Friday, March 31, 2023

Iran says IRCG officer killed in Israeli strike on Syria, vows revenge

Iran says IRCG officer killed in Israeli strike on Syria, vows revenge

An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on Damascus shortly after midnight Friday, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The report identified the dead officer as Milad Heydari, saying he was an adviser. No rank was given, but the report said he was “martyred” in the attack, which was blamed on Israel. The term is typically a designation given to those killed on official assignments.

The IRGC threatened to avenge the death of the officer in its announcement, according to the report. “The Zionist regime will undoubtedly receive a response to this crime.”

Syria’s state news agency SANA earlier reported that Syria’s air defenses intercepted “hostile missiles” over the capital shortly after midnight, though the “aggression” managed to cause some material damage. Damascus regularly claims to successfully intercept IDF strikes, but military analysts doubt these assertions.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes targeted an arms depot for government forces and Iran-backed groups just south of Damascus.

The group, which has had its credibility questioned in the past, also said four other IRGC officers were killed alongside Heydari.

Citing unidentified sources, Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya reported the strike targeted microchips for missile guidance and was not directed at IRGC personnel.

The report noted Israeli concerns over shipments to Syria of chips, which could be used by the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group to develop precision-guided missiles.

Less than 24 hours earlier, SANA said that the IAF targeted sites in Damascus, wounding two soldiers and causing material damage.

As a general rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but it has acknowledged conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror organization. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

The pair of attacks followed two attacks in recent weeks targeting Aleppo International Airport, also attributed to Israel. The airport’s runway was temporarily closed due to damage.

One of the strikes last week targeted an underground munitions depot at the adjacent Nairab military airport, according to two unnamed “regional intelligence sources” who spoke to the Reuters news agency. The sources said the site was used to store missile-guided systems that had been delivered by Iranian cargo flights.

Belarus ready to host Russian strategic nuclear weapons – president

Belarus ready to host Russian strategic nuclear weapons – president

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko mulled the possibility of his nation hosting Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons during an annual address to parliament on Friday. His words came as Moscow announced its plans to deploy its tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.

"I and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin can decide and deploy strategic nuclear weapons here, if need be," Lukashenko told lawmakers, adding that the move would show the two nations' readiness to defend their "sovereignty and independence."

"We will stop at nothing to protect our nations, our states, our people," the Belarusian leader said, adding that the move would likely serve as an effective deterrent against any hostile moves by the US and its allies. The Belarusian president expressed his hope that strategic nuclear weapons deployment to his country would "sober up all the hawks across the pond for a long time."

Lukashenko also said he had already ordered the military to restore the facilities used to store Topol intercontinental ballistic missiles and served as their potential launch sites in Soviet times. According to the president, Belarus kept all the facilities, which he called "complex engineering structures."

Russia currently uses Topol-M and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles – upgraded versions of the Soviet-made Topol missiles developed in the 1980s. The missiles could be silo-based or placed on mobile, self-propelled wheeled platforms. Some of the mobile versions of the original Topol missiles were deployed to Belarus during the Soviet era.

The Belarusian president previously and repeatedly advocated deploying Russia’s nuclear weapons to his country, citing a threat posed by the West. In October 2022, he pointed to "nuclear sharing" talks between Washington and Warsaw, warning that nuclear weapons could be placed in Poland, which borders Belarus.

Last week. Putin announced the deployment of Russia’s tactical weapons to Belarus by saying that a special storage facility for them would be ready by July 1. Moscow explained its decision by pointing to London’s plans to supply Kiev with depleted uranium munitions.

Russia blasted the UK’s move as a sign of "absolute recklessness, irresponsibility, and impunity" on the part of London and Washington

Russia: Talk of EU troops in Ukraine 'extremely dangerous'

Talk of EU troops in Ukraine 'extremely dangerous' – Kremlin

Any ideas about a possible deployment of EU forces in Ukraine are potentially very dangerous, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has warned, in response to comments made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday.

“If we are talking about some kind of serious negotiations, then this is a potentially extremely dangerous discussion. In world practice, such forces, as a rule, are used only with the consent of both parties. In this case, it is potentially a very dangerous topic,” Peskov told journalists.

His statement comes after Orban revealed that EU leaders are close to holding a “legitimate”discussion on whether or not member states can or should send “some kind of peacekeeping force” to Ukraine, despite a probable rebuke from Russia.

The Hungarian leader warned that the Ukrainian conflict is only getting bloodier and more brutal, and questioned why EU leaders are not focused on trying to achieve peace through diplomatic means rather than the provision of more deadly tools to Kiev and the fueling of hostilities.

“If this continues, the danger of a world war is not a literary exaggeration,” the prime minister said.

Since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine last year, Budapest has consistently opposed sanctions on Russian energy resources and has refused to send military aid to Kiev’s forces, citing the need to maintain and to equip Hungary’s own army.

Meanwhile, Russian MP Alexey Chepa has suggested that if the EU does decide to send a peacekeeping force to Ukraine, it would certainly be interpreted as a direct involvement in the conflict and an attempt to provoke a Russia-NATO war. 

Chepa stated that in this case Russia could be forced to seek help from its Collective Security Treaty Organization partners, which include Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Israeli Airstrikes Hit Damascus For Second Night In A Row

Israeli Airstrikes Hit Damascus For Second Night In A Row

Israeli airstrikes targeted the Syrian capital of Damascus early Friday morning for the second day in a row, marking the fifth time in March that Israel bombed Syria.

Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that Syrian air defenses "intercepted hostile targets" in the airspace of Damascus. There was no mention of any casualties or damage caused by the strikes.

Less than 24 hours earlier, SANA reported that two Syrian soldiers were wounded in Israeli strikes on the Syrian capital. Israeli officials haven’t commented on either strike, as Israeli typically does not take credit for individual airstrikes in Syria.

According to the Times of Israel describing the latest:

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes targeted an arms depots for government forces and Iran-backed groups just south of Damascus.

Footage circulating on social media showed explosions in the sky, apparently from Syrian air defense missiles.

The intensified Israeli airstrikes in Syria come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing a political crisis at home. After massive protests and dissent within the Israeli government, Netanyahu delayed his controversial judicial overhaul, but unrest in the country continues.

Earlier this month, Israeli airstrikes targeted the airport in the Syrian city of Aleppo, which was devastated by the massive earthquake that hit northwest Syria and Turkey on February 6. The strikes temporarily shut down the airport, cutting off a vital channel for earthquake aid.

Israel claims its operations in Syria target Iran and Iranian weapons shipments, but the airstrikes often kill Syrians and damage civilian infrastructure.

Why the Dollar-based International System Is Breaking Up

Why the Dollar-based International System Is Breaking Up

The Federal Reserve’s higher interest rates after 12 years of zero interest rates are devaluing the asset side of banks’ balance sheets.  This frightens depositors and they withdraw their deposits.  Depositors also are withdrawing their money because they can get much higher interest rates on safe US Treasuries. According to some reports, $1 trillion has already been withdrawn from US banks.  Bloomberg is reporting rumors that Schwab’s $7 Trillion empire based on low rates is cracking from bond losses.  In the face of this vulnerability of the financial system, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates further.

There is also the problem of the currency and interest rate derivatives.  No one knows the risk in these instruments.  The US dollar itself is declining in use as world reserve currency.  Alarmed by Washington’s weaponization of the dollar with sanctions and confiscations, much of the world is arranging to abandon the dollar’s use to settle international trade accounts, but the supply of dollars is not declining.  This implies a fall in the dollar’s exchange value. The offshoring of manufacturing and food production has made the US heavily dependent on imports.  A loss in the dollar’s exchange value resulting from countries settling their trade balances in other currencies means a sharp rise in US inflation.  

The Federal Reserve hasn’t the intelligence to think through the consequences of its higher interest rate policy.  The federal government cannot comprehend the consequences of offshoring for the US trade deficit or the consequences of continuing massive US budget deficits for the Treasury market.  

Washington is too arrogant to comprehend the new way in which the US is perceived abroad.  The world sees the dollar-based reserve currency system as Washington’s punishment device, and the world sees dollar-based debt expanding while demand for dollars declines.  The result will be a drop in the foreign exchange value of dollar denominated financial instruments such as stocks and bonds.

The collapse of the Soviet Union gave Washington the opportunity to lead the world on a path of peace and economic development.  But the neoconservatives could not resist their attempt for world hegemony and launched twenty-five years of war.  Wall Street and corporate executives with eyes on bonuses could not resist deindustrializing the US by locating US manufacturing offshore, thus boosting Chinese economic growth instead of American economic growth.  These major failures indicate the total failure of US policymakers.

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the closing days of the 20th century launched the US into the 21st century on a path of financial instability.  Nothing has been done to correct this, and nothing has been done to correct the offshoring mistake or the failure to control the supply of government debt.  As countries move away from using the dollar to settle international transactions, a dollar glut will result in US inflation and declining American living standards.

Discussing the seriousness of our country’s situation with Michael Hudson, it is difficult to find hope. To admit that mistakes are being made implies acknowledging that we are on the wrong path and that China, Russia, and those governments aligning with them are on a better course, using their banks for financing industrial wealth instead of acting as brokerage casinos and dealing in financial arbitrage and debt leveraging.  No American policymaker will risk being asked “why do you support the policies of Xi and Putin?”  That they, and not us, have the right policy is not a permitted thought.

The Globalism Movement

How Governments Use Global Crises to Take More

Over the last century, the reach of the State has moved from a local, to a national, to now an international level. This is what the concept of globalism is all about.

The good news is that the bigger and more complex anything gets—including the movement towards globalism—the more inefficient, corrupt, and unwieldy it becomes. So perhaps the idea of globalism is getting big enough to self-destruct.

In the meantime, some of globalism’s and the State’s most effective minions are NGOs (non-governmental organizations). They are generally supported by private giving, often in estate planning. When people die, they often want to do something for the benefit of humanity. That’s an understandable emotion, although charity generally causes at least as many problems as it cures. I explain that in a previous conversation. Rich people particularly want to virtue signal since today’s society infuses them with guilt for their money. That, plus they naturally want shelter from taxes. So they give money to all kinds of NGOs. There are many thousands of them.

NGOs are almost universally collectivist and Statist in philosophy and have strong political agendas, although they disguise overtly political objectives with “feel-good” rhetoric. Who could possibly be against agitating for world peace or fighting poverty? However, many amount to scams, few accomplish anything meaningful, and they almost all work closely with the government. Few of them produce anything but commercials, lobbying campaigns, and fat incomes for their insiders.

Critical thinkers can help pull the rug out from under NGOs by never giving them a penny and challenging their actions.

Speaking of globalism, NGOs, and a trend toward world government, I have to mention that vaccine passports are a definite step in that direction. There will undoubtedly be a UN organization formed to standardize vax passports because, right now, there is a myriad of vaccine passports issued by various governments on different criteria in different formats.

An internationally accepted vax certificate will amount to a world government passport. It will probably be tied in with a Social Credit rating such as the one used by China. Naturally, that will be linked to everyone’s digital currency account with the central bank. It will become an international ID document in much the same way that driver’s licenses are effectively internal passports within the US. You’ll be nobody, and do nothing, without it.

Global warming, aka climate change, is an excellent form of control, perhaps even better than a virus. People are being terrified into believing they’re about to destroy the planet itself. Fear is a foolproof way to control the masses. It’s funny, actually. “The masses” is a term Marxist-Leninists are very fond of.

Government is always presented as the friend of “the people,” “our democracy,” or “the masses.” It’s promoted as the noble, wise, and forward-thinking savior that “steps in” to stop the evil producers.

It’s one of many false and horribly destructive memes stalking the earth today like specters. The increasing belief in government as a magic solution to problems acts to decrease the average person’s standard of living and creates all kinds of distortions throughout society. It’s turned the study of economics into a pseudoscience, and its incursions into science are discrediting the idea of science itself.

In fact, the two big hysterias plaguing the world both center on State involvement in science—or at least scientism. One is COVID, a relatively trivial flu blown out of proportion. The other is anthropogenic global warming (AGW),which has recently been rechristened as climate change.

In my view, both will eventually be debunked and discredited. Unfortunately, if you run counter to either narrative right now, you’ll be canceled, fired, and/or ostracized.

It’s very much like what happened to Galileo when he ran counter to the prevailing wisdom of the Middle Ages. Of course, the ruling class doesn’t actually burn books anymore, but only because books today are mostly electronic. These attitudes constantly appear on sites like Google and Twitter.

There’s an excellent chance that these people will discredit the very idea of science because they’ve wrapped themselves in the veil of science or, more precisely, what’s become known as “The Science.” They’re creating something much more serious than just another economic disaster.

It’s true that many people see the government as some kind of benevolent magical organization. This attitude helps politicians to advance; they’re assumed to be acting in good faith.

So what will it take for the average person to be snapped out of this hypnosis? Where’s the red pill when the world needs it?

When a hypnotist approaches a crowd, he knows that some people are much more liable to be hypnotized than others. It’s a failing of human psychology that’s especially true in the political world. Some people are much more liable to be hypnotized by politics and the idea of government than others. The exceptions are critical, independent thinkers who are always a minority—and it’s always dangerous to be in the minority.


Will NATO "Peacekeepers" Enter Ukraine On The Side of Ukraine? Russia Objects 'Wolves In Sheepskin', Will 'Lead To Tragedy'

NATO "Peacekeepers" To Enter on Side of Ukraine?

Russia is alerting the world that NATO is going to send what they call "Peacekeeping troops" into the Ukraine war.  Russian Federation Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev made clear "Any peacekeepers on the front lines in Ukraine without our consent must be eliminated."

The deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council said that NATO peacekeepers are "wolves in sheepskin" and Russia's enemies.

In his Telegram social media account, Medvedev stated that the representatives of the military bloc are "wolves in sheepskin", which offer their "peacekeeping services" in order to, to side with Kyiv and bring the situation at the front to the point of no return. 

"Crowds are not just rotten grunts who jumped out of the reels from their cravings and impudence. They keep everyone else for the cavalry ... fools. And, smiling cynically, they offer their "peacekeeping" services, - Medvedev said. 

In this context, Russian leader Vladimir Putin's aide reminded the United States of their operations to introduce a US contingent of troops to Korea, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa, indicating, that their presence in Ukraine will again lead to a "tragedy". 

Medvedev threatened NATO and Europe with a stream of "trunes" (i.e. caskets)  indicating that Russia would consider the Alliance's peacekeeping contingent in Ukraine as its legitimate goal for which the Russian army would fire. 

"Such peacekeepers" are our direct enemies. Wolves in sheepskin. They will be a legitimate goal for our Armed Forces if they are placed on the front line without Russia's consent to weapons in their hands and are directly threatening us. And then these "peacekeepers" must be ruthlessly destroyed" he said.



The idea to send "some type of peacekeeping troops" to Ukraine, if such discussion is indeed serious, is potentially extremely dangerous, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday, commenting on the words of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor, who disclosed such discussions within the EU.

"This is a statement that is very important to note. If we are talking about some serious ‘verbalizations,’ then this, of course, is an extremely dangerous discussion," the spokesman said.

Peskov noted that, in international practice, such forces are usually being deployed under consent of both sides.

"In this case, this is potentially a very dangerous topic," he reiterated. 

Earlier, Orban opined that the threat of a new World War is quite real, adding that "this is not an exaggeration." According to the Hungarian Prime Minister, the EU continues to discuss dispatching of "peacekeeping troops of some kind" to Ukraine, which may result in a direct clash with Russia.

UN Warns: Risk of nuclear weapons use 'higher than any time' since Cold War

The UN warned Friday that the risk of a nuclear weapon being used is higher than at any time since the Cold War as Russia plans to deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

Russia announced on March 25 that it had reached an agreement with Belarus to station its non-strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus, a close ally of Moscow.

"The war in Ukraine represents the most acute example of that risk," UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu told the Security Council.

"For the sake of all our security, I echo the Secretary-General’s call for the Russian Federation and the United States to return to full implementation of the New START Treaty and commence negotiations on its successor."

Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, Nebenzya, at the UN Security Council replied "Against the backdrop of NATO's openly declared desire to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, it is obvious that such actions require us to take all the necessary response steps, including in the military sphere, to ensure the security of the Allied states of Russia and Belarus. 

It is in this direction that the measures announced by the President of Russia, which so frightened the Zelensky regime and its Western sponsors, go. Or did you seriously expect that we would not properly respond to your provocative and aggressive actions?"

Russia has adopted a new foreign policy strategy in which the West is declared an "existential" threat to Russia.

Developing . . . 


UPDATE 10:10 AM EDT --

Russia’s new foreign policy strategy adopted by President Vladimir Putin on Friday identified China and India as main allies on the world stage.

The new 42-page document singled out ties with China and India, stressing the importance of “the deepening of ties and coordination with friendly sovereign global centers of power and development located on the Eurasian continent.”

UPDATE 10:28 AM EDT --

I have just this minute CONFIRMED that, according to Russian public nuclear doctrine, "a threat to the existence of the state" is grounds for the use of nuclear weapons.   Russia has now officially declared the West to be such a threat to the existence of Russia.



"Moscow considers Washington's course as the main source of risks for its own and international security, for peace and the just development of mankind as a whole," the document says.

"The new concept of foreign policy provides for the possibility of symmetrical and asymmetric measures in response to unfriendly actions against the Russian Federation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

JP Morgan Chase wants people to pay for goods with face scans

JP Morgan Chase wants people to pay for goods with face scans

JPMorgan Chase has announced plans to pilot a new payment technology that would allow customers to pay with their palm or face instead of a traditional credit or debit card. Following similar technological implementations in , if the pilot program goes well, the bank intends to roll out the service to its broader base of US merchant clients and usher in a new wave of biometric payments that privacy enthusiasts have been concerned about.The rise of biometric technology, which uses unique body measurements to authenticate a person's identity, is being pushed by corporations to make this the default payment method across the world.

The new payment process works by enrolling a customer's palm or face through an in-store process. At checkout, the customer scans their face or palm to complete the transaction.

According to Bloomberg, Jean-Marc Thienpont, head of omnichannel solutions for JPMorgan's payments business, believes that “the evolution of consumer technology has created new expectations for shoppers. Merchants need to be ready to adapt to these new expectations.”

The pilot program may include a Formula 1 race in Miami, as well as some brick-and-mortar stores. Ramon Peneda, chief information officer for the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, said that “being able to roll out this new biometrics-based payments scheme would enhance the race-day experience for our guests, as they will enjoy a new, faster checkout process.”

Over the past few years, China has become a global leader in the implementation of this biometric recognition payment technology. The payment method has transformed the way millions of people conduct transactions daily.

The country's investment in , big data, and surveillance technologies has facilitated the development of advanced facial recognition systems. The government's push for a cashless society has further spurred the adoption of digital payment methods, making facial recognition payments a natural progression in the society China is attempting to create.

Two of China's tech giants, Alibaba and Tencent, pioneered the facial recognition payment revolution with their respective platforms, Alipay and  Pay.

However, the Chinese government has played a crucial role in the widespread adoption of facial recognition payments. By promoting digital payment methods and providing regulatory support, the government has encouraged the growth of this technology in developing a nationwide facial recognition database.

Rabbis petition government to allow Passover sacrifice on Temple Mount

Rabbis petition government to allow Passover sacrifice on Temple Mount; Arabs decry the attempt

A group of rabbis sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Itamar Ben Gvir, the Minister of National Security, requesting that Jews be permitted to perform the Biblically-mandated Passover ritual on the Temple Mount.

“The Passover sacrifice is one of the most important positive commandments in the Torah and is the first that the nation of Israel performed during the Exodus from Egypt as a sign of the covenant with the Creator,” the petition read. “This covenant is renewed every year in the courtyard of the Temple when all of Israel must participate in the ritual sacrifice.”

The letter goes on to explain that currently we lack the red heifer and are, therefore, in a state of ritual impurity, but that time bound public sacrifices, such as the Passover offering, must be brought even in a state of impurity. 

“While we have the ability to perform this mitzvah and do not, this is relinquishing the responsibility that we took on upon leaving Egypt,” the rabbis wrote.

The letter also emphasized that Halacha (Jewish law) does not require a Temple structure in order to perform the sacrifices. In this case, when a Temple does not exist, an altar of undressed stones is sufficient. 

“We [the Jews] have the merit to be in control of the Temple Mount,” the letter read. “In the case that the state of Israel sees a national interest in the Passover sacrifice, we would be able to perform the sacrifice in its proper time and place despite all the difficulties.”

Among the 15 rabbis who signed the letter were Head of the Temple Institute Rabbi Israel Ariel, Rabbi of Mitzpe Jericho Yehuda Kreuzer, and Rabbi of Amichai Yair Frank. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Office of the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem.

Thanks to the efforts of the Temple Institute and other Temple advocacy groups, all of the necessary elements to begin the Temple service stand ready. But Jews may only perform temple rituals at the site the altar stood in the Biblical Temples which is on the Temple Mount. The only obstacle to performing the Passover service is the government’s refusal to permit it to take place at that location.

The importance of the reenactment was underscored in 2021 when Rabbi Aryeh Stern, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, ruled that the Korban Pesach (Passover sacrifice) is incumbent upon the Jewish people even in current times, even in the absence of a Temple structure or lacking a Red Heifer to purify Israel. The Sanhedrin ruled that at this juncture that one sacrifice made at the Temple Mount brought in the name of the entire Jewish people would suffice. 

The Korban Pesach is of utmost importance. There are only two mitzvot (Biblical commandments) for which non-compliance receives the most severe punishment mandated by the Torah, karet (being cut off from the community or excommunicated): brit milah (circumcision) and the korban Pesach(Passover sacrifice).




Israel and the U.S. are going through tumultuous times. In both countries, the gap between the Right and Left has dramatically widened, aided by foreign power interference.

In Israel, on November 1st, 2022, the centrist Likud party, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and a coalition of other like-minded and religious parties, won the election with a majority of 64 of the 120 Knesset members. They tossed out the 56 members of the left-leaning coalition, including the Arab parties (who deny Israel’s right to exist), headed by the incompetent and corrupt former Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

After decades of the power grabbing and abuse of laws by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General, the Israeli voters had enough. After four inconclusive elections, they voted decisively for the Likud coalition, which ran on a platform of reforming the corrupt legal system, especially the lawlessness and “dictatorship of the (Supreme) court”, (so defined by Nobel laureate Prof. Israel Aumann).

Today, the Court’s fifteen judges can veto everything the legislative (Knesset) and the executive (Government) decide, and the Attorney General acts as a prosecutor and a judge. The unelected judiciary has constantly interfered with the elected legislature, canceling laws, and even blocking the Prime Minister from governing.

In Israel, as in the U.S. when the Republicans and Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the Left, who lost the election, went into high gear to overthrow Netanyahu and the Likud, similar to the Democrats when they tried to depose Trump (four years of the Russia hoax).

In December 2022, the Netanyahu government began to fulfill its campaign promise to reform the legal system. Immediately, the Left’s opposition parties began challenging Netanyahu’s government, not through debates in the Knesset, but through non-stop incitement and fear-propaganda in the mostly left-leaning media and, organizing well-funded protests, illegally closing major roads, pressuring reserve military officers in essential units, urging medical staff to strike, and even closing down the country’s airports.

The leading Leftist groups, such as One Voice, V15, and Movement for Quality Government. received funding from the U.S. State Department and Progressive-Left American and European NGOs. Condoned by the Biden Administration, the minority Left in Israel successfully used fearmongering and outright lies to paralyze the country and rachet-up division among the populace.

The Left wants to maintain judicial control over the Prime Minister and the Knesset. The centrists wish for a more equal and balanced relationship between the Judiciary, the Executive, and the Legislative branches, as, for example, in the United States.

The Biden Administration has jumped into the Israeli domestic political controversy by supporting the small (but well-funded and very loud) minority of radical anti-Israel progressive-left parties. The administration supports those parties in Israel which lost the election, encouraging those minority parties to resist negotiating with the majority government. They have been creating civil unrest and chaos. Moreover, the Biden Administration is condoning the opposition’s revolt against judicial reform, which, if passed, would move Israel perhaps halfway toward the U.S. constitutional model.

Why is the Administration doing this? Why is it opposing the democratically elected government of Israel as it is trying to implement the platform on which it won the fair election? Why didn’t Biden congratulate Netanyahu until very recently and invite him to the White House as has always been done in the past? Why did the Administration shun Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich when he visited D.C.? How did U.S. ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides dare to say about Smotrich, who was flying to the U.S., “He has a flight to Washington, and if I could, I would throw him off the plane!” Why was Nides not fired? Why is the Administration seeking regime change in its most loyal ally, Israel, the only real functioning democracy in the Middle East?

The reason for the Biden Administration’s outrageous behavior is that PM Netanyahu is devoted to protecting the national security of Israel and its orbit of relatively friendly Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan, and the four Muslim states who joined Israel in the Abraham Accord. This accord simultaneously protects the interests of the U.S., Israel, and its Arab allies. The coalition represents a strong bulwark against the imperialist and Islamist policies of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood supporting countries, Qatar and Turkey.

The Netanyahu government is also standing strong against creating a Palestinian-terrorist state, knowing that Iran and its proxy armies would quickly take it over. Netanyahu’s centrist government is acting in the mutual interests of Israel and the U.S.


Critics Warn of ‘a Dragnet of Surveillance’ as U.S. Pushes Ahead With Plans for More ‘Smart’ Cities

Critics Warn of ‘a Dragnet of Surveillance’ as U.S. Pushes Ahead With Plans for More ‘Smart’ Cities

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week announced $94 million in grant awards to fund 59 smart city technology projects across the country.

Despite widespread and mounting pushback against biometric surveillance and control systems associated with smart city technologies and the failure of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) previous attempt to grant-fund smart city transformation in Columbus, Ohio, Buttigieg told The Verge he thinks “smart city technologies matter more than ever.”

Cities just need to take a different approach — experimenting with and testing out different technologies first, rather than implementing a “grand unified system” all at once, Buttigieg said.

The new grants, part of the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program, are the first round of $500 million in funding that will be awarded for smaller smart mobility projects over the next five years, authorized under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In this funding round, DOT awarded smart grants for a range of projects, including drone surveillance or delivery, smart traffic signals, connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, smart grid development, intelligent sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. Some cities, including Los Angeles (LA), received multiple grants.

Smart city development typically focuses on the implementation of technologies like the IoT, 5G, cloud and edge computing, and biometric surveillance to track, manage, control and extract profit from an array of urban processes.

Whitney Webb, an investigative journalist and smart cities critic, said the smart city infrastructure is meant to facilitate the development of cities “micromanaged by technocrats via an all-encompassing system of mass surveillance and a vast array of ‘internet of things’ devices that provide a constant and massive stream of data that is analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI).”

‘Concept of a sensor in every home doesn’t look as shiny as it once did’

Smart city projects began gaining traction in the U.S. in 2015, boosted by a program launched by then-DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. Foxx, who went on to become the chief policy officer for Lyft, now works at Tulco, a data science venture capital firm. Foxx created the “Smart City Challenge,” which offered a $50 million grant to the mid-sized city with the best proposal to remake their city as a “smart city.”

Vulcan LLC, an investment and philanthropic organization dedicated to materializing the vision of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and whose profit-making services focus on real estate development, partly funded the federal grant.

Columbus, Ohio, beat out 77 other cities with its “revolutionary” proposal, but the project was by most accounts a failure — expensive trip-planning kiosks erected downtown were never used, autonomous shuttles had accidents, the public transportation platform was rarely downloaded and censor-connected trucks failed to materialize.

Then, in May 2020, another paradigmatic smart city model project failed when Google smart city subsidiary Sidewalk Labs scrapped plans to build a smart city prototype in Toronto amid public outcry about surveillance and profiteering.

According to The Globe and Mail, Eric Schmidt, former head of Google parent company Alphabet, described the project in these terms:

“The genesis of the thinking for Sidewalk Labs came from Google’s founders getting excited thinking of ‘all the things you could do if someone would just give us a city and put us in charge.’”

Visions like these raised a lot of flags among both expertsand the general public.

Even one of the smart city concept’s biggest promoters, Wired Magazine, admitted that skepticism about smart cities had grown:

“Today, as citizens think more carefully about tech-enabled surveillance, the concept of a sensor in every home doesn’t look as shiny as it once did.”

San Francisco banned government use of facial recognition software. And Amazon is facing a class action lawsuit in New York City for failing to comply with the city’s law that businesses must inform customers if they are harvesting their biometric data.

New York is one of several cities that have passed biometric laws. Several states, including Texas, Washington and Illinois also passed similar lawsNick Corbishly reported in Naked Capitalism.

Global market for smart cities projected to reach $696 billion by 2028

But pushback hasn’t stopped tech visionaries and states from moving forward with smart development projects. The global Smart Cities Market is projected to grow to $696 billion by 2028, growing from $467 billion in 2022, according to a market research report published Monday.

Webb reported that soon after Schmidt commented on the vision behind the Toronto smart city, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped him to lead an effort to reimagine post-pandemic life in the state, building smart city infrastructure through partnerships with the Israeli government.

In fact, the COVID-19 lockdowns led to a series of positive PR pieces promoting the implementation of smart cities and several conferences “re-imagining” them.

Smart city pilot projects continue to proliferate. In Japan, Toyota is building Woven City, a 175-acre prototype, where people and things are completely connected through data and censors. The project will test new technologies, such as automated driving, robotics and AI in a “real-world environment.”

Researchers are studying residents of neighborhoods in Helsinki and Amsterdam who added smart technology to their homes and using the information to help with the development of “experimental innovation platforms.”

Even small towns like Cary, North Carolina, have turned themselves into smart cities by deploying IoT sensors that “collect data and enable analytics to provide actionable insights” across the entire city.

In Busan, South Korea, The New York Times reportedTuesday, 54 families are subjecting every aspect of their lives to data collection so developers can use their behavior as a basis to build a smart city “from the ground up.”

The DOT awarded several Smart grants to LA — $2 million for curb management, $2 million for event-integrated transportation ticketing, and Orange County got $1.6 million for a cloud-based transit signal system.

The seemingly banal concept of “curb management,” Bloomberg reported, “has become a focus of serious attention from some of the world’s leading technology companies.”

It is a hot development site for smart city startups like Coord, a spinoff of Sidewalk Labs, as cities seek to digitize, track and regulate curb space sought after by the private transportation network of the smart city — scooters, bikes, delivery drivers, Uber drivers, etc.