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Thought for the day
"Organized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founder's than any other agency in the world." -- Richard Le Gallienne
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) let a U.S. Senate adviser kill key parts of Democrats’ promised drug pricing legislation, as Schumer has become the Senate’s second largest recipient of pharmaceutical industry cash.
On Saturday, the Senate's parliamentary adviser Elizabeth MacDonough — who Schumer can remove — issued a non-binding advisory opinion saying Democrats should remove provisions in their spending bill that would punish drugmakers for inflating their prices for patients in private health insurance plans. The provision could have saved $40 billion, according to one estimate.
“The exclusion of the private insurance price limits means there is little left that will reduce costs for the vast majority of Americans who receive health insurance through their private sector employer,” reported Politico.
The United States and its European allies have committed tens of billions of dollars in military and economic support for Kiev over the past five months. Moscow has warned repeatedly of the dangers of weapons falling into the hands of black marketeers and making their way onto the international arms black market.
CBS News has curiously deleted a bombshell documentary which uncovered that just “30%” of the military assistance sent to Ukraine by Western countries during the first months of the conflict with Russia actually reached the front lines.
Upon clicking on the link to the documentary, called “Arming Ukraine,” users are greeted with a “The page cannot be found” error.
Revelations from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop shed light on multi-million dollar schemes involving peddling of access to Joe Biden while he was serving as vice president. Originally reported by the NY Post in late 2020, the story was falsely dismissed as “Russian disinformation” by scores of ex-intel officials and buried by mainstream media.
The ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden could jeopardize his father President Joe Biden’s chances in a 2024 re-election run, CNN anchor Brian Stelter warned on Sunday.
During a segment on CNN's "Reliable Sources", Stelter spoke with his guest, Michael LaRosa, the former press secretary for First Lady Jill Biden, citing a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd on August 6 urging the 46th POTUS not to run for re-election.
In her opinion piece, titled, "Hey, Joe, Don’t Give It a Go," Dowd urged the president to leave office, adding that "he’s a logical one-termer."
With no electricity at home, five-year-old Alaa Qaddoum ventured outside on Friday afternoon to escape the stifling heat indoors.
Playing with friends in the vicinity of Abu Samra Mosque in the Shujaiya neighbourhood north of Gaza, everything seemed normal to Qaddoum as worshippers prepared for the Asr afternoon prayer.
Then, in a matter of seconds, Israeli fighter jets bombed the area, killing her among others, making Alaa among the first victims of Israel's latest bombing campaign on the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Elon Musk on Saturday challenged the CEO of Twitter to a “public debate” over how the social media company counts fake accounts and spam bots.
Musk laid down the gauntlet in a series of tweets replying to remarks regarding his countersuit against San Francisco-based Twitter over his effort to withdraw from the $44 billion deal to buy the company.
Police arrested pro-choice demonstrators who harangued churchgoers outside a famed Catholic church in New York City.
Video shows the demonstrators berating parishioners outside The Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in lower Manhattan on Saturday.
The activists confronted the Catholics at the church gates, banging on the bars and screaming: "Tell those Nazis to come out' from the church gates."
Gas prices have been falling since mid-June as demand has dropped to levels not seen since the early days of the pandemic, according to AAA.
Prices have continuously reduced since June 14, when the average price hit a record high of $5.01 per gallon in the U.S.
On Thursday, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline dropped eight cents to $4.13.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began his three-nation tour of Africa Sunday by visiting a museum in South Africa commemorating how the country’s Black youths helped to end white racist rule.
Blinken’s visit to Africa is seen as part of a competition between Russia and Western powers for support from African countries over the war in Ukraine. His trip to Africa follows recent tours by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and French President Emmanuel Macron.
South Africa is one of many African countries that have maintained a neutral stance on the war and have not publicly criticized Russia.
After an early morning arrival, Blinken visited the Hector Pieterson memorial in Soweto township, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, which honors a student killed in 1976 when protesting South Africa’s regime of racial oppression, apartheid, which ended in 1994.
Blinken laid a wreath at the memorial accompanied by Pieterson’s sister, Antoinette Sithole. He also toured the museum, which contains artifacts, photographs and videos of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid.
The United Nations special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories says Israel’s air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip “not only are illegal but irresponsible”, calling for a diplomatic solution to the latest bout of violence, which began on Friday when Israel launched air attacks on Gaza City.
“The situation in Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis,” Francesca Albanez told Al Jazeera.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s provocative visit to Taiwan is part of the U.S. escalation against China in what, in Pentagon geography, is referred to as the Indo-Pacific, i.e., the region stretching from the west coast of the United States to that of India. Here RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise under U.S. command, is underway, with naval and air forces from 26 countries participating. It is directed against what the Pentagon calls “Chinese aggression,” accusing Beijing of preparing against Taiwan a military operation similar to that conducted by Russia in Ukraine. In this way, Washington is fueling, after the one in Ukraine, other hotbeds of war to hinder and break the Great Eurasian Partnership, which, proposed by President Putin in 2015, is being implemented with a series of projects of which the New Silk Road, promoted by China, is the backbone.
The International North-South Transport Corridor connects Russia to India and other Asian countries via Azerbaijan and Iran, along a much shorter, and therefore cheaper, route than the Atlantic and Mediterranean routes. US and EU sanctions against Russian oil and gas exports are thus thwarted. Another project underway is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which opens access to the Arabian Sea to Chinese exports, and could extend to Afghanistan, a country the US and NATO have tried in vain to control through a costly and bloody 20-year war.
The growing economic integration of Eurasia, which encourages negotiated conflict resolution and intercultural dialogue, contributes concretely and substantially to the transition from the unipolar to the multipolar world, which the U.S. and other major powers in the West are trying hard to prevent.
Former Democrat Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tore Into Vice President Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor, over her response to the imprisonment and sentence of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia.
“With today’s sentencing, Russia continues its wrongful detention of Brittney Griner. She should be released immediately. @POTUS and I, and our entire Administration, are working every day to reunite Brittney, as well as Paul Whelan, with loved ones who miss each of them dearly,” the vice president said.
The vice president was immediately called on her hypocrisy by many on Twitter.
“Two things: How many people are still incarcerated for the same offense because of you? And you’re high right now aren’t you?” Chad Prather said.
“It’s not a wrongful detention. If you break the law, you pay the price. If you go to a different country, learn the laws before you go. How many people did Harris imprison for weed when she was AG of Failifornia?” Kimberly Morin said.
Tesla, Space X and Starlink CEO Elon Musk stunned the tech world when he decided he wanted to purchase Twitter, stunned them again when he said he wanted to back out of the deal, and now just stunned them again.
The CEO said that the Twitter deal should go ahead if the tech giant can provide proof of how it sampled 100 accounts and proved they are real.
It came in response to a tweet from cybersecurity and data analyst Andrea Stroppa who said “Clearly, from Twitter SEC filings, mDAU is the key metric. It is the key metric for its business rev. And its market value; mDAU is an ad hoc metric, created to protect Twitter’s interests. No competitor uses something similar.
“When @elonmusk requested more information about spam and fake accounts; Twitter provided a vague response. Then provided outdated data; Then offered a fake data set (not real “firehose”); Then provided a cleaned data set where they already suspended the malicious accounts,” she said.
California Rep. Adam Schiff has a challenger for his spot in Congress and it is going to be a tough one for the radical leftist to fend off.
In battling this new challenger he risks offending the LGBTQ community who could be offended at any attacks on this competitor, The Los Angeles Times reported.
- “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo is taking on Schiff in the general election after receiving 13 percent in the primary.
“There’s a lot of crossover,” Girl said. “When I do drag, I host a lot of shows. I’m on the mic, listening to people, [and] engaging with people. It’s really not very dissimilar from being in a political setting where I’m giving a campaign speech. I used every drag show that I’m in to speak about politics and speak about my policies and let folks know about our campaigns. It’s actually been a really wonderful tool.”
President Joe Biden may not be able to campaign to be president again in 2024 and CNN hoist Brian Stelter said he knows why.
The host spoke to former press secretary for first lady Jill Biden Michael LaRosa on Sunday, around two weeks after he left his job, about the president’s issues.
“I hope he runs. I know he’s going to run, he’s planning to run,” the former press secretary said as he dismissed Democrats who want someone else to campaign for the presidency.
“What about his son?” the host said. “What about Hunter? Hunter under federal investigation, charges could be coming at any time. This is not just a right-wing media story. This is a real problem for the Bidens. Could he decide not to run for re-election, given his son?”
“They make decisions as a family, and they will make that decision when it’s time,” LaRosa said.
The Democratic administration of Joe Biden can’t seem to move on from the pandemic.
Though COVID-19 infections are nowhere near the levels they were in 2020 or even 2021, the White House is considering extending the pandemic emergency through the November midterm elections, according to a Saturday report.
Citing three people with knowledge of the situation, Politico reported that the decision has not yet been finalized. However, if it does happen, federal measures protecting Americans’ health care coverage, vaccine access, and treatments would be extended.
“COVID is not over,” one senior Biden official told the outlet. “The pandemic is not over. It doesn’t make sense to lift this [declaration] given what we’re seeing on the ground in terms of cases.”
Sometimes politicians talk so incessantly that they allow the truth to slip from their lips from time to time, and that is precisely what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has done.
On Saturday, as the Senate debated the legislation that they decided to name the Inflation Reduction Act, the 80-year-old senator said the quiet part out loud.
“Madam President, I want to take a moment to say a few words about the so-called inflation reduction that we are debating this evening,” the senator said as he tore into the legislation that he is, by all accounts, still going to vote for. “And I say so-called, by the way, because according to the CBO, and other economic organizations that study this bill, it will, in fact, have a minimal impact on inflation.”
The Democrats have touted that the legislation would give Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, but that provision does not start for four years at which time only 10 drugs will be covered.
“If anybody thinks that as a result of this bill we’re going to see lower prices for Medicare, you are mistaken. It ain’t going to happen next year, the year after, or the year after,” he said. “And by the way, given the incredible power of the pharmaceutical industry, I would suspect even money that they will figure out a way to get around this provision if it takes four years to implement. So this provision will have no impact on the prices for those Americans. Furthermore, this provision will have no impact on the prices for Americans who are not on Medicare.”
The senator shredded Republicans and Democrats for not being able to come together on legislation that would address the needs of Americans.
“The American people are tired. They are hurting and they are begging their elected officials to respond to their needs,” he said.
Texas has begun busing illegal immigrants released at the border to major Democratic-leaning cities, most notably the Big Apple and Washington D.C., as part of a larger effort to raise awareness about the worsening migrant crisis and lessen the burden on the state's overwhelmed border communities. While no buses had been sent to New York until this weekend, Adams inaccurately claimed in late July that Texas and Arizona were busing migrants into his city, which is a sanctuary zone and is viewed by illegal immigrants as a safe place to reside because local police do not cooperate with federal immigration police.
“This is horrific, when you think about what the governor is doing,” Adams, a Democrat, said of Abbott, a Republican, at a press conference Sunday at the Port Authority bus terminal, where migrants were dropped off that morning.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the arms industry that depends on it for billions in profits, has become the most aggressive and dangerous military alliance on the planet. Created in 1949 to thwart Soviet expansion into Eastern and Central Europe, it has evolved into a global war machine in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
NATO expanded its footprint, violating promises to Moscow, once the Cold War ended, to incorporate 14 countries in Eastern and Central Europe into the alliance. It will soon add Finland and Sweden. It bombed Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. It launched wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, resulting in close to a million deaths and some 38 million people driven from their homes. It is building a military footprint in Africa and Asia. It invited Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, the so-called “Asia Pacific Four,” to its recent summit in Madrid at the end of June. It has expanded its reach into the Southern Hemisphere, signing a military training partnership agreement with Colombia, in December 2021. It has backed Turkey, with NATO’s second largest military, which has illegally invaded and occupied parts of Syria as well as Iraq. Turkish-backed militias are engaged in the ethnic cleansing of Syrian Kurds and other inhabitants of north and east Syria. The Turkish military has been accused of war crimes – including multiple airstrikes against a refugee camp andchemical weapons use – in northern Iraq. In exchange for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s permission for Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, the two Nordic countries have agreed to expand their domestic terror laws making it easier to crack down on Kurdish and other activists, lift their restrictions on selling arms to Turkey and deny support to the Kurdish-led movement for democratic autonomy in Syria.
As of 1 August, not only citizens of Ukraine will be able to use free train travel on local routes in Lithuania. From 1 August, all people fleeing Ukraine from war with Russia to Lithuania will be able to use free train travel on local routes in Lithuania, Lithuanian Railways (LTG) said in a statement.
Wisconsin is famous for dropping over a hundred thousand unexplained votes in the middle of the night to give Joe Biden a lead over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
China's Hainan, an island province dependent on tourism, locked down more areas on Monday (Aug 8), Reuters calculations based on state media reports show, as it battles its worst COVID-19 outbreak after seeing very few cases over the past two years.
The island in the South China Sea, which recorded just two local symptomatic COVID-19 cases last year, has reported more than 1,400 domestically transmitted infections this month, including 982 symptomatic ones. Although that is small by global standards, it is the province's biggest outbreak since the virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
The sharp increase in cases comes amid a pick-up in interest in tourism after China slightly eased curbs aimed at domestic travel, accounting for the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant, which facilitates a shorter quarantine time.
With his vote for the Senate tax-and-spend reconciliation bill, Sen. Joe Manchin has officially broken his word to West Virginia. When Manchin asked the voters of West Virginia to send him to Washington, he made two tax promises to the voters:
1. No tax hikes in a recession.
In October 2010, in a nationally televised debate, Manchin said: “I don’t think during a time of recession you mess with any of the taxes, or increase any taxes.”
2. No tax hikes at all until the government is running “efficient.”
In the same October 2010 debate, Manchin said: “I can’t look the people in West Virginia in the eye and ask them to pay a penny more until I know we’re running this government efficient.”
$6.5 Billion Natural Gas Tax Which Will Increase Household Energy Bills
$12 Billion Crude Oil Tax Which Will Increase Household Costs
$1.2 Billion Coal Tax Which Will Increase Household Energy Bills
Corporate Income Tax Hike on U.S. Businesses Which Will Be Passed on to Households
$124 Billion Stock Tax Which Will Hit Your Nest Egg — 401(k)s, IRAs and Pension Plans
In the first half of the year, the Gulf country's execution rate spiked - returning the amount of people put to the sword to pre-Covid levels.
Rights groups fear the rapid escalation of death penalties, which have reportedly been carried out by beheading in the past, could see the country break its grim record of 186 killlings throughout the whole of 2019.
The 120 people killed between January and June represents an 80 per cent increase when compared to all executions carried out during 2021, and more than during 2020 and 2021 combined.
Beto O’Rourke got the boot from Rockdale, Texas this weekend.
Beto O’Rourke held an event at the Kay Theater in Rockdale, Texas on Saturday night.
One aspect of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan that has been largely overlooked is her meeting with Mark Lui, chairman of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC). Pelosi’s trip coincided with U.S. efforts to convince TSMC – the world’s largest chip manufacturer, on which the U.S. is heavily dependent – to establish a manufacturing base in the US and to stop making advanced chips for Chinese companies.
U.S. support for Taiwan has historically been based on Washington’s opposition to communist rule in Beijing, and Taiwan’s resistance to absorption by China. But in recent years, Taiwan’s autonomy has become a vital geopolitical interest for the U.S, because of the island’s dominance of the semiconductor manufacturing market.
Tucked away in the hilariously-named “Inflation Reduction Act” that Joe Manchin has been working on with Chuck Schumer is one significant bit of spending that has been mostly flying under the radar. The measure would fund a massive expansion of the Internal Revenue Service to the tune of eighty billion dollars. And we’re not using the word “massive” in a hyperbolic fashion here. This money would go toward hiring an additional 87,000 employees for the detested agency, more than doubling the size of its workforce.
As the Free Beacon points out this week, that would make the IRS larger (in terms of manpower) than the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI and the Border Patrol combined. And what do they plan to do with that many people? Do you really need us to tell you?
If Democrats have their way, one of the most detested federal agencies—the Internal Revenue Service—will employ more bureaucrats than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined.
Under the Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), the agency would receive $80 billion in funding to hire as many as 87,000 additional employees. The increase would more than double the size of the IRS workforce, which currently has 78,661 full-time staffers, according to federal data.
The additional IRS funding is integral to the Democrats’ reconciliation package. A Congressional Budget Office analysis found the hiring of new IRS agents would result in more than $200 billion in additional revenue for the federal government over the next decade. More than half of that funding is specifically earmarked for “enforcement,” meaning tax audits and other responsibilities such as “digital asset monitoring.”
So this expansion would turn the IRS into an even larger beast than it already is. And we know that it’s also one of the most heavily armed agencies in the federal government. So what do they need all of those people for, not to mention all of the guns and ammo?
A new report from the House Oversight Committee says that leading gunmakers use "aggressive marketing tactics" which emphasize masculinity, and make 'veiled references' to white supremacist groups "like the Boogaloo Bois" (which isn't a 'far-right' group at all) in order to sell guns. In short, a massive gaslighting campaign.
"The business practices of these gun manufacturers are deeply disturbing, exploitative, and reckless," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who chairs the committee.
"The [gun] industry is both creating these customers and marketing to them. And therefore, it's propagating more of this radicalization," said Ryan Busse, a former firearms executive who has flipped to anti-gun, and testified before the House committee last week about "the dangerous ways that AR-15s are intertwined with political radicalization."
According to Busse, the gunmakers are targeting "this angry, young male, politically active, conservative, aggrieved, dreams of using the AR-15 to 'make things right in the world," adding "In other words– people who also fall right into domestic terror groups and radicalization and everything else."
Crime, murder and mass shootings have dominated headlines this year. Just over the weekend, a shooting in Cincinnati wounded nine people, and another in Detroit killed one and wounded four.
But the full crime data tells a different story. Nationwide, shootings are down 4 percent this year compared to the same time last year. In big cities, murders are down 3 percent. If the decrease in murders continues for the rest of 2022, it will be the first year since 2018 in which they fell in the U.S.
Thus wrote Labor Party chair Merav Michaeli, a few minutes after Israel once again launched a criminal assault on the Gaza Strip, a moment before the killing of the first Palestinian toddler, who won’t be the last: “The residents of Israel deserve to live in safety. No sovereign state would agree to a terror organization besieging its residents. ... I support the security forces.”
Benjamin Netanyahu hadn’t yet reacted, Itamar Ben-Gvir hadn’t woken up, Yoav Gallant didn’t yet threaten the head of the snake, and already the leader of the Zionist left falls in line with the right, salutes the military and supports a war that hadn’t even begun. This time she even got there before Shimon Peres.