Sunday, January 17, 2021
Senator Joe Manchin was a guest on PBS’s Firing Line Friday night. Show host Margaret Hoover asked the Democrat from West Virginia if the 14th Amendment should be triggered against Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. Manchin’s response was yes, that should be a consideration.
These security measures are a massive overreaction to the storming of the Capitol building last week by ‘Stop the Steal’ protesters. It would make sense to shut down areas of the city a day or two before the inauguration, but implementing a de facto police state a week out from the event only serves to massively inconvenience DC residents and businesses. It projects unnecessary fear to the rest of the country and the world.
“I do think that several members of Congress in some of my discussions have brought up media literacy because that is part of what happened here,” Ocasio-Cortez went on. “We’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so you can’t just spew disinformation and misinformation,” she said.
"Rein in our media environment." Ah yes, nothing like the government deciding what is "truth" and what is not. That doesn't happen just in fiction novels, but also in real life in 2021. China and North Korea and Iran come to mind.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Big Tech suppression of speech, at one party’s urging but not government order, technically doesn’t violate the First Amendment. But, as CNN commentator Mary Katharine Ham tweeted, “It feels creepy and authoritarian.” It threatens to be the most effective speech suppression here since Democratic postmasters in the antebellum South deep-sixed anti-slavery material. That speech suppression didn’t ultimately prevail. How long the speech suppression by Big Tech and its liberal friends will prevail is unclear.
That was the opening Kelly had been waiting for. In the final pages of his Luddite book, Sale had predicted society would collapse “within not more than a few decades.” Kelly, who saw technology as an enriching force, believed the opposite—that society would flourish. Baiting his trap, Kelly asked just when Sale thought this might happen.
Sale was a bit taken aback—he’d never put a date on it. Finally, he blurted out 2020. It seemed like a good round number.
Kelly then asked how, in a quarter century, one might determine whether Sale was right.
Sale extemporaneously cited three factors: an economic disaster that would render the dollar worthless, causing a depression worse than the one in 1930; a rebellion of the poor against the monied; and a significant number of environmental catastrophes.
“Would you be willing to bet on your view?” Kelly asked.
“Sure,” Sale said.
Then Kelly sprung his trap. He had come to Sale’s apartment with a $1,000 check drawn on his joint account with this wife. Now he handed it to his startled interview subject. “I bet you $1,000 that in the year 2020, we’re not even close to the kind of disaster you describe,” he said.
I'm not a big Kirkpatrick Sale fan, but it seems he might have just been early with his predictions. He might have been wrong about the environmental catastrophes (or perhaps not). But his other two, collapse of the dollar and a rich-verus-poor war, well surely it's too early to tell.
Getting kicked off Amazon Web Services is rare, but it has enormous consequences.
It happened this week, when Amazon dropped Parler, a social network that gained traction from conservatives after Twitter banned President Donald Trump and housed content that encouraged violence. Parler filed suit against Amazon in federal district court in an attempt to stop Amazon from suspending Parler’s account, and Amazon pushed back, requesting that the court deny Parler’s motion.
The incident demonstrates a type of power that Amazon wields almost uniquely because so many companies rely on it to deliver computing and data storage. Amazon controlled 45% of the cloud infrastructure in 2019, more than any other company, according to estimates from technology research company Gartner. The app survived without being listed in Apple and Google’s app stores, but getting sent away from Amazon’s cloud has left Parler absent from the internet for days.
Imagine that you are a resident in a low-population county in 1950. You run afoul of the small group of families who are effectively in charge. Your political and legal rights are unimpaired. You are free to vote and you are free to sue in municipal and county and state courts. The police treat you with unfailing courtesy and respect.
But strange things start to happen. The only newspaper in the county refuses to take ads for your business. The only bank in the county announces that it is closing your account and calling in your mortgage. Your car breaks down and the only garage and service shop in the county refuses to repair it. The only general store in the county refuses your patronage and the few restaurants in the county turn you away at the door. After you lose your business to the newspaper advertising boycott, you try to get a job, but discover that you have been blacklisted by all of the employers in the county. Nobody will hire you.
Are you free, in this scenario, just because there is no official interference with your voting rights and your civil rights? Private power is power, no less than government power. You can be immobilized, impoverished, humiliated, tormented, and perhaps driven to suicide by hostile businesses and banks in an otherwise functioning liberal democracy, just as surely as by the police or military in a dictatorship.
The United States in 2021 is a continental nation-state with nearly 330 million people. And yet its social system today, in disturbing respects, resembles that of my imaginary county in 1950. Instead of one general store, there is Amazon with its dominant online position. Instead of one local newspaper, there is Google, which serves as the 21st century version of the old Yellow Pages. Instead of one county bank, there are a handful of giant banks and credit card companies. As in the old Texas county, if one essential firm spurns you there may be no alternatives in that industry who want your business, as a practical matter. If one or all of these national monopolies and oligopolies turns against you, for whatever reason, your business or your reputation or your life can be destroyed.
BERKELEY – Even before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the United States and other developed economies, trust in capitalism had eroded around the world, particularly among young people. In 2019, when unemployment was low and wages were rising, 56% of respondents to a global survey by the Edelman Trust Barometer nonetheless believed that “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good.” In the US, specifically, only 51% of young adults in a Gallup poll that year gave capitalism a “positive” rating, while 49% approved of socialism.
And get ready for yet another massive food fight over immigration — followed by a first-class standoff. The Los Angeles Times reports that Joe Biden plans to push forward with plans to offer legalization to 11 million or more illegal immigrants, which won’t come as a shock to most. The bigger news is that Biden apparently won’t offer any security concessions as part of the package:
As a refresher, what Dunn claimed to admire most about Mao was boiled down to his “unique” approach to governance. “You’re going to make choices…. You’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before.”
To be fair, that was certainly true about Mao Zedong. By the time his bloody reign finally ended, it’s estimated that he wound up killing more than 45 million people. Hitler and Stalin were absolute pikers compared to Mao. In that sense, he clearly figured out how to “do things that had never been done before.”
This is one of the people that Joe Biden will be looking to for advice? We’re living in a time when China has been installing spies and thieves in American universities and companies at a breathtaking rate. Our intelligence agencies have been uncovering so many of their undeclared agents that we may need to set up private jets to fly them all out of the country. They’re in the middle of what is turning out to be a fairly efficient case of genocide against the Xinjiang Uighurs and other minorities. They’re also beefing up their naval aviation and warfare capabilities like never before. And don’t even get me started on the Wuhan virus.
Given everything that’s been going on with China, do we really want our Commander in Chief taking cues from a Mao Zedong cheerleader? For Pete’s sake, she was too much even for Barack Obama to tolerate. While he may never have publicly condemned her, let’s face the obvious reality. If Obama didn’t want her to go, he would have quietly told her she didn’t need to resign and that he would protect her. That obviously didn’t happen, and out the door she went.
Evidently she was in high school. I was an idiot at that age as well. Is Mao still one of her favorite philosophers?