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Haiti’s Violent Crisis Continues
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Haiti’s Violent Crisis Continues

Political squabbles at home and abroad lead to a worsening situation in Haiti.

Happy Friday! If you enjoyed last week’s introduction of our tech newsletter, Techne, be sure to check out yesterday’s full inaugural issue

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the democratic ouster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday. “I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel,” Schumer said yesterday, adding that Netanyahu “has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel.” The comments drew quick condemnations from Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. House Speaker Mike Johnson said yesterday, “This is not only highly inappropriate, it’s just plain wrong for an American leader to play such a divisive role in Israeli politics.” 
  • The European Union approved a landmark artificial intelligence law on Wednesday, creating a regulatory regime for the 27 EU nations. The measure bans certain uses of AI—such as creating facial recognition databases—and embraces a “risk-based approach” to AI regulation, applying scrutiny proportional to what lawmakers consider the risk levels of various AI applications. 
  • Thousands of farmers protested in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Thursday, calling for more government support. The protesters want protection from market swings through minimum crop price guarantees and income increases, among other demands. Prolonged farmer protests in 2021 led to the repeal of contested agricultural reform laws; state and national elections are expected to be held in the coming weeks. 
  • The State Department imposed sanctions Thursday on three Israeli settlers and two outposts “involved in undermining stability in the West Bank.” The move represents the second round of sanctions the State Department has imposed since President Joe Biden signed an executive order providing his administration with new authorities to target individuals in the West Bank accused of committing violence against Palestinians. 
  • The Commerce Department reported Thursday that retail sales—spending on goods including food and fuel—increased by 0.6 percent month-over-month in February, slightly below expectations. January’s revised numbers, which showed that sales fell by 1.1 percent last month instead of the original 0.8 percent estimate, showed weaker spending. (The Commerce Department’s retail data is unadjusted for inflation.)
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday that the producer price index (PPI)—a measure of what suppliers and wholesalers are charging customers—rose 0.6 percent month-over-month in February, double what economists expected. Producer prices were up 1.6 percent year-over-year in February. Thursday’s reading plus last month’s slightly higher than expected consumer price index will likely lead the Fed to maintain interest rates at their current levels. 
  • Federal Judge Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday denied one of former President Trump’s two motions to dismiss special counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents case against him. Trump’s legal team had argued that the portions of the Espionage Act at the center of the indictment were “unconstitutionally vague,” and therefore the charges ought to be dismissed. In a brief written order, Cannon explained that while Trump’s lawyers made “various arguments warranting serious consideration,” it would be premature to decide those issues at this stage of the trial. 

From Bad to Worse

A demonstration in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 12, 2024, against CARICOM as representatives of the Caribbean community and Haitian actors made an agreement for political transition. (Photo by Guerinault Louis/Anadolu/Getty Images)
A demonstration in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on March 12, 2024, against CARICOM as representatives of the Caribbean community and Haitian actors made an agreement for political transition. (Photo by Guerinault Louis/Anadolu/Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, author Mitch Albom—of Tuesdays with Morrie fame—and nine other volunteers were airlifted out of Haiti on helicopters chartered by Rep. Cory Mills of Florida at the request of Albom’s congressional representative, Rep. Lisa McClain of Michigan. 

The story seems impossibly far-fetched, with Mills—a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who has been a part of private efforts to rescue stranded Americans before—even reportedly riding in one of the helicopters. How did they manage this bizarre extra-governmental mission? “[Mills] runs with a different crowd than you and I,” McClain told the Washington Post

That Hollywood happy ending is a rarity in Haiti, where the last several years have witnessed unspeakable violence, hunger, and disease. This week, gangs continued their rampage in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Haiti’s unpopular prime-minister-in-exile, Ariel Henry, said he would resign after regional leaders pushed for the creation of a transitional government—a step that prompted the Kenyan government to pause its plan to send police to try to quell the chaos. The Biden administration, meanwhile …

As a non-paying reader, you are receiving a truncated version of The Morning Dispatch. Our full 1,513-word story on Haiti is available in the members-only version of TMD.

Worth Your Time

  • Writing for Public Discourse, Jamie Boulding laid out a vision of intellectual friendship that he argues has been lost in public life. “Two of the greatest figures in the history of science, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, were both introverts who associated being alone with thinking clearly,” Boulding wrote. “The image of the academic secluded in his ivory tower, or the scientist sequestered in her laboratory, looms large in our cultural imagination. With the enforced isolation of COVID-19, the growth of remote working, and the emergence of powerful AI tools like ChatGPT, we increasingly reduce intellectual pursuits to little more than private projects. It was not always this way. Intellectual friendship—the idea that the best way to think clearly is to think together—has been foundational throughout philosophical history. Plato’s works are presented in dialogue form, suggesting that truth-seeking is communal, cooperative, and best practiced within relationships of friendship and love. … Today, how many people think of the intellectual life primarily in terms of fellowship, friendship, and love? Somehow, it has come to be seen in terms of what we know rather than who or what we are—or, as a philosopher might put it, in terms of epistemology rather than ontology.”
  • The Atlantic published its list of the top 136 “Great American Novels” yesterday. “In 1868, a little-known writer by the name of John William DeForest proposed a new type of literature, a collective artistic project for a nation just emerging from an existential conflict: a work of fiction that accomplished ‘the task of painting the American soul,’” the description of the list noted. “It would be called the Great American Novel, and no one had written it yet,” DeForest admitted. Maybe soon. A century and a half later, the idea has endured, even as it has become more complicated. In 2024, our definition of literary greatness is wider, deeper, and weirder than DeForest likely could have imagined. … The American canon is more capacious, more fluid, and more fragile than perhaps ever before. But what, exactly, is in it? What follows is our attempt to discover just that.”

Presented Without Comment

CBS News: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Faces Lawsuit After Viral Endorsement of Texas Dentists 

Also Presented Without Comment

Fox Business: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: “I Regret” Saying Inflation Was Transitory

Also Also Presented Without Comment

Politico: [Former Treasury Secretary] Steven Mnuchin Forming Investor Group To Buy TikTok

Toeing the Company Line

  • In the newsletters: Mike and Sarah broke down the partisan reactions to the Robert Hur report, Nick explored (🔒) the curious congressional politics surrounding TikTok, and Will argued against the doomsaying that’s infected cultural and technological thinking.
  • On the podcasts: Sarah, Steve, and Jonah discuss  TikTok’s influence on American youth, reactions to Robert Hur’s testimony, the Oscars, and more on The Dispatch Podcast
  • On the site: John looks into whether Alabama Sen. Katie Britt can recover from the debacle of her response to the State of the Union speech, and Mary interviews several wounded Ukrainian soldiers who visited D.C. to press for more U.S. support.

James Scimecca works on editorial partnerships for The Dispatch, and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he served as the director of communications at the Empire Center for Public Policy. When James is not promoting the work of his Dispatch colleagues, he can usually be found running along the Potomac River, cooking up a new recipe, or rooting for a beleaguered New York sports team.

Mary Trimble is the editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, she interned at The Dispatch, in the political archives at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and at Voice of America, where she produced content for their French-language service to Africa. When not helping write The Morning Dispatch, she is probably watching classic movies, going on weekend road trips, or enjoying live music with friends.

Grayson Logue is the deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in political risk consulting, helping advise Fortune 50 companies. He was also an assistant editor at Providence Magazine and is a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh, pursuing a Master’s degree in history. When Grayson is not helping write The Morning Dispatch, he is probably working hard to reduce the number of balls he loses on the golf course.