Saturday, June 12, 2021
The Golden State bullet train is already an environmental nightmare, and there’s absolutely no evidence it can — if it’s ever actually in operation — compete with air travel in terms of time or price. President Joe Biden might as well have held a Rose Garden photo-op while chin-flicking taxpayers and taking a blowtorch to a $1 billion pile of cash. That would have been more honest than propagating the fiction that the California high-speed rail debacle is vital to saving the planet.
Consequently, the current high-profile fight over critical race theory (CRT) in the county’s public school system is the culmination of a decade or more of simmering tensions between the old Loudoun County and its newer, more invasive counterpart. The old Loudoun, made up of predominantly white, traditionally Republican-voting small business owners and defense contractors, is the locus of the resistance to centering the racialist ideology in their children’s curricula. The ascendant new Loudoun County generally supports entrenched interests behind the “equity” initiatives that provoked the controversy: powerful teacher’s union bosses, woke school board representatives, legacy social justice groups like the NAACP, and so on. What began with a series of explosive parent-teacher confrontations between the old Loudoun and the new Loudoun has given rise to one of the most prolonged and bitter battles over CRT to date.
EXCLUSIVE: Defector Provides Evidence That the Chinese Military Orchestrated the Creation of COVID-19 and Lab Leak – RedState
One week ago we reported that a man believed to be the highest-ranking Chinese defector ever was working with the Defense Intelligence Agency and that he had direct knowledge of special weapons programs in China, including bioweapons programs. We also reported that the defector provided an extensive, technically detailed debrief to US officials, that the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) was able to corroborate very technical details of the information provided, and that in DIA’s assessment, the information provided by the defector is legitimate.
RedState has now learned some details of the information provided by the defector, including that he provided data proving that SARS-CoV-2 was manmade and leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in addition to evidence confirming that the People’s Liberation Army managed the Wuhan program (and others), as Chinese virologist Yan Li-Meng told the FBI last year.
Technical details provided by the defector, RedState is told, were given to scientists (who were not told how that information was given to the government) who then re-analyzed data from published sources in conjunction with the new data and concluded that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was engineered. And, the defector was able to confirm numerous non-public details Yan provided the US government.
Pause for a moment and consider this. Our government now has additional evidence that a virus that killed 600,000 Americans, sickened millions more, nearly destroyed our economy, and inflicted untold collateral damage, was a bioweapon created by the Chinese military and deliberately released.
I say “additional” evidence because the FBI has had some of this evidence for more than a year and the person who brought it forward has only been subjected to a thorough smear campaign for her efforts – which is highly relevant when attempting to understand the newest defector’s actions.
As reported in my original story about the defector, sources told RedState that the FBI, the State Department, and CIA were intentionally kept in the dark about the fact that the defector was working with the DIA. Many in the intelligence community were highly skeptical of that claim for logistical reasons (i.e., China obviously knew the guy was gone as soon as he was gone, and any assets/spies within our foreign government also knew, so how could they keep his location a secret for so long?), but the fact that the FBI had a lot of this information from Yan for more than a year and nothing to investigate or validate it makes it easy to understand why this defector wanted nothing to do with the CIA or, especially, the FBI.
Also, a separate source confirmed to RedState that several members of C
Well, this is a big story for Jennifer if it turns out to be true. I'm going to have to study it a bit to see if it all connects together. If it is true, and that's a big if, well, then it just goes to show, you can't trust those darn Communists. Not that I have a soft spot for the murderous rascals--I don't. But the PRC is not really remotely Communist. They're something we haven't encountered before. Very nasty.
“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard recalled Friday afternoon following his release from Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”
Initially, Packard thought he was inside a great white shark, but he couldn’t feel any teeth and he hadn’t suffered any obvious wounds. It quickly dawned on him that he had been swallowed by a whale.
“I was completely inside; it was completely black,” Packard said. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead.’
It could have been a giant squid. Then he would be history.
Now, the Biden administration has entered the fray, of course on the side of the EU oligarchs. The Times’ description of Washington’s issuing of the demarche against the UK should chill everyone who believes in sovereignty and democracy. Yael Lempert, America’s most senior diplomat in the UK, met Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, on 3 June. She informed him of President Biden’s ‘great concern’ that Britain’s caginess about elements of the protocol could be ‘inflaming’ tensions in Ireland. Apparently she ‘slowly and gravely read her instructions [from Washington] aloud’. In short, Frost was given a bollocking. By a foreign power. Over how Britain conducts its domestic affairs. Are you worried yet?
We need to take stock. In a couple of weeks time it will be the fifth anniversary of the historic, magnificent vote for Brexit, when 17.4million Brits issued an instruction of their own – that Britain must withdraw from the EU and ‘take back control’ of its borders, its trade and its law-making. And yet such control still feels elusive.
An idiotic move by the American empire. We're trying show we back the EU to the max, Anglosphere be damned. What this means to what's left of the Biden brain, who knows. That's hardly relevant. It's about what you would expect form the not very Deep State types running things though. Even France is doing a better job than we are lately.
Trump DOJ Obtained Data on Schiff and Swalwell, Two Long-Time Champions of Domestic Spying - Glenn Greenwald
The two House Democrats, among the most fanatical disseminators of baseless Russiagate conspiracies and long known to serve as anonymous sources of leaks to liberal media outlets, reacted with predictable outrage. “This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump's corrupt weaponization of justice,” Schiff intoned on Thursday night. As difficult as it is, Swalwell, as he often does, found a way to be even more melodramatic than Schiff: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”
Investigating possible crimes — such as leaking classified information — is the job of the Justice Department. To accomplish that, FBI agents and prosecutors often obtain personal communications records about their suspects. But invading the communications records of journalists, as both the Obama and Trump DOJ did, can create serious threats to press freedom and the possibility of abuse and retaliation. The same is true for invading the communications records of members of the legislative branch, particularly ones hostile to the president. An investigation is certainly warranted to determine the propriety of these subpoenas.
But like so many politicians before them, Schiff and Swalwell have zero credibility to object to this targeting. When it comes to ordinary Americans, both have been long-time champions of expanding domestic spying powers and blocking efforts at reform designed to curb abuses of the type they claim took place here.
This is a hard one to judge. Swalwell should obviously not be in Congress at all. Having an affair with a PRC/PLA operative would make you resign in shame in the UK or any other civilized nation. Here, it just gets you extra protection from Madame Speaker. Why, I don't quite understand, though it makes one wonder just how much influence the PRC has. Schiff is an odious little worm even as politicians go, much given to lying about the Trump administration to the press, I gather. Still, you can't have the DOJ illegally surveilling anybody. It's hard to see how this will end up being anything but strictly political, however.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Feds Restore $929 Million in Funds for California’s Billion-Dollar Bullet Train Boondoggle – Reason.com
California's wasteful high-speed rail project is getting a predictable boost under train-loving President Joe Biden. On Thursday, the Biden administration announced it was restoring $929 million in grants that had been revoked by the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Donald Trump.
Trump used the terrible state of the rail project—years behind schedule, billions over budget, and without a realistic plan for actually connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco—as a reason to shut the funding down. His feud with California political leadership certainly played a role in the decision, but the reality is that the entire train project has been an expensive disaster that has lined a bunch of contractors' and consultants' pockets.
California sued the Trump administration to try to get the money back. Yesterday's announcement is the result of a settlement agreement between California and the Biden administration to restore the grant.
This is bad news for taxpayers, but hardly unpredictable. The Biden administration is looking to spend trillions on infrastructure projects that include high-speed rail. Biden imagines citizens traversing the country on these expensive trains, even though they can already travel more efficiently on airplanes.
Someone should write a book about all the money that has been wasted on and by railroads. All the land that the Feds originally subsidized railroads with, all the ensuing corruption, all the dead Native Americans, the dead bison, towns located where honestly no towns should be, all the ridiculous light rail projects, and now this iniquitous 1960s Sci-Fi high-speed rail to nowhere. America would be a very different country without all of this, but still recognizable I suppose. Abraham Lincoln was a railroad lawyer and a good one I hear. Another reason to suspect Lincoln.
Indiana Said the Government Should Be Able To Take Everything You Own if You Commit a Drug Crime. The State Supreme Court Wasn’t Having It. – Reason.com
In February of 2021, almost eight years after the state of Indiana seized Tyson Timbs' brand-new Land Rover over a drug crime, prosecutors argued that there should be no proportionality when it comes to such offenses—in other words, that the government should essentially be free to take everything you're worth.
Today, the state's highest court categorically rejected that.
The conclusion is not only good for Timbs—who will get to keep his vehicle, once and for all—but for others who would have fallen victim to Indiana prosecutors' extremely broad definition of what constitutes a legal and proportional civil forfeiture. The practice allows the government to take your property and pocket it, sometimes if you're only suspected of committing a crime. In Indiana, prosecutors must merely meet the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, which requires less than evidence than is needed to get a criminal conviction.
After unsuccessfully making his way through the state courts, Timbs' case was the subject of a 2019 landmark Supreme Court ruling, which dictated that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against excessive fines and fees applies to state governments. His case then returned to Indiana's high court, whose judges sent it back to the trial court and back up again.
In other words, this was the third time the Indiana Supreme Court was tasked with deciding who owned Tyson Timbs' car: Timbs, or the state.
Timbs—and those who might find themselves in a similar position—finally won.
Nobel Prize–winning economist Paul Krugman is one of the most influential individuals in his field, which means people listen when he talks about bitcoin. Unfortunately, most of what he has had to say about the cryptocurrency over the years has been misguided, uninformed, or just plain wrong.
It's sometimes difficult for the average person to understand what economists and politicians are talking about when they debate policy, but the value proposition of bitcoin can be easily understood by anyone through its NgU technology (NgU is an abbreviation of Number Go Up and is a meme based around bitcoin's deflationary monetary policy). While Krugman has stated that his 1998 prediction that "the Internet's impact on the economy [would be] no greater than the fax machine's" was supposed to be a fun and provocative thought experiment, it may be much more difficult to explain away his many confused and oftentimes arrogant takes on bitcoin over the past ten years.
China should share all the raw data it holds. No one believes it will. Regardless, it cannot avoid responsibility for its known failures in handling the outbreak. But nor should other countries, notably the US and the UK, be allowed to dodge the blame for their own terrible mistakes in responding to this pandemic.
We also need to think about the next one. Whatever the origins of this particular virus, both the increased risks of zoonotic transmission due to human-made factors including modern farming practices, and the security of research institutions internationally, demand close attention: we know that leaks do happen, and that gain-of-function research is a very risky business. We may never find out how exactly how this virus reached humans. But what we do know tells us there is plenty that can and must be fixed.
This is what I would describe as a milder version of c*** swaddle. The US and UK have a lot to answer for, in particular funding this harebrained gain-of-function research. But the PRC, ah, well, you know the story if you're reading this blog.
President Joe Biden surprised some observers this week when, addressing U.S. military forces at the Royal Air Force base in Mildenhall, England, he said that the nation's top military leaders told him the "greatest threat" facing America is global warming.
Biden described going to a meeting in 2009 -- he had just been elected vice president -- in "The Tank," which is the super-secure Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting room in the Pentagon. "And this is not a joke," Biden said. "You know what the Joint Chiefs told us the greatest threat facing America was? Global warming." Biden said that was because warming would cause "significant population movements," leading to "fights over land."
Given the actual military threats the United States faces today from China, Russia, North Korea, and a host of other bad actors around the globe, Biden's statement seemed crazy. Is the new administration really so woke that it in a military setting -- speaking to U.S. troops -- the president would say that global warming (Biden used the older term rather than the more commonly-used "climate change") is the greatest threat facing the United States? The answer is yes. And Biden's remarks were consistent with those of Vice President Kamala Harris, who in a recent commencement speech at the Naval Academy placed climate change -- along with pandemics and hacking -- as the threats today's military must deal with.
Biden was never the brightest bulb in the box but he seems now to have lost most of his political cunning, such as it was. Madame Vic President is neither the great illuminator nor especially cunning. She is however a BIPOC (Am I using that term correctly?) which means she gets four years to see how much harm she can do. But don't fret. Our odds of survival are at least 50/50.
Roumain is trying to get in the last word, playing the victim to the end. “I love Tulsa Opera,” he told Vulture. “The question is, does Tulsa Opera still love me? And if they’re going to say that they can’t say the words ‘God damn America,’ well, what does ‘God bless America’ really mean for them?” Tulsa Opera undoubtedly still does “love” Roumain and will be happy to commission him again. The significance of the episode, however, is that the company is still standing, despite having refused to cave in to a racial hustle. In a world of increasingly craven arts organizations, that, too, is worth commemorating.
Yale Law Descends Into Commie Hell With Ostracism and Harassment of Two Beloved Old-School Liberal Professors - Revolver
In other words, despite being liberals, the couple have piled up more than enough sins against the liberal religion to attract an army of enemies. And now, the two seem on the brink of being driven from Yale altogether. Rubenfeld has been suspended two years for alleged sexual harassment, though the actual allegations against him are remarkably mild (claims of attempted kisses and questions about students’ personal lives figure prominently). Professor Chua, meanwhile, is being targeted for hosting a handful of students at her home, which: 1. may have violated Yale’s strict coronavirus protocols (oh no!), 2. may have broken her own agreement in 2019 to not socialize with students outside the classroom, and most importantly, 3. infuriated several brittle students, who suggested that an adult meeting with another adult constituted “grooming.”
The whirlwind of jealousy and mental illness at the center of the Yale debacle is well illustrated by the “text message dossier,” a 20-page document compiled by a jealous Yale student and submitted to administrators as proof of Chua’s sinister wrongdoing. The texts show a Yale student peppering his classmates with questions about private visits to the Chua’s home, visits that in any sane society would be completely normal.
It surprises me that YLS has apparently descended into the particularly commie hell that it has apparently found. I would have predicted a different sort of commie hell. It's easy to forget how many different hells there must be in Hell.
More than 80 years after winning the Pulitzer Prize, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s 1938 novel, “The Yearling,” still conveys profound truths about the human experience. Set in the wilds of inland Florida, “The Yearling” follows a tow-headed boy as he grows from a Rousseauian child of nature into a young man who understands the sacrifices nature will require of him. His father commiserates. “You’ve seed how things go in the world o’ men. . . . Ever’ man wants life to be a fine thing, and a easy. ’Tis fine, boy, powerful fine, but ’taint easy. Life knocks a man down and he gits up and it knocks him down agin. I’ve been uneasy all my life.”
That sounds about right. Maybe I should read The Yearling. Maybe I could get my youngest to read it if I could only pry the phone from his hands.
We can no longer afford to be wrong when it comes to the origin — the generation by regime-controlled Chinese scientists, almost certainly by accident — of a pandemic that has caused nearly 4 million deaths globally (now closing in on 600,000 in the U.S.), in addition to geometrically more instances of serious illness, trillions of dollars’ worth of economic destruction, and incalculable setbacks in the educational and social development of tens of millions of children.
I was a prosecutor for a long time, and prosecutors are in the business of proving stuff. Every good one will tell you that the best case is a strong circumstantial case. It is the most airtight and least problematic kind of proof.
Ahmed is a Pakistani immigrant, a faithful Muslim, and until recently, a financial consultant to Seattle’s high-tech sector. But when he reached me by phone in October 2020, he was just one more frightened father. Days earlier, he and his wife had checked their 16-year-old son into Seattle Children’s Hospital for credible threats of suicide. Now, Ahmed was worried that the white coats who had gently admitted his son to their care would refuse to return him.
“They sent an email to us, you know, ‘you should take your ‘daughter’ to the gender clinic,’” he told me.
At first, Ahmed (I have changed names in this essay to protect the identities of minor children) assumed there had been a mistake. He had dropped off a son, Syed, to the hospital, in a terrible state of distress. Now, the email he received from the mental health experts used a new name for that son and claimed he was Ahmed’s daughter. “They were trying to create a customer for their gender clinic . . . and they seemed to absolutely want to push us in that direction,” he said when I spoke to him again this May, recalling the horror of last October. “We had calls with counselors and therapists in the establishment, telling us how important it is for him to change his gender, because that’s the only way he’s going to be better out of this suicidal depressive state.”
Syed had been a “straight-A student” and—according to his parents and the family’s therapist—quite brilliant. He is also on the autism spectrum, a young man who neglects to make eye contact and must be given rules for how long to shake hands, shower, or brush his teeth. High school was a slog for him, as it often is for kids on the spectrum who find that the social demands of adolescence have risen beyond their capacity to meet them. “He tried to ask a few girls out. It didn’t work out and he got frustrated and angry, and that kind of thing. And so, those girl-boy things get kind of tough for autistic kids, those developmental issues. And that’s where puberty can be very, very hard with the hormones rushing and all this stuff.”
When lockdowns hit, the boy who was already struggling socially and befuddled by questions neurotypical teens take for granted (How do I show a girl I like her? How do I make the other kids include me?) began to spend all day and night on the Internet. “He’s an autistic kid, and so he kind of lost track of time. And he was staying up a lot. So he was staying up, just being on the Internet, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever. . . . And he was in his room, just, you know, sleeping one or two hours a day. And that can really be devastating. He was very confused. He was seeing things, visual hallucinations. And we didn’t know why.”
It is not definitively known why many neurodiverse adolescents identify as transgender, but more than one scientist has pointed out the high rates of coincidence. As several autism experts have explained to me, those on the spectrum tend to fixate, and when a contagious idea is introduced to them—such as the notion that they might be a “girl in a boy’s body”—they are particularly susceptible to it.
As child psychiatrist and expert in gender dysphoria Susan Bradley said to me: “The messages these kids pick up [from trans influencers] when they’re online is, ‘We’re the only people who understand you. Your people, your parents, don’t really understand you.’ And it may be the first time in their lives that anybody has said to them, ‘We understand you. We know you. You’re okay. You’re just like us.’ And it’s powerful.”
Jacob deGrom’s movements between pitches Friday might be scrutinized more than usual, after a video went viral in recent days of the Mets right-hander going to his belt before a pitch and touching his glove.
The controversy comes amid MLB’s attempt to crack down on pitchers applying foreign substances to the ball. DeGrom, who has pitched to a 0.62 ERA this season, is scheduled to face the Padres at Citi Field, where the Mets will begin a seven-game homestand.
I doubt deGrom is trying to get away with spitballing in this day and age of videos and the internet. But pitchers don't have to pass an IQ test so we'll be watching just in case.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott hosted a Border Security Summit in Del Rio on Thursday. During the summit, he made a major announcement – Texas will build a southern border wall. Abbott also stated his intention for local law enforcement to arrest single adults crossing into the state illegally.
I had imagined a big, beautiful wall along whose ramparts would march soldiers dressed in Colonial era uniforms. Perhaps special firearms could have been designed that looked like old time muskets but were in fact like M-4's. But as a second choice, I could imagine Texas Rangers, garbed in Western gear, sporting Colt Peacemakers and Henry rifles. Think Game of Thrones meets Lonesome Dove. This could work. Federalism in action.
Finland starts a new nuclear reactor and builds facility to store spent fuel for the next 100 years – HotAir
It’s an often heard complaint among conservatives that we’d be more willing to take concerns about climate change seriously when the people making the complaints start taking it seriously. That can refer to people like Al Gore living in a mansion with a carbon footprint the size of Godzilla or to people who insist we need to stop using fossil fuels immediately while simultaneously ruling out one of the best alternatives: nuclear power.
But that kind of hypocrisy isn’t the norm everywhere. Finland currently produces about 30% of its energy from four nuclear power plants that were constructed in the late 70s and early 80s. The country is now about the start producing energy from its fifth nuclear plant. After decades of work including long construction delays, loading of nuclear fuel at the new site started in March.
One thing I keep thinking about is something like this Finnish reactor, only in Kazakhstan and devoted primarily to mining bitcoin.
MANILA – Amid an escalating new Cold War, the Biden administration is mobilizing allies and partners to slow China’s technological strides and arrest its rising global influence.
In particular, the US has doubled down on reviving the so-called Blue Dot Network, a long-dormant initiative launched by the previous Trump administration to counter Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“The Blue Dot Network will be a globally recognized symbol of market-driven, transparent and sustainable infrastructure projects,” the US State Department said after the consultation group’s inaugural meeting in Paris earlier this week.
Aside from major Western governments and Japan, leading academics, civil society leaders and as many as 150 global executives boasting a US$12 trillion in their combined portfolio were in attendance, underscoring the breadth and ambition behind the initiative.
To counter what critics see as China’s predatory trade practices, the Biden administration has also launched a “supply chain trade strike force,” which will be led by the US Trade Representative.
A snazzier name would have helped.
SINGAPORE – Fire and flames ate away at the flag of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during heated protests on the streets of Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, last weekend after two emissaries from the regional organization met with junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
ASEAN chairman Lim Jock Hoi and Brunei’s Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Erywan Pehin Yusof visited Naypyitaw on June 4 to discuss the appointment of the grouping’s special envoy and delivery of humanitarian aid, but departed amid questions of whether the Bruneian diplomats had inadvertently legitimized Myanmar’s military regime.
By Tuesday (June 8) morning, a statement on the visit was removed from the ASEAN secretariat’s website after it had referred to the senior general and chief architect of February’s coup as the “Chairman of the State Administrative Council” (SAC) – in other words, the leader of the country rather than the leader of the armed forces.
The diplomatic gaffe, coupled with the slow pace of progress on implementing the five-point consensus reached by ASEAN leaders at an April 24 meeting in Jakarta, has sown fury among opponents of the military takeover in Myanmar and fueled rising criticism among the region’s commentariat of Brunei’s management of the crisis as ASEAN’s chair.
Will Beijing extend its new Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law to Hong Kong? Commentators are buzzing about the potential impact the law’s implementation in the special administrative region would have on its financial and business hub status.
Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University’s Law School in Beijing and a director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, told NowTV that Hong Kong should help implement the law by putting it into Annex III of the Basic Law or setting up a relevant law domestically.
Tian spoke as European and American companies said they were shocked and facing “irreconcilable” compliance issues because of the quick rollout of the law.
Tian said the law was aimed at putting pressure on China-based Western companies, which would pass the pressure on to their own countries. He said foreign countries would then become more cautious before imposing any sanctions on China in the future.
Sounds like Tian is a loyal CCP member with ambitions. Sadly, I do not wish him well but instead am hoping that Hong Kong somehow finds its way toward freedom.
After last year’s headcount of China’s 1.4 billion population, Beijing’s shift last month from enforced contraception to encouraged baby-making appeared to be opportune.
The problem with planners is they get so much wrong. The market works better just not necessarily for the planners. Did I mention that the planners are a fat vampire squid hanging off of the body politic? Probably this metaphor is an injustice to vampire squids.
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Yale University appears to be in the midst of a meltdown. You may find that irrelevant, or even amusing, but you shouldn’t. Because Yale’s sad condition, unfortunately, is common to many of our most important institutions.
As I wrote here last week, Yale’s governing board, faced with a challenge by an outsider, secretly rewrote its rules as the votes were counted, so as to ensure no more unapproved candidates.
Why is Yale so eager to avoid outside scrutiny?
There was also a scandal about a speaker at Yale who discussed “the psychopathic problem of the white mind” and talked about emptying her revolver into the head of any white person who got in her way.
But the big Yale development this week came from my alma mater, Yale Law School, where the New York Times reported on a bizarre student campaign against law professor Amy Chua, best known for her “Tiger Mom” book on raising children.
Both she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, were made pariahs on campus based on student complaints, coincidentally shortly after showing support for then-nominee for the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh.
Then this year, students accused Chua of, well, something — and the school backed them. It had to do with claims that she had dinner parties for some students at which federal judges were present. As proof, students circulated screenshotted text messages from students who were allegedly there. As the Times reports: “Ms. Chua says she did nothing wrong, and it is unclear exactly what rule she actually broke.”
We only had a bit of drama when I was at Yale Law School. The only thing I was aware of was a kerfuffle on the YLJ when the editor-in-chief and his executive editor fired and then were forced to rehire a nice African-American woman who was an articles editor. The whole thing was embarrassing and gave the top editors the chance to display their natural arrogance, it goes almost without saying. Still, the woman in question was abjectly unqualified for the job; it must have been humiliating for her. Still further, I was shocked at how insensitive all the people supposedly most committed to civil rights turned out to be in this event. Oh well. A good time was had by all.
In other news, I got one of many solicitations for a gift from the Dean of The Yale LS a few days back. A pretty little card it was. Hilarious.
The backlash has generated its own backlash among educators and sympathetic members of the press. One of the most obvious counter-strategies has been simply to deny that what the school systems are engaging in is really CRT. That has been the strategy in Loudoun County, whose school Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler has described the district’s program as mere “racial equity work,” according to The Washington Post. At a school board meeting, Ziegler said that CRT was a “subject for academics” that had no bearing on Loudoun’s anti-racist measures. Calling them “critical race theory” is merely a paranoid fantasy of arch-conservatives, in the view of Ziegler and many other commentators and liberal politicians.
The other strategy is to assert that the opponents of CRT are actually trying either to censor the content of what teachers are allowed to say in classrooms or to make them hesitant to discuss historical topics such as slavery or Jim Crow that relate to racism for fear that they might break a law by making their white students feel uncomfortable. One teacher complained to the media that she would hesitate to assign the slave narratives that she typically had her American history classes read.
It’s been a long time since he was on the air. I assume you know why.
And if you don’t, don’t worry. You’re about to find out in excruciating detail, courtesy of one of the cringiest interviews in the history of TV news.
I think I'll skip the interview and just assume it feels bad.
In a report published on Thursday, Amnesty called on the UN to investigate, and said China had subjected Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslims to mass detention, surveillance, and torture.
Agnès Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International, accused Chinese authorities of creating "a dystopian hellscape on a staggering scale".
"It should shock the conscience of humanity that massive numbers of people have been subjected to brainwashing, torture and other degrading treatment in internment camps, while millions more live in fear amid a vast surveillance apparatus," Ms Callamard said.
She also accused UN Secretary General António Guterres of "failing to act according to his mandate".
Mr Guterres "has not denounced the situation, he has not called for an international investigation", Ms Callamard told the BBC. "It is incumbent on him to protect the values upon which the United Nations has been founded, and certainly not to stay silent in front of crimes against humanity."
In the 160-page report based on interviews with 55 former detainees, Amnesty said there was evidence the Chinese state had committed "at least the following crimes against humanity: imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; torture; and persecution."
Those darn CCP/PRC apparatchiks. Always creating dystopian hellscapes on a massive scale. They are a caution.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax — ProPublica
In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.
Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.
Illegally leaked, but interesting. Makes me less than thrilled to be paying my taxes.
Mayor wannabe Maya Wiley seen leaving her $2.75 million Brooklyn home protected by private security | Daily Mail Online
The mother-of-two calls school programs for talented kids 'racially discriminatory,' but she sent one daughter, to an academy for the gifted, and the other to a $51,000-a-year private school.
She worked as chief legal adviser to the Big Apple's current mayor Bill de Blasio, but now attacks him at every opportunity.
And she says her administration would be fully transparent, but while working for de Blasio came up with a now-discredited way to keep secret communications between his office and outside advisers.
'She talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk,' one political observer told DailyMail.com.
This seems a really unsympathetic treatment of the candidate. You'd have to get to know her much better to conclude that she's a detestable hypocrite.
In October 2020, Lydia attended her 3rd grade class wearing her favorite mask. She took comfort in its three simple words — Jesus Loves Me. Even though she previously wore the mask without disruption or incident, Lydia was asked to remove and replace her mask. She was even threatened with discipline if she wore the mask again.
Bumper sticker seen in Jamul:
"Jesus loves you. Everybody else thinks you're an as*hole."
A California nun will plead guilty to swindling over $800,000 from the Catholic elementary school she ran to help pay for her gambling trips, federal prosecutors said.
Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper, 79, was charged Tuesday with wire fraud and money laundering for ripping off St. James Catholic School for a period of 10 years ending in September 2018, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.
No report on what town said nun was from. That would have been good to know. Not San Diego though, which is not in the Central District.
China’s first module of its upcoming Tiangong space station makes use of ion drives, technology that could vastly cut down the time it takes to travel to Mars — and greatly reduce the amount of fuel needed to make that trip, as the South China Morning Post reports.
The module, called Tianhe and launched in late April, is powered by four ion thrusters that use electricity to accelerate ions as a form of propulsion. In fact, the module could soon become the first spacecraft in history to transport humans using the technology, according to SCMP.
Ion drives are orders of magnitude more efficient compared to chemical propulsion. To keep the International Space Station in orbit for a year, the thrusters consume four tons of rocket fuel. With ion thrusters, it’d need just 400 kilograms to stay in orbit for the same amount of time, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
A trip to Mars could be cut down from eight months to just 39 days.
On Tuesday, a judge ordered the Loudoun County, Va., school district to reinstate a physical education teacher who dared to speak out against a policy that would require teachers to endorse transgender identity by using female pronouns to refer to male students and vice versa. Roughly 24 hours later, the district suspended the teacher and barred him from setting foot on school property. The judge ruled that this suspension likely violated the teacher’s First Amendment right to free speech.
WATCH: Explosive, Unearthed Video Shows Peter Daszak Describing 'Chinese Colleagues' Developing 'Killer' Coronaviruses.
Daszak made the admission at a 2016 forum discussing “emerging infectious diseases and the next pandemic,” which appears to be at odds with Fauci’s repeated denial of funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
While describing how his organization sequences deadly viruses, Daszak describes the process of “insert[ing] spike proteins” into viruses to see if they can “bind to human cells” as being carried out by his “colleagues in China”:
“Then when you get a sequence of a virus, and it looks like a relative of a known nasty pathogen, just like we did with SARS. We found other coronaviruses in bats, a whole host of them, some of them looked very similar to SARS. So we sequenced the spike protein: the protein that attaches to cells. Then we… Well I didn’t do this work, but my colleagues in China did the work. You create pseudo particles, you insert the spike proteins from those viruses, see if they bind to human cells. At each step of this you move closer and closer to this virus could really become pathogenic in people.
“You end up with a small number of viruses that really do look like killers,” he adds.
Golly, this seems timely.
When California legislators enacted the country's first ban on military-style rifles in 1989, they gave no weight to the fundamental right of armed self-defense guaranteed by the Second Amendment: a right the U.S. Supreme Court did not explicitly acknowledge until nearly two decades later. But as U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez observed in his ruling against California's "assault weapon" ban last Friday, it should now be clear that the outright prohibition of such firearms cannot pass constitutional muster.
Especially if they're legal, I want one.
Almost Overnight, Standards of Color-Blind Merit Tumble Across American Society | RealClearInvestigations
On just his sixth day in office, President Biden signaled that the nation’s long held principle of equality for all had come to an end, signing an executive order declaring that “racial equity is not just an issue for any one department of government; it has to be the business of the whole of government” -- equity referring to the idea that merely treating everybody the same is not enough, and that an equal outcome for all people has to be the goal.
Over the last few months, many Ivy League and flagship state universities have moved away from a seemingly neutral measure long used to assess applicants – standardized test scores – to give minorities a better shot at admissions.
In May, Hewlett-Packard, the technology company with 50,000 employees worldwide, decreed that by 2030 half of its leadership positions and more than 30% of its technicians and engineers have to be women and that the number of minorities should “meet or exceed” their representation in the tech industry workforce.
I suppose this will make the transition to AI all that more urgent.
China has won this round so completely that the administration is visibly dazed, and is lashing out at the wrong opponents. The anti-Trump movement was a vast coalition, and pieces are starting to fall out of it. Now that Mr. Trump has at least temporarily departed public office, most of the constituent parts of what is now an out-of-control, woke, largely anti-American movement, will peel off as the exposure of its excesses and outrages in the last year become more obvious.
Conrad Black seems to have mostly nailed it in this astute analysis. Except for their predilection to commit genocide and purloin the organs of religious dissidents, among other crimes, the CCP has shown remarkable political adroitness under Prince Xi. If you're going to unleash a killer pandemic upon the world through the carelessness of your lab underlings, it's good to be able to recover political face through the sort of high-IQ maneuvers the Party has pulled off. The cynical intelligence of the CCP was matched only by the cynical stupidity of the Americans, led by our occasionally quite cunning but almost preternaturally unintelligent leader at the time, the inestimable Donald Trump, may peace be upon him. For those still open to the possibility of the Divine, we should hope at this point for some sort of Providential intervention. We are behaving like termites who are destined to live in an ant farm designed for the shallow benefit of pseudo-Communist elites. It would be no less than we deserve. But grace has saved us before and perhaps it will again. Here's hoping. If not, well, I actually like cold pork & beans.
A St. Cloud law firm is in turmoil after a round of firings that began with its leader going after employees he believed were supporters of former President Donald Trump, according to a lawsuit filed in Stearns County District Court.
In the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, when Trump supporters violently stormed the building to prevent congressional certification of Joe Biden's election as president, the suit alleges that law firm president Wesley Scott sought to fire employees he believed had made pro-Trump posts on social media.
Three partners whom Scott fired — William Kain, Margaret Henehan and Kelsey Quarberg — are suing for wrongful termination. They were working at Kain and Scott, a St. Cloud-based law firm specializing in bankruptcy cases with offices in nine Minnesota cities including Brainerd, Duluth, Eagan, Maple Grove and Rochester.
This will turn out to be complicated I betcha.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
WASHINGTON—A report on the origins of Covid-19 by a U.S. government national laboratory concluded that the hypothesis claiming the virus leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, according to people familiar with the classified document.
The study was prepared in May 2020 by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and was drawn on by the State Department when it conducted an inquiry into the pandemic’s origins during the final months of the Trump administration.
It is attracting fresh interest in Congress now that President Biden has ordered that U.S. intelligence agencies report to him within weeks on how the virus emerged. Mr. Biden said that U.S. intelligence has focused on two scenarios—whether the coronavirus came from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.
What Saddam was actually hiding was that he didn’t have WMDs. He was hiding that less from his Western enemies and more from his dangerous neighbor, Iran, and possibly from internal enemies in Iraq itself. That mistaken inference is worth remembering as we ponder the still-murky origins of the Wuhan virus. We know China is hiding something. What we don’t know is what it is hiding and why.
- Beijing could be hiding that a natural virus escaped from the lab.
- Beijing could be hiding that the escaped virus was artificially enhanced, made more contagious and lethal (called “gain of function”).
- Beijing could be hiding the fact that China’s military was involved in this gain-of-function project, or at least in some aspects of the lab’s research.
- Beijing could be hiding that Chinese political leaders knew, early on, that the virus spread from human to human and that it kept this crucial finding secret for months. During that period, Beijing and the WHO were falsely telling the world that the virus could not spread from human to human.
- Beijing could be hiding that Chinese leaders not only knew the virus was contagious, but that they acted on that knowledge by allowing Chinese nationals to travel freely around the world, spreading the disease, while sharply restricting travel within China from Wuhan. And, finally,
- Beijing could be hiding anything and everything simply because that’s how totalitarian regimes operate. They always hide information, control the flow, and prevent outside inspections.
Whatever they’re hiding, they have powerful reasons. The Chinese Communist Party knows how high the stakes are if it is found responsible for a deadly lab leak and for keeping that information secret when others could have acted promptly and saved countless lives. Americans will be outraged, as they should be, and Washington will be forced to take serious action.
Not very long. RTWT. Note that this list is non-exclusive and Beijing could be hiding more than one of the things listed above and also things not listed.
IDAHOBIT stands for the ‘International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia’ which is a globally recognised date falling on 17th May every year. This date was selected to mark the decision to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseased of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990. Since this time, the movement has gained momentum globally and is observed in many businesses and sectors.
I thought it had to do with Idaho, but evidently not. Seems like this might violate copyright law, at least in spirit.
I was just reading about the panic that occurred in the American Medical Association, when their journal’s deputy editor argued on a podcast that socio-economic factors were more significant in poor outcomes for non-whites than “structural racism.” As you might imagine, any kind of questioning of this orthodoxy required the defenestration of the deputy editor and the resignation of the editor-in-chief. The episode was withdrawn from public viewing, and the top editor replaced it with a Maoist apology/confession before he accepted his own fate.
But I was most struck by the statement put out in response by a group called “The Institute for Antiracism in Medicine.” Here it is:
The podcast and associated promotional message are extremely problematic for minoritized members of our medical community. Racism was created with intention and must therefore be undone with intention. Structural racism has deeply permeated the field of medicine and must be actively dissolved through proper antiracist education and purposeful equitable policy creation. The delivery of messages suggesting that racism is non-existent and therefore non-problematic within the medical field is harmful to both our underrepresented minoritized physicians and the marginalized communities served in this country.
Consider the language for a moment. I don’t want to single out this group — they are merely representative of countless others, all engaged in the recitation of certain doctrines, and I just want an example. But I do want to say that this paragraph is effectively dead, drained of almost any meaning, nailed to the perch of pious pabulum. It is prose, in Orwell’s words, that “consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house.”
It is chock-full of long, compounded nouns and adjectives, riddled with the passive voice, lurching and leaning, like a passenger walking the aisle on a moving train, on pre-packaged phrases to keep itself going.
WASHINGTON (SBG) - A classified study of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 conducted a year ago by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s premier biodefense research institution, concluded the novel coronavirus at the heart of the current pandemic may have originated in a laboratory in China, Sinclair has learned.
Researchers at Livermore’s “Z Division,” the lab’s intelligence unit, issued the report May 27, 2020, classified “Top Secret.” Its existence is previously undisclosed. The Z Division report assessed that both the lab-origin theory and the zoonotic theory were plausible and warranted further investigation. Sinclair has not reviewed the report but confirmed its contents through interviews with multiple sources who read it or were briefed on its contents.
ICYMI. This was out before it was wrongthink to say this.
Amazon Sidewalk Will Share Your Internet With Strangers. It’s Not As Scary As It Sounds. | Wirecutter
On June 8, Amazon is set to flip the switch on its new free service called Sidewalk, which will automatically be enabled on many of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and smart displays, as well as some Ring devices (for more details, see the complete list of compatible devices). Once Sidewalk goes live, compatible devices such as speakers, light bulbs, locks, and sensors will be able to connect anonymously to other Sidewalk devices to borrow a little slice of internet connectivity. That should enable some interesting features down the line as more compatible devices appear. It’s also creating a fair amount of consternation about privacy and security—and for internet providers in particular, resentment that Amazon is giving away their internet service for free.
Can they even do this? I mean, legally? What if I don't want to share my network connection? Will Alexa still be my friend?
Monday, June 7, 2021
Critical race theory is fast becoming America’s new institutional orthodoxy. Yet most Americans have never heard of it—and of those who have, many don’t understand it. It’s time for this to change. We need to know what it is so we can know how to fight it.
Sometimes an idea emerges that is so stupid that it cannot help but sweep the field before it. Yet it must be resisted.