Afghanistan, Failure and Second Thoughts

Source: CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

“It is a country other powers simply cannot leave alone. Even after abandoning its Kabul post in ignominy, tail tucked between their legs, Australia is now wondering if it should return — in some form. The Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs has been sending out a few signals, none of them definitive. ‘We will not comment on intelligence matters,’ a spokesman for foreign minister Senator Marise Payne stated tersely earlier this month. … The Australian response, confused and stumbling, is much like that of their counterparts in Washington. While the Biden administration speeds up the departure of troops, the cord to Kabul remains uncut though distinctly worn.” (07/30/21)

Judge tells lawyers in Ghislaine Maxwell case to watch what they say

Source: Reuters

“The U.S. judge overseeing Ghislaine Maxwell’s criminal case on Friday admonished lawyers not to make out-of-court statements that could taint the British socialite’s upcoming sex trafficking trial. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan ruled a month after Maxwell lawyer David Markus said the overturning of actor Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction justified ending Maxwell’s prosecution on charges that she groomed and trafficked underage girls for the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to eight charges, and faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors said Markus’ opinion piece in New York’s Daily News violated a court rule against lawyers making ‘extrajudicial statements’ that could taint the jury pool.” (07/30/21)

UVA’s Honor Code is a Nightmare for Due Process

Source: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Emma Camp

“The University of Virginia is known for its stunning Rotunda, its founder — President Thomas Jefferson — and its honor code. The university’s Honor Code, adopted in 1842, requires students to pledge never to lie, cheat, or steal; its student-run Honor Committee imposes a harsh punishment on any student found guilty of violating the ‘community of trust’: immediate expulsion from the university. This punishment, called the ‘single sanction,’ provides a harsh deterrent for potential offenders. However, it has also become a nightmare for due process. … As of a 2015 report, the average Honor investigation lasts some 112 days. … the average investigation duration includes those students who admit guilt after seven days or less by submitting an ‘Informed Retraction’ …. Thus, the average length of an Honor investigation is likely much higher for those students who decide to contest their charge.” (07/30/21)

Call notes: Trump Pressed DOJ to Declare Election Results Corrupt

Source: New York Times

“President Donald J. Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud, so that he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results, according to new documents provided to lawmakers and obtained by The New York Times. … The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved …. according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation. ‘Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me’ and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.” (07/30/21)

The Scars of Utopia

Source: National Review
by Kevin D Williamson

“Earlier this month, one ghastly chapter in a particularly ghastly story came to a kind of a conclusion as the Czech government agreed to make restitution to thousands of women, mostly members of the Roma minority, who were subjected to coerced sterilization by the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. The socialist strongmen of the 20th century differed in important ways from their progressive admirers in the United States and the rest of the free world, but they had some fundamental things in common: ‘Central planning’ was never an idea that was limited to economic life, and the planned in ‘Planned Parenthood’ is very much the planned from ‘planned economy,’ meaning that the ‘planning’ involved was to be at the social scale rather than merely at the family scale. Eugenics and population control were obsessions of central planners from Moscow to Washington to Beijing, and, to some extent, they still are.” (07/30/21)

Toilet Paper Rolls Are Getting Smaller. Blame the Fed.

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Doug French

“A term has been coined for product sellers who shrink their packages, and thus, the amount of product in those packages, keeping the package price the same: shrinkflation. Anyone with a bit of good sense or economics training knows this is another form of price inflation, caused by what used to be the dictionary meaning of inflation; an increase in the supply of money. … A Charmin spokeswoman, when confronted by reporters at WBUR about shrinking the size of their toilet sheet squares, pulled an explanation out of her you-know-what, suggesting it was the result of ‘innovations’ allowing ‘consumers to, basically, wipe their butts more efficiently.'” (07/30/21)

Belarus: Lukashenko “would not hesitate” to beg Putin to save his ass from the serfs

Source: US News & World Report

“Belarus would not hesitate to invite Russian troops if needed, President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday, although he said there was no need for them now. Russia has maintained close military and economic ties with its ally Belarus, even as Western countries have ostracised the country since Lukashenko cracked down on mass protests following a contested presidential election last year. … ‘There is no need for that now. We have quite a strong, united and compact armed force. … If it is not enough, Russian armed forces will be introduced. … If it is necessary, we will not hesitate,’ Belarus'[s] state-run news agency Belta cited Lukashenko as saying. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Belarus had made no approach requesting troops, and that Minsk would need to submit a formal request before any could be deployed.” (07/30/21)