All posts by Ryan DeLarme

Independent Media, Investigative Journalism

Proposed Bill Would Make It a Criminal Offense to Ask Anyone About Their Covid Vaccination Status

Kyle Becker
January 27th, 2022

South Carolina Republicans are introducing a bill that would make it a criminal offense to ask anyone about their Covid vaccination status. H. 4848, the bill under consideration, was introduced on January 20.

“Any employee, officer, agent, or other representative of a public, nonprofit, or private entity who inquires about the COVID-19 vaccination status of any student, employee, member, or anyone else seeking admission on the entity’s premises is guilty of a misdemeanor,” the text of the bill states.

Demanding that someone provide their Covid vaccination status would be punishable by a fine of up to $14,000 fine or up to a year in jail, or both.

The bill is being spearheaded by South Carolina Rep. Mike Burns with Reps. Patrick Haddon, Steven Wayne Lond and William Chumley as its sponsors.

“This bill is primarily one to protect both your job, home, health insurance, car, future,” Burns told Newsweek.

“They cannot ask you if you are pregnant or intend to get pregnant, or HIV status. But they won’t to fire you when you disclose that you’re not taking the vaccine?” he added. “Who thinks all this is a great idea?”

Burns earlier told Fox News that insurance companies were planning on charging higher premiums for ‘unvaccinated’ people.

“They’re charging up to an extra $100 a week more than the vaccinated people,” he said. “It is absolutely insane to do this kind of thing.”

Numerous states have banned Covid passports, including Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Alaska, Mississippi, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

A number of states, including Florida, Montana, Utah, Texas, Michigan, Indiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia, also have a state worker vaccine mandate ban in place. These states also ban school mandates.

Prince Andrew Demands Trial by Jury in U.S. Sex Abuse Case

NATHANIEL CHARLES
January 27th, 2022

Prince Andrew’s lawyers on Wednesday demanded a trial by jury in the U.S. District Courts as he prepares to answer sexual assault allegations brought by Virginia Giuffre.

Andrew’s trial by jury plea comes just two weeks after Judge Lewis A Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied his request to have the entire case dismissed.

Alongside the jury request, Andrew has also sought to have the case dismissed – again.

The Prince’s lawyers have justified their decision to request a jury trial and repeated calls for dismissal by suggesting Giuffre’s allegations lack solid “facts” and are “too speculative” to warrant any financial compensation from Andrew, UPI reports.

The Prince’s lawyers also suggested that Giuffre’s “prayer” for “exemplary” or “excessive” “punitive damages” is “unconstitutional” as this is “barred” by the “due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”.

In the submitted court documents the Queen’s son once again denied “that he ever engaged in sexual acts with Giuffre” and declined to answer most of her other allegations.

A portrait of Prince Andrew outside The Duke of York pub on January 16, 2022 in London, England. On Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced Prince Andrew would shed his military titles and patronages after a U.S. court allowed a lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre, who alleges Andrew raped her when she was 17, to proceed. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

These include topics such as his relationship with paedophile billionaire Jefferey Epstein – claiming the Prince “lacks sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations”.

Previously Andrew has suggested Giuffre is suffering from “false memories” in regards to her claim of him sexually assaulting her when she was 17 in 2001. Andrew has also accused Giuffre of highlighting her claimed trauma in order “to deflect” from the role the Prince accuses her of having in “Epstein’s sex-trafficking scheme”.

The disgraced Prince has also challenged the motivations behind Giuffre’s allegations against him and suggested she is simply seeking another “payday”, using the $500,000 Giuffre obtained in a 2009 settlement with Epstein as evidence of this.

Currently, Andrew has not been charged with any criminal offences and if the case is not dismissed will face Giuffre in the U.S. civil courts.

He has always maintained his innocence of all charges.

Justin Trudeau Accuses Freedom Convoy Supporters of Wrongthink, “Fringe Minority, Holding Unacceptable Views”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked today about the 50,000+ truckers and millions of supporters of the “Freedom Convoy” that is headed to Ottawa to protest the heavy-handed government COVID approach.

In true totalitarian fashion, the pontificating pustule of pompous promotion claimed the people protesting his position are a “fringe minority” of the Canadian people, holding “unacceptable views” against his regime.  

WATCH :

This guy is almost as bad as Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand.  How a majority of Canadian people could possibly support this arrogant and condescending weasel simply shows just how pathetic the political opposition in Canada really is.

Put a solid, strong and articulate conservative up against these creeps and things might change.  However, that person needs to be able to look the uber-leftist media in the eye, speak with plain commonsense, and call them on their bulls**t.

Bipartisan Coalition Demands Vote On Legislation To Bar Congress From Trading Stocks

A bipartisan group of more than two dozen lawmakers in the House is demanding that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) allow a vote on a bill that would bar members of Congress from trading on the stock market, which critics say is inappropriate due to Congress’ inside knowledge on financial and political affairs.

Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, speaks in Bath, Maine. Golden was the only Democrat lawmaker to break with his party and vote against the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (David Sharp, File/AP Photo)

The demand was made in a Jan. 24 letter spearheaded by Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine). A total of 27 lawmakers signed Golden’s petition, including 25 Democrats and two Republicans.

In the letter’s opening line, the coalition demands that Pelosi “swiftly bring legislation to prohibit members of Congress from owning or trading stocks.” Two bills that would do just that, the “Ban Conflicted Trading Act” and the “TRUST In Congress Act,” have been sitting in congressional limbo.

The responsibility to bring them out of this limbo lies largely with Speaker Pelosi, but she has thus far made no effort to bring either bill to the floor for a vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks at her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Dec. 8, 2021. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Golden argued that such a ban would be a “common sense measure” that is “supported by Americans across the political spectrum.”

A recent poll vindicates this latter claim.

The poll, conducted by the conservative group Convention for States Action in conjunction with Trafalgar, found that more than three-fourths of Americans believe that lawmakers have an “unfair advantage” over others in the stock market.

Speaking on the poll results, Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, said, “Congress has a history of passing laws that make it appear as if they are behaving ethically, while continuing to do things that are not honest nor ethical. This issue has received a lot of attention, and this data verifies the American people want this practice to end once and for all.”

This issue has a storied history in Congress.

In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act, a bill that required members of Congress to publicly disclose their financial transactions. However, a recent investigation by Insider found that a laundry list of lawmakers in both the House and Senate had violated the provisions of that law.

In view of this, the lawmakers write, “It’s clear the current rules are not working.”

In another recent example of potential insider trading, several members of Congress allegedly sold off stock ahead of the crash precipitated by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. These members had received nonpublic briefings on the developing virus, leading many to believe that their sudden stock sales were carried out on the basis of this knowledge.

“The law prohibits only those stock trades that members of Congress make or direct because of their nonpublic knowledge,” Golden explains in his letter.

But it can be nearly impossible to determine what counts as ‘nonpublic knowledge’ or how personally involved members are in their stock trades.”

“Instead,” the lawmakers demand, “Congress should close these loopholes by simply banning members from owning or trading individual stocks while in office.”

We came to Congress to serve our country, not turn a quick buck,” the lawmakers continue.

“While there are many difficult questions facing Congress, this is an easy one,” the letter concludes. “Members of Congress should not be allowed to own or trade individual stocks. Let’s get this done.”

The letter is a rare show of bipartisanship, including a very unlikely alliance of America First conservatives and left-wing progressives.

The Democrat roster includes prominent progressives like Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Pramilla Jayapal (D-Wash.), who have both been outspoken in favor of sweeping institutional reforms and pricey social spending bills.

The two Republican signatories are Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump-adjacent Floridian who has fought against government measures that give an unfair advantage to major corporations or the ultra-wealthy, and Rep, Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a longtime moderate who joined Democrats in passing the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in late 2021.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 6, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Speaking on the letter, Gaetz quipped that “Rashida Tlaib and I don’t often agree. But when we do,” he added, “America should totally go that direction.”

However, not all lawmakers feel the same way about a stock market ban.

Most prominently, Speaker Pelosi made it recently clear that she thinks lawmakers should have access to the market.

During a mid-December press conference, just after Insider released its report on violations of the 2012 STOCK Act among members of Congress from both parties, Pelosi was asked whether a stock ban for members of Congress would be appropriate.

“No,” Pelosi responded quickly. “We have a responsibility to report [our trades] … [and] if people aren’t reporting, they should be.”

Further pressed to explain her “no,” Pelosi argued, “Because we’re a free market economy. [Members of Congress] should be able to participate in that.”

Pelosi has had her own scandals in regards to trading by her husband Paul Pelosi.

In 2008, Paul Pelosi bought $2 million of stock in Visa at the same time that Congress was considering a bill that would have seriously undercut the debit and credit card giant’s profits. Though the bill had gained momentum, it inexplicably stalled and died in the House.

Because Pelosi was speaker at the time many, including NBC’s 60 Minutes in a 2011 episode, speculated that there was a connection between Pelosi’s trade and the bill’s sudden collapse.

Paul Pelosi and Nancy Pelosi attend the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Cocktails at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 23, 2019. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

More recently, Paul Pelosi made a bullish bet in favor of Google parent company Alphabet, just as a bill designed to undercut tech monopolies was gaining significant momentum in the House. While others pulled out over fears about the antimonopoly bill, Pelosi’s unlikely bet paid off, netting the Pelosis a cool $5 million.

In fact, Pelosi’s portfolio has seen such spectacular returns that would-be investors on the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok began to follow Pelosi’s releases and emulate his trades.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) has also defended stock trading by sitting members of Congress.

According to a report by Unusual Whales, Crenshaw received the fifth-highest returns of any member of Congress for his stock trading in fiscal year 2021. During an appearance on the All American Savage Show podcast, Crenshaw discussed the returns and his position on congressmen trading on the stock market.

The host asked Crenshaw whether he thought that sitting members of Congress should be allowed to go into the stock market.

“I think it would be fine if you banned individual stock trading,” Crenshaw said, before clarifying, “Notice I said ‘individual stocks.’”

The Texas Republican explained that while he would accept bans on buying and selling individual stocks, he thinks that congressmen should still be allowed to invest in ETFs and similar stock collections.

I’m kinda neutral on it,” Crenshaw continued. But if such a ban were put in place, Crenshaw claimed, “no one would run for Congress because you have no way to better yourself.”

House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) speaks during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Sept. 17, 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ultimately, the decision to bring a stock trading ban to the floor lies with Speaker Pelosi.

Still, the bipartisan support for Golden’s Monday letter indicates that members on both sides of the aisle remain committed to moving the agenda forward.

If brought to the floor, either of the two bills proposed to address the situation would represent the most substantial stock market reforms for a decade.

However, the coalition behind the reforms remains small, and more support in both the House and Senate, plus Pelosi’s acquiescence to bring either bill to the floor, will be needed for the reform to have a shot at making it to President Joe Biden’s desk.

Psychedelic Medicine Is on the Rise and the Mental Health Sphere May Never Look Back

In the recent past, it was impossible to even consider the use of psychedelics in modern medicine. Throughout the 20th century, psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin were a forbidden topic. The banning of these compounds in the United States began in the 1960s and restrictions scaled from there. Eventually, the majority of these hallucinogens were named Schedule I drugs and punishment for possession was not to be taken lightly. 

However, as science (and society) have progressed, there’s been a slow and steady adoption of plant and fungi medicine into the medical system, particularly the mental health sphere. As Michael Pollan said in his article, The Trip Treatment, “As the drug war subsides, scientists are eager to reconsider the therapeutic potential of these drugs, beginning with psilocybin.” 

Now, half a century after psychedelics were first declared illegal, they’re beginning to make a comeback with legalization on the state level in various cities around the country. In fact, the FDA and DEA are starting to approve psychedelic studies and allow researchers to examine the effects of the natural compounds on mental illness. This is a time many thought would never come. 

The mental health crisis is worse than we thought

The fact that we are seeing greater use of psychedelics in mental health is monumental, especially as the mental illness epidemic continues to sweep our globe. Right now, over 700 million people suffer from this unspoken epidemic – including anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse and beyond. In fact, the global cost of depression is valued at a monumental $1T. 

The impact is devastating, from breaking families apart to suicide to poverty and more. Mental health statistics have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With widespread social isolation, the loss of jobs and homes, and deaths of loved ones, cases have skyrocketed. There was a 20% increase in the use of antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs in the U.S. during the COVID-19 quarantine. Additionally, the rate of depressive disorders quadrupled in the 2nd quarter of 2019.  

The medical sphere is coming to terms with the fact that we need better solutions. Common treatments used for these chronic conditions are outdated and not effective in providing sufficient support or long-term relief. Believe it or not, the non-adherence rate to antidepressants is 75%, meaning that the medication either doesn’t work or has a negative impact on the patient. And, nearly one-third of patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are treatment-resistant while 50-66% of patients on antidepressants do not fully recover. 

It’s time for something better – a solution that provides people with the relief they need to thrive. And for the 700 million people suffering worldwide, that can’t come soon enough. This is where natural medicine steps in. 

More and more research shows that psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD could be effective in helping people who suffer from chronic mental health conditions. In 2018, the FDA granted “breakthrough therapy” status to psilocybin mushrooms, referring to clinical trials for the fungi to aid patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Due to the increasing need for innovation in the mental health sphere and growing social acceptance of psychedelics, more time and money is being put into psychedelic research for mental illness as it proves a promising solution to a growing epidemic.

Non-synthetic medicines prove promising

In a medical environment that prioritizes synthetic drugs, patients might not have access to natural and effective solutions for years to come. Fortunately, Ei.Ventures (Emotional Intelligence Ventures) is determined to shift this dismal projection. Stemming from a passion for creating natural, non-synthetic remedies for the vast number of people suffering from chronic mental health conditions, Ei.Ventures is developing botanical psychedelic therapeutics and nutraceuticals.

In a study of 2000 individuals, it was discovered that 1 in 2 people avoid traditional medicine in favor of natural alternatives because synthetic medications simply aren’t doing the trick. Ei.Ventures takes the stance in the “farma vs. pharma” debate that whole-plant medicines can be more impactful than the synthetics commonly prescribed. They believe that their non-synthetic compounds can offer patients true, long-term relief with minimal side effects. In a medical community that has rejected natural remedies up until recent years, this cutting-edge startup has the opportunity to create big waves. 

Ei.Ventures offers a suite of mental wellness products and services designed for the prevention, reversal, and management of a variety of chronic mental health disorders. Their first project is named Psilly, a transdermal patch that administers a low-dose, psilocybin-based formulation. This proprietary formulation combines high-quality psilocybin extract with other natural and complementary plant extracts. The high-tech patches are designed to make treatment significantly more convenient than other methods. This is because the patch allows the medicine to pass through the blood-brain barrier and bypass the gastrointestinal tract, providing direct delivery of active ingredients to the body. The benefits include improved patient well-being, a quick onset with consistent drug levels, and minimal side effects. 

Ei.Ventures has also developed several functional mushroom nootropics composed of psychedelic compounds made from whole botanical extracts. These products have been formulated for a variety of indicators, including cognition and immune system, energy and vitality, mood, sleep, weight loss, mental and physical optimization, and joint and muscle pain. The company’s unique formulation process allows for these nootropics to have enhanced bioavailability and greater efficacy. 

The last branch of development includes telepsychiatry and wellness app partnerships. As a company that emphasizes a natural approach over pharmaceutical prescriptions as the first step to intervention, the company seeks to facilitate greater availability of telehealth to those in need of support.

The psychedelic pharmaceutical boom is just beginning

These areas of product development come together to represent a $34.5B industry. This groundbreaking startup is stepping into an environment rich with opportunity. Plus, there hasn’t been another time in history when people have needed effective mental health solutions more. 

Additionally, Ei.Ventures has the early mover’s advantage for several reasons: Mental health conditions have been rising since COVID-19, big pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson are starting to develop psychedelic mental health treatments, and psychoactive pharmaceuticals are in the infancy stage with a high barrier to entry.

The startup is presenting a promising opportunity to invest in psychedelic medicine. They already have a foot in the door with a leadership team that holds a strong clinical, FDA, and botanical drug development background and an experienced advisory board of thought leaders spanning multiple disciplines. They also hold a robust library of intellectual property consisting of both psychedelic and non-psychoactive compounds, and an immediate go-to-market strategy that combines FDA drug pipeline development with alternative legal pathways to bring their solutions to the market. 

Their products are currently in the pre-clinical and pre-manufacturing phase of development, and they’re aiming to provide early access to the patients who need these innovative solutions the most. The company plans to achieve commercialization and licensing beginning with Psilly, advance into phase 2 trials within 18 to 24 months, achieve full FDA approval, launch their medicinal mushroom formulas into the $250B nutraceutical market, and license their proprietary formulas to other organizations. They’re also aiming to expand their unique telepsychiatry app to compliment their products for a full spectrum approach. 

Ei.Ventures recently signed an LOI with Mycotopia Therapies Inc., a biopharma company focused on the development of medical psychedelics. When a definitive agreement is reached, Mycotopia will acquire Ei.Ventures by Q1 of 2022 and merge to become PSLY.COM, a $360 Million transaction with plans to list on NASDAQ. As a joint venture, they will focus on developing fungi and plant-based psychedelic solutions. Their main goals include completing preclinical and phase 1 trials to launch Psilly into legal jurisdictions and acquire a Drug Master File with the FDA so that they can sell their formulations while protecting their IP. 

And, under this new name, the company just purchased virtual land estate in The Sandbox, an online world where players can trade NFTs through the Sandbox marketplace. In partnership with Orthogonal Thinker, PSLY.COM will make it possible for clinicians to virtually host psychedelic therapy sessions in the metaverse. Although these plans are in their early stages, they believe that this land deal will lead the way for billions of people to receive virtual access to psychedelic therapy. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mental health renaissance. 

Here’s how you can join the mental health revolution

As medicine starts to turn back to the natural world and society begins to see the merit in the earth’s unaltered plant medicine, we can understand how potent these natural compounds are. Ei.Ventures is offering an investment opportunity of a lifetime as they are getting a headstart in the medicine revolution that’s quickly gaining traction. This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Invest in Ei.Ventures today.

AN OFFERING STATEMENT REGARDING THIS OFFERING HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE SEC. THE SEC HAS QUALIFIED THAT OFFERING STATEMENT, WHICH ONLY MEANS THAT THE COMPANY MAY MAKE SALES OF THE SECURITIES DESCRIBED BY THE OFFERING STATEMENT. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE SEC HAS APPROVED, PASSED UPON THE MERITS OR PASSED UPON THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE INFORMATION IN THE OFFERING STATEMENT. THE OFFERING CIRCULAR THAT IS PART OF THAT OFFERING STATEMENT IS AT:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1823182/000110465921153675/tm21…

The World’s Oldest Republic Reveals the Secret to Peace and Prosperity

Lawrence Reed
JANUARY 23rd, 2022

Only one country in the entire world can boast of more cars than people within its borders—an astounding 25 percent moreaccording to the most recent statistics.

Can you guess the country? I’ll give you a few more hints:

This fascinating enclave’s GDP per capita ranks among the highest on the planet, almost as high as that of the United States. It claims, credibly, to be home to the oldest existing sovereign state as well as the oldest constitutional republic. For most of its 17 centuries of existence, it’s been one of the freer and more tolerant of the world’s countries.

Reminiscent of the Roman Republic of more than two millennia ago, this country has not one but two heads of state. They are elected by the legislature, are coequal in their rather limited powers, and are subject to the strictest term limits in the world. Replacements are elected every six months! More women have served as heads of state in this country than in any other.

At the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, two athletes from this nation earned bronze and silver medals, thereby making it the smallest country to score in the competitions that year.

The country to which I refer is … (drum roll) – San Marino!

Its formal name is the Most Serene Republic of San Marino. It comprises just 38 square miles and about 33,000 people. I drove through it some years ago in less than an hour, including a stop for coffee and a souvenir. Landlocked and surrounded by Italy, it is situated on the slopes of Monte Titano (Mount Titan) in the Apennine Mountains in the northeast section of the Italian Peninsula.

San Marino derives its name from a Christian stonemason named Marinus, born in Croatia in 275 A.D. While working in the Italian city of Rimini in his 20s, his occasional preaching drew fire from the pagan Roman authorities. He was forced to flee and sought refuge atop Mount Titan. While in hiding there, he formed a chapel and eventually built a monastery. The mountain at the time was privately-owned (by a woman in nearby Rimini), who eventually gave it to Marinus as a gift. He declared it an independent state on September 3, 301 A.D. and to this day, the founding of the country is celebrated annually on that date.

Amazingly, Marinus and his tiny republic survived the Great Persecution (of Christians) under Roman Emperor Diocletian, whose rule ended in 305. Marinus not only survived to see Christianity decriminalized by Emperor Constantine in 313, he outlived Diocletian by more than half a century, dying in 366 at the ripe old age of 91.

The famed English explorer, archeologist and historian James Theodore Bent wrote a book about San Marino in 1879 that carried the provocative title, A Freak of Freedom. He reveals that when Marinus and a friend settled on the mountain, “They planted a cross on the summit of the rock, on which was inscribed the sole word ‘liberty,’ and hewed themselves beds beneath it, which are to be seen even now behind the high altar of a small church devoted to the purpose of protecting them…”

A thousand years later, Pope Boniface VIII dispatched an emissary to learn more about this curious patch of territory called San Marino. Bent recounts that when the emissary asked the San Marinese what they meant by the “liberty” they so proudly proclaimed, he was advised as follows:

…[M]en belong to themselves because they owe no homage to anyone amongst themselves, but only to the Master of all things.

It was under the papacy of Boniface VIII (1294-1303) that San Marino was twice ordered to pay tribute to the Catholic Church. If the country had had a king, perhaps he would have coughed up the cash as so many other monarchs of the day were happy to do. But the republicans of San Marino refused to pay. Officials of the Church backed off both times. “As prosperity increased under the kindly atmosphere of liberty,” writes Bent, “many envious eyes were cast up towards Mount Titan.”

Twice, the country’s longstanding independence was briefly interrupted. The forces of Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI, invaded and occupied San Marino for six months in 1503. His father’s successor, Pope Julius II, ordered Borgia to depart and leave the tiny enclave alone. When another greedy warlord occupied San Marino in October 1739, Pope Clement XII forced his expulsion just four months later.

Napoleon Bonaparte threatened to invade in the late 1790s but was talked out of it by one of San Marino’s two top politicians (the coequal consuls known as Captains Regent). The French dictator even offered to extend San Marino’s territory east to the Adriatic but the republic politely refused. It’s one of the reasons the tiny country is so well liked in the region. It minds its own business.

Another reason is its role as a haven for the oppressed. It took in many endangered people during the conflicts over Italian unification in the 19th Century. During World War II, it opened its doors to 100,000 refugees—a figure several times as large as its own population.

San Marino is not a member of the European Union, though it shares an open border with the EU and uses the Euro as its currency. A proposal to join the EU was put forth in a national referendum in 2013. It failed because voter turnout was too low to meet the quorum requirement of 32 percent.

Today, the country’s corporate tax rate is below both Italy’s and the average across the EU, making it a favorite haven for European businesses. And it taxes capital gains at a mere five percent, a third of the US rate. In the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index, San Marino ranks an average 92 among the 190 countries ranked. Its economy is dominated by finance, manufacturing, and tourism. It is a very friendly, welcoming place.

The 2021 Freedom in the World Report from Freedom House praises San Marino for its protection of basic rights—including freedom of worship and assembly, private property, and the press, but suggests a need to work on corruption in its judiciary. Freedom House ranks San Marino the 12th freest country in the world.

Watch this fascinating half-hour video about the place and you’ll not only see some beautiful San Marinese scenery, you’ll also learn about a local bread mafia that used its political connections to rip off taxpayers before it was busted.

Amid Violent Crime Wave, Permissive, Soros-funded Prosecutors under Fire Nationwide

Aaron Kliegman
January 26, 2022

Across the country, left-wing district attorneys funded by progressive megadonor George Soros are facing severe backlash, including efforts to oust them from office, for pushing soft-on-crime policies during a nationwide surge in violent crime and, in some cases, allegedly engaging in prosecutorial misconduct.

Soros, 91, has spent the last several years injecting tens of millions of dollars into local district attorney races throughout the country, backing progressive candidates who support policies such as abolishing bail, defunding the police, and decriminalizing or deprioritizing certain offenses.

From 2015 to 2019, for example, Soros spent more than $17 million on local DA races, according to the Capital Research Center. That figure has likely risen in the past couple years, experts say.

In 2020, the Foundation to Promote Open Society, a grantmaking foundation in Soros’s network, gave $3 million to the Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability, which provides resources to activists and organizations “working to address the harm of policing in the U.S.”

Soros has provided much of the cash through his network of nonprofits to political action committees controlled by attorney Whitney Tymas, the New York Post reported.

Tymas has suggested local prosecutors shouldn’t just enforce the law but also work to revolutionize the criminal justice system.

“If we are to reach a place of true progress, it will take the sustained efforts of local elected prosecutors across the country to rectify and reimagine their role in the criminal legal system — not just as gatekeepers, but as active catalysts for change,” she wrote in a 2020 op-ed.

Soros’s money has helped elect several such “catalysts for change” across the country. However, many of these progressive DAs now find themselves in political — and, in some cases, legal — trouble after implementing controversial policies which, critics say, have contributed to the current violent crime wave devastating U.S. cities.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner is one of the first prosecutors who Soros bankrolled in 2016 — and again for her reelection in 2020.

Next month, Gardner is set to appear before a disciplinary hearing, where she will face charges of ethics violations stemming from her office’s 2018 prosecution of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Last year, Missouri’s chief legal disciplinary officer accused Gardner of rampant misconduct in the prosecution, saying she lied to judges in court filings and testimony, withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense, misled her own prosecution team, and violated the constitutional right to a fair trial.

Gardner has denied all wrongdoing, saying she complied with state law. She could have her law license revoked if the charges against her are upheld.

During Gardner’s tenure, crime has skyrocketed in St. Louis, with the city experiencing near-record murder rates. Even last year was among one of the city’s deadliest in decades, despite murders being down from 2020.

Amid high homicide figures, Gardner has declined more cases and issued fewer arrest warrants, charging fewer felonies and prosecuting thousands of fewer cases overall than her predecessor as a result. She has also deferred prison sentences for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies as part of her reform initiatives.

Gardner says this is part of her “platform to reduce the number of cases unnecessarily charged in order to focus on the more difficult cases for trial.”

Her campaign website boasts that she’s “made jail and prison a last resort, reserved for those who pose a true public safety risk,” while limiting “the arrest and detention of people accused of misdemeanors and low-level felonies.”

Last year, Gardner came under fire after three murder cases under her purview were dismissed in one week due to prosecutors in her office not showing up for hearings or being unprepared.

Gardner is one of several big-name DAs backed by Soros who have struggled with high turnover in their offices. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the effect of the turnover in Gardner’s office has been “a state of dysfunction, low morale, and dearth of legal wisdom necessary to safeguard the public from potentially dangerous criminals.”

Beyond Gardner, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner is another Soros-funded prosecutor currently under intense scrutiny.

Soros spent almost $1.7 million through the Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC to help Krasner in 2017, pouring more than five times as much money into the race as Krasner himself.

Now, Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman is urging state leaders to consider impeachment proceedings against Krasner, who’s been in office since 2018.

Corman blames Krasner for the recent spike in violent crime across Philadelphia, arguing the DA’s policies have allowed criminals to thrive.

Krasner didn’t address the substance of Corman’s accusations in his response, instead criticizing the senator for playing politics.

Philadelphia ended 2021 with an all-time record of 559 homicides, far surpassing the total of any prior year since city leaders began tracking killings in 1960. So far this year, murders are outpacing last year’s figures.

During his tenure, Krasner has cut the future years of incarceration by half and slashed the length of parole in probation supervision by nearly two-thirds compared to the previous DA. He has also made a priority of not prosecuting people who are illegally in possession of guns unless they hurt or kill people.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was previously quoted as saying Philadelphia’s criminal justice system has become a “revolving door” for repeat gun offenders since Krasner became DA. Outlaw said last year that she and Krasner “don’t agree” on which crimes to prioritize and prosecute.

Last March, the Democratic City Committee voted not to endorse Krasner for the upcoming primary election, but Krasner won anyway.

Moving to the West Coast, Soros spent more than $2 million to elect Los Angeles County DA George Gascon in 2020.

Since then, multiple recall efforts have been launched to oust Gascon from office due to rising crime rates. The most recent one was launched last month.

As of September, at least 31 cities in Los Angeles County issued a vote of no confidence in Gascon, condemning his controversial policies.

A recent wave of package thefts from freight trains passing through downtown Los Angeles has put the spotlight on Gascon, whom railroad giant Union Pacific blames for the thefts. Los Angeles has also faced a surge in robberies, while homicides soared last year to their highest level in over a decade.

A growing number of bipartisan voices are pointing the finger at Gascon, who has eliminated cash bail in most cases and sought to put more convicted criminals in rehabilitation rather than prison.

Gascon isn’t the only Soros-backed DA in California facing backlash. San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, whose parents were members of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group, won his election with the help of Soros’s financial network.

This week, a 69-year-old Asian-American man who was violently attacked in 2019 said he’s suing Boudin, accusing the prosecutor of mishandling the case against his alleged assailants. The announcement of the lawsuit came one day after the San Francisco Police Department revealed there was a 527% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the city in 2021 compared with the previous year.

Boudin has said he wants to abolish cash bail and end “mass incarceration.” During his time in office, San Francisco has experienced a wave of robberies, looting, and burglaries similar to Los Angeles. According to one study, San Francisco is more dangerous than 98% of U.S. cities, according to Lee Ohanian of the Hoover Institution. By comparison, Compton, Calif., which is notorious for gang violence, is more dangerous than 90% of cites and considered safer in terms of crime rate.

The situation has caused progressive Mayor London Breed to intervene and call for police to be more aggressive, saying the crime wave “has destroyed” San Francisco.

“It’s time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end,” she said. “And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls**t that has destroyed our city.”

In the Midwest, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was elected in 2016 with the help of Soros’s funding and reelected in 2020 with $2 million more from the billionaire.

Foxx has come under intense scrutiny for her office’s dismissal of all charges in the original indictment against actor Jussie Smollett in 2019, three weeks after a grand jury had issued it. Smollett was convicted last month of staging a hate crime.

According to a recent investigation, Foxx lied to the public about cutting off communications with Smollett’s sister when she was told the actor had become a suspect. Foxx is now being investigated for potential ethics violations in her handling of the case.

Chicago, a city infamous for shootings, has experienced a surge in violent crime since Foxx became state’s attorney of Cook County. In 2021, there were more murders than in any year since 1994. 

During her first three years in office, Foxx dropped all charges against 29.9% of felony defendants, a major increase from her predecessor, who only dropped 19.4%, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Staying in the Midwest, another Soros-backed prosecutor who’s come under the gun is Milwaukee DA John Chisholm.

Chisholm conceded in November that he had set an “inappropriately low” bail amount earlier that month when Darrell Edward Brooks Jr., whom police arrested for attacking a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisc., was arrested for domestic abuse and eluding police.

Chisholm has received widespread blowback for his handling of the Brooks case. His office recommended $1,000 bail for Brooks following his prior arrest on Nov. 5 on charges that he punched his girlfriend in the face and hit her with his vehicle. Brooks was also charged with evading police officers when they tried to take him into custody.

Brooks posted bail on Nov. 11 and, days later, allegedly drove his vehicle into the Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens of others.

Chisholm, who was elected in 2007, supports deferrals for some misdemeanors and “low-level” felonies in order to decrease incarcerations. He claims he inspired the current wave of progressive prosecutors who are pursuing similar policies.

Possible Ninja Weapon Prototypes Discovered Among The Ruins Of Several Castles In Japan

Kaleena Fraga | Checked By John Kuroski
January 24th, 2022

To the untrained eye, they may not look like much. But one Japanese archeologist suspects that a number of stone and clay artifacts discovered at the site of a famous 16th-century siege may be some of the earliest weapons ever used by ninjas.

That’s the theory put forward by Akihiro Iwata, an archaeologist and curator at the Saitama Prefectural Ranzan Historical Museum. He studied a number of stone and clay artifacts discovered at Hachioji Castle in the city of Hachioji, at Iwatsuki Castle in Saitama, and an administrative site in Saitama.

Significantly, these three sites were stage on which the 1590 Siege of Odawara unfolded, when a feudal lord named Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacked land held by the Hojo clan, a powerful warrior family.

Though Hideyoshi triumphed, Iwata suspects that the Hojo put up a spirited fight with a number of simple ninja-type weapons.

“It is possible that the Hojo clan made these getaway weapons after realizing it faced Hideyoshi’s overwhelming force,” Iwata explained.

The four unglazed clay balls found at the ruins of Hachioji Castle in the 1960s, Iwata suspects, are actually caltrops, or makibishi. These tiny balls, about one to three centimeters in diameter, have four spikes.

Ninjas were known to throw makibishi — usually made of metal — while fleeing an enemy on horseback. Horses would step on the spikes, slowing them down and allowing the ninjas to escape.

Caltrops

These tiny clay balls may have been caltrops, or makibishi, made in haste.

Iwata also examined a number of flat stones with sharpened corners which were discovered in the 1990s and 2000s at Iwatsuki Castle and a nearby Hojo administrative site called Owada jinya. He believes that these are early versions of shuriken, or throwing stars famously used by ninjas.

A single stone found at Iwatsuki Castle measured 4.8 centimeters in diameter and one centimeter thick. But 17 similar stones found at the Owada jinya administrative site were much bigger — they were eight to 14 centimeters in diameter and 1.5 to three centimeters thick.

These were, Iwata believes, prototypes of the later makibishi and shuriken weapons used by Japan’s fearsome ninjas.

Yuji Yamada, a ninja expert and professor at Mie University’s Faculty of Humanities, agrees with Iwata’s theory. Calling the discovery “groundbreaking,” Yamada said:

“Flat throwing stones could have developed into shuriken in later years. I had never seen clay caltrops before.”Makibishi

A metal makibishi, likely a later version of the clay caltrops.

The history of the ninja starts back in the 11th century, when warriors from Iga and Koka gained notoriety for their unconventional battle methods. They were seen as less honorable than samurai, and their covert tactics earned them the title “shinobi” or “those who act in stealth.”

As warlords feuded with each other during the 15th and 16th centuries in a period called the Age of the Warring States, ninjas rose in prominence. Feudal lords employed them as mercenaries. They were often sent to gather information or spread disinformation, as well as fight their lord’s enemies.

But after Toyotomi Hideyoshi triumphed over enemies like the Hojo, he greatly unified feudal leaders across Japan. As such, the use of ninjas as covert warriors began to fall out of fashion.

They were last used — at least officially — in 1637 to squash an uprising of Catholic peasants and disgruntled samurais. Since then, ninjas have largely lived in legend.Ninja Sketch

A sketch of a ninja from 1817, which helped cement modern ideas about these ancient warriors.

As such, the history of ninjas — just like ninjas themselves — has long operated in the shadows. That makes discoveries like Akihiro Iwata’s especially fascinating. Finds like his shed light on the long, stealthy, and complicated history of ninjas in Japan.


HERE WE GO AGAIN: Woman Who Came into Contact with Escaped Lab Monkey Showing Potential Signs of Infection

Cassie B.
January 25, 2022

When a truck that was carrying 100 lab monkeys crashed in Pennsylvania, the public was warned not to approach any of the missing primates, who were being transported to a quarantine facility after arriving in the country from Mauritius. However, one woman who may not have heard the warning and stopped to help has developed symptoms such as a cough and pinkeye after one of the monkeys hissed in her face.

Michelle Fallon had been driving directly behind the vehicle when the crash took place at the intersections of State Route 54 and Interstate 80 near Danville. Animal crates were thrown all over the highway, and some of them were smashed. Four of the monkeys escaped and went on the run, with one of them remaining missing well into the next day. Troopers were seen searching for the monkeys with rifles, while firefighters used thermal imaging to help locate the animals.

While the monkey was missing, state police sent out a warning saying that anyone who sees or locates the missing monkey should not approach it, come into contact with it, or attempt to catch it and should instead call 911 right away. However, the danger wasn’t immediately obvious in the moments following the accident when Fallon stopped to help.

She has now developed symptoms of pinkeye and a cough and is concerned because she was close to the monkeys, touching their crates and walking through their feces. She got out of her car to help the driver and the animals, which she at first believed were cats. When she approached one and placed her hand on the cage, the macaque hissed at her. She also had an open cut at the time.

Fallon has been given the first of four rabies injections as well as antiviral drugs and is monitoring for symptoms of rabies and monkey herpesvirus B. Although monkey herpesvirus B is rare, it can lead to severe brain damage and even death if it is not treated immediately. Infection can occur when a person is bitten or scratched by an infected macaque monkey or has close contact with the monkey’s nose, mouth, or eyes.

She has been advised to monitor her health for the next month for any signs of infection or disease. She said: “I have anxiety, so I just know I’m going to be a nervous wreck for the next 31 days.”

First responders receive a letter advising them of potential dangers

Fallon received a letter that was written to first responders advising them of the potential dangers of contact with the primates in the accident. The letter pointed out that these animals and humans are susceptible to many of the same diseases. It advised first responders who had physical contact with a loose monkey to get medical attention immediately and notify the Pennsylvania State Department of Health. Some of the signs they were told to look out for include cough, fever, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.

The surviving monkeys, according to the letter, are being quarantined and monitored for infectious diseases for at least 31 days. Three of the monkeys that escaped have already been euthanized.

The location of the lab and the type of research the monkeys will be used for were not immediately clear, but cynomolgus monkeys are typically used for medical studies. The crab-eating macaques can cost as much as $10,000 and are in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to their DNA, which is highly similar to that of humans. They are known for being intelligent and social and can even use stone tools in the wild.

It remains to be seen whether any of the escaped monkeys transmitted diseases to other animals or humans while they were on the loose, but it’s scary to think how easily an accident like this could put human health at risk.

Report: Critics Sound Alarm on IRS Move to Use Facial Recognition Tech

KATHERINE HAMILTON
January 25th, 2022

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin requiring taxpayers to use facial recognition to check their account online or get a transcript online — a move critics warn “without sufficient guardrails” could lead to information being “easily reused in other way,” Axios reported Monday.

“This announcement signals one of the largest expansions of facial recognition technology in the U.S. and there is no question that it will harm peoples’ privacy,” said Caitlin Seeley George, campaign director at Fight For the Future.

The IRS will use a third-party company called ID.me for those select online services and will involve using a combination of documents and a video selfie to confirm their identity before interacting with the agency. According to the report, the IRS announced the move last November but has gained more attention last week on a security expert’s blog.

Seeley George said that ID.me’s terms of service allow the company “the right to share people’s data with police, government, and ‘select partners.’” She further noted that when ID.me was used for state unemployment benefits, taxpayers reported having problems with the system.

She said, though the company said its own research did not find disparities based on skin color:

Not only is it an issue that ID.me misidentifies people of color, gender-nonconforming people and women, but this system requires people to have a smart phone or a web camera in order to submit photos, which means economically disadvantaged and older people are going to have greater challenges getting through the system.

Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU, said the policy will put a “private company between people and the government services they need” and could cause issues for people who have limited access to technology.

“They are forced to use this company if they want to access services to which they are entitled,” Stanley said.

ID.me CEO Blake Hall said the company addresses these concerns and has developed a new option for people to verify who they are in person at more than 650 U.S. locations.

“In 90 percent of cases, Hall said, people are able to get verified on their own, with about 10 percent needing to use the company’s live video chat option,” the report states. Hall added that the company matches a face to a known document rather than picking a face from a crowd.

The IRS claims the move will help fight fraud, which has reportedly surged in recent years. According to Axios, the U.S. government has been “increasing its use of facial recognition technology overall.” The publication cited a recent GAO report, which found that at least ten federal agencies “plan to expand adoption of face recognition.”

Hall said he would support legislation curtailing how the government could use facial recognition information.

“There are things around tracking and surveillance that absolutely need to be regulated,” Hall told Axios.

The IRS in a statement emphasized that taxpayers can still pay or file taxes “without submitting a selfie or other information to a third-party identity verification company.” However, the agency said the use of the technology could expand.