The four-star general in charge of the US Air Force’s Air Mobility Command has defended a memo he sent to his officers earlier this year where he predicted the US would be at war with China in 2025.
“My assessment is that war is not inevitable, but the readiness I’m driving with that timeline is absolutely essential to deterrence and absolutely essential to the decisive victory,” Gen. Mike Minihan said last week when asked about his prediction, according to Defense One.
“There needs to be tension on readiness, more than just ‘be ready tonight.’ You need to have readiness that drives urgency. The urgency and the action are paramount,” he added.
Minihan noted that the memo, dated February 1, included the words: “I hope I am wrong.” But the memo to his officers ordered them to be prepared for a fight with China, and while the Pentagon distanced itself from Minihan’s timeline, the US is openly preparing for a direct war with China by building up its forces in the Asia Pacific and increasing military support for Taiwan.
Minihan’s prediction is that the war would be sparked over a Chinese move on Taiwan:
“My gut tells me we will fight in 2025. [Chinese President Xi Jinping] secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022. Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025,” the memo reads.
The memo included several orders for Air Mobility Command personnel, including getting their personal affairs in order.
“All AMC personnel will consider their personal affairs and whether a visit should be scheduled with their servicing base legal office to ensure they are legally ready and prepared,” Minihan wrote.
“Privacy Disasters On Wheels”: AOC Blasts NYC Mayor Adams’ New Robo-Subway Crime-Fighting Cop
On Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a Knightscope K5 Security Robot that will be deployed in the crime-ridden Times Square Subway Station.
“$9 an hour… $9 an hour. I know you wanted to write how we’re wasting money, but I’m sorry I’m taking your thunder away. We’re leasing at $9 an hour,” Adams said at the robot’s big reveal press conference.
Somehow, the mayor and fellow Democrats believe this robot will deter criminals who have only been emboldened by failed social justice policies over the years.
From afar, the fully autonomous security robot looks like a giant trash can on wheels. It’s armed with cameras and will record video but not audio.
The robot comes as the mayor has slashed budgets citywide by 5% amid worsening financial conditions in the metro area, fueled by outflows of residents and businesses and a migrant crisis sparked by the Biden administration’s disastrous open southern border policies.
“This is below minimum wage,” Adams said, adding, “No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks.”
However, not everyone was thrilled about the robot, and there seems to be some in-fighting among Democrats in the metro area. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) posted on X, “NYC schools got defunded to pay for these privacy disasters on wheels.”
This is so funny. California Democrats are hatching a plot to keep former President Donald Trump off the state’s ballot next year.
But it could backfire and guarantee he wins.
Politico headlined, “California Dems consider unique approach to getting Trump off ballot: California lawmakers are urging AG Bonta to expedite court action against former president.”
“Nine California lawmakers wrote a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta over the weekend, arguing that Trump isn’t eligible to be on the ballot for inciting an insurrection when a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“The move, which comes amid several lawsuits to keep Trump off state ballots across the country, is unique because Bonta could use his standing as California’s top law enforcement officer to expedite a state court ruling on the matter. Should the effort succeed, California could be the first state to bump Trump off its ballot, even if the ruling is ultimately overturned.”
This is being debated around the country based on the 14th Amendment’s Section 3, which reads (please excuse a couple of medium-length quotes for context):
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 supposedly made him the leader of an “insurrection.”
The best argument against that was advanced by former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey in the Wall Street Journal:
“The use of the term ‘officer of the United States’ in other constitutional provisions shows that it refers only to appointed officials, not to elected ones. In U.S. v. Mouat (1888), the Supreme Court ruled that ‘unless a person in the service of the government … holds his place by virtue of an appointment … he is not, strictly speaking, an officer of the United States.’ Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated the point in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010): ‘The people do not vote for the “Officers of the United States.”’”
The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
What if They Can Disqualify Trump?
Now, here’s where it gets interesting.
Hypothetically, what if Mr. Mukasey’s argument doesn’t hold up in the courts?
Then California and other states’ attorneys general and governors, or lawsuits by political groups, could throw Mr. Trump off the ballot.
Especially critical would be the swing states with Democratic governors: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. Or Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fani Willis, already prosecuting Trump for allegedly interfering in the 2020 election, could do it.
But then, Republicans could do it in their swing states, throwing President Joe Biden off the ballot.
They could say his alleged bribes from Communist China disqualify him under the 14th amendment’s Section 3 wording for having “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Republicans governors invoking that clause could include Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Joe Lombardo of Nevada, and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.
If that happened, neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Biden would reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency in the Electoral College.
This combination of pictures created on October 22, 2020 shows President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 22, 2020. (Brendan Smialowski and Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Then we would have the fourth of what’s called a Contingent Election, although the phrase itself isn’t in the Constitution.
It means the matter is decided by the House of Representatives (or the Senate for vice presidents).
There have been three so far:
Thomas Jefferson beat Aaron Burr in 1800;
John Quincy Adams beat Andrew Jackson in 1825.
And in 1837 the vice presidential election was given to Richard Mentor Johnson over Francis Granger.
Under a Contingent Election in the House, all 435 members don’t get to vote. Rather, each state delegation gets one vote—50 votes total.
On Sept. 18 Canadian political writer Stephen Marche wrote an article for the left-wing Guardian titled, “Here’s the scary way Trump could win without the electoral or popular vote: In a ‘contingent election,’ he could lose the popular vote, electoral college and all his legal cases and still end up the legal US president.”
“State delegations in the House would favor Republicans as a matter of course. In the struggle for congressional delegates, Republicans would have 19 safe House delegations and the Democrats would have 14, as it stands, with more states leaning Republican than Democrat.”
So California, by knocking Mr. Trump off the ballot, could guarantee he becomes president.
Again, none of this is likely to happen.
If any state tries to keep him off the ballot, the courts almost certainly would put him back on, possibly reasoning along the lines Mr. Mukasey detailed.
There’s one thing this whole escapade teaches us: A large number of California’s politicians hold in contempt the Constitution, democracy, and the people of the state they claim to represent.
In this train-wreck of a state, with housing, homelessness, drug addiction, schooling, budget, and countless other problems festering—don’t they have anything better to do?
After years of condemning ballot harvesting and early voting, Republicans are switching course for 2024 and embracing both policies wholeheartedly. The results, experts say, can bear good and bad consequences. Some foresee legal challenges.
“Ballot harvesting” is a practice where third-party individuals or organizations collect completed mail-in ballots and deliver them to election officials on a voter’s behalf.
Hans von Spakovsky—Election Law Reform Initiative Manager and Senior Fellow at The Heritage—prefers to call the practice “Ballot Trafficking.”
“You play by the rules that are in place wherever you are but that doesn’t mean that you allow the status quo to stay that way,” Mr. von Spakovsky told The Epoch Times.
He also suggested that the GOP’s decision to play the ballot harvesting game should not stop voters from trying to convince their state legislators “to change the rules to get rid of ballot trafficking and allowing third-party strangers to go pick up a voter’s ballot because the risks in allowing that are too great.”
“I don’t see anything wrong with taking advantage of the rule if that’s the rule in place but you should try to continue to change it,” he said.
Since 1988, The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database has documented over 200 cases of proven fraudulent use of absentee ballots. The largest number of confirmed mail-in ballot fraud cases, 36, occurred in 2022.
Ultimately, Mr. von Spakovsky isn’t convinced that having both sides harvesting ballots will give either party an advantage.
“If one party takes advantage of the rules like that and the other doesn’t then it might give that party a step up,” he said. “But if both parties are taking advantage, I’m not quite sure how it would benefit one party or the other.”
By joining the ballot harvesting game in 2024, Sharon Demers sees the potential for both bad and good outcomes.
For the bad, she fears that, just as Republicans have spent years investigating and suing over alleged cases of voter fraud by Democrat operatives, Democrats will do the same. This, she warns, will cause the ever-lengthening election cycle to be followed by an equally protracted litigation season.
For the good, she believes it will help lead to victories that were lost simply because they didn’t keep up with Democrats.
Ms. Demers, a Republican state committeewoman for Flagler County, noted that ballot harvesting is banned in the Sunshine State.
“You can knock on someone’s door and encourage them to return their vote-by-mail ballot but they can’t collect those ballots in Florida and deliver them to the Supervisor of Elections or a drop box,” Ms. Demers explained.
“But if another state allows them to do this, we should do it. If it’s legal,” she said. “But if it’s not legal Republicans shouldn’t do it.“
She also advised that Florida is open to what is called “chasing ballots.”
Democrats are already chasing ballots, too.
According to NGP VAN, “the leading technology provider to Democratic and progressive campaigns,” “ballot chasing” is a campaign to encourage voters to take advantage of their state’s early voting schedule in order to “bank votes early” during an election cycle. Organizers can use voter rolls to locate electors who live near early voting locations. By way of phone banks, canvassing, or other outreach programs, organizers can encourage them to get out and cast their ballots.
As Ms. Demers noted, Democrats are known for their well-organized efforts of deploying organizers to pick people up in buses and vans to physically drive them to the polls.
“Those are things Republicans have been lazy about in some areas of the country, not getting out the vote and driving the vote, especially with the young people,” she said, noting how younger voters get most of their information from social media.
“They aren’t involved in politics and that’s a group Republicans in general have ignored,” she said.
“We have two choices,” he told The Epoch Times. “Either we participate or we allow Democrats to thrive and win elections because they are ballot harvesting and we’re not.”
As Mr. Gibson told The Epoch Times in June, he has already assembled an “army of social media influencers.”
“We’re the first national ballot harvesting project,” he said.
While also concerned that the GOP’s new ballot harvesting endeavor could become “a legal vortex of doom,” he said “the only thing we can do as conservatives is to pursue this in the most honest and transparent way possible so it’s hard to look at our efforts and find shady business that makes it indefensible.
“The only other choice is to allow Democrats to take advantage of this tool and not participate out of stubbornness.”
However, just as Mr. von Spakovsky suggested, Mr. Gibson said, “We want to ballot harvest until we can make it illegal to ballot harvest.”
“The goal of conservatives is to have free and fair elections. Full stop. Period,” he explained, saying conservatives “would rather lose an election fairly than to win by cheating.”
“It’s time for us to figure out if we want to win elections fairly or sit back and lose just because we’re too stubborn and keep saying we don’t believe in ballot harvesting,” he said.
Mr. Gibson’s greatest wish right now is that “the party structure would allow for a more unified, strategic approach on anything,” because right now, “it’s a hodge-podge of disagreeing tribes.”
“For this to truly be effective,” he said the GOP must have “good strategic leadership to initiate these programs.”
‘That’s something Democrats do well that we don’t,” he said.
‘It Will Be Very Messy’
Richard Frederick is the State Chair for RETHINK! GOP, an organization dedicated to “empowering voters through ballot harvesting, early voting programs and education.”
For the past six or seven months he’s been on the phone with voters from California to Nevada who are confused by the GOP’s sudden switch to advocating practices they’ve condemned for years.
For years we had top people in the GOP screaming that ‘this was illegal, you shouldn’t be doing it, and the Democrats are doing things that are fraudulent,'” Mr. Frederick told The Epoch Times. “Now they’re flipping and saying you have to vote early, you have to ballot harvest. So it’s been very confusing to their voters.”
Curiously though, he also says most of the voters he speaks with never understood why the GOP was so opposed to those practices in the first place.
“They never saw it as illegal. You had Trump, DeSantis, McDaniel, and other public figures saying it’s illegal, and it wasn’t illegal,” he said. “Here in Nevada, we lost a ton of seats because of that. The Party shot themselves in the foot and the Democrats sat back and loved every minute of it because they knew they didn’t have to worry about Republicans ballot harvesting.”
Mr. Frederick then recalled how the GOP’s opposition to early voting also cost Republicans in Nevada because the day before election day in 2020, they got “about a foot of snow.”
“Most people didn’t go out and vote. So all of those Democrats who mailed in their votes had the jump on everybody,” he said.
He also believes the GOP will likely face endless lawsuits after “election season” simply because they aren’t experienced with ballot harvesting.
While organizations like RETHINK! GOP, Turning Point USA, and American Majority “are moving forward with this on their own,” he doesn’t believe the GOP as an entity “will actuality do the things that need to be done simply because they don’t know how.”
“What will follow will be messy. It will be very messy, and it will drag on,” he predicted. “While we were complaining that it took 45 days to get results in some states after the 2020 election, I think this time around it’s going to be even longer.
By the Numbers
The National Conference of State Legislators shows that 31 states authorize someone other than the voter to return a ballot for them.
Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and West Virginia have essentially banned ballot harvesting in their states by limiting the number of ballots an individual may deliver on a voter’s behalf. Florida and Louisiana only allow a family member to deliver a ballot on a voter’s behalf. Oklahoma “prohibits ballot harvesting entirely.
Six months ahead of the November 2020 election, a Gallop poll showed that 64 percent of Americans favored the idea of mail-in ballots. Stark differences, however, were seen among voters according to their political affiliation. While 83 percent of Democrats expressed support for mail-in ballots only 40 percent of Republicans expressed the same sentiment. Among independents, 68 showed support.
Polling conducted by the Honest Elections Project in July and provided exclusively to The Federalist showed that 76 percent of voters surveyed believe “voting in person is better than voting by mail.” A majority, 73 percent, also “reject automatically sending ballots without a voter’s request,” and 74 percent said ballot harvesting “should be illegal.”
Murdered Ecuadorian Cartel Boss Buried With “Hundreds” Of Pistols, Shotguns And Rifles
Here’s a story straight out of a “trigger warning” scenario for Vice President Kamala Harris’ new federal office of gun violence prevention: a murdered Ecuadorian cartel boss known as “El Fatal” has been buried with hundreds of guns in his coffin this past week, the NY Post reported.
Surrounded by hundreds of pistols, shotguns and rifles, the 39 year old was the leader of “Los Fatales”. He was getting a car wash last week when he was “suddenly ambushed by gunmen” and killed, along with his 20 year old daughter who was with him.
The murder was blamed on rival gang, the report says.
After the murder, the cartel leader, Julian Sevillano’s family refused to let the local police take the body. The family took the remains and planned a “massive funeral” for the next day, the report says.
At the funeral, photos were taken of Sevillano in an open casket that people rushed to fill with weapons so that the boss could be “armed to the teeth in the afterlife and could defend himself.”
The rival gang responsible for his death had tracked his movements ahead of time, the report says. “It seems that they had followed his movements, Julián always came to wash the car in the morning, his enemies took advantage of that,” one local resident told the news.
The murder may have been to “settle scores” for previous crimes committed by Sevillano.
Who knew cartel rivalries extended to the afterlife?
Recently, the Sierra Club has been spreading a blatantly false narrative that the rolling blackouts experienced during Winter Storm Elliott in Kentucky on December 23 were the result of the failure of coal-fired generating units to meet demand. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality,it was the region’s remaining coal-fired power generation fleet that ramped up to meet the demand during the deep freeze that engulfed the region in December.
Yes, Kentucky-based combined utilities, LG&E and KU, were forced to institute rolling blackouts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the evening of December 23. But it wasn’t due to the failure of our coal-fired generation capacity. In fact, during these rolling blackouts, their combined coal units — totaling 5,100 MW of capacity — operated at a collective capacity factor of 90% and provided more than 70% of the energy required to keep our electric grid from complete failure. Had it not been for our coal plants, it is likely the entire grid would have collapsed at the very time when it was needed the most to provide the heat on which Kentucky lives were depending.
This is exactly why the Kentucky Coal Association opposes the closure of any more of our remaining coal generation units, as has been requested by LG&E and KU. Electric reliability is such a critical issue; it should not be sacrificed for political considerations.
If the 1,500 MW of coal units the companies have requested approval to retire had not been available during the critical time on December 23 undoubtedly the power outage would have been much worse, and lives would have been lost. Is this what we want? Is this what Kentucky wants? Is this what Americans want?
Are you willing to gamble the lives of your loved ones on the Ponzi scheme that is renewable energy? Are you willing to accept the empty, proven false promises of the “Big Green Money Machine?”
Coal-fired power generation is a proven technology. For generations, it has met the demands of the growing economic powerhouse that was America, with no problems and without calls for rolling blackouts. Through any weather, the coal trains rolled, each train delivering 10,000 tons of reliable, affordable coal to power plants across the country.
The reality is simple and easy to see… only when the green lobby and their friends in Washington began their relentless assault on coal generation — closing thousands of MW of coal-fired power plants and replacing them with solar and wind generation — did these problems begin, and they get worse with each passing day.
Apparently, the Sierra Club lives in some weird Orwellian world where up is down and left is right, where “reality” is whatever they decide it to be. Fortunately, most people don’t live in that world. We live in a world bounded by objective reality — a world where people need reliable energy, not fairy dust and pixie sprinkles. And we don’t appreciate blatant lies.
However, one thing this did accomplish — it laid bare the contempt for the average American that the Sierra Club holds. It clearly shows they believe they can pull the wool over the eyes of American families.
Everyday, thousands of folks working in the mining industry roll up their sleeves and work hard to benefit all of Kentucky – yes, even those who wish to destroy their businesses. Even the members of the Sierra Club, the industry’s most ardent opposition, benefit greatly from reliable and affordable electricity. Those folks will never acknowledge the many communities that are given good wages, stability, and economic growth all from coal. Energy policy is not just about vague hopes and dreams of a “green future”, its real lives and real jobs.
So, once again this past winter, coal kept the lights on for the people of Kentucky. Coal will keep us safe and warm whether we see the worst snow storms on record, or a mild flurry. And remember, the coal units set to retire provided one-third of the coal generation that kept our power grid from complete and total failure.
Tucker Davis is President of the Kentucky Coal Association.
Tinder Is Now Offering $6000 Per Year “VIP” Subscription
Dating app Tinder has a successful history of making a business of cashing in off of lonely people, charging users for advanced features and premium types of messaging over the years. This week, it was reported that the company is going to try and kick that business into hyperdrive.
The app, which – like other dating apps – has seen its fair share of bots, escorts and spam, is now trying the novel approach of offering a $500 per month option called “Tinder Select”. A subscription would amount to $6,000 per year.
The new service is going to include features like “exclusive search and matching,” according to Bloomberg. The company said the option is being offered to “less than 1% of Tinder users who are among the app’s most active”, though we’re sure this “exclusive” waitlist will eventually expand to any desperate incel who has an extra $500 per month to pony up.
“VIP” search, matching and conversation are several of the named services that Select will offer, with the company providing little details on the specific services.
Tinder Chief Product Officer Mark Van Ryswyk told Bloomberg: “We know that there is a subset of highly engaged and active users who prioritize more effective and efficient ways to find connections…and so we engaged in extensive tests and feedback with this audience over the past several months to develop a completely new offering.”
Match Group President Gary Swidler said earlier this month he thinks the offering will attract “a relatively tiny amount of new payers” but that it’ll make a big impact on the company’s top line.
We’re sure from a UX and development standpoint, the cost outlay for Match will be negligible, based on the “VIP” services they are going to offer that almost all other dating apps (including Tinder Regular) offer.
“We expect Tinder payer trends to improve as focus shifts from price optimizations to product & engagement. We believe the best (& perhaps only) way to turn the tide in online dating sentiment is for Tinder payers to stabilize & ultimately return to growth,” JP Morgan analysts wrote last week.
While the firm has witnessed a slide in subscriber counts for the past three consecutive quarters, it has successfully increased its average revenue per user year-over-year, recording its most significant leap in two years, according to Bloomberg data. In its second-quarter financials revealed in August, the company surpassed revenue forecasts and elevated its projections for the next quarter, largely due to the better-than-expected performance and growth of Tinder.
Despite these milestones, the company’s stock performance has remained stagnant this year, contrasting with a 13% uptick in the S&P 500 Index during the same timeframe.
With rates at 5%, we can’t help but wonder how long even millionaires and billionaires say “enough” and start to think about what an extra $500 a month could get them. Hell, if they are lonely, $6000 per year is enough to pay for a trip around the world to actually meet new people…or maybe two really great nights at a Vegas strip club. Then, at least, you’re actually interacting with another human in person…
It seems that we continue to struggle with a chief executive who goes on social media to personally attack judges who have ruled against his laws or policies. No, it is not Donald Trump. This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) went on Twitter/X to denounce U.S. Judge Roger T. Benitez as “an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to [sic] human life.”
Many of us criticized Trump for his attacks on judges, including Judge Gonzalo Curiel over his hispanic heritage.
Trump would often savage judges for being Democrats or liberals when there were good-faith legal disagreements over his policies.
Newsom seems increasingly to be morphing into the man that he once denounced for such “toxic” rhetoric.
Benitez earned the ire of Newsom by ruling yesterday that California’s limit on high-capacity magazines violates the Second Amendment. He previously ruled against the ban in a partial stay in 2019.
There are good-faith arguments that these bans contradict Supreme Court cases on the scope and meaning of the Second Amendment. It is certainly an open question but gun-rights advocates are challenging these laws as without constitutional or historical foundation. In New York State Rifle &Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (2022), the Supreme Court held that
[W]hen the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct. To justify its regulation, . . . the government must demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this Nation’s historical tradition may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’
As a lower court judge, Benitez is required to follow that precedent and, while some may see room for a contrary ruling, he wrote a lengthy opinion in Duncan v. Bonta (below) on why the California law fails under this precedent:
There is no American tradition of limiting ammunition capacity and the 10-round limit has no historical pedigree and it is arbitrary and capricious. It is extreme. Our federal government and most states impose no limits and in the states where limits are imposed, there is no consensus. Delaware landed on a 17-round magazine limit. Illinois and Vermont picked limits of 15 rounds for handguns and 10 rounds for a rifles. Colorado went with a 15-round limit for handguns and rifles, and a 28-inch tube limit for shotguns. New York tried its luck at a 7-round limit; that did not work out. New Jersey started with a 15-round limit and then reduced the limit to 10-rounds. The fact that there are so many different numerical limits demonstrates the arbitrary nature of magazine capacity limits.
Rather than attack the basis for the opinion, Newsom followed the common practice today in commentary and Congress in attacking those who hold opposing views. He posted on Twitter/X:
BREAKING: California’s high-capacity magazine ban was just STRUCK DOWN by Judge Benitez, an extremist, right-wing zealot with no regard to human life.
Wake up, America.
Our gun safety laws will continue to be thrown out by NRA-owned federal judges until we pass a Constitutional Amendment to protect our kids and end the gun violence epidemic in America.
So, rather than offer an opposing view on the historical foundations and constitutional justification for the law, Newsom called the judge a child-killing, extremist, right-wing zealot owned by the NRA.
That is not at all “toxic.”
Such trash talking is now the norm in American politics as members of Congress regularly attack journalists, whistleblowers, and others personally rather than address their underlying views. I have testified over 100 times in Congress over decades and I have never seen the degree of ad hominem attacks on witnesses by members. It is meant to not only appeal to the most extreme elements in our political system, but to chill other witnesses who may be considering testimony that a party opposes.
The attacks on judges by our political leaders are particularly chilling. I denounced it in Trump and it is no less “toxic” by Newsom. Yet, while the media universally condemned Trump in these attacks, reporters have been largely quiet or neutral in reporting the attacks by Newsom.
As for Newsom, he knows that, in the age of rage, the most rageful reigns supreme.
Ukraine Says Sevastopol HQ Strike Left Dozens Of Casualties “Including Senior Leadership”
Sky News has reported that Ukraine used UK-made Storm Shadow missiles to strike and destroy Russia’s Black Sea Fleet naval headquarters in Sevastopol on Friday.
Russia conceded that one missile scored a direct hit, and videos and images confirm significant damage, but also claimed a further five were shot down by anti-air defenses. However, Ukrainian sources have said multiple missiles struck the HQ, with unverified social media images circulating which suggest at least two or multiple hit the building.
Britain and France began supplying the long-range Storm Shadows starting last spring and summer. President Biden this week belatedly approved that a limited supply of MGM-140 ATACMS missiles, with a range of up to 190 miles, will also be given to Ukraine.
Russia in the aftermath of the Sevastopol HQ strike said that one military service member was missing, but has remained tight-lipped on details or other potential casualties.
What’s clear is that it was a very large attack, given later in the day Friday and into Saturday more and more images emerged showing the significant extent of the devastation, after fires were extinguished by a huge emergency response.
Western analysts and pro-Kiev sources have pointed to images which appear to show more than one Storm Shadow missiles hitting Russia’s Black Sea Fleet HQ…
The strike on the Russian occupiers’ Black Sea Fleet HQ in #Sevastopol that killed Admiral #Sokolov appears to have consisted of at least two bullseye hits. The building was already burning significantly as the second missile struck: pic.twitter.com/8xeu3lTf4x
Another discrepancy between the emerging Russian and Ukrainian narratives concerns casualties and whether top brass was impacted.
On Saturday Ukraine’s government announced that the strike left dozens of dead and wounded, among them “senior leadership.”
Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces owned up to it, revealing that the operation was dubbed “Crap Trap” and involved intelligence which placed senior commanders in the building at the time of the strikes. The Telegram statement said officers were taken out, “including the senior leadership of the fleet.” But the statement didn’t name names.
Online sources are circulating claims like the following in the attack aftermath:
Sounds like a signature strike that would require five eyes national assets to pull off successfully.
The full Ukrainian military statement said the following:
“The daring and painstaking work of the Special Operations Forces enabled them to hit the Black Sea Fleet headquarters ‘on time and with precision’ while the Russian Navy’s senior staff was meeting in the temporarily occupied city of Sevastopol.”
“The data was transmitted to the Air Force for strike. The details of the attack will be revealed once it is possible. The result is dozens of dead and wounded occupiers, including the senior leadership of the fleet.”
Clearly, Kiev is claiming to have pulled off not only the daring strikes inside Crimea but an extensive intelligence operation as well, given it says it had knowledge of timing of when senior leadership would be gathered inside the headquarters.
Slowed down and zoomed-in footage of the Ukrainian Storm Shadow/SCALP ALCM slamming into (and through) the roof of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters. pic.twitter.com/c8mas1OzAg
Ukraine’s intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, told Voice of America that at least nine people were killed and 16 injured as a result of Kyiv’s attack on the Black Sea Fleet on Friday.
He claimed that Alexander Romanchuk, a Russian general commanding forces along the key southeastern front line, was “in a very serious condition” following the attack.
However, this has remained unverified by either the Russian side or independent reporting or observers. Al Jazeera has cited a correspondent in Moscow who describes that “both sides have remained tight-lipped about their own casualties” while “downplaying their numbers and significance and playing up the numbers and significance on the other side.”
Specifically on the Friday Sevastopol attack, the same journalist said, “Russia confirmed that a service member was killed in the attack, initially we had heard that six people were injured from media reports in the area.”
Meanwhile there were overnight reports saying that Russia unleashed more major airstrike on Ukraine, in retaliation for the Black Sea Fleet HQ attack.
On Friday, September 15, 12,700 members of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) walked off the job at plants owned by the “Big Three” automakers – Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis (which owns Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram). The walkout marked the beginning of a series of long-expected targeted strikes aiming to give the UAW leverage as it renegotiates contracts with the three companies. [ZH: And Friday September 22, the situation escalated.]
The strike is grounded in frustrations over worker compensation.
Union members and their supporters point to high profits and CEO pay at the Big Three and compare them to stagnant wages and rising costs of living among autoworkers. They feel like they’re being ripped off.
And they’re right. Like the rest of the working class, autoworkers are being ripped off. Decades of interventionism have built an economic system that harms workers while helping the corporate and political classes. The first reason for this is monetary policy. Ever since President Richard Nixon abolished the gold standard in the early 1970s, a handful of bureaucrats at the Federal Reserve have been charged with determining the value of our currency. And those bureaucrats have decided that the dollar should lose value every year. They aim for a decline of 2 percent annually, but the rate has been higher in recent years.
Dollar devaluation is a political choice. And it hurts workers. In an unhampered market, money becomes more valuable as societies grow wealthier. Goods become better and more affordable. And money saved grows in value.
Under our current inflationist fiat regime, the opposite happens. Savings shrink in value by design. The result is spelled out by Saifedean Ammous in his book The Fiat Standard:
The culture of conspicuous mass consumption that pervades our planet today cannot be understood except through the distorted incentives fiat creates around consumption. With the money constantly losing its value, deferring consumption and saving will likely have a negative expected value. Finding the right investments is difficult, requires active management and supervision, and entails risk. The path of least resistance, the path permeating the entire culture of fiat society, is to consume all your income, living paycheck to paycheck.
We can see, then, how monetary policy leads to mass consumption, low savings, and hyperfinancialization—all at the same time. In fact, one of the most notable examples of the financialization of the economy since the 1970s has been the growth of the Big Three automakers’ financial arms—GM Financial, Ford Credit, and Stellantis Financial Services.
In fact, as Ryan McMaken highlights: “By the early 2000s, a majority of GM’s profits were coming from its financial operations and not from automobile production.”
In other words, the automakers have profited from the very same government policies that devalue their workers’ paychecks and savings.
But monetary policy is only one part of the story. Governments at all levels restrict the supply of housing by limiting building. That makes housing less affordable. The federal government also bids up demand for healthcare services while restricting the supply of doctors and hospitals, and it shields drug manufacturers from competition. That makes healthcare much more expensive. Meanwhile, Washington’s agricultural policy aims to prop up crop prices, which impacts the price of many foods. All this artificially drives up the cost of living.
That’s bad enough for autoworkers, but the Biden administration is also trying to force a transition to electric vehicles (EVs). For autoworkers building engines, transmissions, and exhaust systems, that’s a threat to their jobs. And because the ramp-up of EV production is driven by politics rather than consumer demand, the transition is set to hurt all workers who rely on cars.
Considering all that, it is obvious why autoworkers are frustrated with their financial situation. But unfortunately, their justified anger has been hijacked by another source of their problems, the UAW.
Support for labor unions rests on an economic myth from the mid-eighteenth century.
In short, it’s the idea that companies make profits by not paying workers the full value of their labor. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk dismantled this socialist exploitation theory 139 years ago when he introduced time into the analysis. Companies pay workers in the present for labor services that may lead to saleable goods in the future. Because of the universal trait of time preference, the certainty of money now is often more appealing than the possibility of more money later, which is why so many people choose to sell their labor services on the job market.
Böhm-Bawerk’s insights are easy to see in auto manufacturing, where workers are paid up front to help build cars that will be sold later. Still, the flawed idea that profits signify wage theft caught on, and in 1935, autoworkers founded the UAW. The present strikes speak to the persistence of this myth.
Labor unions often appeal to worker solidarity, but in truth, they epitomize the exact opposite. Because as Murray Rothbard has shown, they can only raise wages for some workers by lowering the wages or eliminating the jobs of other workers. At the Big Three automakers, this can be seen in the heavy use of temporary and part-time workers, who are placed on a lower pay tier—the elimination of which is ironically a core demand of the UAW strike. But this situation is just what’s visible. All those who are blocked entirely from the jobs that would be available to them if not for the union remain unseen.
America’s autoworkers are right to be angry about their economic situation. But the restrictionist labor demands of the UAW are a distraction that will, at most, help some autoworkers at the expense of others. The real solution lies in ending union practices that unnecessarily pit workers against each other, ending the policies that force companies to produce things consumers don’t even want, ending the multitude of government programs and political privileges that artificially raise the cost of living, and ending the monetary system that destroys the value of workers’ paychecks and savings while propping up the financial class. Abolish all that, and the benefits will extend far beyond the auto industry.