Putin’s “War” To Re-Shape The American Zeitgeist

Putin’s “War” To Re-Shape The American Zeitgeist

Submitted by Alastair Crooke

The G7 and the subsequent Swiss ‘Bürgenstock Conference’ can – in retrospect – be understood as preparation for a prolonged Ukraine war. The three centrepiece announcements emerging from the G7 – the 10 year Ukraine security pact; the $50 ‘billion Ukraine loan’; and the seizing of interest on Russian frozen funds – make the point. The war is about to escalate.

These stances were intended as preparation of the western public ahead of events. And in case of any doubts, the blistering belligerency towards Russia emerging from the European election leaders was plain enough: They sought to convey a clear impression of Europe preparing for war.

What then lies ahead? According to White House Spokesman John Kirby: “Washington’s position on Kiev is “absolutely clear”:

“First, they’ve got to win this war”.

“They gotta win the war first. So, number one: We’re doing everything we can to make sure they can do that. Then when the war’s over … Washington will assist in building up Ukraine’s military industrial base”.

If that was not plain, the U.S. intent to prolong and take the war deep into Russia was underlined by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan: “Authorization for Ukrainian use of American weapons for cross-border attacks extends to anywhere [from which] Russian forces are coming across the border”. He affirmed, too, that Ukraine can use F-16s to attack Russia and use U.S. supplied air defence systems “to take down Russian planes – even if in Russian airspace – if they’re about to fire into Ukrainian airspace”.

Ukrainian pilots have the latitude to judge ‘the intent’ of Russian fighter aircraft? Expect the parameters of this ‘authorisation’ to widen quickly – deeper to air bases from which Russian fighter bombers launch.

Understanding that the war is about to transform radically – and extremely dangerously – President Putin (in his speech to the Foreign Ministry Board) detailed just how the world had arrived at this pivotal juncture – one which could extend to nuclear exchanges.

The gravity of the situation itself demanded the making of one ‘last chance’ offer to the West, which Putin emphatically said was “no temporary ceasefire for Kiev to prepare a new offensive; nor was it about freezing the conflict”; but rather, his proposals were about the war’s final completion.

“If, as before, Kiev and western capitals refuse it – then at the end, that’s their business”, Putin said.

Just to be clear, Putin almost certainly never expected the proposals to be received in the West other than by the scorn and derision with which they, in fact, were met. Nor would Putin trust – for a moment – the West not to renege on an agreement, were some arrangement to be reached on these lines.

If so, why then did President Putin make such a proposal last weekend, if the West cannot be trusted and its reaction was so predictable?

Well, maybe we need to search for the nesting inner Matryoshka doll, rather than fix on the outer casing: Putin’s ‘final completion’ likely will not credibly be achieved through some itinerant peace broker. In his Foreign Ministry address, Putin dismisses devices such as ‘ceasefires’ or ‘freezes’. He is seeking something permanent: An arrangement that has ‘solid legs’; one that has durability.

Such a solution – as Putin before has hinted – requires a new world security architecture to come into being; and were that to happen, then a complete solution for Ukraine would flow as an implicit part to a new world order. That is to say, with the microcosm of a Ukraine solution flowing implicitly from the macrocosm agreement between the U.S. and the ‘Heartland’ powers – settling the borders to their respective security interests.

This clearly is impossible now, with the U.S. in its psychological mindset stuck in the Cold War era of the 1970s and 1980s. The end to that war – the seeming U.S. victory – set the foundation to the 1992 Wolfowitz Doctrine which underscored American supremacy at all costs in a post-Soviet world, together with “stamping out rivals, wherever they may emerge”.

“In conjunction with this, the Wolfowitz Doctrine stipulated that the U.S. would … [inaugurate] a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic zone of peace”. Russia, on the other hand, was dealt with differently—the country fell off the radar. It became insignificant as a geopolitical competitor in the eyes of the West, as its gestures of peaceful offerings were rebuffed – and guarantees given to it regarding NATO’s expansion forfeited”.

“Moscow could do nothing to prevent such an endeavour. The successor state of the mighty Soviet Union was not its equal, and thus not considered important enough to be involved in global decision-making. Yet, despite its reduced size and sphere of influence, Russia has persisted in being considered a key player in international affairs”.

Russia today is a preeminent global actor in both the economic and political spheres. Yet for the Ruling Strata in the U.S., equal status between Moscow and Washington is out of the question. The Cold War mentality still infuses the Beltway with the unwarranted confidence that the Ukraine conflict might somehow result in Russian collapse and dismemberment.

Putin in his address, by contrast, looked ahead to the collapse of the Euro-Atlantic security system – and of a new architecture emerging. “The world will never be the same again”, Putin said.

Implicitly, he hints that such a radical shift would be the only way credibly to end the Ukraine war. An agreement emerging from the wider framework of consensus on the division of interests between the Rimland and the Heartland (in Mackinder-esque language) would reflect the security interests of each party – and not be achieved at the expense of others’ security.

And to be clear: If this analysis is correct, Russia may not be in such a hurry to conclude matters in Ukraine. The prospect of such a ‘global’ negotiation between Russia-China and the U.S. is still far off.

The point here is that the collective western psyche has not been transformed sufficiently. Treating Moscow with equal esteem remains out of the question for Washington.

The new American narrative is no negotiations with Moscow now, but maybe it will become possible sometime early in the new year – after the U.S. elections.

Well, Putin might surprise again – by not jumping at the prospect, but rebuffing it; assessing that the Americans still are not ready for negotiations for a ‘complete end’ to the war – especially as this latest narrative runs concurrently with talk of a new Ukraine offensive shaping up for 2025. Of course, much is likely to change over the coming year.

The documents outlining a putative new security order however, were already drafted by Russia in 2021 – and duly ignored in the West. Russia perhaps can afford to wait out military events in Ukraine, in Israel, and in the financial sphere.

They are all, in any event, trending Putin’s way. They are all inter-connected and have the potential for wide metamorphosis.

Put plainly: Putin is waiting on the shaping of the American Zeitgeist. He seemed very confident both at St Petersburg and last week at the Foreign Ministry.

The backdrop to the G7’s Ukraine preoccupation seemed to be more U.S. elections-related, than real: This implies that the priority in Italy was election optics, rather than a desire to start a full-blown hot war. But this may be wrong.

Russian speakers during these recent gatherings – notably Sergei Lavrov – hinted broadly that the order already had come down for war with Russia. Europe seems, however improbably, to be gearing up for war – with much chatter about military conscription.

Will it all blow away with the passing of a hot summer of elections? Maybe.

The coming phase seems likely to entail western escalation, with provocations occurring inside Russia. The latter will react strongly to any crossing of (real) red lines by NATO, or any false flag provocation (now widely expected by Russiam military bloggers).

And herein lies the greatest danger: In the context of escalation, American disdain for Russia poses the greatest danger. The West now says it treats notions of putative nuclear exchange as Putin’s ‘bluff’. The Financial Times tells us that Russia’s nuclear warnings are ‘wearing thin’ in the West.

If this is true, western officials utterly misconceive the reality. It is only by understanding and taking the Russian nuclear warnings seriously that we may exclude the risk of nuclear weapons coming into play, as we move up the escalatory ladder with tit-for-tat measures.

Even though they say they believe them to be bluff, U.S. figures nonetheless hype the risk of a nuclear exchange. If they think it to be a bluff, it appears to be based on the presumption that Russia has few other options.

This would be wrong: There are several escalatory steps that Russia can take up the ladder, before reaching the tactical nuclear weapon stage: Trade and financial counter-attack; symmetrical provision of advanced weaponry to western adversaries (corresponding to U.S. supplies to Ukraine); cutting the electricity branch distribution coming from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania; strikes on border munition crossings; and taking a leaf from the Houthis who have knocked down several sophisticated and costly U.S. drones, disabling America’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) infrastructure.


Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 23:40

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Visualizing How Long Each Generation Can Survive Without Income?

Visualizing How Long Each Generation Can Survive Without Income?

With nearly half of people under 34 worldwide unable to cover their needs for a month or less without income, it is no surprise that financial resiliency is a hot topic.

So, for this graphic, Visual Capitalist has partnered with Lloyd’s Register Foundation to explore economic resilience further and determine how long the average person can afford to cover their needs without income.

World Risk Poll 2024 Report: Economic Resilience

Lloyd’s Register Foundation produces the World Risk Poll every two years in partnership with Gallup, and the World Risk Poll 2024 report explores the everyday risks of 147,000 people from 142 nations.

They asked respondents how long they could afford to cover basic needs, such as food, transport, and shelter, if they lost all income. 

Here’s what they found:

The results reveal a distinct trend across all age groups, with respondents typically falling into two categories: those with one month or less of financial runway, and those with more than four months. Relatively fewer respondents reported being able to survive two to three months.

National Economic Resilience

The nation where a person lives also significantly contributes to their ability to cover their basic needs.

The divide is particularly sharp between the percentage of respondents who could only cover their needs for a week or less and those who could cover their needs for a month or more—a tiny minority in developed economies, but a significant share of respondents from some developing nations.

Engineering a Safer World

The World Risk Poll 2024 report has revealed a weakness in global economic resilience. Younger individuals and those in developing countries are at higher risk than older individuals or those in developed countries.

The report shines a light on the risks ordinary people face, such as how long they can cover their needs without income. However, the World Risk Poll 2024 report also highlights many more risks, such as global plastic waste, people’s safety at work, and the threat of climate change.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 23:20

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/4FIkbfO Tyler Durden

Waste Of The Day: Newsom Wants Stronghold Over California Taxes

Waste Of The Day: Newsom Wants Stronghold Over California Taxes

Authored by Adam Andrzejewski via RealClearInvestigations,

Topline: California voters may soon have a more direct voice in approving their sky-high tax rates — unless Gov. Gavin Newsom and other top Democratic lawmakers have something to say about it.

Newsom’s attorneys are asking the state Supreme Court to remove an upcoming ballot measure that would require new taxes to be approved by voters, not just lawmakers.

Key facts: The proposed Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act would stop new state taxes from being enacted without support from two thirds of the Legislature and a majority of voters. New local taxes would need approval from two thirds of city voters.

Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses of the California Legislature. Top politicians are backed by labor unions and big-city mayors in their effort to stop the ballot measure, according to Politico. Their attorneys say the proposal unconstitutionally removes elected officials’ ability to raise revenue.

The campaign in support of the ballot measure is funded mostly by real estate moguls and the California Business Roundtable, which brings together executives from the largest employers in the state.

The CA Supreme Court heard arguments in May, but Politico reports that justices seem willing to let the measure go to voters in November and then rule on its constitutionality if it passes.

California collected $280.8 billion in taxes in 2022, more than double any other state. That’s $7,195 per person, also the most in the nation.

Background: OpenTheBooks has spent years covering the questionable Newsom and his conflicts of interest or wasteful spending.

It took OpenTheBooks.com ten years to force open the California state checkbook. Then, we found that Gov. Newsom solicited up to 1,000 state vendors, their key employees and executives, for $10.6 million in campaign donations. Those companies received $6.2 billion in state payments during FY2021.

Newsom’s administration also sent $2.3 million to Gender Spectrum, a nonprofit that supports kindergarten students’ “gender journey” and encourages students to invent their own gender.

Critical quote: Carolyn Coleman, CEO of the League of California Cities, told the Associated Press that the ballot measure puts 100 local taxes worth over $2 billion at risk.

“We’re raising the resources to fill potholes, so that we can support affordable housing in our community, so we can work to address homelessness, so that when you dial 911 there’s somebody there to answer the phone — not in two minutes — but in 30 seconds,” Coleman said.

Supporting quote: Lawyers supporting the ballot measure told justices, “Our constitution, since its inception, has stated that all political power is inherent in the people. It has stated that the people have the power to reform and alter their government whenever they decide it needs reform … The people have the last word.”

Summary: America was founded on the with three important word, “We The People…” California must allow that to happen.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 22:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/Q71AhJX Tyler Durden

Widely Used And Deemed Safe, These Food Additives Are More Harmful Than Thought

Widely Used And Deemed Safe, These Food Additives Are More Harmful Than Thought

Authored by Flora Zhao via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

On her first day after moving from Australia to the United States, Elizabeth Dunford walked into a supermarket to buy bread. As a researcher of food additives, she instinctively glanced at the ingredients label.

Why are there so many additives?” she exclaimed in surprise. Nearly every loaf she picked up contained ingredients that made her uneasy. After lingering by the shelves, she reluctantly chose a bag.

“At that moment, I thought: It looks like I will have to choose the best from the worst when shopping in the future,” Ms. Dunford, project consultant for The George Institute for Global Health and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina, told The Epoch Times.

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock)

Today, over 73 percent of the U.S. food supply is ultra-processed. While both natural and ultra-processed foods are referred to as “food,” there is a vast difference between them. For instance, ultra-processed foods are not grown in soil but manufactured in factories, using many ingredients that cannot be found in the average home pantry.

Beyond conventional additives such as preservatives, colors, and flavorings, many new additives are emerging. Stabilizers, emulsifiers, firming agents, leavening agents, anti-caking agents, humectants, and more have been invented to modify and improve the taste and texture of food.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists at least 3,972 substances added to food.

Perhaps driven by a growing desire for richer and more varied flavors or by the pressures of fast-paced living, people have become accustomed to these substances, even considering them a natural part of the modern diet.

Then and Now

In the old days, families used salt and vinegar to preserve food. But with the advent of the industrial age, people became increasingly reliant on ready-made foods available on supermarket shelves.

By the mid-20th century, more and more food additives were being used,” said Mona Calvo, who has a doctorate in nutritional sciences and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Only recently have people begun to pay closer attention to what goes into the foods they eat.

People have become increasingly reliant on ready-made foods. Employees supervise chicken pieces being processed into nuggets on a conveyer belt. (Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images)

In the 1950s to 1970s, the FDA began evaluating the safety of common food additives, Ms. Calvo told The Epoch Times.

A safety assessment involves the scientific review of all relevant data, including toxicology and dietary exposure information,” an FDA spokesperson told The Epoch Times. These include tests conducted on rodents and cells. The ingredients will be added to food after the FDA gives its approval.

Consumers can identify what is in their packaged foods by the nutrition facts and ingredient labels, said Ms. Calvo.

Among the most widely used FDA-approved substances added to food, many have a safety classification known as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) based on their extensive historical use before 1958 or their safety evaluation in the 1970s or more recently.

However, many people may not realize that substances classified as GRAS often lack an upper limit on the amount that can be added to food. In many cases, the quantity added is based on Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) guidelines. Ms. Calvo explained that if a manufacturer adds an excessive amount of an additive during production, which makes it unpopular among consumers, it could affect product sales. In other words, the amount of substances added is left to the manufacturer’s discretion.

Over time, GRAS classification may be withdrawn for certain substances if the FDA is presented with compelling evidence of safety concerns associated with its use. A notable example is the official removal of trans fats from the GRAS list in 2015.

Ms. Calvo pointed out another unresolved issue: There is no oversight on how much of these additive-containing foods people actually consume.

Many of the commonly used food additives were granted GRAS approval between 1970 and 1975, when people could not foresee the situation today,” she said. During that era, fewer women worked outside the home, and people consumed more home-cooked meals made from natural ingredients. With the prevalence of ultra-processed foods in today’s diet, the consumption of certain additives has naturally exceeded initial expectations.

The FDA officially removed trans fats from the GRAS list in 2015. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After an additive is approved for a specific function, food manufacturers often quickly incorporate it into a wide range of products, including breads, cookies, instant soups, sausages, and frozen, prepackaged meals.

Dr. Jaime Uribarri, a nephrology specialist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai who has long been concerned about specific food additives, told The Epoch Times that “once an additive-containing packaged food is in the marketplace, the FDA does not have a mechanism for regularly testing its safety, such as through periodic sampling checks.”

The Useful and the Unnecessary

Objectively speaking, some food additives may offer more benefits than drawbacks, said Ms. Dunford.

Preservatives, for example, help extend the shelf life of food. Adding a moderate amount of nitrites to cured meats can prevent botulism, a serious condition.

However, she pointed out that many additives that enhance color, flavor, and other sensory aspects are “essentially not necessary.”

Scientists have demonstrated in various studies the health hazards of consuming ultra-processed foods, including their close association with early death, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, respiratory diseases, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.

Specifically, a cohort study involving nearly 45,000 middle-aged and older individuals in France found that for every 10 percent increase in the intake of ultra-processed foods, the risk of all-cause mortality increased by 14 percent. According to a 2024 umbrella review published in the BMJ, convincing evidence has been found linking ultra-processed food to a 50 percent increase in cardiovascular disease mortality, a 53 percent increase in common mental disorder outcomes, and a dose-dependent 12 percent increase in diabetes risk.

Ultra-processed food is linked to significant increases in cardiovascular disease mortality, mental disorder outcomes, and diabetes risks. (The Epoch Times)

While part of the increased risks can be attributed to the use of high-sugar, high-salt, high-fat, and low-fiber ingredients, some additives previously thought to be safe also warrant attention.

“Phosphate additives is one that I’m very wary of,” said Ms. Dunford.

Phosphate Additives

A 2023 study published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition found that of all the 3,466 U.S. packaged foods tested, over half contained phosphate additives.

Phosphate additives encompass a range of substances with various functions, such as stabilizing, thickening, emulsifying, adjusting acidity and alkalinity, improving texture, enhancing flavor, providing antioxidant properties, preserving, and coloring. Some phosphates serve multiple functions simultaneously.

Multiple studies have shown that the health hazards associated with consuming ultra-processed foods are linked to a high intake of inorganic phosphates.

The body’s absorption rate and utilization efficiency for phosphorus vary depending on the source. When a person eats natural foods, the release of phosphorus is relatively slow, and not all of it is absorbed. In contrast, inorganic phosphate food additives are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, significantly increasing blood phosphate levels and releasing hormones that promote phosphate excretion. These hormones can have a range of adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, kidneys, and bones, resulting in reduced vitamin D levels, bone loss, vascular calcification, and impaired kidney filtration capacity.

Using inorganic phosphate additives in animal or cell experiments results in immediate side effects. “That gives you enough rationale to suspect that these may happen also in humans,” said Dr. Uribarri.

Read more here…

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 21:40

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Assange To Be Freed: DoJ Agrees ‘Time Served’ Plea Deal With WikiLeaks Founder

Assange To Be Freed: DoJ Agrees ‘Time Served’ Plea Deal With WikiLeaks Founder

In a shocking turn of events, Julian Assange will plead guilty to leaking US national security secrets and return to his native Australia, under a deal with Biden’s DoJ that ends a nearly 15-year battle nightmare for the WikiLeaks founder.

After spending more than a decade holed up and imprisoned in London – mainly to avoid being sent to the US – Assange, 52, is expected to be sentenced to time served (62 months in a Belmarsh prison – a high security facility in South-East London) during a court appearance Wednesday in Saipan, in the US Northern Mariana Islands, avoiding a potentially lengthy sentence in an American prison.

Prosecutors had been in talks with Assange to resolve the 2019 case, The Wall Street Journal reported in March, with one sticking point being Assange’s desire to never set foot in the United States.

To enter a felony plea, defendants generally have to show up in person in court. 

Assange’s team had floated the possibility of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor, the Journal reported, which would mean Assange could enter the plea remotely.

The Justice Department and Assange’s legal team reached a compromise under which Assange wouldn’t have to travel to suburban Virginia, where the original case is filed, and prosecutors could still get a felony plea, the people said.  

As The FT reports, the agreement aims to resolve what has been a remarkable stand-off between the DoJ and Assange, who has become one of the world’s most controversial advocates for government transparency and whose legal troubles have spanned multiple countries. 

The plea deal also offers a neat solution to what was becoming an increasing political headache for the U.S. government. 

Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he hoped the U.S. could find a way to conclude the case against Assange, and lawmakers there passed a motion calling for Assange to be allowed to return to his native home. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also weighed in, saying that the British courts should not extradite Assange to the U.S. In February, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Alice Jill Edwards, said Assange shouldn’t be extradited to the U.S. to face trial, saying he suffered from “depressive disorder” and was at risk of being placed in solitary confinement.

Finally, while this is excellent news for Assange and his family – and journalistic freedom everywhere – we can’t help but wonder if this outstanding result would have occurred were it not for Biden heading into the first debate with Trump with his poll numbers in the toilet…

Who cares! They are; and Julian is free…

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 19:34

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It Took Nvidia 23 Days To Add $1 Trillion In Market Cap; Berkshire Hathaway Hasn’t Managed That In 60 Years

It Took Nvidia 23 Days To Add $1 Trillion In Market Cap; Berkshire Hathaway Hasn’t Managed That In 60 Years

This morning, Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid published his latest chart book titled “Charts to make you go WOW” (available here to pro subs), which will prompt a few surprised exclamations even from the hardened cynics.

And while there is an extensive selection to pick from – and we will go over the charts in more details shortly –  it’s hard to pick a more “wow” chart example than the recent developments involving Nvidia (there’s lots more beside in the pack from AI and industrial revolutions to debt, deficits, demographics, migration and housing).

The chart below shows that it’s taken 60 years for the most famous and arguably successful investor in the world, Warren Buffet, to build Berkshire Hathaway up to just shy of a trillion-dollar company ($883bn at Friday’s close). Indeed the company’s origins began in the 19th century so the full journey has taken well over a century and it’s yet to hit a trillion dollars.

Contrast that with Nvidia, which went from just below $2tn market cap for the last time on April 24th, to over $3tn just 30 trading days later. Even more impressively, at its record close last Tuesday, where it became the largest company in the world, the last trillion of market cap was added in only 23 trading days.

Then again, the higher they rise… Nvidia opened on Thursday after the holiday another 3% higher, melting up on virtually no volume (and a brutal gamma squeeze). But since that intraday peak it has tumbled 13% in just three days, and slipped back to 3rd in the S&P 500 rankings. The move came as portfolio managers rebalanced portfolios at the end of the quarter, with JPM calculating some $50 billion in selling pressure from pension funds, to account for the surge in tech shares; the start of the buyback blackout period last week didn’t help either.

So, as Jim Reid asks rhetorically, is this a pause for breath or signs the air is being let out of the balloon? He responds that while his chart book hints that he does believe in AI, there have been signs of over exuberance in the US market over the last month. Penny stock trading has soared and net call options on Mega Cap Growth and Tech has exploded in June.

This, alongside positioning and the move into the buyback blackout period, has led DB strategist to suggest a “breather” is likely.

More in the full DB Monthly Chartbook “Charts to make you go WOW” available to pro subs.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 18:40

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Louisiana Governor Signs Bill Authorizing Surgical Castration For Child Sex Offenders

Louisiana Governor Signs Bill Authorizing Surgical Castration For Child Sex Offenders

Authored by Aldgra Fredly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry has signed into law a bill that would allow state judges to sentence those convicted of sex crimes against victims under the age of 13 to undergo surgical castration.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry speaks during a press conference at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., on June 18, 2024. (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)

Senate Bill 371, sponsored by state Sen. Regina Ashford Barrow, is expected to take effect on Aug. 1 following the Republican governor’s signature on June 18.

The law allows Louisiana judges to punish offenders aged 17 and older with surgical castration if they are convicted of aggravated sex crimes against a victim under the age of 13.

The Department of Public Safety and Corrections will oversee the procedure, but it will not be performed if “not medically appropriate,” according to the bill.

Under the law, a court-appointed medical expert will need to determine whether the offender is “an appropriate candidate” for surgical castration within 60 days from the imposition of sentence.

“In all cases involving an offender sentenced to a period of incarceration or confinement in institution, the procedure shall be performed not later than one week prior to the offender’s release from the institution,” the legislation reads.

If an offender “fails to appear” as required by court order for surgical castration, the offender may be charged and sentenced to three to five years in prison without the “benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence,” according to the new law.

The bill garnered bipartisan support in the state legislature. During a committee hearing in April, Republican state Sen. Valarie Hodges described the measure as “a consequence” for offenders guilty of committing sex crimes against children.

“It’s a step over and beyond just going to jail and getting out,” Ms. Hodges said, according to The Associated Press.

The legislation, proposed by Ms. Barrow, expands on a previous act by authorizing a judge to order a physical castration to those convicted of a sex offense in which the victim was 13 or under.

“We are talking about babies who are being violated by somebody,” the Democratic senator said at the committee meeting in April. “That is inexcusable.”

According to state law, voluntary castration for people convicted of rape dates back to 2008, when the Legislature passed legislation that sentenced a sex offender “to be treated with medroxyprogesterone acetate, or MPA.”

“However, in lieu of treatment with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), the court may order the defendant to undergo physical castration provided the defendant file a written motion with the court stating that he intelligently and knowingly, gives his voluntary consent to physical castration as an alternative to the treatment,” the act states.

Matt McGregor contributed to this report.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 17:40

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Video Allegedly Shows Houthi Kamikaze-Drone Boat Targeting Another Bulk-Carrier

Video Allegedly Shows Houthi Kamikaze-Drone Boat Targeting Another Bulk-Carrier

The increasing number of Red Sea and Gulf of Aden attacks on commercial vessels by Yemen’s Houthi rebels is a wake-up call to not just the global maritime industry but to commodity traders and macro observers due to the ongoing risks of supply shocks as one of the world’s most critical maritime chokepoints has been under threat for at least six months.

In recent weeks, Houthis launched a new kamikaze boat drone campaign, already sinking Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned-and-operated Tutor in the Red Sea last week. 

Over the weekend, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported two attacks. The first ship, Transworld Navigator, had been targeted in the Red Sea by what the Houthis describe as a boat drone, while the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) said a “suspected uncrewed aerial system.”

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said the Transworld Navigator was targeted with an uncrewed surface boat.

“The first of which targeted the ship (TRANSWORLD NAVIGATOR) with a drone boat for the second time in the Red Sea,” Saree said in a statement posted on X. 

Alleged video of the boat drone attack was posted on X by Saudi state-owned media outlet Al Arabiya early Monday morning. The video shows what appears to be a small craft packed with explosives heading towards the center point of the ship’s hull. The crew member filming the attack took cover, the video went black, then seconds later, a massive explosion was heard.

UKMTO noted on Sunday that the second attack in the Gulf of Aden led the crew to “abandon the ship” because of “severe flooding that cannot be contained.” 

Houthi spokesperson Saree said, “Others targeted the ship (STOLT SEQUOIA) with a number of winged missiles in the Indian Ocean.” 

According to the US Maritime Administration, the Houthis have launched over 50 attacks on vessels in the Middle East, endangering sailors and sinking two ships since November.

In response, the US and its allies have attempted to neutralize the Houthis by bombing radar sites and other critical military assets in Yemen. Despite these efforts, including the Biden administration’s Operation Prosperity Guardian, the move to ensure freedom of navigation has been deemed a failure. 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 17:20

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Supreme Court Ruling Called ‘Life-Saving’ By Gun Control Advocates, Troubling For Gun Rights Groups

Supreme Court Ruling Called ‘Life-Saving’ By Gun Control Advocates, Troubling For Gun Rights Groups

Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 8-to-1 ruling on June 21 upholding a federal law barring people under domestic restraining orders from owning guns has been hailed by gun control advocates, while gun rights advocates are split over the possible impacts of the decision.

Riverton, Utah, Mayor Trent Staggs addresses delegates at the Utah Republican Party Convention in Salt Lake City on April 27, 2024. (Hannah Schoenbaum/AP Photo)

Gun control advocates praised the decision in United States v. Rahimi as an essential protection for victims of domestic violence and a check on the firearms industry.

“Today’s decision affirms that domestic abusers like Zackey Rahimi do not have the constitutional right to possess a gun,” a joint statement from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action reads.

Mr. Rahimi is an Arlington, Texas, drug dealer who abused his girlfriend.

In 2019, she won a domestic violence restraining order against him under federal law that bars anyone subject to such an order from possessing or purchasing firearms.

After agreeing to the order, Mr. Rahimi went on to assault a woman and was involved in at least five shootings. His firearms were confiscated under 18 USC 922 (g) (8) because of the restraining order.

He appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled that, under the June 2022 Supreme Court decision in New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, 18 USC 922 (g) (8) was unconstitutional.

In Bruen, the high court recognized the constitutional right to bear arms in public for self-defense, and ruled that a gun law is constitutional only if it aligns with the plain text of the Constitution and a similar law was in effect at the time the amendment was adopted.

In the Rahimi case, the Supreme Court reversed the Fifth Circuit, ruling that the Second Amendment is not violated when a person is disarmed after a court has deemed him a credible threat to an individual or the community.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

In an email to its membership, Brady United Against Gun Violence, formerly the Brady Campaign, cheered the Rahimi decision.

“Guns are the number one weapon of choice for domestic abusers, and thankfully, the Court has made a life-saving decision in U.S. v. Rahimi,” the Brady email reads.

Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and The National Association on Mental Illness did not respond to emails from The Epoch Times seeking comment.

In a joint statement online, Everytown and Moms Demand Action wrote that they have more work to do.

They stated that the ruling is an essential step in the fight to prevent violent crime involving guns. They cited data showing that abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their partners. In the online statement, they placed the blame on the firearms industry.

Kim Russell of Moms Demand Action at City Hall on June 14. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“This is a win for the gun safety movement and another loss for the gun lobby hellbent on putting lives in danger,” Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action, wrote.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement from Attorney General Merrick Garland in which he wrote that the decision affirms the Biden Administration’s position.

“The Justice Department will continue to enforce this important statute, which for nearly 30 years has helped to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence from their abusers,” the statement reads.

Gun Rights Advocates

Gun rights organizations have said from the beginning that Rahimi was a problematic case for Second Amendment advocates. Eric Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, said the Rahimi decision proves that “hard cases make bad law.”

In an email to The Epoch Times, he expressed concern that the decision would be used to justify Extreme Risk Protection Orders (red flag laws). He pointed out that Mr. Rahimi had been shown in court to be dangerous. Mr. Pratt warned that many red flag laws don’t require this burden of proof.

“However, this ruling will disarm others who have never actually committed any domestic violence,” he wrote.

Richard Hayes, a Second Amendment lawyer based in Houston, Texas, agreed with Mr. Pratt.

This reasoning will likely be used and abused by governments on a whole matter of infringements, including red flag laws,” he stated in an email to The Epoch Times.

One Milwaukee-based Second Amendment lawyer and social media influencer also warned that the decision could encourage more gun-control efforts.

Erich Pratt, senior vice president for Gun Owners of America, in an interview on NTD’s Capitol Report on May 28, 2022. (NTD/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Tom Grieve—a lawyer who specializes in the Second Amendment and hosts a YouTube channel focused on Second Amendment issues—sent a statement to The Epoch Times voicing concern over how the decision might be used in the future.

“In Rahimi, the Court took a broader view than many Second Amendment supporters would prefer on the ill-defined term, ‘history and tradition,’ and in so doing may have inadvertently opened up the floodgates to future gun control,” Mr. Grieve stated.

Law Passes Bruen Test

Mark Smith, a constitutional lawyer and host of the Four Boxes Diner Second Amendment YouTube Channel, said that, in his opinion, the court made the correct decision. He pointed out that Mr. Rahimi’s challenge was to the law “on its face.” As such, he did not address any procedural issues, such as whether he had been convicted of a crime.

According to Mr. Smith, the United States has a history of disarming dangerous persons. Since a court had determined Mr. Rahimi was dangerous, and based on history and tradition, disarming him did not violate the Second Amendment, he wrote on the social media platform X.

“This was an exceedingly narrow opinion that adhered to Bruen’s methodology and decided only that under 2A, individuals found to be a threat of physical violence after a judicial proceeding can be disarmed for only a temporary period of time,” Mr. Smith’s X post reads.

Randy Kozuch, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, agreed. He said it should have little or no bearing on the debate over red flag laws.

“This decision holds only that an individual who poses a clear threat of violence may be temporarily disarmed after a judicial finding of dangerousness,” he wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 17:00

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/76sSUY9 Tyler Durden

Goldman Explains Why A Trump Victory Will Pop The AI/Tech Bubble

Goldman Explains Why A Trump Victory Will Pop The AI/Tech Bubble

With the November elections less than five months ago, the market has been amazingly complacent and oblivious about the potential shock that, frankly, either presidency would unleash. But that’s about to change.

As Goldman trader John Flood warns in a weekend note, the results of the upcoming US presidential election could have a substantial impact on the USD and the relative performance of domestic-facing vs. internationally-exposed firms. The first presidential debate is scheduled for this Thursday, June 27th.

Meanwhile, online prediction markets imply slightly higher odds of a Trump presidency than a Biden presidency, with the probability of a Republication sweep (42%) almost twice the odds of a Democratic sweep (22%)…

And as attention finally starts to turn to the outcome of the elections, Goldman economists expect the dollar to strengthen under a Republican White House victory regardless of whether there is a sweep or divided government. That’s because as discussed earlier, Trump has floated several potential tariff policies, including a 10% across-the-board tariff on imports along with a 60% tariff on imports from China, all of which would spark a sharp increase in inflation. And, as Goldman notes, “tariff increases appear likely in the event of a Trump victory and would likely strengthen the USD.” The bank goes on to caution that tariffs would create a headwind to the performance of stocks with high international revenue exposure due to the risk of retaliatory tariffs as well as heightened geopolitical tensions. It may come as a shock to some that the all too bubbly Tech has the highest international sales exposures with a whopping 59% of total revenues (and 17% is purely EM), while the far less bubbly Cyclicals are in second place.

In addition to companies with elevated international revenues, companies that are dependent on international suppliers would also face headwinds from tariffs. Goldman screened S&P 1500 goods companies into groups of stocks with the largest exposure to suppliers from the US, suppliers outside the US, and suppliers in Greater China specifically. Once again, the median Tech Hardware stock has the greatest exposure to suppliers from Greater China while the median Broadline Retail stock has the greatest exposure to domestic suppliers.

Goldman shows that an equal-weighted portfolio of stocks most exposed to suppliers from Greater China (excluding Tech) has lagged a similarly-constructed portfolio of stocks most exposed to suppliers from the U.S. by 18% since last fall. The relative performance of these two groups has generally moved with prediction market odds of a Trump presidency…

Of course, if one also adds tech names to this portfolio of stocks exposed to China suppliers, one gets an exponential meltup… which is why anyone looking for the pin that pops the mega tech/AI bubble, look no further than Trump’s victory on November 5.

More in the full Goldman note available in the usual place to professional subs.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 06/24/2024 – 11:05

via ZeroHedge News https://ift.tt/laqzNXA Tyler Durden