Monday, August 15, 2022
Ukrainian artillery has struck a headquarters of Russia's shadowy Wagner paramilitary group of mercenaries in eastern Ukraine, reports say.
The extent of damage to the military base of the group - which has been linked to war crimes - is not clear.
Luhansk's governor claims its secret location was revealed after a Russian journalist shared its address.
Last week, pro-Kremlin correspondent Sergei Sreda posted a photo on Telegram of the base with its apparent address.
The image, shared on the social media site but since deleted, shows five people in military uniform with a street sign in Popasna, Luhansk visible in the top left corner.
While the BBC has not been able to confirm the connection between the photo and the strike, Governor Serhiy Hayday wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces "hit an enemy HQ whose whereabouts were established thanks to a Russian journalist".
Firm expects as many as 1,000 former patients to join lawsuit against Tavistock gender clinic – HotAir
The Tavistock clinic in London was the only gender identity clinic for children in England. The clinic is currently in the process of shutting down in the wake of a report which concluded some kids may have been rushed toward treatment like puberty blockers without a proper assessment of their mental condition. Now a law firm is planning a group lawsuit which it believes could attract as many as 1,000 former patients at the clinic.
One hopes lawsuits in the US will follow.
The American Bar Association on Monday axed a proposal to require law schools to "diversify" their student bodies after more than a year of warnings from law professors that the plan would force schools to violate federal law.
The proposal, first released in May 2021, would have required law schools to submit annual progress reports on minority enrollment to the American Bar Association. Law schools that failed to boost the enrollment of "underrepresented groups" would have been at risk of losing their accreditation.
The proposal underwent three rounds of revisions before finally being withdrawn by the association’s house of delegates, which did not rule out revisiting the proposal at a later date. An early draft had warned that U.S. anti-discrimination laws were "not a justification" for "non-compliance" with the diversity standard, a line that drew criticism from many in the legal community, including from elite universities.
"Resistance is possible."
The blasphemy and sacrilege begat riots by Muslims around the world, including in London, where Rushdie lived. Ayatollah Khomeini, then Iran’s Supreme Leader, issued a fatwa (i.e., more or less, edict - more on that in a bit) calling for the killing of Rushdie.
Khomeini condemned Rushdie, as well as his editors and publishers in any language, to death. He called on “all valiant Muslims wherever they may be” to go out and kill all of them—without delay—“so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. Whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr” and ascend instantly to heaven. Tehran offered a reward that eventually grew to more than three million dollars.
And kill they did. The Japanese translator of Verses was killed in 1991; the Italian translator was stabbed soon after; the Norwegian published was shot in 1993. That same year, Islamist protesters in Turkey torched the hotel occupied by a man who planned to translate the novel into Turkish. The man escaped but 37 others died in the fire.
Post-fatwa, Rushdie himself went into hiding for 10 years, under protection from the British government. His then-wife has said that the couple moved 56 times in the first few months after the fatwa was issued. Over time, the threat appeared to dissipate and Rushdie assumed a more normal life. He moved to New York City in 2000, and obtained his U.S. citizenship in 2016.
But the threat persisted. Last Friday, Rushdie was preparing to give a talk at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York when he was attacked and stabbed 15 times on stage. As of this writing, Rushdie, after some time on a ventilator, is breathing on his own, but suffers from liver and nerve damage suffered in the attack. He is likely to lose an eye.
I had forgotten this if I ever knew it.
I chose to go to Berkeley because I was convinced that this ethos of free speech absolutism being so deeply ingrained in the school’s history would have carried free inquiry and civil discourse forward as core institutional values to this day. I consider myself to be a centrist, politically, and I understood that Berkeley had a reputation as being a bastion of relatively far-left thought and organization. But I thought that exposure to new and different ideas would be a great opportunity to have my beliefs challenged through respectful debate and that I would emerge a stronger thinker for it.
Of course, all this rested on my assumption that despite the prevailing ideological bent of many students and professors, ideas that challenged this consensus would still be welcomed and debated respectfully. I assumed that the home of the free speech movement still valued free speech.
Reader, I was dead wrong.
I wish University of Austin the best. There are still plenty of good professors at Cal but many of the students and the administration make open and free thought dangerous at best. It's a disgrace but what else is new. Building new institutions such as U of Austin seems the only way to go.
The financial squeeze stems from the rising cost of a number of everyday goods, including cars, rent, food and health care. While the rapid pace of price increases eased slightly in July, the consumer price index still climbed 8.5% from the previous year – hovering near a painful, four-decade high, the Labor Department reported on Wednesday.
The JEC Republicans – who launched the State Inflation Tracker in April to monitor how much higher prices are costing Americans across the U.S. – calculated the figure by comparing prices for goods and services in July versus how much households would have paid for those same items in January 2021, when inflation was 1.4%.
"While prices did not change from June to July 2022, prices increased 13.3% from January 2021 to July 2022, costing the average American household $717 in July 2022 alone," the analysis said.
For the average American, who makes perhaps $60K per year, $717 per month is a *lot* of money. It's a lot of money to me! That's how much it would cost to lease a new car, for example, a nice one. It sounds like a lot of people are just running up balances on their credit cards to cover this. This can't go on, so therefore it won't.
Not satisfied with freezing funds donated using traditional fiat currency, the Trudeau government also sanctioned dozens of cryptocurrency wallets. Here’s how CoinDesk described it (emphasis added throughout):
“The Ontario Provincial Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police ordered all regulated financial firms to cease facilitating any transactions from 34 crypto wallets tied to funding trucker-led protests in the country.
The federal police agencies, working with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), are investigating cryptocurrency donations supporting the weeks-long protest against Canada’s vaccine mandate. The protests are now deemed illegal under the Emergencies Act invoked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the first time since the law was passed in 1988.”
Imagine a US citizen – having witnessed what transpired in Canada and being acutely aware of the hyperpolarization of US politics – decides she would like to make a donation to a liberal cause she supports. Wary of the potential for Donald Trump to return to the White House, she is determined to donate in a discreet manner. The organization she wants to support accepts cryptocurrencies, but she is hesitant to use her main wallet because it holds the bulk of her holdings, and losing access to those assets would be financially devastating. Blockchains might be pseudonymous, but they certainly aren’t fully anonymous. What are her options?
Enter crypto mixers, cleverly designed decentralized protocols for making transactions on the blockchain more private. In this example, our concerned citizen could send $500 worth of crypto to a mixer in return for a randomized key known only to her. She could then separately create a new wallet, send her unique key to the mixer from it, and receive her crypto back. Armed with this “clean” crypto – unassociated with her other assets and much more difficult to tie to her identity – she comfortably makes her donation. The authorities would be able to see that she sent $500 worth of crypto to a mixer, but it would be almost impossible to discover what she did with it.
Of course, there is a fine line between the legitimate need for privacy in financial transactions and criminal money laundering, and crypto mixers cannot distinguish between the two. This makes them particularly popular among criminal money launderers. Last week, the US Department of Treasury hit back hard:
“The Treasury Department has banned all Americans from using decentralized crypto-mixing service Tornado Cash.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a watchdog agency tasked with preventing sanctions violations, on Monday added Tornado Cash to its Specially Designated Nationals list, a running tally of blacklisted people, entities and cryptocurrency addresses. As a result, all U.S. persons and entities are prohibited from interacting with Tornado Cash or any of the Ethereum wallet addresses tied to the protocol. Those who do may face criminal penalties.”
Bad bad bad.
The first poll to measure public response to the raid indicates that it has galvanized Republicans and Independents. A new survey conducted by the Trafalgar Group for Convention of States Action found that 83.3 percent of GOP voters and 71.7 percent of Independent voters are more motivated to vote in the midterms than they were before the FBI descended on Mar-a-Lago. Moreover, when asked who they believed was behind the FBI action, 76.7 percent of Republicans answered, “Trump’s political enemies,” and 53.9 percent of Independents agreed. A mere 11.9 percent of Democrats said that the search was politically motivated.
The survey also breaks down responses by ethnicity in the crosstabs, and the news isn’t good for Democrats. The share of Hispanics who said the Mar-a-Lago raid increased their motivation to vote in the midterms was a whopping 80 percent, while 69.9 percent said it was initiated by Trump’s political enemies. This suggests that this episode may well accelerate the increasing tendency of Hispanics to vote Republican. Their exodus from the Democratic Party began in earnest during the last election and it isn’t limited to any geographic location.
Maybe this was Garland's James Comey moment.
Although we don't know the specific evidence showing probable cause to support a violation of the Espionage Act, we do know that Trump went to great lengths over 17 months to hold onto highly classified information, perhaps relating to nuclear secrets, in such a way that the DOJ has probable cause to believe he has obstructed its investigation. But we do know that the documents, or the circumstances surrounding the documents, were of such grave concern to the DOJ that they pursued the unprecedented step of searching the home of a former president.
Dr. Maya Angelou wisely said, "When people show you who they are the first time, believe them."
Trump has no official use for such sensitive documents anymore. And given his track record of putting his self-interest over the country's interest, it's fair to conclude that Donald Trump remains a threat to the national security of the United States.
Well this doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Is the insinuation that Trump was keeping this super-secret information to try to sell it to our enemies for a profit? To blackmail the current US administration? Just for the heck of it? I also don't expect the DOJ/FBI to clarify this much either. Unfortunately, their reputation for clarity isn't much better than the former President's. And also the FBI does have reputation for entrapping people they don't like.
Sunday, August 14, 2022
The two most striking features of the FBI’s unprecedented raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home are its bold intrusiveness and the public’s mistrust of the Bureau’s honesty and integrity. The Department of Justice could have used low-profile subpoenas to force Trump to turn over any documents, including the most sensitive ones. It didn’t. Instead, it sent carloads of federal agents to search the former president’s house. That raid was also unusual in a second sense. Although mishandling federal documents is a felony, it happens with some frequency, alas, and is almost never subject to full-scale raids.
The blowback has been a Category 5 storm. The damage has grown because the FBI and Department of Justice remained silent for three days, refusing to explain their actions.
Now, the FBI or DoJ are busy leaking their justification, alleging (anonymously) that Trump took highly-classified nuclear secrets when he left office. That would be a grave matter, if true, but it raises several obvious questions. One is whether he really did wrongly remove such materials. The second is whether less-invasive means could have been used to retrieve them. The third is whether the real purpose of the raid was to collect materials for other investigations, such as January 6 and Trump’s efforts to delay Joe Biden’s certification as president. Seized materials can be used in other investigations, but it is illegal to get warrants for one purpose when your real purpose is something else. The fourth is public skepticism about the government’s explanations.
Saturday, August 13, 2022
President Biden on Tuesday invoked the hobgoblin of Chinese technological superiority as he signed Congress’s $280 billion computer-chip subsidy bill. China has leapfrogged the U.S. in research and development, he claimed, and “is trying to move way ahead of us in manufacturing these sophisticated chips.” Beijing may be trying but it is struggling mightily despite spending enormous sums.
Bloomberg this week reports that Beijing is launching corruption investigations into government ministers and business leaders involved in its semiconductor initiative, which is a cornerstone of President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 plan to achieve manufacturing self-sufficiency. Corruption crackdowns are Mr. Xi’s modus operandi when things don’t go according to Communist plan.
When senior government officials last month reviewed the country’s chip-making progress, they reportedly grew dismayed that advances may have been overstated and investments weren’t paying off. Mr. Xi’s plan to throw money at the semiconductor industry, as with others, has resulted in many unproductive companies chasing government subsidies.
Well, maybe this CHIPs subsidy program will be different. Isn't that what they're saying?
Taiwan on Friday blamed “political considerations” for the cancellation of the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan after it said the organisers had insisted that the name “Taiwan” be removed from the title.
Taiwan participates in global events such the Olympics Games as “Chinese Taipei”, to avoid political problems with China which views the democratically-governed island as its own territory and bristles at anything that suggests it is a separate country.
Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung had been due to host the WorldPride 2025 Taiwan event after winning the right from global LGBTQ rights group InterPride.
Organisers in Kaohsiung said InterPride had “suddenly” asked them to change the name of the event to “Kaohsiung”, removing the word “Taiwan”.
Hmm. That's weird.
Source Backs Bari Weiss Account That New York Times Wanted to Run Tim Scott Op-Ed by Schumer | National Review
The New York Times has repeatedly denied the explosive account from former Times journalist Bari Weiss that a senior opinion-page editor instructed a colleague to “check with” Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) before running an op-ed from Senator Tim Scott (R., S.C.). But a second source with direct knowledge of the matter has backed up Weiss’s story to National Review. The source also quoted a message sent by a senior editor at the time insisting that the Times check with Schumer — even providing the email address of Schumer press representative Justin Goodman.
Shocking but not surprising.
U.S. Consulate Warns Citizens to Avoid Tijuana as Fires, Roadblocks Reported Throughout Baja - Times of San Diego
Hundreds of Mexican soldiers were sent to Ciudad Juarez Friday while violence sparked in the border town near Texas may be linked to a series of incidents in Tijuana and the surrounding area.
The situation began in Ciudad Juarez with a prison face-off between members of two rival cartels, which caused a riot and shootouts that left 11 people dead, most of them civilians, authorities said.
The violence then apparently moved west. The U.S. Consulate in Tijuana warned American citizens late Friday to avoid the area, while acknowledging that officials are “aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada and Tecate.
The Twitter post noted that U.S. government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice. Officials had issued a travel alert last month.
Well this is no bueno.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, met with scientists this week to discuss best naming practices for diseases. The focus is to avoid offending any “ethnic, social, or professional groups and minimize harm to trade, travel, tourism, or animals.” Monkeypox is at the top of the agenda to receive a new name. Two clades (variants) of the disease have already been given new names.
TPTDNSIN-84 (The Pox That Dare Not Speak Its Name -84).
A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed a year after it was achieved at a laboratory in California.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL's) National Ignition Facility (NIF) recorded the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.
Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the Sun and other stars: heavy hydrogen atoms collide with enough force that they fuse together to form a helium atom, releasing large amounts of energy as a by-product. Once the hydrogen plasma "ignites", the fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining, with the fusions themselves producing enough power to maintain the temperature without external heating.
This is a big deal, if true, with stress on the previous two words. Bad news for all the solar guys though. Well, maybe not if it takes 50 years to commercialize it. Also very bad news for all the climate alarmists. They probably weren't banking on fusion power for awhile yet. But they may still be right. Does this mean the price of gas will go down? Did all those naked old white guys in the Bohemian Grove know this was coming? Lots of questions.
‘It worried people all the time': How Trump’s handling of secret documents led to the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search
When it finally dawned on Donald Trump in the twilight of his presidency that he wouldn’t be living at the White House for another four years, he had a problem: He had barely packed and had to move out quickly.
West Wing aides and government movers frantically tossed documents and other items into banker boxes that were shipped to a storage room at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida along with other, previously packed records set aside by Trump, sometimes erratically so, according to two sources with knowledge of Trump’s move and records issues.
There, in that Mar-a-Lago room, some of the boxes contained documents with sensitive materials that the federal government appears to consider so important to national security that FBI agents Monday took the unprecedented step of executing a search warrant at the home of a former president to seize them. The records comprised 11 sets of classified documents, including some that were labeled secret and top secret, according to a property receipt from the search.
Trump’s style of handling White House documents has been described by people who worked for him as slapdash and ad hoc, contributing to the debacle he now faces. He was known to rip up records that aides would have to retrieve from trash cans or from the floor and tape back together, according to former aides and multiple reports.
Hard to believe.
State considers social equity licenses for people impacted by 'war on drugs' to get cannabis shop licenses
SEATTLE - The Washington State Liquor Cannabis Board is considering a point system that would give people convicted of a drug-related crime and did prison time - preferential treatment when applying for retail cannabis license.
If adopted, the City of Seattle will adopt the same rules and set aside $1 million dollars in grant money to help them get started.
I wonder what the CRT take is on this.
We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.
The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.
Bari nails it.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) describes itself as “the global authority that sets the environmental agenda… and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.” Through its “Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food” program launched in 2014, the UNEP advocates that nations “steer away from the prevailing focus on per hectare productivity.”
But today the world is in its worst food crisis since 2008. The number of people suffering acute food insecurity increased by 25% since January 2022 to 345 million, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. Why, then, is the UNEP trying to steer nations away from fertilizers that increase food production?
The UNEP’s Acting Director in 2019 said the reason was humankind’s “long-term interference with the Earth’s nitrogen balance.” In October of that year, the UNEP hosted a meeting in the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo and issued a “road map” to push nations to cut nitrogen pollution in half.
But the Netherlands proves that nations can slash nitrogen pollution from livestock by 70% while also increasing meat production. Same for crops. Since the early 1960s, the Netherlands has doubled its yields while using the same amount of fertilizer. While rich nations produce 70 percent higher yields than poor nations, they use just 54 percent more nitrogen.
This fertilizer stuff is crazy. I guess the idea is to save the planet millions have to starve to death? If so, let's start with UN staff. No more cappuccinos or sushi for them.
Recent census numbers spell out several critical shifts in the US population. These were evident before the pandemic but they have also been accelerated by it. Some regions are clearly ascendant, and others are fading. As the population shifts towards states in the south and the intermountain west, the political order will follow, as these places are set to gain more congressional seats and electoral-college votes for presidential elections.
The biggest population losses over the past year took place in three key states: New York, California and Illinois. Meanwhile, Florida, Texas, Arizona and South Carolina had the greatest gains. Virtually all the states with the highest economic growth, the fastest job growth and the highest fertility rates tend to lean to the GOP. These also tend to be more culturally conservative states.
Joel Kotkin could have mentioned Idaho but he did not. But I'm sure it's in his heart.
But the question remains: will the American people accept that the FBI has become the Praetorian Guard for the regime? I don’t know. I hope not. Harvey Silverglate is right: given its history of lawless behavior, “it is remarkable that no sitting president has moved to abolish the FBI.” Of course, it won’t happen on Biden’s, er, watch (or during his naps). But one way or another, the FBI must be dismantled. “We need an entirely new agency,” as Silverglate observed, “and a director who has no history of having worked in or with the FBI. Agency culture is a powerful force, and if we are to have any success in ridding the nation of this menace, we best eradicate it completely and start over.”
“Eradicate it completely and start over.” I couldn’t agree more. Will this partisan assault on a once (and possibly future) president be the Rubicon we’ve been waiting for? Let’s see.
I would say we should eliminate the FBI but somebody might be listening.
Are we on the cusp, then, of an anti-elite cultural revolution? I still wouldn’t bet on it. For obscure reasons of psychology, creative minds incline to radical politics. A kulturkampf directed from Tallahassee, Florida, or even Washington, D.C., won’t budge that reality much. The group portrait of American culture will continue to tilt left indefinitely.
But that’s not the question at hand. What terrifies elites is the loss of their cultural monopoly in the face of a foretold political disaster. They fear diversity of any kind, with good cause: to the extent that the public enjoys a variety of choices in cultural products, elite control will be proportionately diluted.
Our cultural monolith, never popular, is today pounded by crosscurrents that undermine its solidity. Alongside the vast progressive choir, quieter voices—conservative, libertarian, religious, none-of-the-above—could soon arise, leaving our culture more fractured, more divided, and more representative of the nation as a whole. If that were to occur, sullen elites will point to 2022’s springtime of discontent, and remark, with typical vehemence, that their panic was fully justified.
Martin Gurri is a former CIA analyst and the author of The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium.
Three days after the mask mandate was struck down, on April 21, Barack Obama delivered the bad news about “disinformation” to a Stanford University forum on that subject. His unacknowledged theme, too, was the crisis of elite authority, which he explained with a history lesson. The twentieth century, Obama said, may have excluded “women and people of color,” but it was a time of information sanity, when the masses gathered in the great American family room to receive the news from Walter Cronkite and laugh over I Dream of Jeannie and The Jeffersons. Those were the days when a “shared culture” could operate on a “shared set of facts.”
The digital age has battered that peaceable kingdom to bits. Obama seemed unaware of the argument he was making, but it boiled down to this: the rise of social inclusiveness has opened the door to political chaos. As in the Judge Mizelle flap, the question, asked only tacitly, was who had the authority to make projections and recommendations.
Online, everyone did. People with opinions that the former president found toxic—nationalists, white supremacists, unhinged Republicans, Vladimir Putin and his gang of Russian hackers—could say anything they wished on the Web, no matter how irresponsible, including lies. A defenseless public, sunk in ignorance, could be deceived into voting against enlightened Democrats.
Total blindness to the other side of the story is a partisan affliction that Obama makes no attempt to overcome. At Stanford, he never mentioned the most effective disinformation campaign of recent times, conducted against Trump by the Hillary Clinton campaign, in which members of his own administration participated. He simply doesn’t believe that it works that way. Disinformation, for him, is a form of lèse-majesté—any insult to the progressive ruling class.
How are we to deal with this “tumultuous, dangerous moment in history”? Obama was clear about the answer: we must recover the power to exclude certain voices, this time through regulation. The government must assume control over disorderly online speech. First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech don’t apply to private companies like Facebook and Twitter, he noted. At the same time, since these companies “play a unique role in how we . . . are consuming information,” the state must impose “accountability.” The examples he provided betray nostalgia for a lost era: the “meat inspector,” who would presumably check on how the algorithmic sausage is made; and the Fairness Doctrine, which somehow would be applied to an information universe virtually infinite in volume.
Lots of people are saying this now. Evidently they are not thinking they might be among those excluded from speaking their minds. It's very distressing. Some of us are constitutionally incapable of keeping our mouths shut and so this would put us in trouble.
A Convenience-Store Magnate, Teen Drinking and a Fatal Boat Crash: The Legal Case Shaking South Carolina - WSJ
HAMPTON, S.C.—The saga of disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh includes five deaths, millions of dollars allegedly absconded from clients and, in July, indictments accusing him of murdering his wife and son, to which he pleaded not guilty.
It also spawned a pair of explosive and potentially groundbreaking lawsuits, with one tentatively set to go to trial this fall.
The darn South Carolingians.
Even as freshmen nervously arrive on campus for the fall semester, policymakers are grappling with what they say has become an “alarming” decline in the number of high school graduates willing to invest the time and money it takes to go to college.
A little-understood backlash against higher education is driving an unprecedented decline in enrollment that experts now warn is likely to diminish people’s quality of life and the nation’s economic competitiveness, especially in places where the slide is most severe.
Friday, August 12, 2022
Of Course, the D.C. Zoo Has Its Own Police Force. (So Does the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.) - WSJ
“Folks,” the officer warned, gesturing to a painted sidewalk, “you might want to stay clear of the gray concrete.”
The subject of interest—a sometimes moody resident known as Bonnie—squatted. A long, steady stream sprayed onto the sidewalk 50 feet below. The crowd squealed upon realizing that Bonnie, an orangutan at the National Zoo, was peeing.
“That looked intentional,” the patrolman said. Could she be arrested? “No statute for that one,” he deadpanned.
It was a typical summer day for Sgt. Gaskins of the National Zoological Park Police, a 123-year-old law-enforcement agency that is a rare breed: a fully armed police department run by a zoo, complete with a fleet of squad cars, an armory and a jail cell.
A coalition of 19 Republican attorneys general says BlackRock CEO Larry Fink prioritizes left-wing political initiatives over shareholder returns and is jeopardizing the retirement of middle class workers with pensions.
Fink’s embrace of environmental, social, and governance investment policies, known as ESG, potentially runs afoul of several laws, the AGs charge in a letter sent to Fink. Instead of managing state pension funds and finding the best returns on investment, the AGs write, BlackRock uses "citizens’ assets to pressure companies to comply with international agreements" such as various climate initiatives.
Biden Administration officials asked Twitter to ban me because of my tweets questioning the Covid vaccines, even as company employees believed I had followed Twitter’s rules, internal Twitter communications reveal.
In a White House meeting in April 2021, four months before Twitter suspended my account, the company faced “one really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off from the platform,” a Twitter employee wrote.
The employee recounted the meeting discussion afterwards on Twitter’s internal Slack messaging system. The message, and others, make clear that top federal officials targeted me specifically, potentially violating my basic First Amendment right to free speech.
Does Donald Trump Have Jeffrey Epstein’s List of Clients? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Does Donald Trump have Jeffrey Epstein’s list of clients? The Deep State, Bureaucracy, Swamp, Administrative State, Military-Industrial Complex, Democrats, Media, Establishment Republicans, and crew are acting like Trump is Satan incarnate. At this point their loathing seems overwrought, to understate it. Every norm is being thrown out for a man who governed in a perfunctory way. At first, the hysteria seemed just like partisan hyperventilating. Now, the actions are shrill hysteria. Only one thing causes this kind of collective freakout in Washington, D.C.: fear.
What about Donald Trump makes these people so afraid?
This is ridiculous, isn't it?
Does a quietly unfolding fight in Florida over university accreditation teach us anything about the choices for 2024? Earlier this week, Stanley Kurtz shined a light on an under-the-surface battle between Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden that might have transformative value in higher education. DeSantis intervened when an accrediting agency tried to block a conservative from being appointed president of Florida State University:
Nancy Pelosi's son is the second largest investor in a $22million Chinese company whose senior executive was arrested in a fraud investigation, DailyMail.com can reveal, raising questions about his secretive visit to Taiwan with his mother.
As well as investing, Paul Pelosi Jr, 53, also worked for the telecoms company, Borqs Technologies, in a board or consultancy role, Securities and Exchange Commission documents show.
They've got to pass a real conflict of interest law.
All well and good. America is a free country, and Soros has every right to spend his vast fortune however he wants within the boundaries of the law, as well as to justify that spending in the public square. The same applies to those of us inhabiting lower tax brackets, who have no less a right to criticize Soros for how he’s trying to influence American public life—which, to repeat, he is very much, and by his own admission, trying to do. That extremely rich people with grand ideological designs should not be immune to criticism—indeed, that they should be subject to even more of it than the rest of us—is a pretty widely accepted view in America, especially on the political left, where the maxim “behind every great fortune lies a great crime” has long been a guiding principle. Indeed, one might go so far as to say that this lack of deference to the wealthy and the titled is one of our major distinguishing national characteristics.
Or used to be. A week after Soros published his piece in the Journal under his own name, proudly and defiantly justifying his expenditure of vast sums aimed at sparking a revolution in the administration of municipal criminal justice, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced an amendment to the $750 billion climate and tax bill aimed at stymying this agenda by providing funds for local law enforcement to keep violent criminals behind bars. The measure had no chance of passing, and when the Democrat-led Senate predictably rejected it, Rubio took to Twitter. “The democrats just blocked my effort to try & force Soros backed prosecutors to put dangerous criminals in jail,” he tweeted in complaint.
Soros is a menace.
The horror stories from Canada about pressure for “assisted suicide” choices on the disabled and those with profoundly-chronic illness rarely make news in American media outlets. That makes this report from the Associated Press eye-popping indeed. Disability advocates in Canada have leveled accusations that Canada’s nationalized health-care system has used the legalized assisted-suicide system as a vehicle for euthanasia and cost savings:
Of course they are. Why wouldn't they. This is coming to a blue state near you.
Trump derangement syndrome has a curious way of scrambling coherent thought. Witness the Democratic-media complex’s blind insistence the Justice Department raid on Donald Trump’s home is just and necessary—rather than a dangerous move for their party and the republic.
In descending on Mar-a-Lago, the department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation shifted the U.S. into the category of countries whose ruling parties use government power to investigate political rivals. No attorney general has ever signed off on a raid on a former president’s home, in what could be the groundwork for criminal charges.
We'll see. Possibly the FBI was looking for some Jan 6th coup attempt sort of thing and perhaps they've found it. Short of that, though, this will have been a big mistake. And it may be a big mistake anyway.
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department on Thursday asked a Florida judge to unseal the warrant FBI agents used to search former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home this week, along with a list of items they took from the property.
“I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in his first public remarks since Monday’s search. “The department does not take such a decision lightly.”
House Prices in San Francisco & Bay Area Experience Steep Declines from April Peak Craziness, Down Year-over-Year | Wolf Street
The median price of single-family houses in the San Francisco Bay Area peaked in April and has dropped every month since then. By July, the median price, at $1.33 million, was down by about $220,000 from the peak and by 2% year-over-year, undoing most of the huge gains in 2021 and early 2022.
In San Francisco itself, the median price of single-family houses also peaked in April – at $2.06 million, according to the California Association of Realtors. And then it sagged, and then it plunged. In July, it hit $1.68 million. Median prices are volatile from month to month, and they’re easily skewed by a change in the mix of what sold, and by other factors, so we need to be careful here. But this is nevertheless a huge plunge at the wrong time of the year.
Year-over-year, the median price in San Francisco dropped by 9% in July, the second month in a row of year-over-year declines, following the 4% year-over-year decline in June. The first time the median price hit this level was in February 2018. In this chart, the seasonal low points are generally Decembers and Januarys. The summer months tend to be in the upper part of the range – but obviously not this July. The purple line connects the Julys.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Democrats are having a great deal of trouble holding on to Hispanic voters. In 2020, running against Donald Trump for a second time, in the midst of a COVID/economic crisis and after the George Floyd summer of “racial reckoning”, Democrat Joe Biden actually did quite a bit worse among Hispanic voters than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. According to authoritative estimates from Democratic big data firm Catalist, the Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters slipped by a remarkable 16 points (two party vote) between the two elections. That doesn’t mean the Democrats lost the Hispanic vote. Far from it—they still got a solid majority of that group’s vote. But the size of their majority was whittled down considerably and appears to be falling further.
The seriousness of this problem tends to be underestimated in Democratic circles for a couple of reasons: (1) they don’t realize how big the shift has been; and (2) they don’t realize how thoroughly it undermines the most influential Democratic theory of the case for building their coalition.
On the latter, consider that most Democrats like to believe that, since a relatively conservative white, especially white working class, population is in sharp decline while a presumably liberal nonwhite population keeps growing, the course of social and demographic change should deliver an ever-growing Democratic coalition (the “rising American electorate”). It is simply a matter of getting this burgeoning nonwhite population to the polls.
But consider further that, as the Census documents, the biggest single driver of the increased nonwhite population is the growth of the Hispanic population. They are by far the largest group within the Census-designated nonwhite population (19 percent vs. 12 percent for blacks). While their representation among voters considerably lags their representation in the overall population, it is fair to say that voting trends among this group will decisively shape voting trends among nonwhites in the future since their share of voters will continue to increase while black voter share is expected to remain roughly constant.
It therefore follows that, if Hispanic voting trends continue to move steadily against the Democrats, the pro-Democratic effect of nonwhite population growth will be blunted, if not cancelled out entirely. Exactly that happened in 2020. This radically undermines the Democrats’ rising American electorate theory of the case.
Radical gender theory has made sudden inroads in America’s schools. Many parents have watched in confusion as their children repeat the movement’s slogans and adopt synthetic sexual identities such as “non-binary,” “pansexual,” and “genderqueer.” The next question for many families is: Where does this surge in left-wing sexual ideology come from? One answer: from a network of professional activists, who have smuggled university-style gender theory into more than 4,000 schools under the cover of “gender and sexuality” clubs, or GSAs.
The main national organization behind this campaign, the GSA Network, is a professionally staffed nonprofit with a multimillion-dollar annual budget. GSA Network serves as an umbrella organization for more than 4,000 “gender and sexuality alliances” across 40 states. Once called the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, the group rebranded in 2016, reflecting a new focus on “the limits of a binary gender system.” The individual chapters, which operate in elementary, middle, and high schools, often use the language of “LGBTQ inclusion” and “anti-bullying” in their public relations, but behind the scenes, the central organization is driven by pure left-wing radicalism that extends far beyond sexuality.
According to the organization’s publicly accessible materials and administrative documents, the GSA Network’s ideology follows the basic framework of radical gender theory: white European men created an oppressive system based on capitalism, white supremacy, and “heteronormativity”—that is, the promotion of heterosexuality, the male-female binary, and bourgeois family norms. In order to fight back, racial and sexual minorities must unite under the banner of “intersectionality” and dismantle the interlocking “systems of oppression.”
According to one old friend with kids still in school, a popular set of pronouns for 5th grade boys is "dem/nuts." Also mentioned was the concept of identifying as an "attack helicopter." Obviously this is unacceptable. The FBI has not yet commented on whether these young persons should be considered domestic terrorists.
The World Health Organization is urging the public not to attack monkeys amid the monkeypox outbreak, following reports that primates have been poisoned and killed in Brazil.
"What people need to know is that the transmission we are seeing is happening between humans," WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris said Tuesday at a press briefing in Geneva.
At least 10 monkeys in Brazil, a combination of marmosets and capuchins, were rescued showing signs of intoxication or having been harmed, the Brazilian news outlet G1 reported Sunday. Seven of them died and the others were being monitored at a zoo in São José do Rio Preto, in the state of São Paolo.
Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed Thursday that he “personally approved” requesting the search warrant that triggered Monday’s unprecedented raid on the Florida home of former President Donald Trump and revealed the Justice Department had asked a federal magistrate judge to unseal copies of the warrant — if Trump and his legal team do not object.
“The Department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president’s public confirmation with the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in this matter,” Garland told reporters.
Republicans and conservatives have loudly protested the Democratic plan to expand the IRS vastly, and especially its enforcement arm, with an infusion of $80 billion included in the misleadingly named Inflation Reduction Act. The $80 billion is, by many accounts, far more than the IRS needs, and Republicans are suspicious about how it will be spent. Last year, the Treasury Department said the money would be used to hire 86,852 new IRS employees over the next 10 years, the largest group of them assigned to auditing Americans' tax returns.
So the GOP reaction was quick. Eighty-seven thousand new IRS agents! They're coming for you! Now, Biden administration officials are pushing back, although it is not clear whether they will allay any fears.
The administration and Democrats in Congress maintain that increased IRS enforcement will only target "wealthy tax cheats." That's the phrase they like to use — "wealthy tax cheats." Sometimes they define "wealthy" as those making more than $400,000 a year, a group that runs from reasonably successful doctors, on the lower end of the scale, all the way up to Jeff Bezos. Sometimes Democrats say they're really targeting "millionaires and billionaires," a phrase made famous by the millionaire Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Well, I'm not worried. No sir-ee. Not one bit.
In Connecticut, the state that launched the Bush family and its brand of compassionate conservatism, a fiery Senate contender who promoted Trump’s election lies upset the state GOP’s endorsed candidate. Meanwhile in Washington, Republicans ranging from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene defended Trump against an unprecedented FBI search.
And that was just this week.
The rapid developments crystalized the former president’s singular status atop a party he has spent the past seven years breaking down and rebuilding in his image. Facing mounting legal vulnerabilities and considering another presidential run, he needs support from the party to maintain his political career. But, whether they like it or not, many in the party also need Trump, whose endorsement has proven crucial for those seeking to advance to the November ballot.
Maybe this was the idea all along? Promote Trump by raiding his palace, thus solidify him with his base? There's nothing to support this view that I know, except cui bono.
Some are preparing for the worst. Odesa endured a 10-week German and Romanian siege during the Second World War, then a three-year occupation; the current mayor, Gennadiy Trukhanov, told me that the city is now filling warehouses with food and medicine, in case history repeats itself. On July 11, Ukrainian security services caught a Russian spy scouting potential targets in the city. On July 23, Russian bombs hit the Odesa docks, despite an agreement reached just the previous day to restart grain exports. The beautiful waterfront, where the Potemkin Stairs lead down to the Black Sea, remains blocked by a maze of concrete barriers and barbed wire. Russian-occupied Kherson, where you can be interrogated just for speaking Ukrainian, is just a few hours’ drive away.
I'd really like to go to Odessa. My son Luke says it's a beautiful city with lots of great food. Like in restaurants, not warehouses.
The reference to “consequences” reads like a warning to dissenters, especially given that concepts such as “equity”, “anti-racism”, and “social justice” often simply connote adherence to progressive political views. Thanks to the ubiquity of Ibram X. Kendi’s work, many American professionals are primed to point out that anti-racism, far from merely being “not racist”, entails embracing “race conscious” policies, coupled with the belief that any disparity is by definition racism.
With official DEI requirements for promotion and tenure on the rise, Kendian “anti-racism” has come closer to a formal requirement for many in academia. In its 2022 survey of tenure practices, the American Association of University Professors found that 21.5% of the institutions it surveyed had DEI criteria in their tenure standards. For larger institutions, it was 45.6%.As diversity officers increase, so too will their preferred policies.
Unfortunately, the diversity statements can easily stamp out dissenting viewpoints. At UC Berkeley, for example, job candidates will receive a low scores on their diversity statements for “explicitly state[ing] the intention to ignore the varying backgrounds of their students and ‘treat everyone the same’”, and a high score for “Discuss[ing] diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as core values that every faculty member should actively contribute to.” Institutions from Emory University to the Texas Tech University Department of Biological Sciences have adapted the UC rubric, proudly policing the core values of faculty.
DEI requirements for promotion and tenure often come in the form of evaluation criteria, rather than required statements. The California Community Colleges (CCC) system — the largest system of higher education in America, serving almost two million students — recently mandated that all faculty, staff, and administrator evaluations “include DEIA [diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility] competencies and criteria as a minimum standard for evaluating the performance of all employees.”