Ukraine: Surrendering troops at Mariupol registered as POWs

Source: Associated Press

“The fate of hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who surrendered after holding out against punishing attacks on Mariupol’s steel factory hung in the balance Thursday, amid international fears that the Russians may take reprisals against the prisoners. The International Committee of the Red Cross gathered personal information from hundreds of the soldiers — name, date of birth, closest relative — and registered them as prisoners of war, as part of its role in ensuring the humane treatment of POWs under the Geneva Conventions. Amnesty International said in a tweet that the Ukrainian soldiers are now prisoners of war and as such ‘must not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment.’ … While Ukraine expressed hope for a prisoner exchange, Russian authorities have threatened to investigate some of the Azovstal fighters for war crimes and put them on trial, branding them ‘Nazis’ and criminals.” (05/20/22)

Red Science, Blue Science, What Science, No Science

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Chris Bateman

“The cause of public health represents an alliance between medical knowledge and political goodwill. Yet, if the measures justified by those in charge of public health policy are based upon political allegiance rather than due scientific process, we are no longer dealing with medicine as we have traditionally understood it. ‘First do no harm’ becomes an impossible principle when definitions of ‘harm’ fall out along partisan lines, for what one side declares as essential will appear to their opponents as a cause of great harm, a situation we have already faced for half a century over abortion. With our failed attempts to mitigate COVID-19, we aligned public health with political partisanship rather than scientific evidence, and shattered the fundamental conditions for good public health policy.” (05/19/22)

Boeing’s capsule encounters propulsion issues on way to International Space Station

Source: France 24 [French state media]

“American aerospace giant Boeing’s Starliner capsule was heading for the International Space Station Thursday, in a critical uncrewed test flight that followed years of failures and false starts. The spacecraft encountered some propulsion troubles early in its journey, with two thrusters responsible for orbital maneuvering failing for unclear reasons — but NASA officials said the mission remained on track. The Orbital Test Flight 2 (OFT-2) mission blasted off at 6:54 pm Eastern Time (2254 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the spaceship fixed atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Its success is key to repairing Boeing’s frayed reputation after the first bid, back in 2019, failed to dock with the ISS due to software bugs — one that led to it burning too much fuel to reach its destination, and another that could have destroyed the vehicle during re-entry.” (05/20/22)

Think Words Aren’t Magic? Think Again.

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“As Mark Twain noted more than a century ago, ‘the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.’ There’s a reason why the two major sides of the abortion debate call themselves ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ (who could be against either ‘choice’ or ‘life?’), but come up with less flattering names for their counterparts. The devil is in the details, and once you’re committed the details tend to matter less. … ‘Replacement Theory’ isn’t actually about ‘replacement.’ It’s about people moving from one place to another, members of various groups inter-marrying, things changing as they always have and always will. But with the word ‘replacement,’ its advocates bottle some big-time lightning by triggering a basic insecurity. Who considers being ‘replaced’ a positive thing?” (05/19/22)

Sri Lanka: Regime defaults on debt for first time in its history

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Sri Lanka has defaulted on its debt for the first time in its history as the country struggles with its worst financial crisis in more than 70 years. It comes after a 30 day grace period to repay $78m (£63m) of unpaid debt interest payments expired on Wednesday. … Asked whether the country was now in default, central bank governor P Nandalal Weerasinghe said: ‘Our position is very clear, we said that until they come to the restructure [of our debts], we will not be able to pay. So that’s what you call pre-emptive default.'” (05/19/22)

Biden’s Baby-Formula Farce

Source: Commentary
by Noah Rothman

“As crippling shortages of baby formula became a crisis that bubbled up from the streets onto cable news sets and, eventually, into the halls of power, we’ve been treated to a spectacle of mismanagement and abuse typical of the modern political class. Last week, as public concern over the months’ long formula shortage began to preoccupy the minds of the influencers to whom the White House pays close attention, President Joe Biden deigned to address the matter. … The urgency of America’s needs became too great to preserve the unnecessary regulations that imposed artificial limits on U.S. supply. But consumers had experienced and resented those limits for months. They became intolerable when, as the Washington Post conceded, the formula shortage ‘turned political.'” (05/19/22)

US Senate passes $40 billion bill to disguise corporate welfare and graft as Ukraine war aid

Source: The Hill

“The Senate voted 86-11 Thursday to approve a $40 billion Ukraine aid package that would replenish U.S. stockpiles of weapons transferred to Ukraine and provide billions of dollars to help the Ukrainian government continue operating and for humanitarian assistance. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation, which exceeds his $33 billion request to Congress, immediately. The House passed the legislation overwhelmingly earlier this month in a 368-57 vote.” [editor’s note: Like most “foreign aid,” this money looks like it will end up in the pockets of US “defense” contractors, which is the whole point. If there wasn’t a war handy to justify it already, the US regime would find a way to get one started – TLK] (05/19/22)

What Makes You My Enemy?

Source: Independent Institute

“Increasingly, it seems, people are quick to escalate what might be viewed as differences into animosities. This has manifested itself in a number of different ways in recent years. It is evident in politics, where people view those with political views different from theirs as enemies. Politics is becoming less an arena where compromise and negotiation can smooth over differences and more an arena where one side wins and the other loses. If one side claims the other is their enemy, does that imply that the other side should also view them as enemies? That seems to be a recipe for escalation and conflict.” (05/19/22)

Twitter unveils “crisis misinformation policy”

Source: Axios

“Twitter on Thursday introduced a new policy aimed at making sure the social network doesn’t amplify or recommend disinformation during an international armed conflict and crisis. False material proliferated on Twitter and other social networks in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Twitter says it will work to vet fact-specific information in times of crisis, via ‘multiple credible, publicly available sources.’ Inaccurate tweets won’t be removed, but instead will be put behind a warning label. They also will be unable to be liked, retweeted or shared.” [editor’s note: If Twitter was really worried about disinformation, it would globally ban all government accounts. Just sayin’ … – TLK] (05/19/22)