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Wed, 08 Feb 2023
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Attention

US airmen respond with shock, mockery as General urged service members to prepare for war with China

plane incoming
© US Air Force/Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum
"I felt like a random email blast to thousands of airmen was an inappropriate way to direct them to essentially prepare for war with a near-peer adversary," one Air Force officer reportedly stated.

US Air Force officers are reacting with horror to a memo by a top general advising them to prepare for a conventional war against China within two years.

On January 27, thousands of airmen received a communique from Gen. Mike Minihan informing them that his "gut" told him the US "will fight [China] in 2025," and demanding they be prepared to "fire a clip into a 7-meter target with the full understanding that unrepentant lethality matters most."

"Aim for the head," added the memo, which also included instructions to update their virtual 'Record of Emergency Data,' which informs the military what to do in the event of a service member's death.

A number of Air Force members were left dumbfounded by the message, including an officer who recently told Military.com that many of his subordinates could not believe what they were seeing.

Comment: With commanders like Minihan, who needs a war?


Cult

This Is America's Culture Now...

Sam Smith grammies
If people that lived 50 or 60 years ago could see us today, what would they think of our culture? I believe that the performance of "Unholy" at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night will go down in history as a pivotal cultural moment. Yes, the "horror movie-inspired performance" that Sam Smith and Kim Petras came up with was designed to get as much attention as possible. They wanted people like me to write about it, and that is exactly what I am doing. But just because they were seeking attention does not change the fact that their performance was unspeakably evil. And it also does not change the fact that millions of their fans absolutely adored it. We have gotten to a point where our culture openly celebrates wickedness, and that is a very dangerous place to be.

Stop

Some state governments are passing laws to prevent forced microchip implants

Microchip Implants
Over the years, there have been many expert warnings about risks associated with having microchips implanted in humans. In fact, Elon Musk's Neuralink implants - which are being made for humans - have already harmed and killed many animals during testing. Nevertheless, some very powerful groups - including the World Economic Forum (WEF) - very much support implanting microchips in people (see 1, 2). If this concerns you, it may be a good idea to stay informed about what's happening where you live.

From Gov Tech:

From Progress to Bans: How Close Are Human Microchip Implants?

A lot has happened in the past 12 months regarding human microchip implants. Here's your roundup of recent developments.

Dan Lohrmann

A headline from The Hill in January 2023 proclaimed "Human microchip implants take center stage."

Bizarro Earth

'Prolific sperm donor' concerns prompts urgent calls for Australia-wide register

sperm
© Mads Nissen/Panos Pictures
Sperm seen through a microscope. Australia lacks a national system for tracking donor conceptions or ones that occur outside of fertility clinics.
Advocates are calling for a national register to track sperm donations across states, especially as increasing numbers of informal donations are not recorded at all.

Under the current system, there are various databases and ways of tracking donor conceptions but not a consistent national system - and not one that tracks those conceptions that happen outside of fertility clinics.

That raises concerns about "prolific donors" having more families than are allowed under the current caps (which are five or 10 families in most states). It can also be traumatic for donor-conceived people to find out they have dozens of half siblings, and also raises the risk of accidental incest.

Comment: It may be more appropriate to ask: Why has sperm donation, artificial insemination, as well as surrogacy, now being done on a near industrial scale? As a society is it something that we really want to encourage?


Attention

Strikes threaten energy supply in France, across the country tens of thousands join third round of mass protests against the government

strikes france
© Getty Images / Anadolu Agency
A nationwide strike against a proposed pension reform in France is jeopardizing the country's power and fuel supply, France 24 reported on Tuesday.

Electricity supply in the country was down by 3.7 gigawatts as output dropped at two nuclear reactors and several thermal plants, the media outlet reported, citing data from power provider EDF. No disruption was reported at hydraulic power plants, but EDF posted a strike notice for Thursday.

Meanwhile, French refineries also reported trouble due to the walkouts, with TotalEnergies saying they were causing interruptions in the shipping of petrol products. However, the company rushed to assure consumers that no shortages have so far been recorded at fueling stations, and that supply levels were largely satisfactory.

Comment: AP reports:
Tens of thousands marched in the cities of Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and elsewhere, as well as in Paris. Protesters in the French capital, many of whom were young, marched from the Opera area across the city carrying placards reading "Save Your Pension" and "Tax Billionaires, Not Grandmas."
Note that over a million people were recorded at the first mass strike and protest, the second had over 2 million, and it remains to be seen how many were in attendance this time but it too seems to be equally massive, with protesters even more determined than ever:

Footage from the protests:


Translation:
FLASH - Burning barricades have been erected near the university #Rennes2 , where students are mobilized against the pension reform plans ( witnesses)


Clashes break out in the demonstration against the pension reform in Paris. The police make arrests.

See also:


Heart - Black

DeSantis Admin moves to punish Florida venue that hosted 'sexually explicit' drag show open to kids

deSantis stop woke act florida
© Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses the crowd before publicly signing the "Stop WOKE" act during a press conference on April 22, 2022.
The administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) moved to revoke the liquor license of a Florida venue that hosted a "sexually explicit" drag show that was open to children, according to a complaint filed Friday.

The Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation, a performance art center, had hosted a performance of "A Drag Queen Christmas" on December 28, an event which was advertised as being open to "all ages" despite warnings from the state of Florida about restricting attendance if the performance was sexually explicit.

After the show, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed an administrative complaint to revoke the venue's liquor license after determining that the performance was explicit and that there were children present.

"Governor DeSantis stands to protect the innocence of children, and the governor always follows through when he says he will do something," DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin said in a statement to Florida's Voice News.

Stock Down

Economist who called 2008 US housing crash predicts another 15% drop in home prices

residential homes
© Photographer: Yuvraj Khanna/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images
Residential homes in Teaneck, New Jersey, US, on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.
A U.S. economist famous for predicting the 2008 housing crash believes that home prices could plunge another 15% this year.

In a recent analyst note, Ian Shepherdson - the founder and chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics - suggested that home price declines will accelerate further in 2023 as a result of low affordability and growing inventory.

"We estimate that single-family home prices have fallen by 5.4% from their recent peak in May 2022, but they still need to fall by a further 15% or so before they return to their long-run average, compared to disposable incomes," he wrote in a recent note to clients.

Although consumer demand likely is bouncing back from a low point in the fall as mortgage rates fall from a record-high, Shepherdson - who predicted the mid-2000s housing bubble and subsequent recession - believes that prices have a ways to go before they hit bottom.

Biohazard

France: Employee treated for 'slight' radioactive contamination at nuclear plant

nuclear plant france
© AFP
An employee at Cattenom power plant was treated for contamination on Thursday after a radioactive particle was discovered on his face.

In a press release issued overnight, EDF-CNPE confirmed an employee had become contaminated by a radioactive particle whilst carrying out logistical work on production unit number 3, which is currently closed for maintenance. The particle was detected on the employee's cheek.

The employee received immediate medical care, with treatment at the point of contamination. The usual checks and procedures were carried out, according to the statement.

Comment: A notable development consider the rather suspect 'shutdown for maintenance' of over half of France's nuclear plants during the world's worse energy crisis: Europe is in trouble as FOUR more of France's nuclear power stations to go offline over winter


Arrow Up

Iran to start revamp at Venezuela's largest refinery in bid to ditch reliance on US tech

oil rig venezuela
© REUTERS/Jorge Silva/
An oil worker is seen at Jose refinery cargo terminal in Venezuela in this undated file photo.
State firms from Iran and Venezuela will start in the coming weeks a 100-day revamp of the South American nation's largest refining complex to restore its crude distillation capacity, four sources close to the plan said.

The effort by state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the state-owned National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) to boost fuel output at the Paraguana Refining Center marks a step toward ending Venezuela's reliance on U.S. refinery technology, the sources said.

Venezuela, which has the world's largest crude reserves, has struggled in recent years to produce enough gasoline and diesel due to refinery outages, a lack of investment and U.S. sanctions that create obstacles for imports. Long lines at gasoline stations have been common since 2020.

Comment: See also: Indian refiners ditch dollar to pay for Russian oil in UAE dirhams


Stock Down

64% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck

shopping us america
© David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Shoppers in San Francisco on Dec. 21, 2022.
Months of high inflation have weighed heavily on households.

As of December, 64% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent LendingClub reportup from 61% a year earlier and in line with the historic high first hit in March 2020.

For the first time, more than half of all six-figure earners also said they were stretched too thin, a jump from 42% a year ago.

Comment: It's notable that whilst Europe has seen huge protests and been paralyzed by mass strikes over the collapse in living standards in just the last month, even in the usually compliant and placid UK, the same has yet to occur over in the US: France rocked by protests as 2 MILLION march against government reforms in 2nd wave of mass strikes to hit this month