Ukraine: EU officials hold Kyiv talks in show of support for regime

Source: ABC News

“Top European Union officials were due to meet Friday in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a show of support for the country as it battles to counter Russia’s invasion and strives to join the EU as well as NATO. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, as well as 15 European commissioners, traveled to the Ukrainian capital for what they described as a summit meeting. The last such summit was held in Kyiv in October 2021 — a few months before the war started. The highly symbolic visit is also the first EU political mission of its kind to a country at war.” (02/03/23)

Debt Ceiling: Extortion! Hostage-Taking! Irresponsibility!

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Among my many reasons for being neither a Republican nor a Democrat is that the only time either party even pretends to care about ‘fiscal responsibility’ is when the other party holds the White House. Had Donald Trump been re-elected in 2020, Republicans would be saying what Democrats are saying now and vice versa. The current Democratic criticisms of Republicans’ debt ceiling theatrics are, on the whole, correct … if they’re levied at both major parties and the whole of the federal government.” (02/02/23)

Free Talk Live, 02/02/23

Source: Free Talk Live

“Donut Shop Sues NH Town over Sign Ordinance :: Military Conflict with China :: NBC Boston Free Stater Documentary Trailer :: Former Drug Agent Becomes First Amendment Auditor :: Cascadia :: Phoenix Clean Zone :: 5,000 Warrants :: 2023-02-02 Ian, Joa, Reed Coverdale.” (02/02/23)

Federal appeals court strikes down unconstitutional domestic violence gun law

Source: Politico

“A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the government can’t stop people who have domestic violence restraining orders against them from owning guns — the latest domino to fall after the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority set new standards for reviewing the nation’s gun laws. Police in Texas found a rifle and a pistol at the home of a man who was the subject of a civil protective order that banned him from harassing, stalking or threatening his ex-girlfriend and their child. The order also banned him from having guns. A federal grand jury indicted the man, who pled guilty. He later challenged his indictment, arguing the law that prevented him from owning a gun was unconstitutional.” (02/02/23)

National Conservatives Can’t Find a Good Excuse for Viktor Orban’s Inflation Disaster

Source: Reason
by Ryan Bourne

“Viktor Orban is a hero to American national conservatives. So when in January 2022 the Hungarian Prime Minister announced he would supplement price caps on fuel and mortgage rates by mandating that sugar, flour, sunflower oil, chicken breasts, pork legs, and certain milk products be sold to consumers at lower October 2021 prices, some of this anti-free market cohort celebrated his decisive action to ‘protect families’ from inflation. ‘But, but, but, what would Milton Friedman say!’ tweeted Compact magazine editor Sohrab Ahmari, mocking advocates of market economics. This was ‘the party of the state for the win.’ Well, we know what Friedman would have said: these price controls will not work as you intend. … Well, what do you know? Headline inflation in Hungary is currently the highest in the European Union, running at a massive 24.5 percent, with food and power prices up 49 percent and 56 percent through December 2022.” (02/02/23)

Israel: Netanyahu barred from dealing with judicial overhaul due to corruption trial

Source: Times of Israel [Palestine]

“Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he cannot be involved in his government’s efforts to radically overhaul the legal and judicial system because he has a conflict of interests due to his ongoing corruption trial. The pronouncement drew a sharp response from Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who accused Baharav-Miara herself of having a conflict of interest in opposing the reforms. … Among the government’s proposed legal overhaul is legislation that would give the government an automatic majority on the committee that selects judges for every court in the country, including the Supreme Court. Should Netanyahu be convicted on the corruption charges against him in the trial currently being held in the Jerusalem District Court, he would be able to appeal the conviction to the Supreme Court, to which his government is likely to make appointments during its tenure.” (02/02/23)

Deference to Religion Has No Place in Higher Education

Source: The Nation
by Katha Pollitt

“Have we really reached the stage where accusations of blasphemy can get a professor fired? Seriously, blasphemy? In a secular college? In the United States? What century is this? When it comes to being offended on religious grounds, anyone can play the game. A Catholic student can accuse his history professor of bigotry for speaking with insufficient respect for the doctrine of papal infallibility. A fundamentalist Protestant can insist that a biology professor accept an exam answer claiming that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. A Jewish foreign-relations student can insist on an A for a paper claiming that God gave Jews the land of Israel. Left meets right; deference to religion meets the cult of My Feelings.” (02/02/23)

House Republicans vote Omar off Foreign Affairs Committee

Source: Los Angeles Times

“House Republicans narrowly voted Thursday to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee, a move that follows Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s removal of Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee last month. McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) had the unilateral authority to keep Schiff (D-Burbank) and Swalwell (D-Dublin) off the intelligence panel, which is a ‘select’ committee. But a majority floor vote was required to boot Omar from foreign affairs. The resolution passed Thursday afternoon in a 218-211 party-line vote. Omar, a [b]lack Muslim, said she was targeted because of her race and religion. She insisted she will not be silenced.” (02/02/23)

Israel’s Illiberal Judiciary

Source: Law & Liberty
by Ronen Shoval

“Israel’s public discourse has been especially turbulent of late, so much so that its shockwaves have reached overseas. November’s election brought a right-wing coalition into power, and the resulting conservative policies that it proposes have all been hysterically described by Israeli and international progressives as nothing less than a mortal threat to the nation’s democratic foundations. This absolutist narrative, free of nuance or compromise, suggests that Israel’s progressives have adopted the storytelling tactics of America’s ‘Trumpian’ hard right. This is not just an Israeli phenomenon; it is an international phenomenon that just occurred in Brazil. These incidents reveal deep tensions between populism and elitism. It turns out, however, that it doesn’t matter much which one loses power; the Israeli case proves that elites are also willing to sacrifice democracy.” (02/02/23)

Hunter Biden lawyers ask Justice Department for investigation

Source: Axios

“Hunter Biden’s attorneys wrote to state and federal agencies on Wednesday requesting they open criminal investigations into former President Trump’s allies for accessing and spreading his personal data. The lawyers for President Biden’s son also threatened Fox News host Tucker Carlson with a defamation lawsuit. The letters from Hunter Biden’s attorneys mark the first time he and his legal team have publicly addressed the issue of reports that his personal data was found on a laptop left at a Delaware repair shop and shared by Republican operatives before the 2020 presidential election.” (02/02/23)