RRND Email Full Text (Published)

  • Syria: US Regime Launches Airstrikes After Drone Attack Kills Occupation Contractor

    Source: Antiwar.com

    “The Pentagon announced on Thursday night that it launched airstrikes in Syria after a drone attack killed a US contractor and wounded five US troops near Hasakah in northeast Syria. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that at the direction of President Biden, he authorized ‘US Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).’ The groups the US targeted were likely Shia militias that operate in Syria. The Pentagon claimed that US intelligence determined the drone was of ‘Iranian origin,’ but at this point, there’s no indication that Tehran was involved in the attack on the US base.” (03/23/23)


  • France: At least 457 arrested, 441 regime forces injured in escalating pension protests

    Source: France 24 [French state media]

    “A total of 457 people were arrested and 441 security forces injured on Thursday during nationwide protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s pensions reform, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. Speaking to the CNews channel on Friday morning, Darmanin also said that there had been 903 fires lit in the streets of Paris during by far the most violent day of protests since they began in January. … Elsewhere on Thursday, the entrance to Bordeaux city hall was set on fire during clashes in the southwestern wine-exporting hub.” (03/24/23)


  • US jobless claims inch down as labor market remains tight

    Source: The Hill

    “The labor market continues to defy Federal Reserve attempts to cool hiring, with U.S. applications for unemployment benefits down again last week and remaining at historically low levels. Jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending March 18 fell by 1,000 to 191,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims, which flattens out some of week-to-week volatility, fell by 250 to 196,250, remaining below the 200,000 threshold for the ninth straight week. Applications for unemployment benefits are seen as a barometer for layoffs in the U.S.” (03/23/23)


  • Israel: Knesset passes law protecting Netanyahu as protests continue

    Source: ABC News

    “Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed the first of several laws that make up its contentious judicial overhaul as protesters opposing the changes staged another day of demonstrations aimed at ringing an alarm over what they see as the country’s descent toward autocracy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition approved legislation that would protect the Israeli leader from being deemed unfit to rule over his corruption trial and claims of a conflict of interest surrounding his involvement in the legal changes. Critics say the law is tailor-made for Netanyahu, encourages corruption and deepens a gaping chasm between Israelis over the judicial overhaul.” (03/23/23)


  • CA: Bill would ban sales of Skittles, other “toxic” snacks

    Source: Aol

    “The snack and candy aisles at your local grocery store could soon carry fewer items if a bill proposed by California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel is voted into law. Last month, Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) introduced AB 418, which would ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of foods containing chemicals that have been linked to health concerns including decreased immune response, hyperactivity in children and increased risk of cancer. The bill would make California the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of foods containing the chemicals, according to a release from Gabriel’s office. The chemicals, currently banned in the European Union, are found in numerous snack staples including Skittles, Mountain Dew, Ding Dongs (with red heart sprinkles) and a host of other ubiquitous food items.” (03/23/23)


  • FL: DeSantis pitches expansion of “don’t say gay” law to mollify MAGA World critics

    Source: Raidio Teilifis Eireann [Irish state media]

    “The Republican-led US state of Florida is expected to ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in all school grades, in an expansion of a controversial law the White House slammed as ‘completely, utterly wrong.’ The move to expand restrictions on discussions of LGBTQ-related topics, dubbed by critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, comes as Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis lays the groundwork for a widely expected presidential run [and is under fire from MAGA World for throwing shade on former president Donald Trump]. … The new rule will be up for a vote by the Florida’s Board of Education on 19 April, local media reported. It has already been approved by the Department of Education, which like the board is led by DeSantis appointees, and will not need legislative approval to take effect, according to the reports.” (03/23/23)


  • Large asteroid to fly between Earth and the moon on Saturday

    Source: CBS News

    “An asteroid will zoom past Earth this week at such close range that standard telescopes may be able to spot it in the night sky, experts say. The space rock, dubbed 2023 DZ2 by NASA, is expected to fly between Earth and the moon at speeds exceeding 17,400 miles per hour, according to the agency, which assigned it a rarity score of three as the occurrence only happens roughly once per decade. The asteroid will pass by Friday and Saturday on a track that scientists suggest is slightly less than half the average distance to the moon from Earth — which is still 174,650 kilometers, or about 108,000 miles — and measures between 140 feet and 310 feet in diameter. For reference, an Olympic-sized swimming pool is about 164 feet long.” (03/23/23)


  • MS: Regime sets tighter restrictions on absentee ballots

    Source: SFGate

    “Mississippi will set tighter restrictions on who can gather other people’s absentee ballots, under a bill that Gov. Tate Reeves signed Wednesday. The Republican governor said the law, which takes effect July 1, will ban political operatives from collecting and handling large numbers of absentee ballots. Reeves described the practice as ‘ballot harvesting,’ a pejorative [sic] term for dropping off completed ballots for other people. ‘This process is an open invitation for fraud and abuse, and can occur without the voter ever even knowing,’ Reeves said in a video statement. Opponents said the new restrictions could hurt candidates, campaign workers, nursing home employees or others who make good-faith efforts to help people obtain and mail absentee ballots.” (03/23/23)


  • Mozilla Open Source AI To Challenge ChatGPT & Bard

    Source: Search Engine Journal

    “Mozilla announced the founding of an open source initiative for developing AI that puts transparency, accountability and trustworthiness at the forefront of the open source AI products they will build to challenge Microsoft, OpenAI and Google. Many of the most important software products that make modern life possible, like Android, WordPress, PHP, Nginx and Apache are all open source. … Mozilla pledged $30 million dollars for developing an alternative to the closed systems developed by big technology companies that put profits first. … Mozilla is a non-profit organization that builds browsers, email clients, a VPN, email privacy apps, and other products that are free, open-source, and privacy-first.” (03/23/23)


  • World Athletics bans some women from competing in female world ranking events

    Source: BBC News [UK state media]

    “World Athletics has banned transgender women from competing in the female category at international events. The governing body’s president, Lord Coe, said no transgender athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions from 31 March. A working group will be set up to conduct further research into the transgender eligibility guidelines. ‘We’re not saying no forever,’ he said. Under previous rules, World Athletics required transgender women to reduce their amount of blood testosterone to a maximum of 5nmol/L, and stay under this threshold continuously for a period of 12 months before competing in the female category. Lord Coe added the decision was ‘guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category.’ He noted that there are currently no transgender athletes competing internationally in the sport.” (03/23/23)


  • TikTok congressional hearing: CEO Shou Chew grilled by US lawmakers

    Source: Reuters

    “TikTok’s chief executive faced tough questions on Thursday from lawmakers who are convinced the Chinese-owned short video app should be barred for being a ‘tool’ of the Chinese Communist Party and because it carries content that can harm children’s mental health. CEO Shou Zi Chew’s testimony before Congress capped a week of actions by the Chinese company aimed at convincing Americans and their lawmakers that the app creates economic value and supports free speech. Instead, members of Congress accused the company of spying and deception, adding to calls to ban the app. TikTok, which has more than 150 million American users, was repeatedly hammered in the ongoing hearing where no lawmaker offered any support.” (03/23/23)


  • South Carolina’s top accountant to resign after $3.5 billion error

    Source: SFGate

    “South Carolina’s embattled top accountant will step down next month after a $3.5 billion error in the year-end financial report he oversaw, according to a resignation letter written Thursday that was obtained by The Associated Press. Republican Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s decision to leave the post he has held for 20 years came after intense scrutiny of his performance following the blunder and amid rising calls for him to either quit or be removed. The Senate panel investigating the financial misstatement issued a damning report last week accusing Eckstrom of ‘willful neglect of duty.’ As recently as last week, however, Eckstrom had said he would not resign.” (03/23/23)


  • Cambodia: Activists taken political prisoner for allegedly insulting king on Facebook

    Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar state media]

    “Two Cambodian opposition figures have been charged under the country’s rarely used lese majeste law with insulting King Norodom Sihamoni for posts made on Facebook about a photograph of the king and Prime Minister Hun Sen. A judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday also charged Yim Sinorn and Hun Kosal with incitement to cause serious social unrest in the country, a court document showed. The men, once members of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), could face a jail term of up to five years and fines of up to $2,500 if found guilty.” (03/23/23)


  • Sanders Introduces Bill to Ban Bank Execs From Fed Boards

    Source: Common Dreams

    “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday introduced the Federal Reserve Independence Act to prevent bank executives from serving on regional Fed boards that are responsible for regulating their institutions. The bill — which would also bar the U.S. central bank’s board members and employees from owning any stock or investing in any company that is regulated by the Federal Reserve — comes as Fed leadership is under fire for recent interest rate hikes and regulatory rollbacks that preceded the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank failures. ‘I think it would come as a shock to most Americans to find out that Gregory Becker, the CEO of Silicon Valley Bank who successfully lobbied for the deregulation of his financial institution, was allowed to serve as a director of the same body in charge of regulating his [other] bank, the San Francisco Federal Reserve,’ Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. ” (03/23/23)


  • CA: Senate approves “price-gouging” bill

    Source: The Hill

    “California lawmakers voted on Thursday to advance a bill that would penalize oil companies for ‘price gouging’ — a first-of-its-kind legislation pushed forward in recent months by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The SBX1-2 bill, sponsored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D), received the approval of the California State Senate in an Extraordinary Session convened to fast-track the legislation on Thursday morning. … The bill would authorize the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to set a maximum gross gasoline refining margin — and then establish a penalty for any California-based refineries that exceed that margin.” (03/23/23)


  • Immigration fuels Canada’s largest population growth of over 1 million

    Source: BBC News [UK state media]

    “Canada’s population grew by over a million people for the first time ever last year, the government has said. The country’s population increased from 38,516,138 to 39,566,248 people, Statistics Canada said. It also marked Canada’s highest annual population growth rate — 2.7% — since 1957. The increase was in part fuelled by government efforts to recruit migrants to the country to ease labour shortages, Statistics Canada said. The country also depends on migration to support an ageing population. But Statistics Canada said the surge in the number of permanent and temporary immigrants ‘could also represent additional challenges for some regions of the country related to housing, infrastructure and transportation, and service delivery to the population.’ International migration accounted for nearly 96% of the population growth, according to the news release.” (03/23/23)


  • Jackson is lone dissenter as SCOTUS vacates abortion ruling

    Source: Fox News

    “The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a federal court decision on Monday that upheld a minor’s right to go to court for permission to obtain an abortion, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson authoring the lone dissent in the case. In its decision, the high court overturned a lower court ruling that said a state court clerk could be sued for denying a pregnant teenager’s request for permission to get an abortion without her parents’ consent. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. In her dissent, Jackson criticized the court’s application of Munsingwear vacatur, a legal doctrine that addresses what should happen to a court decision when the appealed case becomes moot while it is pending review by a higher court.” (03/23/23)


  • AZ: Court declines most of Lake’s appeal over gubernatorial race

    Source: Politico

    “The Arizona Supreme Court has declined to hear most of Republican Kari Lake’s appeal in a challenge of her defeat in the governor’s race, but revived a claim that was dismissed by a trial court. In an order Wednesday, the state’s highest court said a lower-court had erroneously dismissed Lake’s claim challenging the application of signature verification procedures on early ballots in Maricopa County. The court sent the claim back to a trial court to consider. Lake, who lost to Democrat Katie Hobbs by just over 17,000 votes, was among the most vocal 2022 Republican candidates promoting former President Donald Trump’s election lies, which she made the centerpiece of her campaign. While most other election deniers around the country conceded after losing their races in November, Lake did not.” (03/23/23)


  • House China panel turns focus to plight of Uyghurs

    Source: SFGate

    “Two women who experienced life in Chinese ‘re-education’ camps for Uyghurs will be among the witnesses Thursday as a special House committee focused on countering China shines a light on human rights abuses in the country. Qelbinur Sidik is a member of China’s ethnic Uzbek minority who was forced to teach Chinese in separate detention facilities for Uyghur men and women. In advance of the hearing, she described through an interpreter hearing the screams of men being tortured in interrogation rooms nearby as she taught at the men’s facility. At the women’s facility, she said, inmates were routinely raped. ‘Each time, when you see them walking in the hallway or when they walk in the classrooms, you can see, you can feel what kind of horrific torture they faced because of the mobility, the difficulty of moving around,’ Sidik said.” (03/23/23)


  • India: Gandhi sentenced to two years for insulting Modi

    Source: Seattle Times

    “An Indian court found opposition leader Rahul Gandhi guilty of defamation Thursday over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname and sentenced him to two years in prison. The case against Gandhi dates back to an election rally in 2019 where he said, ‘Why do all thieves have Modi as their surname?’ In his speech, he then went on to name fugitive Indian diamond tycoon Nirav Modi, banned Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi, and Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi is not related to either of the other two. The defamation case against Gandhi was filed by a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in western Gujarat state. The complainant, Purnesh Modi, said Gandhi’s comments had ‘defamed the entire Modi community.’ Modi is a common last name in western Gujarat state.” (03/23/23)


  • Fed raises benchmark rate a quarter point

    Source: Fox Business

    “The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a point, forging ahead with its fight against stubborn inflation despite a spate of bank failures and a growing crisis within the financial sector. The unanimous decision puts the key benchmark federal funds rate at a range of 4.75% to 5%, the highest since 2007, from near zero just one year ago. It marks the ninth consecutive rate increase aimed at combating high inflation. Policymakers signaled that rate increases could soon come to an end, suggesting that future hikes will ultimately hinge on incoming data reports.” (03/22/23)


  • UK: Johnson faces formal reprimand for misleading parliament

    Source: The Guardian [UK]

    “Boris Johnson faces being formally reprimanded for recklessly misleading parliament after MPs investigating the Partygate scandal denounced his ‘flimsy’ explanations and suggested he had wrongly interpreted Covid guidance. The former prime minister was left fighting for his political career after a tetchy three-and-a-half-hour evidence session in which he repeatedly claimed No 10 parties, with alcohol and little social distancing, had been ‘necessary’ for work purposes. … Johnson has argued that evidence gathered from No 10 officials ‘conclusively’ shows he did not deliberately mislead parliament, as he was ‘repeatedly’ assured by No 10 aides that no rules – as opposed to coronavirus guidelines – were broken.” (03/22/23)


  • Judge approves “crime fraud exception” in classified docs probe of disgraced former president

    Source: NBC News

    “Special counsel Jack Smith’s office presented sufficient evidence to establish that former President Donald Trump committed a crime through his attorneys, a U.S. district judge ruled Friday night, a source briefed on the proceedings confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, based in Washington, D.C., wasn’t ruling on whether Trump was guilty of a crime, but was making a decision about whether his attorney could be compelled to testify. As a result of the decision, Howell ruled in favor of applying the ‘crime fraud’ exception, which would let prosecutors sidestep protections afforded to Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran through attorney-client privilege. Howell also ruled in favor of ordering Corcoran to testify before the federal grand jury.” (03/22/23)


  • Lebanon: Police attack protesters with chemical weapons

    Source: ABC News

    “Lebanese security forces Wednesday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters, mainly retired soldiers, who tried to break through the fence leading to the government headquarters in downtown Beirut. The violence came amid widespread anger over the harsh economic conditions in the country, where mismanagement by the ruling class has been rampant for years, preceding the economic meltdown that started in late 2019. The retired soldiers and policemen demanding better pay clashed with riot police and troops. Several people suffered breathing problems from the tear gas. The protesters hurled stones at the officers protecting the government headquarters and repeatedly tried to break through the fence. There was no immediate information about any injuries during the violence.” (03/22/23)


  • Lohan, Paul, others charged for promoting crypto

    Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar state media]

    “Actress Lindsay Lohan, Youtube influencer Jake Paul and several other celebrities have been charged with illegally promoting the cryptocurrencies of a Chinese entrepreneur accused of fraud. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday it had charged Justin Sun with artificially inflating the trading volume of Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT) and concealing payments made to celebrities to promote the tokens. … Lohan, Paul, the rapper Akon, recording artists Ne-Yo and Lil Yachty, and adult actress Michele Mason are alleged to have pushed crypto investments to their millions of online followers without revealing they had been paid. The six all agreed to pay more than $400,000 in disgorgement, interest and penalties to settle the claims, the SEC said.” (03/23/22)


  • Florida: New College, Same Old Problem

    Source: Garrison Center
    by Thomas L Knapp

    “Establishment politicians of all stripes constantly bemoan the ‘politicization’ of ‘public’ education, while constantly engaging in their own preferred ‘politicization.’ ‘Politicization’ is baked into the whole idea of ‘public’ education. It can’t be any other way. When schools are operated by appointed government bureaucrats who answer to elected government officials, schools will necessarily be expected to serve the goals of those bureaucrats and those officials. Electing different officials who appoint new bureaucrats doesn’t solve the problem, it just changes the direction the ‘politicization’ runs in. … The choices are: Complete separation of school and state, or political indoctrination of your kids by and for whoever won the most recent election.” (03/23/23)


  • To Balance the Budget, Republicans Must Cut Military Spending, Trim Entitlements, or Raise Taxes

    Source: Reason
    by Eric Boehm

    “Let’s say you were a Republican member of Congress with a sincere desire to craft a federal budget that would achieve balance by the end of the decade. That’s a noble goal! Balancing the budget wouldn’t pay down the $31 trillion national debt, of course, but it would at least stop adding to it. There’s just one small issue, your advisers tell you. Well, three issues, actually. You can’t cut spending on the military (including veterans programs) or entitlement programs, and you can’t advocate for letting the 2017 Trump tax cuts expire. … You can’t pass a balanced budget if you’re not a member of Congress, so you agree. Those three things are off the table. Now, all you have to do is get a majority of Congress and President Joe Biden to agree to cut literally every dollar of discretionary spending out of the budget and you’ll have accomplished your goal. Almost.” (03/23/23)


  • “The Courage To Be MAGA-Free”: Not a Book by Ron DeSantis

    Source: The Unpopulist
    by Steve Chapman

    “Many Republicans see Ron DeSantis as a welcome contrast to Donald Trump, DeSantis being disciplined, focused, knowledgeable and comparatively young. In style and appearance, they’re as different as two doughy white male Republican politicians could be. An optimist can hope that DeSantis is a more restrained and temperate politician whose experience in office has given him a grasp of the complexities of governing and the value of pragmatic compromise. But an optimist who starts out with such hopes will finish his new campaign book, The Courage To Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival, in a slough of despond. DeSantis seems more intent on emulating Trump than on distinguishing himself from his onetime patron. What emerges in stark relief from these pages is their conspicuous similarities.” (03/23/23)


  • The EU’s censorship regime is about to go global

    Source: spiked
    by Norman Lewis

    “Not many people know that 16 November 2022 was the day that freedom of speech died on the internet. This was the day the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) came into law. Under the DSA, very large online platforms (VLOPs) with more than 45million monthly active users — like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — will have to swiftly remove illegal content, hate speech and so-called disinformation from their platforms. Or they will face fines of up to six per cent of their annual global revenue. Larger platforms must be DSA compliant by this summer, while smaller platforms will be obliged to tackle this content from 2024 onwards. The ramifications of this are immense. Not only will the DSA now enforce the regulation of content on the internet for the first time, but it is also set to become a global standard, not just a European one.” (03/23/23)


  • Inconvenient View, Free Press Edition

    Source: EconLog
    by Kevin Corcoran

    “With only slight exaggeration, I can say that when Obamacare was being challenged in the Supreme Court, knowing someone’s opinion on whether government should be more or less involved in health care predicted their belief about the constitutionality of Obamacare with a 100% success rate. Similarly, if I know someone believes the impact of private gun ownership is negative, I can make money all day long betting on what their view is about the meaning of the Second Amendment. In theory, it should be possible for someone to hold the belief that widespread gun ownership is bad, and should be curtailed by government, but also believe that such action is inconsistent with the Constitution, and therefore the Second Amendment should be repealed in order to permit such laws. In practice, I’ve had fewer encounters with such a person than I have with Bigfoot …” (03/23/23)


  • The most dangerous part of the Silicon Valley Bank bailout

    Source: Fox News Forum
    by US Senator Roger Marshall, MD

    “It’s not a regulatory issue. It’s a bailout. We’ve heard the spin from the White House and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that taxpayers won’t have to pay for Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, but it is inevitable. When the FDIC assesses an extra fee of $25K to $1M for community banks to bailout SVB, local banks will do everything possible to tighten their belts and absorb the additional costs. Still, eventually, those fees will trickle down to its consumers. Sadly, hard-working Americans in small towns across America will pay more to recover money for a bank they’ve never heard of in Silicon Valley, CA. But that is not the crux of this issue. The most dangerous part of this bailout is the message this administration is sending depositors, that your money is safer in big banks even when they fail.” (03/23/23)


  • Moral hazard is a fact of life. The Fed should focus on inflation.

    Source: American Institute for Economic Research
    by Alexander William Salter

    “The Fed would have minimized the risk of moral hazard if it had acted as a classical lender of last resort. (And if my keyboard were a rocket ship, I could go to the moon.) The Fed has never behaved as a responsible last-resort lender. Instead, it lends indiscriminately, according to opaque criteria that it makes up as a crisis unfolds. We can castigate excessively risky behavior by private banks all we want. But given a 40-year record of bailouts, why wouldn’t bank executives load up on risk? ‘Heads,’ the risks pan out and they make a killing; ‘tails,’ the risks blow up and taxpayers (or other depository institutions) pick up the losses. The only silver lining is that bad bailout policy might leave the Fed free to pursue good inflation policy.” (03/23/23)


  • Prophesies, Then and Now: My Life at World’s End

    Source: TomDispatch
    by Tom Engelhardt

    “As I wander, I finally run into one of my classmates, now ‘a skinny old man with bushy white hair, wearing a loose deer skin.’ And yes, whatever happened (that ‘great invasion’) while I was underground in, as anyone of that period would have known, a private nuclear-fallout shelter, is unclear. Still, in the world I find on emerging, all my former classmates, whom I meet one after another in joking fashion, now live in caves. In other words, it had obviously been devastated. … more than 60 years later, it strikes me that we kids who had learned to ‘duck and cover’ at school … in preparation for a Russian nuclear attack, already had a deep sense not of future promise but of doom to come.” (03/23/23)


  • Was the Iraq War the Biggest Con of the 21st Century?

    Source: JimBovard.com
    by James Bovard

    “The Iraq War was spawned by a deadly combination of political depravity and media complicity. Unfortunately, on the twentieth anniversary of the war, both elements of that conspiracy are being whitewashed. Instead, politicians and their pundit accomplices are prattling as if the Iraq war was a well-intentioned mistake, not a crime against humanity.” (03/23/23)


  • The Covid Disaster was Foreshadowed with Love Canal

    Source: Brownstone Institute
    by Tara Raddle

    “The entire world has now had a taste of the Love Canal experience. Schools and businesses were shuttered. Livelihoods were lost. The threads that make up a happy, healthy life were torn apart; book clubs and happy hours and birthday parties all abandoned in favor of sanitizing groceries and worrying about how to stop an invisible killer. Worried mothers once again took to the streets with their children; masked preschoolers holding up signs about how they (or their parents) worried that death was imminent. Mental health services took a backseat. Preventative screenings at the doctor’s office took a backseat. Around the world, an invisible threat took salience over the thousand known threats.” (03/23/23)


  • For Five Straight Years, Pulitzer Prizes Have Rewarded Misinformation

    Source: The Federalist
    by Mark Hemingway

    “The way the Pulitzer Prizes work seems simple enough – an Ivy league university hands out annual awards that ostensibly recognize important journalism. In practice, however, my former colleague Phil Terzian, a Pulitzer finalist who has served on the nominating committee, described the inner workings of the Pulitzers this way: ‘The Pulitzer Prizes are a singularly corrupt institution, administered by Columbia University and the management of the New York Times largely for the benefit of the New York Times and a limited number of favored publications and personalities….’ While the Pulitzer Prizes have always been little more than self-dealing masquerading as journalistic beauty pageant, it was a lot easier to believe in this manufactured prestige back when journalism was at least slightly more competent and concerned with the appearance of objectivity.” (03/23/23)


  • The ATF Expansion of the Gun Registry Turns Law-Abiding Gun Owners into Felons

    Source: Foundation for Economic Education
    by Olivia Rondeau

    “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has followed through on their plan to turn millions of lawful gun owners into felons in the name of ‘public safety’ by reclassifying pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, effectively expanding the unconstitutional national gun registry. Stabilizing braces are devices that can be attached to pistols to aid the user in balancing their arm. Originally created to help people with disabilities, the accessory is now more popular amongst mainstream shooters who use them to adapt pistols into guns that can be shot from the shoulder, which has been legal to do in the past. Now, there’s a big hoop to jump through if you don’t want to be hit with fines and/or jail time.” (03/23/23)


  • Earthquakes and Dictatorship

    Source: Center for a Stateless Society
    by Kaan Goktas

    “In the early morning hours of February 6, 2023, Turkey and northern Syria were shaken by two major earthquakes in quick succession. … Tens of thousands of buildings collapsed at the time of the earthquake and many more in the hours that followed in aftershocks. Countless people lost their lives in the most critical first 48 hours after the earthquake due to the delay in the response of the Turkish state authorities; the failure to deliver aid and rescue teams in time; the lack of coordination between existing teams; the collapse of the mobile phone infrastructure; and the ban on military participation in search and rescue operations – despite the presence of two large military units in the earthquake zone. The last of these was largely due to political Islamist dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s paranoia about a military coup.” (03/23/23)


  • US Officials Really, REALLY Want You To Know The US Is The World’s “Leader”

    Source: Caitlin Johnstone, Rogue Journalist
    by Caitlin Johnstone

    “In response to questions he received during a press conference on Monday about Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin cementing a ‘new era’ in strategic partnership between China and Russia, the White House National Security Council’s John Kirby made no fewer than seven assertions that the US is the ‘leader’ of the world. … The illusory truth effect is a cognitive bias which causes people to mistake something they have heard many times for an established fact, because the way the human brain receives and interprets information tends to draw little or no distinction between repetition and truth. Propagandists and empire managers often take advantage of this glitch in our wetware, which is what’s happening when you see them repeating key phrases over and over again that they want people to believe.” (03/23/23)


  • How banning Chinese products could backfire for the United States

    Source: Orange County Register
    by Veronique de Rugy

    “The controversy over proposed state and federal bans of Chinese-produced apps has sparked debate about the wisdom of country-of-origin bans in general. On the surface, banning TikTok and other controversial products coming from China appears reasonable. But the deeper you dig, the less these ideas make sense. This is especially true when bans are based on national security concerns and talked about in the context of ‘decoupling’ our economy from China’s. National security is important, of course, but abusing this argument to blindly close off America to Chinese imports may isolate us in ways that could weaken our security. This is true even if one agrees that China engages in forced technology transfer, forced labor and other terrible behaviors.” (03/23/23)


  • Bailing Out Uninsured Deposits Encourages Bank Runs

    Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
    by Jacob G Hornberger

    “In the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, U.S. officials decided to cover all the uninsured deposits in both banks — that is, deposits that exceeded the $250,000 insurance coverage of the FDIC. The belief was that failing to cover those uninsured deposits ran the risk that bank runs could spread to more banks. Covering those uninsured deposits was intended to calm depositors in other banks, which would thereby make more bank runs less likely. … The dark irony here is that by covering uninsured deposits at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, officials might actually be encouraging bank runs on an industry-wide basis in the future. That’s because everyone knows that the federal government does not have anywhere near the money to cover all the money on deposit in U.S. banks.” (03/23/23)


  • A Rorschach Test for the State of American Free Speech

    Source: Aaron Ross Powell
    by Aaron Ross Powell

    “If someone says that they feel more of a need to keep their views to themself than used to be the case, what does that tell you? Does it mean that society has grown more censorious? That free speech is on the outs? It’s easy to interpret it that way, especially if we’re on the lookout for such evidence. But these are precisely the situations when we should be most wary so as to avoid overinterpreting data to advance a narrative.” (03/23/23)


  • Questions Without Answers About Ukraine

    Source: RealClearPolitics
    by Victor Davis Hanson

    “Ukrainians, and many Europeans and Americans, are defining an envisioned Ukrainian victory as the complete expulsion of all Russians from its 2013 borders. Or, as a Ukrainian national security chief put it, the war ends with Ukrainian tanks in Red Square. But mysteries remain about such ambitious agendas: What would that goal entail? Giving Ukraine American F-16s to strike bases and depots in Mother Russia? The gifting of 1,000 M1 Abrams tanks? Using American Harpoon missiles to sink the Russian Black Sea fleet? A huge arsenal that would guarantee total victory rather than not losing? Russia’s cruel strategy is to grind down Ukraine and turn its eastern regions into a Verdun-like deathscape. So is a brave Ukraine really winning the war when it loses about 0.6 soldiers for every Russian it kills?” [editor’s note: We don’t know what the ratio of troops lost to enemy troops killed, because both sides lie and keep secrets – TLK] (03/23/23)


  • For Putin, Iraq War marked a turning point in US-Russia relations

    Source: Responsible Statecraft
    by Branko Marcetic

    “The 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has spurred reflection on the far-reaching geopolitical fallout of the war. But one facet has gone largely undiscussed: its contribution to deteriorating U.S.-Russia relations that have brought the countries to the brink of war today, as laid out in U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010. By the end of 2002, the relationship was at an inflection point. Russian president Vladimir Putin had spent significant political capital on an attempt at rapprochement with George W. Bush’s administration. … numerous cables point to the bitter taste the episode left for the Russian side.” (03/23/23)


  • How Politicians Use Regulations to Deflect Blame

    Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
    by Patrick Carroll

    “The pro-life activist Randall Terry has a famous quote that anyone who cares about politics should be familiar with: ‘He who frames the question wins the debate.’ Politicians are well aware of this fact, which is why they spend much of their time directing the political conversation into frameworks that benefit them. If they can get us arguing over how best to ‘reform’ the education system, for instance, there will be little discussion about the bigger question of whether education should be handled by the state at all. It doesn’t really matter how the reform conversation goes after that. … Another way politicians like to influence the framing of debates in their favor is with regulations.” (03/23/23)


  • Selling the Iraq War: a How-to Guide

    Source: CounterPunch
    by Jeffrey St. Clair

    “The war on Iraq won’t be remembered for how it was waged so much as for how it was sold. It was a propaganda war, a war of perception management, where loaded phrases, such as ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘rogue state’ were hurled like precision weapons at the target audience: us. To understand the Iraq war you don’t need to consult generals, but the spin doctors and PR flacks who stage-managed the countdown to war from the murky corridors of Washington where politics, corporate spin and psy-ops spooks cohabit.” (03/23/23)


  • Blowing Out the Candles in Iraq

    Source: Common Dreams
    by Robert C Koehler

    “I read the news — invasion of Iraq! twentieth anniversary! — and struggle to transcend the abstraction of my remorse. A million killed? Half a million? The mortality stats vary depending on the source’s politics. But beyond the numbers looms an indifference that defines what is called ‘news.’ ‘Today, 20 years after the president ordered the airstrikes that rained down on Baghdad on the night of March 20, 2003, the war is widely seen in Washington’s power centers as a lesson in failed policymaking, one deeply absorbed if not thoroughly learned.’ Just reading those words (a paragraph in a New York Times analysis of the invasion, two decades later) instantly turns a citizen into a spectator. A lesson of failed policymaking? We’re talking about murdering children, for God’s sake, annihilating a social structure, driving millions of people out of their homes and shattering their lives.” (03/23/23)


  • The Military-Intelligentsia Complex: How Higher Education Enables US Militarism

    Source: Antiwar.com
    by TJ Coles

    “Throughout history, most academics have been the witting or unwitting servants of power. Socrates was accused of failing to honor the gods of Athens and corrupting the youth with his ideas. He was canceled in the ultimate way: sentenced to die. Aristotle, by contrast, tutored the young Alexander the Great, future King of Macedonia, which at the time was occupying Athens. During the rebellion, Aristotle fled to save his skin. Today, some academics refusing to toe the line are also threatened with death. Chicago University’s John Mearsheimer was placed on the US-funded Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation’s blacklist, where he and others, including myself, were accused of committing ‘informational terrorism’ by expressing fact-based opinions about the war with Russia.” (03/23/23)


  • Architect of the New Deal’s Administrative State?

    Source: Law & Liberty
    by John O McGinnis

    “John Maynard Keynes famously said that ‘practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.’ This comment is true of many Supreme Court justices as well. When David Souter was a justice, he channeled the legal process school, dominant at Harvard Law School in his student days, which prized precedent and material outside the statutory text. The justices appointed by Donald Trump reflect the rise of originalism that was ongoing in conservative legal culture when they were young. It might be thought more surprising that the jurisprudence of Felix Frankfurter … mostly reflected a theory that he had imbibed at law school, but that is a persuasive thesis of Brad Snyder in his new biography, Democratic Justice: Felix Frankfurter, the Supreme Court, and the Making of the Liberal Establishment.” (03/23/23)


  • Arrest That Man — Crime to Follow!

    Source: Town Hall
    by Larry Elder

    “Former President Donald Trump, citing ‘illegal leaks’ from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, posted the following on social media: ‘… WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK …’ If true, this represents a 180-degree switch from when Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg entered office. In February 2022, two prosecutors, described as leading the Manhattan DA’s criminal investigation of Trump, resigned over Bragg’s decision not to proceed with the case. According to The New York Times, the then-new Manhattan D.A. ‘indicated to them that he had doubts about moving forward with a case against’ Trump.” (03/23/23)


  • Hundreds Of Banks Are At Risk

    Source: Cobden Centre
    by Peter St. Onge

    “The Washington Post yesterday wrote: ‘If banks were suddenly forced to liquidate their bond and loan portfolios, the losses would erase up to 91 percent of their combined capital cushion.’ In other words, we were already right up against the edge. The Post cites two studies that total unrealized losses in the system are between $1.7 trillion and $2 trillion. Total capital buffer in the US banking system: $2.2 trillion. That’s about a 10 percent to 20 percent buffer. And now running into a market crisis where bank stocks have declined by about a third in the past few weeks, and are now at a P/E ratio of 7.35.” (03/23/23)


  • Death from above

    Source: The Price of Liberty
    by Nathan Barton

    “Government officials and politicians delight in finding reasons for all of us to be fearful. While there are many reasons for this, perhaps the major (generally unspoken) reason is that fear causes people to seek a savior – a man on a white horse. And government is always up for playing that role. Most of our readers understand this: they really ain’t such a thing, but they love playing one on television! Anyway, one of the latest reasons we are to fear is seen in this picture. Asteroids!” (03/22/23)


  • Bank Collapse! How, Why, and Why It Matters

    Source: Liberty
    by Bruce Ramsey

    “The trouble at Silicon Valley Bank was not from the loans it made but from the way it invested its excess deposits. At the end of 2022 it had $91 billion in US government and agency bonds that it intended to hold to maturity. Held that way, government bonds are the safest investments there are. (Boring, but safe.) But the bank bought ‘long’ bonds, whose maturities were ten or more years out. The risk on a long bond is that if you sell it before it’s due, and interest rates in the market have gone up, the value of your bond will have gone down. In the short to medium term, long bonds are not so safe. The risk in holding $91 billion in long bonds was that interest rates would go up by a lot. Which they did.” (03/22/23)


  • Rich Bank Dumb Bank

    Source: The American Prospect
    by Maureen Tkacik

    “About five years ago, a man I’ll call ‘Ben’ took a marketing gig for a startup called Blockchain Terminal (BCT), which claimed to have raised $15 million to become the Bloomberg of cryptocurrency. Properly skeptical of the breathless hyperbole of this generation’s get-rich-quick grift, he demanded payment in cash and invoiced for every hour he worked. But he did do the BCT boys one favor: So long as they wired him the money in advance, he’d let them book flights and hotel rooms to the endless parade of global crypto conferences on his credit card, in the name of accruing points. It wasn’t long before credit card issuers began shutting him down, at which point Ben phoned up Signature Bank, an obscure commercial lender his business partner had banked with for 15 years.” (03/23/23)


  • The DOJ Says Forbidding Pot Users To Own Guns Is Like Telling People Not To Carry Guns When They’re Drunk

    Source: Reason
    by Jacob Sullum

    “Every state prohibits driving while intoxicated, recognizing that alcohol use impairs the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and increases the risk of potentially lethal accidents. Using a cellphone also impairs the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and increases the risk of potentially lethal accidents. It therefore makes sense to prohibit cellphone users from owning cars. That faulty syllogism bears more than a passing resemblance to the Biden administration’s defense of the federal law that makes it a felony for cannabis consumers to possess firearms.” (03/22/23)


  • What Happens When the Firemen Are the Arsonists?

    Source: Judge Napolitano
    by Andrew P Napolitano

    “[W]hen the Fed kept interest rates low, bankers bought cheap bonds. Yet, when they needed cash and offered their low-interest bearing bonds for sale, the value of those bonds had shrunk because of the presence of new bonds on the market paying three times the interest as the old bonds, thanks to the Fed. The Fed raised interest rates to cool the inflation it caused by putting fiat money into the money supply, thereby having more money chasing the same goods and services, thus causing inflation. Under what constitutional clause can the Congress permit fiat money and the Fed control of interest rates? The short answer is: None.” (03/22/23)


  • Epitaph for a “Cake Walk”: An Iraq Case Study

    Source: Antiwar.com
    by Ray McGovern

    “In his Feb. 13, 2002 Washington Post op-ed ‘Cakewalk in Iraq,’ ]Kenneth] Adelman predicted that ‘liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.’ He added, ‘Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they’ve become much weaker; (3) we’ve become much stronger; and (4) now we’re playing for keeps.’ And he sharply ridiculed ‘fearmongering from military analysts,’ particularly those warning that thousands more ground troops would be needed for the war. Adelman’s smug, acerbic assuredness – and amateurishness – screamed through even more clearly in ‘Cakewalk Revisited’ another op-ed published by the Washington Post on April 10, 2003, three weeks after the invasion. In this one he wrote of widespread ‘awe at the professionalism and power of the US military’ and claimed vindication for his ‘cakewalk’ prediction.” (03/22/23)


  • Banning TikTok sounds tempting; here’s why it’s all wrong

    Source: Fox News
    by David McIntosh

    “Congress is considering giving President Biden unilateral power to decide which apps everyday Americans can have on their phones. In the name of banning TikTok, the DATA Act (HR 1153), would give any president broad and unquestioned authority to ban apps to reward their supporters and punish adversaries, which is exactly what is happening. The act is a huge blow to the freedoms that Americans have enjoyed since the first smartphones came on the market. Since then, social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well as internet search engines have become the main gateway for most Americans to get the news, political commentary, and entertainment. Each of these platforms gathers and stores enormous amounts of personal information about their users. Most Americans know this and accept it as part of modern life.” (03/22/23)


  • The Puzzle of Consciousness

    Source: David Friedman’s Substack
    by David Friedman

    “The argument, somewhat clearer before the discovery of quantum mechanics, is that everything that happens is the result of the working out of laws of physics which, given a sufficiently precise input, yield a determined output. The reason most people don’t believe in determinism is that they observe themselves making choices. That might be an illusion but if I cannot believe what I directly observe it is hard to know what else I should believe. Choices are made by the mind, the consciousness. The evidence against determinism comes from a part of reality not explained by the model on which the argument for determinism is based — hence to which that argument might not apply.” (03/22/23)


  • Courts Should Let You Sue Federal Officials Who Violate Your Right to Record

    Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
    by Mukund Rathi

    “Late last year, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Dustin Dyer’s lawsuit against Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers who ordered him to stop recording their pat-down search of his husband. The officers also ordered him to delete what he had already recorded. But the court, using a flawed legal doctrine that limits civil rights lawsuits, ruled that Dyer could not sue the officers for money damages even if they violated his First Amendment right to record on-duty government officials. But there is no right without a remedy.” (03/22/23)