COMING UP SHORT THIS MONTH.
Thought for the day
"War will exist until the distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today" -- John F.Kennedy
Military service may become mandatory for women in Switzerland due to a shortage of army personnel, the country’s ATS news agency reported on Wednesday. Currently, female volunteers make up less than 1% of the Swiss Army, while the overall number of troops is projected to significantly decrease in the coming years.
The Swiss government has submitted a report on the shortage of personnel in its armed forces and in civil protection to the national parliament’s upper chamber, according to the ATS. Ministers have proposed two options to address the matter.
“The first is to make service compulsory for Swiss women, which would make it possible to double the numbers,” the article reads.
The Hungarian prime minister has spent months criticizing the European Union over its self-harming Russia sanctions policy. Budapest has also refused to allow NATO military equipment to be transferred to Ukraine through Hungary, and repeatedly called for urgent peace negotiations between Moscow and the West to end the security crisis.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attacked the European Union’s Russia sanctions policy and called for restrictions to be nixed at a closed-door meeting of his ruling Fidesz party on Wednesday, the Magyar Nemzet newspaper has reported.
At a meeting in the Hungarian resort town of Balatonalmadi where policy guidelines were handed out to members of Orban’s ruling parliamentary faction, the prime minister was said to have emphasized that the security crisis in Ukraine has been transformed from a local conflict into a “global economic war” which he expects to last through the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.
In August alone, the cost of energy in Sweden jumped by an astonishing 29 percent. Soaring costs have exacerbated the cost-of-living crisis, with food prices having risen for nine months in a row and inflation regularly reaching new records. Amid the towering costs, Sweden has been warned of possible power cuts during a winter of energy rationing.
As part of the nationwide effort to save power as energy prices go sky-high, Sweden has started closing down churches in an attempt to economize.
As the harsh Nordic winter approaches, houses of worship throughout Sweden will be closing or, alternatively, turning off the heating.
Markus Dahlberg, the Church of Sweden's head of cultural heritage, told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter that these kind of measures are being mooted in many areas of Sweden, but especially in the south where energy prices are highest.
“Many churches are located in rural towns. In congregations with lots of buildings and a low base in membership fees, the responsibility for taking care of church buildings becomes a greater burden”, he admitted.
The use of sophisticated drones in the PLAAF’s border security operations is expected to rise in the near future, Chinese military experts have told state media. Many of these unmanned drones are flown by former fighter jet pilots.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has unveiled a multi-capability unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that has the capability to operate at a range of nearly 1,000 kilometers.
“As a new combat force of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), the indigenous drone can perform all-around reconnaissance and precision strikes,” a statement from China’s Ministry of National Defense said on Wednesday evening.
When NASA's Voyager 2 probe flew by Neptune in 1989 on its way out of the solar system and into interstellar space, it was the last time the rings of Neptune were seen in such detail. The eighth planet in the solar system was first seen up close by humanity during that momentous visit.
NASA has released the first photographs of Neptune, the mysterious ice giant that orbits in the remote regions of the outer solar system, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
According to the agency's news release, the photographs from the observatory, which were made public on Wednesday, offer some of the sharpest views of Neptune's rings in more than 30 years.
During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Joe Biden accused Russia of violating the organization's charter by launching a special military operation in Ukraine and called the upcoming referendums to join Russia in the Donbass republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions a "sham."
The US president "completely suppressed" Washington’s role in fanning the flames of the Ukraine conflict, ignoring the fact that his administration helped stage a coup in Ukraine in 2014, argued Christopher C. Black, international criminal lawyer with 20 years of experience in war crimes and international relations, and a commentator on international affairs, in an interview with Sputnik. According to Black, the US is "the prime criminal and violator of international law," and doesn't "care about anybody's sovereignty."
Liz Cheney and the January 6 Committee came to an agreement with conservative Ginni Thomas to be interviewed in their ongoing witch-hunt.
A letter has been uncovered that shows that Barack Obama maintained classified records in an unsecured storage facility in a furniture warehouse. Yet, the FBI never raided the warehouse?
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a proposal to overhaul rules for certifying presidential elections.
At the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, President Biden focused most of his speech on Ukraine and accused Russia of violating the UN Charter by launching the war.
“Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter — no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force,” he said.
Biden’s comments highlight US hypocrisy on the issue as Washington currently occupies a major portion of eastern Syria despite the Syrian government’s opposition. The US also supports Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza, and Saudi Arabia’s war and blockade on its neighbor Yemen.
Biden said that the US will continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia based on the principle that “you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force.”
Governments in Europe have earmarked nearly 500 billion euros in the last year to cushion citizens and companies from soaring gas and power prices, according to research published by think-tank Bruegel on Wednesday.
Months of surging prices have seen governments roll out measures to curb retail power prices, slash energy taxes and give subsidies to bill-payers.
European gas and power prices have rocketed as Russia has cut fuel exports to retaliate for Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
The EU's 27 countries have collectively allocated 314 billion euros for measures to ease the pain, while Britain has set aside 178 billion euros, according to Brussels-based Bruegel.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday and said his country is serious about reviving the nuclear deal and questioned the US commitment to the agreement.
The Iranian leader’s address came as talks to revive the deal, known as the JCPOA, have stalled, and the US has accused Tehran of not taking the negotiations seriously. Raisi said that the UN would need to make a commitment to the deal, so it doesn’t withdraw from it again as the Trump administration did in 2018.
“Our wish is only one thing: commitment, observance of commitments,” Raisi said. “Can we truly trust without guarantees and assurances that [the US] will this time live up to their commitment?”
China hawks in Congress see President Biden’s recent comments on defending Taiwan as encouragement to push forward a major piece of legislation that would overhaul US policy toward the island, Politico reported on Wednesday.
Biden said Sunday that the US would send troops to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, marking the fourth time he made the pledge. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who is spearheading the Taiwan Policy Act, said the comment from Biden surprised him since the White House expressed reservations about the bill.
The Taiwan Policy Act, which has been approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would provide Taiwan $6.5 billion in military aid, give the island the benefits of being a major non-NATO ally, and require sanctions as a response to Chinese aggression against Taiwan.
Representative Rashida Tlaib is demanding an investigation into the murder of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh and for progressives to rethink their support of Israel. A recent report on the killing found that Israeli forces intentionally murdered the Palestinian-American journalist.
On May 11, Abu Akleh arrived in Jenin to document a raid carried out by Israeli forces. Sometime after arriving near the raid, Israeli forces opened fire on the journalists. The new joint investigation by Forensic Architecture and Al-Haq found Abu Akleh was easily identified as a journalist, she was not in the area of any militants, and her killing was deliberate.
The report documents that after the sniper fired for the first time all the journalists attempted to flee. Then, in the second series of bullets, Abu Akleh was shot in the face. The third set of rounds was fired at Palestinians attempting to provide aid to Abu Akleh and her colleagues who survived the encounter.
What in the hell were those bloody-minded Washington/NATO neocons thinking? At any time in the last nine months they could have had a diplomatic settlement with Russia that would have:
- Avoided/ended the war in Ukraine, thereby saving tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives and hundreds of billion of economic cost and destruction;
- Allowed the Russian speaking population of the Donbas a substantial degree of self-governance and autonomy from the hostile government in Kiev;
- Permitted the historic Russian territory of Crimea to remain under Russian control per the wishes of the overwhelming share of its Russian-speaking population;
- Kept NATO out of Ukraine and its missiles away from Russia’s doorstep;
- Removed NATO missile bases from the the old Warsaw Pact countries, where NATO had expanded in breach of Washington’s solemn promise made at the time of the German reunification to not extend NATO "one inch to the east" .
Would this have furthered the national security of the US and Europe, permitted Europe’s then flourishing peaceful commerce with Russia to continue and avoided the current global plague of soaring energy and food prices caused by the Sanctions War?
Yes, it would have. In spades!
On Wednesday, Governor Gregg Abbott (TX-R) announced during a press conference in Midland, Texas that Mexican drug cartels are now considered Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
On Tuesday three migrants who were part of a small group that was flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week by the state of Florida sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Florida state officials. The migrants alleged they were duped into traveling to the posh island in the northeast as part of a scheme to benefit the governor’s political career.
The US launched an airstrike in Somalia on September 18, US Africa Command said on Wednesday, as the Biden administration continues to escalate its war against al-Shabaab.
According to AFRICOM, the strike was done in support of the Mogadishu-based government and killed 27 al-Shabaab fighters. AFRICOM claimed no civilians were killed in the strike, but the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties, especially in Somalia, where its operations are shrouded in secrecy.
The strike was launched near the village of Buulobarde in the central Hiiraan region. AFRICOM said that the bombing allowed the Somali National Army and the African Union’s Transition Mission in Somalia (AUTMIS) regain momentum for an offensive they launched against al-Shabaab.
War hawk Nikki Haley had some words of praise for Joe Biden’s UN speech condemning Russia on Wednesday.
The Russian-installed administration of southern Ukraine's Kherson province said parts of the neighbouring Mykolaiv region that are under the control of Russian forces would be incorporated into Kherson province, Russia's TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.
The decision would mean the incorporated region voting in a referendum this weekend on joining Russia.
Hundreds of thousands of people have left California since the Covid pandemic began in what many are calling “The California Exodus.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that there was a shrinking likelihood of holding talks with Vladimir Putin to end the war, adding that it could only happen if the Russian leader withdrew his forces from Ukrainian territory.
Speaking via a translator in an interview with Germany's BILD TV, Zelenskiy said that Ukraine had no influence on when Putin's rule in Russia would end but wanted to speak to Moscow from a position of strength.
Zelenskiy also repeated calls for Germany to supply weapons and air defence systems to Ukraine, saying they were needed to save lives.
On Wednesday, Governor Gregg Abbott (TX-R) announced during a press conference in Midland, Texas that Mexican drug cartels are now considered Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA42 designating cartels as terrorists in Texas and directing the Texas Department of Public Safety to take immediate action.
“Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, and Texans are falling victim to the Mexican cartels that are producing it,” said Governor Abbott.
The Gateway Pundit previously reported that the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, along with other elected officials and state pension fund trustees, have requested that major credit card companies implement a weapon code for the purchase of firearms and ammunition.
Officials in New York City and the state of New York have asked American Express, MasterCard, and Visa to make a four-digit merchant category code (MCC) like the ones used for other retail categories to better identify and report suspicious behavior, such as large purchases of firearms.
“The creation of a new code would help financial institutions detect and report suspicious activity, such as unusually large purchases of firearms or ammunition, or purchases from multiple stores, that may be used for criminal purposes,” it claimed.
According to the news release, “Credit card companies use a four-digit merchant category code to classify businesses by the types of goods and services sold. Merchant category codes are set by the International Organization on Standardization (ISO). Unique merchant category codes exist for grocery stores, sporting goods stores, bicycle shops, and many other retailers — but not for gun and ammunition stores.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) finds herself under fire from members of her own party yet again. This time it’s over virtual remarks she made during an annual seminar organized by the group Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action).
“It has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government and we will continue to push back and not accept this idea that you are ‘Progressive except for Palestine’,” Tlaib told attendees.
The world's first ukulele lesson at 30,000 feet took place last Friday on a Southwest Airlines flight from Long Beach to Honolulu.
Sadly, the class was not warmly welcomed on social media with one user even suggesting that a war crimes trial would be suitable for whomever okayed the idea of handing out free ukuleles to passengers.
The project was a collaboration between Southwest and instrument retailer Guitar Center. The organizers called it the 'first ever in-flight ukulele lesson.' The passengers were taught to play 'Hello, Aloha. How are you?' in its entirety.
NASA's new moon rocket sprouted more fuel leaks on Wednesday in a test ahead of a possible launch attempt next week - but engineers managed to get the problems down to acceptable levels.
There was no immediate decision on whether NASA would try for a liftoff on Tuesday, given the sporadic nature of the hydrogen leaks, which have bedeviled the launch team for months.
Launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson wouldn't commit to a launch attempt date, although she said the test went well.
Webmaster addition: It feels like NASA is running a bit too close to the edge on this, like they did with Challenger.
It’s been awe-inspiring to see the bottomless generosity of Martha’s Vineyard residents after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent them 50 illegal immigrants from Venezuela last week.
Unlike angry, white MAGA voters upset about their towns being flooded with illegals, Vineyard residents would LOVE to be sort of a — what’s the word? — “sanctuary” for illegals. Really, they would. But that won’t be possible.
“Two of every four Somali-Minnesotans intercepted at New York’s JFK airport on route to an ISIS training camp had used federal financial-aid funds to pay for their travel.”
As Lisa Belcastro, manager of the Vineyard’s homeless shelter, succinctly put it: “We are definitely supplying them with a lot of love … They need to be off island.” The illegals “need” to hustle off because “Their immigration appointments are not here.” (Are their appointments in the Trump-supporting working-class town they were bussed to?)
In any event, GREAT NEWS, LISA! Nearly half of released illegals don’t appear for their hearings anyway. And guess what? There are absolutely no consequences. (A dozen anti-American websites claim that vast, gigantic numbers of illegals show up for their hearings, but they’re counting illegals who are being held in detention.)
UPDATE The head of Russia’s tourism agency said no restrictions have been imposed on travelling abroad so far and that Aeroflot, the country’s flag-carrying airline, said it was not limiting ticket sales.
Webmaster addition: Truth is the first casualty of war!
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will face off on Thursday with his Ukrainian and Western counterparts, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, when the United Nations Security Council meets over atrocities committed in Ukraine.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan will brief the 15-member body, which is meeting during the annual gathering of world leaders for the U.N. General Assembly.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 as the Security Council met in New York to discuss Western concerns that Moscow was planning such a move.
"A crime has been committed against Ukraine, and we demand just punishment," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the assembly on Wednesday in a recorded video. "The crime was committed against the lives of our people. The crime was committed against the dignity of our women and men."
Ukraine, the United States and others have accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine. Russia denies targeting civilians during what it calls its "special military operation," describing accusations of human rights abuses as a smear campaign.