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Thought for the day
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." -- Buckminster Fuller
The number of encounters with illegal immigrants at the border has passed 2 million in a single fiscal year for the first time in U.S. history, according to new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics released on Monday.
Southwest land border encounters jumped to 203,598 in the month of August from 200,195 the prior month. Of those encountered in August, 22% "had at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months." The total number of encounters so far in the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, is now 2,150,639, according to CBP.
For comparison, last fiscal year's total of Southwest land encounters was 1,734,686. In 2020, the last full fiscal year of former President Trump's tenure in office, the total number of border encounters was 458,088.
"The large number of expulsions during the pandemic has contributed to a higher-than-usual number of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, which means that total encounters somewhat overstate the number of unique individuals arriving at the border," read the CBP monthly operational update.
News that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew a small group of illegal border crossers to the rich island of Martha’s Vineyard escalated last week when several Democrats in Florida, Massachusetts, and California asked the Department of Justice to investigate red states such as Florida and Texas for “trafficking” migrants against their wills.
As DeSantis noted, “these are voluntary transportation” to a location that once boasted of being a “haven” for migrants, but that didn’t stop blue state politicians from turning the latest border crisis news cycle into an opportunity to sic the feds on their political opponents.
It’s a “rules for thee but not for me” kind of move. After all, President Joe Biden transported illegal border crossers across the country under the cover of night without much corporate media coverage or consequence for more than a year. But Democrat politicians who once touted sanctuary protections for illegal border crossers and, more importantly, the DOJ apparently only draw the line when these migrant flights and bus trips by day are sponsored by Republican politicians.
ATexas law prohibiting social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, from discriminating against users based on their speech does not violate the First Amendment, a federal appellate court held on Friday. Conservatives, whose speech represents the overwhelming target of censorship, are cheering the Fifth Circuit’s decision in NetChoice v. Paxton. A different federal court, however, struck down Florida’s law prohibiting Big Tech from censoring political speech, setting up a Supreme Court review in the near future.
NetChoice v. Paxton
In September of 2021, Texas passed House Bill 20, a state statute that regulates Big Tech companies — i.e., social media websites with more than 50 million monthly users. Before HB 20 went into effect, NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, trade associations representing social media sites, sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, arguing Section 7 and Section 2 of the law violated the First Amendment.
Section 7 of HB 20 regulates the platforms’ ability to censor users’ posts, prohibiting censorship — defined broadly to include blocking, de-boosting, reducing visibility, and other mechanisms of discrimination — based on the viewpoint of the post. This provision applies to censorship of users who reside in, do business in, or share or receive expression in Texas.
Kinzinger, a frequent critic of former President Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill, compared previous efforts by congressional Republicans to what he predicts “crazies” will attempt to do under a GOP majority.
“Back before we had all the crazies here — just some crazies — you know, every vote we took, we had to somehow defund ObamaCare. … You’ll remember, right when we took over it was we need to do the omnibus bill, but we’re not going to vote for it because it doesn’t defund ObamaCare,” Kinzinger said on CNN’s “The Axe Files with David Axelrod,” released Monday.
China is entirely capable of imposing a naval blockade on Taiwan, commander of the US Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, acknowledged in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published on Monday.
“They have a very large navy, and if they want to bully and put ships around Taiwan, they very much can do that,” the admiral said.
China has already created a large and modern navy, Thomas stated, with the number of military vessels at Beijing’s disposal continuing to grow rapidly. The admiral said that he did not, however, know whether China is seeking to take any actual action against Taiwan, which Beijing regards as an integral part of its territory, whether through an all-out invasion or a naval blockade.
“Clearly, if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic, then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” he explained.
The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) must “immediately” hold a “referendum” on joining Russia, its civic chamber said on Monday. The call came shortly after a similar move was made by the equivalent body of the neighboring Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR).
Addressing the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, the chamber said the time for “decisive actions” has come, urging him to hold the vote as soon as possible.
“All of us feel and know for a long time that Donbass is Russia, we have been fighting for this for eight long years. For this, we daily suffer strikes on our homes, streets, hospitals, schools and kindergartens,” the head of the chamber, Aleksander Kofman, said in a statement.
The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is the world’s largest silver exchange. For the last nine consecutive months, the quantity of silver held in LBMA vaults have declined. The August 2022 report states that the vaults now hold only 916.5 million ounces of silver, the lowest total since July 2016.
In November 2021, the LBMA vaults held 1.170.6 billion ounces of silver. Since then, inventories have fallen 21.7 percent. As dramatic a drop as that is, it becomes even more extreme when you consider only the LBMA inventories not owned by 13 silver exchange traded funds (ETFs) and the private client investors who are customers of Bullion Vault and GoldMoney.
As of Sept. 8, a total of 592.8 million ounces of silver in LBMA vaults were owned by these 15 entities. That means that around 320-325 million ounces of LBMA silver were available to other parties. That is an even larger percentage drop from the approximate 470 million ounces that were available to other parties in November 2021.
The Kremlin has expressed skepticism over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Armenia and her condemnation of Azerbaijan over the latest border clashes.
Pelosi visited the Armenian capital Yerevan on Sunday and accused Azerbaijan of launching an “illegal and deadly” cross-border attack against Armenia earlier in the week. Baku claimed it retaliated after provocations from Yerevan.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that while Russia welcomed any genuine effort to defuse tensions between the two sides, the US official’s comments were not very diplomatic.
Beijing has issued a protest in response to US President Joe Biden’s latest remark that Washington could use its military to defend Taiwan. China considers the self-governing island to be a part of its inalienable territory that is temporarily controlled by separatists.
On Monday, China’s foreign ministry said it “deplores and firmly opposes” Biden’s comment, adding that it has lodged “stern representations” with Washington.
Taipei, in turn, welcomed the US president’s remark, which it took as confirming Washington’s “rock-solid security commitment to Taiwan.”
The polar opposite reactions came after Biden replied in the affirmative when asked by a journalist whether Washington would deploy its military to defend Taiwan.
Steve Bannon on Sunday labeled Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Fetterman a satanist for urging the release of hundreds of hardened criminals from prison to prey on the defenseless.
Any potential war over Taiwan would be a protracted conflict and require both the United States and Taiwan have a large number of munitions prepositioned to win it, Rep. Mike Gallagher said on Monday.
"We have to assume that any war over Taiwan would be a protracted conflict which not only means American forces will go Winchester rapidly but Taiwan itself will need large stores of munitions pre-positioned and ready to replace losses ahead of time," Gallagher said during a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments event.
"And, in my opinion, that only magnifies the need for a massive pre-war expansion in munitions productions [in the United States]."
A Honduran illegal immigrant who has been deported three times from the United States has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing women and girls on a hiking trail in the Fairfax, Virginia area, Northern Virginia authorities said.
Kiev troops subjected the Donbass republics to almost daily shelling long before the start of the Russian special military operation at the end of February of this year. Civilians are frequently the victims of attacks carried out by Kiev's military and its national battalions, as the shelling often targets residential areas.
Alejandro Kirk, a special correspondent for teleSUR and HispanTV news channels in Donbass, has told Sputnik in an interview that people living in the republics are aware of the fact that "a Ukrainian projectile can fall at any time and anywhere," as he was wounded during a Ukrainian attack on Donetsk this weekend.
Kirk expressed his belief that such shellings are "punitive attacks," since "they punish ordinary people just for living here."
“On Saturday, September 17, around noon, we heard explosions in the city center. As in many other cases, with other colleagues, we ran to report. When we arrived at Lenin Square, the central square of the city, there was another explosion nearby, a van caught fire," the journalist recounted the events. "I went to the van to find a more accurate, more informative shot. There were two people in the car. Based on experience, I did not think that another projectile would hit the same place, but I was wrong."
The seismometer on InSight has picked up more over 1,300 marsquakes. The sensor, supplied by the Centre National d'Études Spatiales of France's space agency, is so sensitive that it can pick up seismic waves thousands of kilometers away. But on September 5, 2021, the cause of the waves was definitively identified as an impact for the first time.
NASA has for the first time recorded the peculiar sound of a meteoroid slicing through the atmosphere of another planet and smashing to the surface of Mars, the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced on Monday.
According to a news release, the audio clip combines "seismic and acoustic waves" that were discovered after a space rock struck Mars on September 5, 2021.
The sound, which lasts for only about three seconds, starts with a hiss as the rock soars into the air and concludes with "bloops."
With his country beset by a growing energy crisis, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has elected to return home instead of staying in the United States for the United Nations General Assembly meetings later this week.
"The president will no longer be attending the UNGA due to the unfolding energy crisis at home," Vincent Magwenya, a spokesperson for the South African president, told Sputnik on Monday. "The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation will now lead the South African delegation and deliver the South African statement."
Ramaphosa traveled to Washington, DC, last week to meet with US President Joe Biden to discuss a range of issues, including the country’s energy crisis. Ramaphosa used the occasion to speak out against attempts by Washington to change his government’s neutral position on the Ukraine crisis and condemn Russia’s special operation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attempted the same last month in Pretoria and was trounced by his South African counterpart, who told him to be “equally concerned” with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authorities.
The new discovery revealed that the tuatara, the prehistoric reptile which has almost entirely been replaced by lizards, would have been about 16 centimeters from nose to tail, fitting curled up in the palm of an adult human hand. It likely survived on a diet of insects and other invertebrates.
A new discovery of an extinct species of lizard-like reptile that belonged to the same ancient lineage as New Zealand’s living tuatara reptile has left researchers stunned.
Smithsonian researchers published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology and revealed that the new species, called Opisthiamimus Gregori, once inhabited Jurassic North America about 150 million years ago alongside dinosaurs like Stegosaurus and Allosaurus.
A number of US lawmakers expressed their outrage following the US Army's suggestion for soldiers to take advantage of food stamps amid high food prices, Fox News reported.
The US Army has recently released new guidance for soldiers who experience financial problems and suggested they apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, which provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income households.
With inflation affecting everything from gas prices to groceries to rent, some soldiers and their families are finding it harder to get by on the budgets they have set and used before, the report cited Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston as saying in the guidance on Monday.
Soldiers of all ranks can seek guidance, assistance, and advice through the Army’s Financial Readiness Program, the report said.
SNAP is one of the assistance types provided by the Army’s Financial Readiness Program with income eligibility ranging from a gross monthly income of $1,396 for a household of one to $4,839 for a household of eight, the report said.
Ron DeSantis has furiously slapped down a Texas sheriff who launched a criminal investigation into his flying 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard.
The Florida governor pointed out the hypocrisy of Democratic Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar for probing him when it was in his jurisdiction where 50 migrants died in a trailer-tractor over the summer.
He challenged fellow politicians and voters to find similar levels of outrage at that shocking incident - as well as huge numbers of migrants drowning in the Rio Grande - as what he has been facing for his stunt.
Nine million people in Japan have been told to evacuate their homes as the country is hit by one of the worst typhoons in its history, killing two and leaving 300,000 homes without power.
Nearly 90 people have been injured by Typhoon Nanmadol, which brought ferocious winds of up to 145mph and record rainfall to the west of the country yesterday.
Transport has been disrupted, manufacturers have been forced to suspend operations and tens of thousands of people spent last night in emergency shelters.
Beer drinkers across the US are staring glumly into their pints, knowing the costs are likely to rise due to a nationwide shortage of carbon dioxide - thanks in part to issues at a Mississippi volcano.
The extinct volcano, the Jackson Dome, has since 1977 provided carbon dioxide to the food industry, among others.
Yet in recent months the supply has become contaminated due to raw gas from a mine seeping in, meaning it cannot be used in food.
Webmaster addition: But, but, but ... I was told by the climate freaks that CO2 is BAD!
Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney has introduced her own version of legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act that she says would prevent future attempts by former President Trump or others to try to 'steal' a presidential election.
The legislation, which follows a separate effort in the Senate, comes after experts identified ambiguities in the 1887, which sets out the procedures for certifying and counting the electoral votes for president.
Trump leaned in imprecise language in his repeated demands that former Vice President Mike Pence refuse to accept votes that were counted and certified by states.
A Florida police department has announced that they seized enough fentanyl to kill 1.5 million people during a recent drug bust.
Dania Beach, Florida – A 50-year-old mother was arrested for joining in on a beating of an 11-year-old student.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has been accused of hypocrisy for harshly criticizing migrant transports from Texas and Florida, despite previously running his own initiative to bus homeless people away from San Francisco.
Newsom, a Democrat, engaged in a public war of words with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after last week's high-profile flights carrying Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Newsom demanded a criminal probe into Florida's airlift, calling it a 'morally reprehensible' and possibly illegal attempt to 'humiliate and dehumanize' the group of about 50 migrants.
National Guard troops have rescued more than 900 people, some from the roofs of their home on Monday after Hurricane Fiona unleashed more rain on Puerto Rico on Monday, a day after the storm knocked out power and water to most of the island.
The troops rescued hundreds of people who found themselves stranded. Meanwhile, the governor warned that it could take days to get the lights back on.
In Cayey, the Puerto Rico National Guard's 65th Infantry rescued 21 elderly and bedridden people at a car home due after landslides threatened the home's structure and residents' safety.
More than 30 Senate Republicans asked Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday to give the federal prosecutor who has been investigating Hunter Biden for several years “special counsel protections and authorities.”
The group, which includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, wrote in a letter to Garland that the move is warranted because the criminal investigation involves President Joe Biden’s son. They also contended it would “avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
Giving U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss special counsel authority would also “provide additional assurances to the American people that the Hunter Biden investigation is free from political influence,” the letter argued.
If Garland honors the request, it could give Republicans and Democrats in Congress insight into the grounds for any future decision by Weiss on whether to prosecute Hunter Biden. Lawmakers might not otherwise get that justification if Weiss is not granted special counsel status.
Republican senators signaled tentative support for additional Ukraine aid that the Biden administration has requested following a classified briefing on Monday night, though senators are expected to nix other top White House priorities from the upcoming stop-gap bill to keep the government open.
The Biden administration has asked for $12 billion in aid to Ukraine to be added to the continuing resolution that’s needed to keep the government open past September 30.
GOP support is essential because at least 10 Republican votes would be needed to break a filibuster attempt.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Monday evening that negotiators are still discussing the makeup of a package for Ukraine, but that it would be about $11 billion which could include humanitarian, economic and military assistance.
Sen. Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he is “open for the discussion” about adding $12 billion in additional Ukraine aid to the continuing resolution, while GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, another member of the panel, said he believes the aid shouldn’t be tied to it.
The Bexar County sheriff launched a criminal investigation Monday into the transfer of migrants by plane from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida’s governor amid rising migration.
Border Patrol arrest figures, released Monday, show numbers almost topped out at 2 million, on pace for an annual record with only one month remaining in the fiscal year. Border Patrol arrests at the southern border had previously hit 1.6 million for 2000 and 1.7 million last year. At the end of August that number was 1,977,769.
Monday afternoon, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said he has opened up a criminal investigation against the individual or individuals who “lured under false pretenses” 48 newly arrived migrants in San Antonio to fly to Martha’s Vineyard last week.