"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” -- President Harry S. Truman

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How did Italy get so gay so quickly?

It’s like Ireland and Poland. It’s moved at a sonic speed.

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A Democratic Cook County judge ruled on Wednesday to remove former President Donald Trump from the Illinois primary ballot, citing his alleged participation in the January 6th Capitol “insurrection.”

Democratic Cook County Judge Tracie Porter has removed Donald Trump from the Illinois primary ballot for his participation in the January 6th “insurrection.”

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie R. Porter.

In her ruling, Judge Tracie Porter of the State Circuit Court ordered the Illinois State Board of Elections to “remove Donald J. Trump from the ballot for the General Primary Election on March 19, 2024, or cause any votes cast for him to be suppressed.” Porter, who was appointed to a traffic court position in 2021 and was elected as a full circuit court judge in 2022, cited the text of the 14th Amendment to justify the ruling, arguing that Trump had engaged in an insurrection against the United States government.

However, Porter also immediately paused her own ruling from taking effect, giving Trump until Friday to file an appeal. Anticipating higher courts weighing in on the ruling, the judge wrote that she is aware that her decision “could not be the ultimate outcome.” Porter’s ruling overturned a previous one by the State Board of Elections, which opted to keep Trump on the ballot last month.

Webmaster addition:  Judge Tracie R. Porter is a Traffic Court judge!

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When Federal Reserve officials met last month, they told us they needed "greater confidence" that inflation is moving "sustainably" down to two percent before they start reducing interest rates.

It would be an understatement to say that the inflation data released on Thursday are unlikely to produce an increase in that confidence. Inflation is rising, and the underlying indicators of price pressures suggest this is unlikely to reverse soon.

The Department of Commerce released its report on personal income and expenditures on Thursday. This includes the latest calculation of the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index, which is the measure the Federal Reserve uses in its two percent target and in the forecasts that get published every other meeting in the summary of economic projections.

The PCE price index rose by 0.3 percent in January, an annualized inflation rate of 4.2 percent. Core PCE inflation, which excludes food and energy, rose by 0.4 percent, which annualizes to a 5.1 percent inflation rate. Both measures show an acceleration of inflation from a month earlier.

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Peter Hasson, senior politics editor at Fox News, expounded on this accusation in a Feb. 27 op-ed. The work in question was his 2020 book titled "The Manipulators: Facebook, Google, Twitter and Big Tech's War on Conservatives." According to Hasson, the book "was a multi-year project on Big Tech's political biases that drew on inside sources, leaked documents and more."

"I was curious to see if Google's AI program could be trusted to accurately describe an investigative book about Google, but I wasn't prepared for just how misleading it would be. Gemini's description of my book included this sentence: 'The book has been criticized for lacking concrete evidence and relying on anecdotal information.'"

Hasson further pressed the AI about its less-than-stellar criticism of his book, asking in particular the names of reviewers who gave their thumbs-down. Gemini then returned summaries of four negative reviews:

  • Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon said the book relies "on 'anecdotal evidence' and 'cherry-picking examples' to support its claims."
  • Ben Smith of the New York Times touched on the book's "lack of rigorous research and its reliance on 'unsubstantiated claims.'"
  • Emily Bazelon wrote in the New York Times Book Review that Hasson's work "'lacks a deep understanding of how these companies work' and relies on 'unproven accusations.'"
  • Emily Dreyfuss purportedly wrote in a piece for WIRED magazine that the book's claims about Big Tech bias suffer from a "dearth of evidence;" it also highlighted several examples of "cherry-picking."

"But here's the catch: None of those reviews were real, not one. And neither were any of the quotes," Hasson disclosed.  

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Two suspects, Lyndell Mays and Dominic Miller, involved in the Kansas City Super Bowl Parade shooting, are considering utilizing the "stand your ground" law as part of their defense strategy.

The incident resulted in the tragic death of a woman and left several others, including children, injured.

As reported by KWCH, legal experts suggest that Mays and Miller could potentially build strong cases under Missouri's "stand your ground" law, which is enforced in over 30 states across the country. Daniel Ross, a trial attorney, emphasized that this law presents a robust defense, shifting the burden to the prosecution to disprove claims of self-defense in shooting incidents.

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More than two decades after Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused dozens of girls in Palm Beach, his victims may finally learn how and why the state prosecutor’s handling of the case allowed Epstein to escape a prison term more in line with the serious crimes he committed.

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that permits the unsealing of the long-secret evidence and testimony presented to a 2006 Palm Beach grand jury, leading the panel to return an indictment against Epstein on only minor prostitution charges.

At the time, Palm Beach police had interviewed at least six girls who claimed Epstein had sexually assaulted them as part of a massive scheme in which they were also pressured to recruit more girls for him to abuse over many years.

The signing of the bill could pave the way for the public to evaluate whether former Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer conducted a thorough prosecution of Epstein.

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A large swath of California’s Sierra Nevada fell under a blizzard warning Thursday morning, as powerful winds ripped through the mountain range. The National Weather Service said a 120 mph gust was clocked on Ward Mountain at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort, which had closed several lifts for the day.

The winds kicked up ahead of a fierce, cold winter storm that’s barreling toward the Golden State. It’s expected to bring more snow than any other storm has so far this season. The system is predicted to impact the mountain range Thursday through Sunday, with the most severe conditions forecast Friday into Saturday morning. The storm is unique in that it’s carrying both cold Arctic air and significant amounts of moisture.

“There is a high chance (over 70%) of substantial, long-lasting disruptions to daily life in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Friday to Sunday where blizzard conditions and 5-12 ft of snow (and locally higher) are

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Russian President Vladimir Putin used the occasion of his much anticipated annual state of the nation address to directly warn NATO that sending Western troops to fight in Ukraine could result in nuclear war.

He explained that allegations from Western officials saying Russia intends to attack Europe are "nonsense"after on Monday French President Emmanuel Macron really escalated the rhetoric by telling a security forum in Paris that sending Western troops to Ukraine "cannot be ruled out". 

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Authored by Robert Chernin via RealClear Wire,

The revelation that the U.S. intelligence community, under the Obama administration, sought the assistance of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance to surveil Donald Trump’s associates before the 2016 election is a chilling reminder of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to protect its interests and challenge its adversaries. (The Five Eyes countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.) This bombshell, reported by a team of independent journalists, exposes a dark chapter in American political history, where foreign intelligence services were reportedly mobilized against a presidential candidate.

The alleged operation against Trump and his associates, which predates the official start of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, is a stark example of political weaponization of intelligence. The involvement of foreign allies in surveilling American citizens under the pretext of national security raises serious questions about the integrity of our democratic processes and the autonomy of our nation’s intelligence operations.

The narrative that has been pushed for years, that the investigation into Trump’s campaign began with an Australian tip about a boastful Trump aide, now appears to be a cover for a more extensive and coordinated effort to undermine Trump. If reports are accurate, British intelligence began targeting Trump on behalf of American intelligence agencies as early as 2015, long before the official narrative claims.

The implications of this are profound. It suggests an unprecedented level of collusion between U.S. intelligence agencies and their foreign counterparts to influence the outcome of an American presidential election. The use of foreign intelligence to circumvent American laws and surveillance limitations represents a grave threat to our nation’s sovereignty and the principles of democracy.

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Israel reportedly "lured" starving Palestinians into the streets of Gaza City with the promise of food aid on Thursday and then gunned them down en masse in an incident being dubbed the "Flour Massacre." 

Reports say more than 100 Palestinians were killed and over 700 were wounded.

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Authored by Pepe Escobar,

February 24, 2022 was the day that changed 21st century geopolitics forever...

Exactly two years ago this Saturday, on February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the launching – and described the objectives – of a Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. That was the inevitable follow-up to what happened three days before, on February 21 – exactly 8 years after Maidan 2014 in Kiev – when Putin officially recognized the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

During this – pregnant with meaning – short space of only three days, everyone expected that the Russian Armed Forces would intervene, militarily, to end the massive bombing and shelling that had been going on for three weeks across the frontline – which even forced the Kremlin to evacuate populations at risk to Russia. Russian intel had conclusive proof that the NATO-backed Kiev forces were ready to execute an ethnic cleansing of Russophone Donbass.

February 24, 2022 was the day that changed 21st century geopolitics forever, in several complex ways. Above all, it marked the beginning of a vicious, all-out confrontation, “military-technical” as the Russians call it, between the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder, its easily pliable NATOstan vassals, and Russia – with Ukraine as the battleground.

There is hardly any question Putin had calculated, before and during these three fateful days, that his decisions would unleash the unbounded fury of the collective West – complete with a tsunami of sanctions.

Aye, there’s the rub; it’s all about Sovereignty. And a true sovereign power simply cannot live under permanent threats. It’s even feasible that Putin had wanted (italics mine) Russia to get sanctioned to death. After all, Russia is so naturally wealthy that without a serious challenge from abroad, the temptation is enormous to live off its rents while importing what it could easily produce.

Exceptionalists always gloated that Russia is “a gas station with nuclear weapons”. That’s ridiculous. Oil and gas, in Russia, account for roughly 15% of GDP, 30% of the government budget, and 45% of exports. Oil and gas add power to the Russian economy – not a drag. Putin shaking Russia’s complacency generated a gas station producing everything it needs, complete with unrivaled nuclear and hypersonic weapons. Beat that!

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There are reports of a mass casualty event in Gaza City on Thursday, with Hamas claiming at least 104 Palestinians killed and several hundred wounded or injured (though casualty numbers have fluctuated in the immediate aftermath). However, Israel is disputing local accounts of what happened and says people died following a stampede caused by Palestinians rushing aid trucks.

There are several different versions of what happened, but all accounts agree that mayhem was unleashed when some 30 humanitarian aid trucks containing food were positioned on the street under Israeli protection. Gaza has been on the brink of famine, and so reportedly hundreds of people rushed toward to trucks hoping to obtain something.

Desperate Gazans seeking food, aid and shelter, via Times of Israel

And that's when according to The Guardian, "An Israeli source said Israeli troops opened fire on Thursday at 'several people' among a crowd that surrounded aid trucks in the Gaza Strip after feeling under threat."

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Wikipedia has downgraded tech website CNET's reliability rating following extensive discussions among its editors regarding the impact of AI-generated content on the site's trustworthiness, as noted in a detailed report from Futurism. The decision reflects concerns over the reliability of articles found on the tech news outlet after it began publishing AI-generated stories in 2022.

Around November 2022, CNET began publishing articles written by an AI model under the byline "CNET Money Staff." In January 2023, Futurism brought widespread attention to the issue and discovered that the articles were full of plagiarism and mistakes. (Around that time, we covered plans to do similar automated publishing at BuzzFeed.) After the revelation, CNET management paused the experiment, but the reputational damage had already been done.

Wikipedia maintains a page called "Reliable sources/Perennial sources" that includes a chart featuring news publications and their reliability ratings as viewed from Wikipedia's perspective. Shortly after the CNET news broke in January 2023, Wikipedia editors began a discussion thread on the Reliable Sources project page about the publication.

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China has the most diplomatic posts abroad out of any country in the world, according to the Lowy Institute’s 2024 Global Diplomacy Index, published Sunday. Close on its heels comes rival global superpower, the United States.

As Statista's Anna Fleck shows in the following chartChina and the U.S. are the world heavyweights when it comes to diplomatic efforts, with a total of 274 and 271 posts abroad, respectively. China overtook the U.S. as the world’s leading diplomatic nation back in 2019 and has maintained the position ever since.

Infographic: China Tops Global Diplomacy Index | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

According to the institute, Beijing has a higher number of diplomatic postings than Washington in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, as well as Central Asia, following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is ahead diplomatically in Europe, North and Central America and South Asia. Both nations are now matched for posts in the Middle East and South America.

A number of so-called middle powers are also strengthening their networks though. Türkiye rose to rank three this year (up from rank 5 in 2023), while India is now in position 11 (up from rank 12 in 2023). These two countries have the fastest growing networks of the Index. Of India’s 11 new posts since 2021, eight of them have been in Africa.

The 2024 Global Diplomacy Index reveals the diplomatic networks of 66 countries and territories in Asia, the Group of 20 (G20) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD

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Nothing good can come from allowing the government to sidestep the Constitution.

Unfortunately, the government has become an expert at disregarding constitutional roadblocks intended to protect the rights of the citizenry.

When these end-runs don’t suffice, the government hides behind the covert, clandestine, classified language of national security; or obfuscates, complicates, stymies, and bamboozles; or creates manufactured diversions to keep the citizenry in the dark; or works through private third parties not traditionally bound by the Constitution.

This last tactic is increasingly how the government gets away with butchering our freedoms, by having its corporate partners serve as a front for its nefarious deeds.

This is how the police state has managed to carry out an illegal secret dragnet surveillance program on the American people over the course of multiple presidential administrations.

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Authored by Marina Zhang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Dr. Clarice Saba, an otorhinolaryngologist in Brazil, developed sudden hearing loss in her right ear a week after receiving her first dose of the COVID-19 adenovirus vaccine.

I did all the exams and could not find any other reason other than because of the shots,” she told The Epoch Times.

Several studies have linked sudden hearing loss to the vaccine, with the most comprehensive study coming from France. Four hundred cases of post-vaccine sudden sensorineural hearing loss were evaluated, with 345 medical reports assessed by two audiology experts for potential causality.

[Sudden sensorineural hearing loss] after COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are very rare adverse events,” the French authors concluded, adding that these rare adverse events “do not call into question the benefits of mRNA vaccines but deserve to be known given the potentially disabling impact of sudden deafness.”

Accumulated Damage

While the cause of hearing loss is unknown, it is usually assumed to be induced by damage to the cochlear, a fluid-filled, spiral cavity in the inner ear that helps process sounds into electrical signals in the brain.

This assumption is based on the fact that cochlear implants, which mimic the work of a natural cochlear, are highly successful in treating hearing loss.

The cochlear is a highly sensitive part of the ear and can accumulate damage from aging, loud sounds, viral infections, and certain chemicals and medications.

These exposures may restrict oxygen to the blood supply of the cochlear, reduce blood flow, increase oxidative damage, or form lesions in the cochlear tissue.

It is not known how COVID-19 and its vaccines may cause hearing loss. Some studies have proposed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may replicate in the ears and cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves there. Case studies evaluating hearing problems in COVID-19 patients found inflammation of the inner ears, inflamed cochlear and vestibular nerves, and bleeding of the ears.

The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines induce the body to make COVID-19 spike proteins. Research in animal cochlear cells has shown that the spike protein damages the cochlear. Spike proteins also share structural similarities with over 28 human proteins. Therefore, some studies on hearing loss speculate that proteins in the ears, including within the cochlea, may be structurally similar to spike proteins, leading to autoimmune damage when the body mounts its immune response.

The spike proteins in the COVID-19 vaccines are also prone to causing microclotting, where the blood becomes more viscous and “sludge-like,” according to internal medicine physician Dr. Jordan Vaughn. Viscous blood moves more slowly, reducing oxygen exchange in the blood and leading to stress on the nerves and cells in the ears.

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The refugees whose impact this series will examine are, in the first place, the Jews who immigrated to Britain in the later decades of the 19th century. Small numbers of Jews already lived in Britain before a much larger wave of Ashkenazi immigration from Eastern Europe occurred over several decades from the 1870s. Immigration was somewhat inhibited by the Aliens Act of 1905. As Jews were most of the arriving immigrants at that time, they were most affected. Still, more continued to arrive, a large number already had, and today, according to government statistics, Jews number around three hundred thousand in Britain, somewhat less than half of one percent of the population.

By the beginning of the 20th century, a narrative in which these recently-immigrated Jews were refugees from Russian persecution and anti-Jewish violence had become commonplace. As David Cesarani has described, this was always largely mythical:

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The Supreme Court hand-delivered Donald Trump a big win on Wednesday.

Legal expert Jeffrey Toobin, who is by no means a Republican, agreed the Supreme Court's decision to hear the former president's argument that presidential immunity protects him from criminal prosecution is a "gift" — whether or not the court ultimately agrees with him.

It's a "gift," Toobin explained, because the timeline almost certainly means there will not be a trial before Election Day.

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