Some highlights of my weekly reading.

Ilya Somin, “Canadian Immigration Officials Block Citizenship Grant for Russian Immigrant Because She Was Convicted of the ‘Crime’ of Speaking Out Against Russia’s War of Ukraine,” Reason, Volokh Conspiracy, January 5, 2024.

Excerpt from the article quoted by Somin:

Kartasheva, 30, learned via her family that in late 2022 she was charged by Russian authorities with a wartime offence of disseminating “deliberately false information” about Russia forces. The charges related to two blog posts she wrote while living in Canada.

Kartasheva notified Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada about the charges and uploaded translated court documents last May. Days later the department gave her an invitation to her citizenship ceremony.

On June 7, 2023, she logged into the ceremony alongside her husband. In the pre-interview that takes place before someone is allowed into the ceremony room, they were asked if anyone had been criminally charged, as part of a list of standard questions.

When she explained what had happened, an official pulled her out of the ceremony, though her husband went ahead and was given his citizenship…..

Last month, the department sent her a letter, saying that her conviction in Russia aligns with a Criminal Code offence in Canada relating to false information.

For those who want to head down Canada’s path of making “false information” a crime, be warned.

Mitch Daniels, “I surrender. A major economic and social crisis seems inevitable,” Washington Post, January 2, 2024.

Most important excerpt:

Then there’s that little matter of our unconscionable and unpayable national debt, current and committed. Erskine Bowles led the last serious effort to rein it in, before his commission’s report in 2010 was torpedoed by President Barack Obama. Bowles called what’s coming“the most predictable economic crisis” — there’s that word again, aptly applied — “in history.” And that was many trillions of borrowing ago.

I was at a Braver Angels event in Monterey yesterday and when my turn came to talk about the election, I said that the two most likely candidates, Trump and Biden, are quite content with driving us further to the budget cliff, with their refusal to touch Social Security or Medicare.

By the way, I learned about this article by turning on CNN early Saturday morning, something I almost never do, and seeing Smerconish interview Daniels and others. It was refreshing. Smerconish actually asked non-gotcha questions and let his guests speak. Revolutionary!

John Mearsheimer, “Genocide in Gaza,” John’s Substack, January 4, 2024.


I am writing to flag a truly important document that should be widely circulated and read carefully by anyone interested in the ongoing Gaza War.

Specifically, I am referring to the 84-page “application” that South Africa filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 29 December 2023, accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza.1 It maintains that Israel’s actions since the war began on 7 October 2023 “are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic … group in the Gaza Strip.” (1) That charge fits clearly under the definition of genocide in the Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.2

The application is a superb description of what Israel is doing in Gaza. It is comprehensive, well-written, well-argued, and thoroughly documented. The application has three main components.

Rose D. Friedman, “Poverty: Definition and Perspective,” American Enterprise Institute, 1965.


This criterion of nutritive adequacy implicitly underlies the figure of $3,000 of money income per family that has received so much attention since its presentation by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in its 1964 report. The Council presents this figure of $3,000 as the dividing line between the poor and the not-poor, and uses it to count and describe the poor. It concludes that 20 percent of the families in this country are poor.

Though the Council implicitly uses the criterion of nutritive adequacy, it uses it incorrectly. A correct application of the criterion, using precisely the same data and the same concept of nutritive adequacy, yields a figure around $2,200 as the relevant income for a nonfarm family of four rather than a figure of $3,000. In addition, the Council uses the same income of $3,000 as the dividing line for all families regardless of size. The combined result is that the Council exaggerates greatly the extent of poverty on its own criterion and gives a misleading description of who are the poor.

I was motivated to read Rose’s study after seeing Jennifer Burns refer to it quite critically in her book Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative. (I’m writing a lengthy review of the book.) I ended up thinking that Burns’s harsh treatment of Rose was unjustified.