Several committee staff members were floored earlier this month when they were told that a draft report would focus almost entirely on Trump and the work of the committee’s Gold Team, excluding reams of other investigative work.
Thursday, December 1, 2022
SHANGHAI — On Saturday night, the center of Shanghai was teeming with young people in bars drinking and watching the World Cup on wide-screen televisions. They were rooting for Argentina, which was facing off against Mexico. (The Chinese love Lionel Messi, Argentina’s star striker.)
Then, something happened.
The message started to spread—mostly on Wechat, China’s No. 1 chat app—that a few people were gathering and lighting candles on Urumqi Road, in the French Concession, which is full of high-end bakeries and eateries and Shanghai’s famous, three-story lane houses.
Urumqi Road takes its name from the capital of Xinjiang, where, two days before, at least 10 people had died in a fire in an apartment building. All of the dead were Uyghurs.
The central government in Beijing would prefer the Chinese people forget the Uyghurs exist. More than a million Uyghurs in Xinjiang have been confined to so-called re-education camps; there have been forced sterilizations, forced labor, the forced teaching of Mandarin and the forced pledges of loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. The fire seemed like an unintended consequence of the central government’s policy, and it had been blamed, in part, on the regime’s zero Covid policy and its overzealous enforcement in Xinjiang. For 48 hours, an outcry had been building online, and now it was threatening to spring into real life.
In China, real-life demonstrations are okay if they’re not explicitly political. Workers protest against unpaid wages. Residents protest pollution coming from nearby power plants. But people don’t protest or march or get angry about whatever the president or party is doing.
Sadly, I believe this will end with Xi and the CCP cracking down hard on the demonstrators. In the short run, tyranny works. The PRC is the world's largest penal colony.
Europe Shows a Clear Link Between Immigration and Crime -- Like the One the U.S. Seriously Downplays | RealClearInvestigations
But Sweden’s crime spike is not an anomaly in Europe, as homicides have risen during the last decade across the European Union, from Hungary and Germany to Denmark and Finland. An analysis of EU and United Nations crime data by RealClearInvestigations shows that, as in Sweden, the broader crime wave is strongly correlated with immigration.
“The country-level data for EU countries keeps track of immigration data that allows you to look at many different places over time in a way that we simply aren’t able to do looking across U.S. states,” said Carl Moody, an economics professor at William & Mary College who specializes in criminology.
Criminal justice experts say that the precision offered by European data may provide guideposts to the United States as it grapples with a host of pathologies ranging from rising violent crime and mass shootings to social disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. Europe’s experience suggests one avenue of inquiry for policy makers and criminal justice experts is crime directly tied to immigration and drug-trafficking across the porous U.S.-Mexico border.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew out of New Orleans headed to the spot—and “hoisted the man onto the helicopter,” VanderWeit said.
And he was responsive, USCG Petty Officer Ryan Graves said.
“He was able to identify his name, confirmed that he was the individual that fell overboard,” Gross told CNN’s Boris Sanchez on Friday afternoon. “He was showing signs of hypothermia, shock, dehydration” but could walk and communicate.
He “gave no really no clear indication of why he fell overboard or what time specifically,” he added.
“The fact that he was able to keep himself afloat and above the surface of the water for such an extended period of time, it’s just something you can’t take for granted and certainly something that’ll stick with me forever,” Gross said.
Rescuers haven’t been able to determine exactly how long he was in the water, Gross told “CNN This Morning”—but it could have been more than 15 hours.
If it was that long, it’s “the absolute longest that I’ve heard about—and just one of those Thanksgiving miracles,” he said.
Maybe don't bend out over the rail to see how pretty the wake is when you're three sheets to the wind, if something like that happened. Then you won't need a miracle.
The evidence that scientific and technological progress has ground to a halt is mixed. When it comes to communications technology, and especially its application to the sharing and processing of information via personal computers, it’s hard to deny that advances have been impressive over the past several decades. Yet Thiel and others point out that when we lift our gaze from our phones and related consumer products to the wider vistas of human endeavor—breakthroughs in medicine, the development of new energy sources, advances in the speed and ease of transportation, and the exploration of space—progress has indeed slowed to a crawl. As Thiel put it two years ago in a favorable review of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat’s book about the phenomenon, the present looks and feels pretty much the same as 1969, only “with faster computers and uglier cars.”
If such views are commonplace in Silicon Valley, Thiel’s approach to the problem is distinctive in that he sees the shortfall as evidence of a deeper and more profound moral, aesthetic, and even theological failure. Human beings are capable of great creativity and invention, and we once aspired to achieve it in every realm. But now that aspiration has been smothered by layer upon layer of regulation and risk-aversion. “Legal sclerosis,” Thiel claimed in that same book review, “is likely a bigger obstacle to the adoption of flying cars than any engineering problem.”
Thiel’s diagnosis differs from standard-issue libertarianism in denying that it’s enough merely to roll back constraints on individual initiative, as if ambition and creativity would be instantly unleashed as soon as Big Government stopped riding our backs (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural address). Progress in science and technology isn’t innate to human beings, Thiel believes. It’s an expression of a specific cultural or civilizational impulse that has its roots in Christianity and reached a high point during the Victorian era of Western imperialism. As Thiel put it last summer in a wide-ranging interview with the British website UnHerd, the Christian world “felt very expansive, both in terms of the literal empire and also in terms of the progress of knowledge, of science, of technology, and somehow that was naturally consonant with a certain Christian eschatology—a Christian vision of history.”
In Thiel’s view, recapturing civilizational greatness through scientific and technological achievement requires fostering a revival of a kind of Christian Prometheanism (a monotheistic variation on the rebellious creativity and innovation pursued by the demigod Prometheus in ancient Greek mythology). This is the subject of a remarkable short essay Thiel published in First Things magazine in 2015. Against those who portray modern scientific and technological progress as a rebellion against medieval Christianity, Thiel insists it is Christianity that encourages a metaphysical optimism about transforming and perfecting the world, with the ultimate goal of turning it into “a place where no accidents can happen” and the achievement of “personal immortality” becomes possible. All that’s required to reach this transhuman end is that we “remain open to an eschatological frame in which God works through us in building the kingdom of heaven today, here on Earth—in which the kingdom of heaven is both a future reality and something partially achievable in the present.”
This seems pretty nutty to me, but I agree that outside of information tech, we seem to have slowed down a lot.
KS Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall resigns teaching position over free speech issues - The Sentinel
Just over a month after an associate dean at the University of Kansas School of Law labeled a speech that had yet to be given “hate speech,” Justice Caleb Stegall resigned from his teaching position at KU Law over the controversy.
On Oct. 19, the KU student chapter of the Federalist Society invited Jordan Lorence, the senior counsel and director of strategic engagement at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), to speak to KU Law students about the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
Associate Dean Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Leah Terranova fired off an email to the entire staff and student body of the law school, decrying the talk as “hate speech” 90 minutes before the start of Lorence’s talk.
On November 25, Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall, who has been teaching appellate advocacy at KU Law as a member of the adjunct faculty, submitted a scathing, six-page resignation letter to Dean Stephen Mazza, head of the law school.
Stegall wrote that he had sensed “a dampening of the spirit of open inquiry I have so loved and benefited from at KU Law. A spirit that — going all the way back to my days as a law student — always existed within Green Hall. But events this fall have brought an unwelcome clarity to what before was only a vague and foreboding feeling. So I write to let you know that, as a result, I will not be renewing my teaching relationship with KU Law next fall.”
The denunciation by the Associate Dean of the FedSoc guest's speech as hate speech, 90 minutes before the speech was given, is a nice touch. Did she really need to listen to the speech to know it was hate speech? Of course not. Saves a bit of time for everyone. I feel Justice Stegall's pain.
“Welcome Consequences”: Hogan Lovells Fires Partner for Voicing Her Views on the Dobbs Decision – JONATHAN TURLEY
In a column in the Wall Street Journal, Robin Keller, a partner at Hogan Lovells, wrote about being fired from the firm after a distinguished career of 44 years. Keller was not fired for intermingling funds or violating confidentiality of clients. She was fired because she exercised free speech in an internal meeting on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. After Keller expressed her support for the opinion and concern about higher rates of abortions in the black community, a participant complained that she could not breathe and others called her a racist. She was later suspended and reportedly fired.
What is striking about this controversy is that there is not a great deal of disagreement on what was said at the meeting. Take Above the Law, which Keller references in her column. The site has become one of the most vocal anti-free speech sites on the Internet. It recently even defended the virtual elimination of conservative and libertarian faculty at universities as commendable.
In a column entitled “White Counsel At Biglaw Firm Spreads ‘Inappropriate And Offensive’ Theories About Abortion, Gets Suspended,” Kathryn Rubino celebrated the “welcome consequences” for people who share dissenting or unpopular views on such subjects. Rubino expressed disbelief that “a white partner who attended HoLove’s women’s meeting felt it appropriate to chime in with her support of the Dobbs decision.”
Lawyers at the firm demanded the firing of Keller and said that they were “traumatized” by having to hear someone defend the decision on a call to allow people to discuss the decision.
Let’s repeat that again . . . these are lawyers who were traumatized because a colleague expressed a dissenting view of abortion, a view held by millions of other Americans as well as many judges and justices. It is a view that has been expressed widely in the media, including by African-American and female commentators.
I can understand how such arguments can insult or enrage others. Pro-life lawyers can also be deeply offended on the other side by pro-choice arguments. Abortion is an area that has torn apart this country for generations. The addition of race only magnifies the passion and anger in such discussions. However, this is an area that raises difficult constitutional, social, racial, economic, and gender issues.
Yet, rather than engage Keller on why they believe that she is wrong, these lawyers asked her to leave the call and then pushed for her to be fired for expressing her views. As we have seen on college campuses, it has become commonplace to seek to silence others rather than to engage them in such debates.
The Nazis used the word Gleichschaltung for the process of successively establishing a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society and societies occupied by Nazi Germany. It has been variously translated as "coordination", "Nazification of state and society", "synchronization'", and "bringing into line", but English texts often use the untranslated German word to convey its unique historical meaning. In their seminal work on National Socialist vernacular, Nazi-Deutsch/Nazi-German: An English Lexicon of the Language of the Third Reich, historians Robert Michael and Karin Doerr define Gleichschaltung as: "Consolidation. All of the German Volk’s social, political, and cultural organizations to be controlled and run according to Nazi ideology and policy. All opposition to be eliminated."
In China, authoritarians flood Twitter with ads for prostitutes and pornography in an effort to prevent users from obtaining information about protests. Authoritarians in the United States threaten to remove Twitter from more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide.
“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store,” Elon Musk tweeted, “but won’t tell us why.”
The powerful few want to impede the free flow of information to the vulnerable many. Suppression strikes intelligent observers as not a Chinese thing but a fetish of the powerful in whatever nation they reside. It appears cruder and more thuggish in China, and more passive-aggressive and sophisticated in the United States. But whether the state or a monopoly suppresses expression, does the crushing effect of it on a free society really differ?
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke of “monitoring” and “keeping a close eye” on Twitter (big sister is watching!), which, she claims, bears a responsibility to “take action” against “misinformation” and “hate.”
Does not the federal government bear a responsibility to ensure that the United States remains a free society?
Unless you read The Daily Mail, which is an English paper published online, you probably didn't know that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent tanks into a major city last night in order to put down protests against his rule. Virtually no American media outlets even acknowledge that that happened, and that's pretty weird if you think about it. Imagine, for example, that Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán put tanks into Budapest to crush his political opponents. Would our media notice? Oh, yeah, they would. It'd be on the front page of The New York Times. "Morning Joe" would lead with it, and keep in mind that Hungary is a very small country. It's got a GDP smaller than South Dakota's.
China, by profound contrast, has the biggest economy in the world. China is our main global rival. It's a highly significant place and yet somehow no one in any newsroom in America noticed when Xi Jinping decided to replay Tiananmen Square. They didn't see it, even though the pictures were on the internet. How is that possible? Could it be that the American news media is covering for the government of China? We can't say. We’ll let you make the call on that.
We can say, we know for a fact, that Apple is covering for the government of China. Apple is the most valuable company in the world. It's got a current market cap of trillions of dollars. Financial listings describe Apple as an American company. You can see why they do. Apple is headquartered in the United States. It was founded by Americans. To this day, it's run by an American citizen, but those facts don't tell the story. In fact, at this point, Apple is in no sense American. Apple's loyalty is to the government of China and if you think that's an overstatement, consider this.
china protests: With intimidation and surveillance, China tries to snuff out protests - The Economic Times
Reacting to China’s boldest and most widespread protests in decades, the security apparatus built by Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is mobilizing on multiple fronts to quash dissent, drawing on its decades-old tool kit of repression and surveillance.
In a meeting of the party’s top security leaders, reported in state media Tuesday, officials were ordered to “resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order.” And by evening, the demonstrations already appeared to be smaller and more scattered, with new videos emerging on social media — the main channel for news of the protests to reach a wider audience — showing mainly groups of residents in several different locked-down developments demanding to be freed.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
The term fascism is being thrown around with abandon today, mainly as an epithet for denigrating political enemies as supporters of political strongmen, intolerance, and white supremacy. However, fascism is more than the petty authoritarianism of the popular narratives. It’s one of the three great ‘systems of governance’ that battled for supremacy during the 20th Century (along with democratic capitalism and communism). We all know how that contest played out, but few truly understand why fascism was a ‘great system’ and why it took a world war to eliminate it.
Fascism became a great system and a threat to the world because of a Gleichschaltung. When the Nazis seized power in a state of emergency, the first thing they did was pass three laws instituting Gleichschaltung. Nominally, those laws focused on getting the entire population into alignment (coordination/facing the same direction) with Nazi ideology. In practice, it found more purchase in focusing people on existential threats to the nation, both internal and external.
Twitter is the only major corporation in the networked world that hasn’t aligned itself with the network #swarm, and as such, the company is now at war with the rest of the corporations in the network. Here are some highlights of recent corporate actions against Twitter (and hints of what’s to come):
- More than half of the big advertisers have suspended (some permanently) their spending on Twitter. Furthermore, Apple has threatened to disconnect Twitter from its app store (if they act, Google will be quick to follow), halting Twitter’s growth. Extreme limitations on Twitter’s access to user information will follow (this limitation is how Apple and Google destroyed Facebook as a competitor).
- Financiers and payment processors will be pressured to disconnect Twitter from sources of financing and the ability to charge for services. We can already see pressure on Elon’s wealth — the #swarm’s badge of financial alignment, something called ESG (environmental, social, and governance), was withdrawn from Tesla to damage its stock price.
- #Swarm-aligned politicians and government bureaucrats have begun investigating Elon’s companies and personal actions (Tesla, crypto, the Twitter acquisition FTC/SEC, etc.). The goals are costly fines or new restrictions on Elon’s ability to act.
That changed on Nov. 9, when Apple released a new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 16.1.1, to customers worldwide. Rather than listing new features, as it often does, the company simply said, “This update includes bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.”
Hidden in the update was a change that only applies to iPhones sold in mainland China: AirDrop can only be set to receive messages from everyone for 10 minutes, before switching off. There’s no longer a way to keep the “everyone” setting on permanently on Chinese iPhones. The change, first noticed by Chinese readers of 9to5Mac, doesn’t apply anywhere else.
AirDrop has been an effective communication tool for protestors in Hong Kong, as Quartz previously documented. It’s been used to communicate with other protestors, reach passersby, and spread messages to tourists from mainland China visiting Hong Kong. On the mainland, protestors have also AirDropped protest literature, particularly on college campuses where some of the current protests have broken out. China’s control of the internet has become so strong that dissidents must cling to any crack in the so-called Great Firewall.
That darn Apple.
Giving Twitter the boot over ambiguous standards would closely resemble the company’s decision to strip Parler, a pre-Musk free speech alternative to Twitter, from the Apple app store last year. Days after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Apple colluded with other tech conglomerates to take Parler offline. Apple and Google barred Parler from being downloaded on their devices while Amazon stripped the platform from its web hosting services.
As nationwide protests broke out in China over the weekend threatening to undermine the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under President Xi Jinping, Quartz revealed that Apple plugged a crack in the regime’s “Great Firewall” that dissidents exploited to communicate. Apple’s latest iOS update released in November placed new restrictions on “AirDrop,” a file-sharing feature on iPhones that allows users to share files directly from one phone to another (and consequently under the nose of government monitors). The update erased unlimited use for Chinese users only.
Monday, November 28, 2022
Clean up is underway at the House of Mouse as latest woke Disney movie bombs at the box office – HotAir
The increasingly woke culture at Disney was creating harm to the company’s bottom line. Get woke, go broke. Disney primarily provides family entertainment. Iger’s time at the top was highly successful for him and for Disney. He was the chief executive who oversaw Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox. There was talk of a possible presidential run among Democrats when he retired, or maybe buying an NBA team. Now he is tasked with fixing what isn’t working and that includes finding a good replacement for him when his contract is over. The first time around with that decision didn’t work out so well for anyone.
Iger has gone right to work and some major shake-ups in personnel are underway. Iger is a liberal Democrat who is not afraid to voice a political opinion yet it seems that Chapek’s great downfall was in communication. Iger crouched political opinions as speaking out in the name of right versus wrong, as opposed to simply delivering a political hot take, as happened when Chapek found himself caught up in the battle with Governor DeSantis over The Parental Rights in Education Act. Democrats falsely nicknamed the bill the Don’t Say Gay Bill, though the word ‘gay’ never appears in it. At the time, Chapek initially stayed out of the ruckus and Iger publicly chastised him for doing so. Then Chapek jumped into the battle and the rest is history. It turns out that parents don’t like to be dictated to by a special interests group like LGTBQ activists. Families are a big part of Disney’s business model. What could possibly go wrong with a CEO taking the side of cultural activists over the company’s prime audience?
BEIJING—Protests are erupting in major cities in China over President Xi Jinping’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, an unusual show of defiance in the country as the economic and social costs from snap lockdowns and other strict restrictions escalate.
Demonstrations occurred throughout the weekend in both Beijing and Shanghai. According to eyewitness accounts, there were also protests in the eastern city of Nanjing and in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic. Video footage and photos circulating on social media, which The Wall Street Journal wasn’t able to independently verify, suggest protests broke out in several other cities, including Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.
The court system often is where humor goes to die. For those seeking to use satire or parody of corporations, jokes often run into trademark or other lawsuits and result in a little more than “ha, ha, thump.”
The same bad audience could await the defendant in Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc. v. VIP Products LLC. The Supreme Court just accepted a case involving a tongue-in-cheek dog chew toy made to resemble a Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle. VIP prevailed in defending the toy as protected speech, but the distiller wants the Supreme Court to declare such parodies to be trademark violations.
The docket this term is actually a hoot of parody cases.
Another pending case is Novak v. City of Parma, in which Anthony Novak was prosecuted for posting a parody of the website of his local police department. He was charged with (and later acquitted of) a felony under an Ohio law prohibiting the use of a computer to “disrupt” or “interrupt” police functions.
Paedo chic is one of the most worrying trends of our time. We seem to be witnessing a surge in the paedophilic sensibility. No, this is not to say that anyone at Balenciaga is a paedophile, or that a parent is a child abuser if he lets his kid hang out with braless ‘transwomen’ at those bacchanalian orgies of self-regard mixed with self-pity that Pride gatherings have become. But it does feel like the paedophilic imagination, the view of children either as sexual beings or as fit for being exposed to sexual beings, is having a resurgence. And we need to talk about that.
Public protests in China related to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions have hit the news worldwide over the weekend, following a fatal apartment fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang last week which killed ten people.
Many internet users claimed some residents could not escape because the apartment building was partially locked down, though authorities denied this.
There have been reports some demonstrators have called for President Xi Jinping, the newly re-elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, to stand down. Others have criticized the rule of the party itself.
China’s Covid measures are among the strictest in the world, as it continues to pursue lockdowns to suppress the virus – what it calls a “dynamic zero Covid” policy.
While these protests are certainly serious challenges to authority, they should be kept in perspective. In particular, there’s no real parallel to those in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
These are street protests where the demonstrators disperse after marching and protesting, and the main focus of the protests are the Covid restrictions rather than wider political principles.
The main issue here is frustration not just with Covid restrictions but
Saturday, November 26, 2022
The scale of Zuckerberg’s wager has not prevented it from seeming utterly ridiculous to the many tech reporters and Twitter commenters who have mocked the Metaverse’s schlocky sci-fi branding and sloppy execution. “‘Mark Has Surrounded Himself with Sycophants’: Zuckerberg’s big bet on the Metaverse is backfiring,” read the headline of a Vanity Fair article published earlier this month. Yet despite a rocky start and months of bad media coverage, Meta might still succeed by providing consumers with a virtual reality experience that—whatever its pitfalls—delivers a much-needed upgrade to the current architecture of the internet.
On the other hand, given that Meta’s current business model is based on collecting as much user data as possible and then selling that data to third parties, it is possible that a successful Metaverse would plunge billions of users deeper into a dystopian hellscape where the dazzling simulations of the virtual world transform ever more aspects of human experience into profitable data sources.
While Orfalea’s videos do not explicitly criticize the politicians or talking heads they represent, this has not stopped YouTube from demonetizing certain videos it deems hostile to the establishment-backed narrative of the day.
In the comment section of the Wuhan lab leak video, Orfalea tells viewers, “This video is of course demonetized without explanation. Follow me on Rumble!”
But Orfalea is no stranger to censorship. During the 2016 election, he created a video that revealed PBS News’s selective editing of an interview with then-Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Of particular note was PBS’s censoring of Stein’s entire criticism of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton and Clinton’s support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Within 24 hours of publishing his video on Facebook, Orfalea said, it was deleted with no explanation. The YouTuber also said last year that he has been censored for publishing the same content as corporate media outlets as well as drawing attention to the comments of a disgruntled Netflix employee.
But in the wake of the 2022 midterms and YouTube’s recent crackdown on election-related “misinformation,” Orfalea has once again found himself in the popular video platform’s crosshairs.
YouTube is evil.
No American has been more revered by the media in the COVID era than Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Since early 2020, TV and print profiles have deluged Fauci with endless adulation, spurring the sale of Fauci votive candles, Fauci bobbleheads and #trustFauci Twitter hashtags. But Wednesday, Fauci’s mind vanished.
Or at least that’s what he claimed. A federal judge compelled Fauci to answer questions from lawyers suing toreveal the role of “dozens of federal officials across at least 11 federal agencies “ to suppress “disfavored speakers, viewpoints and content on social-media platforms.” That lawsuit is exposing how Biden’s war on disinformation is demolishing Americans’ freedom of speech.
Fauci was deposed on Wednesday by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. Landry labeled Fauci the “man who single-handedly wrecked the US economy based upon ‘the science, follow the science.’” But “over the course of seven hours, we discovered that he can’t recall practically anything dealing with his COVID response,” Landry said.
So Fauci is “omniscient except during depositions”?
Missouri Attorney General Schmitt said the deposition revealed: “When Fauci speaks — social media censors.“ The lawsuit will continue to expose federal shenanigans with perhaps the biggest bombshells still to come.
The only thing I can think of is a much more robust federal system in which states can stand up to the Feds when they try to impose whatever is coming next.
Food for thought. YouTube is restricting it of course. Age restricted for what I cannot imagine. Perhaps they don't want youngsters to be scared by the dystopia portrayed. I guess some of the pictures are scary. There's a fair amount of anti-fossil fuel nonsense about a third of the way through you can safely fast forward through. It's the CBDC stuff starting about half way that bears thinking about.
Central bank digital currencies linked to social credit scores are legit scary.
Friday, November 25, 2022
Indeed, SBF is still benefitting from some kinder-than-expected coverage from the mainstream media, even in the wake of the revelations about his fraudulent activities—and even from outlets that did not receive his largesse. The New York Times' report on this disaster uses soft, passive language to disguise blame at every turn. This is the outlet that treats nearly every development in the tech sector as an existential threat to democracy, yet its summation lets SBF write his own verdict. Expanded too fast? Failed to see warning signs? He defrauded people out of millions of dollars! The empire didn't collapse of its own accord; it collapsed because its foundations were fraudulent.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post's reporting on this subject has centered on SBF's "pandemic prevention" spending. "Before FTX collapse, founder poured millions into pandemic prevention," writes the paper. "Most of those initiatives have come to a sudden halt."
Neither The New York Times nor The Washington Post were among SBF's beneficiaries, but it is striking how gingerly they have treated him thus far. These are both outlets that have sounded quasi-apocalyptic notes about how tech companies like Facebook and Twitter are ruining journalism, promoting misinformation, and undermining democracy. One hopes they wouldn't treat Bankman-Fried with kid gloves out of admiration for his philanthropy.
Potentially left on the cutting room floor, or relegated to an appendix, were many revelations from the Blue Team — the group that dug into the law enforcement and intelligence community’s failure to assess the looming threat and prepare for the well-forecast attack on the Capitol. The proposed report would also cut back on much of the work of the Green Team, which looked at financing for the Jan. 6 attack, and the Purple Team, which examined militia groups and extremism.
“We all came from prestigious jobs, dropping what we were doing because we were told this would be an important fact-finding investigation that would inform the public,” said one former committee staffer. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”
It was all about politics all along!
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Dr. Scott Atlas On Fauci Legacy: Used Children As Shields, Created Psychological Damage & Destroyed Trust In Public Health | Video | RealClearPolitics
"You have to decide if it is appropriate to take an experimental drug if you have low risk of serious illness, particularly children," Atlas said. "In fact, anyone who recommends that children, healthy children should get the vaccine, an experimental drug, injected into them, there's a question about medical ethics there. Are we as a society going to go down the pathway of even if you believe that it stops the spread of infection, which would be contrary to science, are we going to use our children as shields for infections? This is really uncharted territory for what's supposed to be a civilized society."
The ugly shout-down of Coulter raises a question with implications that reach beyond Cornell’s storied campus, or even the Ivy League. Many university leaders talk about preserving the values of free speech and open inquiry, as Pollack does. But do they have the spine to punish students when they violate those standards?
Pollack’s recent comments about the event do not inspire confidence. While she said she is “disgusted by the behavior of these students” and noted they “were warned,” she promised only that “the students will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. They will decide what the punishments are.” President Pollack should be taking the lead; instead, she’s deflecting responsibility.
Cornell had previously resolved to allow the event to take place despite a petition demanding Ann Coulter be disinvited. Whether one agrees with Ms. Coulter or not, she, and the students who invited her, had a right to engage in the civil exchange of ideas. Any university worthy of the name ought to resist becoming an echo chamber for like-minded ideologues. Instead, it must be a sanctuary where challenging ideas can find a hearing.
Cornell has been hashing over free speech since I graduated those perhaps Ivy halls in 1979. Seems they would have figured it out by now.
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Customers of beleaguered crypto exchange FTX are losing hope they will ever see their money again.
The company’s massive financial problems began spilling into the open early this month, and FTX was quick to halt withdrawals from its international unit. American customers had hoped they might be luckier, but many of them haven’t been able to get their money out either.
“My blood is boiling,” said Matthew Way, a fundraiser for an Illinois orchestra who has about $1,800 stuck at FTX.
Where the money could be—and whether it will ever arrive—is anyone’s guess. FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11. John J. Ray, the company’s new CEO who also unwound Enron, said in a court filing Thursday that “only a fraction” of FTX’s digital assets have been located and secured. Determining how much cash is left has been difficult too, according to the bankruptcy filings, since FTX didn’t keep an accurate list of its bank accounts.
There's a Greek letter for a really, really tiny number, but I forget what it is.
It was hardly the first time U.S. special climate envoy John F. Kerry, 78, has been tripped up in trying to exert U.S. environmental leadership. The former secretary of state is the face of the U.S. government’s response to climate change, but his résumé of accomplishments is mixed. The nations of the world lag far behind on the pledges they had promised under the Paris accords he helped broker in 2015, and activists and some national leaders say they are becoming disillusioned with the COP summits and America’s inability to deliver on its promises.
Such is the dichotomy Kerry confronts. He is a rock star in climate diplomacy, but he is tethered to the vagaries of U.S. and global politics. That has left many to wonder why his charm and influence cannot marshal a more effective response in the world’s capitals, including his own.
And as his Gulfstream arcs off into the Egyptian sunset, we bid a fond adieu to Ambassador Kerry, who like the Pharaohs of old, will loom large in our collective mythology.
Carjacker busted after he shows up for accomplice's court date and people recognize his face tattoos: prosecutors - CWB Chicago
Chicago — Prosecutors have charged a five-time felon with armed carjacking after he allegedly showed up in court to support one of his accomplices and authorities recognized him by his facial tattoos.
Fabian Alonzo, who has said he prefers to target Hispanic people because they are less likely to cooperate with authorities if they’re in the country illegally, also committed an armed robbery outside a Wicker Park Mexican restaurant shortly before the hijacking, prosecutors said.
Around 3:40 a.m. on September 18, Alonzo and three accomplices committed an armed robbery outside El Mexico Moderno, 1247 North Ashland, prosecutors said during a bail hearing Sunday. Alonzo’s facial tattoos are allegedly visible in video of the robbery because a t-shirt that he wore over his face fell during the hold-up.
The old facial tattoo trick.
A federal magistrate judge in Virginia openly scoffed Friday at White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s efforts to escape a deposition in a suit over alleged pressure on social media firms to censor posts on topics like Covid-19 vaccines and election fraud.
But even after roundly rejecting and even ridiculing arguments Psaki’s attorneys and the Justice Department presented against forcing her to testify, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis ruled that the issue of Psaki’s testimony be sent to Louisiana to be resolved by the federal judge overseeing the case filed in May by the states of Louisiana and Missouri. That suit alleges that President Joe Biden and his appointees are violating the First Amendment by urging Facebook, Twitter and other firms to limit access to posts on controversial subjects.
"[T]o limit access to posts on controversial subjects"? Seems like Politico is being deliberately obscure on this point.
Pollack said she did not “have a good answer to the question of what will deter [disruptions] in the future,” but the topic was discussed with cabinet members.
“It’s something I think we need to continue to discuss as a community,” she said. “I think it’s going to take community pressure. I think it’s going to take a real lot of talking about why we have to have free speech.”
Rodge Reschini, a The Cornell Review writer, told Campus Reform that Pollack’s comments were “encouraging” because of her “willingness to speak to this issue in public.”
“Cornell could have swept the incident under the rug, but it seems the administration is actually interested in the improvement of the campus climate regarding free speech,” he said.
The students who disrupted Coulter's speech should be suspended or expelled. And we could do without the virtue-signaling from President Pollack.
Iran protests: Covert testimonies reveal sexual assaults on male and female activists as a women-led uprising spreads
Fear of indiscriminate arrest has made many reluctant to risk the journey. Some of the few who cross say the noose is tightening: protesters gunned down, curfews in the border villages and nighttime raids on homes.
In hushed tones, they speak of female protesters in particular, and the horrors they say some have endured in Iran’s notorious detention facilities.
Iran’s government has closed the country off to non-accredited foreign journalists, regularly shuts down the internet and suppresses dissidents' voices with mass arrests. An extreme climate of fear prevails in Iran as the crackdown intensifies.
One Kurdish-Iranian woman, whom CNN is calling Hana for her safety, says she both witnessed and suffered sexual violence while detained. “There were girls who were sexually assaulted and then transferred to other cities,” she said. “They are scared to talk about these things.”
It turns out that there is a surefire cure for Down’s Syndrome: death. If somebody is dead then genetic abnormalities are no longer an issue. And this is the desired result for a vast majority of people who are both pro-choice and…what, exactly? Pro…death for inconvenient people?
I have written before about how many on the Left are death worshippers, or eugenicists, or proponents of euthanasia. Canada is all in on Medical Assistance in Dying. However you want to characterize it, there is a substantial fraction of the Left who are still tied to the eugenicist roots of progressivism.
This is most obvious in how the Left treats the most vulnerable in society, and there are few human beings more vulnerable than pre-born babies with genetic abnormalities.
In many Western countries these children are targeted by Leftists for elimination. For, not to put too fine a point on it, extermination. And children with Down’s Syndrome there is no hiding the impact. The goal is full on elimination.
A skinned pet dog found dead last month and the grisly murders of four University of Idaho students are not connected, local authorities clarified Monday.
“Detectives are aware of a Latah County Sheriff’s Office incident of the report of a skinned dog and have determined it is unrelated to this incident,” the city of Moscow Police Department said in a press release.
The police department’s statement comes after news reports about the 12-year-old mini Australian shepherd death in the community on Oct. 21 that led locals to wonder if it was tied to the quadruple homicide.
Well, is this good news or bad?
Hallelujah: The Pennsylvania state House of Representative has impeached woke Philly DA Larry Krasner. Krasner still faces a trial in the Senate, but the impeachment itself is an important blow struck for public safety.
It’s also one more sign of rising anger across the nation over prosecutors who don’t even pretend to want to fight crime.
Philly is in the midst of a crime crisis. It had 499 murders in 2020, 562 homicides in 2021 — a grim record — and 2022 is on pace to be even worse. The ugly numbers represent a staggering 57% increase over the same period pre-pandemic.
Krasner’s soft-on-crime policies are the driving force. Murders have gone up every year Krasner has been in office. Other offenses — like shootings and carjackings — are also skyrocketing. He’s gone so far as to create a special unit to make sure that 18- to 25-year-old offenders (i.e. one of the main age groups committing crimes) will get lenient treatment, not prison or other criminal punishments.
Krasner’s responded to the impeachment effort with the standard lefty retort: The move “shows how far toward fascism the Republican Party is creeping.”
The American exercise in meritocratic self-governance and democratic republicanism is rapidly dying, and in its place, the old-world practice of political patronage is making its return. Yes, kingmakers and financiers have long been present in our political process. But in the era of “fortified” elections — in which nonprofit organizations funded by left-wing multi-billionaires, such as Mike Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg, have ensured Democrat constituencies have robust and immutable mail-in voting apparatuses — we are entering a new phase in American politics in which he who has the most gold (and can best navigate the new system) rules.
An oligarchy, if you can keep it.
I'm not sure we have had anything like a meritocracy for a long time, if ever. Our system rather threw up some remarkable statesmen, many in the nick of time. But there was always a superabundance of hacks and toadies. But it's a point well taken. Mail-in voting does seems to have changed everything and mostly for the worse.
On this Thursday in mid-October, he’s sitting in his lakeside summer home in Michigan, sipping a Monster energy drink and checking facts and figures on his iPad. Given the big issues of the day — inflation, high gasoline prices, war in Ukraine, diminished reproductive rights at home — it might seem easy to dismiss ESG as a sideshow. But to Puzder, ESG has worsened many of the challenges that America is facing.
ESG is “intricate plan to defeat our democracy”
Indeed, Puzder says ESG is “the most devious and intricate plan to defeat our democracy, our economic freedom, our individual freedom” that he’s ever seen. He points to Abraham Lincoln’s warning about dangers that “spring up amongst us.” ESG, Puzder says, is the “internal threat.”
It might sound overblown, but that viewpoint helps explain why officials in roughly 20 states, from Alaska to Oklahoma to South Carolina, have pushed back on ESG, despite evidence that doing so might actually hurt states financially.
Puzder is 100 percent right about ESG.
It had everything to do with numbers, but not polling numbers or inflation numbers. It was about who got the most ballots sent out and who collected the most. That’s it. That’s the 2022 midterms in a nutshell.
Crass? Crude, impersonal, rife with potential fraud and corruption? 100 percent. And, in many states, perfectly legal. If conservatives and Republicans want to win again, we had better adopt the only-ballots-matter approach at least in the short term or die. I have zero ethical problems with it, none whatsoever. This is now the modern-day political battlefield in America, the rules of the game. One can either howl at the moon about it or beat the Left at it.
So I’m going to figure out how to beat the Left at its own game in 2023 and 2024. It’s either that or we find ourselves on trains to reeducation camps in the near future. While that might sound like hyperbole, is it really when you can envision America as a one-party state? We barely squeaked out the House of Representatives in a highly advantageous midterm. Unless we figure out our ballot-out, ballot-in machine, I don’t see us winning the White House or much of anything else in 2024. And if that happens, expect the Left to come very hard for many of us.
The Clue Train pulls slowly out of Port No-Sh*t-Sherlock and onto the Plain of Obviousness, late, but at least going in the right direction.
It is painfully clear from his track record in both the 2020 election and the 2022 midterms that Donald Trump is neither capable of forging this winning coalition or delivering the decisive and durable victory required. Indeed, among the current crop of potential nominees, Trump is the person least able to unite the party and the one most likely to lose the general election.
Trump’s extraordinarily divisive actions since losing in 2020 are not those of someone capable of leading a party, much less a country. Right after his defeat, he treacherously sabotaged GOP efforts to hold the Georgia Senate seats. The GOP’s poor performance in the recent midterms was due largely to Trump’s mischief. He fueled internal fights within state parties. He attacked popular Republican governors in Maryland, New Hampshire, and Arizona to dissuade them from running for Senate seats they could have won. He supported weak candidates for key Senate and House seats based solely on their agreeing with his “stolen election” claims. And after foisting these candidates on the GOP, he failed to provide them adequate financial support, largely sitting on a massive war-chest of cash raised from small dollar donors.
It seems to me that Trump isn’t really interested in broadening his appeal. Instead he is content to focus on intensifying his personal hold over a faction within the party—a group that is probably no larger than a quarter of the GOP, but which allows Trump to use it as leverage to extort and bully the rest of the party into submission. The threat is simple: unless the rest of the party goes along with him, he will burn the whole house down by leading “his people” out of the GOP. Trump’s willingness to destroy the party if he does not get his way is not based on principle, but on his own supreme narcissism. His egoism makes him unable to think of a political party as anything but an extension of himself—a cult of personality.
Trump is due credit for stopping progressives’ momentum and achieving important policy successes during his administration. But he does not have the qualities required to win the kind of broad, durable victory I see as necessary to restore America. It is time for the 45th president to step aside.
Cruel, but fair. It will be an historic test of the GOP -- whether it can place Trump to one side and nominate a more credible candidate that can win the general election. I hope they can, but whether they can is another question.
Monday, November 21, 2022
There are plenty more of these. If you want to widen the criticism to Google, these “Russian disinformation” stories still pop up high in searches (see here, here, here, here, and here, for instance). YouTube and Google now become exhibit A in the ultimate truth about any attempt to “moderate” content at scale. If you make even a good-faith effort to weed out “disinformation,” relying on official bodies to help, what you’ll be left with is… official disinformation.
But this isn’t a good-faith effort to weed out untruths. YouTube has become a place that censors true content but traffics in official and quasi-official deceptions. It’s become indistinguishable from a state censorship bureau. If they feel they’re right about their decisions, they should be happy to explain themselves to people me. Until then, they can expect more love letters from this address.
When conservatives get attacked for calling Lefties “groomers,” you have to understand something: these people are in fact grooming children. They sexualize children, lure them into sexually free lifestyles at very young ages, put sexual manuals in schools (literally), and are even pushing “porn literacy” for children.
I don't have kids of a vulnerable age, thank God. This porn for kids stuff seems utterly sick to me, and not in a good way. You could argue not all porn is degrading, but a lot of is, and a lot of it is so deliberately. Kids should be protected from it, and protected from the people who want to exploit them. I don't understand how people can disagree with this. It's just evil.
Police agencies have testified the emergency powers weren’t necessary to end the protest of pandemic public health measures. Senior government officials were shown to have harbored doubts. And perhaps most damaging to the government’s case was a revelation last week that Canada’s national intelligence agency did not find the protests posed a threat to Canada’s security.
In the final week of hearings, it will fall to Trudeau and several of his ministers and senior staff to prove their case: that they needed unprecedented measures to deal with an unprecedented situation.
The Biden family’s influence peddling has always been a scandal left to the eye of the beholder. For some, it was dismissed as Russian disinformation or, more recently, simply the result of a drug addicted son of the president. Neither is true, but Hunter Biden has always been an example of motivated perception, or perceptual bias, where we tend to see what we want to see and turn a "blind eye" to what we do not want to see.
That phenomenon was on full display this week in an Associated Press article that made an extraordinary claim: that there is no evidence even suggesting that President Joe Biden ever spoke to his son about his foreign dealings.
I previously discussed how the Bidens have succeeded in a Houdini-like trick in making this elephant of a scandal disappear from the public stage. They did so by enlisting the media in the illusion. However, this level of audience participation in the trick truly defies belief.
Honest historians of the future are going to have a difficult time sorting out what even happened during our era. It makes you wonder how accurate any of it can be.