Senate votes for debt ceiling elimination, admits spending limits were a con

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

“With just days to spare before the deadline for the nation [sic] to face financial default, the Senate approved compromise, bipartisan legislation to lift the debt ceiling. It cleared the chamber by a bipartisan 63-36 vote. … In an unusual step during the votes, Schumer and House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky released a joint statement noting that the legislation cannot block future emergency supplemental funding, such as additional aid to Ukraine.” [editor’s note: In English, that last part means that even the minimal spending restraints in the “deal” were a scam; they’ll just call everything an “emergency” and spend as much as they please – TLK] (06/01/23)

The Covid Blame Game Lives On

Source: RealClearPolitics
by Debra Saunders

“Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik recently wrote a column with the headline ‘These ‘experts’ sold the U.S. on a disastrous COVID plan, and never paid a professional price.’ Hiltzik targeted three ‘experts’ — no need for the quote marks he used, as they are highly credentialed epidemiologists at big-name medical institutions — Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, Martin Kulldorff, then at Harvard, and Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, who co-authored the October 2020 Great Barrington Declaration. The commonsense document, later co-signed by more than 900,000 concerned citizens, medical and health policy professionals, recommended ‘focused protection’ in lieu of lengthy universal lockdowns, because of shutdowns’ negative health consequences beyond Covid. They were right, and Hiltzik wants them punished for it.” (06/01/23)

Chinese Envoy: “Fruitful” Talks on Ukraine War May be Difficult

Source: Bloomberg

“China’s ambassador Li Hui said it may be difficult for all parties in the Russia-Ukraine conflict to gather for ‘fruitful’ talks, a sign of the complexity of the situation as Beijing tries to broker a peace deal. Li, China’s special representative for Eurasian Affairs, has been tasked with promoting Beijing’s efforts to negotiate an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine. He was speaking to reporters in Beijing following his recent trip to Ukraine, Russia and several European nations, including France and Germany. Li said the risk of escalation in the war remains high. The conflict is in a ‘stalemate and the battlefield is fraught with uncertainty,’ he said. It was necessary for some party to take the initiative to help find a solution, he said.” [editor’s note: Who knew that “Li Hui” was Mandarin for “Captain Obvious?” – TLK] (06/02/23)

Earned Income versus Student Debt: When the Shoe Is On The Other Claw …

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)’s latest legislative proposal — with several co-sponsors from both sides of the partisan aisle — would require the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to ‘claw back’ compensation paid to bank executives in the three years preceding failure (or FDIC bailout) of the banks they work for. At the same time, Warren calls it ‘shameful’ to ‘claw back relief from public servants’ — by which she means going back to expecting government employees to pay off their student loans …. One thing that immediately stands out about Warren’s conflicting views of Ye Auld Government Claw is that the money she wants the FDIC to take from executives of failed banks wasn’t the FDIC’s in the first place. … There is no ‘back’ involved here. It’s just wage theft of exactly the same kind she’d feign outrage over if the victims were janitors and the thieves weren’t government agents.” (06/01/23)

Reports: Prosecutors have tape of disgraced former president discussing classified document

Source: Politico

“Federal prosecutors have obtained an audio recording of former President Donald Trump acknowledging that he held onto a classified document about Iran war plans after leaving the White House, POLITICO has confirmed. In the recording, Trump says that he should have declassified the material while he was president, according to a person granted anonymity to speak openly to POLITICO. That acknowledgment implies that Trump did not take formal steps to do so while in office. The audio suggests Trump was holding the document during the recorded conversation, the person said. Because it is an audio recording, it’s unclear who viewed the document. The recording was made during a meeting held at Trump’s golf club in New Jersey in July 2021, the person said, where people were helping Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, write a memoir.” (06/01/23)

The Compulsion to Intervene: Why Washington Underwrites Violence in Ukraine

Source: TomDispatch
by Andrew Bacevich

“Allow me to come clean: I worry every time Max Boot vents enthusiastically about a prospective military action. Whenever that Washington Post columnist professes optimism about some upcoming bloodletting, misfortune tends to follow. And as it happens, he’s positively bullish about the prospect of Ukraine handing Russia a decisive defeat in its upcoming, widely anticipated, sure-to-happen-any-day-now spring counteroffensive. In a recent column reported from the Ukrainian capital (headline: ‘I was just in Kyiv under fire’), Boot writes that actual signs of war there are few. Something akin to normalcy prevails and the mood is remarkably upbeat. With the front ‘only [his word!] about 360 miles away,’ Kyiv is a ‘bustling, vibrant metropolis with traffic jams and crowded bars and restaurants.'” (06/01/23)

Sudan: As warring sides ignore cease-fire deal, White House imposes sanctions

Source: SFGate

“The White House announced Thursday that it will impose sanctions against key defense companies and people who ‘perpetuate violence’ in Sudan as the warring sides failed to abide by a cease-fire agreement in the northeastern African nation. New visa restrictions apply to officials from the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces and leaders from the former government led by Omar al-Bashir who are ‘responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Sudan’s democratic transition,’ according to the State Department. President Joe Biden on May 4 laid the groundwork for the penalties when he issued an executive order that expanded U.S. authorities to respond to the violence and help bring an end to the conflict. ‘These measures are intended to hold accountable those responsible for undermining the peace, security, and stability of Sudan,’ White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.” (06/01/23)

The Paranoid Style in American Entertainment

Source: The UnPopulist
by Robert Tracinski

“Recently, I was watching a rather grippingly made TV thriller when it started to become clear that the bad guys were going to be — stop me if you’ve heard this before — a secret conspiracy inside the highest ranks of the US government with a mole inside the White House. That’s pretty standard stuff these days, and this is exactly what struck me about it. … I might watch TV like this and be able to compartmentalize, viewing it as an exciting story but not as a guide to how politics or foreign policy or law enforcement actually works. But what if I didn’t? What if I actually took this seriously, if I accepted that the world really is run by secret cabals buried deep in the fabric of our government? Well, look around you.” (06/01/23)

FL: Recreational marijuana effort clears crucial hurdle

Source: Yahoo! News

“The effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida crossed a major hurdle but still faces a likely challenge from the state’s attorney general. Florida’s Department of State reported that the proposed ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot in 2024. The constitutional amendment, proposed by Smart & Safe Florida, gathered 967,528 valid signatures — more than 70,000 above the requirement to reach the ballot. … The proposal would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to three ounces of marijuana for personal use. Medical marijuana treatment centers, which were legalized by a statewide referendum in 2016, would be allowed to sell marijuana for recreational use.” (06/01/23)