France: Pension reform plan triggers new strikes & protests

Source: CTV [Canada]

“New nationwide strikes disrupted public transport and schools, as well as power, oil and gas supplies in France Tuesday, while tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in a third round of protests against planned pension reforms. The protests came a day after French lawmakers began debating a pension bill that would raise the minimum retirement from 62 to 64. The bill is the flagship legislation of President Emmanuel Macron’s second term. Tens of thousands marched in the cities of Nice, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes and elsewhere, as well as in Paris. Protesters in the French capital, many of whom were young, marched peacefully from the Opera area carrying placards reading ‘Save Your Pension’ and ‘Tax Billionaires, Not Grandmas.’ France’s current pension system ‘is a democratic achievement in the sense that it is a French specialty that other countries envy,’ said one protester, media worker Anissa Saudemont, 29.” (02/07/23)

Ukraine and Belarus Are Fighting the Same War

Source: Foreign Policy
by Eric S Edelman, Vlad Kobets, & David J Kramer

“Rumors abound that Russia is planning a new wave of offensives in Ukraine. According to public sources and Ukrainian intelligence assessments, these may include another attempt to push its forces into Ukraine from the north, from Belarus. … this prospect should remind Western decision-makers that they cannot ignore Belarus in their calculations about the war in Ukraine — and that the conflict will continue to have consequences outside its borders. … A Ukrainian victory would also benefit the people of Belarus, who have for 29 years lived under Aleksandr Lukashenko, often referred to as the ‘last dictator in Europe,’ and whose political livelihood is dependent on Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Russian defeat in Ukraine would weaken Putin significantly enough that he can no longer bail out his fellow dictator — and could embolden Belarusians to try their hand at removing Lukashenko once more.” (02/07/23)

Russia-Ukraine conflict exposes Biden security team’s inability to plan ahead

Source: Fox News
by Rebekah Koffler

“As the largest war in Europe nears its first anniversary, it has become evident to all that President Biden and his security team have failed in their ongoing planning for Ukraine. The prevailing thinking in the White House and the Pentagon revolves around giving to Ukraine the ‘right kit’: first, Stingers and Javelins, then HIMARs, Patriots, Bradleys, and now Abrams tanks. Is this endless stream of high-tech military hardware supposed to make Vladimir Putin surrender? Here are three reasons why the Biden administration’s inability to craft a serious strategy, based on realistic goals and affordable costs, puts us all in danger. President Biden evidently understands the risks of getting more and more involved in what is promising to be an unwinnable war.” (02/07/23)

The Collecting Addiction: Who Needs Originals When a Forgery Will Do?

Source: Cato Institute
by Doug Bandow

“I blame my parents, first, and a great friend of nearly four decades, second, for my collecting addiction. Without a wife at home to tell me no, I always find room for another fine acquisition. … Alas, I’m not in the league of a Malcolm Forbes, Peggy Guggenheim, Frederick Koch, J. Paul Getty, or one of the many other wealthy art aficionados. I’ve long wondered what it would be like to bid in an auction, with price no object. Instead of looking for items with a couple zeroes, one could go to six, seven, eight, or even nine digits if pressed. … I read an interesting interview in the Washington Post and realized that there was another way. The Post ran a delightful conversation with the author of a new autobiography. His job? A forger. A very fine forger.” (02/07/23)

“Surprise” in Canada as NYC buses migrants to border

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“An immigration official in the Canadian province of Quebec has said it is ‘surprising’ to learn that New York City is sending migrants to the country’s border. New York City mayor Eric Adams told Fox 5 that his administration was assisting migrants who had been sent to his city but wanted to go elsewhere. ‘Some want to go to Canada, some want to go to warmer states, and we are there for them as they continue to move on with their pursuit of this dream,’ Mr Adams said. The New York Post has reported that migrants in New York City are being given free bus tickets to Plattsburgh, New York state, about 20 miles (32km) south of the Canadian border. From there, they pay taxis and shuttles to take them to Quebec.” (02/07/23)

Trumpism Without Trump

Source: The Atlantic
by David A Graham

“Who’s afraid of Donald Trump? Not Nikki Haley, who is reportedly on the verge of announcing a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Not Ron DeSantis, whose own run seems certain, and who has been agitating the former president to no end. Not Mike Pompeo, who has published the sort of memoir that usually foretells a candidacy, and which criticizes Trump. Trump is furious about these challenges, especially DeSantis’s. … For years, pundits have discussed the possibility of a Trumpism without Trump, and largely concluded that it was a chimera. … The case against Trumpism without Trump was compelling: It barely existed, it had been tried and had failed, and his grip on the GOP made a challenge quixotic. All of this logic was sound, and yet it now appears to have been wrong.” (02/07/23)

Republicans Coming With Knives to Gut FDR’s New Deal

Source: Common Dreams
by Thom Hartmann

“Sometimes a little socialism is a very good thing. But don’t tell Mike Pence or the billionaires who bankroll him and his GOP colleagues. Or, for that matter, the 109 Democrats who were suckered into joining every single Republican in the House of Representatives to vote for a resolution saying that: ‘Congress denounces socialism in all its forms, and opposes the implementation of socialist policies in the United States of America.’ The resolution leads up to that conclusion by quoting President Thomas Jefferson wildly out of context.” (02/07/23)

Why Libertarians Should Support the Multipolar World

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Finn Andreen

“Current international tensions have intensified a debate that has existed for at least a decade between two radically different views of the world and international relations: the unipolar world and the multipolar world. When libertarians disagree on foreign policy, the underlying cause is often this difference in worldview. The purpose of this article is to show that a unipolar world is contrary to the principles of libertarianism and that a multipolar world is an important step toward global liberty.” (02/07/23)