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US Demands Europe Join Its War Against Russia

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation, In recent decades, the US Constitution’s clause that requires a congressional declaration of war before invading any country, has been ignored. Furthermore, ever since 2012 and the passage by Congress of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, economic sanctions by the US Government have been imposed against any company that fails to comply with a US-imposed economic sanction; a company can even be fined over a billion dollars for violating a US economic sanction. And, so, sanctions are now the way that the US Congress actually does authorize a war — the new way, no longer the way that’s described in the US Constitution. However, in the economic-sanctions phase of a war — this initial phase — the war is being imposed directly against any company that violates a US-ordered economic sanction, against Russia, Iran, or whatever target-country the US Congress has, by means of such sanctions, actually authorized a war by the US to exist — a ‘state of war’ to exist. For the US Congress, the passage of economic sanctions against a country thus effectively serves now as an authorization for the US President to order the US military to invade that country, if and when the President decides to do so. No further congressional authorization is necessary (except under the US Constitution). This initial phase of a war penalizes only those other nations’ violating companies directly — not the...

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Bah, Humbug

In the midst of all the new Christmas books that every year brings us, in the midst of the made-for-Netflix holiday programs, in the midst of the productions of The Nutcracker, in the midst of the seasonal movies (from It’s a Wonderful Life to Die Hard), in the midst of the Yuletide television specials, it might be worth remembering an indisputable truth about Christmas art: The single most successful bit of seasonal fiction is Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Over 40 film versions of the thing exist, and it’s been dramatized for the stage in dozens of different versions. Children’s editions, radio plays, cartoon encapsulations, parodies, takeoffs, retellings: What Dickens achieved with A Christmas Carol is unmatched by any other attempt to add a little post-gospel storytelling to the season. Of course, it’s also a mess of a story—a fact that, once every four or five years, I seem compelled to remind readers, usually during that surfeited, frantic period when the season briefly inverts me into a grumpy, pre-transformation Scrooge. Come December, as P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster observed, and “Christmas was again at our throats.” Back in the days when Freudianism dominated literary criticism, the critic Edmund Wilson complained of those who gave psychological explanations of Scrooge’s conversion. The story is essentially a fairy tale, and it’s as meaningless to psychoanalyze Scrooge as it is to ask about penis...

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The Bombay Club Turns 30

In 1961, Cecilia Chiang opened a tiny restaurant in San Francisco called the Mandarin. It offered authentic Chinese cuisine that attracted a devoted following. Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s fame was a fan. But more important was man-about-town Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. On the one hand he called it a “little hole in the wall.” On the other, he said it had “the best Chinese food east of the Pacific.” Seven years later the Mandarin moved to Ghirardelli Square—expanding from 65 seats to 300—becoming one of San Francisco’s premier dining destinations. “From the start she was determined to offer something other than the standard, bland chop suey and egg foo young,” writes Paul Freedman in Ten Restaurants That Changed America. Indeed, Chiang’s menu featured Peking Duck and then-novel fare like kung-pao chicken, twice-cooked pork, and chao tzui (potstickers). “Cecilia Chiang and the Mandarin had significantly transformed American appreciation of Chinese food.” Ashok Bajaj / Photo by Greg Powers When it comes to Indian cuisine, Ashok Bajaj has done something similar. Born in New Delhi, Bajaj entered the hospitality industry at a young age and in his 20s moved to London to run the luxurious Bombay Brasserie. In 1988, he set his sights on America. “I did go to New York first,” Bajaj told me last month. “Remember the mugging, the crime, and all the stuff? Way...

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Chicago, Suburban Mayors Call for Hike That Could Make Illinois’ Gas Tax Highest in Nation

Suburban mayors joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ask Illinois lawmakers to raise the state’s gas tax by 20 to 30 cents a gallon, a proposal that could make Illinois’ motor fuel tax the highest in the nation and ensure that per gallon taxes increase yearly with the rate of inflation. Outgoing mayor Emanuel joined other mayors from suburban Chicago on Tuesday to push the General Assembly should pass a gas tax hike in January. He said the costs and use of roads have increased while funding to maintain them has been stagnant. “We’re calling on the lawmakers, when they convene starting in January, to start to work on a number of issues that have not been addressed over the years, calling for an increase to the gas tax by 20 to 30 cents,” he said. “If you took the low range of the 20 to 30 cents that we’re talking about, the 20 cents would reflect just inflation.” The money, Emanuel said, should go to fund a new infrastructure bill. Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has said the state needs a new transportation funding bill. “We’ve talked about all of the options that are available to us and haven’t eliminated any of those options at the moment,” Pritzker said Monday in Springfield. Illinois has the 10th highest gas taxes in the nation, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation. A 30-cent...

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The War Against Globalism

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation, We are the Little Folk—we! Too little to love or to hate. Leave us alone and you’ll see How we can drag down the State! A Pict Song, Rudyard Kipling Belgium has joined the list of countries that are rebelling against their elected leadership. Over the weekend the Belgian government fell over Prime Minister Charles Michel’s trip to Morocco to sign the United Nations Migration Agreement. The agreement made no distinction between legal and illegal migrants and regarded immigration as a positive phenomenon. The Belgian people apparently did not agree. Facebook registered 1,200 Belgians agreeing that the Prime Minister was a traitor. Some users expressed concern for their children’s futures, noting that Belgian democracy is dead. Others said they would get yellow vests and join the protests. The unrest witnessed in a number of places is focused on some specific demands but it represents much broader anger. The French yellow vests initially protested against proposed increases in fuel taxes that would have affected working people dependent on transportation disproportionately. But when that demand was met by the government of President Emmanuel Macron, the demonstrations continued and even grew, suggesting that the grievances with the government were far more extensive than the issue of a single new tax. Perhaps not surprisingly, the French government is seeking for a scapegoat and is investigating “Russian interference.” The US State Department inevitably...

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