U.K. businesses and homeowners could be jailed for up to a year or fined £15,000 for non-compliance with new energy efficiency regulations proposed by the Conservative government, which have been described by critics as a “massive expansion of the state and its power over our lives.”
The Energy Bill, which returned to parliament for its third reading this week, outlines several new requirements homeowners must adhere to in relation to Net Zero, the government’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2050.
For the first time, individuals face criminal charges for failing to comply with measures designed to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
One such draconian regulation states that household appliances such as fridges, washing machines, and heat pumps must be fitted with smart functions that can be controlled by “any persons carrying out load control,” namely the National Grid, which oversees the majority of electricity transmission and distribution in Britain.\
The Government’s Energy Bill stipulates that any smart functions in your fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer and heat pumps must enable them to be controlled by the National Grid. https://t.co/D2gAOYcR8g
The vast majority of households in the country will not currently comply with the new measures outlined in the bill, meaning homeowners will be compelled to pay out significant sums to transform properties and make them “energy-efficient” or potentially face criminal charges for so-called “non-compliance.”
The bill has angered a number of backbench Conservative MPs who have threatened to rebel against the legislation, with some claiming it is the latest installment in the government’s “cult-like” obsession with Net Zero.
“We cannot impoverish our country to meet some, well, I’d like to call it in some cases almost cultish policy until we can afford it. Until it works, that’s when I think we should adopt all these policies,” said Richard Drax, the Conservative MP for South Dorset.
Others went further, with Tory MP Craig Mackinlay telling the Commons, “I have to say, I absolutely despise this Bill. This is going to be the first time that we are potentially criminalizing people in this country for not being adherent to this new code of Net Zero.”
He urged the government to tread lightly in its proposal to potentially throw fellow citizens in prison for a year “for an unknown offense of the future relating to Net Zero.”
“I’m a Conservative for freedom, not to put people in prison for not adhering to this Net Zero religion,” he said later in an interview with GB News.
‘This is truly a horrific bill, it allows all sorts of intrusive powers and I would it was scrapped an we start again.’
Craig Mackinlay MP shares his thoughts on a new energy bill that is set to enter the Commons later today.
Sir John Redwood, more diplomatically, expressed his concern that “by being unduly restrictive and particularly by the threat of civil and even criminal penalties on some of their conduct,” the government risks “antagonizing” the general public.
“Throughout this Bill, we are creating cost and regulation and penalties and obligations. We need to keep people with us and we risk losing them if we put undue burdens on them,” added former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Commenting on the third reading of the bill by lawmakers on Tuesday, conservative broadcaster Nigel Farage was scathing in his criticism of the legislation.
“There are unbelievably provisions in this bill that would allow for the creation of criminal offenses if businesses and individual householders don’t tell the truth or don’t meet new energy requirements for their houses,” he told viewers.
“It seems to me to be truly extraordinary. You could be prosecuted for providing false information about your house’s energy efficiency,” he added, calling the move a “massive expansion of the state and its power over our lives.”
Energy Minister Andrew Bowie told fellow lawmakers that the bill is “world-leading” legislation that “will deliver for this country cleaner, cheaper, and more secure energy.”
Responding to a series of shooting, many involving minors, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones has proposed banning AR-15s, AK-47s, and similar weapons from city streets. Jones has also called for banning celebratory gunfire and banning people convicted of insurrection and hate crimes from possessing firearms in the city.
Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński told a group of arms manufacturers that Warsaw will have Europe’s strongest land force within two years through a series of weapons purchases.
Warsaw believes increasing military spending to three percent of GDP and expanding its military to 300,000 personnel will make the Polish Army so powerful it cannot be challenged.
Kaczyński issued a letter to the International Defense Industry Exhibition being held in Poland this week. “In two years, we will have the strongest land army in Europe,” he said. “[The Polish Defense Minister] emphasized that the strength of the army is not just, and not primarily, its size but also its equipment, modernity, and innovation.”
Warsaw announced plans to significantly increase weapons spending last year. Next year, Polish military expenditures are expected to hit at least three percent of GDP. Some Polish officials hope the number could be pushed to as high as five percent of GDP in coming years.
Poland will spend the added funds on a sequence of massive weapons acquisitions, including multi-billion-dollar purchases of Apache Helicopters, Abrams Tanks, and HIMARS. Additionally, Warsaw plans to expand its military to 300,000 soldiers.
Polish officials claim the massive military buildup is an effort to prevent war:
“The Polish army must be so powerful that it does not have to fight due to its strength alone,” said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak remarked, “We want peace, and if we want that we must prepare for war – in connection with that, we are strengthening the Polish Army.”
However, some experts believe the policy will weaken Poland economically. Polish military expert Robert Czulda, a Resident Fellow at the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, said, “It seems highly likely that such a large scale of planned orders is largely driven by a political populism, aimed at gaining popularity here and now, rather than to be a real, comprehensive, and well-thought-out plan for harmoniously strengthening the armed forces,” he wrote.
“Poland should ensure that these procurement programs are sustainable and affordable in the long term. The country should avoid a risk of overspending, which now seems very high.”
Paris has become the first capital in Europe to say goodbye to rental electric scooters, following a referendum in the city earlier this year which saw 90 percent of voters support a ban – although there was only an 8 percent turnout of Parisians eligible to vote.
In France, rental battery powered scooters were used by just 8 percent of respondents in the past year.
Germans and Swedes were slightly more likely to have used them at 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively, with Vietnam apparently leading the world’s most miserable places to walk with 17% of the respondents using the machines.
In Japan, where regulations have been more stringent on the topic than in Europe (at least until recently), only two percent of respondents said that they had used them in the past year.
According to Statista’s Market Outlook, global revenue for the e-scooter sharing market is projected to reach US$1.813 Billion in 2023 with an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 11.61 percent, resulting in a projected market volume of US$2,813.00m by 2027.
The five key players of 2022 were Lime (making up 14 percent of the global market share), Lyft (13 percent), Bird (11 percent), Bolt (9 percent) and Tier (9 percent).
The thousand-year-old genocide of Armenians at the hands of Turkic peoples has reached a new level. Several watchdog organizations — including the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Genocide Watch, and the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention — are accusing Azerbaijan of committing genocide against the 120,000 Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. Historically known as Artsakh, this ancient Armenian region was brought under Azerbaijani rule in 2020.
Modern day hostilities between Armenia, an ancient nation and the first to adopt Christianity, and Azerbaijan, a Muslim nation that was created in 1918, began in September 2020, when Azerbaijan launched a war to capture Artsakh. Although it had been Armenian for more than 2,000 years and its population still remains 90% Armenian, after the dissolution of the USSR, the “border makers” granted it to the Republic of Azerbaijan, hence the constant warring over this region.
Once the September 2020 war began, Turkey quickly joined its Azerbaijani co-religionists against Armenia, even though the dispute did not concern it. It dispatchedsharia-enforcing“jihadist groups” from Syria and Libya — including the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Hamza Division, which once kept naked women chained and imprisoned — to terrorize and slaughter Armenians.
One of these captured mercenaries later confessed that he was “promised a monthly $2,000 payment for fighting against ‘kafirs’ in Artsakh, and an extra 100 dollar[s] for each beheaded kafir.” (Kafir, often translated as “infidel,” is Arabic for any non-Muslim who fails to submit to Islam, which makes them de facto enemies.)
These Muslim groups committed massive atrocities (here and here). One included raping an Armenian female soldier and mother of three, before hacking off all four of her limbs, gouging out her eyes, and sticking one of her severed fingers inside her private parts.
The war ended in November 2020, with Azerbaijan gaining control of a significant portion of Artsakh.
Then, on December 12, 2022, Azerbaijan sealed off the humanitarian Lachin Corridor — the only route between Artsakh and the outside world. A recent report by the Dutch journalist Sonja Dahlmans summarizes the current situation:
“In the extreme southeastern part of Europe, known as the Caucasus, a silent genocide is looming. The Lachin Corridor that connects Armenia to Artsakh, the region in Azerbaijan where mainly Christian Armenians live, has been closed by the government for eight months. Supermarket shelves are empty; there is hardly any food, fuel, or medicine for the 120,000 Armenian Christians who live there, including 30,000 children and 20,000 seniors.
“At the time of this writing [Aug. 24, 2023], a convoy of food and medicine has been standing in front of the border since July 25 [a month], but the International Red Cross is not allowed access to the inhabitants of Artsakh. According to journalists living in the area, most residents only get one meal a day. People in Artsakh queue for hours at night for bread, waiting for their daily rations. At the same time, sources within Artsakh report shooting at Armenians trying to harvest the land…
“[I]n all probability bread will also soon be unavailable due to the shortage of fuel… Bakers can no longer heat their ovens. Last week, a 40-year-old Armenian man died of malnutrition. A pregnant woman lost her child because there was no fuel for transport to the hospital.”
Separate reports tell of 19 humanitarian trucks “loaded with some 360 tons of medicine and food supplies” that have been parked for weeks and prevented from crossing.
This is not the first time Turks starve Armenians to death (as this 1915 picture of a Turkish administrator taunting emaciated Armenian children with a piece of bread makes clear).
On August 7, 2023, Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, framed the situation:
“There is an ongoing Genocide against 120,000 Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh.
“The blockade of the Lachin Corridor by the Azerbaijani security forces impeding access to any food, medical supplies, and other essentials should be considered a Genocide under Article II, (c) of the Genocide Convention: ‘Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.’
“There are no crematories, and there are no machete attacks. Starvation is the invisible Genocide weapon. Without immediate dramatic change, this group of Armenians will be destroyed in a few weeks.
“Starvation as a method to destroy people was neglected by the entire international community when it was used against Armenians in 1915, Jews and Poles in 1939, Russians in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in 1941, and Cambodians in 1975/1976.”
Similarly, after going on a fact-finding mission to Armenia, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback referred to the blockade as the latest attempt at “religious cleansing” of Christian Armenia:
“Azerbaijan, with Turkey’s backing, is really slowly strangling Nagorno-Karabakh. They’re working to make it unlivable so that the region’s Armenian-Christian population is forced to leave, that’s what’s happening on the ground.”
Muslim regimes regularly make life intolerable for Christian minorities, apparently to force them to abandon their properties and leave. A few weeks ago, the president of Iraq revoked a decade-old decree that granted Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako powers over Christian endowment affairs. “This is a political maneuver to seize the remainder of what Christians have left in Iraq and Baghdad and to expel them,” said Diya Butrus Slewa, a human rights activist from Ainkawa. “Unfortunately, this is a blatant targeting of the Christians and a threat to their rights.”
In Artsakh, the situation seems to be worse: just as no one can get in, apparently no one can get out. Azerbaijan is holding those 120,000 Armenians captive, starving and abusing them at will.
Brownback, in his testimony, said that this latest genocide is being “perpetrated with U.S.-supplied weaponry and backed by Turkey, a member of NATO.” If the U.S. does not act, “we will see again another ancient Christian population forced out of its homeland.”
Not only has U.S. diplomacy been ineffective for the besieged Armenians; it has actually exacerbated matters by allowing the Azerbaijanis to continue their atrocities. According to one report:
“[T]he only thing the Washington-backed talks appear to have produced is the emboldenment of Azerbaijan’s aggression….
“For over eight months, the region’s 120,000 Indigenous Armenians—who declared their independence in the early 1990s following escalating violence and ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan—have been deprived access to food, medicine, fuel, electricity, and water in what is nothing less than genocide by attrition….
“The same week peace talks began in Washington, Baku [capital of Azerbaijan] tightened its blockade by establishing a military checkpoint at the Lachin Corridor. When Washington-based talks resumed in June, Azerbaijan began shelling the region. In the months since, the International Committee of the Red Cross has been denied access to Karabakh—and later reported that an Armenian patient in its care had been abducted by Azerbaijani forces en route to Armenia for treatment.
“This is the predictable consequence of Washington’s insistence on negotiations amid Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh and occupation of Armenian territory. It has signaled to Baku that its strategy of coercive diplomacy is working, disincentivizing de-escalation, and forcing Armenia to negotiate with a gun to its head…
“Washington has also actively strengthened Azerbaijan’s position by indicating support for Artsakh’s integration into Azerbaijan. Given Azerbaijan’s state-sponsored dehumanization of Armenians, the litany of human rights abuses perpetrated during and since the 2020 war, and its own disastrous domestic human rights record—it is impossible to imagine Armenians could ever live freely under Azerbaijan’s rule.
“For Azerbaijan, this disingenuous participation in negotiations has allowed it to uphold the veneer of cooperation while engaging in conduct that has immeasurably set back the prospects of a durable peace.”
Clearly, negotiating simply bought the Azerbaijanis more time in which to starve the Armenians, and possibly another way for the United States to pretend it was “doing something” without actually doing anything — apart from allowing more savagery.
Indeed, part of the façade of diplomacy is that Azerbaijan insists that the Christian Armenians of Artsakh are being treated no differently than Muslim Azerbaijanis — since all are citizens of Azerbaijan. One report sheds light on this farce:
“Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and other officials have declared that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are citizens of Azerbaijan, seeming to back prior statements of Azerbaijani authorities pledging to guarantee the rights and security of ethnic Armenians.
“But actions speak much louder. The First Nagorno-Karabakh War three decades ago arose following waves of anti-Armenian pogroms. Azerbaijan is now one of the most repressive and autocratic countries in the world, scoring among the lowest in the world on freedom and democracy indexes—in stark contrast to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Aliyev (who inherited his post from his father) has confessed to having started the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, and proudly admitted that a generation of Azerbaijanis has been brought up to deeply despise Armenians (here and here). He denies the Armenian Genocide (alongside Turkey) and negates the existence of Armenians as a nation, including their history, culture, and right to be present anywhere in the region.
“No Armenian, not even a foreign national of ethnic Armenian descent or anyone with an Armenian sounding name, is allowed to enter Azerbaijan.
“The results are clear: nearly every Armenian who fell into Azerbaijani captivity after the 2020 war has been persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, mutilated, decapitated or murdered. None of these acts has ever been punished. To the contrary, those who kill Armenians receive medals and are glorified in Azerbaijan. It is no wonder that Armenians are petrified and cannot fathom living under Azerbaijan’s authority.”
Aside from the Lachin Corridor crisis, a recent 12-page report documents the systematic destruction of ancient churches, crosses, Christian cemeteries, and other cultural landmarks on land — Artsakh — that historically belonged to the world’s oldest Christian nation, Armenia.
One example is the Holy Savior Cathedral in Shushi, Artsakh. First, Azerbaijan bombed the church during the 2020 war, an act Human Rights Watch labeled a “possible war crime.” Then, after the war, with Azerbaijan having seized the area, officials claimed to be “restoring” the church, when in fact its dome and cross were removed, making the building look less like a church. As one report notes:
“The ‘case’ of Shushi is indicative of the well-documented history of Armenian cultural and religious destruction by Azerbaijan. From 1997 to 2006, Azerbaijan systematically obliterated almost all traces of Armenian culture in the Nakhichevan area, which included the destruction of medieval churches, thousands of carved stone crosses (“khachkars”), and historical tombstones.”
“[A]n Armenian church in Artsakh… disappeared after Azerbaijan’s victory in the second Nagorno-Karabakh war (2020). During the victory, Azerbaijani soldiers pose on top of the church shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’… [T]he church has been completely wiped out and only a few stones remain as a reminder…
“The Western press rarely writes about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Most reactions follow the line that it is not a religious conflict, but a claim by two countries over a disputed territory. Given the many examples that exist in which precisely religious buildings, tombs and inscriptions are systematically destroyed, it is difficult to maintain that this is the case. “
One of the main reasons that Armenia finds itself standing alone against this genocidal onslaught is due to the West’s “desire to maintain favorable relations with Azerbaijan given its role as a European energy partner [and this] has outweighed any purported commitment to upholding human rights—bolstering Azerbaijan’s aggression.”
It is these same priorities that have made Russia, once the defender of all Orthodox Christian nations in the East, more apathetic than might be expected. According to another report:
“Azerbaijan was able to impose this blockade because Russian peacekeepers allow them to do so. The Russians are there as part of a ceasefire agreement ending the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. The same agreement, inked by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020, guarantees access along that now-blocked road. Although Russia is often portrayed as Armenia’s patron, the reality is more complicated. Russia’s largest oil company owns a 19.99% share of Azerbaijan’s largest natural gas field. It is not so surprising then that Armenians in Artsakh demonstrated against Russian inaction after the killings of their police officials.”
Longtime Armenian-activist, Lucine Kasbarian, author of Armenia: A Rugged Land, an Enduring People, sums up the situation:
“We who are Armenian, Assyrian, Greek and Coptic bitterly know just how this will end. It’s deja vu all over again. Again and again, we’ve seen the deceit and brutality, received the chilling reports, warnings, graphic videos, open letters and petitions from alarmed genocide scholars. But alas, NATO, Islamic supremacism, gas and oil are going to take precedence over life and liberty once again unless high-powered vigilantism can save the day.”
In late 1973 a deal was struck between the US and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that changed the future of both nations and the U.S. dollar for the next 50 years.
The importance of the deal has been downplayed, and the Biden administration’s near destruction of this deal has almost been outright ignored.
However, I have had a front row seat to the sentiment changes I am writing about, and I recommend that the reader consider this political game a concerning matter for the long-term stability of the U.S. dollar.
In summary, it appears that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is open for new alliances outside of the US that would have never been considered before this time.
In October of 1973, the US, UK, Netherlands, Canada and Japan were the targets of an OPEC oil embargo that increased the price of oil from $3 a barrel to $12 a barrel in a matter of months after they chose to support the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War. In the four years prior, Nixon price ceiling policies had doubled our dependency on foreign oil and 83% of that oil came from the Middle East. To make matters worse, in the three prior decades, US industry and consumers had become drunk on stable cheap energy, built an entire infrastructure and prosperous economy that was dependent on prices remaining low, and had firmly closed the door on any form of alternative energy options (nuclear). The sudden 4-X spike in oil prices over a 3-month period from this embargo created a real shock to the US way of life and threatened to cripple the US economy. OPEC had our attention and its un-official leader, Saudi Arabia, was in a good position to listen to proposals from the US.
In late 1973, A deal was made to end the embargo in early 1974 and pull the United States out of the Oil Crisis. Despite the US being in a tight spot, the negotiations created a deal that benefited both countries unimaginably over the following 5 decades that was described in aMay 2016 Bloomberg article.
The gist of this deal can be summarized in the following two reciprocal agreements:
The Al Saud family, the ruling family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, agreed to sell the US oil at a price that we could live with if we agreed to become their defender and supplier of military equipment – This helped ensure the family and the kingdom’s position in the region and provided a great customer for the US military industrial complex over the next 50 years.
The Al Saud family also agreed to buy an unfathomable amount of U.S. treasuries with some of the proceeds from the annual oil purchases – This helped back the Saudi Arabian currency with dollars while providing the U.S. economy with a very healthy and regular dose of liquidity.
This two-part mutually beneficial deal allowed the US to continue to spend money and have the stability of OPEC’s energy reserves behind it, while providing support for the kingdom and its ruling family. This deal has been active for multiple administrations up until this very day despite some rough waters, but as you will read, it appears to be changing.
In 2015, a freedom of information act was filed in the 9-11 investigations that sought reparations from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia based on the participation of some of its citizens’ roles in the bringing down of the twin towers. During the following years the Obama administration maintained the position that the KSA government could not be held responsible for the action of a few of its people, and the treasury / petrol dollar deal maintained its mutually beneficial terms. The PR troubles of the deal were then inherited by the Trump administration, who quickly realized the value of maintaining the trade relationship and worked hard at continuing to have the kingdom recognized as a pro-US ally and one of our primary supporters in the region against the backdrop of an unstable nuclear Iran. Officials from the Kingdom suggested that the US get its political house in order rather than bring the 1973 deal to light for the full scrutiny of the general public to digest; and the Trump administration saw an opportunity to ask the kingdom to be the fulcrum for a “Peace in the Middle East” deal.
In 2017, the then 32-year-old Mohammed Bin Salmon “MBS”, the emerging leader of the kingdom, was in the process of both fully securing his leadership position and managing a country-wide corruption clean-up campaign. In many discussions with Saudi nationals the prince’s cleanup exercise was seen as a god-sent action that put the country back on track. However, in the U.S. the press chose to cover the event from the point of view of an old-school coup playing out on live television, which served the press well and renewed U.S. / K.S.A. tensions. Despite another round of disturbances in the optics between the countries, the deal survived and continued on.
In 2018, after the “house cleaning exercise” was cooling down the young millennial prince emerged as the clear leader for the kingdom and the Trump administration vowed its support for him and the continued U.S. / Saudi alliances. The idea was to bring things back on track as quickly as possible and start working with the new normal. Unfortunately, it was later determined that someone in the young prince’s afterguard was not in favor of how he was being spoken about after the house-cleaning exercise and independently took matters into their own hands to quiet down the opposition.
On October 2nd, 2018, the unfortunate result was a journalist and son of a powerful family that had been promised a diplomatic position in the pre-housecleaning KSA regime, entered into the KSA Embassy in Turkey and would never exit. As a result of the rogue actions of a staff member, the young prince became embroiled in a freedom of the press / human rights scandal with the apparent assassination of a reporter and outspoken critic of his administration. The PR situation only became worse in the US press as MBS appeared to not fully realize the crimes he was being accused of. The problem was that with each stab from the press, MBS felt as though he was being personally wronged, and with each response from the prince, the U.S. social media public gained a deeper split with the Kingdom. As the Kingdom was gaining new foreign eastward facing ties, this was quickly becoming a bigger problem for the US than it was for the Kingdom.
In late 2019, a very exposed relationship between the Kingdom and the U.S. became a campaign topic for Trump opposition. There was no shortage of Western judgment for the Kingdom, and it became an important point for critics to associate Trump with, but the deal and its steady flow of cash that made the U.S. way of life possible was never up for discussion. This was clearly a challenging time to keep the full nature of how much the U.S. needed the kingdom under control and away from the press and the U.S. public. A win from the Arab region was needed and it was needed fast to cool down growing negative sentiments from the U.S. towards the kingdom if the deal was to remain intact.
In Q1 of 2020 the Abraham Accords campaign went into full force. With a renewed desire from both parties to refresh their relationship and get back on the “right foot” the idea of “Peace in the Middle East” was hatched as a new goal to focus on. The strategy was that such a grand goal could wipe clean the slate between the U.S. public opinion and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the two countries could find themselves looking at a new deal for new hope in the region. In short, the Abraham Accords aimed to reconcile centuries old tensions between Middle Eastern nations sharing Abrahamic religious ties. This deal had been discussed since the beginning of the Trump campaign, but its timing was needed and looked like it could possibly bring together the Arab world with Israel. For years the Arab world had not acknowledged Israel and Israel had not acknowledged Palestine. The deal was designed to slow tensions between the warring neighbors and to start to bring trade between Israel and all of the Middle East.
On August 13th, 2020, the Abraham Accords were signed and Israel was free to trade technology with the Arab world and “the greatest peace deal” of all time was signed. However, in order for this concession to be made, the KSA prince would have to show weakness on some level with the people of the Arab world because it is widely understood that the Palestinians have long suffered at the hands of the Israelis. As a fierce young leader this was not a concession that would easily be made, so the concession deal that was struck was a deal for access to restricted US defense technologies. The U.S. would have to agree to sellfull capability F35’s to the K.S.A. and the U.A.E. militaries, something that had never been allowed.
On January 20th 2021, President Joe Biden took office and the “catch” to the deal was discovered. In this case the catch was that the deal was signed with the Trump administration, not the Biden administration, and after the administration change, no full capability F35’s would be allowed to be delivered to the K.S.A. or U.A.E. military. The Biden administration decided to not honor that part of the deal and then decided not to acknowledge MBS as the current leader of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The administration then decided to double down on declaring MBS personally to be a very unpleasant person and an enemy of human rights, despite the incredible changes taking place for women’s equality within his Kingdom at that very moment. As you may imagine this was not the prince’s G-20 membership welcome that he felt he was due, nor one that made much sense for what was at stake for the U.S. and its economy. Unfortunately, Biden’s political posturing also watered down the goodwill of the accords and prolonged the tensions in the relationship triangle between the Kingdom, Israel and Palestine, but Biden’s tone towards KSA was about to shift.
On February 24th, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. In the months following, Europe had to find a new energy supplier as Putin shifted Russia’s supplies East and the price of all energy climbed steeply. President Biden then made a plea to OPEC to increase its supply to help ease the price of oil that the U.S. was starting to experience because of the shortage, but as you can imagine, the plea fell on deaf ears and the execution of one of the fastest full Karma circles recorded in international history took place.
On March 3rd, 2022, in anAtlantic Article, MBS suggests that President Biden should be concerned about the cares of the United States as it is not something that he himself is worried about any longer. MBS also clearly communicated that he was no longer concerned about the U.S.’s view of him or his kingdom’s actions. He stated that he will still do business with the US as well as many other countries, but that the US should probably pay more attention to their own country than to his. The article also mentions that MBS felt snubbed by the U.S. for assuming he was responsible for the death of the reporter and that that Biden refused to acknowledge his position as leader of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the clear text of this article, it can be read just how much damage had been done by the president to the relationship between the two countries in the 14-months since he took office.
On March 15th, 2022, The Wall Street Journal announced in a headline, “Saudi Arabia Considers Accepting Yuan Instead of Dollars for Chinese Oil Sales”, which proved that MBS was remaining true to his statements that he was exploring trade relationships outside of the US and the petro-dollar. The article explains that there are many difficulties in a move like this but that some of these difficulties can be mitigated and will likely be considered. This act seemed to suggest that the Kingdom was actually willing to make moves away from the petro-dollar deal and that the Biden administration’s political posturing had consequences beyond the OPEC request being denied.
On May 31st, 2022, the U.S. had imposed the final SWIFT sanctions on Russia and opened the door for Russia to negotiate oil deals with China – Also Not In Dollars. Had this been done at any time before the sanctions were initiated, this act would have been considered an act of aggression to the United States and a possible act of war against the United States of America and the “Petro-Dollar.” However, in this instance it became a basic chess move in response to the weaponization of the SWIFT system and the sanctions placed against Russia, a move that the US encouraged and opened the door for. As business dealings appeared to be moving more East, this weaponization of the SWIFT system forced the hands of OPEC members to also consider the possibility that the timing of a dollar exit may not be here, but an alternative may be wise to consider, and the news outlets started to report that many other countries were feeling the same.
In July of 2022 theArab news media started to cover stories of talks of the Kingdom moving into the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). In May of 2023 the story had progressed to a Bloomberg article with the title, “The BRICS Bank Wants New Members as Saudi Arabia Looks to Join”. Besides Saudi Arabia, it was also reported that eight other OPEC member nations have been reported to have applied for membership to the BRICS alliance, including: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. When you include the existing BRICS countries, the OPEC countries that have applied and other oil producing countries that have applied to the BRICS alliance (such as Iraq, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Indonesia and Argentina) the list includes 19 of the top 25 oil producing countries in the world. These countries also represent up to 78% of the world’s oil reserves and possibly 36% of the global GDP, at a time when the US GDP only represents 25% of the Global GDP. I don’t suffer from the idea that these vastly different cultures will suddenly be able to get along and sing in harmony, but it should be understood that the US led weaponization of the SWIFT system clearly signaled something to these countries. That message intended, or not, might have been that the US is willing to default on their promise to accept dollars your country holds in reserve for trade if they do not like your politics. If that was the understood message, you can see how this may be very upsetting to countries who hold large sums of dollars in reserve.
On August 9th 2023 it was reported by the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration had finally switched on to the gravity of the situation and was now working to repair relations with the kingdom, and that they had started trying to negotiate around the very topics that have been covered in this article. Ironically, 31-Months after the Abraham accords deal was damaged by the current administration; the administration is now trying to use this very deal as a vehicle to repair US KSA relations and move forward. On the cover of this updating of the Abraham Accords, it is being actioned to bring Palestine and Israel to more peaceful terms. However, the meat of this deal for the US may have more to do with Saudi Arabia’s growing Eastern relationships, possibly with the BRICS, and assurances that KSA will not include Chinese military bases within the kingdom or the pricing of Oil outside of the dollar. The Kingdom has clearly stated that they are not ready to fully agree to a deal with the US at this time, but that if they move forward, they will be requesting additional security guarantees and access to civilian nuclear technologies. The US has always refused sharing US nuclear technology with the region, but the Kingdom understands their current leverage with Biden’s prior actions towards the Kingdom.
On August 22, His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, The Kingdom’s foreign minister and senior diplomat, announced that he would be attending the BRICS summit in South Africa on behalf of MBS. Now that this meeting has concluded, one can only wonder what was discussed in the hallways and side-venues…
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Hopefully next time you are at the pumps you can reflect on our relationship with the Kingdom and how it has been part of a delicate balance that has helped facilitate the U.S. way of life for the last 50 years. Kings and presidents have come and gone but the support that these nations have had for each other have been part of the fabric that have made the existence and growth of both nations possible. However, it is under these very different times that these arrangements are changing, and these changes are not small changes. Many of you will read this and think that the U.S. needs to make itself more independent, and I would agree with you that there is great value in that; we just need to carefully consider the timing, the price of those actions, how this will shift the political landscape and where this will leave the US dollar.
What to do in the meantime?
In no way am I writing to say good or bad things about the United States or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I am writing to say that part of the bedrock that the US dollar has been built on over the last 50 years may be changing. I suggest that readers keep a keen eye on the headlines that involve OPEC and Eastern powers, as subtle headlines buried far off the front page may be the headlines that harken the news of a new trajectory for the dollar over the coming decade.
As discussed in the last article, the US dollar has other pillars underneath it, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the bridge footings.
Fani Willis Scolds Jim Jordan For ‘Illegal Intrusion’ Into Her Trump Hunt
Fulton County, GA District Attorney Fani Willis (D) fired off a nastygram to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), who she says is trying to ‘interfere with and obstruction [sic] this office’s prosecution’ of Donald Trump and 18 other defendants, after Jordan asked her to turn over all documents related to the case.
Willis argues that Jordan’s federal powers to investigate are “not unlimited,” and that “there is no justification in the Constitution for Congress to interfere with a state criminal matter, as you attempt to do.”
In Jordan’s original Aug. 24 letter to Willis, he suggested that Willis is trying to interfere with the 2024 election for which Trump is the front-runner for the GOP nomination, adding that her investigation might infringe on the free speech of Trump and other defendants.
On Thursday, Willis accused Jordan of peddling “inaccurate information and misleading statements” which improperly interfered with a state criminal case.
“Its obvious purpose is to obstruct a Georgia criminal proceeding and to advance outrageous misrepresentations,” Willis wrote of Jordan’s letter. “As I make clear below, there is no justification in the Constitution for Congress to interfere with a state criminal matter, as you attempt to do.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jordan’s letter came 10 days after a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 other people for their roles in an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 US election.
In recent days, some Georgia Republicans have pushed to impeach or sanction Willis, though Gov. Brian Kemp has rejected such proposals. In Washington, Jordan’s committee has launched an investigation to determine whether federal and Fulton County authorities have coordinated their Trump prosecutions.
In his letter, Jordan noted that Willis began her investigation of Trump in February 2021 but “did not bring charges until two-and-a-half years later, at a time when the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is in full swing.
“Moreover, you have requested that the trial in this matter begin on March 4, 2024, the day before Super Tuesday and eight days before the Georgia presidential primary,” wrote Jordan. “It is therefore unsurprising many have speculated that this indictment and prosecution are designed to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.”
The need for stronger civics instruction has never been clearer. As recently released test scores revealed, American students simply do not possess the civics knowledge they need to become thoughtful and engaged citizens. Knowledge of basic facts is important; knowledge of our nation’s story and founding ideals—which gives meaning to these facts—is more so.
Unfortunately, many K-12 civics teachers do not have the necessary training to succeed in the classroom. Schools of education do not typically afford aspiring teachers an opportunity for in-depth study of key texts in the American tradition. High levels of polarization and a lack of trust in public schools mean many teachers are unsure how to teach about key figures and moments in our history or how to discuss controversial political issues in a nonpartisan way.
That’s where my organization, the Jack Miller Center (JMC), comes in. We are a non-partisan, nationwide network of scholars and teachers dedicated to teaching the American political tradition. Our scholars have the expertise teachers need to navigate our current divisions and build trust. They can help teachers understand the contours of our most fundamental debates and squarely address the failures in our nation’s history while fully appreciating our achievements.
To that end, JMC introduced a Founding Civics Initiative in 2016. “Founding Civics” has clearly resonated with teachers. In just eight years nearly 2,000 teachers have participated in this initiative. In fact, this year we’ve reached an all-time high for summer programs: JMC has completed 24 teacher education programs across nine states this summer alone, training nearly 500 teachers for the upcoming school year and beyond.
These programs offer in-depth explorations of some of the most challenging topics in civics today by avoiding simple left-right narratives and focusing on primary sources.
This year, multi-day programs were held in partnership with nine campuses. Programs like the “Civic Literacy and Citizenship Symposium” with the University of Wisconsin-Madison offered teachers the opportunity to discuss the importance of virtue for liberty, the evolution of the First Amendment, and the development of judicial review. The “Summer Civics Institute on American Principles and Debates” at American University saw teachers digging into the roots of contemporary ideologies and examining them in relation to the American founding.
Programs at Baylor University and the University of North Texas allowed teachers to confront race and American politics head-on through sessions on slavery and the American founding, Lincoln and the Civil War, and African American political thought. “Investigating Foundational Questions in American Civics,” in partnership with North Greenville University, encouraged teachers to think more carefully about concepts such as American exceptionalism and whether the Declaration was really for all Americans.
Florida is a state on the frontlines of education reform, so JMC made our work there a strategic priority. We offered six programs across the state and continue to play a leading role in statewide civics reform with nearly 800 Florida teachers having participated in JMC programs since 2020.
At the University of West Florida program, special attention was paid to dissent in American politics—from the Anti-Federalists in the ratification debates, to the dissents in the Dred Scott case, to anti-slavery advocates such as William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass. At Florida Atlantic University teachers considered the American founding in 21st century contexts by examining Hamilton the musical in light of Alexander Hamilton’s actual writings and considering issues of free speech and civil discourse on social media.
In St. Petersburg, we also commenced our second year of the competitive-admission year-long American Political Tradition Institute, which consisted of a five-day residential program and will continue with virtual curriculum-development sessions during the academic year. Teachers loved the summer sessions, with one tweeting that she “walked away exhilarated” while another described it as “truly empowering.”
Summer institutes and workshops such as these are tremendously important, but credit-bearing graduate courses in American political thought and history are also essential. Graduate courses can help public school teachers rise in district pay scales while offering the rigor of a formal class structure and graded assignments.
We sponsored four graduate courses for teachers this summer, including “Teaching Civics in an Age of Controversy” and “Political Thought of the American Revolution” through the University of Chicago, “Alexis de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’” at Tufts University, and “The American Constitutional Experience” at Lake Forest College. All courses offered deep dives into crucial primary sources while also considering prominent secondary sources that shape the way we understand the American story.
The mission of the Jack Miller Center is to help teachers and students connect with and safeguard our nation’s ideals. Improving K-12 teachers’ knowledge of America’s history and its founding will help preserve that vital knowledge for future generations. This is an urgent mission all educators should share. As JMC’s founder and chairman, Jack Miller, says, “The battle for the soul of our nation will be won or lost in our classrooms.”
Morgan Stanley Created 2015 Hunter Biden Dossier Highlighting “Fraudulent” Looking Schemes And “Suspicious” Transactions
Whistleblowers at Morgan Stanley raised the alarm over what they thought looked like “fraudulent” schemes and “suspicious” transactions all the way back in 2015, eventually escalating his concerns to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just a few days before Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016, according to documents obtained by Just the News.
“Due diligence on involved parties reveals less than clean records,” one Morgan Stanley investment bank compliance presentation from May of 2015 states.
The bank even created a dossier about Hunter Biden’s history, including his expulsion from the US Navy, his association with Ukrainian energy giant Buisma, and photos of the Bidens.
In a May 8, 2015 presentation deck titled “Overview of Wakpamni Series 2014 Bonds Potentially Suspicious Structure & Transactions,” the bank warned that some activities – such as the Native American tribal bond scheme, required the bank to take compliance action.
“No clear illegal activity is being accused, but authors of this presentation determined activity was suspicious enough to warrant escalation of review by appropriate internal Compliance representatives,” reads the presentation, which singled out several business partners, including Devon Archer and Hunter Biden.
“The Navy Reserve discharged Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter this year after he tested positive for cocaine,” it states.
The dossier also flagged an August 25, 2008 NYT article noting that Hunter had been “Caught Up in Hedge Fund Trouble,” stating “A son and a brother of Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware are accused in two lawsuits of defrauding a former business partner and an investor of millions of dollars in a hedge fund deal that went sour.”
See below (via Just the News):
As JTN further reports:
The presentation is one of the earliest known whistleblower activities to raise serious questions about Hunter Biden and his foreign business exploits. It triggered suspicious activity reports (SARS) filed by banks and a SEC complaint that would eventually lead to the 2016 indictment of several Hunter Biden business partners in a bond fraud scheme and later FBI and IRS investigations targeting Hunter Biden himself for tax evasion.
While SARS reports are frequently generated by compliance officers in the financial industry, the step of independently reporting information directly to the SEC is much more rare.
The documents obtained by Just the News chronicle the efforts by at least one vice president inside the Morgan Stanley investment bank to blow the whistle on companies affiliated with Hunter Biden and one of his chief business partners, Devon Archer. The concerns included that the firms may have been involved in a fraudulent bond scheme with the Native American Wakpamni tribe and may have improperly benefited from tax dollars in a separate technology investment.
After some time, two Morgan Stanley officials filed whistleblower complaints against Hunter Biden with two federal agencies.
Chicago’s Mayor Brandon Johnson on Tuesday night lambasted critics, arguing that he’s being held to a “different standard” as a black man, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
From the Tribune: “There is a different standard that I’m held to. There is,” Johnson said. “And that’s not something that I’m mad at, but that’s just the reality. I’m not the first person of color, particularly a Black man, that will be held to a different standard than other administrations.”
Johnson apparently doesn’t like being called “slow,” which he says is a “microagression.” He has been criticized for a slow start as mayor.
“You all read the press. I don’t. But you all look at these dynamics. You all know how there’s been a certain, particular coverage of me, right? Think about it. You know, there’s coverage of me being slow, right?” Johnson said. “These are microaggressions, that if you don’t have the lens of those who have lived through these experiences, you would just miss it. You would, because the same — some of the folks who would call me slow, do you understand what that term means? Particularly (toward) the Black community. So you have these forces that perpetuate a particular view of Blackness.”
He also blamed racism for concerns about subservience to the Chicago Teachers Union, which helped elect him and where he previously was a political organizer. When asked about that, he said, “You think I’m going to suddenly be surprised or get upset because now all of a sudden, oh my goodness, the world is oppositional to a Black man on the left who leads with love?” Johnson responded. “And that the only rationale that can be possible for any of my decisions is that somehow a Black man is being controlled?”
Same for criticism over his firing of Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s former public health commissioner. She crossed swords with the teachers’ unions by trying to get schools open during the pandemic.
When asked about that, Johnson said, “Perhaps things should go without saying, but as far as this dynamic that a Black man executive can’t make decisions on his own,” Johnson said, and he ripped “the same forces” that he said didn’t believe he could balance a budget, unite the City Council or win the election. “Well, let me just offer news for the city of Chicago: The people of Chicago elected me as mayor, and if anybody has a problem with it, come see me in four years.”