Brickbat: Don’t Take Your Guns to Town


Gun salute

David Riley, commander of the American Legion Department of New York, said the group has asked lawmakers for clarification of a new state law banning firearms from “sensitive locations” such as public parks, museums and sports fields. He said the language of the law would seem to ban veterans groups from firing the traditional three-volley salute during patriotic events and veterans funerals. Some historical re-enactors have expressed concern about the law’s impact on their use of firearms during re-enactments. In a statement, the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul said those groups are misreading the law and their concerns are misplaced.

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Brickbat: Don’t Take Your Guns to Town


Gun salute

David Riley, commander of the American Legion Department of New York, said the group has asked lawmakers for clarification of a new state law banning firearms from “sensitive locations” such as public parks, museums and sports fields. He said the language of the law would seem to ban veterans groups from firing the traditional three-volley salute during patriotic events and veterans funerals. Some historical re-enactors have expressed concern about the law’s impact on their use of firearms during re-enactments. In a statement, the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul said those groups are misreading the law and their concerns are misplaced.

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Study Records 115 “Provocative Maneuvers, Close Encounters” Between US & China Warships This Year

Study Records 115 “Provocative Maneuvers, Close Encounters” Between US & China Warships This Year

Authored by Brett Wilkins via Common Dreams,

A group working for peaceful relations between the United States and China on Monday sent a letter to leaders of both countries imploring them to end or limit “dangerous and provocative military maneuvers” in the South China Sea and near Taiwan that could lead to all-out war.

Writing to U.S. President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Committee for a SANE U.S.-China Policy co-chairs Joseph Gerson and Michael Klare warned that “combative” U.S. and Chinese naval and aerial maneuvers “could result in the outbreak of accidental or unintended conflict with unforeseeable and possibly catastrophic consequences.”

Via Reuters

The group documented 115 “provocative maneuvers and close encounters” between U.S. and Chinese forces this year, with a dramatic increase following a controversial August visit to Taiwan by a U.S. congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

According to the document, China initiated 93 of the incidents, while the U.S. triggered 22. They ranged from “modest actions” by one or two ships or planes to “large-scale maneuvers” like a Chinese air force exercise involving 62 warplanes along China’s maritime border with Taiwan. 

“Whenever these maneuvers occur, it is common for the opposing side to mobilize its own air and naval forces to guard its territory (or those of its allies) and ward off any intruders,” the letter notes. “This has resulted, on some occasions, in close encounters between the ships and planes of the opposing sides—with only the skillful action of pilots and helmsmen preventing a potentially deadly collision.”

“This good fortune, however, is not likely to last forever,” the group cautioned, “and, with the frequency and scale of these maneuvers increasing by the week, the likelihood of a mishap is increasing exponentially.”

“Given this danger, we call on you to immediately take unilateral and bilateral steps to reduce the risk of an accidental or unintended clash between U.S. and [Chinese] air and naval forces in the West Pacific by discontinuing or scaling back military exercises that could be deemed threatening by others,” the letter continues.

Satellite imagery showing US and Chinese warships on either side of the Taiwan Strait median line on Sept.20…

The activists also urged the two countries’ leaders to hold talks “between military officials of the two sides,” plus “other interested parties such as Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines,” to create “‘rules of the road’ for safe, nonthreatening air and naval maneuvers.” The group’s letter comes amid intense U.S. diplomatic efforts to persuade China to be less supportive of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It is peculiar,” wrote South China Morning Post opinion contributor Dong Lei on Friday, “how Washington expects help from China on Ukraine while maintaining a campaign of hectoring and humiliation, including on China’s refusal to condemn Russia, and on Taiwan.”

Tyler Durden
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 03:30

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Tesla Pleads For Employees To Help With “Very High Volume” Of Deliveries Heading Into Quarter-End

Tesla Pleads For Employees To Help With “Very High Volume” Of Deliveries Heading Into Quarter-End

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: we’re heading into the end of the quarter and an email has magically leaked to the pro-Tesla blog over at electrek – and again it’s a plea from Elon Musk to his employees to help keep up with incredible delivery demand.

It almost feels like we relive this same scenario every single quarter…

Regardless, it’s looking like Q3 2022 isn’t going to be the exception, with electrek dutifully reporting this morning that Tesla is expecting a “very high volume” of vehicle deliveries during the end of the quarter. 

And the organization is – wait for it – asking for all employee hands on deck. “We have been starting to get indications that it could be another intense delivery push,” the blog wrote on Tuesday morning. 

In an email obtained by electrek, Tesla wrote to its employees: “We will be delivering a very high volume of vehicles to eagerly waiting customers during the final days of Q3. To help ensure we can delight as many customers as possible, the delivery team is requesting additional support with key delivery-execution tasks.”

Tesla calls for all employees to help with tasks related to delivering vehicles in the email. This includes employees not in the sales and delivery department potentially partaking in tasks like “preparing vehicles, delivering vehicles directly to customers, and answering customer questions on delivery day”, the blog says. 

For the quarter, analysts are expecting deliveries between 350,000 and 370,000. The company’s previous record was about 310,000 units, which it achieved in Q1 of this year. Delivery numbers are expected to be released this weekend. 

“There’s no doubt that this quarter is going to be another delivery record,” electrek writes with bold certainty. “But the last few days of the month could make the difference between Tesla hitting the lower end or the higher end of those 350,000- to 370,000-unit delivery estimates.”

How soon until electrek’s staff flies out to California to help wash cars and prepare them for delivery, too?

Tyler Durden
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 02:45

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New Zealand Calls It Quits On Aiding Ukraine’s Military

New Zealand Calls It Quits On Aiding Ukraine’s Military

At a moment Washington continues what’s essentially an endless arms and financial aid pipeline to Ukraine, and as some defense officials express concerns over the Pentagon’s own dwindling stockpiles, one country says it’s giving up on arming Kyiv.

New Zealand, which is one of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing partners which includes the US, now says it can no longer keep up with supplying what Ukraine is asking for without depleting its stockpiles.

“The New Zealand government has expanded sanctions on key Russians, but cannot provide further military assistance as it has nothing Ukraine wants,” The Canberra Times reports Tuesday.

Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H(NZ) Hercules arrives into the Australian Defence Force’s main operating base in the UAE. Source: Australian military

Defense Minister Peeni Henare said his country stands “ready to provide further lethal aid if Ukraine’s needs matched its stockpiles.”

The top defense official then confirmed it is currently the case that the military cannot keep up:

Asked on Tuesday whether New Zealand had considered further military support, Mr Henare said the requests didn’t match “on our current assessment and according to the requests in the donor meetings I’ve been on”.

“On those donor calls, they’ve come asking and it’s for HIMARS, land-to-air defence systems and also land-to-sea defence systems,” he said.

So far, New Zealand’s contribution has been meager – given also it’s a tiny Pacific island nation – compared to European countries, and has been focused on defensive equipment such as body armor.

“If they were things we were to procure, they would take years but that hasn’t stopped us providing military aid,” PM Jacinda Ardern commented this week on the logistical challenges in procuring and then shipping weapons abroad.

A look at historic New Zealand military expenditures over the last half-century…

But as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and major intelligence-sharing partner, New Zealand is without doubt assisting the US mission in support of Ukrainian forces in this arena. It is also vowing more sanctions, and has typically signed off on whatever fresh US and EU anti-Russia sanctions are rolled out.

Tyler Durden
Wed, 09/28/2022 – 02:00

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Trump’s Declassification Claims Are Implausible and Irrelevant


Donald Trump's claim that he declassified the documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago is implausible and irrelevant.

A few weeks after the FBI searched Donald Trump’s residence at his Palm Beach resort, Fox News host Steve Doocy, a longtime ally of the former president, posed a question that remains unanswered. “Why did he have all that secret stuff at Mar-a-Lago?” Doocy wondered during an interview with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Trump’s response—that the “secret stuff” was not really secret because he declassified it before he left office—is both implausible and, in the context of the potential crimes that the FBI is investigating, legally irrelevant. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit underlined both points last week.

Trump brought more than 300 records marked as classified to Mar-a-Lago, including 184 discovered in 15 boxes he gave the National Archives in January, 38 that his lawyers surrendered in June in response to a federal subpoena, and more than 100 seized during the FBI’s August 8 search. The documents ranged from “confidential” to “top secret” and included “special compartmented information” about intelligence sources and methods.

It is still not clear that storing those records at Mar-a-Lago posed a threat to national security grave and imminent enough to justify the unprecedented search of a former president’s home. At the same time, Trump’s justification for keeping them is hard to fathom.

Trump initially claimed he had “a standing order” as president that automatically declassified any documents he removed from the Oval Office. That policy was news to national security officials who should have known about it, and it would have been a haphazard and cavalier way to treat sensitive records.

William Barr, Trump’s former attorney general, thinks it is “highly improbable” that Trump ever issued such an order. But if he did, Barr says, it “would be such an abuse and show such recklessness that it’s almost worse than taking the documents.”

In a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity last week, Trump himself cast doubt on his initial explanation, saying the president can declassify documents simply “by thinking about it.” That means such decisions do not have to be communicated to anyone, even though the whole point is to change how records are stored and handled.

Even that explanation seems inconsistent with what Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran said in a May 25 letter to Justice Department official Jay Bratt. Corcoran told Bratt that documents “purportedly marked as classified” were “once in the White House and unknowingly included among the boxes brought to Mar-a-Lago by the movers.”

According to Corcoran, those records ended up at Mar-a-Lago by accident. If Trump did not know what was in the boxes, it is hard to see how he could have declassified the documents even “by thinking about it.”

Last week, a unanimous 11th Circuit panel, including two judges appointed by Trump, noted that he had presented “no evidence that any of these records were declassified.” And even if they were, the appeals court said, Trump had offered no reason to think he had “an individual interest” in them, that he “has a need to know the information” they contain, or that “he is entitled to them.”

Thanks to the 11th Circuit’s stay, the FBI can continue to use those 100-plus records in its criminal investigation, which likewise does not hinge on their current classification status. The FBI’s search warrant cited three possible felonies: mishandling of government records, obstruction of a federal investigation, and improper retention of “defense information” that “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

If the Justice Department ultimately decides to prosecute Trump for any of those offenses, it may have difficulty proving the requisite intent, since his conduct can plausibly be attributed to some combination of ignorance, arrogance, laziness, and sloppiness. But to obtain convictions, prosecutors would not have to refute Trump’s assertion that the classification status of any given document is contingent on his fleeting thoughts or acquisitive impulses.

© Copyright 2022 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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Trump’s Declassification Claims Are Implausible and Irrelevant


Donald Trump's claim that he declassified the documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago is implausible and irrelevant.

A few weeks after the FBI searched Donald Trump’s residence at his Palm Beach resort, Fox News host Steve Doocy, a longtime ally of the former president, posed a question that remains unanswered. “Why did he have all that secret stuff at Mar-a-Lago?” Doocy wondered during an interview with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Trump’s response—that the “secret stuff” was not really secret because he declassified it before he left office—is both implausible and, in the context of the potential crimes that the FBI is investigating, legally irrelevant. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit underlined both points last week.

Trump brought more than 300 records marked as classified to Mar-a-Lago, including 184 discovered in 15 boxes he gave the National Archives in January, 38 that his lawyers surrendered in June in response to a federal subpoena, and more than 100 seized during the FBI’s August 8 search. The documents ranged from “confidential” to “top secret” and included “special compartmented information” about intelligence sources and methods.

It is still not clear that storing those records at Mar-a-Lago posed a threat to national security grave and imminent enough to justify the unprecedented search of a former president’s home. At the same time, Trump’s justification for keeping them is hard to fathom.

Trump initially claimed he had “a standing order” as president that automatically declassified any documents he removed from the Oval Office. That policy was news to national security officials who should have known about it, and it would have been a haphazard and cavalier way to treat sensitive records.

William Barr, Trump’s former attorney general, thinks it is “highly improbable” that Trump ever issued such an order. But if he did, Barr says, it “would be such an abuse and show such recklessness that it’s almost worse than taking the documents.”

In a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity last week, Trump himself cast doubt on his initial explanation, saying the president can declassify documents simply “by thinking about it.” That means such decisions do not have to be communicated to anyone, even though the whole point is to change how records are stored and handled.

Even that explanation seems inconsistent with what Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran said in a May 25 letter to Justice Department official Jay Bratt. Corcoran told Bratt that documents “purportedly marked as classified” were “once in the White House and unknowingly included among the boxes brought to Mar-a-Lago by the movers.”

According to Corcoran, those records ended up at Mar-a-Lago by accident. If Trump did not know what was in the boxes, it is hard to see how he could have declassified the documents even “by thinking about it.”

Last week, a unanimous 11th Circuit panel, including two judges appointed by Trump, noted that he had presented “no evidence that any of these records were declassified.” And even if they were, the appeals court said, Trump had offered no reason to think he had “an individual interest” in them, that he “has a need to know the information” they contain, or that “he is entitled to them.”

Thanks to the 11th Circuit’s stay, the FBI can continue to use those 100-plus records in its criminal investigation, which likewise does not hinge on their current classification status. The FBI’s search warrant cited three possible felonies: mishandling of government records, obstruction of a federal investigation, and improper retention of “defense information” that “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.”

If the Justice Department ultimately decides to prosecute Trump for any of those offenses, it may have difficulty proving the requisite intent, since his conduct can plausibly be attributed to some combination of ignorance, arrogance, laziness, and sloppiness. But to obtain convictions, prosecutors would not have to refute Trump’s assertion that the classification status of any given document is contingent on his fleeting thoughts or acquisitive impulses.

© Copyright 2022 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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Watch: French PM Declares EU Will Be ‘Vigilant’ Against ‘Threat’ Of Democratically Elected Italian Leader

Watch: French PM Declares EU Will Be ‘Vigilant’ Against ‘Threat’ Of Democratically Elected Italian Leader

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Screenshot

Following the stunning election of conservative candidate Georgia Meloni to the office of Prime Minister in Italy, Meloni’s French counterpart has declared that the EU will be ‘vigilant’ against any ‘threat to human rights’ posed by the democratically elected leader.

France’s Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, stated during an interview that the EU intends to scrutinise the actions of the Italy’s first woman PM.

“In Europe, we have a set of values ​​and, of course, we will be mindful that these values ​​are respected by everyone when it comes to human rights and the right to abortion,” Borne proclaimed.

Meloni, a Catholic, has previously promised that there will be no crack down on abortion in Italy, but has expressed a desire to see more alternatives offered to women.

The comments of the French PM come after European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen threatened to punish Italy for electing a right-wing coalition government.

Von der Leyen stated that “we have tools” if Italy is not “willing to work with us”:

The thinly veiled threat was blasted by Matteo Salvini, head of Lega (The League), the party expected to form a coalition with Meloni’s government.

“These are disgusting words, the threatening tone is unacceptable,” Salvini urged, adding “Our parliamentary group will present a motion of censure,” and emphasising that the Italian people control what happens in their country, not “the Brussels bureaucrats”.

Following the victory of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, hysterical media coverage ensued, with numerous publications warning of the “return of fascism in Italy.”

Those concerns were rubbished by, of all people, former leftist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who called them “fake news.”

Tyler Durden
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 23:30

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Syria Demands Compensation For Oil Losses In UN Speech

Syria Demands Compensation For Oil Losses In UN Speech

In a rare plea before the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Syria’s top diplomat demanded compensation for oil and gas stolen by the United States, as well as its monumental energy losses over the course of the 11-year long war.

“The war against Syria, ultimately, was an attempt by the West to maintain control over the world,” Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the assembly on Monday, demanding further that the continuing US military occupation in the oil and gas rich northeast “should end immediately, without conditions.”

Syria’s foreign minister Faisal Mekdad addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this week.

He informed UN leaders that “direct and indirect” oil and gas sector losses over the course of the conflict have reached $107 billion, stressing further that Damascus is demanding compensation.

“Fighting terrorism does not happen through an illegitimate international coalition that violates Syria’s sovereignty and destroys towns and villages,” Mekdad asserted. He said that any ‘counterterror’ campaign or foreign presence on sovereign Syrian soil must be done in direct coordination with President Bashar al-Assad. 

While during the Trump administration years the hundreds of American troops stationed in eastern parts of Syria were there to “secure the oil” – as Trump had often repeated, the Biden administration has chosen to stress a continued counter-terrorism mission. And yet, US forces and their Kurdish SDF proxies continue to occupy the largest and most important oil and gas fields in the region

Russia too has long called for the immediate exit of American forces, and has of late appeared to step up its air campaign against anti-government jihadist elements in Idlib, which has put Turkey on edge. Pro-Iranian militias have reportedly launched sporadic attacks on US bases, meanwhile.

Ironically, just last week in President Joe Biden’s address to the UNGA, he declared “you cannot seize another country’s territory by force. The only country doing that is Russia.”

Many pundits were then quick to point out the obvious: that Biden denounced Russia’s occupation of eastern Ukraine all the while being completely oblivious to the years-long American occupation of Syria. Or alternately, Washington is certainly fully aware and believes itself to be the only country in the world with the “right” or “mandate” to seize any foreign soil that it wants to.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 23:00

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Pennsylvania Pro-Life Advocate to Appear In Federal Court Following Dawn SWAT Raid

Pennsylvania Pro-Life Advocate to Appear In Federal Court Following Dawn SWAT Raid

Authored by Allan Stein via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A Pennsylvania State Police SWAT officer stands by as Eric Frein arrives at the Pike County Courthouse for his arraignment in Milford, Penn., on Oct. 31, 2014. Frein, a suspected cop killer, was taken into custody from a Pennsylvania airport hangar after a seven-week manhunt. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

A pro-life advocate and father of seven will appear in federal court in Philadelphia on Sept. 27 to face charges that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act) outside a Pennsylvania abortion clinic nearly a year ago.

Mark Houck, a Catholic pro-life speaker and author from Kintnersville, Pennsylvania, is accused of twice physically assaulting a patient escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic during an altercation in October 2021.

On Sept. 23, a heavily armed Justice Department SWAT team arrested the 48-year-old Houck at his home at gunpoint, placing him in handcuffs while his terrified wife and children looked on.

Houck became the latest target of President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice solely to “intimidate people of faith and pro-life Americans,” said Peter Breen, an attorney at the Thomas Moore Society, a national non-profit law firm representing Houck in the case.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Penn., on Sept. 1, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Mark Houck is innocent of these lawless charges, and we intend to prove that in court,” Breen said in a Sept. 26 statement.

About 20 heavily armed FBI agents stormed Houck’s home at daybreak on Sept. 23, pointing guns at his head and then arresting him in front of his wife Ryan-Marie and their young children.

He faces two counts of physically assaulting the patient escort.

In June, Thomas Moore Society attorneys notified the DOJ that the FACE Act does not cover one-on-one altercations like the one involving Houck, which they claimed was initiated by an abortion supporter harassing Houck’s son.

The attorneys also advised that Houck would appear in court voluntarily to face any charges against him.

Rather than accepting Mark Houck’s offer to appear voluntarily, the Biden Department of Justice chose to make an unnecessary show of potentially deadly force, sending 20 heavily armed federal agents to the Houck residence at dawn this past Friday,” Breen said in the statement.

“In threatening form, after nearly breaking down the family’s front door, at least five agents pointed guns at Mark’s head and arrested him in front of his wife and seven young children, who were terrified that their husband and father would be shot dead before their eyes.”

Donations continued to pour in for the Houck family via the Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo, which totaled $137,000 as of Sept. 25.

Mark Houck faces up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fines of up to $350,000 if convicted.

In June 2019, Thomas Moore Society attorneys won a similar case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, establishing that a one-off altercation cannot form the basis for a FACE Act complaint.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 22:30

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