Ukraine: Seceded Republics Vote, Occupied Regions “Vote,” on Russian Annexation

Source: US News & World Report

“Voting began Friday in Moscow-held regions of Ukraine [and in two seceded republics] on referendums to become part of Russia, Russian-backed officials there said. The Kremlin-orchestrated referendums, which have been widely denounced by Ukraine and the West as shams without any legal force, are seen as a step toward annexing the territories by Russia. The votes are being held in the Luhansk [People’s Republic], Kherson [oblast of Ukraine] and partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia [oblast] of Ukraine and Donetsk [People’s Republic]. The vote, which asks residents if they want their regions to be part of Russia, is certain to go Moscow’s way. That would give Russia the pretext to claim that attempts by Ukrainian forces to regain control are attacks on Russia itself, dramatically escalating the seven-month war.” (09/23/22)

Politicians aren’t better than you

Source: Eastern New Mexico News
by Kent McManigal

“It seems it should be obvious to everyone by now: those who seek positions of political power can’t even run their own lives; they certainly shouldn’t be allowed to run yours. No one is less qualified to do so.” (09/21/22)

Hurricane Fiona roars by Bermuda as it approaches Canada

Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

“Fiona, a Category 4 hurricane, pounded Bermuda with heavy rains and winds early Friday as it swept by the island on a route forecast to have it approaching northeastern Canada late in the day as a still-powerful storm. Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Premier David Burt sent a tweet urging residents to ‘take care of yourself and your family. Let’s all remember to check on as well as look out for your seniors, family and neighbors.’ The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.” (09/23/22)

Should You Even Vote? Not Necessarily.

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“The usual answer to the question ‘should we vote?’ is ‘of course!’ Some consider it a ‘civic duty’ and even suggest making it mandatory. It’s how the system works. If you don’t vote you have no right to complain about the outcome. Some anarchists, libertarians, and other contrarians take things in the opposite direction. Voting, they say, signals consent to the results, and approval of a bad system. It’s a moral crime. If you vote you have no right to complain about the outcome. Personally, I consider voting neither a civic duty nor a moral crime. If I don’t like my choices (or the overall system), I’m under no obligation to pretend I do by voting. On the other hand, the system does exist …. there’s no reason I shouldn’t register my preferences as to how it operates and who runs it, if I feel like doing that.” (09/22/22)

US House passes Capitol riot exploitation panel’s bill to reform Electoral Count Act

Source: Axios

“The House on Wednesday voted to pass legislation to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to make it more difficult to subvert presidential elections. … The bill would require a third of House members to sign onto an objection to certifying a state’s presidential electors, a significantly higher threshold than the current requirement of just one House member and one senator. It would also narrow the grounds for filing an objection, while clarifying that the role of the vice president in the process is purely ceremonial. The bill would require governors to transmit the slate of electors chosen by the state’s popular vote and allow campaigns to file lawsuits to ensure that happens.” [editor’s note: The US Constitution allows states to choose electors other than by popular vote; it would take a constitutional amendment to change that – TLK] (09/21/22)

The Great Authoritarian Arms Race

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Max Borders

“There is a quote floating around, variously attributed to Lenin and to Marx, which enjoins authoritarians to: Accuse your enemies of doing what you’re doing. Whether this was the work of Lenin or a fortune-cookie writer in Akron, it doesn’t matter. Powerful authorities are actively deploying such tactics. When President Biden gave his now-famous ‘Dark Brandon’ speech against a blood-red backdrop that authorities could have cribbed from a Leni Riefenstahl film, it revealed as much about the machinations of the powerful as the depravity of their strategists. … Those afraid of creeping authoritarianism coming from the Left might be inclined to look to the Right for electoral salvation. But increasingly, you will find that the other side will be motivated more by revenge than by the protection of any principles or American ideals.” (09/22/22)

Uganda: One-year-old dies as 11 more suspected Ebola cases identified

Source: CNN

“Uganda’s Ministry of Health reported another 11 suspected cases of Ebola identified in the country’s Mubende district as of Tuesday. Of these, the ministry recorded one probable Ebola-related death, a one-year-old, it said in a statement released Tuesday night. … The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday Uganda had declared an Ebola outbreak after a case of the relatively rare Sudan strain was found in the country. That case was confirmed after testing a sample from a 24-year-old man in the Mubende district, who the ministry said died after displaying symptoms.” (09/22/22)

Tick-tock: Putin escalation begins countdown of diplomacy clock

Source: Responsible Statecraft
by Anatol Lieven

“Recent Ukrainian victories made the Russian government’s declaration of partial mobilization a military necessity from Russia’s point of view. Without this, Russia could not sustain the war in the long term. The fact that Putin hesitated for so long before doing this … is a sign of how much he fears the public reaction in Russia. Wednesday’s mass protests against conscription and the huge increase in people trying to leave Russia indicate that he was right to fear this. It also suggests that the Russian government recognizes the extent of its strategic failure. This, and the fact that in his speech Putin made a positive reference to the peace proposals issued by the Ukrainian government last March, suggest that Russia may now be ready for negotiations, as long as they achieve at least some of the Kremlin’s initial goals. But how long will this moment be in our grasp?” (09/22/22)

It’s Time to Undo the Harm the CDC Has Done to Pain Patients

Source: Cato Institute
by Jeffrey A Singer & Josh Bloom

“After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control suggested dosage thresholds for patients receiving pain medication in 2016, 38 states rushed to pass legal limits on opioid prescribing and dispensing. Even though the CDC insisted the guidance was ‘voluntary, rather than prescriptive standards,’ states wanted to signal they were being tough on opioids. So they enacted tougher laws, even though CDC guidelines recommended dosing thresholds based upon the ‘morphine milligram equivalents’ (MMEs) of the various opioids, a metric that never made sense, was not evidence‐​based, and amounted to ‘junk science.’ … When a government agency ‘recommends’ a policy, it’s akin to a recommendation from Tony Soprano; it is inevitably interpreted as a mandate, obeyed by state and federal agencies, health insurers, and even pharmacies.” (09/21/22)