WILL BE BACK LIVE MONDAY!
"Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it." -- Thomas Jefferson
We should take heed from the last generations of the Byzantines.
Nowhere is it foreordained that America has a birthright to remain the world’s preeminent civilization.
An ascendent China seems eerily similar to the Ottomans. Beijing believes that the United States is decadent, undeserving of its affluence, living beyond its means on the fumes of the past—and very soon vulnerable enough to challenge openly.
Left and Right seem to hate each other more than they do their common enemies.
Like the Byzantines, Americans gave up defending their own borders, and simply shrugged as millions overran them as they pleased.
Our once iconic downtowns, like end-stage Constantinople before the fall, are now dirty, half-deserted, dangerous, and dysfunctional.
The latest federal inflation data shows consumer prices rose again in February, sparking criticism of President Joe Biden and his spending agenda.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index Tuesday, which showed consumer prices rose 0.4% in February, totaling up a 6% increase over the previous 12 months.
“Core CPI came in hot: 0.5% for the month as opposed to the (still hot) 0.4% expected,” Jason Furman, an economist and Harvard Professor, wrote on Twitter. “Core CPI higher for the month than the three months than the six months.”
“Core CPI came in at a 5.6% annual rate for the month of February,” he added. “In the 25 years before COVID the single highest monthly print (out of 300 prints) was a 4.6% annual rate.”
Josh Alexander, a Canadian high school student, was reportedly arrested last month while attempting to attend class following a suspension for protesting against biological males using girls’ bathrooms and saying there are only two genders.
Alexander, a student at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario, told the Epoch Times he was barred from attending class for the remainder of the year because his presence would be “detrimental to the physical and mental well-being” of transgender students.
He was first suspended in November according to the outlet.
Alexander “had organized a protest against transgender students using the girls’ washrooms,” they wrote, and “had also said in class discussions that there are only two, immutable genders.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial board on Monday called out President Biden for telling a host of “whoppers” regarding bank bailouts following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), including claims that Donald Trump is to blame.
Following in the footsteps of Barack Obama who famously blamed George W. Bush for every economic problem during his tenure, Biden, who has been in office for over two years, pointed the finger squarely at Trump.
First, the President declared that his “quick action” had stabilized the banking industry following the collapse of multiple banks, adding that clients “can breathe easier.”
Then, he took aim at his predecessor.
Yet another newly discovered space rock will safely zip past Earth, this one on March 25, 2023. It’ll sweep by at about half the Earth-moon distance. Astronomers at the observatory of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, Spain, discovered the asteroid in late February, 2023. And amateur astronomers might get a glimpse of the asteroid as it speeds past. See the charts at the bottom of this post.
Closest approach to Earth is thought to occur at around 19:31 UTC (3:31 p.m. EDT) on March 25. But the exact time and other details might be updated as more observations come in.
The asteroid has been labeled 2023 DZ2. It’s part of the Apollo family of asteroids. Current estimates put 2023 DZ2’s size at about 210 feet (64 meters) in diameter.
Eurasia’s geo-economic integration took a great leap forward as a result of the Iranian–Saudi rapprochement, which unlocks the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) trade potential with Russia and China. Its wealthy members can now tap into two series of Iranian-transiting megaprojects in one fell swoop through this deal, with the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) connecting them to Russia while the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCAWAEC) will do the same vis-à-vis China.
The bloc’s de facto Saudi leader has been prioritizing a comprehensive economic reform policy known as “Vision 2030” that was introduced by Crown Prince and first-ever Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) upon his rise to power in 2015. It regrettably stumbled as a result of the disastrous Yemeni War that he’s been waging since that same year, but everything is now back on track and more promising than ever after securing $50 billion worth of investments from China last December.
The People’s Republic regards Vision 2030 as complementary to its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) due to MBS’ focus on real-sector investments for preemptively diversifying the Saudi economy away from its presently disproportionate dependence on oil exports. His country’s location at the crossroads of Afro-Eurasia also makes investments there extremely attractive from the perspective of China’s logistical interests, hence its massive commitment to his comprehensive economic reform policy.
Without last week’s Beijing-brokered deal, China would have had to rely on maritime routes under the control of the powerful US Navy to facilitate the forthcoming explosion in bilateral real-sector trade, but now everything can be conducted much more securely via the Iranian-transiting CCAWAEC. Looking forward, there’s also a theoretical possibility of Chinese energy investments in Iran connecting the Gulf to Central Asia and thenceforth to the People’s Republic, thus fully securing its strategic interests.
The Sacramento Bee is walking back claims it previously made about Charlie Kirk, ultimately leading to Antifa riots.
RedState reports that the outlet posted false information about Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk. The piece claimed that Kirk had previously called for the lynching of transgender individuals. This got the Antifa base riled up significantly, but it turned out to be a completely false claim.
The article is believed to be partly responsible for the Antifa riots during a Charlie Kirk speech. RedState managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar reported on the address given by Kirk at the University of California, Davis. Two people were arrested for the actions that they took during that speech.
The last remaining members of an ethics and society team within Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) department didn’t survive a recent round of mass layoffs, according to a report.
The change comes as Microsoft signs a “multi-year, multi-billion-dollar investment” deal with OpenAI, the startup behind AI-powered image and text generators like DALL-E and ChatGPT, and upgrades its Bing search engine and Edge internet browser to incorporate a “new, next-generation OpenAI large language model that is more powerful than ChatGPT.”
The team, as reported by tech news site Platformer, was tasked to make sure Microsoft’s ethical standards regarding AI were actually reflected in product designs. The team was also reportedly working to identify potential risks posed by integrating OpenAI’s technology into a range of Microsoft products.
The team was at its peak size of 30 members in 2020, according to the report. Following a reorganization in October 2022, however, only about seven people remained. Microsoft’s corporate vice president of AI, John Montgomery, told Platformer that there was great pressure from chief technology officer Kevin Scott and chief executive Satya Nadella, who wanted to get “the most recent OpenAI models” into customers’ hands as quickly as possible.
Microsoft still maintains its Office of Responsible AI, which focuses on creating company-wide rules and principles to guide AI development. But employees told Platformer that the ethics and society team was playing a key role in bridging the gap between principles and products.
The federal government has been using Americans’ income and gun purchases to conduct warrantless tracking and deny Second Amendment rights. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gave salary estimates to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the reason to have people’s firearms purchases monitored.
Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America (GOA), told The Epoch Times that the ATF’s activities “monitoring innocent people” is a serious problem. “Congress needs to rein in this rogue agency by either exercising oversight over it or abolishing the unconstitutional agency altogether,” said Pratt.
These revelations come from new documents, viewed by The Epoch Times which it received from its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The latest production from the FOIA has hundreds of pages—many redacted—showing ATF agents requesting warrantless surveillance by the FBI for lawful reasons such as low salaries, past firearm purchases, and sending “bizarre” messages.
The Epoch Times exclusively reported in January about the FBI’s secret monitoring service that tracks people by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for gun purchases for mere “potential violations of law.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has confirmed in a statement on its website that President Xi Jinping's much anticipated state visit to Russia will be held from March 20-22, marking the first such in-person visit with President Putin since the Ukraine war started in February 2022.
The Kremlin at the same time confirmed of the trip that "An exchange of views is also planned in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena," and that, "A number of important bilateral documents will be signed."
Russia has further said the two leaders will discuss "strategic cooperation" - following early last year's declaration of Beijing and Moscow's "no-limits partnership".
The new Friday Beijing statement also said the war in Ukraine will be top priority, also after acknowledging that a Xi-Zelensky phone call will happen related to the Moscow visit:
China’s Foreign Ministry said the visit will take place from Monday to Wednesday at the invitation of Putin and confirmed that the war in Ukraine would be a core part of the talks.
"China’s proposition boils down to one sentence, which is to urge peace and promote talks," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
You know the old joke – “Predictions are hard… especially about the future.”
And it’s true, nobody has a crystal ball.
But it’s astonishing to see just how horribly wrong the people in charge can be in their predictions, especially about the very near future.
You probably remember Joe Biden famously insisted in the summer of 2021 that the Taliban was “highly unlikely” to take over Afghanistan.
Boy did he turn out to be wrong.
Only a few weeks later, the Taliban was in control of the entire country… and the world watched in utter astonishment as US military helicopters evacuated embassy personnel from Kabul in one of the most shameful episodes in modern American history.
Not to be outdone, it appears that the Federal Reserve has just had its own Afghanistan moment.
It was only Tuesday of last week that the Fed Chairman testified before a committee of concerned senators who thought the Fed may be tightening monetary policy (i.e. raising interest rates) too quickly.
This was a valid concern; rapid interest rate hikes DO create a LOT of risks. And one of those risks is that asset prices– especially bond prices– plummet in value.
This risk is particularly problematic for banks because they tend to invest their customer deposits in bonds.
Israel’s former spymaster has called for his country to explore whether a rapprochement with Iran is possible following a dramatic breakthrough in relations between Tehran and Riyadh last week.
Efraim Halevy, the former director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, made the comments on Wednesday evening in an interview on CNN.
Describing the deals as “very startling”, Halevy urged Israeli leaders not to “prejudge” the deal but to find ways of working with the new development.
“[Israel should] understand what it is that brought the Iranians to their rapprochement with Saudi Arabia,” said Halevy.
Ben Shapiro presents the True Conservative™ case for opposing reparations.
Asking whitey to pay is fine with Shapiro due to their collective guilt over slavery but asking Asians to pay is just a step too far!
As Sweden looks to reorganize its embattled 1 trillion kronor ($90 billion) pension system following an embezzlement scandal, the office overseeing the process says it won't accept applications from asset managers that don't incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) into their strategies.
"Unlike in the current system, there will be a requirement that the manager systematically integrates sustainability aspects into its operations," said Erikl Fransson, executive director of the Swedish Fund Selection Agency, Bloomberg reports.
The move underscores the wildly divergent approaches different jurisdictions are taking as they figure out how big a role ESG should play in mainstream investing. In Europe, ESG is currently being hardwired into financial regulations. In the US, lawmakers just voted to block the pension industry from taking ESG risks into account.
The decision only affects pensions under the state’s control. Sweden’s private pensions market has made headlines after it emerged that Alecta, which oversees more than $100 billion in retirement savings, was the fourth-biggest shareholder of the now collapsed Silicon Valley Bank. -Bloomberg
Following this week’s release of GPT-4, OpenAI’s new multimodal model accepting image and text inputs rather than ChatGPT’s text-only prompts, people on social media have been marveling about the new engine’s results in performing a variety of tasks, such as creating a working website based on a simple sketch, outperforming humans in a variety of standardized tests or writing code.
But, as Statista's Felix Richter notes, as people are only beginning to understand the capabilities (and limitations) of artificial intelligence models such as ChatGPT and now GPT-4, there’s also growing concern over what the rapid advancements in AI could ultimately lead to.
“GPT-4 is exciting and scary,” New York Times columnist Kevin Roose wrote, adding that there two kinds of risks involved in AI systems: the good ones, i.e. the ones we anticipate, plan for and try to prevent and the bad ones, i.e. the ones we cannot anticipate.
“The more time I spend with AI systems like GPT-4,” Roose writes, “the less I’m convinced that we know half of what’s coming.”
According to Ipsos Global Advisor’s 2023 Predictions, many people seem to share Roose’s reservations with regard to artificial intelligence.
The US rejecting calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of the meeting of Chinese and Russian leaders again showed its ulterior motive of fueling the fire of conflict and using Ukraine as its pawn to geopolitically weaken Russia to the maximum level, Chinese experts said, who also pointed out the sharp contrast between Washington and Beijing, with the latter always seeking peace and dialogue on the matter.
China announced on Friday that President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Russia from Monday to Wednesday.The visit is widely considered a journey that will advance peace as China has been long committed to promoting peace and dialogue over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. However, the Biden administration threw mud over the trip, expressing concerns over any proposals from China and claiming any framework offered by Beijing "would be one-sided and reflect only the Russian perspective."
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently upbraided the United States, calling out Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken by name, for hundreds of years of imperialism, colonialism and otherwise “meddling” in the affairs of other nations all over the globe. And contrary to the U.S.’s self-image as a promoter of democracy around the world, the United States itself is not a democracy, AMLO says, but rather an oligarchy.
Former President Donald Trump said Saturday he expects to be arrested on Tuesday based on “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is investigating Trump’s alleged role in hush money paid to Stormy Daniels.
The United States military is facing recruitment shortfalls with only the Marine Corps and the newly created Space Force meeting 2022 enlistment quotas, an issue that could undermine the Pentagon’s readiness to address the “pacing challenges” posed by the People’s Republic of China and Russia.
The U.S. Army in 2022 missed its recruiting goal by 15,000 active-duty soldiers, or 25 percent of its target, leaving the nation’s largest military force 7 percent smaller than it was two years ago.
The U.S. Navy came within several dozen of its 2022 enlistment goal but only after lowering its recruiting quota, increasing its oldest enlistment age from 39 to 41, and lowering other standards.
The U.S. Air Force met its 2022 recruiting goal but, according to Alex Wagner, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, in 2023 it anticipates it “will miss its recruiting goal for the first since 1999.”
Wagner was among the eight officials representing the individual military branches and the Department of Defense (DOD) to testify on March 15 before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee’s Personnel Subcommittee about issues confronting the military’s 2.1 million active-duty members, the DOD’s 700,000 civilian employees, and their families.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as prosecutors consider charges over a hush money payment to a porn star, and called on his supporters to protest.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney's office, which has been investigating a $130,000 payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels, declined to comment.
No U.S. president - while in office or afterward - has faced criminal charges. Trump is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2024. He has said he will continue campaigning even if he is charged with a crime.
"Illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorney's office ... indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven ... the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week," Trump wrote on Truth Social.