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Thought for the day
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." -- Albert Einstein
"The United States strongly supports the human rights of all Iranian women, including the right to peacefully assemble and to express themselves without fear of violence," Jennifer Gavito, deputy assistant secretary for Iran and Iraq at the State Department, said during an event hosted by The Atlantic Council.
"We will continue to enforce sanctions on Iranian entities perpetrating these human rights abuses, such as those imposed last week on Iran's morality police."
Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman, died in hospital earlier this month after being arrested in Tehran by the special police unit that monitors women's clothing.
Webmaster addition: This is starting to feel like a repeat of the 2009 failed US coup against Iran.
Germany's gas consumption rose too much last week to levels higher than in previous years, and without considerable gas conservation—including from households—Europe's biggest economy will find it difficult to avoid gas shortages this winter, Germany's Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur, said on Thursday.
Starting from today, the agency—the regulator to impose rationing in case of severe shortages—will publish weekly figures about gas consumption in Germany. Last week's consumption from businesses and households at 483 GWh/week was well above the average seen throughout the 2018 to 2021 period when it was 422 GWh/week. Last week, German gas consumption rose by 14.5 percent compared to the average of the previous years, mostly because that week was colder than comparable weeks in the past four years.
However, the savings needed to avoid gas shortages should be achieved regardless of temperatures, the German regulator said today.
Webmaster addition: What? Did they run out of books to burn?!?
Iranian oil industry contract workers have warned the government to end its crackdown on protesters or they will strike, a move that could cripple a key sector of the economy.
"We support the people's struggles against organized and everyday violence against women and against the poverty and hell that dominates the society,” the Organizing Council of Oil Contract Workers said on September 26.
Iran has been roiled by unrest that has spread to more than 80 cities and towns, including in the northwest, where 22-year-old Mahsa Amini lived before eyewitnesses and family said she was beaten -- and later died -- after being seized by the morality police in Tehran on September 13.
Labor protests in Iran also have been on the rise in recent months in response to declining living standards and state support as crippling Western sanctions wrack the economy.
Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law [Getty]
Israel continued its defiance of a 2016 UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate halt to all settlement activity in lands the Palestinians want for their future state, advancing plans for construction of nearly 2,000 housing units in the last three months, the UN Mideast envoy said on Wednesday.
Tor Wennesland told the council that no progress was made by Israelis and Palestinians on other demands in the resolution - preventing all violence against civilians, refraining from acts of provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, distinguishing between Israeli territory and territories occupied since the 1967 war, and exerting “collective efforts to launch credible negotiations.”
Webmaster addition: Imagine my shock...
The elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to prime minister of Saudi Arabia, days before the Biden administration was set to decide whether to grant him immunity in the final court case over Jamal Khashoggi's murder, has been accused of being a ruse to shield the crown prince from justice.
On Tuesday, King Salman ordered a reshuffle in which the crown prince, sometimes referred to as MBS, became prime minister, a post traditionally held by the king, in a move designed to protect him from litigation, according to plaintiffs in the US lawsuit.
"There is one reason, and only one reason, MBS has now added 'prime minister' to his many unearned titles: a desperate gambit for immunity in the lawsuit we've brought for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," tweeted Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn).
Back in July, Utah County Sheriff’s office announced that County Attorney David Leavitt and his wife were subjects of a child sex abuse investigation approximately 10 years ago involving ritualistic sexual abuse. Dozens of victims stepped forward at the time to make allegations against at least 15 members of the community.
At least 10 armed groups in Colombia, including former members of the FARC rebels who reject a peace deal and the Clan del Golfo crime gang, have agreed to participate in unilateral ceasefires, the government said on Wednesday.
President Gustavo Petro, who took office in August, has promised to seek "total peace" with armed groups, fully implementing a 2016 peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and meeting with dissidents and gangs.
"Each group with its own identity, nature and motivation is expressing its disposition to be part of a total peace, in this exploration phase we've asked them not to kill, not to disappear people and not to torture," Danilo Rueda, the government's high peace commissioner, told journalists at an impromptu press conference. "We are moving ahead."
The Navy has found more traces of jet fuel in the drinking water aboard the USS Nimitz after declaring the water safe following an initial leak into the ship’s potable water supply.
The Navy said last week that “traces of jet propellant-5 (JP-5)” leaked into the drinking water supply for sailors aboard the USS Nimitz on Sept. 16 “while operating off the coast of southern California.”
The crew “immediately took action” and deemed that the water was safe to use on Sept. 19, Lt. Cmdr. Adam Demeter, spokesman for the USS Nimitz, told Task & Purpose last week.
“After conducting a thorough flush and inspection of its potable water system, fresh water has been restored to the ship,” Demeter said in a statement on Sept. 21. “The water onboard the ship is safe for use and the health and wellbeing of all of our sailors is a top priority.”
South Korea's ruling conservatives on Wednesday said they would file complaints against a major TV station after it reported on President Yoon Suk-yeol's purported use of profanity during a recent trip to the United States.
The ruling People Power Party said it would ask prosecution authorities to launch a criminal investigation into MBC TV head Park Sung-je and three others, accusing them of defaming the president.
"They intentionally spread false information and defamed the president," the party said.
The Solomon Islands has told Pacific nations invited to a White House meeting with President Joe Biden it won't sign the summit declaration, according to a note seen by Reuters, prompting concern over the islands' ties to China.
Leaders from the Pacific Island Forum bloc have been invited to the two-day White House summit starting Wednesday, at which the Biden administration seeks to compete with China for influence in the strategically important South Pacific.
The Solomon Islands, which struck a security pact with China in April, wrote to the Pacific Islands Forum and asked it to tell the other members it wouldn't sign a proposed Declaration on the U.S.-Pacific Partnership, to be discussed at the summit on Sept. 29, and needed more time for its parliament to consider the matter, according to the note dated Sunday.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s husband, Perry Greene, has filed for a divorce.
The United States said Wednesday that Greek sovereignty over two islands was not in doubt after Ankara lodged a protest over the deployment there of US armoured vehicles.
Turkey on Monday summoned the Greek ambassador and complained to the United States after releasing aerial images that it said showed ships with the US armoured vehicles docking in Lesbos and Samos.
"Greek's sovereignty over these islands is not in question," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Pennsylvania GOP Governor Candidate Doug Mastriano released a great campaign ad today. It says everything you need to know about Mastriano and what he will do on his first day on the job.
Norway will deploy its military to protect its oil and gas installations against possible sabotage after several countries said two Russian pipelines to Europe spewing gas into the Baltic had been attacked, the prime minister said on Wednesday.
Gas leaks as a result of suspected sabotage discovered on the Nord Stream pipelines on Tuesday have roiled energy markets and heightened security concerns.
Norway is now Europe's largest gas supplier and a leading global oil supplier. It has over 90 offshore oil and gas fields, most of which are connected to a network of gas pipelines stretching some 9,000 km (5,590 miles).
"The military will be more visible at Norwegian oil and gas installations," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
The Kremlin denounced allegations by Western media that it was behind the suspected explosions of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
The risk to manufacturing, agriculture and distribution sectors in Florida is rapidly intensifying as powerful Hurricane Ian takes aim at the state’s southwest coast. But the economic ripple effects are likely to be felt well beyond the storm zone.
Experts are predicting severe disruption to supply chains from flooding, power outages and wind damage that could stall factory and farm production, as well as freight movement through major port, airport, highway and rail nodes. The Tampa-to-Orlando corridor is chockablock full of huge retail and e-commerce distribution centers.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Noru is similarly upsetting supply chains in Southeast Asia as it barrels across the South China Sea toward Vietnam.
The brief post-BOE euphoria has worn off, and risk-off sentiment returned to markets as concern about inflation and the global economy overshadowed the Bank of England’s desperate attempt to restore calm by restarting QE, exacerbated by more hawkish central bank talk and defiance by British PM Liz Truss's tax plan (which has been slammed from the IMF all the way to the White House). Treasuries resumed their slide with UK gilts, while US equity futures fell as European stocks extended a selloff that’s caused valuations to drop to their lowest since 2012. As of 730am, emini S&P futures slid 0.7% to 3704, recovering from losses as big as 1.5% earlier.
The dollar rose and Treasuries resumed their slump as investors focused on expectations the Federal Reserve will continue to deliver aggressive interest-rate hikes. The pound snapped a two-day gain and UK gilt yields rose as Prime Minister Liz Truss defended a giant package of unfunded tax cuts that sent markets into turmoil.
“Other than the dollar, there are not many assets that are trading constructively,” said Julia Raiskin, Asia-Pacific head of markets for Citigroup Inc. “The markets are very pessimistic. Investors are fairly on the sidelines.”
Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin has confirmed that the U.S. was not responsible for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline explosion, because the Pentagon told her so.
Despite accusations flying that the United States could have been involved in the blasts that have reportedly could scupper the pipelines permanently, and without any investigation having taken place, Griffin’s crack journalism has solved the case.
“There is no evidence or indication the US was involved in any way with the Nordstream 2 pipeline explosions,” Griffin tweeted.
“My question at the Pentagon briefing today: Can you rule out that the U.S. was involved? Senior Military Official: ‘Yeah, we were absolutely not involved.’ ”
Reuters quoted NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, saying attacks against EU critical infrastructure would be met with a "determined response." He called the acts "sabotage. "
"All currently available information indicates that this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage.
"We, as Allies, have committed to prepare for, deter and defend against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors. Any deliberate attack against Allies' critical infrastructure would be met with a united and determined response," a statement from the North Atlantic Council (NATO) read.
The momentum of franchise success and centralization of power are fatal...
Loonshots are like moonshots, only crazier and trickier to commercialize. Author Safi Bahcall titled his book on how to nurture change-the-world innovations Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.
But as Bahcall persuasively argues, loonshot innovations aren't enough. You also need to nurture franchises that commercialize the innovations into products and services that pay the bills and fund the search for loonshot.
Bahcall identifies two kinds of loonshots: product and system. One of his examples: the 747 Jumbojet was a product innovation, the SABRE airline reservation software was a system innovation. Both are essential.
WINK-TV meteorologist Dylan Federico has broken a cardinal rule of the internet by failing to even attempt to rescue a cat that was stranded on a bench as Hurricane Ian flooded the area.
Several White House reporters on Wednesday asked Karine Jean-Pierre about Joe Biden’s confusion over late Rep. Jackie Walorski.
An 84-year-old woman was shot while campaigning against a Michigan ballot measure that would legalize abortion until birth on September 20 in Lake Odessa.
Another milestone for the extremely confused elderly citizen in the White House basement.
Analysis of Google Trends data reveals that searches for ‘real estate market crash’ exploded 284% in the United States as of September 2022 – the highest level in Google Trends history.
The analysis by the Malibu real estate experts at RubyHome reveals that search interest for ‘real estate market crash’ exploded within the past month, an unprecedented increase in Americans looking for information and prognostication about the real estate market, according to Google search data.
This comes at a time when the US housing market sees mortgage rates rising at the fastest pace in history, surging above 7% after touching 6% just two weeks ago!
Event: On September 21, the Russian government began a mobilization of its citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, prevent their departure from Russia, and conscript dual nationals for military service.
Over the weekend, a church in Texas became a lightning rod for protesters and counter-protesters alike when it invited members of “all ages” to a drag event to support so-called “trans and exploring” minors.
On Saturday evening, the First Christian Church of Katy, Texas, an affiliate of the Disciples of Christ denomination, held a bingo event featuring drag queens that was billed as fun for the whole family.
“We create a place for people to feel welcomed and understand that there will always be people who disagree with us,” said Reverend Heather Tolleson, the pastor of the church.
The purpose of the bingo event — and the adults-only drag show later that night — was to raise funds for the church’s “Transparent Closet,” a resource where “trans and exploring teens, youth and young adults” can find cross-sex clothing, shoes, and accessories such as makeup.
Webmaster addition: On average, men spend 22% less than women on fashion and cosmetics. Convincing boys that they really should be girls means more profit for those companies! Anyone seen any Ferengi wandering about those drag events?!?
Last week I had the immense pleasure of interviewing my good buddy George Gammon from Rebel Capitalist.
George is one of my favorite economic commentators and has been a friend of mine, and my podcast, for years. He is focused on Austrian economics, skepticism about the global elite and Central Banking, and trying to help preserve wealth in the out-of-control world of Central Banks we exist in.
In our recent interview, we discussed:
What inflation numbers will look like at the end of the year, and why George thinks CPI numbers will hit a lull
George’s favorite indicator for measuring whether we’re in a recession and whether or not the Fed is going to reverse course “within weeks”
Black swan events George is watching that could hurt the markets, other than rising rates
China’s Covid policy and what alternate reasoning there may be for it, other than Covid
China and Russia posturing up together
Growing disparities in wealth, a housing and gas crisis, transhumanism galloping over the horizon, heroized incivility, and the constant threat of viruses, the “cures” for which may be worse than the diseases. Global politics feels eerily apocalyptic these days and, in our own little worlds, many of us are so lost, so unmoored from the comforts of our pre-pandemic lives, that we don’t know which end is up or what the future will hold. Investigative journalist Trish Wood recently wrote that we are living the fall of Rome (though it’s being pushed on us as a virtue).
I wonder, are we falling as Rome did? Is it possible that our civilization is on the verge of collapse? Not imminent collapse, perhaps, but are we taking the initial steps that civilizations before ours took before their eventual downfalls? Will we suffer the fates of the Indus, the Vikings, the Mayans, and the failed dynasties of China?
As a philosopher, I need first to understand what we mean by “civilization” and what it would mean for that thing to collapse.
This is a significant conceptual hurdle. “Civilization” (from the Latin civitas, meaning a body of people) was first used by anthropologists to refer to a “society made up of cities” (Mycenae’s Pylos, Thebes, and Sparta, for example). Ancient civilizations were typically non-nomadic settlements with concentrated complexes of persons who divided labor. They had monumental architecture, hierarchical class structures, and significant technological and cultural developments.
The massive news coverage of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “political stunt” of sending 50 illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard reminds me of the media’s “political stunt” of referring to illegals as “legal asylum-seekers.”
Asylum is nothing but a conveyer belt to bring the worst people on Earth to our shores. You say you turned your own country into a hellhole? Fantastic! Come right in!
No one gets asylum from a well-run country. Why would we want to admit people who have demonstrated the wisdom, foresight and diligence to produce a functioning society? Rewards await only those who’ve participated in the creation of complete disaster zones. (Just think of what these great thinkers could do for our country!)
Tens of thousands of people marched in the Czech Republic’s capital of Prague on Wednesday to protest against the government’s handling of the energy crisis, the EU, and NATO.
It marked the second time within a month that massive demonstrations took place in the city as Western sanctions against Russia are backfiring on Europe and energy prices are soaring.
The demonstrations in Prague have brought together parties from across the political spectrum. According to Reuters, the organizing group known as “Czech Republic First!” is against Prague’s EU and NATO memberships and wants the country to be militarily neutral.
“This government is absolutely anti-Czech. It only serves Brussels, American power and NATO. It has no regard for Czech citizens’ interests,” one demonstrator told Reuters.