Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Rachel Diamond looks like most of the moms at the Park Slope café where we meet. She’s wearing a green t-shirt under a black corduroy jumper, sensible shoes and carries a smart, leather bag. She sips a four dollar iced chai. Except the 31-year-old isn’t a mom. And she never will be. “You know,” Diamond says cheerily, “I never expected to be the poster child of sterilization.”
On the aspiring actor’s TikTok, one finds short funny videos about Diamond’s job working the register at a cafe near Union Square and updates on her rescue pitbull, Rue, who has anemia. Mixed in are the clips extolling her child-free life. They have titles like “Sterilization Attempt #3” and “Being Childfree: We DO Know What We’re Missing.” It’s been five months since she had her fallopian tubes cut — not tied — and she has 64,000 followers.
And she might be right -- for her.
PLEASANT HILL, Calif. — Another California county closed down an In-N-Out restaurant on Tuesday because the popular burger chain refuses to enforce COVID-19 vaccination rules.
Contra Costa County health officials indefinitely shut the Pleasant Hill restaurant after it ignored repeated warnings to verify that customers who wanted to dine indoors had vaccination cards or proof they had tested negative for the virus in the past 72 hours.
The county has issued several warnings and fines for local In-N-Out restaurants, including two in Pinole and San Ramon.
Public health authorities see vaccination enforcement requirements as vital tools in slowing COVID-19 at a time when 1,500 or more Americans are dying each day from the virus.
When it started, the Virginia gubernatorial race looked as if it would be a strictly local affair with little national meaning. The commonwealth has gone from red to purple to blue in recent years, its status confirmed when Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by 10 points.
With well-known Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor, heavily favored to defeat Glenn Youngkin, a Republican businessman making his first political run, the stage seemed set for a predictable finish.
Then all hell broke loose.
Administrators at Washington and Lee University told conservative students to cease campaigning for Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for Virginia governor.
The university's College Republicans displayed materials supporting Youngkin during a September 12 activities fair, but were told by Director of Student Activities Kelsey Goodwin that they had to remove the materials due to the school’s tax-exempt status.
Washington Post Reporter Frames Loudoun County Sexual Assault In Way Paper Would Not Frame Other Accusations | The Daily Wire
“He flipped me over,” the girl testified, per the Post. “I was on the ground and couldn’t move and he sexually assaulted me.”
Jouvenal’s tweet about the article generated a backlash online, with conservative comedian Tim Young wrote: “Oh look… the Washington Post victim blames teens who were raped now.” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, wrote: “So what you’re saying is ‘she asked for it’?”
It is also unlikely a Post reporter would have framed the article in this way had it not “caused a political firestorm.” The male student involved in the assault is reportedly “gender fluid,” and the victim’s father, Scott Smith, was later arrested at a Loudoun County school board meeting after “a woman wearing a rainbow heart shirt – a left-wing community activist – told Smith she did not believe his daughter,” The Daily Wire reported.
As one eminent elected British government official put it, “They are not back in any conventional sense of that word. We have worked closely with the Americans for many decades and we have never seen such a shambles of incompetent administration, diplomatic incoherence, and complete military ineptitude as we have seen in these nine months. We were startled by Trump, but he clearly knew what he was doing, whatever we or anyone else thought about it. This is just a disintegration of the authority of a great nation for no apparent reason.”
It is very strange.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
The Biden administration's decision to push for a radical criminal justice reform measure—even as broad swaths of the public say they are concerned about rising violence—reflects the political tensions of an increasingly unpopular president who feels compelled to placate his party’s radical base. Polling from the summer showed crime emerging as a top issue for voters, and some Democrats blamed rioting during Black Lives Matter protests for their poor down-ballot performance last November.
In Virginia, parents have realized what’s at stake.
Public school enrollment in Fairfax County, one of the wealthiest in the country, continues to drop, even though schools have returned to in-person learning full-time. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is rapidly losing support, especially among voters with K-12 children. And that’s because concerns about public education and the backlash against leftist efforts to keep parents out of it are organic, no matter how much Democrats would like them not to be.
Fairfax officials reported a total of 178,595 students in classes on Sept. 30, well below the 189,010 students who attended class during the 2019-20 school year before the pandemic. Some of this was to be expected, as Fairfax took off a year of in-person learning. But enrollment has not picked up since the return to the classroom, and it shows no sign of doing so. This means that a large number of Fairfax parents have finally realized that their children are better off in a private or charter school or at home.
These parents are right. Fairfax County is one of several in the state to incorporate critical race theory (or closely associated tenets) into its schools. Officials announced they would revamp the county's history curriculum to include teaching that “the U.S. was founded on protecting the interests of white, Christian men who owned property.” They also rolled out an initiative called “One Fairfax” that emphasizes “equity.” As part of this initiative, a Virginia elementary school shared on its website a radical video titled “Woke Kindergarten 60 Second Texts: Safe” that suggested police are dangerous to be around.
Parents don’t want their children exposed to this kind of toxic racialism. So they are doing the only things they can do: They are pulling their children out of an education system that wants to indoctrinate them, and they’re voting against a candidate who would take away their right to do so. Take, for example, the latest poll showing yet another drop in support for McAuliffe, who supports CRT and opposes parental rights to have a say in public schools’ curricula. While McAuliffe and his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, are still tied at 48% support overall, McAuliffe only has 39% of the vote among parents of K-12 students. Youngkin has 56%.
This is bigger than just one political campaign. Backlash against the leftist education agenda is growing — not because these parents watch too much Fox News, but because they see what the public school system is doing to their children and they want out.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, a mother I interviewed as part of my study on pandemic parenting said, she never had a problem with vaccines. Her 2-year-old son got all his recommended immunizations on schedule. When it comes to the Covid-19 vaccines, however, the mother, who is white and has a college degree, says she isn’t so sure.
“I just feel there’s almost no incentive at all to give him the vaccine,” she said. “Even if there was like no risk to it. It just seems why would we even get it for him? If he were to get it, he would be able to heal pretty quick. And it’s unlikely that he would spread it to others.” (All the mothers agreed to take part in this research on condition of anonymity.)
Monday, October 25, 2021
It was a fabled kingdom known in ancient times as the Island of Gold, a civilisation with untold wealth that explorers tried in vain to find long after its unexplained disappearance from history around the 14th century. The site of Srivijaya may finally have been found – by local fishing crews carrying out night-time dives on the Musi River near Palembang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
Their extraordinary catches are treasures ranging from a lifesize eighth-century Buddhist statue studded with precious gems – worth millions of pounds – to jewels worthy of kings.
Two people were killed and four others were injured, including a police officer, during a shooting at a mall in Boise, Idaho, on Monday.
Police Chief Ryan Lee said that Boise officers responded to reports of shots being fired at the Boise Town Square mall at around 1:50 p.m. and that “at least one person was shot and down.”
When the police arrived, Chief Lee said at a news conference on Monday, officers found an individual matching a suspect’s description and exchanged gunfire just afterward, which resulted in a police officer’s injury.
Chief Lee said the suspect was taken into custody. The police believe there was only one assailant and that there was “no ongoing threat or danger to the community at large from this incident,” Chief Lee said.
Boise, Idaho, my home town, sadly in the news.
Fauci Claims Wuhan Lab Leak Theory IMPOSSIBLE After NIH CAUGHT Lying About Gain Of Function Research
In the end, McAuliffe’s last best hope is that the federal bureaucrats who have colonized northern Virginia will vote in large enough numbers to save him. That’s how he won in 2013. In 2021, however, those voters have something in common with Youngkin’s supporters — they are parents who want their children educated rather than indoctrinated. Moreover, many of the school board protests that have made national news occurred in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in northern Virginia. Most of those protests have been against the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools. Glenn Youngkin has pledged to ban the teaching of CRT on his first day in office if elected governor.
A Fox News poll published on October 14 found that a 57 percent of Virginia’s parents believe they should tell schools what to teach, and that only 40 percent of likely voters agree with McAuliffe’s stated position. If these numbers accurately reflect the attitude of the Commonwealth’s voters, particularly as they relate to those residing in the state’s northern counties, it is entirely possible that Virginia is about to send former Gov. McAuliffe and the Democratic Party in general to school.
Chinese American Group Calls On Parents and Students To Opt Out Of “Totalitarian Social Emotional Surveys” In NY Schools
The Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York (CACAGNY) released a statement on October 19 advising parents of students in New York City schools to “immediately opt out of new invasive and totalitarian Social Emotional Surveys designed as re-education for children.” CACAGNY notes that parents from totalitarian states should recognize these surveys as “the language of re-education and thought control.”
I could go back to studying for my classes. I could stop the seemingly endless meetings with Yale administrators. And I could save my legal career—a future that now seemed in jeopardy.
All I had to do was apologize.
The problems began last month when I sent the following email inviting fellow members of the Native American Law Students Association to a party co-hosted with the Federalist Society, a conservative and libertarian student organization.
Within minutes, someone sent a screenshot of my email to a class-wide forum where several students denounced the message as racist. In no time, people were calling for an apology.
At first, I was unsure what I was being asked to apologize for. I became even more baffled when I was told that my use of the term “trap house” indicated “inherently anti-Black sentiment.” As a Gen-Zer, I’ve always known “trap house” to be synonymous with “party house.” The top entry for “traphouse” on Urban Dictionary matches exactly what I meant—“Originally used to describe a crack house in a shady neighborhood, the word has since been abused by high school students who like to pretend they’re cool by drinking their mom’s beer together and saying they’re part of a ‘traphouse.’”
The popular understanding of “traphouse” in no way suggests it is a racial slur. If the usage of the term alone is offensive, why have the hosts of Chapo Trap House, the incredibly popular podcast which self-identifies as radically left-wing, not been asked to apologize for the same reason?
Barely twelve hours after I sent the invitation, two discrimination and harassment resource coordinators from the Law School’s Office of Student Affairs scheduled a meeting with me. In that discussion, Ellen Cosgrove, the Associate Dean, and Yaseen Eldik, the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, repeatedly urged me to issue a public apology.
I told them I did not want to send out a generic statement and would rather have individual conversations with anybody offended. I was told that things might “escalate” if I failed to apologize. I was told that an apology would be more likely to make the situation “go away,” and it was implied that there would be lingering impacts to my reputation because the “legal community is a small one.” The subtext behind the meetings that followed became increasingly clear: Apologize or risk the consequences.
Unbelievable. And yet not surprising.
A radio signal detected by an Australian telescope in 2019, which seemed to be coming from the star closest to the Sun, was not from aliens, researchers report today in two papers in Nature Astronomy1,2.
“It is human-made radio interference from some technology, probably on the surface of the Earth,” says Sofia Sheikh, an astronomer at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and a co-author of both papers.
But the disturbance, detected by Breakthrough Listen — an ambitious and privately funded US$100-million effort in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) — looked intriguing enough at first that it sent astronomers on a nearly yearlong quest to understand its origins. It was the first time that data from Breakthrough Listen triggered a detailed search, and the experience puts scientists in a better position to study future candidate detections.
“It’s really valuable for us to have these dry runs,” says Jason Wright, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. “We need these candidate signals so we can learn how we will deal with them — how to prove they are extraterrestrial or human-made.”
Actually, it's probably good that it wasn't aliens.
Is this a smart policy move or just another way to jam a splinter under the fingernail of the Biden administration? We’re discussing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ latest announcement concerning law enforcement and COVID vaccine mandates. Much of the focus on that topic has recently centered on Chicago, where Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate is putting a significant portion of the Chicago PD either on unpaid leave or out on the streets entirely. Other cities are running into the same situation. But now they might have a more affordable path to finding new work without having to roll up their sleeves. DeSantis is working to sign legislation that would offer thousands of dollars as a bonus to any out-of-state and recently unemployed cops who move to Florida and fill up the law enforcement ranks there. (The Hill)
EXCLUSIVE: Two SF Prosecutors Quit, Join Effort to Recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin – NBC Bay Area
Prosecutors Brooke Jenkins and Don Du Bain tell the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit they have quit their jobs at the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and joined the effort to recall their former boss, District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
They are among at least 51 lawyers at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office who have either left or been fired since Boudin took office in January 2020, according to documents obtained by the Investigative Unit – that's about a third of the department's attorneys now gone.
"Chesa has a radical approach that involves not charging crime in the first place and simply releasing individuals with no rehabilitation and putting them in positions where they are simply more likely to re-offend," Jenkins said.
"Being an African-American and Latino woman, I would wholeheartedly agree that the criminal justice system needs a lot of work, but when you are a district attorney, your job is to have balance."
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Today’s inflation would be hitting an economy with rigidities of its own, mostly of a different kind. Zoning rules depress the supply of housing; licensing restrictions depress the supply of personal services. Wind and solar mandates tax the reliability of the grid. Means-tested entitlements make it less attractive at the margin for Americans to work.
We may discover other vulnerabilities but two gaping ones weren’t part of the story in the 1970s. In 1977 federal debt was 34% of GDP; today it’s 125%. And the share of Americans who’ve experienced direct government aid has quadrupled. It now comprises more than 50% of the population, and that’s before our vast pandemic spending and Joe Biden’s welfare ambitions.
Which means a lot could go kerblooey and fast. Rising interest rates could double or triple today’s $400 billion interest bill on the national debt. Overnight, this item could rival Social Security and Medicare as the biggest single budget outlay.
A lot could go kerblooey and fast.
LONDON — Tech billionaire Peter Thiel believes that people should be more worried about “surveillance AI” rather than artificial general intelligences, which are hypothetical AI systems with superhuman abilities.
The venture capitalist, who co-founded big data firm Palantir, said at an event in Miami on Wednesday that on the path to AGI, you get surveillance AI, which he described as a “communist totalitarian technology.”
Those that are worried about AGI aren’t actually “paying attention to the thing that really matters,” Thiel said, adding that governments will use AI-powered facial recognition technology to control people.
His comments come three years after Bloomberg reported that “Palantir knows everything about you.” Thiel has also invested in facial recognition company Clearview AI and surveillance start-up Anduril.
Palantir, which has a market value of $48 billion, has developed data trawling technology that intelligence agencies and governments use for surveillance and to spot suspicious patterns in public and private databases. Customers reportedly include the CIA, FBI, and the U.S. Army.
We in danger of a surveillance state gap with China.
Nativists found that intolerable. Beginning around 1920, they organized to force Catholic children into public education. The success of such a measure in Oregon (with Democratic votes and Ku Klux Klan leadership) prompted the Supreme Court to hold compulsory public education unconstitutional.
The case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925), was brought by a religious school, not a parent. The justices therefore framed their ruling around the threat to the school’s economic rights. But Pierce says that parents can educate their children outside state schools in accord with the parents’ moral and religious views.
Although the exact nature of this parental freedom is much disputed, it is grounded in the First Amendment. When religious parents claim the freedom, religious liberty seems an especially strong foundation. But the freedom of parents in educating their children belongs to all parents, not only the faithful. Freedom of speech more completely explains this educational liberty.
Education consists mostly in speech to and with children. Parents enjoy freedom of speech in educating their children, whether at home or through private schooling. That is the principle underlying Pierce, and it illuminates our current conundrum.
The public school system, by design, pressures parents to substitute government educational speech for their own. Public education is a benefit tied to an unconstitutional condition. Parents get subsidized education on the condition that they accept government educational speech in lieu of home or private schooling.
That darn Klan was also active in Idaho in the 1920s. My father once observed that they had burned a cross on the front yard of my mothers' parents' prominent Catholic family home, which my mother adamantly denied, suggesting its truth.
New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.
Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.
Well that's not good.
"I know a lot of people are tired of politics right now," Obama said, urging the crowd on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to shake it off and vote. “We don’t have time to be tired. What is required is sustained effort,” he added, casting the race as not only critical for Virginia's future, but as an early battle in an existential fight for the future of American democracy.
He's right about it being "an existential fight for the future of democracy."
As the Nov. 2 ballot’s highest-profile contest, the battle for Virginia’s governorship has become a referendum on the Big Government approach of the out-of-touch, Democrat Left. As Virginia’s chief executive from 2014 to 2018, former Democrat National Chairman and consigliere to the Clinton crime family, few people epitomize establishment socialism better than Terry McAuliffe.
Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe’s ascendant opponent, is a quintessential Republican office seeker. This successful outsider aims to harness his private-sector success and rein in a runaway public sector that has betrayed its citizens. Youngkin was co-CEO of the Carlyle Group financial house before this, his first, race.
McAuliffe and Youngkin are tied at 46 percent each, according to an Oct. 16-19 Monmouth University survey of 1,005 registered Virginia voters. (Margin of error: +/- 3.1 percent.) While 91 percent of Democrats backed McAuliffe, 94 percent of Republicans supported Youngkin, as did 48 percent of independents versus 39 percent for McAuliffe. Just 6 percent of blacks favored Youngkin; 80 percent picked McAuliffe. But 32 percent of Hispanics stood with Youngkin, vs. 58 percent with McAuliffe.
I'm hoping for Youngkin, obviously.
Transgenderism has emerged as one of the most influential ideologies of our time. It is shaping people’s behaviour and thought in pursuit of a specific political objective – the erosion of the significance of biological sex. And it is undermining long-held cultural assumptions about what it means to be a man or a woman.
Above all, it is an intolerant, coercive force – and it has been thoroughly embraced by political and cultural elites in both the UK and the US.
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Democrats move to finalize new ‘billionaire’ tax proposal, targeting 700 wealthiest Americans as key source of revenue for spending plan
For years, Democrats have argued for higher income and corporate tax rates, saying wealthy Americans and well-off companies should pay more to fund new social benefits, such as subsidized day care and paid family leave, that would primarily help working-class Americans and shrink inequality.
But even after Democrats seized control of the White House and Congress, they haven’t been able to fully coalesce around a tax and spending plan, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) expressing opposition to higher tax rates.
Now, an unexpected compromise appears to be emerging on the billionaire tax proposal. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is drafting the plan, and senior Biden officials and other senior Democrats are cautiously optimistic that Sinema and other centrist lawmakers will support the effort, according to interviews with three congressional aides and two administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.
It is uncertain whether the plan will be backed by every Senate Democrat and almost every House Democrat, the necessary threshold for its passage.
This is a bad idea. I don't like the billionaires as a class, by in large, but taxing them at this high rate seems bound to lead to unexpected consequences. And some of them are not rent-seeking leeches.
The bizarre incident unfolded at 2:30 a.m. Friday when someone called cops to report an apparent fight, in which a man “wearing a clown mask and carrying a machete” had dragged another guy out of a nearby business,” authorities told Toronto City News.
The victim managed to escape and run, and afterward, the masked marauder tried to cycle away with the weapon hanging out of his backpack, making him an easy target for responding officers, who nabbed him.
The annual United Nations climate conference is where world leaders go to make a reputation for themselves. For Gov. Gavin Newsom, this year’s climate summit couldn’t come at a better time.
On the heels of the recall election, Newsom is primed to boldly reassert California’s leadership on climate. He ran on a pro-science message — contrasting his stance on COVID and the climate crisis with that of his conservative challengers — and it worked. The governor defeated the recall attempt by the same 24-point margin that he was elected with in 2018.
Climate-minded voters showed up by the millions for Newsom. And at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this November, we’re expecting him to show up for us.
2019 was described as a “bloodbath” for the trucking industry with 640 trucking companies across the country filing for bankruptcy in just the first half of the year. Thousands of truck drivers were left unemployed. Many went into the expanding last mile delivery business, some as contractors for Amazon. But California truckers and businesses had their own special woes.
Two years ago, Governor Newsom signed the Democrat supermajority's Assembly Bill 5 into law. While AB5 was billed as a crackdown on Uber and Lyft, forcing the companies to treat l freelance contractors as employees, the gig economy companies pushed Proposition 22 so that they were the only ones exempt from the law. (A Democrat judge has since illegally blocked the approved ballot measure while falsely claiming that it was unconstitutional.)
AB5 however was less about Uber than it was about outlawing freelance employees in order to force them into unions. The union power grab inconvenienced Uber and Lyft, but crushed freelance workers in a variety of fields including journalism. One of the fields was trucking.
Feeding the Liberal Flock: The Real Reasons for the Congressional 1/6 Committee - by Glenn Greenwald - Glenn Greenwald
This congressional committee is designed to be cathartic theater for liberals, and a political drama for the rest of the country. They know Republicans will object to their deliberately unconstitutional inquisitions, and they intend to exploit those objections to darkly insinuate to the country that Republicans are driven by a desire to protect the violent traitors so that they can deploy them as an insurrectionary army for future coups. They have staffed the committee with their most flamboyant and dishonest drama queens, knowing that Adam Schiff will spend most of his days on CNN with Chris Cuomo comparing 1/6 to Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust; Liz Cheney will equate Republicans with Al Qaeda and the Capitol riot to the destruction of the World Trade Center; and Adam Kinzinger will cry on cue as he reminds everyone over and over that he served in the U.S. military only to find himself distraught and traumatized that the real terrorists are not those he was sent to fight overseas but those at home, in his own party.
But the manipulative political design of this spectacle should not obscure how threatening it nonetheless is to core civil liberties. Democrats in politics and media have whipped themselves into such a manic frenzy ever since 1/6 — indeed, they have been doing little else ever since Trump descended the Trump Tower escalator in 2015 — that they have become the worst kinds of fanatics: the ones who really believe their own lies. Many genuinely believe that they are on the front lines of an epic historical battle against the New Hitler (Trump) and his band of deplorable fascist followers bent on a coup against the democratic order. In their cable-and-Twitter-stimulated imaginations, shortly following this right-wing coup will be the installation of every crypto-fascist bell and whistle from concentration camps for racial and ethnic minorities to death or prison for courageous #Resistance dissidents. At some point, the line between actually believing this and being paid to pretend to believe it, or feeling coerced by cultural and friendship circles to feign belief in it, erodes, fostering actual collective conviction and mania.
Seems about right. I wonder when Glenn Greenwald will figure out that socialism is wrong too.
On March 12 last year, I texted a trusted source connected to Australia’s foreign intelligence agency. “What do you think about the theory that the virus came from a virology lab in China? Does that have credibility? I know it’s officially a conspiracy theory but China is not exactly a picture of transparency so I thought it’s possible.”
He replied to say he knew someone “very involved in the observation of that lab and its activities” and it was a definite possibility the virus leaked from the facility. It was a surprising response because, at the time, this view contradicted every utterance by scientists and world leaders, who insisted the virus had a natural origin. Most media outlets dismissed the lab-leak theory as a conspiracy.
A month after this exchange, I confirmed and reported on a global scoop for my paper in Australia, that the Five Eyes intelligence network of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were seriously examining the possibility of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The story went global. For the following year, as I developed new sources around the world and unravelled the complexities of the Chinese Communist party’s suppression of the theory, I wrote a book on the topic and my reporting made me a target of the CCP.
My working hypothesis is that the Covid-19 virus did indeed leak from one of the labs in Wuhan. The CCP wants to cover that fact up for obvious reasons, as do the GOF virologists, with Dr. Fauci at their head, here in the US. The details are doubtless complex and will probably never be known in detail. We can also expect the many sources of influence by the CCP in the US to obfuscate a real picture of what is going on. Of course, new evidence could occur, but it will be difficult to tell if it is true, because the CCP has lied about so much already, and are still doing so. And as Rand Paul recently said, quoting some real virologist expert, this gain of function research could literally end civilization. It's no joke. How about we stop paying for it.
Vaccine mandate will have 'catastrophic' effect on jobs, business group warns Biden | Washington Examiner
business group representing wholesalers told President Joe Biden that jobs will be lost if he follows through with requiring companies with federal contracts to have their employees vaccinated.
Eric Hoplin, president and CEO of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, laid out the case against the mandates and urged the president to back off his edict in a three-page letter. He said that if the contractor rule is implemented, thousands of workers will be laid off and the supply chain problems will grow far worse.
I understand protests against failure by the (as yet hypothetical) mandate regime to include immunity from already having had Covid. That does seem to be just a blind asserting of not-so-petty authority. But in many cases, resistance to the vaccine just seems to be not trusting authority, just because so many authorities have proven to be wrong, if not actually corrupt. Many of those not trusting the authorities are working people and not inclined to trust authority to begin with. At this stage a little leadership would be nice, but that doesn't seem to be forthcoming. It's a pickle.
Friday, October 22, 2021
On March 24, 1967, ten intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) went offline at an underground launch control facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.
Robert Salas, a former USAF captain who had been the nuclear missile crew commander at the time, was on site when the ICBMs became inoperable, coinciding with calls from security personnel aboveground who said they observed an unidentified flying object hovering near the facility’s gate.
Just eight days earlier, a similar incident had occurred where several ICBMs went offline at another of Malmstrom’s launch control facilities. Within months of the incidents, an almost identical series of events would transpire at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, where ICBMs were again disabled coinciding with sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena.
These incidents, and others like them, were the subject of a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, where a panel of former United States Air Force officers related harrowing experiences involving UFOs at nuclear missile launch facilities during the Cold War.
So the aliens don't like nukes. But they seem fine with CRT. What's that about? We probably all look the same to them.
I recommend a third option: conservatives should abandon reform and build new colleges. Blueprints to build entirely new institutions do exist. Conservatives should focus on this endeavor rather than supporting the hiring of the lonely conservative at one institution.
Last year, AEI scholars Frederick Hess and Brendan Bell published a proposal for an “ivory tower of our own.” They argue scholars of a politically conservative or intellectually traditional bent should simply opt out of the American college ecosystem. Instead, conservatives should build a comprehensive alternative which would replicate many of the features of existing institutions, but without the social and political entanglements that have made them so inhospitable.
One obstacle to this plan is cost. Hess and Bell calculated that the price tag for building a world-class conservative institution would be around $3 billion. That’s a lot of money. In our plutocratic age, though, it is not inconceivable that some mogul of finance or tech might be willing to devote his fortune to the academic enterprise. Such a commitment would be impressive but not unprecedented. Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and the University of Chicago were founded in the late 19th century with the support of business tycoons. For example, as Thelin shows, John D. Rockefeller gave the founding gift of $12 million “in cooperation with the American Baptist Education society to create an eminent Baptist institution in the Midwest,” that later became the University of Chicago.
Another challenge, which Hess and Bell do not discuss, is accreditation. One reason for the degradation of the American academy is accreditors’ imposition of burdensome, opaque, and “woke” criteria on the university. The university accepting these criteria would be expensive and possibly inconsistent with its mission, but rejecting accreditation would limit the university’s ability to compete for students and faculty.
With sufficient financial resources, accreditation might be a manageable difficulty. But there are also cheaper options. Building on arguments by historian Warren Treadgold, Jacob Howland argues that it should be possible to purchase and repurpose an existing campus at considerably lower cost than starting from scratch. For as little as $500 million, he calculates, one of the many small liberal arts colleges facing closure could be turned to a new purpose.
This strategy is less ambitious and more realistic than founding a challenger to Harvard or Berkeley. Establishing conservative research universities with science and engineering schools is an important goal, but the foundation of the university is the liberal arts curriculum. Moreover, as the late Peter A. Lawler liked to point out, the liberal arts and humanities are cheap, meaning that financing conservative higher education in these fields will require comparatively little fundraising.
A possible objection is that there are already several such institutions, mostly mission-driven religious liberal arts schools, including Yeshiva University, Ave Maria University, and Grove City College. Perhaps the most well-known is Hillsdale College. The very success of Hillsdale suggests that there is still unmet demand. Short of founding a new university or college, conservative philanthropy should support these institutions to the point where they can achieve financial independence from government interference.
At minimum, political conservatives and religious traditionalists should stop cut
This is a good idea for law schools as well. My small and formerly cute law school used to be considered relatively conservative/libertarian because there were perhaps 8 or so of us on the faculty. That number has fallen a bit and young whippersnappers have emerged determined to impose on all of us the new wokeness or close enough. Resistance may be futile, though that won't stop some of us from trying.
Peter Thiel could endow a law school of his own -- Stanford is as lost as anywhere and his billions won't buy it back. He should start afresh. So could Elon Musk with an engineering school. In the meantime, give your money to Hillsdale or perhaps Pepperdine Law School -- they're still pretty conservative* I think.
*By "conservative" I mean anything to the right of a middle-of-the-road Democrat, c. 1980 or so.
“The test showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than U.S. officials realized,” noted the Financial Times, which broke the story over the weekend. Hypersonic missiles of this kind whiz through the air at five times the speed of sound, or about 3,850 miles per hour. Their lower altitudes and cruising capabilities pose a different sort of challenge to missile-defense systems than do traditional ballistic missiles, which by definition follow a more predictable path from launch to target.
It was yet another warning, if one were needed, that the People’s Republic is a very serious power, indeed.
Our own national-security apparatus is downright farcical by comparison. Its leaders guided the United States into a strategic ditch, squandering blood and treasure on pointless nation-building wars whose sum effect was to further destabilize an already-volatile Middle East and North Africa. What with Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blabbering about “white rage,” and another general, Jo Clyborne, griping on Twitter recently about the Army’s policy against French manicures, our military brass and “nat-sec” elites deserve all the ridicule they get, and then some.
But on the right, especially the so-called new right, the mockery can often go hand-in-hand with a perilous temptation: a mindless China hawkishness that would do little to reverse the underlying trends driving American decline (both relative and absolute). If anything, such hawkishness could allow GOP foreign-policy elites to derail any hope of a populist-led domestic revival. Instead, they would channel popular anger—over Covid, industrial offshoring, elite entanglement with Beijing, and so on—into another generation of dumb conflicts. China could thus serve as a great red herring (pun intended).
Over the past few years, Catholic integralism has gone from a curious fringe of the American Right to a subject of some interest among more mainstream conservative publications. American Affairs published Adrian Vermeule’s integralist critique of Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed, and First Things published Gladden Pappin’s review of Helen Rosenblatt’s The Lost History of Liberalism, as well as Fr. Romanus Cessario’s defense of the Vatican kidnapping of the Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara, in his review of Mortara’s memoir. Other integralists, like Patrick Smith and Pater Edmund Waldstein, have published for First Things, with them and others appearing in The Plough, University Bookman, Church Life Journal, and other such publications. William Borman and Matthew Walther successfully raised funds to start The Lamp, which promises to be a kind of Triumph redivivus, although its release is presently delayed. Publications like Providence and The Chronicle of Higher Education have written pieces observing the return of integralism, with City Journal even publishing a full-page portrait of Vermeule. As writers, academics and, in Waldstein’s case, a Cistersian monk, they have been formed not by republican associations but by the top-down administration that defines religious and academic life. So formed, they revolt against the constant, low-level disorder typical of constitutional democracies. Rather than enter the fray to persuade citizens, they instead wish to put their citizens under the control of a Catholic administrative state that degrades free association of citizens into the solemn submission of subjects to their spiritual and temporal superiors.
Educating myself in public again. This is billed as a Catholic critique of integralism.
Ahmed* is a Pakistani immigrant, a faithful Muslim, and until recently, a financial consultant to Seattle’s high-tech sector. But when he reached me by phone in October 2020, he was just one more frightened father. Days earlier, he and his wife had checked their 16-year-old son into Seattle Children’s Hospital for credible threats of suicide. Now, Ahmed was worried that the white coats who had gently admitted his son to their care would refuse to return him.
“They sent an email to us, you know, ‘you should take your ‘daughter’ to the gender clinic,’” he told me.
At first, Ahmed assumed there had been a mistake. He had dropped off a son, Syed, to the hospital, in a terrible state of distress. Now, the email he received from the mental health experts used a new name for that son and claimed he was Ahmed’s daughter. “They were trying to create a customer for their gender clinic . . . and they seemed to absolutely want to push us in that direction,” he said when I spoke to him again this May, recalling the horror of last October. “We had calls with counselors and therapists in the establishment, telling us how important it is for him to change his gender, because that’s the only way he’s going to be better out of this suicidal depressive state.”
Syed had been a “straight-A student” and—according to his parents and the family’s therapist—quite brilliant. He is also on the autism spectrum, a young man who neglects to make eye contact and must be given rules for how long to shake hands, shower, or brush his teeth. High school was a slog for him, as it often is for kids on the spectrum who find that the social demands of adolescence have risen beyond their capacity to meet them. “He tried to ask a few girls out. It didn’t work out and he got frustrated and angry, and that kind of thing. And so, those girl-boy things get kind of tough for autistic kids, those developmental issues. And that’s where puberty can be very, very hard with the hormones rushing and all this stuff.”
ICYMI as I did.
On Thursday, the University of Virginia released the results of a survey that offers important but jarring insights. Among the findings:
- 41% of Biden voters and 52% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that red states / blue states should secede from the union to form their own separate country.
- 46% of Biden voters and 44% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that it would be better for America if whoever is President could take needed actions without being constrained by Congress or the courts.
- 62% of Biden voters and 82% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that “our country needs a powerful leader in order to destroy the radical and immoral currents prevailing in society today.”
- 56% of Biden voters at least somewhat agree that there’s no real difference between Republicans and Fascists, and 76% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that there’s no real difference between Democrats and Socialists.
- 75% of Biden voters and 78% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that Americans who strongly support the opposing party have become “a clear and present danger to the American way of life.”
- 80% of Biden voters and 84% of Trump voters at least somewhat agree that elected officials from the opposing party are a “clear and present danger to American democracy.”These numbers should be deeply concerning.
In case you missed it.
Yoram Hazony, the Israeli scholar and founder of the National Conservatism movement, offers some constructive criticism of the piece (which he liked overall) on Twitter:
That’s really true, and I had not thought about that. The Catholic contribution to this general project is vital, but it is by no means a Catholic-only, or even Catholic-dominated, one. Viktor Orban is a Calvinist, as is his beloved-by-all-of- us Minister of Family, Katalin Novak. He has around him strong Catholics, like Balazs Orban. But theirs is an ecumenical project, one they are undertaking with the full knowledge that Hungary is effectively post-Christian. They seem to understand that if they are going to have any chance of success, they are going to have to make and strengthen alliances not just across confessional lines, but to non-Christians, and secular people. In Hungary, the number of observant Christians is pretty sparse, but rejection of mass immigration (as a strategy to maintain national sovereignty) is popular, as is holding the line against gender ideology. Orban is not a cuddly figure, heaven knows, but he has managed to do what Donald Trump could not, in large part because he doesn’t go out of his way to insult and antagonize people. To be clear, he is hated by the Hungarian left, but he does not engage in lib-owning for its own sake. This is one of the big failings of Trump: he reveled in being hated, even when it hurt the substantive political causes he favored.
Carlson’s trip to Hungary was prompted, in part, by a text message from Rod Dreher, a conservative writer. Dreher, who spent the spring and summer there on a fellowship and helped Carlson secure the interview with Orban, understands, as the activist Christopher F. Rufo recently observed, that Carlson doesn’t report the news for American conservatives; he creates it. Bringing Carlson to Budapest was meant to persuade Americans to pay attention to Orban’s Hungary. The effort appeared to be successful: The following week, several Republican senators told Insider, an online news publication, that Carlson’s broadcasts from Budapest had given them a favorable opinion of Orban. In September, Jeff Sessions, the former U.S. attorney general, went to Budapest for a panel discussion on immigration, and Mike Pence traveled there to address a meeting on family and demographic decline, with Orban in the audience. Next year, the Conservative Political Action Conference, an influential annual gathering of conservatives in America, will be held in Budapest.
Dreher doesn’t speak in Carlson’s terms, and has sought to distance himself from Carlson’s vigorous endorsement of the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which holds that Democrats are replacing white Americans with nonwhite immigrants in order to increase their vote tallies. But Dreher believes, as do many in his circle of right-wing intellectuals, that high levels of immigration threaten the “stability and cultural continuity of the nation.” He frequently points to the French, to the anger and isolation in their immigrant-populated banlieues, and argues that immigrants have a responsibility to adopt their new country’s culture and often decline to do so. He has even suggested that Orban’s restrictions on immigration have kept the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary to a minimum. (While the number of reported incidents is indeed low, Dreher’s analysis belies Orban’s tendency to play to both sides; he has forged a close relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu while demonizing the Jewish liberal benefactor George Soros with anti-Semitic dog whistles at home.) Dreher believes Orban was right to refuse to take in Syrian refugees in 2015. “If you could wind back the clock 50 years, and show the French, the Belgian and the German people what mass immigration from the Muslim world would do to their countries by 2021, they never, ever would have accepted it,” Dreher wrote in his influential blog for The American Conservative. “The Hungarians are learning from their example.”
All the Conservative Cool Kids are reading this interesting piece in the NYT magazine about Hungary, Catholics and the new Conservative movement in the US. Lots of thought bubbling up on the conservative/nationalist side of things; some of it gives me the heebie-jeebies, but other bits of it make sense to me. I want to get over to Hungary myself. I kinda sorta have some contacts there, but mostly I would get to see my son, who is in Ukraine and is not a Right Wing Nut like some think of his father.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Pope Demands Silicon Valley “In the Name of God” Censor “Hate Speech,” “Conspiracy Theories” – Summit News
The Pope made the remarks during a World Meeting of Popular Movements, a shadowy organization created to promote “social justice” and fight racism with the help of religious leaders.
“In the name of God, I ask the technology giants to stop exploiting human weakness, people’s vulnerability, for the sake of profits without caring about the spread of hate speech, grooming, fake news, conspiracy theories, and political manipulation,” he stated.
Pope Francis also invoked the term “post-truth,” which was invented by establishment media organs after they began to lose their monopoly on controlling the narrative following the election of Donald Trump.
The Catholic leader apparently believes it’s Christian and Godly to empower giant corporations to shut down free speech.
I don't think the Pope really gets the whole freedom of speech thing.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill didn’t discriminate against white and Asian-American applicants in its undergraduate-admissions process, a federal judge ruled Monday, 11 months after the case went to trial.
The school was sued in federal court in North Carolina in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit group backed by conservative legal activist Ed Blum. That group was also behind an affirmative action lawsuit against the University of Texas at Austin that led to a Supreme Court decision backing the university, and a suit against Harvard University, in which both a district court and appellate court ruled in favor of Harvard.
Students for Fair Admissions argued that UNC gave too much weight to applicants’ race, favoring Black, Hispanic and Native American applicants. They also said the school didn’t fully pursue race-neutral alternatives to diversify its student body.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said in her ruling that the school “continues to have much work to do” in its effort to improve diversity and inclusion but that it does comply with Supreme Court precedent regarding the consideration of race in admissions. The school’s use of race in the admissions process was narrowly tailored, she said, and it had made a good-faith effort to consider race-neutral alternatives—like boosting financial aid, changing its recruiting approach and accepting more transfer students.
Powell’s friends in America tend to briefly note, in the soft glaze of his own regret, the most consequential act of his life. On February 5, 2003, Powell made a 76-minute speech to the United Nations Security Council in which he argued the Bush administration’s case for invading Iraq. He insisted that Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, was overseeing a secret program to make weapons of mass destruction. Powell brandished satellite photos of what he confidently said were decontamination trucks, aluminum tubes, and other WMD paraphernalia. He even held up a vial that he said could contain anthrax.
There was, of course, a big problem with all of his assertions: They were lies. The intelligence behind his speech was the opposite of emphatic — it was false, manipulated, and fabricated. The trucks were just trucks. The tubes were just tubes. There was no anthrax. There was, more fundamentally, no reason to invade Iraq. Nonetheless, thanks to Powell’s presentation, the Bush administration went ahead with its plans, and in the ensuing catastrophe, at least several hundred thousand Iraqis lost their lives, as well as more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers.
Yeah, there is that. I believed him at the time.
Hachiyanagi and her victim, Lauret Savoy, were both professors at Mount Holyoke College, a liberal arts women's college in Western Massachusetts. Savoy taught geology and environmental studies, while Hachiyanagi headed the art department.
According to 2020 reports, Hachiyanagi arrived at Savoy's home late at night on December 23, 2019, telling Savoy that she "wanted to talk about her feelings." She was reportedly seeking emotional support from Savoy following a breakup. After entering the home, however, Hachiyanagi attacked the victim with her fists, a rock, a fire poker, and pruning shears.
When Savoy asked Hachiyanagi why she was attacking her, the perpetrator said "that she loved her for many years" and that she "should have known."
According to the Northwestern District Attorney's Office, Hachiyanagi then subjected Savoy to "a four-hour torture session." Savoy believed Hachiyanagi would kill her: Hachiyanagi commented on Savoy's blood loss and told her she would not live for much longer, reported The Greenfield Recorder.
Eventually, the victim convinced Hachiyanagi to call for help by "playing along," acting as if she reciprocated her feelings.
This story makes me feel unsafe.
Then there are blue-state elementary schools, where some of the constituencies that support mask requirements may not be assuaged even after vaccines are available for younger kids. At that point, according to both polls and personal experience, there will still be lots of vaccine hesitancy among even liberal parents — and you could imagine a coalition of more Covid-fearing parents and teachers’ unions demanding masking requirements until a school hits a vaccination threshold that remains perpetually out of reach.
Already on certain college campuses you can see a version of this permanent-seeming abnormalcy. Even with vaccine requirements for the faculty and students, some schools have tried to layer on miniature medical surveillance states, with constant testing and exacting masking rules. (At the University of Southern California, The Wall Street Journal reported recently, “students must leave classrooms to take a sip of water, rather than just sliding their masks down.”) Students and their parents have successfully pushed back against some of the creepier measures — a wearable “bio button” to monitor heart rates and other health indicators at one university, a location-tracking app at another. But the spirit of bio-surveillance fits in nicely with the larger trend toward a kind of supervisory progressivism in campus life, with the attempted bureaucratic regulation of speech and sex, the tech-enabled monitoring of on-campus movement and communication. And if Covid is endemic, if the risk of outbreaks persists indefinitely, it’s not clear that these biopolitical experiments will automatically fade away.
Especially since the culture of deep-blue America is caught up in the same toxic feedback loops of polarization as deep-red America. If certain forms of Republican insouciance about Covid are forged in the fires of cultural resentment, in which you reject Faucian micromanagement by ditching masks and refusing the vaccine, certain forms of liberal overregulation seem forged in fear of red American contagion — in which we just have to mask our kids indefinitely, even though many other developed countries aren’t doing it, because we need to set an example of seriousness to shame all those red-state anti-maskers.
China has hypersonic missiles. Russia is playing games with gas to Europe. Americans are still stranded in Afghanistan.
But Happy International Pronouns Day, y’all! This is like totes more important, you guys. Our State Department says so!