Cover for No Agenda Show 1532: Bay Gin
February 23rd, 2023 • 3h 10m

1532: Bay Gin


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Speed Listening
The Death of Expertise and the Rise of the Internet - John C Dvorak May 25th 2021
The modern Internet has become a hopeless cesspool of lies, misinformation, malinformation, bad intentions, ignorant good intentions and half-truths, outright hoaxes, slander, cruelty; as well as a refuge for creeps, criminals, thieves, phonies, agent provocateurs, would-be revolutionaries, predators, useless and fake reviews, Satanists, and worse.
Linking the entire globe and all the subsystems of corporate archives, personnel records, medical information, electrical grid interactions, and more will turn out to be the dumbest thing humanity has ever done.
The Internet and its World Wide Web has not fulfilled the promise of connecting the world in a positive way while distributing the combined knowledge of thousands of years of civilization. This horrible network has made matters worse. Hate and divisiveness is the theme of the modern era.
And, yes, you associate all sorts of cool things that happened in this era are with the Internet but most of those things are attributable to desktop computers combined with basic networking. It's not the Internet at all.
The major casualties of the Internet are the distinct loss of expertise and clarity of sources. This is because newspapers and magazines, in particular, were changed by the Internet’s subversive hyperlinking mechanism that made click-bait the key to profitability.
And while many people do not care about the political bias and agenda-laden slants of today’s newspapers, people would like to go on the Internet and find out something other than a definition of a word, which seems to be honest. But even that is ending as “politically correct” definitions creep into the lexicon almost overnight, where it would take years to accomplish in the past. Even the definition of a vaccine has changed to accommodate what the Pfizer marketing department calls a vaccine and which has no connection to its previous definition. The change happened overnight.
Project Veritas
I've been on the phone non-stop. Outside of losing a family member, Monday was the worst day of my life. I'll try to get you a better update for Sunday. My brain is mush. Our journalists and rest of team are dedicated to getting stories while the board and James work things out. Again, he's not fired, not ousted, not removed, didn't resign... Many of the things that were said in that video are not true. I was not there as it was a holiday and HQ was closed, so I worked from my home office... I kinda wished I was so I could have interjected the truth a few times.
More to come.
Veritas IRS zoom meetings - Board Members threatened?
Why would anyone try to please the IRS by doing zoom meetings instead of in person meetings? One should only care about following the IRS' rules, not their preferences. No? If what James says is true (James O'Keefe Addresses PV Staff.PDF) it kind of sounds like someone at the IRS was on a fishing expedition or something like that. They weren't able to find anything wrong with PV itself so they went after the board members?
quote (p. 11)
"The officer stated that we should do things such as “reschedule meetings” and that the IRS would prefer zoom meetings instead of in-person meetings. My lawyers got a real laugh out of that logic. And by the way, zoom meetings over in-person meetings is not how you raise money and not how you conduct journalism. Ask our journalists if that works to produce a story? Ask any fundraiser if it’s better to meet them in person or over zoom?"
Ukraine vs Russia
Biden receives Ash Wednesday mass from Polish priest | Daily Mail Online
Croatia rental prices BOTG
Listening to yesterdays podcast…
Ukranians increased rental prices in Zagreb (Croatia) to about twice what it was. It works like this: they post an ad on FB: “Woman with two kids looking for an apartment in Zagreb, two bedrooms 800euros”. Next day ALL two bedroom apartments are 800 and more. (They also get about 800e from the state.
In Belgrade (Serbia) the same thing, except it’s Russians.
Also in Zagreb we are getting gangs of loitering Ukrainian youth :)
Also Tinder is flooded …
EuroJust BOTG
Hi Adam,
Thanks for getting back to me, I dove into it and it's rather telling on how Ursula operates. It took me some time to put it all together, therefore the mail is a bit longer than ik planned. Good reads!
Ursula makes it sound like the war crimes court as big as the Neurenberger, post WW2. However, she only employed a nothingburger
Her center for prosecution is not anywhere near i.e. the Yugoslavia Tribunal. That was established by the UN Security Council, following international law.
The Hague has had a few of these tribunals, they come with their own judges, as well as a special prosecutor. This is somewhat similar to how the ICC works. Basics are simply: the international criminal court is the judge, cases are presented to court by a icc prosecutor. this special prosecutor also is in charge of the investigation.
They are based in The Hague, as am I, and both as a journo as via my dating app i got to know few people working there. ICC attracts talents from all over the world, who have been in the dirtiest mud botg before they go there. Now they work day and night on the worst war crimes, but can't tell you on what case until it is been in court, mostly about 7, 8 years in the future. Not a perfect match for a journalist, though we shared a lot of interests, like finding and vetting sources and facts.
dating, since they work all days and many nights. On what? That's what they cant tell you anything about, untill case gets to court. That's like in 7 or 8 years. As a journo, I can't handle deadlines like that.
It could be joseph koni, it might be Libia, Dafur, or maybe the hunt for president Duterte of Phillipines.
Now Eurojust
Eurojust is 'andere koek' - different cookie. More precisely: it's cookie dough, not yet ready to go in the oven. Creating a EU-wide police force is the wet dream of the far right wing of the political dreamers into the European Dream. It's the fulfillment of the ongoing trend of individual member states handing over power to Brussels.
However, the opinion that we need 'the federal bureau of EU cops' is not a very popular, an understatement. It's in fact truly unpopular: even among those in power in the member states. Perhaps hey don't like the idea of supranational oversight on which fingers are in the local cookie jars (this is the cynical part of the analysis, however not untrue: corruption is on the rise EU-wide). But most voters also are against handing over power: the EU is good for economic and social cooperation, not law enforcement. That's a clear red line.
Eurojust is in fact merely the international support desk for law enforcement.
Example of how it functions: Let's say that Lars, a Danish detective is closing in on apprehending an Italian mobster, from Calabria. He needs more evidence, and wants to eavesdrop his phone, an Italian. How to get a warrant? Thanks to european cooperation doesn't need to look up the number of the DA's office in Naples or Palermo. Lars can call Eurojust and then gets Torben in the Hague, also from Denmark, who then forwards the request to Julietta, the Italian colleague. She's working at Eurojust because she knows that Calabria is neither near Naples or in Sicily, and sends the request to the state attorney in Catanzaro.
Relatively simple paper work like this could take ages to handle, in the past. And even via Eurojust and Europol it can be a hassle, because of different laws in each member state. Few years ago, this provided enough drama for a two season Netflix series, The Team. It's about a Joint Investigation Team at Europol
JIT is nothing more than [a mostly ad-hoc formed] team of detectives from different countries, working together to catch a transnational criminal network. Local police forces do the field work, Europol and Eurojust handle the paperwork. Europol also does analysis, both spend lots of work in policy making, of course: it's the EU.
So, now we know the fundamentals of this legislative framework. So where comes the Ursulenski International Center for prosecuting Putin?
Well: it will be a desk or a team within a single JIT team. More precise: it will be part of the team with people from Eurojust. Who are a part of the JIT.
However: the prosecutors can write all the indigments in the world, they don't have a court to send them to. Eurojust can't do that, this has to be done in a country that is a member state in the JIT, and by their local prosecutors. Besides this, Ukraine is not even a EU-member state at this time.
Now we can go back to Ursula's statements about her special center, that gets confused by many (also in NL, even in M5M) by the ICC. She said the team was 'already collecting the evidence' of war crimes in Ukraine, and even preparing indictments. But they have no judge to send those to, cause there is no jurisdiction.
ICC has some jurisdiction. And ICC prosecutors have botg in Ukraine since the first days of the invasion. So they are already investigating war crimes.
The only place where the Ursulensky Center for Prosecution can send their findings to, is a mailbox of the ICC prosecutors team. However: it would not be considered to be direct evidence. That's because the info is coming from a source that is a party in the conflict. In this way, Ursula might undermine ICC, while trying to establish a EU FBI.
Ursula wants a penal court that is supreme to the ICC., she deems this necessary because Russia is not a ICC member state.
Den Haag herbergt al het Internationaal Strafhof (ICC), dat moet optreden tegen oorlogsmisdaden, misdaden tegen de menselijkheid, genocide en agressie tegen een ander land. Maar dat laatste misdrijf, dat gaat over het beramen van bijvoorbeeld een invasie als de Russische inval in Oekraïne, wordt zelden vervolgd. Omdat Rusland en Oekraïne het ICC niet erkennen, staat het nu ook sowieso machteloos. Een nieuw agressietribunaal moet die leemte dichten en achter de verantwoordelijken in het Kremlin aan, vinden de commissie en voorvechters als Nederland en Duitsland. SOURCE:
Ursula's speech:
And Russia must be held accountable in courts for its odious crimes. Prosecutors from Ukraine and the European Union are already working together. We are collecting evidence. As a first step, I am pleased to announce that an International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine will be set up in The Hague. This Centre will coordinate the collection of evidence. It will be embedded in the Joint Investigation Team which is supported by our agency Eurojust. We will be ready to launch work very rapidly with Eurojust, with Ukraine, with the partners of our Joint Investigation Team, as well as the Netherlands. The perpetrator must be held accountable
Great Reset
Climate Change
China & Balloons
New 6.3 magnitude quake rocks Turkey as death toll nears 47,000 - ABC News
Mandates & Boosters
Big Tech
Big Pharma
All Hands
Had to laugh at this email from the head of I&D. Maybe that is also a no no now too. How about "people leader of I&D"
You may have noticed that we are starting to change the language of our All-Employee Meetings away from All Hands Meetings. It’s a subtle difference but another step as we continue our journey of inclusion. I sometimes get asked if there is a library of terms we should stay away from. Just like all our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, it looks different everywhere. One best practice is to be open to receiving or sharing feedback in case your message has caused any kind of discomfort. It’s another way to disrupt biases around using a specific language and prejudicial phrases that can offend someone. LinkedIn Learning has a resource that can help us “Remember that words matter” and if you don’t already have access, you can activate your LinkedIn Learning license [removed link] here.
Sir Durka Durka
Prime Time Takedown
Wall Street Backs New Class of Psychedelic Drugs - WSJ
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 18:21
Psychedelic-therapy industry gets a reality trip as investors focus on treatments costing less time and money
Wall Street is betting tens of millions of dollars on psychedelic drugs that backers say could treat mental illness for a fraction of what it costs to do therapy with better-known treatments.
Transcend Therapeutics Inc. raised $40 million from venture-capital investors in January to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment that its 29-year-old CEO Blake Mandell says would require about half the amount of therapy as MDMA, or ecstasy, a popular hallucinogen. Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Lusaris Therapeutics Inc....
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Wall Street is betting tens of millions of dollars on psychedelic drugs that backers say could treat mental illness for a fraction of what it costs to do therapy with better-known treatments.
Transcend Therapeutics Inc. raised $40 million from venture-capital investors in January to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder treatment that its 29-year-old CEO Blake Mandell says would require about half the amount of therapy as MDMA, or ecstasy, a popular hallucinogen. Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Lusaris Therapeutics Inc. have announced capital raises of about $100 million since November for similar products addressing depression.
The companies' fundraising'--and their focus on more cost-effective psychedelic therapy'--coincides with a sharp selloff in biotech stocks last year that blunted some of the enthusiasm surrounding the commercial potential of hallucinogens.
All three companies say their drugs will kick in faster and wear off faster than MDMA and psilocybin, the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms. That could lift one of the biggest roadblocks to delivering psychedelic treatment to a mass market.
The FDA is expected to approve treatments using MDMA and psilocybin in the next few years, but rolling them out could be expensive because they must be administered by trained therapists, pharmaceutical executives say. MDMA and psilocybin can induce psychedelic trips lasting six to eight hours, and treatments typically involve additional therapy before and after.
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''There's a role for traditional medicine for people who want to do six- to eight-hour trips, but you have to face the reality of the medical system as it is today,'' said Amy Kruse, a neuroscientist and partner at venture-capital investment firm Prime Movers Lab, which led a $39 million funding for Gilgamesh in December.
The U.S. is struggling with a scarcity of mental-health workers. About 158 million Americans live in areas affected by such shortages, up from 95 million a decade ago, according to data from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.
Some pharmaceutical companies are pushing to develop psychedelic compounds that don't cause hallucinations or euphoric experiences at all, allowing for shorter and cheaper treatments. Transcend says its drug induces euphoria but not hallucinations.
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Critics of the new ventures say they are trying to create patentable drugs that will be far more costly to purchase than traditional psychedelics without commensurate improvement in outcomes. Psilocybin isn't patentable because it occurs naturally, while synthetic drugs LSD and MDMA are decades old. Global revenue from psychedelics could reach $8 billion by 2027, L.E.K. Consulting estimated.
Transcend is conducting clinical trials for Methylone, a drug that will appeal to many PTSD patients precisely because it is less intoxicating than MDMA, said Ben Kelmendi, the firm's co-founder and chief scientific adviser. He became interested in the chemical at his other job, running psychedelic research at Yale University.
An ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, Mr. Kelmendi fled the war there as a high-school student in 1996 and eventually became a psychiatrist studying obsessive-compulsive disorder and PTSD. Psilocybin and MDMA did wonders for otherwise treatment-resistant patients, but ''it became clear that even in a best-case scenario, the drugs would have limitations,'' he said.
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Patients already using a popular class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can't take MDMA. Other candidates backed out of psychedelic studies because they feared being retraumatized or having their personalities altered, Mr. Kelmendi said.
He was approached in 2019 by Kevin Ryan, a former Yale trustee who had founded online companies such as Gilt Groupe Inc. and who wanted advice about philanthropy for psychedelic mental health.
In 2020 Mr. Ryan tapped Mr. Mandell, then an associate at his investment firm, to look into launching a psychedelic-medicine startup. Mr. Mandell had studied mathematics and neuroscience at Brown University. He had also struggled with depression as a teenager and had lost several close friends to suicide by his early 20s.
Messrs. Kelmendi, Mandell and Ryan launched Transcend in 2021 to conduct clinical trials of an empathogen similar to MDMA called Methylone, which the U.S. outlawed in 2013. Results of tests conducted on rats were promising enough for Mr. Mandell to attract outside capital this year. Transcend will use the money to start tests on sick humans, an early step in the arduous Food and Drug Administration approval process.
''Methylone, which doesn't have any hallucinogenic effects, is far milder than MDMA, and is a better fit for the existing medical infrastructure,'' said Rick Gerson,
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chief investment officer of Alpha Wave Global, a venture-capital firm that participated in Transcend's recent funding.
Others are also jostling to raise cash.
London-based Small Pharma announced in January a successful Phase 2a trial treating depression with Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, a fast-acting drug related to the indigenous psychedelic ayahuasca. The company raised $52 million with a Canadian stock offering in 2021 but only has about $17 million left.
The biotech selloff has made fundraising more difficult, but Small Pharma is considering another share sale to fund a larger trial this year. ''The U.S. capital markets are larger in order of magnitude compared to Canada and they have a depth of expertise,'' said Chief Executive George Tziras.
Lower valuations have made investing more attractive, said Ms. Kruse. ''Some air has come out of the balloon and'...things have come down to reality.''
'--Daniela Hernandez and Brianna Abbott contributed to this article.
Write to Matt Wirz at
These Three Words Are Taking Over LinkedIn - WSJ
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 18:12
Users are stuffing comment boxes with boilerplate phrases to help posts go viral
Feb. 23, 2023 12:01 am ETJames Parry has watched thousands of his fellow tech workers lose their jobs in recent months, so a few weeks ago he posted a rallying cry on LinkedIn.
''Let's unite as a community and help get folks interviews lined up,'' he wrote, urging viewers to comment if they are looking for work or actively hiring.
Some did what Mr. Parry asked, describing...
James Parry has watched thousands of his fellow tech workers lose their jobs in recent months, so a few weeks ago he posted a rallying cry on LinkedIn.
''Let's unite as a community and help get folks interviews lined up,'' he wrote, urging viewers to comment if they are looking for work or actively hiring.
Some did what Mr. Parry asked, describing the positions they're trying to fill or apply to. Others simply clicked ''like'' to endorse the post. And several others left this reply: ''Commenting for reach.''
Anyone who's been on LinkedIn recently may have noticed that ''commenting for reach'' is a burgeoning phenomenon. Partly triggered by the wave of tech-sector layoffs, the phrase exists to do exactly what it says: help a post reach a bigger audience by racking up comments.
In the most common scenario of the moment, someone writes about losing a job and professional acquaintances respond with ''commenting for reach'' to help the post get seen by recruiters and other contacts.
People commenting for reach may not have job openings to share, or even full sentences of commiseration. But by writing something'--anything'--they increase the chances that people in their professional networks will see a post. The LinkedIn algorithm that determines which posts show up in users' feeds is complicated, dynamic and secret, but the company says a large number of comments can make a post more visible. Other social-media companies also use comments to help gauge which posts are popular and worthy of greater exposure.
Social pressure is a factor, too, some LinkedIn users say. When a co-worker gets laid off and everyone else on the team adds a comment, don't be the only one who neglects to chime in. Even if you can't really vouch for the person's ability, you can get credit for calling attention to the post.
Writing ''commenting for reach'' is no lazier than clicking a ''like'' button or sharing an emoji. It's arguably just as substantive as other boilerplate comments such as ''love this'' and ''totally agree.''
What sets ''commenting for reach'' apart from other low-effort reactions, however, is the nakedness of the ploy. Someone who leaves only a heart shape or ''YESSS'' in the comment field may be trying to draw attention, but the motive is politely concealed by a sentiment. A person who writes ''commenting for reach'' doesn't even pretend to be driven by anything other than helping a post go viral.
The lack of substance can be all the more stark when compared with the original post, which might be a lengthy reflection on a career milestone.
Some people who post frequently on LinkedIn are attempting to build their personal brands. Gaining a reputation as a management guru or career coach on the platform can help drum up business. Did you really think the social-media-influencer economy would stay confined to Instagram and TikTok?
Mr. Parry, 37, says he has turned posting on LinkedIn into a full-time gig since his own layoff by Snap Inc. last fall. He posted regularly before his job loss'--motivational messages, career tips and such'--and says he now works from his San Diego home as a brand ambassador for about 10 companies, writing posts for their LinkedIn accounts and his own.
Making money this way is hard work, says Mr. Parry. His weekly goal is for the content he produces to be viewed at least a million times, which often means starting his workday at 4:30 a.m. and working into the night.
He sometimes ends posts by asking readers to ''please drop a like' and 'commenting for reach''' because every eyeball is precious.
''It's everything,'' he says. ''Engagement is currency.''
To others, it's a new low in the business world's slumping interpersonal-skills department.
'''Commenting for reach' turns us all into dribbling robots at the feet of the algorithm,'' says Olivia Nelson, who works in Atlanta for Screencastify, an education technology company.
What disappoints Ms. Nelson, 33, is that this one-liner sometimes replaces more useful actions. Instead of introducing a job seeker to someone who is hiring, a former colleague might write ''commenting for reach'' and feel that she's done a good deed.
It's slacktivism, says Brian Collins, head of sales at a software company in Chicago. If the goal is to help someone's post reach a bigger audience, then commenters should at least include the reasons why they feel moved to help, he argues.
''Even an emoji is better,'' says Mr. Collins, 34. ''It means that you sat there and you reflected on the emotion that you felt when you read the post, you looked through a large set of emojis and found the right one.''
Some people who spend hours each day writing LinkedIn posts have mixed feelings about ''commenting for reach.'' Comments of any quality can help multiply a post's views, says Michael David Chapman, co-founder of LeadIn Media, a digital marketing agency in Durham, N.H., that manages other companies' LinkedIn accounts. He worries, however, that bland comments could suggest a post is uninteresting or, worse, spam.
''I see the upside,'' he says, ''but I'm trying to create content that's seen as authentic.''
It's as if an old proverb has been updated for LinkedIn: If you don't have anything nice to say, just say ''commenting for reach.''
Write to Callum Borchers at
Putin wants to be the Russian leader "who restored the empire," Ukraine's U.N. envoy says - CBS News
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 16:59
Ukrainian diplomat on threat from Russia
Ukrainian diplomat warns of likely bloodshed if Russia invades 04:25 United Nations '-- With 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine's borders and U.S. troops deploying to Europe, Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya tells CBS News that his country has "full trust" in the U.S. and is consulting closely with Washington as the Biden administration negotiates with Russia to de-escalate the crisis .
President Biden has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion of Ukraine at any time, and his administration alleged on Thursday that Moscow is already plotting to stage a fake video that it could use as a pretext to invade .
Russia insists that it has no intention of attacking Ukraine and accuses the U.S. and NATO of stoking the tension by refusing to accept Moscow's demands for "security guarantees" from the Western alliance.
Russia is planning to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine, according to U.S. officials 02:48 But Kyslytsya told CBS News that Putin is determined to reclaim Ukraine as pro-Russian ground, by force if necessary, and he said his country is in lockstep with the U.S. Kyslytsya said he is grateful for American support in trying to prevent what he said would be "absolute bloodshed" in his country if Russia invades.
Below are excerpts of Kyslytsya's interview with CBS News:
CBS News' Pamela Falk, on the proposals sent from Washington to Russia to ease the standoff: Is this an agreement that works for Ukraine?
Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya: We saw the draft answer before the draft answer was sent to the Russians and we operate in a daily close coordination, operation with the Americans'... We have full trust in what the Americans do so far. We very much appreciate their willingness to discuss with us their ideas and their steps.
Falk: Do you think Ukrainian civilians are prepared to fight the Russians if they do come in?
Ambassador: Absolutely, I have no doubt whatsoever. And that is the level of determination of the Ukrainian nation to defend their independence. It is incredible.
Outside Ukraine's capital, civilians train to defend their land against potential Russian invasion 02:08 Falk: What does that look like for Ukrainian civilians to be fighting one of the most powerful armies in the world?
Ambassador: It would be total bloodshed'... The Ukrainians want to be in NATO. Before 2014, they were already very pro-European Union'... At that moment and before 2014, there was no majority. If you polled the nation, we wouldn't have more than 50% of Ukrainians in favor of the NATO membership. Now, we have very high figures of Ukrainians if they ask if they want to be in NATO. Because now they realize that trying to defend ourselves on our own is not only questionable from the military point of view, but it is also exceptionally expensive economically and financially.
Falk: What do you believe Putin wants?
Ambassador: He wants to restore the Russian empire no matter how it's called, to the new Soviet Union, the Russian empire, the new Federation, whatever. He wants to be in the book of history as a state leader who restored the empire, no matter how they will call it.
More In: Russia Vladimir Putin Pamela Falk Pamela Falk is the CBS News correspondent covering the United Nations, and an international lawyer.
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NASA Help Wanted: Ham Radio Operators Please Apply | Hackaday
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 16:57
NASA's been recruiting citizen scientists lately, and their latest call is looking for help from ham radio operators. They want you to make and report radio contacts during the 2023 and 2024 North American eclipses. From their website:
Communication is possible due to interactions between our Sun and the ionosphere, the ionized region of the Earth's atmosphere located roughly 80 to 1000 km overhead. The upcoming eclipses (October 14, 2023, and April 8, 2024) provide unique opportunities to study these interactions. As you and other HamSCI members transmit, receive, and record signals across the radio spectrum during the eclipse, you will create valuable data to test computer models of the ionosphere.
The upcoming eclipses are in October of this year and in April 2024, so you have some time to get your station in order. According to NASA, ''It will be a fun, friendly event with a competitive element.'' So if you like science, space, or contesting, it sounds like you'll be interested. Right now, the big event is the Solar Eclipse QSO Party. There will also be a signal spotting challenge and some measurements of WWV, CHU, AM broadcast stations, and measurements of the ionosphere height. There will also be some sort of very low-frequency event. Details on many of these events are still pending.
Hams, of course, have a long history of experimenting with space. They routinely bounce signals off the moon. They also let radio signals bounce off the trails of ionized gas behind meteors using special computer programs.
Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg is planning fresh bloodbath of non-engineering staff | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 16:37
Meta is planning to cull thousands of jobs and reorganize their top management structure - despite promising no more layoffs just three months ago.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning on culling HR roles, as well as lawyers, financial experts and top executives. Those working in engineering roles are said to be safest.
The Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp parent company is planning to push some leaders into lower level roles, reducing the layers of management between Zuckerberg and company interns.
Insiders say that Meta is expecting some employees whose jobs have been demoted to quit as a result '' which would further pare back the tech firm's workforce.
Earlier this month Zuckerberg said that 2023 would be the year of 'efficiency', when announcing cuts at Facebook and Instagram.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning on culling HR roles, as well as lawyers, financial experts and top executives
Earlier this month Zuckerberg said that 2023 would be the year of 'efficiency', when announcing cuts at Facebook and Instagram
Zuckerberg told investors at the meeting: 'We closed last year with some difficult layoffs and restructuring some teams.
'When we did this, I said clearly that this was the beginning of our focus on efficiency and not the end.'
A source told the Washington Post that managers might end up overseeing a higher number of employees as their teams grow.
The company is also considering slashing projects and jobs to target divisions across the company and around the world.
A date has not been given for the cuts, but they are expected to roll out in the coming months.
Nicola Mendelsohn and Justin Osofsky have been given additional remits as a result of the upcoming departure of business officer Marne Levine this summer
The new cull comes just three months after the firm fired 11,000 people - with recruitment and business teams facing the major losses.
At the time the CEO told workers that he 'didn't anticipate more layoffs' after the cuts in November, adding that the slashing of jobs was to 'minimize the chance of having to do broad layoffs like this for the foreseeable future.'
Mark Zuckerberg has dubbed 2023 the 'year of efficiency', however one area he is not looking to make cuts to is his personal security bill - said to be increasing by at least $4 million this year
Meta previously laid off around 10 percent of its workforce last year, and recent moves indicate more mass firings are on the way
Nicola Mendelsohn (right) and Justin Osofsky (left) have been given additional remits as a result of the upcoming departure of business officer Marne Levine this summer
He said: 'I obviously can't sit here and promise you that nothing will happen in the future because it's a very volatile environment.
'But what I can say is that for where we are right now, that's what I foresee.'
It comes after he gave around 10 percent of its employees poor job performance ratings in a recent round of reviews.
The company's preparations to fire thousands more employees comes as 'tech wreck' has swept Silicon Valley following a post-pandemic financial dip.
Despite making drastic cost-cutting measures in several areas of his company, Zuckerberg has also invested an extra $4 million to beef up his personal security.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has made several cost-cutting measures to save its failing bottom line, with its high-paid tech executives also set to see their bonuses slashed.
Marne Levine, vice president of global partnerships and business development at Meta is set to leave in the summer
Meta announced that it would soon be charging social media users a monthly subscription fee to be verified on Facebook and Instagram
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning another round of 'large-scale layoffs' - following the first in the company's history at the end of last year
WHAT IS 'META VERIFIED'? 'Meta Verified' is the new subscription service available to Facebook and Instagram users being rolled out as of this week.
Those who sign up will receive a 'blue tick' of verification on their profile. along with other benefits like 'direct access to customer support' and 'extra impersonation protection'.
This will cost $11.99 (£9.97) each month to use on most internet-enabled devices, but $14.99 (£12.47) each month for use on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.
The mass layoffs come after Meta nearly doubled its staff numbers from 2019 to 2022 to over 86,000 amid increased tech usage during the pandemic.
But large sections of Meta's employees are now set to be culled, as the company suffers from slowing ad revenue and expensive investment in the 'metaverse'.
According to Nasdaq, the firm has seen an operating loss of almost $24 billion in the last two years due to its metaverse spending.
This has led Zuckerberg to introduce his 'efficiency' drive to turn around Meta's plummeting revenue, said to have slashed $80 billion from its value last year alone.
They were also hit with a huge backlash after announcing that they were rolling out a new paid verification subscription service called Meta Verified.
Coming soon, for $11.99/month on web and $14.99/month on iOs, users on Instagram and Facebook will be able to pay to become verified users, which will entail, among other things, a blue verification badge.
The service will first be introduced in New Zealand and Australia this year, and will be available in other nations 'soon,'.'
Among Zuckerberg's latest moves are to remove middle management to 'flatten' Meta's structure and increase productivity by introducing AI into its workforce.
The firm has seen an operating loss of almost $24 billion in the last two years due to its metaverse spending
Zuckerberg will want to avoid the backlash faced by Elon Musk over his brutal Twitter layoffs
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet's CEO, said the firm's mass firings will affect teams across the company including recruiting and some corporate functions
Alongside culling its workforce and implementing AI tools in an attempt to increase its output on a budget, Meta made another cost-cutting move recently by shuttering Instagram's 'live shopping' market feature.
Around half of Meta's hirings have never experienced a performance review at the company, and the blunt nature of the most recent cycle was described as a return of Zuckerberg's 'old school' harsh style.
The CEO's penchant for being short was depicted in his 2010 biopic The Social Network, with one former worker telling the Wall Street Journal that his latest moves are a return of 'OG Mark' or 'old school Zuck'.
Following news of the poor performance reviews, a Meta spokesman said: 'We've always had a goal-based culture of high performance, and our review process is intended to incentivize long-term thinking and high-quality work, while helping employees get actionable feedback.'
The 10% of workers who received poor reviews have reportedly taken their ratings as a sign they need to look for new employment opportunities.
Metas drastic changes have already seemed to pay off, however, with the firm announcing a net profit of $4.7 billion for its fourth quarter.
The report broke a massive slump for the tech giant, which had seen its quarterly returns decline three times in a row before its recent profit returns.
Zuckerberg's firing of around 10 percent of his Meta staff came as several other major firms also released large portions of their employees.
Following Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter, the entrepreneur brutally sacked half the company's staff, around 3,750 employees.
Other firms to suffer from 'tech wreck' includes Google-parent company Alphabet, which cut 12,000 employees last month, around 6 percent of its workforce.
At just seven large tech firms, the job cuts announced in recent months total nearly 70,000: Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, Salesforce, HP and Twitter.
Elon Musk lays off more Twitter employees in sales, engineering - The Verge
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 16:36
On November 21st, Elon Musk gathered Twitter's remaining employees at its San Francisco headquarters to tell them that, after forcing out roughly two-thirds of the workforce in a matter of weeks, layoffs were over. He keeps laying people off anyway.
Dozens of Twitter employees across sales and engineering departments were laid off last week, including one of Musk's direct reports who was managing engineering for Twitter's ads business, according to company sources and social media posts from affected employees seen by The Verge. This means Musk has done at least three rounds of layoffs since his promise to stop doing them in November. Meanwhile, he has given a directive internally to revamp how ads are targeted in Twitter's main feed within a week '-- part of his plan to fix what he has publically called ''the worst ad relevance on Earth.'' (The Information first reported that fresh cuts hit the sales team last week.)
Musk's plan is to change Twitter's ad targeting to work like Google's search ads, which target primarily by keywords that are searched for, rather than a user's activity and profile data. It's an approach that works well for a search engine '-- where people go to express specific intent for finding something '-- and has helped Google build one of the most profitable businesses of all time. But it hasn't worked for a social media business to date.
In a tweet on Saturday, Marcin Kadluczka, the laid-off engineering manager for monetization who reported directly to Musk, hinted at the infeasibility of the one-week deadline in a tweet: ''I believe Twitter can really improve ads in 2-3 months (no necessarily in a week though).'' I've confirmed that Musk gave the aggressive deadline just before Kadluczka and others in the ads, consumer, and sales orgs were laid off last Friday.
Here is where I'll caveat that Musk gave a similar deadline to revamp Twitter Blue when he first bought the company that wasn't met. He could also change his mind about how ads should work on Twitter. He didn't respond to an email asking for comment.
Improving Twitter's ads has been a key focus of Musk's since he bought the company. He has correctly pointed out that Twitter's ads are less personalized and effective than its competitors. (As my colleague Nilay Patel likes to say, critiquing the Musk era of Twitter is by no means an endorsement of the previous regime.) But it's unclear if changing targeting to be keyword-driven like Google ads will actually improve the quality of Twitter's advertising, as others with a better understanding of the trade-offs than me have pointed out:
Do you know more about what's going on inside Twitter? I'd love to chat confidentially. You can reach me via or through the contact form on my Linktree. Then we can set up a secure thread on Signal.
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Arrivals in Thailand from countries hit by Marburg virus to be screened | Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 16:28
The Disease Control Department has instructed international disease control checkpoints at all ports of entry to screen all arrivals from countries currently reported to be affected by Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) as a precautionary measure.
Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong said today (Monday) that The World Health Organisation reported the first-ever outbreak of MVD on February 13 th , in Equatorial Guinea, and that 200 people who are considered as being at high-risk have been quarantined.
He added that two cases, plus 42 more likely cases, have been reported in Cameroon, which borders Equatorial Guinea.
In Thailand, he said that MVD is classified as one of 13 dangerous infectious diseases, in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Act, although the disease has not yet been detected in the country.
Meanwhile, DCD Deputy Director-General Dr. Sophon Iamsirithavorn said that, currently, Thailand has not yet imposed a travel ban to or from Equatorial Guinea or Cameroon, but screening of arrivals from these two African countries has been tightened up.
If an arriving passenger is suspected of being infected, Thai health officials have been instructed to take fluid specimens for tests and the person will be informed of the results within three hours.
After an incubation period of 2-21 days, the onset of symptoms is rapid and marked by a fever, chills, headache and myalgia. Around five days following the onset of symptoms, a maculopapular rash, most prominent on the truck, may occur. Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea may occur. Symptoms become increasingly severe and can include jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock, liver failure, massive haemorrhaging and multi-organ dysfunction.
Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first-ever outbreak of MVDdisease on February 13 th . Preliminary tests carried out following the deaths of at least nine people in the country's eastern Kei Ntem Province turned out positive for the viral haemorrhagic fever on one of the samples.
New 6.3 magnitude quake rocks Turkey as death toll nears 47,000 - ABC News
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 16:25
At least three people in Turkey were killed in latest tremor.
A 6.3 magnitude earthquake rattled Turkey on Monday night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, even as the country is still cleaning up from one of the worst natural disasters in its history.
The quake was centered near the southern city of Samandag, located in Hatay province, which suffered catastrophic damage in the quake that struck on Feb. 6.
The latest earthquake came as officials from Turkey and Syria said the death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck two weeks ago has reached 46,957 total, with 41,156 in Turkey and 5,801 in Syria.
An emergency service worker uses a cell phone amid the rubble at the site of a collapsed building that killed three people after a new earthquake rattled the region on Feb. 20, 2023 in Hatay, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath/Getty Images
Search and rescue crews in Turkey and Syria are surveying the latest damage from the new tremor. At least three people are dead, and 213 people have been injured in Turkey from Monday's quake, according to the Turkish government.
Rescue team members search for people in a destroyed building during the aftermath of an earthquake in Hatay, Turkey, Feb. 20, 2023. A new 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Monday struck parts of Turkey and Syria that were laid waste two weeks ago by a massive quake that killed around 45,000 people.
Ugur Yildirim/AP
The mayor of Hatay said people are trapped under rubble from newly collapsed buildings from the latest earthquake.
People react after an earthquake in Antakya in Hatay province, Turkey, Feb. 20, 2023.
Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters
At least 130 people were injured in northwest Syria as the latest quake struck, the White Helmets, Syria's Civil Defense Unit, tweeted. Several balconies and walls collapsed from the tremors, the White Helmets tweeted.
"Several civilians injured from falling building debris, stampedes, and jumping from high areas. Additionally, in Jenderes, north of Aleppo two uninhabited buildings and the minaret of a mosque collapsed," the organization tweeted.
Civilians wait in the middle of the streets after a fast evacuation of their homes because a 6,4 magnitude earthquake in Reyhanli, Hatay, near the border with Syria in Turkey, Feb. 20, 2023.
Celestino Arce Lavin/ZUMAPRESS
There were no immediate reports of deaths in Syria.
At a Turkish camp for 700 people who are now homeless from the prior earthquake, buildings shook for about 15 seconds around 8 p.m. local time and lights went off in the distance.
This aerial photograph taken on Feb. 20, 2023 shows diggers removing the rubble of collapsed buildings in Antakya, southern Turkey.
Sameer Al-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images
Most of the people in the camp were sitting outside huddling around fires to keep warm when the earthquake occurred. Many started praying and shouting to get away from buildings.
An elderly man reacts after a new 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Hatay, Turkey, Feb. 20, 2023.
Erdem Sahin/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Several aftershocks were felt following the initial quake.
ABC News' Engin Bas contributed to this report.
U-2 Pilot Takes Selfie With Chinese Spy Balloon: Amazing Photo
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:52
Department of Defense A rumored photo of the Chinese spy balloon taken by a U-2 pilot has emerged.One open source intelligence devotee has identified the terrain below as rural Missouri.The photo will likely be a defining image of a period when U.S.-Chinese relations began to truly deteriorate.For more than two weeks, rumors swirled that there was a selfie, taken by a U-2 spy plane pilot, that included the now-infamous Chinese spy balloon in the background.
The secretive nature of the intelligence community suggested the photo, if it existed, might never see the light of day. Now, a photo has emerged that confirms it's the real thing. The stunning image sheds light on how dedicated the U.S. government was to keeping tabs on the lighter-than-air intruder'--and shooting it down when the time was right.
This content is imported from twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
The photo was shared yesterday on a number of social media accounts and appears above. The Twitter account explains that exactly where the photo came from is unknown, but seems to originate with the Dragon Lady Today website, which is devoted to all things U-2.
More From Popular Mechanics
The photo really does appear to be a selfie taken by a U-2 pilot. The helmet's sun visor is lowered in place, giving the pilot's face the appearance of a round black marble. The knife-like right wing of the U-2 is clearly visible, as is the right side view mirror bolted inside the cockpit. The pilot was even able to catch the shadow of his own aircraft on the side of the 200 foot-wide balloon.
This content is imported from twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.
Ben geo-referenced the possible U-2 pilot balloon selfie with Sentinel imagery near Washington, Missouri. If it's not real, it's an amazing fake.
'-- John Wiseman (@lemonodor) February 22, 2023One open source intelligence enthusiast was able to geolocate terrain features in the photo with the view over Washington, Missouri. The analyst states that the image is theoretically fakeable, ''but it would be a lot of work to make everything match up.''
Update: The Pentagon admitted the photograph is real and has provided a newer, higher resolution photo, seen below. The location of Washington, Missouri is likely correct.
The photo officially released by the Department of Defense. The caption states: "A U.S. Air Force pilot looked down at the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon as it hovered over the central continental United States February 3, 2023."
Department of DefenseAccording to St. Louis Public Radio, the Chinese spy balloon was spotted over St. Louis, Missouri, on February 3. The balloon was shot down the next day in U.S. territorial waters, just off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. U.S. Navy divers working from the amphibious dock ship USS Carter Hall salvaged the remains, an operation that concluded on February 16th.
The Chinese surveillance balloon was flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet, above the service ceiling of most combat aircraft. The U-2, on the other hand, typically flies above 70,000 feet and the Dragon Lady's introduction into service, in the late 1950s, put an end to America's clumsy experimentation with spy balloons.
While there was real practical value in having a spy plane snap close-up pictures of the balloon, the photo also distills America's vast technological aerospace advantage over China into a single image.
Writer on Defense and Security issues, lives in San Francisco.
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No cow needed: Oat and soy can be called milk, FDA proposes
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:34
(AP) - Soy, oat, almond and other drinks that bill themselves as ''milk'' can keep using the name, according to draft federal rules released Wednesday.
Food and Drug Administration officials issued guidance that says plant-based beverages don't pretend to be from dairy animals '' and that U.S. consumers aren't confused by the difference.
Dairy producers for years have called for the FDA to crack down on plant-based drinks and other products that they say masquerade as animal-based foods and cloud the real meaning of ''milk.''
Under the draft rules, the agency recommends that beverage makers label their products clearly by the plant source of the food, such as ''soy milk'' or ''cashew milk.''
The rules also call for voluntary extra nutrition labels that note when the drinks have lower levels of nutrients than dairy milk, such as calcium, magnesium or vitamin D. They would continue to allow labels that note when plant-based drinks have higher levels. Fortified soy milk is the only plant-based food included in the dairy category of U.S. dietary guidelines because of its nutrient levels.
The new guidelines are aimed at providing consumers clear nutrition information, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a statement. The draft rules do not apply to nondairy products other than beverages, such as yogurt.
The National Milk Producers Federation, an industry trade group, applauded the call for extra nutrition information on drink labels, but said they rejected the FDA's conclusion that plant-based drinks can be called milk because it's a ''common and usual name.''
The Good Food Institute, a group that advocates for plant-based products, objected to the extra labeling in a statement, saying ''the guidance misguidedly admonishes companies to make a direct comparison'' with cow's milk, even though key nutrients are already required to be listed.
In recent years, the number of plant-based drinks has exploded to include dozens of varieties, including cashew, coconut, hemp and quinoa-based beverages. Although the drinks are made from the liquid extracts of plant materials, they are frequently labeled '' and described '' as ''milks.''
In the U.S., almond milk is the most popular variety, but oat milk has been seeing the fastest growth. Still, nondairy sales are dwarfed by traditional milk. Sales of refrigerated cow's milk grew to $12.3 billion in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 28, compared to $2.5 billion for nondairy milk, according to NielsenIQ.
In the past, lawmakers in dairy states have tried to get bills passed that would require the FDA to enforce a federal standard that defines ''milk'' as the product of ''milking one or more healthy cows.''
The agency will accept comments on the draft guidelines through April 23.
AP Business Writer Dee-Ann Durbin contributed to this report.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Death of Clinton aide tied to Jeffrey Epstein ruled suicide
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 14:54
The mysterious death of an aide to President Bill Clinton with ties to Jeffrey Epstein has been officially ruled a suicide '-- despite there being no sign of a weapon near the body.
Mark Middleton, 59, who served in the Clinton White House in the 1990s, was found dead on Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, on May 2, 2022, the Daily Mail reported.
Almost one year after Middleton's death, a police report obtained by the outlet this week revealed that the Little Rock businessman was discovered with a gunshot wound to the chest and an extension cord tying his neck to a tree.
''I could see the male was obviously deceased,'' Deputy Jeremy Lawson of the Perry County Sheriff's Department wrote of his arrival at the grisly scene.
Notably, Lawson's account includes that while officers located a gun case and three boxes of buckshot in Middleton's BMW SUV, there was no weapon in sight.
The mysterious death of Mark Middleton, an ex-aide to President Bill Clinton, has been officially ruled a suicide.Though the father of two worked for his family's HVAC business in the years before his death, he previously enjoyed a high-flying lifestyle as special adviser to Clinton and assistant to chief of staff Thomas F. ''Mack'' McLarty.
Middleton notably signed late pedophile Epstein into the White House seven of the 17 times he visited the residence, the Daily Mail said. He was also reported to have flown on Epstein's infamous ''Lolita Express'' jet.
Middleton left the White House in 1995. The following year, the Los Angeles Times reported, his executive access was curtailed after an investigation determined he abused his connections in an effort to become ''an international dealmaker.''
The release of the official report comes after Middleton's family petitioned a judge over concerns about the photos and videos being made public. Perry Co. Sheriff's Department Middleton served in the Clinton White House in the 1990s. The William J. Clinton President / MEGAThe release of the official report comes after Middleton's family '-- which includes his wife and two young adult daughters '-- petitioned a judge over concerns about the gory photos and videos of the scene being made public.
In June 2022, the Arkansas Times reported, Circuit Judge Alice Gray determined that while the visual content was to remain sealed, the report would be available under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the months since his death, internet conspiracy theorists had tried to tie Middleton to the ''Clinton Body Count,'' or the right-wing theory that Bill and Hillary Clinton have passels of their political opponents killed.
Mark Middleton was found dead on Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, on May 2, 2022, according to reports. APThe bizarre hypothesis first gained traction in part following the unexpected suicide of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster in 1993.
Body-count truthers were also inflamed when Epstein hanged himself in his cell in August 2019. Then-President Donald Trump famously retweeted a message accusing the Clintons of orchestrating Epstein's death to mask their own alleged dealings with the sex fiend.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to
Men who drink cola have larger testicles: Study | Toronto Sun
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 14:05
Two glasses of cola with ice with young man in background. Getty ImagesReviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.
This is a different kind of Pepsi challenge.
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Access articles from across Canada with one account Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments Enjoy additional articles per month Get email updates from your favourite authors Men who drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi have larger testicles and higher testosterone levels than their peers who do not drink the carbonated beverages, based on a study in rodents.
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The findings, published in the journal Acta Endocrinol, appear to contradict previous studies that found sugary drinks and processed foods make men less fertile.
Researchers from China's Northwest Minzu University set out to show that sugary sodas are not bad for male fertility and found that high caffeine intake can bolster testosterone production in the body, which leads to greater sperm production and larger testes.
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The first group of 30 male mice were kept in a cage with a water bottle filled with a half Pepsi, half tap water.
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The second group of 30 caged male mice were given 100% Pepsi.
Two more groups of 30 male mice were given the same water bottles except with Coca-Cola, while a fifth group, the control group, had only water.
All five groups of mice could drink as much as their little mouths desired for 15 days.
The testicles of all the mice were measured at the beginning of the study, at the conclusion, and four times in between.
Recommended from Editorial Study finds men with high testosterone more likely to cheat Can bionic penis cure erectile dysfunction? HARD TRUTHS: Canadian penises 12th biggest in world, U.S. comes up short at 59th, study finds On the final day, the researchers found the mass of the mice's testicles was significantly higher in the groups that drank 100% Coca-Cola and Pepsi compared to the watered down and control groups.
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Article content''The outcomes demonstrated a high dose of Pepsi-Cola or Coca-Cola could promote testis growth and development,'' the study said.
The control group's testosterone concentration was 23 nanomoles per litre, while the groups that drank pure cola had a concentration of about 30 nanomoles per litre.
The mice in the pure cola groups also had higher levels of the male hormone than the control group, according to the study.
It is unclear what the long-term effects of the soft drinks on the increase in testicle size and testosterone levels.
For more health news and content around diseases, conditions, wellness, healthy living, drugs, treatments and more, head to '' a member of the Postmedia Network.
Wie saboteerde de Nord Stream-pijplijn? Rusland en het Westen spelen elkaar de zwartepiet toe
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 13:42
Een half jaar na het opblazen van de Nord Stream-gaspijpleiding eist Rusland een onafhankelijk onderzoek door de VN. Aanleiding is de publicatie van een Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist die beweert dat niet Moskou erachter zit, maar Washington.
Jeroen Visser 22 februari 2023 , 05:00 Wat wil Rusland precies? Rusland wil dat de Veiligheidsraad een onafhankelijk onderzoek gelast naar de aanslag op de Nord Stream-pijpleidingen. De door Rusland gexploiteerde gaspijpen werden in september opgeblazen, ruim een half jaar na het begin van de Russische invasie in Oekra¯ne. E(C)n van de vier leidingen is onbeschadigd. De beschadigde delen liggen net buiten de territoriale wateren van Zweden en Denemarken.
Moskou komt met het verzoek om een onafhankelijk onderzoek na een omstreden publicatie van de Amerikaanse onderzoeksjournalist Seymour Hersh. Hersh schreef vorige week op zijn blog op basis van (C)(C)n anonieme bron dat de Amerikanen achter de aanslag zaten. De Amerikaanse president Joe Biden zou persoonlijk het bevel voor de clandestiene actie hebben gegeven. De reden voor de sabotage zou zijn dat de VS al vanaf het begin tegen Nord Stream waren, omdat dit Rusland meer invloed gaf in West-Europa.
Wat zijn de reacties op deze publicatie? De bevindingen van Hersh werden door veel media geschuwd, omdat ze op slechts op (C)(C)n bron berusten die ook nog eens niet geverifieerd kan worden. Het Witte Huis deed het verhaal af als volledig verzonnen.
Hersh (85) is oud-medewerker van The New York Times. Hij won prijzen voor zijn onderzoeksjournalistiek over onder meer door Amerikaanse soldaten gepleegde misdaden tijdens de Vietnam- en de Irakoorlog. In de afgelopen jaren kreeg de journalist kritiek op artikelen met grote claims die louter gebaseerd waren op anonieme bronnen. Zo beweerde hij op basis van Amerikaanse en Pakistaanse bronnen dat de officile lezing over de liquidatie van Al Qaida-leider Osama Bin Laden niet klopt.
De Deen Hans Tino Hansen, directeur van het bedrijf Riskintelligence, dat voor onder meer de Amerikaanse marine en de Navo risico's en inlichtingen in kaart brengt, zegt het blog van Hersh niet serieus te nemen. 'Het voldoet niet aan de basisstandaarden voor betrouwbare berichtgeving en het bevat geen grammetje bewijs. '
Hoe staat het met het onderzoek naar de aanslag? Zweden is bezig met een strafrechtelijk onderzoek naar de aanslag. Afgelopen november maakte de Zweedse officier van justitie bekend dat sporen van explosieven zijn gevonden bij de beschadigde delen van de pijpleiding. Dat zou bewijs zijn voor doelbewuste sabotage. Sindsdien zijn geen mededelingen meer gedaan.
Volgens Hansen is het niet aannemelijk dat de onderzoekers sporen vinden die naar de dader leiden. 'Het hele idee van zo'n clandestiene operatie is dat je geen bewijs achterlaat.'
Hansen acht het 'zeer waarschijnlijk' dat Rusland achter de aanslag zit. Moskou zou daarmee hebben willen laten zien dat het op elk moment in staat is vitale infrastructuur te vernietigen zonder dat zo'n actie naar Rusland te herleiden is. Hij zegt inlichtingen gezien te hebben die wijzen op betrokkenheid van Rusland. 'Maar dat is niet iets wat ze in de rechtbank kunnen gebruiken.'
Het Kremlin noemde claims over Russische betrokkenheid eerder 'voorspelbaar, en voorspelbaar dom' omdat het als gasproducent er alleen maar schade van ondervindt.
Waarom wil Rusland het onderzoek niet afwachten? Moskou zegt gefrustreerd te zijn omdat Zweden zich stilhoudt over de voortgang van het onderzoek. De Russen willen dat Zweden op zijn minst de bevindingen uit het strafrechtelijke onderzoek met hen deelt. 'Er zijn al vijf maanden verstreken sinds de sabotageactie en al die tijd heeft Zweden, als op bevel, niks laten weten. Waar zijn ze zo bang voor?', aldus een verklaring van de Russische ambassade in Zweden.
Rusland stelde al meerdere keren - zonder bewijs - dat 'Westerse landen' achter de sabotageactie zitten. Zo claimde het Russische ministerie van Defensie in oktober dat Britse commando's de pijpleidingen zouden hebben opgeblazen.
Maakt het voorstel voor een onafhankelijk onderzoek kans? Dat is onwaarschijnlijk. Als een van de leden van de Veiligheidsraad zijn veto uitspreekt, gaat het niet door. Landen als de VS, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Frankrijk zullen erop wijzen dat het Zweedse Openbaar Ministerie al een onafhankelijk onderzoek uitvoert. Volgens het Russische persbureau TASS steunt China het voorstel.
Lees ook Oorlog in Oekra¯neHet Westen wint aan eenheid, maar verliest aan mondiale invloed door de oorlog in Oekra¯ne'De steun en waardering van Biden is voor Polen ontzettend belangrijk en goed voor het zelfbeeld'Hoe verloopt de strijd in Oekra¯ne? Een actueel overzicht met kaarten en grafieken
Civil rights activist Angela Davis learns she's a descendant of Mayflower pilgrim -
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 12:25
Birmingham native and civil rights activist Angela Davis, known as a part of the Black Power movement of the early 1970s, was shocked to learn that she is descended from a passenger on the Mayflower, one of the first settlers in America.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the PBS program, ''Finding Your Roots,'' revealed Davis' ancestry on a show that aired Tuesday night.
Davis' 10th great-grandfather, tracing back through her father's white father, Murphy Jones, was William Brewster, born in England in about 1570, Gates said.
Gates had Davis read about Brewster, who sailed in 1620 as one of the first settlers in America.
''That is a list of passengers on the Mayflower,'' Gates said.
''No, I can't believe this,'' Davis said. ''My ancestors did not come here on the Mayflower.''
''You are descended from one of the 101 people who sailed on the Mayflower,'' Gates said.
Davis, who grew up in Birmingham, also traces back, through her mother's side, to a Revolutionary War soldier, Stephen Darden, who played fife and drums for the fourth Virginia regiment in the 1770s, but then moved to Georgia and became a slave owner, Gates said.
''I always imagined my ancestors as the people who were enslaved,'' Davis said. ''It makes me even more committed to struggling for a better world.''
Davis noted the irony of her ancestor's role in the Revolutionary War and his role in slavery.
''The American Revolution should have gone further than it did,'' she said. ''So many people have called those of us who try to fight against racism and who have visions of a more radical democracy as un-American. I've always insisted that the best way to pay tribute to this country is to try to change it and allow it to develop into the kind of place where anyone can be free and equal and happy.''
It took DNA testing to solve the mystery of her mother's ancestry.
Her mother, Sallye Bell, grew up in a foster home and never knew her biological parents.
Through DNA, Gates was able to find Davis' white first cousins.
Her mother's father was John Austin Darden, a white lawyer from Goodwater who served as a state representative and senator in the Alabama Legislature from 1914-33. He was also publisher of the Goodwater Enterprise newspaper.
Gates shared profile photos of Davis' mother alongside a photo of John Darden.
''It's really amazing,'' Davis said of the resemblance.
''The barbershop would have convicted the brother right there,'' Gates said. ''She looks like her daddy.''
A news report of Darden's death mentioned his white family, but not his Black family.
Davis said her mother would have liked to have known her white relatives.
''My mother was so open and so gracious and always willing to look for the good in people,'' she said.
Davis said she was glad the mystery of her mother's family was partially revealed.
''I'm glad, but I'm also really angry,'' she said.
Gates also revealed that Davis' father, Benjamin Frank Davis, who was born in 1909 in Linden in Marengo County, knew that his father was a white man, Murphy Jones. Davis said her father never revealed that to her.
Murphy Jones had a long relationship and multiple children with Davis' grandmother, Mollie Spencer, who was born in 1869 in Marengo County.
Mollie's father, Isom Spencer, was born into slavery in 1824 on a Marengo County cotton plantation. After the Civil War ended in 1865, Isom Spencer went to court in 1866 and filed a complaint that the plantation owner continued to hold his nephews and nieces in unpaid bondage. A judge ruled in the plantation owner's favor, saying the arrangement was beneficial to the children. Isom Spencer continued to fight, and finally the Freedmen's Bureau of the federal government ordered that the children be released from the plantation and turned over to their family.
The full episode of ''Finding Your Roots,'' which also features former Homeland Security director Jeh Johnson, who also has roots in Alabama, can be viewed on PBS.
Davis received the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Fred L. Shuttlesworth Award in 2020, after it was initially rescinded over complaints about her support for Palestinians, then reinstated.
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How big Christian nationalism has come courting in North Idaho
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 05:04
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (RNS) '-- Earlier this month, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican, addressed the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, whose purview runs from this small resort city up along the Washington state border. Before she spoke, a local pastor and onetime Idaho state representative named Tim Remington, wearing an American flag-themed tie, revved up the crowd: ''If we put God back in Idaho, then God will always protect Idaho.''
Greene's remarks lasted nearly an hour, touching on a range of topics dear to her far-right fans: claims about the 2020 election being ''stolen,'' sympathy for those arrested for taking part in attacking the U.S. Capitol and her opposition to vaccine mandates.
She then insisted that Democrats in Washington have abandoned God and truth '-- specifically, the ''sword'' of biblical truth, which she said ''will hurt you.''
The room of partisans applauded throughout, sometimes shouting ''Amen!''
The event may be the closest thing yet to Greene's vision for the GOP, which she has urged to become the ''party of Christian nationalism.'' The Idaho Panhandle's especially fervent embrace of the ideology may explain why Greene, who has sold T-shirts reading ''Proud Christian Nationalist,'' traveled more than 2,300 miles to a county with fewer than 67,000 Republican voters to talk about biblical truth: Amid ongoing national debate over Christian nationalism, North Idaho offers a window at what actually trying to manifest a right-wing vision for a Christian America can look like '-- and the power it can wield in state politics.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks at the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Lincoln Day event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Video screen grab
North Idaho has long been known for its hyperlibertarians, apocalyptic ''preppers'' and white supremacist groups who have retreated to the region's sweeping frozen lakes and wild forests to await the collapse of American society, when they'll assert control over what remains.
But in recent years, the state's existing separatists have been joined by conservatives fleeing bluer Western states, opportunistic faith leaders, real-estate developers and, most recently, those opposed to COVID-19 restrictions and vaccines. Though few arrived carrying Christian nationalist banners, many have quickly adopted aspects of the ideology to advance conservative causes and seek strength in unity.
The origin of North Idaho's relationship with contemporary Christian nationalism can be traced to a 2011 blog post published by survivalist author James Wesley, Rawles (the comma is his addition). Titled ''The American Redoubt '-- Move to the Mountain States,'' Rawles' 4,000-word treatise called on conservative followers to pursue ''exit strategies'' from liberal states and move to ''safe havens'' in the American Northwest '-- specifically Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and eastern sections of Oregon and Washington. He dubbed the imagined region the ''American Redoubt'' and listed Christianity as a pillar of his society-to-be.
The proposed American Redoubt area in the northwest United States. RNS graphic
''I'm sure that this brief essay will generate plenty of hate mail, and people will brand me as a religious separatist,'' he writes. ''So be it. I am a separatist, but on religious lines, not racial ones.''
Rawles made an exception for Orthodox Jews and Messianic Jews, saying they would also be welcome in the Redoubt because they ''share the same moral framework'' as conservative Christians. But the post, which has been updated multiple times since, concludes with a list of ''prepper-friendly'' congregations in the Reformed Church tradition (Rawles is a Reformed Baptist).
''In calamitous times, with a few exceptions, it will only be the God fearing that will continue to be law abiding,'' writes Rawles, who declined to be interviewed for this article.
Rawles' reach was magnified by outlets such as Radio Free Redoubt, a podcast geared toward ''God-fearing, liberty-loving patriots,'' and Redoubt News, an ''online publication featuring the Christian conservative culture.'' This loose group has a political champion in Idaho state Rep. Heather Scott, who represents the northernmost tip of Idaho's Panhandle, wedged between Washington and Montana. (Scott was there to hear Greene speak in Kootenai County last week; Idaho's GOP chairman, pointing her out to the congresswoman, described Scott as ''the Marjorie Taylor Greene of Idaho.'')
James Wesley, Rawles. Courtesy photo
The Redoubt is growing rapidly, bolstered by conservative flight chiefly from California. Idaho and Montana have repeatedly ranked among the U.S. Census Bureau's top five fastest-growing states in recent years. According to a recent study overseen by Jaap Vos, a University of Idaho professor of planning and natural resources, 1 in 4 Idahoans didn't live there 10 years ago.
Most come, Vos said, for cheaper housing and lower taxes, not Rawles' clarion call. But Vos noted that when it comes to transplants in North Idaho, motivations go beyond finances. ''They want to be around people that are like them,'' he said.
Bradley Onishi, who teaches at the University of San Francisco, dedicated a chapter to the Redoubt in his book ''Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism '-- And What Comes Next.'' He said he knows between five and 10 friends in Southern California '-- primarily evangelical Christians '-- who've moved to Idaho in recent years.
As he studied the migration pattern, Onishi said, it became clear Idaho had become ''the new unzoned land'' for residents hoping to remake it in the image of ''Christian patriots.''
The influx has given birth to a phalanx of ''Redoubt Realtors'' who specialize in resettling transplants. Chris Walsh works for Revolutionary Realty, whose webpage features images of bald eagles, American flags and a banner that welcomes visitors to the ''heart of the Great American Redoubt, North Idaho!''
Walsh, munching on a sandwich in a diner in Coeur d'Alene, explained that clients seek him out to locate property that is ''defensible,'' with clear ''firing lanes'' in the event of invasion. His customers, overwhelmingly preppers, also typically claim the Christian faith. ''I don't remember the last time that I met somebody that wasn't a Christian,'' he said.
But Walsh added that the latest, and by his estimate the largest, concentrated wave of newcomers came during the pandemic.
''The COVID thing really drove a lot of people to get out of Portland, Seattle, San Francisco '-- anyplace where the government was acting very tyrantlike in terms of lockdowns,'' he said. ''Up here, we locked down for about three and a half weeks.''
When, a year ago, the Coeur d'Alene City Council was faced with whether to take American Rescue Plan Act funds to support pandemic health measures, citizens approached the microphone at the council's public session to rail against COVID-19 restrictions and government interference in general, often describing both as ''tyranny.''
Over and over, speakers admitted they had only just moved to Idaho. ''I moved from Southern California to be free, and I don't want to be under the chains of the federal government,'' one commenter said.
Gabriel Rench, left, is arrested during a ''psalm sing'' promoted by Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. Video screen grab
Many churches in northern Idaho refused to close even as the pandemic peaked here. In September 2020, at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, founded by Reformed pastor Douglas Wilson, members staged a protest outside City Hall, singing Psalms maskless in defiance of local ordinances, resulting in three arrests.
National Republicans were watching this rebellion among these ardent right-wing Christians and tried to make it an election-year issue. ''DEMS WANT TO SHUT YOUR CHURCHES DOWN, PERMANENTLY,'' then-President Donald Trump tweeted.
Far from shutting down, Wilson's congregation has doubled over the past four years. ''A lot of the fomented discontent of the last two years, I would say, is 80% of the reason people come here,'' said Wilson in a recent interview in his office. The pastor himself, while claiming his take on pandemic rules is more nuanced, has made dismissive fun of masking and argued in favor of fake vaccine cards for the unvaccinated.
Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church at his office in Moscow, Idaho, on Feb. 5, 2023. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins
Wilson, a controversial figure long popular among a subgroup of Reformed conservatives, has recently emerged as something of a Christian nationalist influencer. He blurbed a 2022 book co-written by Andrew Torba, the founder of the right-wing alternative social media website Gab, and Andrew Isker, a Minnesota pastor who graduated from the ministry program associated with Wilson's church. (The church is also affiliated with a K-12 school in the town and New Saint Andrews College.) Wilson's publishing house, Canon Press, recently released ''The Case for Christian Nationalism'' by self-described ''country scholar'' Stephen Wolfe, whose Ph.D. is from Princeton University's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.
Rawles mentioned Wilson's congregation in his 2011 blog post and even wrote a version of Christ Church into one of his survivalist novels, but Wilson insisted he doesn't consider himself a ''card-carrying member'' of the Redoubt movement. (Wilson also claimed he wasn't overly familiar with Rawles' books until recently, although they were in his orbit: In a 2009 photograph in Christianity Today, a Rawles novel appears on a bookshelf behind Wilson, something Rawles celebrated on his blog at the time.)
In the interview in Moscow, Wilson also downplayed his church's publicly stated intention to make the place a ''Christian town,'' insisting the effort was more about ''evangelism and service'' than a ''hostile takeover.''
A sign for various churches in downtown Moscow, Idaho, on Feb. 7, 2023. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins
But Wilson doesn't hesitate to describe his vision of a Christian America. Laws would ban abortion, he said, and while leaders would strive to ''maximize religious liberty for everyone,'' Catholics are unlikely to feel welcome '-- ''I think it has to be a pan-Protestant project,'' he said '-- nor would Christians who disagree with his stridently patriarchal social norms. When it comes to major social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, his theology represents a majority of only two major U.S. Christian groups, according to recent surveys '-- white evangelicals and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Asked to explain where liberal Christians fit into his theoretical Christian society, Wilson said they would be excluded from holding office, later noting similar prohibitions in early American Colonial settlements such as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. When it was pointed out that Puritans executed Boston Quakers, Wilson said he would not ''defend'' the hanging of Quakers, but then argued it was important to understand the context of the time.
The possibility of the Christian visions of North Idaho coming to pass depends, at least initially, on their gaining political power. While Wilson scoffed at the notion of running for office, he did not rule out the possibility of his church members doing so. Their agenda, he said, would only be ''to get the city to leave us alone.''
A dusting of snow covers the landscape near Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, in early February 2023. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins
But activist Alicia Abbott, who works with the liberal Idaho 97 Project, said the political influence of conservative churches in the region is growing. Congregations such as Pastor Tim Remington's The Altar Church, in Coeur D'Alene, regularly host forums for right-wing candidates, and since the pandemic they increasingly, and dramatically, espouse Christian nationalist ideas.
''It's an issue across the state now that we have to deal with, these really bombastic political actors,'' she said. ''Their ideology is rooted in Christian nationalism.''
During one October service, Remington, who could not be reached for comment by press time, welcomed into the sanctuary a slate of 15 candidates for state and local office. Many were running unopposed, having already won their hotly contested Republican primaries in the deeply red state. But most made a point to connect their campaigns to their Christian faith, and four noted they were members of Altar Church. When they finished, Remington asked for a show of hands of those who intended to vote for ''biblical values'' while in office. All 15 lifted their hands.
The 12 who went on to win their races include state Sen. Joe Alfieri, who told the Altar Church congregation that ''drag queen shows in libraries'' showed that the country was moving away from ''Judeo-Christian values.'' Alfieri pushed a bill in early February that would limit access to absentee ballots. Another is State Sen. Ben Toews, who told Altar Church he prayed for people while knocking on doors for his campaign, and who introduced a bill this month that would prohibit any instruction involving human sexuality, sexual orientation or gender identity before the fifth grade.
According to the Idaho Capitol Sun, Toews was also one of the founding incorporators of the Idaho Family Policy Center, a group created in 2021 that has authored or championed some of the most conservative bills placed before the state Legislature '-- including one this month with a provision that would ban books depicting homosexuality from libraries. The Idaho Family Policy Center's head, a recent transplant, has described himself as a Christian nationalist, and the group's board includes two men connected to Doug Wilson's churches and schools in Moscow.
Coeur D'Alene Mayor Jim Hammond. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins
Abbott said it was all part of a larger ''takeover'' of the state Republican Party by far-right actors too extreme for the state's established conservatives. Coeur D'Alene's Republican Mayor Jim Hammond expressed dismay about the growing tone of Christian nationalism in the party. He pointed to a moderate conservative group, the North Idaho Republicans, working to ''pull back some of the influence'' from Christian nationalists, which, he noted, is inconsistent with his Catholic faith.
''Damn it, it's not right,'' Hammond said. In a later email, he said Greene's presence at the Kootenai County Republican event left him ''embarrassed and very disappointed.''
Greene isn't the only one to capitalize on the region's embrace of Christian nationalism. A Spokane, Washington-based pastor long associated with the Redoubt is Matt Shea, a former Washington state legislator who has advocated for a ''Holy Army.'' Shea was expelled from his state's GOP caucus in 2019 after an investigation concluded he had engaged in domestic terrorism in connection with the 2016 armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. He was on hand last June protesting a Pride in the Park celebration organized by LGBTQ rights advocates (including Abbott) in Coeur D'Alene, when police arrested 31 members of Patriot Front '-- a white supremacist group '-- in the back of a U-Haul truck, alleging they were planning to riot.
Shea insisted the militia members were actually members of the leftist group antifa, but there was no evidence to support that claim. In fact, at least two of those arrested had connections to Shea's own church.
Pastor Matt Shea records a video in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, shortly after members of a white nationalist group were arrested. Video screen grab
Last September, the Reawaken America tour, an unabashed Christian nationalist traveling exhibition that mixes right-wing politics, conspiracy theories and antipathy toward COVID-19 restrictions, hosted one of its rallies in Post Falls, a short drive from Coeur D'Alene. In addition to speakers such as Michael Flynn, onetime adviser to Trump, as well as Trump's son Eric, the two-day festival included nighttime baptisms overseen by Shea and a minister from Altar Church.
Christian nationalism has many iterations, however, and divisions have emerged. Walsh, the Redoubt Realtor, said he was skeptical of any effort to push sectarian Christian theology on others in the region.
''I think we'd be fighting in no time,'' he said.
There are even fissures among vocal Christian conservatives. Paul Van Noy, pastor of Candlelight Christian Fellowship in Coeur D'Alene, said Reawaken organizers originally approached him to host the September event, likely in consideration of Candlelight's embrace of politics and clashes with LGBTQ rights activists; last year, local LGBTQ advocates pushed unsuccessfully to keep the church from being used as a polling location. And like Wilson's congregation in Moscow, Candlelight has doubled in size since it refused to close during the pandemic. (Van Noy was so opposed to COVID-19 restrictions that he kept the church open even after he was hospitalized with the disease in 2020.)
Van Noy is unashamedly political '-- ''I tell people what I think about candidates,'' he said '-- but as he reviewed Reawaken's proposal, Van Noy was struck by the inclusion of baptisms.
''All of a sudden someone says 'We're going to do baptisms,''' he said. ''I'm asking the question, 'OK, well, then who's preaching the gospel? What gospel? Are they going to believe? Are they going to be told that if they're baptized in water they're saved?''
Van Noy pulled out, and after organizers cut off communication with him, he was forced to bum a ticket from a friend in order to attend.
He told Religion News Service, ''I was appalled to hear, in the name of Jesus, some things that were said.''
But to Christian nationalism's loudest detractors, focusing on these rifts misses the Panhandle's forests for its towering evergreens. While sectarian varieties of Christian nationalism certainly exist, the version most ascendant '-- and the kind activists say is working its way through the state Legislature '-- relies not on theological purity but an alliance between conservative Christians who collectively oppose liberal policies and what they deride as secular culture.
That powerful puree of ideologies is something that, Walsh acknowledged, could unite even North Idaho's famously isolationist Redoubters.
''Would they band together and say, 'We're all Christians, and we're gonna go fight the liberals'? That's possible,'' he said.
(This story was was reported with support from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.)
Biden recieves Ash Wednesday mass from Polish priest | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 23:28
Biden receives Ash Wednesday mass from Polish priest who spent six months in prison for campaigning against communistsPresident Joe Biden marked Ash Wednesday with a private mass given by Polish priest Wiesław DawidowskiThe priest was jailed for six months in the 1980s for being involved in Poland's anti-communist movement Biden gifted Dawidowski a challenge coin for performing the service, in the downtown Warsaw Marriott where the president was staying By Nikki Schwab, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.Com In Warsaw, Poland
Published: 14:29 EST, 22 February 2023 | Updated: 15:34 EST, 22 February 2023
President Joe Biden marked Ash Wednesday by participating in a private mass at his Warsaw hotel with a Polish priest who spent six months in prison for being involved in the anti-communist underground.
Father Wiesław Dawidowski gave Biden mass at the downtown Marriott hotel where the president was staying, sharing photos on his Facebook page that showed a makeshift altar adorned with a wooden cross and two candles.
'Today is Ash Wednesday. Even the most powerful in this world take ashes - if they belong to the Catholic tradition,' Dawidowski wrote on his post. 'I had the honor today of placing ashes on the forehead of the US President Mr. Joe Biden.'
Biden was seen with a smudge on his forehead during his meeting later Wednesday with leaders of the Bucharest Nine, the final item on his schedule before he headed back to the United States after a three-day European trip.
'Everything took place in great secrecy, but now I can speak: in an improvised chapel, next to the President's apartment,' he wrote in Polish. 'We prayed for peace, the conversion of Russia and the light of the Holy Spirit for Mr. President,' Dawidowski added.
The president gifted the priest one of his challenge coins.
Father Wiesław Dawidowski (left) gave President Joe Biden (right) mass at the downtown Marriott hotel in Warsaw, Poland where the president was staying
Dawidowski shared photos on his Facebook page that showed a makeshift altar adorned with a wooden cross and two candles at the downtown Marriott hotel in Warsaw, Poland
Biden presented Dawidowski with one of his challenge coin as a souvenir from the special Ash Wednesday service
Dawidowski was jailed for his activism in the early 1980s, when Poland was still under communist rule.
He recalled in a 2010 interview that he started a hunger strike over the conditions women were facing in the prison.
More recently, Dawidowski served as the Christian co-chair for the organization, the Polish Council of Christians and Jews.
He's also been a journalist and TV anchor for Catholic media outlets.
Biden is the country's second Catholic president and regularly attends mass.
He also spent time talking with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday about a meeting he had as a young senator with Pope John Paul II, the world's first Polish pope.
Biden was later seen with an Ash Wednesday smudge on his forehead during his afternoon meetings with the Bucharest Nine leaders in Warsaw, Poland
'I wrote a report saying that Poland would be free within a matter of a year,' Biden said, also mentioning Poland's former communist government. 'And my chief of staff then said, "Please don't write that because you're going to look foolish."'
Biden said he got a call from Pope John Paul, who served in the role from 1978 until his death in 2005, asking to meet. Poland's communist government dissolved in 1989, transitioning into a democratic state.
'And as a practicing Catholic, I joked with him that he was more conservative than my views were. And I went to see him, and we finished the conversation, and it was all about Poland,' the president recalled. 'He never once mentioned anything about Catholicism.'
Biden also vividly remembered what the late pope said to him as they posed for a photograph in the Papal Library.
'And he put his hand under my arm, and he said, "Senator, remember, today I spoke to you as a Pole - a proud Pole. Not as your Pope, as a Pole,' Biden said. 'So, I realized the power of Poland all across the board.'
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 22:30
No good will come of John C. Dvorak
The modern Internet has become a hopeless cesspool of lies, misinformation, malinformation, bad intentions, ignorant good intentions and half-truths, outright hoaxes, slander, cruelty; as well as a refuge for creeps, criminals, thieves, phonies, agent provocateurs, would-be revolutionaries, predators, useless and fake reviews, Satanists, and worse.
Linking the entire globe and all the subsystems of corporate archives, personnel records, medical information, electrical grid interactions, and more will turn out to be the dumbest thing humanity has ever done.
The Internet and its World Wide Web has not fulfilled the promise of connecting the world in a positive way while distributing the combined knowledge of thousands of years of civilization. This horrible network has made matters worse. Hate and divisiveness is the theme of the modern era.
And, yes, you associate all sorts of cool things that happened in this era are with the Internet but most of those things are attributable to desktop computers combined with basic networking. It's not the Internet at all.
The major casualties of the Internet are the distinct loss of expertise and clarity of sources. This is because newspapers and magazines, in particular, were changed by the Internet's subversive hyperlinking mechanism that made click-bait the key to profitability.
And while many people do not care about the political bias and agenda-laden slants of today's newspapers, people would like to go on the Internet and find out something other than a definition of a word, which seems to be honest. But even that is ending as ''politically correct'' definitions creep into the lexicon almost overnight, where it would take years to accomplish in the past. Even the definition of a vaccine has changed to accommodate what the Pfizer marketing department calls a vaccine and which has no connection to its previous definition. The change happened overnight.
o I start the week buying some American Wagyu from Costco. Looking online for methodologies to cook this meat, I found discrepant information. Nobody had a clue and much of the information about the meat itself was inaccurate. The timings were wrong, the ways to cook were wrong. The temperatures were wrong. Everything was wrong until I came across a Japanese chef who showed the way. But it took forever to get there.
What good information there is on the Internet is buried under a mountain of rubbish. And the mountain is growing.
At first, I figured Wagyu is new and people are experimenting. But no, this is the case for everything. Unless you are cooking something forgiving, like stew, online recipes, both video and written, are useless drivel. Watching someone cooking Basmati rice without ever rinsing it is mind-boggling.
When the pre-Internet CD-ROM phenomenon was underway in the early 1990s, Fred Gibbons coined the phrase ''information at your fingertips.'' It was later used by Bill Gates to promote the emerging CD-ROM industry with Microsoft products such as Encarta, Microsoft Bookshelf, and Cinemania. The idea of ''information at your fingertips'' stayed in play with the emergence of the Internet. Now it is ''bad information at your fingertips.''
I started complaining about this years ago. Then I realized that there was no way, despite the enormity of the Internet and the Web, that I could find an honest review site that would determine the best weed whacker to buy.
The most pervasive of supposed review sites were fronts for selling a particular brand of weed whacker.
I noticed this phenomenon for everything from CBD salves to cutlery. Phony review sites promoting one brand over the others. Oh, and wow, the review site will also sell you the product. How lucky can you get?
The Internet has become a cesspool of scammers, money grubbers, fake experts, and creeps. It's no wonder that a TikTok goofball is now considered a valuable ''influencer'' and given a lot of money to promote one product or another.
Some years ago, the FTC made a fuss about people on Twitter paid by commercial entities to pretend to like their products. There was an edict that this had to be disclosed, or else. So what ever happened to that idea with these TikTok, Instagram, and other online ''influencers'' who promote everything from the Pfizer jab to cheap cosmetics? I have not seen a disclaimer anywhere for years.
hen will we come to realize that the Internet itself is a flawed system and should have been taken down years ago? By its nature it turns everything into crap. Interlinking everything is not a good idea. It's a very bad idea.
The original 1960s idea behind the net was to have some sort of unbreakable network within the USA that could sustain a nuclear attack by Russia. How that morphed into social network abominations and a flood of fake information needs study.
Worse, the mechanism has enriched exploitative companies led by Google to spy on you to figure out some way to sell you more junk or to allow others to cheat you.
How is any of this good?
Having followed the Internet since its inception, I cannot figure out why it was ever adopted as a useful mechanism by every corporation and public utility. This is despite the fact that, with little effort, it is hackable by thousands of capable people, many criminal.
Records are stolen, confidential documents revealed. While laws are passed to protect the public's medical information, doctors are now required to put all patient data online. Why? What idiot is behind this insanity?
We should be taking information offline, not putting more and more online. Connectivity should decrease, not increase. It's nuts and continues unabated. ''jcd
This article originally appeared at John C. Dvorak's Substack page, The Oasis, on 25 May, 2021. Mr. Dvorak is a Columnist, Author, Editor, and Podcaster currently involved in two major large audience podcasts namely the No Agenda Show and DH Unplugged.
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DeSantis Suggests Moving Federal Agencies Outside of Washington to End 'Accumulation of Power'
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:45
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has suggested that many federal government departments should be moved outside of their current location in Washington, D.C., in an effort to put an end to what he called the ''accumulation of power'' in the nation's capital.
DeSantis made the comment in an interview with The New York Post published on Feb. 18.
''Too much power has accumulated in D.C. and the result is a detached administrative state that rules over us and imposes its will on us,'' DeSantis said. ''While there are a host of things that need to be done to re-constitutionalize government, parceling out federal agencies to other parts of the country could help reduce the negative effects of this accumulation of power.''
DeSantis is widely seen as a likely 2024 presidential candidate but is yet to formally announce any campaign.
Multiple polls indicate that former President Donald Trump, who announced his candidacy on Nov. 15, 2022, holds a comfortable lead over his top rival DeSantis.
However, other polls of Republican voters show DeSantis leading against Trump when it comes to their 2024 nomination preferences.
DeSantis' latest comments are similar to those made by Trump during his initial campaign in which he pledged to ''Drain the Swamp'' and curb the power and influence that Washington has over ordinary Americans.
DeSantis, Biden Clash Over ImmigrationRepublican DeSantis has regularly taken aim at the Biden administration over a variety of issues including the president's handling of classified documents that were recently found at Biden's former office and home.
The Florida lawmaker has also clashed with Biden over his border policies which many GOP lawmakers believe have contributed to the growing crisis at the Southern border.
Earlier this month, DeSantis was handed a win when Florida lawmakers approved an expansion of his relocation program for illegal immigrants, handing him the authority to transport such individuals from any state to any jurisdiction in the country, including to Democrat-led states.
Last year, the Biden administration and other Democratic lawmakers criticized DeSantis for using taxpayer funds to fly dozens of illegal immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, from Texas.
At the time, DeSantis said the move was a response to the Biden administration's failed immigration policies that have left communities along the southern border overwhelmed. His office also said the flights were voluntary and that immigrants signed consent forms before being flown to Martha's Vineyard.
Biden Takes Aim at DeSantisThe legislation (pdf) approved earlier this month allocates $10 million for the newly-expanded program. It specifically critiques the Biden administration, noting that ''the Federal Government has proven itself unwilling to address this crisis'' at the border.
DeSantis and the Biden administration have also clashed on the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools. CRT is a Marxist ideology that redefines human history as a struggle between the ''oppressors'''--typically considered to be white people'--and the ''oppressed'''--other identity groups.
Earlier this month, the Florida lawmaker announced his plans to block state colleges from participating in a pilot of the College Board's new AP course on African American Studies, which included topics such as CRT, stating that they run in contradiction to Florida's values.
''Virtually every major institution in our country is attempting to impose a 'progressive' agenda on society,'' DeSantis told The New York Post of the recent block. ''Florida strives to protect the ability of its citizens to live their lives free from this agenda being shoved down their throats.''
Biden took aim at the move on Twitter on Feb. 17, sharing a Washington Post article in which Florida parents condemned DeSantis' move.
''I think every kid, in every zip code, in every state should have access to every education opportunity possible. I guess, for some, that isn't the consensus view,'' Biden wrote.
No, Lab-Grown Diamonds Are Not ''Mining-Free'' '' JCK
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:34
This year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will start revising its ''Green Guides,'' which lay out rules for environmental marketing claims.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) is asking the industry for suggestions for how the Green Guides should handle jewelry. (JVC's suggestion form is here.)
Here's one relatively small'--but irritating'--issue that I hope will be considered.
The FTC should not allow'--or, at the very least, it should place strict parameters on'--terms such as ''mining-free,'' ''created without mining,'' and ''no mining.'' These descriptors are frequently used for lab-grown diamonds. Examples can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.
From what I understand, the FTC judges claims and descriptions on two main criteria. First, they have to be true. (Obviously.) Second, they have to clearly communicate the nature of the product.
So, for example, the term ''aboveground diamonds'' might be technically accurate, but FTC lawyers say it doesn't properly communicate the diamond's lab-grown origin. (After all, some natural diamonds are found above ground.)
A descriptor such as ''mining-free'' does fulfill the second criteria: It clearly communicates the diamonds' lab-grown origin. The problem is, lab-grown diamonds aren't mining-free.
''Mining-free'' implies there was no mining involved in the diamonds' production. But very few products in this world can be considered truly mining-free. The iMac I'm typing this on certainly isn't. Mined materials will also be needed to produce green technology. However you feel about mining'--and it's a sector with plenty of bad as well as good'--its products surround us daily. Without it, we couldn't get much done.
Manufacturing high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) diamonds requires graphite. Producing lab-grown diamonds with the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method requires high-purity methane and hydrogen. The methane is generally sourced from oil, gas, and coal mining.
''Methane mainly comes from the ground,'' says David Hardy, founder of, a diamond grower. ''So does graphite.'... Even the equipment used has metals, and they don't come from the air either.''
Ryan Shearman, cofounder and chief alchemist of Aether Diamonds, which converts carbon dioxide captured from the air into methane to create lab-grown gems, asserts that ''there's no real way to source methane responsibly. It's either coming from crude oil production or it's coming from fracking.''
He says new ways of generating methane are starting to emerge'--including from biogenic sources (i.e., farm animals)'--but there aren't currently established supply chains for that.
When one looks at the many pages of information about lab-grown diamonds online, these issues are rarely addressed. Pandora is one the few companies that mentions them in its lab-grown diamond sustainability report (which is only available as a PDF download):
In raw materials acquisition, the potential social and environmental impacts [of lab-grown diamonds] are associated with the extraction of raw materials such as natural gas and/or coal for the production of high purity methane and hydrogen. The extraction of natural gas and coal can be associated with significant inherent social and environmental impacts.
High purity methane gas is assumed to be produced from Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), and therefore raw material acquisition begins with the extraction of natural gas.
In Europe, hydrogen is typically produced from natural gas via steam methane reforming whereas in China, the world's largest hydrogen producing country, it is mainly produced via coal gasification using hard coal.
Are major amounts of these materials used? Growers say no.
''They are very small quantities used, and they are in some ways far less important than the electric source used,'' says Hardy.
Pandora's report'--which, we should note, was company-sponsored'--says the emissions required to get these materials ''cannot be completely eliminated but can be off-set through investments in quality carbon off-setting schemes.'' It also says ''that the risks 'attributable' to the lab-grown diamonds from the CVD process is potentially minimal given the industry's share of total produced natural gas (to high purity methane and hydrogen) is negligible.''
I am not looking to engage in the tiresome lab-versus-natural eco-debate. It isn't clear how much of these materials is used, as most producers are proprietary about their technology and almost never supply hard numbers. This is about terminology.
Regardless of the specific amount, mined materials are used in the creation of just about all lab-grown diamonds. To say that those stones are ''mining-free,'' or that ''no mining'' is involved in their creation, is just not true. While there may be a few exceptions, if mining went away tomorrow, so would lab-grown diamonds. Yet even respected outlets like Popular Science parrot assertions that lab-grown diamonds involve ''no mining at all.''
One can easily conjure alternate verbiage that is just as clear but far more truthful, like calling lab-grown diamonds ''non-mined'' or specifying there's ''no diamond mining,'' rather than ''no mining'' in general. But this is about more than just a linguistic tweak.
Diamond growers know how their products are created. They know they use methane and where it comes from, even if most of their customers don't. Yet some still claim their product is ''mining-free'' or created with no mining.
This is about more than a poor word choice. This is about terminology that's potentially misleading. That is why it shouldn't be allowed.
''I doubt many things can be classed as mine-free,'' says Hardy. ''There is no real silver bullet.''
And even silver comes from the earth.
Top: Oil and gas mining is a major source of methane emissions. (Photo: Leslie Von Pless/courtesy of NASA)
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Austin, Texas, street racing chaos leaves 1 officer hurt, several police cars damaged by fireworks | Fox News
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:33
Chaos ensued in Austin, Texas, Saturday night as people engaged in street racing and threw fireworks at police vehicles.
Street racers reportedly took over multiple areas in Austin, using their vehicles to make doughnuts in the streets and lighting fireworks.
Incidents of drifting and rioters throwing fireworks forced police to back up their vehicles, according to videos posted to social media.
"Last night's street racing in Austin injured one APD officer and damaged several police cars," the Austin Police Department tweeted in an update Sunday. "APD is committed to stopping this conduct. Lawbreaking in this manner will result in enforcement and arrest. Our community's safety is the #1 priority for APD"
Rioters in Austin, Texas, converged on city streets. (TWITTER/@aaroncrews)
The Austin Police Department had already tweeted that it was "investigating a number of 'street racing incidents' across Austin tonight."
"The department wants to reiterate this behavior is reckless & poses significant risks and dangers to the public," the tweet added. "APD remains committed to enforcing the law and keeping our community safe."
The Austin Police Association blamed the chaos on policymakers who sought to defund law enforcement at the expense of public safety.
"Austin policy makers are directly responsible for the overall safety of their citizens & visitors," the association tweeted. "Looks like they failed to make the right decisions & continue to defund, destroy, & demoralize public safety. Austin was one of the safest cities, NOT anymore."
Social media video shows fireworks explode during street racing and rioting in Austin, Texas. (TWITTER/@aaroncrews)
"Austin heading down dangerous road'..." U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, also tweeted. "I apologize to the APD officers who have to put up with this crap, only to have city leaders play games with your contract #StandUpForAmerica"
KEYE-TV reported that the Austin Police Department said no further update would be available on the incident until Monday.
The chaos began to unfold near Barton Springs Road and South Lamar Boulevard just before 10 p.m.
The Austin Police Department responded to street racing that devolved into a riot. (TWITTER/@aaroncrews)
"Chaos at Barton Springs and Lamar in #Austin. Rioters after a bunch of drifting push back police and throw fireworks at them," Aaron Crews tweeted.
One clip showed a firework explode on the hood of a police vehicle as it backed away from a crowd.
Another witness, Brian Hillsman, told KXAN, he was on a nearby bar patio when between 40-50 vehicles began lining up and revving their engines, with people and flags hanging out of windows. Concerned about vehicles spinning out of control as they did doughnuts in the intersection, he said those on the patio went indoors.
"People were here with professional cameras. It was planned," he said.
But it took another 30 to 40 minutes for police to arrive, Hillsman recalled.
"But I don't think they could get here because traffic was backed up on every street from every direction," he added. "When the cops did finally show up, it took a while for them to have any sort of presence. It was unreal."
"In Austin now: people setting off fireworks, blocking off the street, doing donuts, like 500 people, cops can't get close," Ben Tiggelaar tweeted, sharing video from Lamar and Barton Springs Road.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to and on Twitter: @danimwallace.
Kavanuagh Rape Accuser Confesses She Lied, Was Never Raped, Never Even Met The Man '' The Beltway Report
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:24
ICYMI| Because the mainstream media was not very interested in this story (for obvious reasons) it is likely that you did not see this when it broke. For this reason we are posting it again.The sh*t show the Democrats staged at the confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, was a disgusting group denigration of the high office Democrats have been entrusted with.
This was borne out again yesterday when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley made a third criminal referral, this one against a second Kavanaugh accuser, Judy Munro-Leighton.
Here is Grassley's letter of referral to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray:
Chuck Grassley '' Munro-Leig'... by on Scribd
I am writing to refer Ms. Judy Munro-Leighton for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 (materially false statements) and 1505 (obstruction), for materially false statements she made to the Committee during the course of the Committee's investigation.
By itself Munro-Leighton's admission that she lied about Judge Kavanaugh is despicable but, when taken in context of the way the Democrats orchestrated their resistance to Judge Kavanaugh throughout the entire confirmation process, should be disqualifying for high office.
It has been admitted by at least one Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee that from the outset top Democratic senators had been coordinating with the protesters '' many of them paid '' to disrupt the hearings and to create a false sense of outrage, some in the most despicable manner imaginable.
Then there was what now appears to be the wholly fabricated accusations of Christine Blasey-Ford that involved so many Deep State/Democrat operatives that a scorecard is required to identify all of them.
There's every reason to believe that radical leftist, Democrat Senator Kamala Harris had a hand in Munro-Leighton's claims because she was the person who brought Munro-Leighton's letter to the committee's attention.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham became enraged at the Democrats' unwarranted attempt to smear Judge Kavanaugh and make a mockery, using unsubstantiated and vile claims, of what should've been an austere, probative, examination of the nominee's qualifications.
Senator Graham's immediate celebrity in the aftermath of his outburst reflect the fact that all Americans are, or should be, asking the question if Democrats would willingly attempt to destroy the life of a respected ''connected'' Judge what chance do they have against these Stalinists?
The good people of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin '' what once constituted the Democrats Blue Wall '' came to realize this during the Obama administration when Democrats turned their back on our manufacturing sector and the towns that relied on it died.
They voted for Trump and so should you.
Electric Vehicles Are a Status Symbol Now - The Atlantic
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:18
The experience of owning, charging, and driving an electric vehicle makes the rising inequality of America more visible in new and subtle ways.
Joanne Imperio / The AtlanticThis article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday. Sign up for it here.
During one of the high-dollar ad spots in last night's Super Bowl, Will Ferrell plowed an electric GMC Sierra truck through Zack Snyder's army of the dead. He then drove an electric Chevy Blazer into Squid Game and staged a getaway in a hulking EV Hummer. General Motors' ad, the latest in a string of EV-touting, celebrity-laden Super Bowl commercials, hopes to paint the company's battery-powered offerings as being just as rugged, capable, macho, and desirable as the big, petrol-powered trucks it has sold for decades. Here's something the ad doesn't tell you: How far those electric vehicles will go depends a lot on how much you can spend.
The basic, $45,000 version of Ferrell's Blazer EV can drive 247 miles on a charge. To go farther, you'll need to pony up $47,595 to get 290 miles of range or $51,995 to reach 320 miles. The gaudy $100,000 launch edition of GMC's electric Sierra is rated for 400 miles, but the entry-level models of that truck are widely expected to have a diminished range to go with the price cut when they arrive. For the revived Hummer, too, driving range is an upsell. Eighty grand buys 250 miles, while spending six figures raises the range to 350.
David Zipper: Electric vehicles are bringing out the worst in us
Americans are no strangers to splurging on their wheels. They commonly take on endless car loans to throw more money at taller, stouter vehicles, or to indulge in a luxury brand that tells the world We're doing better than a Toyota. Yet for all this showy spending, Americans, in particular, mythologize the car as the great equalizer. Anything with four wheels and a reliable engine, be it beater or Bentley, delivers the freedom of the road.
On the eve of the long-promised electric-vehicle revolution, the myth is due for an update. Americans who take the plunge and buy their first EV will find a lot to love, just as I have. (I purchased a Tesla Model 3 in summer 2019.) They may also find that electric-vehicle ownership upends notions about driving, cost, and freedom, including how much car your money can buy. No one spends an extra $5,000 to get a bigger gas tank in a Honda Civic, but with an EV, economic status is suddenly more connected to how much of the world you get to see'--and how stressed out or annoyed you'll feel along the way.
A new Ford F-150 Lightning'--the electrified version of America's long-time best-selling vehicle, and one of the most important vehicles for persuading the majority of the country to ditch gasoline'--starts at $55,000 in its most basic form. (Yes, EVs remain expensive. But consider that the average price of any vehicle snuck up to $47,000 by the end of last year, and Americans are already paying luxury prices on formerly utilitarian pickup trucks.) Choosing the F-150's extended-range battery, which stretches the distance on a charge from 230 miles to 320, raises the cost to at least $80,000. The trend holds true with all-electric brands such as Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, and for many electric offerings from legacy automakers. The bigger battery option can add a four- or five-figure bump to an already accelerating sticker price.
Should you take out an even bigger loan for the extra miles? Turns out, they matter more than you might think. Consider Tesla's most affordable version of the Model 3. It is rated at 272 miles of range, but not all those miles are usable: The automaker discourages drivers from regularly exceeding 90 percent, and range anxiety limits the number of useful miles at the battery's bottom end, where drivers can't risk running out of juice. Not all miles are created equal, either. A Chevy Bolt flying down the interstate, or an F-150 Lightning towing a boat to the lake, won't go as far as the stated remaining miles would suggest. For this reason, popular EVs such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 have begun to list their range statistics for both city and highway driving, like typical cars have traditionally done for their gas mileage, to give potential owners a more realistic idea of how far the various trim levels of the vehicles will truly go.
These stated mileage figures apply to new vehicles. Just like a smartphone battery inevitably fades toward oblivion, a car battery steadily diminishes over the years. A warranty like Tesla's guarantees only that the battery won't fall below 70 percent of its original capacity within 100,000 miles of driving. Eight years into its life, then, that 272-mile Model 3 might max out at 190 ''miles'' of range. Suddenly, the gaps between far-flung highway chargers are larger than they may appear, and you may rue that you couldn't spend more on the battery size at the beginning.
Read: The challenges of an electric-vehicle revolution
I know this anxiety all too well from years spent seeing the American West in an EV. As evening fell this past New Year's Day, I departed Death Valley National Park facing a 150-mile drive across the desert in my own standard-range Model 3 from one Supercharger to the next. As the car crossed hill climbs and stark descents, its estimate for how much battery would be left on arrival started to slip, from a comfortable cushion toward a troublingly low number. I locked the cruise control at the speed limit or just below to ensure that I wouldn't cost myself any miles with a lead foot. While I puttered, two sets of headlights pierced the blackness behind me, closing in and then gleefully whizzing by. They, too, were Teslas, but I could spy the badge on the back that signals they'd paid $5,000 to $10,000 more for a dual-motor, long-range version of the car.
For those who never leave the comfort of the city, these concerns sound negligible. But so many of us want our cars to do everything, go everywhere, ferry us to the boundless life we imagine (or the one we're promised in car commercials). The fat surcharge for extra miles'--if you can swallow it'--may make the difference between worrying you'll get there and knowing you will.
It's not just battery size. In an electrified America, charging access may become a status symbol. Because the first wave of new EVs have been so expensive, America's affluent tax brackets made up the bulk of early adopters. The same people are also those most likely to be able to afford their own homes and install a charger that can power up their car overnight. As EV adoption reaches mainstream levels'--which is happening at rates outpacing even rosy expert predictions'--lots of new electric drivers will be the same urban dwellers that have been priced out of their local housing market, creating two classes of EV owners.
''You're talking about renters who may not have the option to install charging infrastructure,'' Jeremy Michalek, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the director of its Vehicle Electrification Group, told me. ''And even if they have charging infrastructure this year, renters tend to move, and they don't know whether they'll have that access next year. Even a lot of homeowners don't have off-street parking, and relying entirely on public charging infrastructure is a whole different ball game.''
For those who can plug in at home, everyday driving gets better'--no more service-station pit stops to top off the dinosaur car. If you can't charge at home or at work, car ownership may get more annoying. As Michalek noted, fast-charging stations aren't meant to be treated like gas stations. Using them can mean driving a few miles to the closest one, possibly waiting in line for a plug, then waiting to actually get the electricity into your car (that time is decreasing as the tech gets better, but it's still much longer than pumping a liquid fuel for a minute or two).
The cost is more than the time and the nuisance. Fast-charging in public is marked up and costs more than charging at home. Residential electricity where I live in Los Angeles costs about 24 cents per kilowatt-hour; the peak afternoon rates for Tesla Superchargers in town can be twice as much. The rising use of such price signals is meant in part to balance demand so that people who aren't in dire need of a charge wait until off-peak times. In practice, it also means that having to charge your car in public is a de facto tax on renters' money and time.
Set aside the culture-war histrionics and an electric car is like any new technology: It comes with pros, cons, and unanswered questions. New EV drivers will encounter zoomy torque, lower maintenance costs, and the joy of leaving on the air-conditioning for your dog while you run into the store. They will cope with a new tension in the shoulders as the battery level keeps on falling while the next plug remains miles down the road.
Fortunately, we have found the cure for range anxiety. It's money.
Mystery surrounds death of Clinton aide linked to Epstein - where's the gun? | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:43
The grisly scene where a top Bill Clinton adviser was found hanged from a tree with a gunshot wound to his chest has finally been revealed nine months after he died.
But the sheriff's report into Mark Middleton's mysterious death raises more questions than answers as it rules he died by suicide '' despite no sign of the weapon that killed him.
Middleton, 59, was found dead last May at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, an hour west of Little Rock.
Release of the report was held up after members of his family petitioned a judge. They were worried that pictures from the gory scene would be made public.
The judge eventually ruled that details could be released but photographs could not.
Bill Clinton's special advisor Mark Middleton, who signed Jeffrey Epstein into the White House several times, killed himself in May 2022
Middleton's body and car were found at the Heifer Ranch, which is owned by an anti-poverty nonprofit called Heifer International, in Perryville, Arkansas
Middleton was Bill Clinton's special advisor who admitted Jeffrey Epstein to the White House on seven of the at least 17 times the late pedophile visited. Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell and Clinton are seen in 1993 at the White House
The report, written by Perry County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Lawson, says he was called to the ranch by worker Samantha McElroy who had found Middleton's abandoned black BMW SUV.
McElroy, 46, then walked around a cottage on the ranch.
'Almost immediately after stepping around the corner of the cottage she started yelling,' wrote Lawson.
'Upon reaching the back of the cottage she pointed towards the rear of the property and asked if that was a person.
'I could see what at first appeared to be a man sitting near a tree, as my eyes focused better, I could see a rope of some type going from the tree limb to the male."
Lawson said it was clear that Middleton was dead.
'I could see that he had a gunshot wound to the chest and that he had a knot tied in an extension cord that was around his neck and it was attached to the limb directly above him.
The deputy said a search of Middleton's vehicle turned up three boxes of buckshot and a gun case '' but no weapon.
The details give fresh insight into the death of Middleton, a married father of two daughters aged 18 and 20 who was found dead on May 7 last year.
The married father-of-two, who lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, shot himself at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, 30 miles away from his home
In Middleton's obituary, his family requested that, instead of flowers, well wishers donate to a service that specializes in counseling and therapy linked to the New Life Church, which is based in Arkansas
The police report obtained by gives fresh insight into the death of Middleton, 59, a married father of daughters aged 18 and 20, who was found dead on May 7 last year. Middleton with his wife Rhea and daughters, Lindsay and Lauren previously revealed Epstein visited the White House on 14 separate days and stopped by twice in one day on three occasions during Bill Clinton's first term. Middleton admitted him at least seven times
Middleton was a special advisor to Bill Clinton in the 1990s and signed Jeffrey Epstein into the White House on seven of the 17 times the late pedophile visited.
Middleton also flew on Epstein's jet, nicknamed the 'Lolita Express'. More recently he had been working for his family's HVAC business in Little Rock.
The police report was released to by the Perry County sheriff's office.
According to the Arkansas Times, Middleton's family said he was suffering from depression.
Middleton's life in recent years was a world away from the power he enjoyed in the 1990s.
White House visitor logs previously reported by showed that he appears as the authorizing signatory on seven of Epstein's White House visits, most of which were to the West Wing.
In addition to being a special assistant to the President, Middleton was also assistant to the chief of staff, Thomas 'Mack' McLarty.
Middleton left the White House in February 1995 and was accused of setting himself up as an international deal-maker, exactly the kind of person that would appeal to Epstein.
In addition to being a special assistant to the President, Middleton was also assistant to the chief of staff, Thomas 'Mack' McLarty. Clinton and McLarty are pictured in the White House in 1993
Middleton flew on Epstein's plane and appears to have acted as a conduit between Clinton and Epstein. Clinton and Ghislaine Maxwell are seen on the plane
Middleton had for decades run an air conditioning business in Little Rock but in the 1990s he was a special advisor to Clinton and finance director on his Presidential campaign
Perry County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Lawson said in his report of Middleton's death that buckshot and a gun case were found in the dead man's car, but he found no weapon
In 1996 an investigation by the White House found that Middleton had abused his access to impress business clients and was barred from the executive mansion without senior approval.
Middleton denied the claims.
A number of Clinton's former associates have died over the years in unexpected circumstances, including deputy White House counsel Vince Foster.
His 1993 death was ruled a suicide but sparked a slew of conspiracy theories about the involvement of the Clintons.
After Epstein hanged himself while awaiting trial in 2019, Donald Trump retweeted conspiracy theories that Clinton was involved.
Others whose deaths have been linked to the Clintons without foundation have been Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered in 2016 with no culprit having been found. has reached out to a spokeswoman for the Middleton family.
Proposal: , tag to indicate machine-friendly organizational authorship · Issue #442 · Podcastindex-org/podcast-namespace · GitHub
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:11
ProposalAdd the following tags to allow for machine-friendly grouping of podcasts by author organization:
SpaceX adjusts Starlink monthly pricing for residential customers
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:07
A Starlink user terminal, also known as an antenna or satellite dish, on the roof of a building.
Elon Musk's SpaceX rolled out new pricing for residential Starlink customers based on its capacity to deliver service, according to emails to customers reviewed by CNBC.
The changes, outlined on Tuesday, split residential users of its satellite internet service into areas of "limited capacity" and "excess capacity." Prices will rise $10 per month, to $120, for users in limited capacity areas, while prices will drop $20 a month, to $90, for those in excess capacity areas. The new pricing will take effect on April 24.
The company also made changes to pricing for its RV customers, increasing the service cost by $15 a month to $150.
The price adjustments come about a year after SpaceX hiked prices across the board for products and services, citing "excessive levels of inflation."
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SpaceX continues to expand its Starlink network through regular satellite launches, with nearly 4,000 launched to date. Its service reached 1 million subscribers in December and is steadily expanding its product offerings '' selling services to residential, business, RV, maritime and aviation customers.
Earlier this month, SpaceX leadership announced that Starlink "had a cash flow positive quarter" in 2022 as it works to make the business profitable.
These Charts Scared the Stock Market into a 700-Point Drop Yesterday
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:03
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 22, 2023 ~
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 697 points by the closing bell yesterday, wiping out all of its gains this year. Here's a rundown of what happened.
At 2 p.m. ET today, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting it held on January 31 and February 1. The stock market is particularly skittish on the day prior to the release of those minutes, out of concern that an overly hawkish tone on interest rates will tank stocks.
Given that skittishness, all the stock market needed for a major selloff was a trigger. It got that when Bloomberg News published this headline at 1:36 a.m. in the morning: Morgan Stanley Says S&P 500 Could Drop 26% in Months.
Morgan Stanley's opinion matters for two main reasons: it has just shy of 16,000 stockbrokers (a/k/a ''Financial Advisors'') who typically pitch the firm's playbook to their clients; and it is a major prime broker to hedge funds who will get a boost from a negative outlook if they are shorting stocks.
The gist of the negative sentiment coming from an analytics team at Morgan Stanley, led by Michael Wilson, is this according to the Bloomberg article:
''While recent data suggest the economy might be able to dodge a recession, they've also taken the possibility of a Federal Reserve pivot off the table, according to a team led by Michael Wilson. That doesn't bode well for stocks as the sharp rally this year has left them the most expensive since 2007 by the measure of equity risk premium, which has entered a level known as the 'death zone,' the strategist said.''
Another problem for stocks is that yields on some U.S. Treasury securities are at the highest level in more than 15 years. Take a look at the chart above. It shows that the 6-month U.S. Treasury bill is currently yielding more than 5 percent, a situation that last occurred in 2007. Not to put too fine a point on it, but 2007 marked the beginning of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. By September 2008, century-old names on Wall Street were blowing up and leaving their shareholders with unprecedented losses.
Speaking of Wall Street, below is a chart showing how some key mega banks and insurance companies fared in the market selloff yesterday. We've put a yellow circle around those showing losses at the close of 3 percent or greater '' a hint that contagion from Credit Suisse and interconnected derivative counterparties might be coming into play. (Ticker symbols are as follows: C '' Citigroup; JPM '' JPMorgan Chase; MS '' Morgan Stanley; GS '' Goldman Sachs; CS '' Credit Suisse; DB '' Deutsche Bank; PRU '' Prudential Financial; AMP '' Ameriprise Financial.) For more background on this subject, see our report from last year: Fed Chair Powell Telegraphs the Perfect Storm for Wall Street's Megabanks: Rapid Rate Hikes Hitting $234 Trillion in Derivatives.
Credit Suisse is looking a lot like Citigroup looked in the financial crash of 2008. In 2008, Citigroup's stock price was in collapse and it had been lying to investors about its exposure to subprime debt. In the current situation, Credit Suisse's stock price has erased all of its gains going back approximately four decades and its Chairman, Axel Lehmann, is under investigation by the Swiss financial regulator, FINMA, for potentially lying about the run on the bank's assets being over.
There was also negative sentiment coming from an upward move in the VIX yesterday. The VIX (a/k/a the CBOE Volatility Index), telegraphs the market's expectations for near-term price changes in the S&P 500 stock index. It is also known as the ''fear index.'' The VIX typically rises when stock prices fall and fear increases. It has been on an upward trajectory since February 2.
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels - BBC News
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 15:55
Image source, Europa Press News Image caption, Spain's Secretary of State for Transport Isabel Pardo de Vera is among the top bosses to quit
Two top Spanish transport officials have resigned over a botched order for new commuter trains that cost nearly '‚¬260m ($275m; £230m).
The trains could not fit into non-standard tunnels in the northern regions of Asturias and Cantabria.
The head of Spain's rail operator Renfe, Isa­as Tboas, and the Secretary of State for Transport, Isabel Pardo de Vera, have now left their roles.
The design fault was made public earlier this month.
The Spanish government says the mistake was spotted early enough to avoid financial loss. However the region of Cantabria has demanded compensation.
Renfe ordered the trains in 2020 but the following year manufacturer CAF realised that the dimensions it had been given for the trains were inaccurate and stopped construction.
The rail network in northern Spain was built in the 19th Century and has tunnels under the mountainous landscape that do not match standard modern tunnel dimensions.
The mistake means the trains will be delivered in 2026, two years late.
Renfe and infrastructure operator Adif have launched a joint investigation to find out how the error could have happened. Earlier this month, Spain's transport ministry fired a Renfe manager and Adif's head of track technology over the blunder.
Jen Psaki MSNBC Program to Debut March 19 - Variety
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 15:34
Jen Psaki is about to test whether MSNBC viewers are ready to embrace another political aide who hopes to make a jump from the White House to their house.
MSNBC plans to launch ''Inside With Jen Psaki,'' a new program led by the former White House Press Secretary, on Sundays at noon, starting on March 19. The program will stream on the NBCUniversal Peacock hub a day later. Psaki is also developing ''a new original streaming and social show, both set to launch this spring,'' MSNBC said in a statement Monday. Psaki's program will replace an hour that has long been anchored by weekend veteran Alex Witt, who will continue to hold forth Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. and Sundays between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
In ''Inside,'' Psaki will use her inside knowledge of how public policy discussions are shaped to break down big issues. She will also devote a new recurring segment, ''Weekend Routine,'' to coverage of the lives of notable lawmakers and thought leaders, shadowing the subject of her report as that person moves through their regular activities.
Psaki's hire is emblematic of big changes taking place at MSNBC, which for the past few years had portrayed itself as a place where viewers might get breaking-news coverage across the day and even into the evening when warranted, while being served opinion programming from a progressive lens in primetime. Increasingly, however, the network is ceding more hours to opinion programming '-- ''Morning Joe'' was recently expanded to four hours and MSNBC has hired analysts and opinion hosts like Katie Phang and Ayman Mohyeldin '-- and has shrunk the number of programs devoted to straight news.
Many of these shifts take place as the advent of streaming video pushes NBCUniversal to shake up how it operates its news assets. Traditional news coverage has increasingly become the province of streaming-video products from NBC News, including the broadband outlet NBC News Now, as well as a streaming feed from the company's venerable ''Today'' program.
Psaki is the second former Democratic political operative hired by MSNBC in recent months. Symone Sanders, a former adviser to campaigns run by President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, is now hosting a weekend show that also appears for streamers during part of the week. Psaki and Sanders are represented by United Talent Agency.
Psaki will continue to appear across MSNBC's regular and special coverage programming, including election coverage, to provide an inside look at Washington politics as the 2024 presidential race takes shape. She will also contribute regularly to NBC News' ''Today'' and '' Meet the Press.'' as well as Election Night programming.
Psaki served as White House Press Secretary for the first 16 months of the Biden administration. She previously served during the Obama administration as White House Communications Director and spokeswoman at the State Department. She has also worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns..
VIP+ Survey: There's a Clear MVP of Cable News Anchors
Laura Barrón-López | Author | PBS NewsHour
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 15:16
About Laura Laura Barr"n-L"pez is the White House Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, where she covers the Biden administration for the nightly news broadcast. She is also a CNN political analyst.
Previously, Barr"n-L"pez was a White House reporter for POLITICO. In her time covering the Biden administration for POLITICO, she focused on the power dynamics between the White House and Capitol Hill, covering the president's agenda on gun violence, immigration, voting rights, infrastructure and more. Barr"n-L"pez previously covered the 2020 presidential election for POLITICO as a national political reporter, focusing on voter demographics, and policy shifts within the Democratic Party.
Barr"n-L"pez previously led 2018 coverage of the Democratic Party for the Washington Examiner. Before that, Barr"n-L"pez covered Congress for HuffPost, focusing on climate change, criminal justice reform, and coal miner pensions, among other policy debates in the Senate and House.
Early in her career, she covered energy and environment policy for The Hill. Her work has been published in The Oregonian, OC Register, E&E Publishing, and Roll Call. Barr"n-L"pez earned a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fullerton.
Full Bio Laura's Recent Stories Health Feb 18
New study reveals the effect of racism and poverty on children's brains Childhood trauma can have lasting psychological effects. A new study has found that early childhood stress from racism, poverty and other traumas can change the structure of children's developing brains. Nathaniel Harnett, a neuroscientist at McLean Hospital and assistant professor'...
Nation Feb 16
Biden says 3 unidentified objects shot down likely not spy balloons President Biden gave his most detailed assessment yet of the Chinese spy balloon and other objects that have crossed into U.S. airspace. The president said three unidentified objects shot down were likely linked to private companies or scientific research, not'...
Nation Feb 13
White House outlines plan to address nation's soaring rent prices and protect tenants Intending to address the nation's soaring rent prices, the Biden administration announced a new effort to protect tenants and make renting more affordable. The plan comes after a year of meetings with industry and tenant advocates. Laura Barr"n-L"pez reports.
Politics Feb 07
What to expect from Biden's State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden will deliver his assessment of where the country's been and where it's going. Lisa Desjardins and Laura Barr"n-L"pez joined Geoff Bennett to discuss what to expect from the State of the Union address.
Nation Feb 06
Calls for paid leave grow louder 30 years after passage of Family and Medical Leave Act The Family and Medical Leave Act was hailed as revolutionary for its time when President Clinton signed it into law in 1993. Workers were guaranteed job protection if they needed to take time off to care for themselves, a newborn'...
Politics Jan 30
Biden highlights infrastructure spending at century-old train tunnel due for replacement President Biden was in Baltimore Monday to highlight a major railway tunnel reconstruction project that will be paid for, in part, by the bipartisan infrastructure law. The project will replace a century-old tunnel connecting Philadelphia and Washington, a familiar route'...
Politics Jan 25
How a Washington state plan to fight domestic extremism could be a model for the nation In Washington state this week, legislators held public hearings to form a domestic violent extremism commission that, if implemented, would make Washington the first in the nation to target extremism with a public health and civic engagement approach. Laura Barr"n-L"pez'...
Politics Jan 24
Pence latest to face scrutiny after classified documents found in his Indiana home Aides to former Vice President Mike Pence said they discovered a number of classified documents at his Indiana home during a search conducted last week. Pence's attorney said the documents were "inadvertently boxed and transported" at the end of the'...
Politics Jan 23
How a new chief of staff will affect the Biden White House amid documents scandal As President Biden enters his third year in office, there's a change coming at the top of his leadership team. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain will leave his post in the coming weeks. It comes as the president'...
Nation Jan 22
Takeaways from the FBI search of Biden's home for classified material An FBI search of President Biden's Wilmington, Delaware home turned up more classified documents on Friday. The search was coordinated between the FBI and Biden's personal attorney and underscores the seriousness of a special counsel's investigation into Biden's handling of'...
NFU president warns supermarkets could limit sale of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumber and broccoli | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 22:52
Vegetable rationing could last for 'weeks', it was warned today, after Morrisons joined Asda to became the second major supermarket to limit sales of certain items.
Perishables like tomatoes, potatoes, cucumber and broccoli have been restricted to just two or three per customer in a host of stores up and down the country.
The crisis has developed in recent weeks due to soaring energy costs which have forced British farmers to switch off greenhouses as they desperately try to make ends meet - leaving a dearth of home-grown produce.
Meanwhile, a 'perfect storm' of flooding, cold temperatures and cancelled ferries have caused major supply problems on the Continent, meaning supermarkets have also struggled to access imported goods.
Store bosses initially insisted that supplies will improve 'in the coming days', before the British Retail Consortium trade body later admitted disruption will likely last 'a few weeks'.
Empty fruit and vegetable shelves at an Asda supermarket in east London today
Empty aisles at a Tesco store in Liverpool as a shortage of products continues to hit supermarkets
Pictured, clockwise from top-left: Cucumber, potatoes, tomatoes, sprouting broccoli, peppers, cauliflower
Minette Batters, head of the National Farmers' Union (NFU), pictured in December last year
Empty fruit and veg shelves pictured today at a Morrisons store in Paignton
Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers' Union (NFU), told the industry body's conference in Birmingham: 'Everybody wants to avoid rationing, effectively, which is what we saw with eggs in December but I think there are going to be challenges on availability of some food items'.
The farming union chief said that peppers and other salad vegetables grown indoors were at risk, while there are also concerns over the production of other 'field veg' including potatoes, cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli.
But Ms Batters added that the 'last thing anybody wants to do is to create a level of panic buying'.
Why supermarkets are facing shortages of some fruit and veg Many of Britain's major supermarkets have blamed recent shortages on 'adverse weather conditions across Spain and Morocco', which has resulted in fewer imports from the Continent.
However, British farmers insist a far bigger issue is soaring energy costs, which have forced growers to switch off greenhouses as they desperately try to make ends meet.
A combination of the two means supermarkets have been unable to get their hands on fruit and veg such as tomatoes either from abroad, or those that are home-grown.
As a result, some stores are restricting such items to two or three per customer to try and stretch supplies to meet demand.
Olly Harrison, 42, who owns Water Lane Farm in Merseyside, told MailOnline: 'It's that simple: if something requires energy to be produced, and the cost of energy is getting higher and higher, no one is going to grow it.'
Asda today introduced a customer limit of three on tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries, while Morrisons said it would be introducing limits of two items per customer across tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers from tomorrow.
Other supermarkets are understood to be considering similar temporary measures.
Olly Harrison, 42, who owns Water Lane Farm in Merseyside, told MailOnline: 'Shoppers are going to have to get used to the sight of empty shelves.
'People are going to have to start eating some items like tomatoes seasonally again, because at the moment, without help, they just can't be produced in this way.
'It's that simple: if something requires energy to be produced, and the cost of energy is getting higher and higher, no one is going to grow it.'
Mr Harrison, who has developed a strong presence on TikTok with his daily farming videos, was speaking from the NFU conference, where industry leaders have been making the case for more support.
He added: 'There's definitely a sombre mood here because this current system is broken, even though we've been telling the government that for a long time - people can't lose money any longer.'
Ms Batters also hinted that the disruption was likely to last for some time, as she revealed in her speech today that production of salad ingredients like tomatoes and cucumbers are expected to fall to the lowest levels since records began in 1985.
Their concerns were echoed by Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers' Association, who warned that Britain was in for a 'difficult year'.
He also revealed that farmers are now choosing to plant wheat over vegetables as they generate greater profit for them.
'Growers simply aren't going to put crops in the ground if they can't see a viable return from them,' he told inews.
'At the moment the rate of inflation for fresh produce is significantly below the general rate of inflation for food.
'[Supermarkets] are not prepared to pass on the costs and there isn't enough money in the category to provide the sorts of returns everybody needs to keep going.'
Empty fruit and vegetable shelves at an Asda store in east London this afternoon
A sign at Asda informs customers they can only buy three units of tomatoes due to shortages
A shopper looks at empty fruit and vegetable shelves at an Asda store in east London
Shoppers in some Asda shops have been told they can buy up to three packs of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries at a time as supplies run low in a number of outlets
The crisis has developed in recent weeks due to soaring energy costs which have forced British farmers to switch off greenhouses as they desperately try and make ends meet
Meanwhile, a 'perfect storm' of flooding, cold temperatures and cancelled ferries have caused major supply problems on the continent
A Morrisons store in Paignton is hit by empty fruit and veg shelves earlier today
Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: 'Difficult weather conditions in the South of Europe and Northern Africa have disrupted harvest for some fruit and vegetables including tomatoes and peppers.
'While disruption is expected to last a few weeks, supermarkets are adept at managing supply chain issues and are working with farmers to ensure that customers are able to access a wide range of fresh produce.'
It comes after one shopper, Hilary Paterson-Jones, said she had to visit four supermarkets in her home town of Holyhead, Anglesey, to complete her weekly shop.
Is your supermarket limiting fruit and veg? Yes
Asda (3 packs of each max)
Morrisons (2 items max)
She said: 'There was hardly any fresh produce in Tesco. In Morrisons I asked a young staff member what was going on and he said there was nothing in the back stores.
'It was the same in Aldi and Lidl, it seemed to be affecting all the supermarkets.
'Shortages have been getting worse in recent months but I was shocked to see so many empty shelves at 10am on a Saturday morning.
'Things can get bad during the summer when the tourists arrive, but nothing like this. Prices are going through the roof but a lack of basic foodstuffs is unacceptable.'
After sharing her concerns on social media, Ms Paterson-Jones was contacted by scores of other people from around Britain.
One couldn't get apples, another struggled with cabbages, a third was stumped for orange juice. Tomatoes and iceberg lettuce proved particularly difficult to buy.
In one Morrisons store, staff put up a sign apologising for the disruption.
It read: 'Availability across our tomato range has been significantly impacted by adverse weather conditions across Spain and Morocco. The current shortage is likely to improve within a couple of weeks.'
An Asda spokesperson said: 'Like other supermarkets, we are experiencing sourcing challenges on some products that are grown in southern Spain and north Africa.
'We have introduced a temporary limit of three of each product on a very small number of fruit and vegetable lines, so customers can pick up the products they are looking for.'
A sign at a Tesco supermarket in Liverpool reveals how fruit and veg stocks have run low
Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon, who will speak at the National Farmers' Union (NFU) conference today, told Sky News how soaring energy costs in the UK were also a major reason for shortages
Industry expert Tim O'Malley said the single biggest factor behind the crisis was 'Mother Nature' and specifically volatile weather
Empty fruit and veg shelves pictured today at a Sainsbury's store in Paignton
Shadow environment secretary Jim McMahon, who will speak at the National Farmers' Union (NFU) conference today, told Sky News how soaring energy costs in the UK were also a major reason for shortages.
'You've got farmers who feel so frustrated that they haven't got government support and if you're a consumer you're going into the supermarket and seeing that shelves are empty,' he said.
'Why? Because the Government are not on the side of farmers or on the side of food security, and in the end, consumers are paying the price.
'We do grow produce here but it's a matter of fact that we're not growing tomatoes for instance because the cost of energy in the greenhouses is so high that they've just been turned off. That is a contributing factor to why there are gaps on the supermarket shelves.
'The reason you can't buy eggs on Pancake Day in many supermarkets is because of avian flu. The Government could have responded much quicker to that and farmers feel very frustrated with the way they've been treated.'
Mr McMahon's comments were backed up by the NFU's vice president David Exwood.
He told MailOnline: 'We are repeatedly seeing a predictable combination of factors such as energy costs and weather leading to empty supermarket shelves.
'Our UK food resilience is currently gone. The Government needs to take this seriously.
'Producers must have the confidence they need, working within a fair and transparent supply chain, ensuring fair and sustainable returns so they can do what they do best - produce nutritious, high quality British food to meet demand from shoppers.'
Frost damage to home-grown British crops such as carrots, cabbages, parsnips and cauliflowers also means many fields have been written off
Some farming campaigners say red tape associated with Brexit is also playing a part
Tim O'Malley, of major importer Nationwide Produce, said volatile growing conditions had seen wholesale spot prices for fresh produce lines soar by as much as 300 per cent.
Frost damage to home-grown British crops such as carrots, cabbages, parsnips and cauliflowers also means many fields have been written off.
Some farming campaigners say red tape associated with Brexit is also playing a part.
Mr O'Malley said the single biggest factor behind the crisis was 'Mother Nature' and volatile weather.
He added: 'I can honestly say that in the 40 years I've been in this trade, I've never seen such high spot prices across such a broad range of products for such a prolonged period of time.'
He said the delivered price for a box of peppers was up from £8-£9 to around £22, while a box of tomatoes was up from £7-£8 to £14.
Courgettes have risen from £5-£7 to £12, iceberg lettuces from £6-£8 to £19, and Dutch onions from £250-£270 per ton to £700.
Mr O'Malley said: 'It's the perfect storm of terrible growing weather and, of course, inflation.
'It started with the heatwave and drought this summer throughout Europe. Then we had a very mild autumn and then we were plunged into a deep freeze.
'Just three weeks ago Ibiza was covered in snow. Temperatures dropped to -15C (5F) in Catalonia while at the same time, the overnight low here was -8C (18F) in Oxfordshire.
'Spain is our main source of fresh produce in winter by far. They've pretty much gone straight from a red-hot summer to a freezing cold winter with no autumn in between.
'All this has led to a major reduction in yields, reduction in size, quality issues, viruses.'
Mr O'Malley also pointed to prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures in Morocco, another major source of fresh produce, notably tomatoes.
Gary Barraco, Assistant Vice President of Product Marketing at e2open, which provides supply chain software, said: 'Weather disruptors, such as the storms impacting Spain and North Africa, and the resulting food shortages are becoming increasingly commonplace.
'Sellers, makers and movers find themselves forced to change the way they do business, or empty shelves will become the norm.
'When shoppers are greeted with empty shelves, businesses risk losing not only customers that day but also their long-term brand loyalty.
'The availability and delivery of goods is an essential part of the customer experience. Shortages or long wait times can negatively impact a brand's reputation.
'Moving forwards, investment into end-to-end supply chain management platforms will be critical to mitigate the impact extreme weather has on stock.
'Companies that utilise modern, connected technology solutions for planning and logistics will fare best in an ever-changing environment; and when bottlenecks arise, they can maintain brand reputation for providing the best service possible.'
Study Finds People With Higher Cognitive Ability Care More About Free Speech Than Political Correctness '' Summit News
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 22:51
According to a report from the Associated Press, Google is stepping up its so called ''prebunking'' scheme, a way of stopping 'misinformation' before it spreads by indoctrinating people to disbelieve what tech big wigs consider to be 'propaganda'.
The report, which reads like a press release, states that Google is to push several short video ads on all major social media platforms that will focus on 'misinformation' surrounding vaccines, COVID-19, immigration, climate change and elections.
The scheme is being rolled out initially in Germany after it was previously tested in Eastern Europe.
Google's efforts to ''pre-bunk'' misinformation will expand to Germany and India after promising results from a pilot project in Eastern Europe.
'-- The Associated Press (@AP) February 13, 2023Beth Goldberg, head of research and development at Jigsaw, an incubator division of Google stated that ''Using ads as a vehicle to counter a disinformation technique is pretty novel. And we're excited about the results.''
The report further states:
While belief in falsehoods and conspiracy theories isn't new, the speed and reach of the internet has given them a heightened power. When catalyzed by algorithms, misleading claims can discourage people from getting vaccines, spread authoritarian propaganda, foment distrust in democratic institutions and spur violence.
It also notes that 'fact checks' by the likes of AP ''aren't read by everyone, and won't convince those already distrustful of traditional journalism.''
''Content moderation by tech companies is another response, but it only drives misinformation elsewhere, while prompting cries of censorship and bias,'' the report continues.
As reported by Infowars last year, in its testing of the ''prebunking'' scheme, Google used a video created by Infowars producer Greg Reese, and admitted that the goal is to make people immune to anti-establishment figures such as Alex Jones.
''The Holy Grail will be: can we actually measure, in the moment, if you're able to apply that prebunking lesson and recall it a week later when you see Alex Jones using emotional language?'' Goldberg told The Verge, adding ''I'm not sure that we will get significantly closer in the near term.''
Critics argues that the scheme is more insidious than overt censorship because it seeks to reengineer how people think by feeding them establishment approved narratives on what is acceptable thought.
The AP report even compares the ''prebunking'' videos to vaccines, noting that ''the effects of the videos eventually wears off, requiring the use of periodic ''booster'' videos.''
''Prebunking could help communities reach a kind of herd immunity when it comes to misinformation, limiting its spread and impact,'' it adds.
Sander van der Linden, a University of Cambridge professor who worked with Google to develop the scheme declared ''You can think of misinformation as a virus. It spreads. It lingers. It can make people act in certain ways.''
''Some people develop symptoms, some do not. So: if it spreads and acts like a virus, then maybe we can figure out how to inoculate people,'' van der Linden added.
The move by Google comes after recent revelations about the Global Disinformation Index, an extensive effort to blacklist sources of information and news determined to be 'disinformation'.
The Global Disinformation Index, a British organization with two affiliated U.S. nonprofit groups, is feeding blacklists to ad companies with the intent of defunding and shutting down websites peddling alleged ''disinformation,'' the Washington Examiner reported.
This same ''disinformation'' group has received $330,000 from two State Department-backed entities linked to the highest levels of government, raising concerns from First Amendment lawyers and members of Congress.
So what they are saying is that they are going to censor opinions that they decide to declare as misinformation. Democracy is dead.
'-- Kurt Rivers (@KurtRokka) February 13, 2023So controlling a narrative before it's able to be discussed? Who says google gets to decide what we believe in?
'-- Henry (@Henry_gden22) February 13, 2023AP fails to note that 'misinformation' is whatever google says it is. AP consistently promotes misinformation that helps Democrats and hurts conservatives.
'-- burrt (@burrttt) February 13, 2023How do we know what is misinformation and what isn't at this point ? So we are supposed to take the words of men we don't know that what is being said is misinformation? Who are these people and what gives them a right to determine what is misinformation and what isn't ?
'-- Ultra MAGA American (@hairybeaver78) February 13, 2023As the world slides further into a dystopian nightmare'...
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Credit Suisse Tanks to New Intraday Lows as Wall Street Mega Banks Mysteriously Shake Off the Contagion Effect
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 15:48
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 21, 2023 ~
The shares of Credit Suisse can't find a bottom. They plunged to a new intraday low this morning in Europe to trade at the equivalent of $2.79 '' down over 6 percent from their previous close.
Sparking the continued exodus out of Credit Suisse shares is the growing concern that the exodus of client assets from Credit Suisse has not found a floor. Reuters is reporting this morning that the Swiss financial regulator, FINMA, is investigating remarks made by Credit Suisse Group Chairman Axel Lehmann to the media in early December, which suggested that client asset outflows had stabilized. Simple math indicated they had not.
When Credit Suisse reported its earnings results in early February, CEO Ulrich Koerner had told Wall Street analysts that 85 percent of the client asset outflows in the last quarter of 2022 had occurred in October and November. That meant that approximately 15 percent of the outflows came in December.
And yet, Reuters reported that Lehmann had told the Financial Times in an interview that appeared online on December 1 that following the asset outflows in October, they had ''completely flattened out'' and ''partially reversed.''
As far as investigations go at Credit Suisse, this is more of a kerfuffle than a full-blown scandal. Credit Suisse has reliably served up really big scandals on a regular basis.
In late March and April of 2021, Credit Suisse lost $5.5 billion from the highly-leveraged, highly concentrated stock positions it was financing via tricked-up derivatives for Archegos Capital Management, the family office hedge fund of Sung Kook ''Bill'' Hwang. Archegos blew up on March 25, 2021 after it defaulted on margin calls to the banks financing its trades. An internal report for the Board of Directors of Credit Suisse by the outside law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison found that the bank ''was focused on maximizing short-term profits and failed to rein in and, indeed, enabled Archegos's voracious risk-taking.''
In October of 2021 Credit Suisse paid $547 million to settle with criminal and civil authorities in the U.S. and U.K. for making an $850 million fraudulent loan in Mozambique where a significant part of the funds went for kickbacks to Credit Suisse employees and Mozambique government officials.
Credit Suisse is also embroiled in legal battles over selling billions of dollars of Greensill Capital debt to investors as low risk. Greensill filed for insolvency in March of 2021.
Then there was the spygate scandal. FINMA reported in October of 2021 that Credit Suisse had engaged in seven separate spying operations on its Board members, former employees and third parties. (You can't make this stuff up.)
Credit Suisse, unfortunately, is a G-SIB (Global Systemically Important Bank) which is interconnected via derivatives to the mega banks on Wall Street. Given that reality, one would expect the share prices of other mega banks to be tanking along with Credit Suisse. The fact that this is not happening is mysterious '' to say the least. In early October of last year, contagion appeared to be in full swing. See our report: Shhh! Don't Tell the Fed or Mainstream Media that Systemic Contagion at Wall Street Banks Is Already Here.
We'll be taking a more in-depth look at this interesting situation in the days ahead.
Meta Verified Accounts for Instagram and Facebook Start at $12 Monthly - Variety
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 15:35
Meta's Mark Zuckerberg is taking a page from Elon Musk: The social giant is rolling out ''Meta Verified,'' a subscription service for Instagram and Facebook users that includes a verified blue check-mark badge and other perks.
Meta Verified starts at $11.99/month on web or $14.99/month on Apple's iOS. The company will launch the service in Australia and New Zealand this week with more countries ''soon,'' Zuckerberg, Meta's chairman and CEO, said in announcing the plans Sunday.
Meta Verified is ''a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you and get direct access to customer support,'' Zuckerberg wrote in posts on Facebook and Instagram. ''This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.''
The launch of Meta Verified comes after Musk's Twitter relaunched its Twitter Blue subscription plan last fall '-- which now lets any paying customer receive a verified blue check-mark (along other subscriber-exclusive features like the ability to edit tweets). However, whereas Musk has said that Twitter eventually will phase out blue badges for accounts verified under the company's previous ownership, Meta says it will not make any changes to Instagram and Facebook accounts that have already been verified based on previous requirements, such as ''authenticity and notability.''
''Long term, we want to build a subscription offering that's valuable to everyone, including creators, businesses and our community at large,'' Meta said in announcing the new program. ''As part of this vision, we are evolving the meaning of the verified badge so we can expand access to verification and more people can trust the accounts they interact with are authentic.''
SEE ALSO: Elon Musk Wants to Charge Businesses on Twitter $1,000 per Month to Retain Verified Check-Marks
The company said it will build a series of checks into Meta Verified ''before, during and after someone applies'' for an account '-- and said it will be proactively monitoring subscriptions for impersonation attempts, which plagued Twitter Blue's initial relaunch. Meta said it is committed to ''taking swift action against those who try to evade our systems.''
In addition to the blue check-mark, Meta Verified users will get enhanced visibility and reach on Instagram and Facebook '-- with ''prominence in some areas of the platform'' like search, comments and recommendations. Other benefits include exclusive stickers subscribers can use in Facebook and Instagram Stories and Facebook Reels, plus 100 Stars (Facebook's virtual gifting currency) per month ''so you can show your support for other creators'' on Facebook.
To be eligible for Meta Verified, account owners must meet minimum activity requirements, such as prior posting history, and be at least 18 years old. Applicants also must submit a government ID that matches the profile name and photo of the Facebook or Instagram account they're applying for.
Who is Matthew Tyrmand? Project Veritas Board Member Under Scrutiny
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 15:32
Matthew Tyrmand is one of the Project Veritas board of directors, which on Monday made a series of allegations about the conduct of the controversial organization's founder and now-former CEO James O'Keefe.
Project Veritas describes itself as conducting undercover reporting to expose "corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions." However, the organization's reportage has often been seen as false or misleading.
On Monday, O'Keefe posted a video in which he claimed that he had been removed as the group's leader, prompting concern from Republican figures and a mass exodus of Twitter followers.
In response, the Project Veritas board of directors put out a statement in which it said it had not fired him, but claimed it had discovered "financial malfeasance" on O'Keefe's part. Newsweek has contacted O'Keefe for comment on the allegations.
James O'Keefe, an American conservative political activist and founder of Project Veritas, meets with supporters during the Conservative Political Action Conference 2020 (CPAC) hosted by the American Conservative Union on February 28, 2020 in National Harbor, MD. Tyrmand, a member of Project Veritas's board of directors, has been accused of spearheading his departure. Samuel Corum/Getty Images Who Are the Project Veritas Board Members?According to tax-exemption filings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2019, Tyrmand is listed as a director of Project Veritas, along with Colin Sharkey and John K. Garvey. More recent records are not listed.
George Skakel was identified by Intelligencer as another long-serving board member. He is not listed on recent IRS filings for Project Veritas, but is listed as a director on filings for Project Veritas Action, a related organization, along with Joseph Barton.
Many angered by the departure of O'Keefe on social media have blamed Tyrmand.
Michael Swartz, found of frat gear providers Old Row, claimed Tyrmand was the "ringleader" in a "coup" that led to the ousting of O'Keefe. Tyrmand was also fingered as leading the alleged coup by Alex Bruesewitz, a conservative political strategist.
Tyrmand has worked for Breitbart, a far-right online outlet, and according to The Associated Press in 2021 lost a years-long legal battle with a Polish journalist who described him as part of a global war against democracy.
On social media, he jocularly describes himself as a New York City "public school survivor" and "Deputy Minister at Ministry of Sillywalks." According to his LinkedIn profile, he attended Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York, before studying at the University of Chicago.
After spending time at several finance firms in the noughties, from 2012 he has provided consulting for companies and think tanks through Matthew Tyrmand LLC, listed as being located in lower Manhattan.
In September 2013, Tyrmand published a book about his life as the son of Leopold Tyrmand, a Polish Jewish novelist from Warsaw who published Zły (The Man With White Eyes, in English), a bestseller, and was active in the Polish jazz scene as well as being described as an anti-communist.
In the blurb for his book, Tyrmand said despite his father dying when he was only four years old, he had inherited "a disagreement with stupid ideologies and a tendency to talk."
"When my mother is furious, she says that I am as sure of my opinion as he is, just as stubborn, and just as convinced of my indestructibility," he added.
Board members and C Suite officers involved in this according to my source are as follows:Board members:
Matt Tyrmand - RingleaderJohn Garvey George SkakelJoseph Barton (not the congressman)Steve AlembikCFO: Tom O'Hara
COO: Barry Hinckley (Ringleader pronouns in bio)
'-- Swig 🇺🇸 (@OldRowSwig) February 9, 2023Tyrmand wrote that he lives in "two worlds," stating: "In America, I roam around Brooklyn and make money on Wall Street. In Poland, I love women and I drink mad dogs [a fortified wine]."
Conservatives on social media have also been critical of his recent comments about Donald Trump. Speaking on the Patriot Talk Show at a Florida's Voice panel on February 7, Tyrmand said Trump "does not belong in this [2024 presidential] race," accusing the former president of "flailing around" and showing "total clown behavior."
Bruesewitz, who is pictured on his Twitter profile speaking at a Trump rally, described his comments as "unhinged."
Newsweek has contacted Tyrmand and Project Veritas for comment.
We're Already Living in the Metaverse - The Atlantic
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 10:56
Our constant need for entertainment has blurred the line between fiction and reality'--on television, in American politics, and in our everyday lives.
By Megan GarberIllustrations by Shira Inbar
Shira InbarThis article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday. Sign up for it here.
''Do a Dance'' The trend started , as so many do, on TikTok. Amazon customers, watching packages arrive through Ring doorbell devices, asked the people making the deliveries to dance for the camera. The workers'--drivers for ''Earth's most customer-centric company'' and therefore highly vulnerable to customer ratings'--complied. The Ring owners posted the videos. ''I said bust a dance move for the camera and he did it!'' read one caption, as an anonymous laborer shimmied, listlessly. Another customer wrote her request in chalk on the path leading up to her door. DO A DANCE , the ground ordered, accompanied by a happy face and the word SMILE . The driver did as instructed. His command performance received more than 1.3 million likes.
Explore the March 2023 IssueCheck out more from this issue and find your next story to read.
View MoreWatching that video, I did what I often do when taking in the news these days: I stared in disbelief, briefly wondered about the difference between the dystopian and the merely weird, and went about my business. But I kept thinking about those clips, posted by customers who saw themselves as directors and populated by people who, in the course of doing one job, had been stage-managed into another.
Dystopias often share a common feature: Amusement, in their skewed worlds, becomes a means of captivity rather than escape. George Orwell's 1984 had the telescreen, a Ring-like device that surveilled and broadcast at the same time. The totalitarian regime of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 burned books, yet encouraged the watching of television. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World described the ''feelies'''--movies that, embracing the tactile as well as the visual, were ''far more real than reality.'' In 1992, Neal Stephenson's sci-fi novel Snow Crash imagined a form of virtual entertainment so immersive that it would allow people, essentially, to live within it. He named it the metaverse.
In the years since, the metaverse has leaped from science fiction and into our lives. Microsoft, Alibaba, and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, have all made significant investments in virtual and augmented reality. Their approaches vary, but their goal is the same: to transform entertainment from something we choose, channel by channel or stream by stream or feed by feed, into something we inhabit. In the metaverse, the promise goes, we will finally be able to do what science fiction foretold: live within our illusions.
No company has placed a bigger bet on this future than Mark Zuckerberg's. In October 2021, he rebranded Facebook as Meta to plant a flag in this notional landscape. For its new logo, the company redesigned the infinity symbol, all twists with no end. The choice was apt: The aspiration of the renamed company is to engineer a kind of endlessness. Why have mere users when you can have residents?
For now, Meta's promise of immersive entertainment seems as clunky as the goggles required to access all that limitless fun. But the promise is also redundant: Zuckerberg positions himself as an innovator, but the environment that Meta is marketing already exists. Where were those Amazon drivers doing their dancing, if not in the metaverse?
In the future, the writers warned, we will surrender ourselves to our entertainment. We will become so distracted and dazed by our fictions that we'll lose our sense of what is real. We will make our escapes so comprehensive that we cannot free ourselves from them. The result will be a populace that forgets how to think, how to empathize with one another, even how to govern and be governed.
That future has already arrived. We live our lives, willingly or not, within the metaverse.
A Vaster Wasteland When scholars warn of the United States becoming a ''post-truth'' society, they typically focus on the ills that poison our politics: the misinformation, the mistrust, the president who apparently thought he could edit a hurricane with a Sharpie. But the encroachments of a post-truth world are matters of culture as well.
In 1961, Newton Minow, just appointed by President John F. Kennedy to lead the Federal Communications Commission, gave a speech before a convocation of TV-industry leaders. He was blunt. The executives, he said, were filling the air with ''a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, Western bad men, Western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons.'' They were turning TV into ''a vast wasteland.''
Shadowland: Megan Garber on how the mechanisms of reality TV taught us to trust no one
The epithet stuck. Minow's speech is best remembered for its criticism of TV, but it was also a prescient acknowledgment of the medium's power. TV beamed its illusions into home after home, brain after brain. It shaped people's views of the world even as it distracted them from reality.
Minow made his speech in an era when television was contained to three broadcast channels, to certain hours of the day, and, for that matter, to the living room. Today, of course, screens are everywhere; the entertainment environment is so vast, you can get lost in it. When we finish one series, the streaming platforms humbly suggest what we might like next. When the algorithm gets it right, we binge, disappearing into a fictional world for hours or even days at a time, less couch potato than lotus-eater.
Social media, meanwhile, beckons from the same devices with its own promises of unlimited entertainment. Instagram users peer into the lives of friends and celebrities alike, and post their own touched-up, filtered story for others to consume. TikTok's endless talent show is so captivating that members of the intelligence community fear China could use the platform to spy on Americans or to disseminate propaganda'--feelies as a weapon of war. Even the less photogenic Twitter invites users to enter an alternate realm. As the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has observed, ''It's a place where people form communities and alliances, nurture friendships and sexual relationships, yell and flirt, cheer and pray.'' It's ''a place people don't just visit but inhabit.''
Each invitation to be entertained reinforces an impulse: to seek diversion whenever possible, to avoid tedium at all costs.I've inhabited Twitter in that way too'--just as I've inhabited Instagram and Hulu and Netflix. I don't want to question the value of entertainment itself'--that would be foolish and, in my case, deeply hypocritical. But I do want to question the hold that all of the immersive amusement is gaining over my life, and maybe yours.
Dwell in this environment long enough, and it becomes difficult to process the facts of the world through anything except entertainment. We've become so accustomed to its heightened atmosphere that the plain old real version of things starts to seem dull by comparison. A weather app recently sent me a push notification offering to tell me about ''interesting storms.'' I didn't know I needed my storms to be interesting. Or consider an email I received from TurboTax. It informed me, cheerily, that ''we've pulled together this year's best tax moments and created your own personalized tax story.'' Here was the entertainment imperative at its most absurd: Even my Form 1040 comes with a highlight reel.
Such examples may seem trivial, harmless'--brands being brands. But each invitation to be entertained reinforces an impulse: to seek diversion whenever possible, to avoid tedium at all costs, to privilege the dramatized version of events over the actual one. To live in the metaverse is to expect that life should play out as it does on our screens. And the stakes are anything but trivial. In the metaverse, it is not shocking but entirely fitting that a game-show host and Twitter personality would become president of the United States.
In the years since Minow delivered his speech, the language of television has come to saturate the way Americans talk about the world around us. People who are deluded, we say, have ''lost the plot''; people who have become pariahs have been ''canceled.'' In earlier ages, people attributed their circumstances to the will of gods and the whims of fate; we attribute ours to the artistic choices of ''the writers'' and lament that we may be living through America's final season. These are jokes, of course, but they have an uneasy edge. They suggest a creeping realization that we truly have come to inhabit our entertainment.
Gaslit Last May , 19 children and two of their teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The next day, Quinta Brunson, the creator and star of the ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary, shared a message'--one of many'--that she'd received in response to the massacre: a request from a fan that she write a school-shooting story line into her comedy. ''People are that deeply removed from demanding more from the politicians they've elected and are instead demanding 'entertainment,''Š'' Brunson wrote on Twitter. ''I can't ask 'are yall ok' anymore because the answer is 'no.''Š''
Brunson's frustration was understandable. Yet it's also hard to blame the fans who, as they grieved a real shooting, sought comfort in a fictional one. They have been conditioned to expect that the news will instantaneously become entertainment.
Read: A grim new low for internet sleuthing
Almost as soon as a big event happens, a production company repurposes it as a pseudo-fiction. In 2019, two Boeing 737 Max airplanes crashed, killing 346 people; by early 2020, Variety was announcing, ''Boeing 737 Max Disaster Series in Works.'' In July 2020, The Hollywood Reporter shared that Adam McKay's next project at HBO would ''take on the timeliest of subjects: the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.'' In January 2021, Reddit users collaborated to inflate the stock of the video-game store GameStop; a week later, MGM announced that it had landed the film rights to a book proposal'--a book proposal, not an actual book'--about the story. In the metaverse, history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as wry dramedy on HBO Max.
Producers have been ripping plots from the headlines for as long as there have been headlines to rip them from. The difference today is the speed and the scale of the conversion. There are commercial reasons for this frenzy of optioning. In general, plundering reality is much easier and cheaper than inventing something new. The streaming platforms wouldn't keep making the series, however, if viewers didn't watch them. And watching them can be disorienting.
The tagline at the start of every episode of Inventing Anna, the 2022 Netflix series, neatly sums up the approach of the new ''ripped from the headlines'' genre: ''This whole story is completely true. Except for all of the parts that are totally made up.'' Inventing Anna is the lavishly fictionalized story of Anna Sorokin (more commonly known by her alias, Anna Delvey), a Russian woman who pretended to be a German heiress to gain the trust and then the money of rich people in New York City. It is a tale about lies so brazen that they revealed some well-disguised truths'--about the magical thinking of high finance, about America's enduring susceptibility to the con artist.
Inventing Anna is based on a 2018 New York magazine story by the journalist Jessica Pressler. The show weaves the article'--lyrically rendered but truthfully told'--into its own version of the story. Inventing Anna is by turns flashy, cheeky, and insightful. It operates in the realm that the postmodernists call hyperreality: Its colors are saturated; its pace is frenetic; it plays, sometimes, less as a drama than as a music video. Most of all, the show sells the idea that an unstable relationship between fact and fiction is its own kind of fun.
In that, Inventing Anna is typical. WeCrashed, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The Dropout, and many other series repurpose high-profile news events as glossy amusements. Gaslit, Winning Time, A Friend of the Family, Pam & Tommy, and American Crime Story do similar work with history so recent, it can barely be considered history at all. Many of them are self-consciously products of ''prestige TV,'' and many of them are quite good: smartly written, slickly produced, and performed by talented actors.
A life so full that it gets optioned: the new American dream.The shows also deliver a voyeuristic thrill that can be difficult for even the most thoroughly reported and artfully told journalism to rival. The promise of the metaverse has always been the ability to inhabit realms that would otherwise be closed to us: In a recent ad, Meta's Quest 2 headset transports one young woman into an NFL scrum and another into the Iron Man suit. A series like The Crown provides a similar experience. We sit with the Royal Family in their bedrooms. We see them fighting. We see them weeping. This is a biopic about lives still being lived.
Of course, such voyeurism is possible only because the shows are not bound by the rules of nonfiction. Like so many entries in the genre, The Crown combines finicky photorealism and breezy artistic license. The series offers a stitch-by-stitch re-creation of the ''revenge dress'' that Princess Diana debuted after Prince Charles's infidelity came to light; it also fabricates dialogue, events, and entire characters. In 2020, the United Kingdom's culture secretary asked Netflix to add a disclaimer to the show making clear that it is, fundamentally, a work of fiction. Netflix declined, saying it was confident that viewers knew the show was fiction. Yet its executives surely understand that the series is appealing precisely because it presents its fictions with the swagger of settled fact.
One night this past fall, my partner and I were watching an episode of Gaslit (about the life of the Watergate celebrity Martha Mitchell). We were both side-screening with our phones, and at some point we realized we were doing the exact same thing: combing Wikipedia to find out whether the scene we'd just watched had actually happened. In this, we were missing the point. When you're watching a show like Gaslit or The Crown, you are supposed to accept that the story is true in a broad sense, not a specific one. You are not meant to question the difference between nonfiction and a story that's been ''lightly'' fictionalized. And you are definitely not supposed to be on Wikipedia, trying to cross-reference the real history against the one you're seeing on Starz.
Here my TV-loving self interrupts, indignantly and a little defensively: It's just TV. It's all in good fun. And that's true. I enjoyed Gaslit. And when Super Pumped cast Uma Thurman as Arianna Huffington and gave her one apparent note'--more camp'--I had no choice but to watch. Taken together, though, such series start to destabilize our sense of what is true and what has been invented'--or elided'--to tell a good story.
Consider the Theranos scandal. Elizabeth Holmes's company was covered meticulously in real time by journalists, most prominently at The Wall Street Journal, and the full arc of her deceptions was described masterfully by the Journal'‰'s John Carreyrou in his book, Bad Blood. But the fraud has proved so irresistible that it is now also the subject of a documentary, a true-crime podcast called The Dropout, a Hulu drama also called The Dropout, and, soon, an Adam McKay feature film, adapted from Carreyrou's Bad Blood, which will also be called Bad Blood. The consumer of all this news and entertainment can be forgiven for mixing up where she got her facts'--and whether they're facts at all.
In a surreal twist, the fictionalization of the Theranos debacle has now become part of the nonfiction story line. Last March, the fraud trial of the former Theranos COO Sunny Balwani was complicated when two of the potential jurors who had been selected to hear the case were dismissed; they had seen episodes of The Dropout and might have been prejudiced by its depiction of the events at issue in the trial.
In the 1990s, media critics worried'--rightly'--that the news was becoming frivolous, whether in the form of histrionic shoutfests like Crossfire, lurid news magazines like Dateline, or the overheated coverage of the O. J. Simpson trial. Then came a boom in entertainment that pretended to be news and to many viewers was indistinguishable from it: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee. Today, the critiques that the news channels were obsessed with ratings, or that too many people had abandoned the 6 o'clock news for The Daily Show, seem quaint. There is no longer any distinction: The news has become entertainment, and entertainment has become the news.
In January 2021, Britain's Sky TV announced that Kenneth Branagh would be starring as Boris Johnson in a miniseries about the coronavirus pandemic. Asked about the role in September 2022'--asked, in particular, about the logic of airing a history of an event that was still unfolding'--Branagh demurred. ''I think these events are unusual,'' he said, ''and part of what we must do is acknowledge them.''
Neither a pandemic that has now killed more than 200,000 Britons nor a leader who bungled his way through the disaster was in danger of going unacknowledged by the BBC or The Times of London. Yet Branagh's comment was telling. The rise of these hyperreal TV shows coincides with the decline of the institutions that report on the world as it is. The semi-fictions stake their claims while journalism flails. We have gradually accommodated ourselves to the idea that if an event doesn't become a limited series or a movie, it hasn't happened. When news breaks, we shrug. We'll wait for the miniseries. And take for granted that its version of the story will be true'--except for the parts that are totally made up.
The Main Character By the mid-20th century , the historian Warren Susman argued, a great shift was taking place. American values had traditionally emphasized a collection of qualities we might shorthand as ''character'': honesty, diligence, an abiding sense of duty. The rise of mass media changed those terms, Susman wrote. In the media-savvy and consumption-oriented society that Americans were building, people came to value'--and therefore demand'--what Susman called ''personality'': charm, likability, the talent to entertain. ''The social role demanded of all in the new Culture of Personality was that of a performer,'' Susman wrote. ''Every American was to become a performing self.''
That demand remains. Now, though, the value is not merely interpersonal charm, but the ability to broadcast it to mass audiences. Social media has truly made each of us a performing self. ''All the world's a stage'' was once a metaphor; today, it's a dull description of life in the metaverse. As the journalist Neal Gabler foresaw in his book Life: The Movie, performance, as a language but also as a value, bleeds into nearly every facet of experience.
A recent H&M ad campaign promised that the brand would make sure that ''you are the main character of each day.'' In September, my partner booked a hotel room for a weekend trip; the confirmation email vowed that the stay would allow him to ''craft your next story.'' My iPhone is now in the habit of transforming photographs and videos from my camera roll into mini-movies. The bespoke videos come with a soundtrack selected by the operating system. They also come unprompted: I was recently served up a slideshow, set to strings that Ken Burns might appreciate, of pictures I'd taken of my dog. The aim, of course, is commercial. What better way to encourage customers to be loyal than to tell them their life should be a movie? A life so full that it gets optioned: the new American dream.
QAnon adherents live in a universe of fiction; they trust, above all, in the anonymous showrunner who is writing and directing and producing reality.Or the new American nightmare. On Twitter, ''the main character'' is shorthand for the person who will be a given day's subject of communal scorn. The strangers who pile on, often with vehemence, may be reacting to the target's legitimate failings or merely to perceived ones. Regardless, they may be engaging in what the psychologist John Suler has described as the online disinhibition effect: the tendency for people in digital spaces to act in ways they never would offline. The disinhibition might originate in an assumption that the digital world differs from the ''real'' world, or in a sense that online interactions amount to a low-stakes game. But it can lead people to treat the humans on the other side of the screen as not human'--not real'--at all.
Last July, while Lilly Simon was commuting on the subway in New York, a stranger began filming her without her knowledge or consent. This was when monkeypox, recently declared a global health emergency, was spreading in the city. Simon has a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow at her nerve endings; some of the growths are visible on her skin. The tumors are usually benign, but can lead to painful complications. They are not contagious. The person recording her knew none of this. Instead, the videographer zoomed in on Simon's legs and arms, analyzing her, and posted the results of their ''investigation'' on TikTok. Simon, after learning of the video's existence, posted a reply. ''I will not let any of y'all reverse any years of therapy and healing that I had to endure to deal with the condition,'' she said in it. In short order, her response went viral, the original video was taken down, and Simon gave an interview about the experience to The New York Times.
A happy ending, of sorts, to an otherwise grim tale of what life can be like in the metaverse: A person, simply trying to get from one place to another, is transformed into a reluctant star of a movie she didn't know she was in. The dynamics are simple, and stark. The people on our screens look like characters, so we begin to treat them like characters. And characters are, ultimately, expendable; their purpose is to serve the story. When their service is no longer required, they can be written off the show.
Insurrection for the 'Gram Disinhibition may begin in the online world, but it doesn't stay there. The dystopian aspects of the metaverse take on a political dimension, though not necessarily in the way that the 20th-century visionaries anticipated. Those writers imagined a populace pacified by empty entertainments. They didn't foresee that the telescreen might instead incite them to political violence.
My colleague Tom Nichols has argued that one of the primary motivations driving the January 6 insurrectionists was boredom'--and a sense that they had a right to be the heroes of their own American Revolution. Certainly, to watch the attack live on TV, as I did that day, was to be struck by how many of the people ransacking the Capitol were having a grand old time. They posed for (incriminating) photos. They livestreamed their vandalism for their followers. They were doing insurrection for the 'gram. Indeed, a striking number of the participants performed their sedition dressed as superheroes. Several tied Trump 2020 flags around their neck, the wrinkled nylon streaking behind them as they plundered.
Some insurrectionists dressed as heroes from another fictional universe: not Marvel or DC, but QAnon. The origins of the QAnon conspiracy theory are convoluted, and its ongoing appeal has a range of explanations. But it has thrived, at least in part, because it is so well suited to the metaverse. Its adherents have filter-bubbled and siloed and red-pilled themselves so completely that they live in a universe of fiction; they trust, above all, in the anonymous showrunner who is writing and directing and producing reality, every once in a while dropping tantalizing clues about what might happen in the next episode. The hero of the show is Donald Trump, the man who has mastered, like perhaps no one else in American history, TV's powers of manipulation. Its villains are the members of the ''deep state,'' thousands of demi-humans united in their pedophiliac designs on America's children.
The efforts to hold the instigators of the insurrection to account have likewise unfolded as entertainment. ''Opinion: January 6 Hearings Could Be a Real-Life Summer Blockbuster,'' read a CNN headline in May'--the unstated corollary being that if the hearings failed at the box office, they would fail at their purpose. (''Lol no one is watching this,'' the account of the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee tweeted as the hearings were airing, attempting to suggest such a failure.)
The hearings did not fail, though; on the contrary, the first one was watched by some 20 million people'--ratings similar to those earned by a Sunday Night Football broadcast. And the success came in part because the January 6 committee so ably turned its findings into compelling TV. The committee summoned well-spoken and, in many cases, telegenic witnesses. It made a point of transforming that day's chaos into a comprehensive plot. Its production was so successful that The New York Times included the hearings on its list of 2022's best TV shows.
The committee understood that for people to care about January 6'--for people to take an interest in the greatest coup attempt in American history'--the violence and treason had to be translated into that universal American language: a good show.
In September, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arranged for a group of people seeking asylum in the U.S. to board airplanes. They were told that housing, financial assistance, and employment would be waiting for them when they landed. Instead, the planes flew to Martha's Vineyard, where there was nothing waiting for the confused travelers except a group of equally confused locals. But those locals gave the travelers food and shelter. Immigration lawyers came to help. Journalists obtained copies of the brochures that had been handed out to the asylum seekers, and informed the public of the series of false promises through which human beings had been turned into props.
The send-them-to-the-Vineyard plan had been fueled by TV. After Texas Governor Greg Abbott began busing migrants to places where they would supposedly become a burden to Democrats, ''shipping migrants'' became a regular topic of conversation on the morning show Fox & Friends, and Fox News in general. The hosts filled their airtime joking about the conveyances that would be necessary to ship people to the Vineyard. The idea was repeated so steadily that, as often happens, the joke became the plan, and then the plan became the reality, and then the asylum seekers, desperate and misled, were sent like Amazon Prime packages to a place selected because Barack Obama vacations there.
And the producers of the whole thing, rather than questioning the premise of their show after it did little besides expose a community rallying to help people in need, instead promised more performances. Senator Ted Cruz'--whose father, as it happens, sought asylum in the U.S.'--announced that another group of asylum seekers would be shipped to Joe Biden's vacation spot. (''Rehoboth Beach, Delaware next,'' he said.) Abbott continued busing migrants out of Texas'--this time the drop-off location was in front of Vice President Kamala Harris's Washington, D.C., residence. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, not to be outdone, brought audience participation to the show: A fundraising email asked recipients where Republican governors should ''ship'' migrants next.
''The propagandist's purpose,'' Aldous Huxley observed, ''is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.'' Donald Trump had a habit of demeaning his opponents, en masse, as ''vicious, horrible'' people. The images have only grown more hallucinatory. In September, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene told a gathering of young people in Texas that her Democratic colleagues are ''kind of night creatures, like witches and vampires and ghouls.''
The rhetoric may seem absurd, but it serves a purpose. This is language designed to dehumanize. And it is language that has gained traction. Last year, the Public Religion Research Institute published an analysis of QAnon's hold over Americans. The group asked nearly 20,000 survey respondents whether they agreed with the QAnon belief that ''the government, media, and financial worlds are controlled by Satan-worshiping pedophiles.'' Nearly a sixth'--16 percent'--said they did.
''I'm a Real Person'' In his 1985 book , Amusing Ourselves to Death, the critic Neil Postman described a nation that was losing itself to entertainment. What Newton Minow had called ''a vast wasteland'' in 1961 had, by the Reagan era, led to what Postman diagnosed as a ''vast descent into triviality.'' Postman saw a public that confused authority with celebrity, assessing politicians, religious leaders, and educators according not to their wisdom, but to their ability to entertain. He feared that the confusion would continue. He worried that the distinction that informed all others'--fact or fiction'--would be obliterated in the haze.
In late 2022, The New York Times revealed that George Santos, a newly elected Republican representative from Long Island, had invented or wildly inflated not just his r(C)sum(C) (a familiar political sin) but his entire biography. Santos had, in essence, run as a fictional character and won. His lies and obfuscations'--about his education, his employment history, his charitable work, even his religion'--were shocking in their brazenness. They were also met, by many, with a collective shrug. ''Everyone fabricates their r(C)sum(C),'' one of his constituents told the Times. Another vowed her continued support: ''He was never untruthful with me,'' she said. Their reactions are reminiscent of the Obama voter who explained to Politico, in 2016, why he would be switching his allegiances: ''At least Trump is fun to watch.''
These are Postman's fears in action. They are also Hannah Arendt's. Studying societies held in the sway of totalitarian dictators'--the very real dystopias of the mid-20th century'--Arendt concluded that the ideal subjects of such rule are not the committed believers in the cause. They are instead the people who come to believe in everything and nothing at all: people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction no longer exists.
A republic requires citizens; entertainment requires only an audience. In 2020, a former health official worried aloud that ''viewers will get tired of another season of coronavirus.'' The concern, it turned out, was warranted: Americans have struggled to make sense of a pandemic that refuses to conform to a tidy narrative structure'--digestible plots, cathartic conclusions.
Life in the metaverse brings an aching contradiction: We have never been able to share so much of ourselves. And, as study after study has shown, we have never felt more alone. Fictions, at their best, expand our ability to understand the world through other people's eyes. But fiction can flatten, too. Recall how many Americans, in the grim depths of the pandemic, refused to understand the wearing of masks as anything but ''virtue signaling'''--the performance of a political view, rather than a genuine public-health measure. Note how many pundits have dismissed well-documented tragedies'--children massacred at school, families separated by a callous state'--as the work of ''crisis actors.'' In a functioning society, ''I'm a real person'' goes without saying. In ours, it is a desperate plea.
This could be how we lose the plot. This could be the somber finale of America: The Limited Series. Or perhaps it's not too late for us to do what the denizens of the fictional dystopias could not: look up from the screens, seeing the world as it is and one another as we are. Be transported by our entertainment but not bound by it.
''Are you not entertained?'' Maximus, the hero of Gladiator, yells to the Roman throngs who treat his pain as their show. We might see something of ourselves in both the captive warrior and the crowd. We might feel his righteous fury. We might recognize their fun. We have never been more entertained. That is our luxury'--and our burden.
This article appears in the March 2023 print edition with the headline ''We're Already in the Metaverse.'' When you buy a book using a link on this page, we receive a commission. Thank you for supporting The Atlantic.
James O'Keefe 'Outright Cruel' to Project Veritas Employees: Internal Memo
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 04:36
The undercover video operation run by right-wing operative James O'Keefe is in turmoil, wracked by unhappy donors and O'Keefe's ''outright cruel'' behavior towards his staff, according to an internal memo signed by a third of its employees.
Working for O'Keefe at Project Veritas can mean being ''publicly humiliated'' by him in what amounts to ''public crucifixions,'' and even being required to take lie detector tests, his unhappy employees write in the memo.
''I would describe Project Veritas' current environment with this saying: 'The beatings will continue until morale improves,''' one disgruntled staffer wrote in the memo.
On Monday, Project Veritas staffers presented the nonprofit's board with the document covering his behavior, saying they were ''troubled and frustrated'' by O'Keefe's management style. Later that day, the board voted to reinstate two executives O'Keefe had fired a week earlier, while O'Keefe went on paid leave.
''James will be taking a few weeks of well-deserved [paid time off],'' Project Veritas executive director Daniel Strack wrote Monday in an internal Project Veritas group chat obtained by The Daily Beast.
Even though O'Keefe is synonymous with the group he founded, his fate at the nonprofit remains unclear. New York Magazine first reported on the internal dissension and O'Keefe's leave.
O'Keefe didn't respond to requests for comment. In a statement, Strack told The Daily Beast the board is ''constantly evaluating what the best path forward is for the organization.''
The internal dissension comes as Project Veritas faces a number of threats, including an FBI investigation and an ex-employee's lawsuit alleging O'Keefe oversaw a raucous, sexually charged workplace complete with at least one drug overdose. Project Veritas has denied breaking any laws in the FBI investigation, and is fighting the lawsuit. In December, the group laid off several staffers.
The memo, which was obtained by The Daily Beast, covers its founder's demanding and allegedly abusive treatment of his staff, even laying out concerns that Project Veritas will soon collapse entirely as donors and employees flee. Sixteen staffers signed their names to the memo, according to the document.
''James has become a power drunk tyrant,'' one staffer complained in the memo.
While employees signed their names to the memo, they didn't reveal who wrote individual accounts, and The Daily Beast was not able to independently confirm the anecdotes. Still, they offer a glimpse into the internal debate within Project Veritas before O'Keefe went on leave and saw his decisions reversed by the board.
The memo details a series of bizarre incidents. In one, during a Sept. 2022 trial against a Democratic consulting firm that O'Keefe later lost, an employee complained that O'Keefe berated them in front of jurors because he needed something to eat. Ultimately, the employee alleged, O'Keefe took a sandwich from a heavily pregnant woman to sate his hunger.
''I was yelled at in front of jurors because he was hungry and then he took the 8-month pregnant woman's sandwich,'' the account reads.
In another apparent reference to O'Keefe, a staffer complains about employees at Project Veritas getting spat upon.
''Rule #1: You can't spit in an employee's face over a tweet,'' the message reads. ''True story.''
The memo's authors describe O'Keefe as a paranoiac so fearful of leakers within his organization that he set up at least one ''mole hunt'' complete with private investigators and a lie detector test. Most staffers were purportedly required to return to the group's New York headquarters for an interview with the investigators.
In another incident, a top O'Keefe lieutenant was required to take a polygraph as part of a leak investigation.
''If you can't trust your own team let alone your own team leaders, what kind of trust do you claim to have?'' one employee complained in the memo, describing the lie-detector test.
The employees also complained more broadly about O'Keefe's allegedly widespread use of ''verbal abuse,'' claiming they could be ''publicly humiliated'' or face ''public crucifixions'' at O'Keefe's hands in front of donors or other employees. Throughout the memo, O'Keefe is described as ''berating'' various employees so strongly that people who witnessed the alleged abuse apologized to O'Keefe's targets later.
In one instance, the employees claim O'Keefe called Project Veritas staffer Spencer Meads '-- a staffer so prominent in the group that the FBI raided his home '-- a ''pussy.''
''They were raided and James still called Spencer that name,'' the memo reads.
In another anecdote, staffers were ''so severely verbally attacked by James that the staff morale dropped to an all-time low.''
The memo's authors also raised concerns about O'Keefe's use of Project Veritas money to promote his own theatrical ambitions. Project Veritas is best known for its undercover stings against Democratic groups and other Republican targets. But O'Keefe, who performed in high-school musicals, has added a series of musical productions to the group's repertoire, including an elaborate ''Project Veritas'' experience that involves O'Keefe dancing while wearing a bulletproof vest.
In December, Project Veritas acknowledged improperly giving O'Keefe $20,500 in ''excess benefits'' to pay for Project Veritas staff to accompany him to Virginia as he performed a lead role in a production of the musical Oklahoma!.
In the memo, one employee worried that all of the money spent on musicals risked alienating donors.
''All the theatre stuff and how that is handled makes me very uneasy,'' the memo reads, adding later, ''In the end, we are in a deficit now, our fans and potential fans beyond do not respond positively to all of that stuff.''
But musicals weren't the only thing irritating donors, according to the petition. O'Keefe is portrayed throughout the document as badgering uncomfortable donors for five- and six-figure checks. Other donors didn't like his treatment of his employees, the employees say.
When a woman O'Keefe had asked for a $75,000 check requested a picture with him, according to the memo, he ''very rudely'' refused.
''She was humiliated to the point of tears,'' the memo reads.
Statement from the Project Veritas' Board of Directors | Project Veritas
Tue, 21 Feb 2023 03:06
Today, James O'Keefe decided to remove his belongings from Project Veritas headquarters. The Board and Management made numerous attempts in the last 14 days to have a conversation with James, but he ignored our outreach and decided to instead leak private information to others, either by doing so himself or by proxy.As today is President's Day, our office was closed. We had a Board meeting scheduled for tomorrow where James was invited, and there was also a Board meeting on Friday, February 10, where James was invited (but did not attend) to discuss the financial malfeasance that was discovered, which requires us to act in order to remain in compliance with the law.
There were two subjects that the Board wished to come to terms with James on: the company's long-term sustainability based on staff retention and morale, and the company's financial health '-- which has been a serious concern for several months now.
Although PV Leadership has not concluded looking into the full scale of financial issues over the years, a preliminary review at this time indicates that James has spent an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries. More is still being uncovered during the ongoing review at this time. Contrary to many reports from today, James was suspended indefinitely pending the resolution of a fulsome investigation and clarity which will need to be provided by a third party investigative audit report.
Here are a few examples of what has been uncovered so far by PV Leadership (this is far from an exhaustive list, it is merely a small representative sample):
-$14,000 on a charter flight to meet someone to fix his boat under the guise of meeting with a donor-$60,000 in losses by putting together dance events such as Project Veritas Experience
-Over $150,000 in Black Cars in the last 18 months
-Thousands of dollars spent on DJ and other equipment for personal use
-Hundreds of other acts of personal inurement
The Board wants to work things out with James, and has tried every route possible to remedy the issues at hand and begin to take the legally required corrective actions.
James also left us no choice but to suspend him in the last few weeks when he unilaterally fired the CFO, who can only be fired with Board approval. That is a violation of our non-profit's bylaws. James went as far as to say that a Board member had approved this firing to others, but it was later discovered that it was not the case. That member did not approve the firing. The Board approved James' suspension so it would have time to properly investigate these internal infractions.The Board has a legal obligation to comply with state and federal law, and these matters are serious ones that cannot be ignored.
James claims that the Board did not allow him to send an apology letter to the staff, which is not true. The Board never told James he was not to speak with staff members, nor that he could not apologize to them.But, more than anything, the Board cares about the donors of this organization, who decide to donate their hard-earned money to us because they believe in the mission. We could not allow for our donors to send us money and have it be misappropriated in such a way. We love our supporters, and we would never sit idly by as money is being used for matters that are not mission related.
Even with all of this public fallout, the Board still wants to speak with James. We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign. We would like to continue conversations with James to resolve internal matters rather than litigate them publicly.Project Veritas will continue to be transparent with the public as more information can be released over time. The fight for truth will never stop.
US will abandon the 'unwinnable' proxy war in Ukraine like they ended their failure in Vietnam | Sky News Australia
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 17:32
Fifty years ago, the Paris Peace Conference agreed to the US withdrawal of all troops and advisors from Vietnam, ending America's combat role in Southeast Asia.
It is inherently significant, because, up to then, it was the biggest disaster in the history of American foreign policy.
The loss of treasure and life was unprecedented.
The Department of Defence estimated that from 1961 until President Thieu collapsed in April 1975, the US spent more than $141 billion in Indo-China '' or $7,000 each for South Vietnam's 20 million souls.
Loss of life was heavy.
From the 1961 death of James Thomas Davis, revealed by Lyndon B. Johnson as the first American to fall in defence of freedom in Vietnam, until the Paris accords in January 1973, US casualties numbered 350,00 with 58,000 killed (40,000 in combat).
Vietnamese casualties (North and South) topped two million, with more than 241,000 South Vietnamese dying in combat, along with more than one million combined North Vietnamese and Viet Cong combat deaths and 300,00 MIAs.
''It is also relevant to the present,'' observed the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, ''on the question of 'betraying' an ally '' as applied not only to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but to the US engagement in Ukraine and the implicit commitment to persevere.''
The meaning and lessons of the Vietnam War pretty much tell us how Washington will quit its proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and then how it'll sell it to the American people.
Never ours to win
One thing about the Vietnam War has remained constant: No politician, policymaker, or analyst has ever seriously argued that the US could have won the Vietnam War.
They have, however, at the time '' and since then '' offered a myriad of reasons why this was the case.
As early as 1970 thoughtful observers such as Walter Lippmann, the doyen of American journalists, set about the task of analysing what went wrong.
The proposition struck Lippmann as somewhat absurd: "Here we are, some 200 million of us, with the greatest armaments that any country has ever possessed, and there are the North Vietnamese, some 20 million of them, with a primitive industrial system. Yet we have been unable to make them do what we want them to do."
Lippmann thought that he had the answer as to why this had occurred.
"Because," he reasoned, "armed peasants who are willing to die are a match for the mightiest power."
Recognising as legitimate the restraints implicit in unnecessarily drawing in China and the Soviet Union, the United States military, according to Lippmann, found itself with an impossible task: "Thus, our failure in Vietnam sprang from a great mistake. We asked the armed forces to do what it was not possible for them to do."
Other critiques of Vietnam focused on the character of US involvement, with particular attention paid to the nature of the commitment.
Louis J. HaIIe, a former career officer in the State Department and an historian, contended: ''If we will only brush the dust of polemical rhetoric out of our eyes, we shall see that we are not fighting in Indo-China for imperialistic reasons, that we are not fighting there, because we want to increase our territorial possessions or build an empire.
Why, then? "We are," he asserted, "fighting there because in a moment of national aberration, we acted on a false conception of what the situation was."
Alongside the theses of the "great mistake" and "national aberration" was also added the equally significant theme of the unsuitability of exporting democratic institutions and practices to certain foreign soils.
Chester L. Cooper, a well-known Asianist and Director of the International Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis, presented this argument in unequivocal language.
''In the past,'' wrote Cooper directly to the point, ''we should have been more prudent and have insisted upon some minimum standards of stability, appeal, and effectiveness before committing major resources to South Vietnam's aid - no matter how assiduous the Prime Minister, no matter how attractive the people."
''Let's call the whole thing off''
With the battle plainly lost, President Gerald Ford dramatically shifted his ground.
At Tulane University in New Orleans, after the fall of Saigon, Ford told a largely friendly audience, "I ask tonight that we stop refighting the battles and recriminations of the past.
To emphasise the point, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was elsewhere repeating the same message.
Before the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Kissinger asked the American people to put the Vietnam War behind them:
''The Vietnam debate has now run its course. The time has come for restraint and compassion. The Administration has made its case. Let all now abide by the verdict of the Congress - without recriminations or vindictiveness.''
When pressed however at a news conference in late April as to what lessons could be drawn from the war, the Secretary attempted to reserve the question for a later occasion, except to say: "I do not think that we can resolve the problem of having entered the conflict too lightly by leaving it too lightly, either."
Moments later, when asked whether or not the war had so stunned the nation that it might never again come to the economic and military aid of a friend such as Israel, Kissinger conceded: "One lesson we must learn from this experience is that we must be very careful in the commitments we make, but that we should scrupulously honour those commitments that we make."
Further, he hoped "that no lessons should be drawn from the enemies of our friends from the experiences in Vietnam."
No lessons drawn, indeed.
The US withdrawal from the unwinnable conflict in Ukraine will play out in much the same way.
Fifty years ago, the Paris Peace Conference agreed to the US withdrawal of all troops and advisors from Vietnam, ending America's combat role in Southeast Asia.
It is inherently significant, because, up to then, it was the biggest disaster in the history of American foreign policy.
The loss of treasure and life was unprecedented.
The Department of Defence estimated that from 1961 until President Thieu collapsed in April 1975, the US spent more than $141 billion in Indo-China '' or $7,000 each for South Vietnam's 20 million souls.
Loss of life was heavy.
From the 1961 death of James Thomas Davis, revealed by Lyndon B. Johnson as the first American to fall in defence of freedom in Vietnam, until the Paris accords in January 1973, American casualties numbered 350,00 with 58,000 killed (40,000 in combat).
Vietnamese casualties (North and South) topped two million, with more than 241,000 South Vietnamese dying in combat, along with more than one million combined North Vietnamese and Viet Cong combat deaths and 300,00 MIAs.
''It is also relevant to the present,'' observed the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, ''on the question of 'betraying' an ally '' as applied not only to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but to the US engagement in Ukraine and the implicit commitment to persevere.''
The meaning and lessons of the Vietnam War pretty much tell us how Washington will quit its proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and then how it'll sell it to the American people.
Never ours to win
One thing about the Vietnam War has remained constant: No politician, policymaker, or analyst has ever seriously argued that the US could have won the Vietnam War.
They have, however, at the time '' and since then '' offered a myriad of reasons why this was the case.
As early as 1970 thoughtful observers such as Walter Lippmann, the doyen of American journalists, set about the task of analysing what went wrong.
The proposition struck Lippmann as somewhat absurd: "Here we are, some 200 million of us, with the greatest armaments that any country has ever possessed, and there are the North Vietnamese, some 20 million of them, with a primitive industrial system. Yet we have been unable to make them do what we want them to do."
Lippmann thought that he had the answer as to why this had occurred.
"Because," he reasoned, "armed peasants who are willing to die are a match for the mightiest power."
Recognising as legitimate the restraints implicit in unnecessarily drawing in China and the Soviet Union, the United States military, according to Lippmann, found itself with an impossible task: "Thus, our failure in Vietnam sprang from a great mistake. We asked the armed forces to do what it was not possible for them to do."
Other critiques of Vietnam focused on the character of US involvement, with particular attention paid to the nature of the commitment.
Louis J. HaIIe, a former career officer in the State Department and an historian, contended: ''If we will only brush the dust of polemical rhetoric out of our eyes, we shall see that we are not fighting in Indo-China for imperialistic reasons, that we are not fighting there, because we want to increase our territorial possessions or build an empire.
Why, then? "We are," he asserted, "fighting there because in a moment of national aberration, we acted on a false conception of what the situation was."
Alongside the theses of the "great mistake" and "national aberration" was also added the equally significant theme of the unsuitability of exporting democratic institutions and practices to certain foreign soils.
Chester L. Cooper, a well-known Asianist and Director of the International Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis, presented this argument in unequivocal language.
''In the past,'' wrote Cooper directly to the point, ''we should have been more prudent and have insisted upon some minimum standards of stability, appeal, and effectiveness before committing major resources to South Vietnam's aid - no matter how assiduous the Prime Minister, no matter how attractive the people."
''Let's call the whole thing off''
With the battle plainly lost, President Gerald Ford dramatically shifted his ground.
At Tulane University in New Orleans, after the fall of Saigon, Ford told a largely friendly audience, "I ask tonight that we stop refighting the battles and recriminations of the past.
To emphasise the point, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was elsewhere repeating the same message.
Before the annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Kissinger asked the American people to put the Vietnam War behind them:
''The Vietnam debate has now run its course. The time has come for restraint and compassion. The Administration has made its case. Let all now abide by the verdict of the Congress - without recriminations or vindictiveness.''
When pressed however at a news conference in late April as to what lessons could be drawn from the war, the Secretary attempted to reserve the question for a later occasion, except to say: "I do not think that we can resolve the problem of having entered the conflict too lightly by leaving it too lightly, either."
Moments later, when asked whether or not the war had so stunned the nation that it might never again come to the economic and military aid of a friend such as Israel, Kissinger conceded: "One lesson we must learn from this experience is that we must be very careful in the commitments we make, but that we should scrupulously honour those commitments that we make."
Further, he hoped "that no lessons should be drawn from the enemies of our friends from the experiences in Vietnam."
No lessons drawn, indeed.
The US withdrawal from the unwinnable conflict in Ukraine will play out in much the same way.
Professor Joseph Siracusa is Dean of Global Futures at Curtin University.
Exclusive: Kevin McCarthy gives Tucker Carlson access to massive trove of Jan. 6 riot tape
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 16:51
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News' Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources tell me.
Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks.Why it matters: Carlson has repeatedly questioned official accounts of 1/6, downplaying the insurrection as "vandalism."
Now his shows '-- "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Fox News, and "Tucker Carlson Today" and "Tucker Carlson Originals" on the streaming service Fox Nation '-- have a massive trove of raw material. Carlson told me: "[T]here was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret."
"If there was ever a question that's in the public's interest to know, it's what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it. It's impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that."Reality check: The Jan. 6 committee played numerous excerpts of the footage at last year's captivating hearings. (See the committee's archive.)
Between the lines: The process with Carlson started in early February, according to a communication between the show and a McCarthy representative that I was shown.
The archive was previously reported to be 14,000 hours. I'm told it's now much more. Flashback: McCarthy told reporters in Statuary Hall last month that he thinks "the American public should actually see all [that] happened instead of a report that's written [on] a political basis." (Video, beginning 10:50)
Pushing for the release of the footage, Carlson argued on his show last month that Washington has "a regime of secrecy and deceit."Carlson last year called the attack an "outbreak of mob violence, a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards."
Biden's Labor Market: 1.9M Fewer Americans Working, 2M Foreign Workers Funneled into U.S. Jobs
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:25
At the end of 2022, 1.9 million fewer Americans were working than in 2019 before the Chinese coronavirus pandemic while President Joe Biden's administration has funneled two million additional foreign workers into United States jobs.
A new analysis from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) shows that in the fourth quarter of 2022, close to two million fewer native-born Americans were working in jobs compared to the same time in 2019 while two million foreign-born workers have been added to the workforce compared to the same time period.
For more than two decades, the number of native-born, working-age Americans in the workforce has declined, CIS notes:
There has been a decades-long decline in the labor force participation rate of the U.S.-born of working-age (16 to 64), from 77.3 percent in 2000 to 73.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022. [Emphasis added]
If the labor force participation rate for the working-age U.S.-born in the fourth quarter of 2022 was what it had been in the fourth quarter of 2000, then 6.4 million more people would be in the labor force. [Emphasis added]
Biden's administration is growing the United States labor market by adding millions of foreign workers for employers to hire, leaving jobless Americans on the sidelines.
'-- Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 11, 2023
In particular, the analysis finds that the decline in the labor participation rate among working-class native-born Americans is ''especially pronounced,'' dropping to 70.3 percent at the end of last year compared to 71.4 percent in 2019, 74.8 percent in 2006, and 76.4 percent in 2000.
Working-class native-born American men, those without a bachelor's degree between 25 to 54 years old, had only an 83.7 percent labor participation rate at the end of 2022 '-- declining consistently since the year 2000.
By focusing on adding foreign workers to the labor market, the Biden administration is ignoring efforts to get native-born Americans back into the workforce, instead adding millions of foreign workers to the labor market which adds pressure, particularly for working-class Americans in terms of finding jobs and securing higher wages.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.
Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government - The White House
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:23
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1 . Policy . On my first day in office, I signed Executive Order 13985 of January 20, 2021 (Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government), which charged the Federal Government with advancing equity for all, including communities that have long been underserved, and addressing systemic racism in our Nation's policies and programs.By advancing equity, the Federal Government can support and empower all Americans, including the many communities in America that have been underserved, discriminated against, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. We can also deliver resources and benefits equitably to the people of the United States and rebuild trust in Government.
Over the past 2 years, through landmark legislation '-- including the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (Public Law 117'‘2); the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law 117-58) (Bipartisan Infrastructure Law); division A of Public Law 117-167, known as the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2022; Public Law 117-169, commonly referred to as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022; and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (Public Law 117-159) '-- as well as executive action, my Administration has vigorously championed racial equity and has advanced equal opportunity for underserved communities. Executive departments and agencies (agencies) have engaged in historic work assessing how their policies and programs perpetuate barriers for underserved communities and developing strategies for removing those barriers. They have made important progress incorporating an evidence-based approach to equitable policymaking and implementation, and they have crafted new action plans to advance equity. In short, my Administration has embedded a focus on equity into the fabric of Federal policymaking and service delivery. Our work to transform the way the Federal Government serves the American people has been complemented by Executive Order 14035 of June 25, 2021 (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce), which continues to help ensure that my Administration '-- the most diverse in our Nation's history '-- reflects the growing diversity of the communities we serve.
My Administration's commitment to equity has produced better decision-making and more equitable outcomes. We have delivered the most equitable economic recovery in memory, and, driven by the expanded Child Tax Credit, we cut child poverty to its lowest rate on record in 2021, including record low Black, Latino, Native American, and rural child poverty. Under my Administration, the economy has created nearly 11 million jobs, and we have brought down unemployment nationwide '-- in particular for Black and Latino workers, for whom unemployment rates are near 50-year lows. My Administration has provided emergency rental assistance to help millions of families stay in their homes, and we have prohibited Federal contractors from paying people with disabilities subminimum wages. We are rebuilding roads and bridges, replacing the Nation's lead pipes to provide clean drinking water for all, delivering access to affordable high-speed internet to Americans in both rural and urban communities, investing in public transit, and reconnecting communities previously cut off from economic opportunity by highways, rail lines, or disinvestment. My Administration has provided funding to improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities on rail systems and in airports, expanded health coverage for millions of Americans, and expanded home- and community-based services so more people with disabilities and older adults can live independently. We have secured billions of dollars in direct new investments for Tribal Nations and Native American communities and have directed an increase in the share of Federal Government contract spending awarded to small disadvantaged businesses. My Administration has taken action to strengthen public safety, advance criminal justice reform, correct our country's failed approach to marijuana, protect civil rights, and stand up against rising extremism and hate-fueled violence that threaten the fabric of our democracy. We have taken historic steps to advance full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) Americans, including by ending the ban on transgender service members in our military; prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics across Federal programs; and signing into law the Respect for Marriage Act (Public Law 117-228) to preserve protections for the rights of same-sex and interracial couples. My Administration is also implementing the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality to ensure that all people, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to realize their full potential.
These transformative achievements have advanced the work of building a more equitable Nation. Yet, members of underserved communities '-- many of whom have endured generations of discrimination and disinvestment '-- still confront significant barriers to realizing the full promise of our great Nation, and the Federal Government has a responsibility to remove these barriers. It is imperative to reject the narrow, cramped view of American opportunity as a zero-sum game. When any person or community is denied freedom, dignity, and prosperity, our entire Nation is held back. But when we lift each other up, we are all lifted up. Therefore, my Administration must take additional action across the Federal Government '-- in collaboration with civil society, the private sector, and State and local government '-- to continue the work begun with Executive Order 13985 to combat discrimination and advance equal opportunity, including by redressing unfair disparities and removing barriers to Government programs and services. Achieving racial equity and support for underserved communities is not a one-time project. It must be a multi-generational commitment, and it must remain the responsibility of agencies across the Federal Government. It therefore continues to be the policy of my Administration to advance an ambitious, whole-of-government approach to racial equity and support for underserved communities and to continuously embed equity into all aspects of Federal decision-making.
This order builds upon my previous equity-related Executive Orders by extending and strengthening equity-advancing requirements for agencies, and it positions agencies to deliver better outcomes for the American people. In doing so, the Federal Government shall continue to pursue ambitious goals to build a strong, fair, and inclusive workforce and economy; invest in communities where Federal policies have historically impeded equal opportunity '-- both rural and urban '-- in ways that mitigate economic displacement, expand access to capital, preserve housing and neighborhood affordability, root out discrimination in the housing market, and build community wealth; advance equity in health, including mental and behavioral health and well-being; deliver an equitable response to the COVID-19 pandemic; deliver environmental justice and implement the Justice40 Initiative; build prosperity in rural communities; ensure equitable procurement practices, including through small disadvantaged businesses contracting and the Buy Indian Act (25 U.S.C. 47); pursue educational equity so that our Nation's schools put every student on a path to success; improve our Nation's criminal justice system to end unjust disparities, strengthen public safety, and ensure equal justice under law; promote equity in science and root out bias in the design and use of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence; protect the right to vote and realize the promise of our Nation's civil rights laws; and promote equity and human rights around the world through our foreign policy and foreign assistance. By redoubling our efforts, the Federal Government can help bridge the gap between the world we see and the future we seek.
Sec . 2 . Establishing Equity-Focused Leadership Across the Federal Government . (a) Establishment of Agency Equity Teams. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the Commissioner of Social Security, the Administrator of General Services, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Director of the National Science Foundation, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (agency heads) shall, within 30 days of the date of this order, ensure that they have in place an Agency Equity Team within their respective agencies to coordinate the implementation of equity initiatives and ensure that their respective agencies are delivering equitable outcomes for the American people.
(i) Each Agency Equity Team shall be led by a designated senior official (senior designee) charged with implementing my Administration's equity initiatives, and shall include senior officials from the office of the agency head and the agency's program, policy, civil rights, regulatory, science, technology, service delivery, financial assistance and grants, data, budget, procurement, public engagement, legal, and evaluation offices, as well as the agency's Chief Diversity Officer, to the extent applicable. Agency Equity Teams shall include a combination of competitive service employees, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 2102(a), and appointees, as defined in Executive Order 13989 of January 20, 2021 (Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel), and, to the extent practicable, shall build upon and coordinate with the agency's existing structures and processes, including with the agency's environmental justice officer designated pursuant to Executive Order 14008 of January 27, 2021 (Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad), and with the senior agency official designated to coordinate with the Gender Policy Council pursuant to Executive Order 14020 of March 8, 2021 (Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council).
(ii) The senior designee at each agency shall be responsible for delivering equitable outcomes, to the extent consistent with applicable law, and shall report to the agency head.
(iii) Each Agency Equity Team shall support continued equity training and equity leadership development for staff across all levels of the agency's workforce.
(iv) Each agency's senior designee shall coordinate with the agency head, agency budget officials, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that the Agency Equity Team has sufficient resources, including staffing and data collection capacity, to advance the agency's equity goals. Agency heads shall ensure that their respective Agency Equity Teams serve in an advisory and coordination role on priority agency actions.
(b) Establishment of the White House Steering Committee on Equity. There is hereby established a White House Steering Committee on Equity (Steering Committee), which shall be chaired by the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. The Steering Committee shall include senior officials representing policy councils and offices within the Executive Office of the President, as appropriate. The Steering Committee shall:
(i) coordinate Government-wide efforts to advance equity;
(ii) coordinate an annual process to consult with agency heads on their respective agencies' Equity Action Plans, established in section 3(a) of this order;
(iii) coordinate with the leadership of the White House Initiatives created by Executive Order 14031 of May 28, 2021 (Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders); Executive Order 14041 of September 3, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity Through Historically Black Colleges and Universities); Executive Order 14045 of September 13, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics); Executive Order 14049 of October 11, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities); and Executive Order 14050 of October 19, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans);
(iv) coordinate with the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council to ensure that equity and environmental justice efforts are consistent and mutually reinforcing;
(v) coordinate with the White House Gender Policy Council to align efforts to advance gender equity with broader equity efforts; and
(vi) monitor agencies' activities and promote accountability to ensure that agencies undertake ambitious and measurable steps to deliver equitable outcomes for the American people.
Sec . 3 . Delivering Equitable Outcomes Through Government Policies, Programs, and Activities . Each agency head shall support ongoing implementation of a comprehensive equity strategy that uses the agency's policy, budgetary, programmatic, service-delivery, procurement, data-collection processes, grantmaking, public engagement, research and evaluation, and regulatory functions to enable the agency's mission and service delivery to yield equitable outcomes for all Americans, including underserved communities.
(a) In September 2023, and on an annual basis thereafter, concurrent with the agencies' submission to OMB for the President's Budget, agency heads shall submit an Equity Action Plan to the Steering Committee. The Equity Action Plan shall include actions to advance equity, including under Executive Order 13985, Executive Order 13988 of January 20, 2021 (Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation), Executive Order 14008, and Executive Order 14020. (b) Each Equity Action Plan, which shall be made public, shall include:
(i) an update on the progress made by the agency on the actions, performance measures, and milestones highlighted in the preceding year's Equity Action Plan, as well as the agency's performance on the annual Environmental Justice Scorecard established pursuant to section 223 of Executive Order 14008, as applicable;
(ii) potential barriers that underserved communities may face in accessing and benefitting from the agency's policies, programs, and activities, including procurement, contracting, and grant opportunities;
(iii) strategies, including new or revised policies and programs, to address the barriers described in subsection (b)(ii) of this section and to ensure equitable access and opportunity for underserved communities; and
(iv) a description of how the agency intends to meaningfully engage with underserved communities, including through accessible, culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach, and the incorporation of the perspectives of those with lived experiences into agency policies, programs, and activities.
(c) Starting with formulation of the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget and for each subsequent year, the Director of OMB shall consider how the President's Budget can support the Equity Action Plans described in subsection (a) of this section in order to reinforce agency efforts to meaningfully engage with and invest in underserved communities and advance equitable outcomes.
(d) To ensure effective implementation of Equity Action Plans, and to strengthen the Federal Government's equitable delivery of resources and benefits to all, agency heads shall:
(i) prioritize and incorporate strategies to advance equity '-- including by pursuing evidence-based approaches, reducing administrative burdens, increasing access to technical assistance, and implementing equitable data practices, consistent with applicable law, into their respective:
(A) agency strategic plans developed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 306(a);
(B) agency performance plans developed pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1115 and 1116;
(C) portions of performance plans relating to human and capital resource requirements to achieve performance goals pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1115(b)(5)(A);
(D) agency priority goals developed pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1120;
(E) evaluation and evidence-building activities pursuant to the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-435) and section 5 of the Presidential Memorandum of January 27, 2021 (Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking);
(F) customer experience capacity assessments and action plans pursuant to section 280 of OMB Circular A-11 and Executive Order 14058 of December 13, 2021 (Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government);
(G) selection of items for their respective regulatory agendas and plans pursuant to sections 4(b) and (c) of Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993 (Regulatory Planning and Review), as amended;
(H) individual performance plans for senior executives consistent with 5 U.S.C. 4312, and for other senior employees consistent with 5 U.S.C. 4302; and
(I) as permitted by law, activities, acquisitions, and strategies that the Director of OMB determines to be appropriate to further the implementation of this order;
(ii) identify opportunities, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to incorporate into new regulations and to modify their respective agencies' regulations, internal- and public-facing guidance, and other policies to include advancing equity as part of their respective agencies' missions; and
(iii) promote coordination within and among their respective agencies concerning the elements of their respective Equity Action Plans and the recommendations of the Interagency Working Group on Equitable Data established in Executive Order 13985.
Sec . 4 . Embedding Equity into Government-wide Processes . (a) The Director of OMB shall consider opportunities to review and update internal processes, directives, and Government-wide guidance (such as OMB Circulars and Memoranda) to support equitable decision-making, promote equitable deployment of financial and technical assistance, and assist agencies in advancing equity, as appropriate and wherever possible.
(b) When designing, developing, acquiring, and using artificial intelligence and automated systems in the Federal Government, agencies shall do so, consistent with applicable law, in a manner that advances equity.
Sec . 5 . Delivering Equitable Outcomes in Partnership with Underserved Communities . Underserved communities often face significant barriers and legacy exclusions in engaging with agencies and providing input on Federal policies and programs that affect them. Agencies must increase engagement with underserved communities by identifying and applying innovative approaches to improve the quality, frequency, and accessibility of engagement. Agencies shall, consistent with applicable law:
(a) conduct proactive engagement, as appropriate, with members of underserved communities '-- for example, through culturally and linguistically appropriate listening sessions, outreach events, or requests for information '-- during development and implementation of agencies' respective annual Equity Action Plans, annual budget submissions, grants and funding opportunities, and other actions, including those outlined in section 3(d) of this order;
(b) collaborate with OMB, as appropriate, to identify and develop tools and methods for engagement with underserved communities, including those related to agency budget development and rulemaking;
(c) create more flexibilities, incentives, and guidelines for recipients of Federal funding and permits to proactively engage with underserved communities as projects are designed and implemented;
(d) identify funding opportunities for community- and faith-based organizations working in and with underserved communities to improve access to benefits and services for members of underserved communities; and
(e) identify and address barriers for individuals with disabilities, as well as older adults, to participate in the engagement process, including barriers to the accessibility of physical spaces, virtual platforms, presentations, systems, training, and documents.
Sec . 6 . Creating Economic Opportunity in Rural America and Advancing Urban Equitable Development . (a) Agencies shall undertake efforts, to the extent consistent with applicable law, to help rural communities identify and access Federal resources in order to create equitable economic opportunity and advance projects that build community wealth, including by providing or supporting technical assistance; incentivizing the creation of good, high-paying union jobs in rural areas; conducting outreach to and soliciting input from rural community leaders; and contributing new resources and support to interagency programs such as the Rural Partners Network.
(b) Agencies shall undertake efforts, to the extent consistent with applicable law, to strengthen urban equitable development policies and practices, such as advancing community wealth building projects; preventing physical and economic displacement as the result of Federal investments; facilitating equitable flows of private capital, including to underserved communities; and incorporating outcome-based metrics focused on urban equitable development in the design and deployment of Federal programs and policies. To support these efforts, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy shall issue a policy memorandum on actions agencies can take to advance urban equitable development.
(c) Executive Order 13946 of August 24, 2020 (Targeting Opportunity Zones and Other Distressed Communities for Federal Site Locations), including the amendments it made to Executive Order 12072 of August 16, 1978 (Federal Space Management), and to Executive Order 13006 of May 21, 1996 (Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties in Our Nation's Central Cities), is revoked. Executive Orders 12072 and 13006 are reinstated as they were prior to issuance of Executive Order 13946. Executive Order 13853 of December 12, 2018 (Establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council), is also revoked. All agencies shall, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.), consider taking prompt action to revoke any rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies implementing these Presidential actions that are inconsistent with the provisions of this order. Further, agencies shall ensure that planning for new Federal facilities or new leases includes consideration of neighborhoods and locations that are near existing employment centers and are accessible to a broad range of the region's workforce and population by public transit (where it exists), consistent with Executive Order 12072. Agencies shall identify displacement risks associated with Federal facility siting and development and shall engage with any community that may be affected, along with appropriate regional and local officials, to mitigate those displacement risks.
Sec . 7 . Advancing Equitable Procurement . (a) The Government-wide goal for Federal procurement dollars awarded to small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SDBs) shall be 15 percent in Fiscal Year 2025. In furtherance of this goal, OMB shall set a Government-wide SDB goal for Fiscal Year 2024. The Small Business Administration shall, on an annual basis, work with each agency to establish an agency-specific goal that, in aggregate, supports the Government-wide goal. Further, agencies shall undertake efforts to increase contracting opportunities for all other small business concerns as described in the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. ch. 14A).
(b) Agencies shall expand procurement opportunities for SDBs through Federal financial assistance, consistent with applicable law, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and other Federal financial assistance programs.
Sec. 8. Affirmatively Advancing Civil Rights . Agencies shall comprehensively use their respective civil rights authorities and offices to prevent and address discrimination and advance equity for all, including to increase the effects of civil rights enforcement and to increase public awareness of civil rights principles, consistent with applicable law. Agencies shall consider opportunities to: (a) further elevate their respective civil rights offices, including by directing that their most senior civil rights officer report to the agency head;
(b) ensure that their respective civil rights offices are consulted on decisions regarding the design, development, acquisition, and use of artificial intelligence and automated systems;
(c) increase coordination, communication, and engagement with community-based organizations and civil rights organizations;
(d) increase the capacity, including staffing capacity, of their respective civil rights offices, in coordination with OMB;
(e) improve accessibility for people with disabilities and improve language access services to ensure that all communities can engage with agencies' respective civil rights offices, including by fully implementing Executive Order 13166 of August 11, 2000 (Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency); and
(f) prevent and remedy discrimination, including by protecting the public from algorithmic discrimination.
Sec . 9 . Further Advancing Equitable Data Practices . The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Equitable Data shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, coordinate the implementation of relevant recommendations of the Interagency Working Group on Equitable Data established in Executive Order 13985. The Director of OSTP shall provide a report on the Subcommittee's progress to the Steering Committee every January and July.
Sec . 10 . Definitions . For purposes of this order:
(a) The term ''equity'' means the consistent and systematic treatment of all individuals in a fair, just, and impartial manner, including individuals who belong to communities that often have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; LGBTQI+ persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States Territories; persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; and individuals who belong to multiple such communities.
(b) The term ''underserved communities'' refers to those populations as well as geographic communities that have been systematically denied the opportunity to participate fully in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as defined in Executive Orders 13985 and 14020.
(c) The term ''equitable development'' refers to a positive development approach that employs processes, policies, and programs that aim to meet the needs of all communities and community members, with a particular focus on underserved communities and populations.
(d) The term ''community wealth building'' refers to an approach to economic development that strengthens the capacities of underserved communities by ensuring institutions and local economies have ownership models with greater community participation and control. This results in upgrading skills, growing entrepreneurs, increasing incomes, expanding net asset ownership, and fostering social well-being.
(e) The term ''equitable data'' refers to data that allow for rigorous assessment of the extent to which Government programs and policies yield consistently fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals.
(f) The term ''algorithmic discrimination'' refers to instances when automated systems contribute to unjustified different treatment or impacts disfavoring people based on their actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, sex (including based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions; gender identity; intersex status; and sexual orientation), religion, age, national origin, limited English proficiency, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law.
Sec . 11 . General Provisions . (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) Agencies not covered by section 2(a) of this order, including independent agencies, are strongly encouraged to comply with the provisions of this order.
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE, February 16, 2023.
New Racist Biden EO Installs Equity Czars in Every Federal Agency and Converts Entire Exec Branch Into Woke DEI Cult: AFL Vows Relentless Opposition - America First Legal
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:23
WASHINGTON, D.C. '' Yesterday, President Biden issued an Executive Order titled ''Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.'' Without any Congressional authorization, Biden has ordered a radical, racist, and fundamentally anti-American overhaul of every federal function under the guise of ''equity.''
Background on ''Equity''
''Equity'' is a euphemism for discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, or economic class with respect to employment, university admissions, and access to government benefits, programs, or services. As applied, ''equity'' is nothing more or less than a rebranding and reorientation of the racism in the ''Jim Crow'' era, the class hatred in Stalin's ''anti-kulak'' policies, and the dogmatism of Mao's ''Cultural Revolution.''
The Biden Administration is no stranger to illegal programs to advance ''equity.'' For example, President Biden and his congressional allies rendered certain farmers completely ineligible for COVID-19 related farm aid, based solely on the fact that they were white. AFL sued and stopped the program, which was subsequently rescinded by Congress. President Biden and his congressional allies also put certain American restaurant owners at the back of the line for COVID-19 related benefits''again, because they were white. AFL sued and stopped this.
To be clear, the pursuit of ''equity'' is not just a federal phenomenon. AFL currently has multiple class-action lawsuits against private and public entities like Amazon, Texas A&M University, and six Texas medical schools for racially discriminatory hiring and admissions practices''all of which are premised on ''equity.''
The Executive Order Directs a Radical Government-Wide ''Equity'' Overhaul.
Without direct Congressional authorization or supporting appropriations, Biden has ordered the federal government to accelerate the advancement of facially illegal ''equity'' measures throughout the federal government and its operations.
Among other things, the Executive Order instructs agency heads to establish an ''Agency Equity Team'' within the next thirty days, to staff those Agency Equity Team at each agency with personnel from every possible component of each agency (policy, legal, communications, financial assistance, civil rights, procurement, etc.), and to radically transform the way that the agencies conduct every aspect of their operations. The Executive Order specifically charges each Agency Equity Team with ''the implementation of equity initiatives'' and ''delivering equitable outcomes'' for the American people.
Under President Biden's Executive Order, these Agency Equity Teams will be established at the following departments and agencies:
The Department of StateThe Department of the TreasuryThe Department of DefenseThe Department of JusticeThe Department of the InteriorThe Department of AgricultureThe Department of CommerceThe Department of LaborThe Department of Health and Human ServicesThe Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentThe Department of TransportationThe Department of EnergyThe Department of EducationThe Department of Veterans AffairsThe Department of Homeland SecurityThe Small Business AdministrationThe Social Security AdministrationThe General Services AdministrationThe Environmental Protection AgencyThe National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationThe National Science FoundationThe Office of Personnel ManagementIn addition to ''delivering equitable outcomes,'' the Executive Order charges each Agency Equity Team with things such as ensuring ''continued equity training and equity leadership development,'' and embedding ''equity'' into everything each agency does. And the Executive Order creates a ''White House Steering Committee on Equity,'' chaired by Susan Rice, to coordinate efforts to embed ''equity'' at every agency.
Make no mistake''these efforts to incorporate ''equity'' are radical. For example, one component of the Executive Order directs all agencies to ''facilitate equitable flows of private capital'' when dealing with development in urban areas:
The Executive Order directs all federal agencies to favor ''underserved communities'' and provide them with special treatment. ''Underserved communities'' is defined by reference to Biden Executive Order 13985. The term has legal meaning, but for purposes of federal preferences, it is very broadly defined by reference to this Executive Order, Executive Order 13985, and Executive Order 14020, the combination of which leads to the following definition:
(a) The term ''underserved communities'' refers to populations sharing a particular characteristic, as well as geographic communities, who have been systematically denied a full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life'... this term includes individuals who belong to communities of color, such as Black and African American, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, Alaska Native and Indigenous, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and North African persons. It also includes individuals who belong to communities that face discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity (including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (LGBTQ+) persons); persons who face discrimination based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions; parents; and caregivers. It also includes individuals who belong to communities that face discrimination based on their religion or disability; first-generation professionals or first-generation college students; individuals with limited English proficiency; immigrants; individuals who belong to communities that may face employment barriers based on older age or former incarceration; persons who live in rural areas; veterans and military spouses; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty, discrimination, or inequality. Individuals may belong to more than one underserved community and face intersecting barriers.
Biden's new Executive Order mandates that this laundry list of favored groups obtain federal government preferences. Section 5 requires agencies to ''Deliver Equitable Outcomes'' to the specified privileged classes; Section 7 mandates agencies direct procurement to them. However, nothing in the Executive Order limits these new benefits to American citizens and legal residents. Instead, Biden has opened the floodgates of federal money going to countless aliens who entered our country illegally.
Through the Center for Legal Equality, AFL will fight tirelessly against Biden's ''Equity'' agenda and this Executive Order. In the coming weeks and months, AFL will be launching multiple investigations, taking legal action when appropriate, and pursuing a number of other measures that will protect our laws, our Constitution, and the individual rights and dignity of every American. All people of good will must stand together against this radical, racist, and deeply anti-American effort to divide our citizens.
Statement from America First Legal President Stephen Miller:
''With the stroke of a pen, Biden has transformed the entire federal government into a DEI cult'--putting equity czars inside virtually every single agency of the executive branch and subordinating every department to the marxist equity agenda. Every previous law and regulation must now be reinterpreted to ensure racial and gender equity: in other words, to achieve a predetermined racial or gender identity outcome even if it requires ruthless discrimination against American citizens.
This includes every agency from the FBI to FAA to FDA to FHA to FEMA.
Indeed, the Executive Order is explicit in calling for 'outcome-based' decision-making in the implementation of all federal laws and regulations.
The most extreme excesses of the radical woke college campus have just been transported into, and embedded within, every function of the federal government'-- in an attempt to supplant the actual laws and Constitution of the United States in order to punish and exclude Americans based on their race, ancestry, and gender.
As part of this colossally lawless scheme, the Director of Domestic Policy, Susan Rice, will be leading a White House equity committee to ensure no government activity is left untouched by Biden's DEI takeover of the government.
Biden does this all by passing no new laws, let alone constitutional amendments, but by ordering the permanent bureaucracy to follow his written orders to completely remake government in the image of the ultra-woke ultra-radical left.
Workers will be retrained and re-educated. Policies will be redrawn and redesigned. Benefits will be redirected and reoriented, all according to the marxist equity czars and their taskmasters in the White House.
We at America First Legal, and our Center for Legal Equality, will fight this abomination in every way that we can. From the beginning, we have led the charge against the poisonous equity agenda and we will be even more relentless in the days and months to come.'' said Stephen Miller.
Statement from Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel:
''Apparently under the delusion that they have solved every major problem facing each agency in the federal government''and with no authorization from Congress to do so''the Biden Administration is embarking on a wholescale reform of the federal government under the guise of ''equity.'' The Biden Administration is clearly committed to radically reshaping the federal government to advance its ideological goals, and we are clearly committed to exposing and stopping their illegal efforts at every turn,'' said Gene Hamilton.
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Scientists Played Music to Cheese as It Aged. Hip-Hop Produced the Funkiest Flavor | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:10
Bern University of the Arts HKBThe creation of good cheese involves a complex dance between milk and bacteria. In a quite literal sense, playing the right tune while this dance unfolds changes the final product's taste, a new study shows. Denis Balibouse and Cecile Mantovani at Reuters report that hip-hop, for example, gave the cheese an especially funky flavor, while cheese that rocked out to Led Zeppelin or relaxed with Mozart had milder zests.
Last September, Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler and a team of researchers from the Bern University of Arts placed nine 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese in individual wooden crates in Wampfler's cheese cellar. Then, for the next six months each cheese was exposed to an endless, 24-hour loop of one song using a mini-transducer, which directed the sound waves directly into the cheese wheels.
The ''classical'' cheese mellowed to the sounds of Mozart's The Magic Flute. The ''rock'' cheese listened to Led Zeppelin's ''Stairway to Heaven.'' An ambient cheese listened to Yello's ''Monolith,'' the hip-hop cheese was exposed to A Tribe Called Quest's ''Jazz (We've Got)'' and the techno fromage raved to Vril's ''UV.'' A control cheese aged in silence, while three other wheels were exposed to simple high, medium and low frequency tones.
According to a press release, the cheese was then examined by food technologists from the ZHAW Food Perception Research Group, which concluded that the cheese exposed to music had a milder flavor compared to the non-musical cheese. They also found that the hip-hop cheese had a stronger aroma and stronger flavor than other samples.
The cheeses were then sampled by a jury of culinary experts during two rounds of a blind taste test. Their results were similar to the research group's conclusions and the hip-hop cheese came out on top.
''The bacteria did a good job,'' Wampfler tells SwissInfo. The experts said A Tribe Called Quest's cheese was ''remarkably fruity, both in smell and taste, and significantly different from the other samples.''
The tasting, however, was subjective and not everyone thought hip-hop was the cheesiest. ''My favorite cheese was that of Mozart, I like Mozart but it's not necessarily what I listen to... maybe a sweet little classical music it does good to the cheese,'' chef and jury member Benjamin Luzuy tells Agence-France Presse.
So, are the differences all in the taster's heads? It's hard to say at this point, but the fromage will now go through a biomedical survey to see if there are actual differences in the structure of the cheeses.
When the experimented started, Wampfler'--who is a veterinarian by day and cheesemaker in his free time'--told the AFP last year that in his experiences all sorts of things can affect the flavor and texture of a cheese.
''Bacteria is responsible for the formation of the taste of cheese, with the enzymes that influence its maturity,'' he says. ''I am convinced that humidity, temperature or nutrients are not the only things that influence taste. Sounds, ultrasounds or music can also have physical effects.''
Michael Harenberg, director of the music program at Bern University of the Arts says he was skeptical of the whole project when Wampfler first approached him. ''Then we discovered there is a field called sonochemistry that looks at the influences of sound waves, the effect of sound on solid bodies.''
It turns out that Wampfler was rooting for the hip-hop cheese to win all along. Now, reports Reuters, he and his collaborators want to expose cheese to five to ten different types of hip-hop to see if it has similar effects.
Wampfler also tells the AFP that he can see marketing cheeses based on the music they matured too. Already, he says people have called requesting cheese that has listened to the blues, Balkan music and ACDC.
Classical Music Food Food Science Music New Research Rock Musicians Switzerland Trending TodayRecommended Videos
How the War in Ukraine Could End Sooner Than Expected | RAND
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:00
There are predictions aplenty that Russia's war on Ukraine will persist. But it could also end soon. Kremlin regime change, a Russian army collapse, or a Ukrainian win are possible. None of these contingencies should be ruled out.
The West has crossed many self-imposed red lines. It was once reluctant but now provides Ukraine with Stinger and IRIS-T low-altitude anti-air missiles, HIMARS rocket artillery, and Patriot high-altitude air defenses. The United States and Germany have said they will supply infantry fighting vehicles.
Despite this generous Western support and Ukraine's plucky military gains, pessimists are legion. Some foresee a frozen conflict. Some worry that Russian President Vladimir Putin will dig in his heels, viewing the fight as existential and denying Ukraine's identity. Some say he plans a long war or predict no one will win.
The conflict has lasted longer than many regional wars, and no victory or retreat is in sight.
Share on TwitterThe doubters may be right. The conflict has lasted longer than many regional wars, and no victory or retreat is in sight. Predictions merit only guarded confidence when so many have proven wrong, e.g., that Kyiv could fall within days or Russia would quickly gain air superiority over Ukraine.
Policymakers might be prudent, however, to consider not only possibilities of a long war but also how it might end sooner.
Putin Could FallPutin's ex-KGB cohort in the Kremlin could be in trouble. A surprise, poorly executed draft of several hundred thousand men has been unpopular. Defeats in Ukraine have sparked a torrent of hardline pro-war criticism. Some Kremlin insiders may be experiencing growing discontent. Putin could be pressured or ousted by renegade security forces, such as those led by hardliners Yevgeny Prigozhin (Wagner Group) or Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Abrupt regime change could be risky. Russia might become ungovernable. If Moscow persisted in its war, the West may continue to arm Ukraine, enforce biting sanctions, and control some $300 billion in Russian financial assets. Only liberalizers who withdrew forces from Ukraine might relieve the pressure.
Russia's Army Could CollapseIn World War I, a poorly motivated and provisioned Russian army collapsed, helping bring down an out-of-touch czar. Today, Russia might face a similar risk. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits frontline troops, Putin is mostly hidden from view far from any fighting. No surprise that morale of Ukrainian soldiers is strong and that of Russians is weak. In some instances, enforcers shoot those who refuse to fight.
In October, a British intelligence chief said Russian forces in Ukraine were overstretched and exhausted. Troops train at dilapidated bases, fight with obsolete equipment, and lack medical supplies. Soldiers complain of being sent into a meat grinder. Some mutiny. During this winter some might freeze without warm clothing.
Ukraine's Army Could WinIt repelled early Russian lunges to seize Ukraine's three largest cities'--Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odessa. Recently, Ukrainian forces took back half the land in eastern and southern Ukraine, which Russians seized in the second invasion launched on February 24, including the only regional capital taken since then, Kherson.
If the ground freezes deep and long enough, Ukraine's army might conduct combined arms operations to push deeper into occupied areas. Even Crimea could be vulnerable if Ukrainians seized the rail hub of Melitopol. Such initiatives might take place before the Russian army could train and equip a large second echelon force, with the aim of conducting a renewed offensive against Kyiv or Kharkiv.
Policymakers ought not overlook contingencies that might seem unlikely but could end the war earlier.
Share on TwitterFinally, there remains the specter that a desperate Kremlin might escalate the war, such as by direct attacks on supply and training bases in nearby NATO countries or even limited use of nuclear weapons. The former option might be unattractive because of NATO reinforcement of its eastern European flank and a lack of Russian long-range precision attack munitions. The latter might be deterred in part by NATO nuclear maneuvers or by Chinese, Indian, or other international opposition.
How this war ends remains uncertain. It does seem the West will continue to ensure that Ukrainian forces retain their qualitative lead in arms and access to Western intelligence information. A Russian mobilization of more conscripts, even if ill-trained and poorly equipped, could shore up Russian defenses.
The stage might be set for drawn-out, attritional warfare. But policymakers ought not overlook contingencies that might seem unlikely but could end the war earlier.
Peter A. Wilson is an adjunct senior international and defense researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and teaches a course on the history of military technological innovation at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. William Courtney is an adjunct senior fellow at RAND and was U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, Georgia, and the U.S.-USSR commission to implement the Threshold Test Ban Treaty.
This commentary originally appeared on The Hill on January 17, 2023. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.
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Mercenary Shocks: What the War in Ukraine Will Eventually Mean for Africa - War on the Rocks
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 15:00
At some point the war in Ukraine will end, and when it does, the resulting influx of mercenaries will send shockwaves through Africa. As the current conflict grinds toward its grim one-year anniversary, experts disagree on what might happen next. But eventually one side will win, or the fighting will morph into a low-intensity conflict. At this point, thousands of former soldiers with combat experience will hit the open market. These soldiers will find limited job prospects in Ukraine or Russia, as both armies cut down on active-duty troops. The Wagner Group and other private military companies from South Africa, France, and the United Kingdom offer these former soldiers an option to support their families and escape their circumstances. The consequences of this will fall heavily on African countries, which have already begun to employ mercenaries at a rate not seen since the Cold War. If countries choose to recruit them, these new mercenaries will cause widespread instability, weakening governments and likely increasing the number and scale of insurgencies across the continent.
Africa, particularly the Sahel region, is acutely vulnerable to mercenary interventions because of a lack of trust in government alongside a number of local and regional insurgencies. The continent has a history of employing mercenaries. Such mercenaries often commit human rights violations and aim for monetary gain over durable peace and security. Mercenaries, particularly the Wagner Group, have recently intervened in Mali, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Libya, in each case escalating local conflicts and killing civilians. Africa's stability is at stake, as a deluge of mercenaries from the war in Ukraine could send even more countries teetering over the edge into authoritarianism, civil war, and foreign resource theft.
Africa's mercenary challenge requires innovative solutions. Countering disinformation is key in building civilian trust and local buy-in. Naming and shaming mercenary violence could be a useful tactic, particularly in combination with moves against disinformation. Sanctions are a valuable tool as well, yet they should be calibrated to the correct circumstances and set of actors. African and Western governments should act now to address the threat posed by mercenaries before it gets substantially worse.
Post-War Opportunities
The length and severity of the war in Ukraine will determine the volume of the mercenary influx in Africa. If the war in Ukraine continues for a significant period, particularly as both sides continue to sustain high casualty rates, the number of potential recruits for post-conflict mercenary could be diminished. The conflict's attrition rate is astronomical, with approximately 280,000 military casualties and tens of thousands of civilian deaths. Despite Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin's publicized recruitment of prisoners to fill the void, manpower constraints will limit future mercenary capabilities. If the conflict ends more quickly, regardless of the victor, former soldiers on both sides will be interested in mercenary work. Alternatively, if the war returns to pre-2022 levels of low intensity ''frozen conflict,'' new African deployments would also be on the horizon.
On the Ukrainian side, foreign troops ranging from European anarchists to the ultra-right Azov Regiment will be incentivized to continue military activities abroad. On the Russian side, former Wagner Group mercenaries and new recruits to the organization, including prisoners, will be interested in pursuing military work outside of the Russian and Ukrainian states. Many thousands of recently called-up conscripts may likewise be interested. On both sides, soldiers will be motivated by money or simply a skillset and a desire to fight. Russian veterans in particular can ''rally around the flag'' '-- supporting the Russian expansionist narrative through the grievance of defeat or the thirst for continued victories. Should Ukrainian or NATO-supported private military companies come into being, veterans will flock to these organizations for the same reasons. Private military companies fill a vocational gap and perhaps an ideological gap as well for veterans of the war in Ukraine.
Likely only a fraction of Ukrainian war veterans will choose to join private military companies or take on new contracts. However, the statistics on the Wagner Group suggest that the mercenary phenomenon has already begun to expand massively. Before the war began, the Wagner Group employed an estimated 5,000 mercenaries, yet today the U.K. and U.S. governments believe that the group employs approximately 50,000 mercenaries in Ukraine alone. Before the conflict began, Russia and Ukraine were believed to have 1.1 million active-duty troops combined. If only 20 percent of Wagner Group troops in Ukraine accept new contracts in Africa, the group would double in size relative to its pre-war strength. Likewise, if a tiny percentage of regular army or volunteer forces join the Wagner Group or other private military companies after the war, the impact on Africa will be dramatic.
Whatever happens in Ukraine, the Russian government will likely have an incentive to escalate its use of mercenaries in Africa in an effort to destabilize Western strategic relationships while building the Kremlin's own. Private military companies hold the keys to unlocking military-to-military relationships without ''boots on the ground.'' The Wagner Group has demonstrated a suite of strategies in its African operations, including disinformation campaigns, resource extraction concessions, and the initiation of military-to-military training, weapons sales, and protection details. These strategies have successfully strong-armed French counterterror support out of Mali and the Central African Republic, while ensconcing the Wagner Group in both countries as a security guarantor. With a significant influx of Ukraine war veterans, the Wagner Group can expand its operations to more locations and at a greater scale.
Wagner Group leadership, including Prigozhin, benefit from African interventions through lucrative resource extraction contracts in host countries and political prestige within Russia. The Wagner Group exchanges its military support for mining and petroleum contracts, gaining resources in Syria, the Central African Republic, and Sudan. The group uses a variety of shell companies to facilitate these operations, including Meroe Gold and Lobaye Invest. Further, the group's advances in Africa provide Prigozhin and his cohort with political leverage in Russian President Vladimir Putin's ever-changing inner circle, as these advances provide key military-to-military relations for the Russian state including weapons sales, key infrastructure access, and geopolitical advances against the West.
Why to Worry
Expanded mercenary deployments will aggravate the recent pattern of political instability in Africa. Leaders will become bolder in their internal security operations. Wagner Group interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic already led to French withdrawal. Now, Burkina Faso's junta has called on French military forces to leave their counterterror mission, with some government leaders citing an interest in working with Russia instead. If more private military companies with more mercenaries move into African markets, more African countries will force out their Western security partners in favor of these mercenary groups. In addition, more coups could occur as democratically elected leaders are perceived to be failing against jihadist movements. Both outcomes will encourage instability across the continent, as junta leadership and mercenary operations provide band-aid solutions for deeper wounds.
African states have also turned to the Wagner Group and other mercenary organizations because these groups are willing to do their dirty work. States have hired the Wagner Group to kill enemies of the state and those who aid and abet them. In Mali and the Central Africa Republic, governments have encouraged attacks on civilians, many of them members of minority Muslim Fulani communities. Attacking civilians will only stoke the flames of separatist and religious-based extremism, discouraging trust in national governance and encouraging regional instability.
Finally, the Wagner Group and other private military companies will expand their parasitical relationships to new governments across Africa. These organizations will follow the Wagner Group model, ensconcing themselves in countries through long-term resource extraction projects. In the Central African Republic, the Wagner Group has turned an artisanal gold mine into an eight-zoned, heavily defended industrial extraction site. Center for Strategic and Internationals Studies expert Catrina Doxsee points out that the group is planning for the long term and nurturing the government's dependence. These relationships will continue to drain African states of their natural resources, while aggrandizing the role of mercenary groups in national politics.
Who is Fighting: A Brief Mercenary History in Africa
The Wagner Group has redefined mercenary objectives in Africa, with the accompanying publicity to boot, yet the mercenary phenomenon is not new on the continent. After the Cold War, numerous mercenary groups sprung up, composed of ex-soldiers from South Africa, Mozambique, and elsewhere. Executive Outcomes, formed by South African officer Eben Barlow in 1989, rose to infamy as a racist yet brutally effective outfit, only dissolved in 1999. These mercenaries were paid on average $3,500 for soldiers and $4,000 for officers per month. Most were veterans of the post-colonial, apartheid, and Cold War conflicts in southern Africa during the 1970s and 1980s, just as today's Wagner Group members are veterans of the wars in Syria and Ukraine.
Regardless of the country of origin, mercenary activity across Africa is on the rise. A recent study by the Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security found that private military companies have increased their control and political influence in Africa. This rise may be linked to the growth of Islamist insurgencies in Africa, which have gathered steam through the establishment of Islamic State affiliates across the continent. It is no coincidence that Executive Outcomes was restarted in 2020. More recently, South Africa-based organizations have included Osprey Asset Management and Black Hawk, both of which are composed mainly of ex-apartheid soldiers in the 55''65 age range, veterans of the last conventional conflicts in Africa. In a losing bid to the Wagner Group for the Cabo Delgado contract in Mozambique, Osprey Asset Management reportedly asked for $15,000''$25,000 per person per month, while the Wagner Group reportedly paid a fraction of that: $1,800''$4,700 per person per month.
European, American, and Ukrainian veterans of the Ukraine war may also be interested in joining a variety of Western-based mercenary groups already operating in Africa. American-based CACI and Academi operate across the continent. German-based Asgaard operates in Egypt, Mauritania, Libya, and Sudan. French-based SECOPEX has operated in Somalia, the Central African Republic, and, formerly, in Libya alongside Muammar Gaddafi's forces. British-based Aegis Defense Services has worked in 18 African countries, while provoking ire for employing Sierra Leonean former child soldiers alongside U.S. forces in Iraq. And then, of course, there are also smaller regional outfits, including the Dyck Advisory Group, based in Zimbabwe, the Paramount Group, based in South Africa, and Burnham Global, based in Dubai.
Losing Wars, Making Money
Recent history shows that these mercenary groups are far more effective at exacerbating conflicts than solving them. In the Central African Republic, a U.N. mission was unable to defeat Seleka insurgents and a variety of other groups outside the capital, Bangui. Wagner Group forces have failed as well, while also committing gross human rights violations against civilians and journalists. In the Sahel region, insurgencies are tied to religion and local grievances. Over the course of a decade, a pair of French counterterror programs, Operations Serval and Barkhane, were unable to dislodge Jamaa Nusrat ul-Islam wal-Muslimin and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara from Mali and neighboring Sahel states. The Wagner Group has run into similar difficulties, as its own casualties and attacks on civilians mount. Meanwhile in Mozambique, Wagner Group forces failed spectacularly in the Cabo Delgado region. They failed to understand the local culture, were hampered by their relations with government forces, and proved unprepared for jungle warfare. Subsequent European mercenary operations were unable to dislodge the same Islamic State affiliates. Renewed or continuing conflict in Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Libya, and in many other hot zones may trigger mercenary operations. Yet, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Mozambique demonstrate that African insurgencies and civil conflict are difficult to resolve even with recent mercenary approaches.
Instead of resolving conflict or supporting legitimate government institutions, the Wagner Group and other private military companies tend to fill their own coffers while degrading the rule of law in countries where they interfere. Some experts argue that such organizations will prolong conflicts to continue profiting from lucrative contracts. At the same time, the Wagner Group threatens government legitimacy by targeting and killing civilians in Mali and the Central African Republic, particularly ethnic minorities. Thus, private military companies are often a poison pill for their employers, threatening the long-term stability of governments.
How to Respond
To make sure Africa doesn't pay the price for peace in Ukraine, NATO countries should begin by developing a comprehensive response to the Wagner Group's disinformation and state capture strategies. The first step is addressing misinformation with proof. France has already set the tone for such responses in Mali, using photographic evidence to rebut a Wagner Group disinformation operation that blamed a massacre of civilians on exiting French forces.
Second, Western states should lobby African regional and continental bodies, including the Economic Community of African States and the African Union, to halt mercenary operations. They can point to Mali, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic as clear examples of mercenary-driven instability and parasitical relationships. They should encourage these organizations to sanction states that use and are used by mercenary groups. While new U.S. sanctions against the Wagner Group are a useful first step, the group has a variety of ways to skirt these sanctions, including the use of shell companies. To prevent this, sanctions should be directed at governments working with mercenary groups.
Beyond this, NATO and other bodies should continue naming and shaming mercenary activities. The U.S. State Department has taken the lead, publicly distributing a cable on the Wagner Group's expanded mining activities in the Central African Republic. Although news media and private sector investigations are essential, government buy-in plays a vital role in amplifying their work.
Finally, NATO members and African states should also be prepared to deploy sanctions and travel bans against Western-based mercenary groups that commit human rights violations as well. Regardless of their origin, mercenaries are not the answer to Africa's problems, offering at best a short-term solution for instability while undermining effective governance. Instead, leaders should demonstrate a long-term commitment to rebuilding security sectors and promoting economic development.
Africa's stability is at stake. The violence and jihadism seen in Mali and the Central African Republic may spread across the continent. Mercenary organizations flush with a wave of post-Ukraine war recruits will only exacerbate the problem.
Raphael Parens is an independent researcher living in Republic of the Congo. He studies African conflict, Russian military policy, and paramilitary groups. He has published papers on the Wagner Group, food insecurity in Africa, and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He has been cited in numerous other articles, studies, and U.S. congressional testimony. He has also appeared on France24 to discuss Russia's latest moves in Africa.
Chick-Fil-A goes woke! Famously conservative fast food chain tests $7 VEGAN sandwich | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 14:01
Chick-Fil-A goes woke! Conservative fast food chain tests $7 PLANT-BASED sandwich made from cauliflower that costs MORE than the chicken originalThe 77-year-old fast food chain announced on February 13 that they were trialling a Chick-fil-A Cauliflower Sandwich in three locationsResidents of Denver, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina; and Greensboro, North Carolina, will be able to sample the new offeringThe new sandwich has deeply divided fast food aficionados, with some welcoming it, but others saying it's a silly sideline from its core offering By Harriet Alexander For
Published: 18:47 EST, 18 February 2023 | Updated: 06:43 EST, 19 February 2023
Fast food lovers are deeply divided over Chick-fil-A's launch of a new cauliflower sandwich, with some welcoming the addition, while others reacted in horror to the 77-year-old chain 'going woke'.
The Atlanta, Georgia-based family firm announced on February 13 that they were trialling the new plant-based sandwich in three locations: Denver, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina, and Greensboro, North Carolina.
The $7 sandwich - contains no meat, but is not considered fully vegetarian 'due to its cooking environment,' Chick-fil-A said. A regular Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich can cost as little as $3.05 in cities where the plant-based newbie is being triale.d
Cauliflower is breaded and fried in peanut oil, and served with pickles in a toasted bun - but the sandwich isn't considered vegetarian or vegan, because it's cooked in oil also used to fry chicken sandwiches.
The company is yet to respond to's question as to whether it was cooked in the same oil as their chicken.
'The Cauliflower Sandwich is plant-forward, as it places a tender filet from a whole cauliflower at the centerpiece of the entr(C)e,' the company said.
'It's a great option for those looking to bring more vegetables into their diet without sacrificing the Chick-fil-A flavors they know and love.'
Some have reacted with surprise, given Chick-fil-A's conservative outlook.
The company's founder, Truett Cathy, was deeply Christian and insisted his restaurants close on Sundays - as they do to this day.
Their company's mission statement declares their purpose is 'to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.'
Food lovers have been posting their reactions to the sandwich online.
One TikToker, @morganchompz, posted her own video review on Tuesday, with the clip going viral, with over 1.7 million views.
On TikTok, @MorganChompz reviewed the new sandwich
She complained that there was too much breading and not enough cauliflower
'It honestly looks like a normal chicken sandwich, but it does have that cauliflower smell,' she said, adding that it was heavy on breading but light on actual cauliflower.
Her final verdict was that the sandwich mostly tasted like a 'filet of breading.'
Others on Twitter complained that the company was straying from its core offering, and pandering to new fads.
'Wow-Christian company @Chick-fil-A gone woke too,' said one.
Another added: 'You allow no comments on your original tweet. That tells me everything I need to know. Not a penny more spent on your woke agenda.'
And another said: 'Although I have nothing against cauliflower... The hell I'm going to go to a chicken restaurant and order cauliflower.'
Others were more supportive of the launch.
'Its not woke to have this option,' one man pointed out.
'There are conservatives such as yours truly that are vegetarian and vegan too. If I can find one I'll give it a try and see how it holds up. No big deal really. If it works it works. Its good to have another option besides salad.'
Another added: 'People have strong feelings about this! No one is taking your chicken sandwiches or making you eat it, it's just a new option.'
And another declared: 'I have waited so long!!
'I love the veggie wrap, but I wanted a sandwich too! I'm so excited! Please keep it on the menu and bring it to every @Chick-fil-A in the states... especially Waterloo, Iowa!'
Nebraska joins other states to fight new WOTUS rule | Nebraska Examiner
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 14:00
LINCOLN '-- Nebraska on Thursday joined 24 other states in a lawsuit against the Biden administration's new rule defining so-called Waters of the United States, or WOTUS.
The multi-state coalition said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers rushed to publish the new rule, even though the Supreme Court is expected to issue a key decision on the scope of WOTUS in a few weeks.
Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers, in a statement announcing Nebraska's role in the lawsuit, said the new rule would detrimentally affect farmers who may need to get permission from the EPA and Corps of Engineers to fill or dredge wetlands or waterways, depending on whether those features fall under the federal government's purview.
Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers (Courtesy of the Nebraska Attorney General's Office) Felt by farmers, homebuilders
Likewise, his statement said, developers, homebuilders, miners and other property owners face implications in making changes or improvements to their land.
''If the final rule is left in place, then ranchers, farmers, miners, homebuilders, and other landowners across the country will struggle to undertake even the simplest of activities on their own property without fear of drawing the ire of the federal government,'' according to the coalition's lawsuit.
It continues: ''Landowning Americans of all stripes will thus be left with a choice: fight their way through an expensive and lengthy administrative process to obtain complex jurisdictional determination and permits or face substantial civil and criminal penalties.''
The final rule followed a decades-long process to define the geographical reach and authority of the EPA and Corps of Engineers in regulating streams, wetlands and other water bodies under the Clean Water Act.
Extended battle
The Obama administration in 2015 sought to clarify what waters on private properties the EPA and Corps of Engineers could regulate. The Trump administration replaced the WOTUS rule with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which was finalized in 2020 and which significantly narrowed what could be included.
President Biden expanded the rule again.
Notably, Hilgers' statement said, the new rule redefines ''navigable waters'' to include ponds, certain streams, ditches and other bodies of water under the Clean Water Act, as determined by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers.
Others in the coalition are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The states have announced a motion for preliminary injunction to stop the Biden Administration's new WOTUS rule while it's under litigation.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.
Let Roald Dahl books go out of print rather than rewrite them, says Philip Pullman | Roald Dahl | The Guardian
Mon, 20 Feb 2023 13:38
Roald Dahl's work should just be allowed to fade away and be replaced by more modern children's writers, the author Philip Pullman has said, amid the controversy over the decision by Dahl's publisher to rewrite parts of his books to remove language deemed inappropriate.
Puffin has been criticised after hiring sensitivity readers to go over Dahl's text to make sure the books ''can continue to be enjoyed by all today''. Some have said derogatory references to people's physical appearances, as well as other characteristics, in Dahl's work are not suitable for young readers. But, rather than fan the flames, Pullman encouraged children simply to read ''better'' authors.
''Let him go out of print,'' the author of His Dark Materials said on Monday. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that people should instead explore writers such as Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo and Beverley Naidoo. ''Read all of these wonderful authors who are writing today, who don't get as much of a look-in because of the massive commercial gravity of people like Roald Dahl.''
He said Dahl's work, if left alone, would neither disappear overnight, nor be substantially changed in the public's consciousness, because of the vast numbers of existing editions sitting on shelves in homes, school libraries and elsewhere. ''What are you going to do about them? All these words are still there, are you going to round up all the books and cross them out with a big black pen?''
Asked about the controversy over the rewrites, he said: ''Dahl can look after himself. I hadn't read his books for very many years and I don't want to again.'' He added: ''The point is: these words, these phrases and language uses do change over time. For a young author now coming in, who hasn't got the clout and the commercial power of someone like Roald Dahl, it's quite hard to resist the nudging towards saying this or not saying that, which is a pity, I think.''
Hundreds of changes have been made to Dahl's original texts. For example, in The Twits, Mrs Twit is no longer ''ugly and beastly'' but just ''beastly''. References to people being fat are also among the edits, which were made in conjunction with Inclusive Minds, a ''collective for people who are passionate about inclusion and accessibility in children's literature''. And the Roald Dahl Story Company has said ''it's not unusual to review the language'' during a new print run and any changes were ''small and carefully considered''.
VIDEO - Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and Ray McGovern address UN Security Council on Nord Stream investigations - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:58
VIDEO - Fruit and veg shortage: what has caused it and how long will it last? - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:49
VIDEO - Nord Stream Blasts | 'An act of international terrorism': Russia at UN | World English News | WION - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:46
VIDEO - 5 people dead in Little Rock plane crash |
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:41
A plane crashed and killed five people near the 3M Plant in Little Rock this afternoon, according to officials.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. '-- On Wednesday afternoon, police confirmed reports of a plane crash near the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.
Around 12:02 p.m., officials were alerted to a twin-engine plane that crashed by the 3M Plant on Walters Road.
Officials say that all five people on the plane died during the crash.
The plane, a twin-engine Beech BE20, was departing from Clinton Airport when the crash occurred, according to the FAA.
All of the people on the plane including the pilot were employees of CTEH, which is a consulting firm that provides response services, including "environmental data collection, and management, GIS, safety, incident management, industrial hygiene, toxicology and human health consulting for the public and private sectors."
''We are incredibly saddened to report the loss of our Little Rock colleagues,'' said Dr. Paul Nony, senior vice president of CTEH. ''We ask everyone to keep the families of those lost and the entire CTEH team in their thoughts and prayers.''
The plane was headed towards John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio. A spokesperson for CTEH said this group was responding to an incident at a metal plant in Bedford, Ohio.
CTEH was previously working in East Palestine after the train derailment, according to the EPA.
There's currently no information on what caused the crash.
During the time of the crash, wind gusts were reportedly as high as 40 miles per hour at the airport.
The Little Rock Fire Department has been working to put out spot fires caused by the crash, and police were reported to be at the scene working to get more information.
The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash and determine what caused it.
A statement was released by Shane Carter, the Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations for the Bill & Hillary Clinton National Airport which said the following:
"Clinton National Airport expresses our condolences to the families of those who died in today's plane crash south of the airport. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office is the lead agency coordinating with the National Transportation Safety Board and will be providing updates."
We will continue to update this article as more details become available.
VIDEO - (14) Christopher F. Rufo 'š--¸ on Twitter: "Angela Davis' ancestors arrived in America on the Mayflower." / Twitter
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:36
Christopher F. Rufo 'š--¸ : Angela Davis' ancestors arrived in America on the Mayflower.
Wed Feb 22 19:27:09 +0000 2023
Grace : @realchrisrufo Watched the entire program, she has white ancestors on both sides of her family. She's 48.5 % white'...
Thu Feb 23 15:35:59 +0000 2023
Marc מר×'×›× ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡²''¸ðŸ‡®ðŸ‡± : @realchrisrufo This is the best news I could have heard this morning! Watching that violent leftist when her face cracked was ðŸ--¥
Thu Feb 23 15:35:21 +0000 2023
Ligh' born : @realchrisrufo Angela Davis' ancestors arrived in America on the Mayflower. Whenever Marxism collides with reality, choose reality.
Thu Feb 23 15:32:48 +0000 2023
CoffeeLVR'•¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ 🇭🇺 ðŸ‡(C)🇰 🇪🇭 🇷🇺 : @realchrisrufo Oops ðŸ¬
Thu Feb 23 15:30:21 +0000 2023
Rod Penfield : @realchrisrufo Lawdy, Lawdy. What do you think about that?
Thu Feb 23 15:29:30 +0000 2023
Chuck Dipierro : @realchrisrufo Hit her like a ton of bricks. Spent her entire life raging at her own ancestors. Boggles the mind
Thu Feb 23 15:28:31 +0000 2023
Rick Desantis : @realchrisrufo Red pilled
Thu Feb 23 15:23:57 +0000 2023
Daviskenn : @realchrisrufo Thanks a lot, Mayflower.
Thu Feb 23 15:23:42 +0000 2023
GuitarFarmboy : @realchrisrufo Angela Davis needs to pay some reparations.
Thu Feb 23 15:21:53 +0000 2023
''¨A Ray of Pitch Black : @realchrisrufo What an ignorant, insufferable broad.
Thu Feb 23 15:20:03 +0000 2023
Mr. Reynholm : @realchrisrufo She is her own oppressor!
Thu Feb 23 15:16:49 +0000 2023
Tennessee Freedom 🥃 🇺🇸ðŸ' #TimeForAReckoning : @realchrisrufo Karma never sleeps
Thu Feb 23 15:10:46 +0000 2023
WATCH: Marxist Angela Davis, who teaches that America was built by racist colonizers, finds out her ancestors were on the Mayflower | Not the Bee
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:35
Please enjoy the entire Critical Race worldview fall apart in 49 seconds:
That's right. Angela Davis, an openly Marxist professor at the University of California, just found out that some of her ancestors are the very evil white racist colonizers that she's been teaching against her whole life!
Here's Davis in her younger days:
Davis is one of the founders of Critical Race Theory as an academic subject and discipline. She is widely quoted in newer books from popular race authors like Ibram X. Kendi. She is one of the people directly responsible for the things your child is likely learning about skin color and ethnicity in schools these days.
All her life, she's been preaching this:
Turns out, she actually did!Since California is looking at slavery reparations, does this mean Angela Davis has to pay Angela Davis to atone for her white ancestors' sins?
Marxism is a sham idea that divides us on things like skin color for no dang reason except to make us hate each other.
VIDEO - Why have some 2.8 million Ukrainians fled to Russia? | DW News - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:16
VIDEO - UN to convene as Ukraine, allies seek votes for 'peace' resolution ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:11
VIDEO - Marking one year of war in Ukraine, UN chief denounces Russia ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:06
VIDEO - Nirmala Sitharaman meets U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen ahead of Bengaluru G20 meet | WION News - YouTube
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 15:04
VIDEO - Tom Elliott's supercut of media fawning over Biden's Ukraine stop would make Pravda blush ''
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 14:07
On Monday President Biden made a stop in Kyiv, Ukraine and his staff made sure the theatrics were on full blast by having air raid sirens going off when in fact there was no actual air raid taking place. But the White House knew who they were playing to with those optics, and Tom Elliott captured video showing just how impressed Biden's allies in the media were:
Media on Biden's Kiev layover: LITERALLY HISTORY'S GREATEST HERO!
'-- Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 22, 2023
Just'... wow. Pravda and North Korean state media would tell these people to take it down a notch so it isn't so obvious (not that they care).
We really do have a Soviet style captive media:
'-- WindTalker (@nmlinguaphile) February 22, 2023
The guy working the air raid siren:
'-- RightWingLurk'nSnake(C) (@rmiames) February 22, 2023
You know, if that were Trump these people definitely would have mentioned the fact that there was no air raid happening.
The amount of propaganda we are fed almost daily is truly sickening
'-- Fake Tough Guy (@SourShoesin2s) February 22, 2023
So very Pravda of them.
'-- Ginger (@GinjerSchnapps) February 22, 2023
The ''savior of Europe as a whole''? These people are incapable of shame and embarrassment.
Reporter in Kyiv, Ukraine hadn't heard any air raid sirens for 5 days UNTIL'...
Clip of Biden explaining what some $$$ he's sending Ukraine is for sparks fresh derision
Tom Elliott reminds us how hard media worked to dismiss the Hunter Biden laptop story as disinfo
Join us in the fight. Become a Twitchy VIP member today and use promo code SAVEAMERICA to receive a 40% discount on your membership.
VIDEO - Dr. Anastasia Maria Loupis on Twitter: "Tedros: "Next week, countries will begin negotiations on a 'Zero Draft' of the new Pandemic Accord." Once agreed, this "Accord" will subvert all Nations sovereignty and hand it over to the globalists in the
Thu, 23 Feb 2023 04:29
Dr. Anastasia Maria Loupis : Tedros: "Next week, countries will begin negotiations on a 'Zero Draft' of the new Pandemic Accord." Once agreed,'...
Wed Feb 22 17:56:05 +0000 2023
Evy : @DrLoupis Actually there 196 countries would have to take a vote and this won't take place until 2024.
Thu Feb 23 04:29:50 +0000 2023
Unacceptable timber : @DrLoupis This cannot happen. We did not elect the WHO and if our governments hand them over power during the next'...
Thu Feb 23 04:29:38 +0000 2023
bunnybytes : @DrLoupis not in America,our Constitution still is the determining document supported by "We the People"
Thu Feb 23 04:29:35 +0000 2023
🌴ð'--ð'--žð'--¯ð'--ð'--...ð'--ð'--ð'--¯ð'--¬ 🌴ðŸ‡(C)🇪 : @DrLoupis @Guncha2000 Tedros, go to the desert and disappear!
Thu Feb 23 04:29:09 +0000 2023
Karen Cooke : @DrLoupis SOS!Someone stop the insanity!
Thu Feb 23 04:27:26 +0000 2023
Blue Dog : @DrLoupis To the Left ' in Charge on the Hill' theCONSTITUTION is Just a piece of P A P E R !
Thu Feb 23 04:27:20 +0000 2023
Micki Steele-Blair : @DrLoupis WWIII - this will ignite WWIII
Thu Feb 23 04:26:55 +0000 2023
SectorSpider : @DrLoupis Let me think umahhh no
Thu Feb 23 04:26:28 +0000 2023
W!|_|_N0+C0mP|_¥ : @DrLoupis Hundreds believe they can control millions. Covid was a test run and now they are bold
Thu Feb 23 04:25:55 +0000 2023
Pete Madrigal : @DrLoupis bad word EQUITY. as a minority with a master's degree in engineering. i just want equality in opportunity not EQUITY.
Thu Feb 23 04:25:33 +0000 2023
arafurastorm : @DrLoupis No
Thu Feb 23 04:25:10 +0000 2023
Elizabeth Kukard : @DrLoupis Dr. Tedros. Who voted him into his position again????? ðŸ¤--ðŸ¤--ðŸ¤--
Thu Feb 23 04:24:12 +0000 2023
VIDEO - Trump hands out 'Trump Water' in East Palestine
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 23:26
Former President Donald Trump handed out bottles of ''Trump Water'' to residents of East Palestine, Ohio on Wednesday, claiming they had been ''betrayed'' by President Biden's handling of the toxic train derailment in their community.
The 76-year-old Republican showed up with 13 pallets of the Trump-branded spring water '-- totaling 14,000 bottles '-- amid fears the Feb. 3 derailment and controlled burn of toxic chemicals had contaminated the air and drinking supply.
''We're bringing thousands of bottles of water '-- Trump Water '... We have it in trucks and we brought some in my plane'... You're going to have plenty of water for a long time,'' he told a crowd at the local firehouse, roughly half a mile from the derailment site.
Donning his trademark ''Make America Great Again'' hat, Trump also vowed to provide food and cleaning supplies '-- and insisted to residents: ''You are not forgotten.''
The 76-year-old Republican showed up in East Palestine on Wednesday with pallets of ''Trump Water.'' AP Trump donated thousands of bottles of his namesake-branded water amid fears the drinking supply has been contaminated. REUTERS''We stand with you '... we pray for you, and we'll stay with you in your fight to help answer and [get] accountability that you deserve,'' Trump said.
Trump, who has recently launched his 2024 White House bid, also ripped into his successor during the visit, telling residents: ''In too many cases, your goodness and perseverance were met with indifference and betrayal.''
''What this community needs now are not excuses and all of the other things you've been hearing, but answers and results.''
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung added to Breitbart News: ''President Trump is meeting with the citizens of East Palestine and he will never forget them and what they are going through. Contrast that with Biden and the federal government, who have failed them from the beginning.''
Donning his trademark ''Make America Great Again'' hat, Trump also vowed to provide food and cleaning supplies. Getty Images Trump vowed residents would have ''plenty of water for a long time.'' APPresident Biden, 80, and his administration have faced intense backlash over its response to the disaster, which sparked mass evacuations and saw the controlled burn of hazardous materials.
Biden has also come under fire for still having not visited East Palestine some three weeks after the derailment '-- but finding the time to fly to Ukraine earlier this week.
Trump latched on to Biden's surprise Ukraine trip, saying he hoped the president has ''some money left over'' for the residents of East Palestine when he returns.
The 45th president had landed at Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport on Wednesday afternoon and met with local leaders before addressing the crowd.
Trump also bashed the Biden administration's response to the Feb. 3 toxic train derailment as a ''betrayal.'' APSupporters chanting ''We love you, Trump!'' and ''U.S.A.!'' lined the streets as Trump's motorcade drove through the town.
Before he left, Trump visited a local Mcdonald's and bought meals for firefighters and first responders and was swarmed by local people from the town, to whom he handed out MAGA hats.
In a video from inside the restaurant, he can be heard saying: ''[They're systematically destroying our country and it's a shame. And Buttigieg should have been here.''
Shortly before his arrival, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has also been slammed for not showing up earlier in East Palestine, announced he'd be visiting the town on Thursday.
The Biden administration has defended its handling of the derailment, saying the Environmental Protection Agency, National Transportation Safety Board and other agencies were at the site within hours of the derailment and remain there.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited the site last week and tried to assure residents that tests had shown the air and drinking water were safe to consume.
With Post wires
VIDEO - Gen. Keane warns China will make a 'fatal mistake' if they give lethal aid to Russia - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 22:24
VIDEO - ChatGPT : Peppa Pig's Political Philosophy with Joe Rogan & Jordan Peterson - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 18:04
VIDEO - Biden in Kyiv: 'America stands with you and the world stands with you' | DW News - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:47
VIDEO - Biden to discuss more troops in upcoming visit, Polish PM says ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:39
VIDEO - Gravitas Plus: China, Iran & Russia to create a new World Order? - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:38
VIDEO - Blinken in Ankara after visiting disaster zone - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 17:22
VIDEO - Maybe This Will Convince Joe Rogan That God is Real ðŸ" #joerogan #god ... | TikTok
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Maybe This Will Convince Joe Rogan That God is Real ðŸ" #joerogan #god #christian #atheist original sound - Growingyou
VIDEO - Former Mexican minister convicted in US of drug trafficking ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:32
VIDEO - Turkey earthquake: Further misery for southern Turkey after fresh tremors - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:32
VIDEO - Israel intensifies attack in Syria as their strike hits central Damascus | World News | WION - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:31
VIDEO - On the eastern front, Ukrainians battle with '70s era Soviet weapons' ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:31
VIDEO - Russia's parliament moves to suspend New START nuclear treaty ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:29
VIDEO - Malcolm X's family to sue CIA, FBI, New York police over assassination ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 16:29
VIDEO - CNN Host Claims McCarthy Is Bribing Tucker Carlson With Jan. 6 Footage | The Daily Caller
Wed, 22 Feb 2023 15:08
CNN host John King claimed Tuesday that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was trying to get Fox News host Tucker Carlson to stop criticizing him by releasing footage of the Capitol riot.
''Kevin McCarthy is giving Fox's Tucker Carlson access to tens of thousands of hours of January 6 security footage,'' King said during ''Inside Politics.'' ''Your tax dollars paid for most of the cameras that captured the scene inside and around the Capitol that day but Speaker McCarthy is granting access only to Carlson and to Fox. Carlson is a frequent McCarthy critic, who says the speaker has no ideological core.'' (RELATED: 'The Public Should See What Happened': Tucker Praises Kevin McCarthy For Promising To Release Jan. 6 Footage)
McCarthy provided Carlson, a co-founder of the Daily Caller and an honorary member of the Daily Caller News Foundation board, access to over 41,000 hours of video footage of the Capitol riot, Axios reported. Previous reports indicated that the amount of footage was 14,000 hours.
''I think the American public should actually see all what happened instead of a report that's written for a political basis,'' McCarthy said Jan. 12, shortly after his election as speaker on the 15th ballot.
Carlson called on McCarthy to release the footage Jan. 3, as McCarthy struggled to collect the 218 votes necessary to be speaker.
''After two full years, after a highly publicized and highly politicized congressional committee, after endless grandstanding in the media, after unprecedented political crackdowns, after nearly 1,000 arrests, after all of that: Americans, yes they do, have a right to know what actually happened on Jan. 6,'' Carlson said Jan. 13.
King again pressed the notion that McCarthy was trying to get favorable coverage from Carlson in a second question to a panel on the show after playing a clip of Carlson criticizing the speaker.
''He said he's not really a conservative, he's agnostic, he, you know, flaps with the breeze. He has said worse,'' King said. ''Is that simply what this is? Maybe if I give this to you, you'll be nice to me?''
CNN has published numerous stories based on anonymous sources concerning Jan. 6 committee activity, leading many to speculate the committee leaked CNN the information.
All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter's byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact
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VIDEO - (20) Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "TRUMP: We are teetering on the brink of WW3 We mist get rid of the corrupt globalist establishment, and warmonger donors who support our opponents" / Twitter
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Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 : TRUMP: We are teetering on the brink of WW3We mist get rid of the corrupt globalist establishment, and warmonger'...
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VIDEO - WTF Norway? What have you done? MEP Clare Daly asking about #nordstream in the #EuropeanParliament - YouTube
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Clips & Documents

All Clips
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - another derailment in nebraska (10sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - biden criticized ukraine before ohio (48sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - chatGPT writes vanderbilt condolences (22sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - tucker carlson given jan 6th footage (1min31sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrew Dymburt - verification subscription facebook instagram (22sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Derricke Dennis - social media section 230 supreme court (1min48sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Jaclyn Lee - changes to asylum seeking rules (30sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Jaclyn Lee - trains too large for tunnels in spain (11sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor George Stephanopolis - Pete Buttigieg -why havent you gone to ohio (1min2sec).mp3
ABC GMA3 - anchor Dr Jen Ashton - moms microdosing mushrooms (1min49sec).mp3
ABC WNT - anchor David Muir - pfizer RSV vaccine (22sec).mp3
ABC WNT - anchor Jonathan Karl - jan 6th investigation into trump (2min).mp3
Another EQ in Turkey total now 47k dead.mp3
Baffling clip NZ china islands tvnz.mp3
Benie the worm clip.mp3
Bernie and robot Tax and GATES ftn.mp3
Bernies on the media 2 wow FTN.mp3
Bernies on the media 2A sub FTN.mp3
Bernies on the media oops FTN.mp3
Biden promises more support to Ukraine and Poland for Investors BO JIDEN GAFFE F24.mp3
Blinken in Ankara after visiting disaster zone TRT.mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Ben Tracey - chemicals in US food (1min56sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Charlie DAgata - biden visits ukraine (1min35sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Ed OKeefe (1) biden reassures NATO (1min22sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Ed OKeefe (2) inspection stopped during pandemic (16sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Norah ODonnell - baby formula consumer alert (29sec).mp3
CBS Evening - anchor Roxana Saberi - ohio derailment turns politcal (1min56sec).mp3
Channel 4 coverage of Fruit and Veg shortage in UK.mp3
China Skorea Japan Birth rates NHK.mp3
CNN Host Claims McCarthy Is Bribing Tucker Carlson new PBS REPORTER Laura Barroon-Loopez.mp3
COVID long term Japan NHKTV.mp3
COVID mRENA in blood camblee.mp3
COVID VAX Ad John Legend.mp3
Cyclone in NZ TVNZ.mp3
Deep fake - Biden hot mic in Poland after commenting on 3 UFOs shot down.mp3
Deep fake - Peppa Pig's Political Philosophy with Joe Rogan & Jordan Peterson.mp3
Democracy Now_train_braking.mp3
Doug Brinkley CNN - Roosevelt and Churchill analogy.mp3
DW reports on where Ukrainians have fled to 2.8 million to Russia.mp3
Five people dead after plane crash near Little Rock 3M plant enroute to OHIO Explosion.mp3
Former Mexican minister convicted in US of drug trafficking - F24.mp3
Gabriel cleaup TVNZ.mp3
ISO Saga.mp3
ISO Sexism.mp3
ISO the rain.mp3
ISO Tim pool nutshell.mp3
Israel intensifies attack in Syria as their strike hits central Damascus - WION.mp3
Japan and CHina news 1 NHK.mp3
Japan and CHina news 2 NHK.mp3
Japan vs SKorea NHK.mp3
M5M SuperCut Biden in Ukraine tom Elliott - BRAVE.mp3
Malcolm X's family to sue CIA, FBI, New York police over assassination - F24.mp3
Mine collapse China NHK.mp3
NBC - Kristen Welker - biden makes surprise visit to ukraine only kremlin knew hours in advance.mp3
NBC - Laura Jarrett - supreme court hears key internet case about secton 230.mp3
NBC - Lester Holt Keir Simmons - chinese troop carriers in belarus.mp3
NBC - Meagan Fitzgerald - north korea launches barrage of test missiles.mp3
NBC Meet the Press - Chuck Todd - antony blinken chinese lethal assistance to russia [1].mp3
NBC Meet the Press - Chuck Todd - antony blinken chinese lethal assistance to russia [2].mp3
North Korea new Missile RBIO NHK.mp3
NPR Layoffs because of ADVERTISING market downturn.mp3
NZ Covid Vax tvnz.mp3
On the eastern front, Ukrainians battle with 70s era Soviet weapons - F24.mp3
PSA - blood clots (29sec).mp3
Putin Speech - We are not waging war with the Ukrainian people. They are in a hostage situation.mp3
Russia China Pals NHK.mp3
Start treaty then Ukraine NHK.mp3
sy hersh on Alaska balloon RB.mp3
sy hersh on ballon kill mark.mp3
Trump Club 47 - Calls out Nuland et al and teetering on brink of WWIII.mp3
Trump hands out 'Trump Water' in East Palestine.mp3
Ukraine china kvetching NHKTV.mp3
UN to convene as Ukraine, allies seek votes for 'peace' resolution - F24.mp3
USA Philipines vs ZChina NHK.mp3
USA Taiwan meetings NHK.mp3
USAID administrator Samantha's Powers is in Hungary stirring up a new color revolution.mp3
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