EARLY EDITION: Five Quick News Stories For Your Water Cooler Chat (Thurs. Mar 2)

1. Human rights groups pressure UN to censure USA over abortion

Two hundred activist groups are trying to leverage the dubious authority of the UN to tell America what abortion restrictions are ‘unacceptable’.

They seem unaware that most ‘liberal’ European states have abortion laws more rigid than many red states. Aside from Netherland and UK which permit abortions up to 24 weeks, no European state allows abortion beyond 20 weeks.

They are angry at the Dobbs decision which says nothing about abortion’s legality itself and only about which level of government determines the laws governing them. Protesters worked every predictable keyword into their objections.

“The Dobbs ruling pushed the US even further out of line with its human rights obligations, including its obligation to ensure access to abortion and to eliminate structural racism and discrimination,” said Annerieke Smaak Daniel, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Abortion restrictions compound economic, social, and geographic barriers to healthcare, including contraception, disproportionately impacting Black women’s ability to access the care we need.” — Guardian

It’s not immediately clear what exactly the UN is supposed to do about a SCOTUS decision made in a member state with VETO power. But that hasn’t stopped any such protesters in the past.

2. Atlanta suburb one step closer to breaking free

Georgians may need to redraw their maps soon. Buckhead is one step closer to achieving independence from a city (Atlanta) that has repeatedly failed to live up to its obligations.

Senate Bills 113 and 114 that would allow Buckhead to split from Atlanta have passed from committee this week.

Buckhead believes Atlanta has failed in providing adequate policing as crime in the wealthy suburb is spiking. Proponents of the bill also believe being a smaller city and more reponsive to its local constituents will go a long way to seeing tax dollars aren’t mismanaged, diverted, or used corruptly.

3. Canadian scandal over CCP election interference snowballs

After Canada’s security agency (CSIS) claimed CCP agents had been actively influencing Canadian elections, there have been a series of allegations and denials.

Recent media reports have alleged ongoing Chinese interference in Canada’s elections, with Trudeau this week denying one article saying his office was told by Canada’s spy agency to drop a Chinese Canadian candidate in 2019 because of his ties to Beijing.
Canada’s main opposition party called for an independent and public inquiry, headed by a commissioner who is selected with unanimous agreement of all federal parties in the parliament.

The usually-friendly-to-liberals national newspaper out of Ottawa is even weighing in:

Probably the most damning allegation in the CSIS leak is that one of China’s Canadian consulates told Chinese billionaire Zhang Bin to donate $1 million to Trudeau-related causes — after which he would be reimbursed for the amount.
…It’s been known since 2016 that a Beijing-affiliated billionaire was throwing money at things with the word “Trudeau” in them — but it’s only this week that charges first emerged that he was explicitly doing it on orders from the Chinese Communist Party.
…Meanwhile, somebody was showering the Trudeau Foundation in foreign cash. Right up until Trudeau became Liberal leader in 2013, the organization didn’t receive a cent in foreign donations. Then, all of a sudden, in 2015 the Trudeau Foundation was hit by a $438,000 surge in foreign donations, followed by $535,000 in 2016.

Trudeau, who was usually able to stonewall his way through even serious scandals had to blink.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation says it is returning $200,000 it received seven years ago after a media report alleged a potential connection to Beijing. — CTVNews

4. Semaphor news just found a backer sketchier than SBF

Folks from Bloomberg and Buzzfeed raised $25M for a ‘new’ kind of news. When FTX collapsed, the infusion of cash they got from founder SBF became a big story. Elon Musk and Tucker Carlson both drew some unwanted attention to that story.

Now Semaphor is in the news again… not for stories it is covering, but for who they are taking money from.

Semafor announced on Wednesday that they partnered with a Chinese think tank, the China Center for Globalization (CCG), who’s founder, Wang Huiyao, has ties to China’s United Front Work Department (UFWD).
The new media outlet announced their “China and Global Business” initiative and said it hopes to “create a new platform — events in Beijing and New York, and coverage across our digital channels — for global business leaders seeking a way forward amid growing calls in the US for economic ‘decoupling’ from China, and China’s parallel pursuit of economic ‘self-reliance,'” the website reads.
Wang Huiyao is included on the Chinese advisory board for the initiative. He is reported to advise the UFWD and a member of several United Front groups.

The CCG is considered a flagship program of the CCP’s ‘thousand talents’ program for recruiting foreigners. Nothing says ‘unbiased news’ quite like a CCP business partnership, eh?

5. USA performing poorly on economic freedom index

America is now ranked 25th in Heritage Foundation’s 2023 Index of Economic Freedom, compared to top-tier countries like Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland and Taiwan, which are first through fourth, respectively.

Debt load, spending, and printing of money are major contributors to USA’s plunging numbers.

“This really should be a wake-up call if you’re looking at the United States,” explained Joel Griffith, a research fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for economic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation.

“We’ve been doing this report now since the 1990s, and based on our metrics, this is the lowest the United States has ever ranked in the index as far as the total score.”

The report explained, “Especially notable is the continuing decline within the ‘mostly free’ category of the United States, whose score plummeted to 70.6, its lowest level ever in the 29-year history of the Index.–WND

BONUS: News of the weird

Florida Republican’s subversive plan to de-list the Democrat party

Is it a ‘stunt’? Sure.

But the clever part is that it doesn’t give any party name, it only names a particular heinous policy decision… shining light on a history of the Demorat party that the media has taken great care to downplay.

A Republican in Florida’s Legislature has filed a bill that, if enacted, would eliminate the Florida Democratic Party.
“The Ultimate Cancel Act,” filed Tuesday by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, would require the state’s Division of Elections to “immediately cancel” the filings of any political party whose platform had “previously advocated for, or been in support of, slavery or involuntary servitude.”
The bill, called SB 1248, would require Florida officials to notify all registered voters who belong to any canceled parties that their parties no longer exist. It would also change their voter registrations to “no party affiliation” and “provide procedures” for those voters to update their affiliations to “an active political party.”

It’s a stunt, sure. But if it works the way Kaepernick’s take-a-knee stunt did — and kicks off a ‘national conversation about some uncomfortable facts about black history’? ”

Well, you really can’t BUY that kind of press when it comes to brand differentiation. Especially when the Democrats and the NYTimes have explictly been trying to squeeze every story through the lens of race-relations in an elaborate branding stunt of their own.

Quotes cited:

Guardian; Guardian; TheCitizen; CTVnews; FoxNews; WND; NBC

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