bellvue, Washington, around 2:30 a.m. on a recent Friday.
The carjacking victim had reported a minor crash with a white Kia and said that upon exiting his vehicle to assess the damage, two individuals emerged from the Kia, brandishing guns and demanding his car keys.
The victim refused to hand over his keys, and the suspects fled in the Kia, the report continues.
Police are now warning that this event has similarities with other incidents taking place locally wherein assailants initiate minor accidents before attempting armed robbery.
Bellevue Police, as a result, recommend staying aware of your environment and avoiding distractions like texting. They have warned residents to opt for well-lit, busy roads, particularly at night, and steer clear of isolated or dimly lit areas.
Finally, they are telling residents to ensure their car doors are locked and windows are up, and to remain in their car if they feel endangered before calling 911.
Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images
A Washington, D.C., teenager who went on a days-long robbing spree last month cannot be charged as an adult and will thus avoid significant punishment, the latest example of a juvenile crime surge that critics say the city refuses to take seriously.
D.C. police in late August arrested five teenagers who were caught on video attempting to carjack a man they followed using a different stolen vehicle. For one of the suspects—a 13-year-old girl—that incident came at the tail end of a four-day string of robberies, which allegedly saw her commit another carjacking, among other thefts. While those charges could lead to decades of prison time for an adult offender, the female suspect and her four accomplices were all charged as juveniles, as only some 16- and 17-year-olds can be tried as adults in the nation's capital. As a result, one of the suspects was released immediately, while the others will face more lenient sentences—D.C.'s juvenile justice system has no mandatory minimums.
The ordeal reflects D.C.'s ongoing juvenile crime surge, an issue that local experts and crime victims say the city is failing to combat. More than 63 percent of D.C. carjacking arrests this year have involved juveniles, according to a city database, and a 14-year-old district resident was charged with felony murder in July. D.C. attorney general Brian Schwalb (D.) has nonetheless defended his emphasis on rehabilitation "restorative justice" when it comes to juvenile crime, saying during an April town hall that "kids are kids" and should not "be treated as adults." Earlier this summer, Schwalb opposed a measure to expand pretrial detention for dangerous juveniles.
For former advisory neighborhood commissioner Denise Rucker Krepp, a D.C. Democrat, Schwalb's approach emboldens violent criminals.
"Murder, armed robbery, and armed carjacking are not juvenile crimes," Krepp told the Washington Free Beacon. "They are adult crimes and should be prosecuted as such."
Schwalb's office, which declined to comment, handles criminal cases that involve youths under 18 years of age. Juvenile offenders in D.C., regardless of the severity of their crimes, cannot be held in jail beyond their 21st birthday. As a result, even juvenile murderers in D.C. have avoided significant jail time.
In one case, a 15-year-old who shot Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. and killed another teen was sentenced to just six years in jail—the maximum amount allowed for a juvenile of that age. The slain teen's mother lamented the district's inability to prosecute the offender as an adult.
"I think if you're old enough to shoot someone or take someone's car with a gun, you should be able to do life in jail, you should be able to do the time for the crime, 'cause I'm never going to see my son again," the mother said.
Still, the high-profile case did not prompt Schwalb to change his tune on juvenile offenders. Just months after the ordeal, Schwalb in June lamented that the "system" has failed D.C. kids "long before" they commit crimes, stressing the need to engage in an "effort to rehabilitate."
Included in Schwalb's rehabilitation efforts is a "restorative justice program" that allows a juvenile offender to avoid jail time should the victim agree instead to pursue a "facilitated conversation." Schwalb's website notes that the concept "hails from indigenous practices in Native American, West African, and New Zealand cultures." D.C. juveniles can also be referred to a diversion program that keeps them out of the "juvenile delinquency system" in favor of "individual and family therapy" and other "services."
In the case of the 13-year-old carjacker arrested last month, however, the victim—a food delivery driver named Mohamed—will almost certainly decline to participate in Schwalb's "restorative justice program."
"It's very bad for [the] community. … I am scared to go to D.C. [to] work," the victim told Fox 5. "Why this age—why not go to school?"
-Jessica Costescu, The Washington Free Beacon
One of the most high-profile Catholic universities in the country may host a drag symposium and performance later this fall, a new report claims.
The University of Notre Dame, located near South Bend, Indiana, is nationally recognized for its football players who wear shiny, gold helmets that mirror the iconic Golden Dome atop the Main Building on campus. Founded as an all-male school by the religious community the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1842 but co-ed since the early 1970s, Notre Dame was originally intended to establish a Catholic presence in the area and to encourage men to commit themselves to religious practice and academic rigor.
At least one course taught at Notre Dame this fall, however, seems to run counter to that founding vision. Professor Pamela Robertson Wojcik, the chair of the Department of Film, Television and Theatre, is teaching a course entitled "What a Drag: Drag on Screen - Variations and Meanings."
As part of the one-credit course, students will be required to attend "a symposium on drag and performance" on November 3, the course description stated. Wojcik later confirmed to the Irish Rover, a student publication dedicated "to preserving the Catholic identity of Notre Dame," that the symposium will be held on campus and will also include a drag performance.
Wojcik told the outlet that she hopes to "give students knowledge about an art form that has been misdescribed." She also insisted that "drag won’t turn kids gay" and that banning it would be "dangerous."
Wojcik said that organizers had not yet determined whether the drag event will be open to the public and to attendees of all ages. However, she has already arranged for security at the event "for the foreseen protests."
Wojcik's theater and film department is not the only department on campus that is sponsoring the event. There are at least three other co-sponsors: the Department of Gender Studies, Department of Music, Department of American Studies, and the Initiative on Race and Resilience.
Of those, only a spokesperson from the Department of Music responded to the Irish Rover's request for comment. "Drag performance has been part of musical culture in the West and around the world, so it’s been the subject of scholarly research in musicology and ethnomusicology," said Prof. Berthold Hoeckner, the department chair. "Having a class and a symposium is a great opportunity for interested students to learn about this subject."
Notre Dame's Office of the President did not comment on the allegedly scheduled drag show on campus, but there are some indications that the drag performance may not happen after all. For one thing, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, the campus building that is supposedly hosting the event, currently has no event listed on November 3, "suggesting that scheduling, the ticketing plan, or some other aspect of the event has not been finalized," the Irish Rover claimed.
In addition, the Mendoza College of Business MBA students at Notre Dame tried to have a drag queen speak at their Diversity and Heritage Ball last March, but the university refused to allow it. "Notre Dame values the LGBTQ members of our campus and works closely with the undergraduate and post-baccalaureate student groups on a wide array of events," the university said in a statement at the time. "Any programming sponsored by a student club must align with the group’s mission. That was not the case in this instance."
-Cortney Weil, The Blaze
Armed suspects were sent running when an alert employee opened fire as they approached the entrance of a gas station in California last week, according to reports.
The harrowing incident unfolded just after 2 a.m. on Friday in Oakland.
Surveillance footage of the foiled ambush was provided to local media by owner Ahmed Ali.
A pair of would-be thieves carrying a rifle and pistol can be seen lurking in the parking lot before running away in panic.
“A number of biz owners have reached out to me, fed UP w/crime in Oakland,” KGO-TV anchor Dion Lim reported on Monday. “A man named Ahmed told me armed men approached one of his stores Friday.”
“He says an employee saw what was happening on surveillance & fired which resulted in the suspects running away.”
Ali shared footage from a robbery at another of his Oakland businesses with ABC7.
Suspects can be seen using an SUV to rip a security gate off the front entrance and running inside.
“[They grabbed] all the expensive liquor, broke into the office, took all the money,” he said. “The damage was about $30,000.”
“They were in there shopping. They were in there for maybe… 10 minutes.”
“It is very dangerous and we have never seen it this bad,” Ali told ABC7. “They come in groups and don’t even seem to care they are caught on video.”
“We pay city tax, property tax, business tax. We pay all these taxes and where is the protection? You call 911 – it takes five minutes just to get through.”
-Dan Lyman, Infowars
Former NBA player Brandon Hunter, 42, collapsed while doing hot yoga and died Tuesday.
Hunter, a Cincinnati native, played for the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, and spent several years playing professionally in Europe.
Carolyn Cliett, his mother-in-law, informed NBC News he collapsed during a hot yoga session in Orlando.
“It was hot yoga, and he did it regularly,” she said.
“He was in good shape as far as we know. We’re just shocked.”
NBC News reports:
The Magic and Hunter’s alma mater, Ohio University, both announced his passing on Tuesday.
He was inducted to the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame last year.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Brandon Hunter. Brandon was a phenomenal player at Ohio who went on to have a great pro career,” Bobcats coach Jeff Boals said in a statement.
“Brandon was a great ambassador for Ohio, a great teammate, a great competitor, and a great family man. Brandon had an infectious personality that touched many people along his journey and will be truly missed.”
The cause of Hunter’s death was not immediately disclosed.
The Hill added:
The Orlando Magic shared a statement mourning the loss of Hunter, writing on X, “We are terribly saddened to learn of the loss of our former teammate, Brandon Hunter. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Hunter family.”
As a Bobcat, Hunter was a three-time first-team All-MAC honoree and led all of college basketball in rebounds in 2003.
He is the school’s all-time leader in rebounds, gathering 1,103 boards in his four years in Athens.
Former Ohio University coach Bill O’Shea remembered Hunter as “the best player I ever had the good fortune of coaching” and remarked on his post-basketball success as a player agent.
-Danielle, 100 Percent Fed Up