COULD USE SOME END-OF-THE-MONTH DONATIONS! THANKS!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2023
"'Congress shall make no law respecting an institution of religion.' -- The First Amendment to the Constitution
A Nativity scene (or a Menorah for that matter) is not a law, it is a decoration. And on that basis, even though I myself am an atheist, I do not have a problem with Nativity scenes on government property, other than they are a reminder that those are the people we are bombing to steal their oil.
I do draw the line at the Ten Commandments being on display on government buildings with its prohibitions against lying, theft, and killing, as that hostile work environment!" -- Michael Rivero
Technopessimism is reaching a fever pitch, fueled by headlines like, "Meta’s AI internet chatbot starts spewing fake news," "Self-driving Uber Car Kills Pedestrian in Arizona," "Artificial Intelligence Has a Racial and Gender Bias Problem." Artificial Intelligence can be sexist, racist, or just profoundly stupid. The knee-jerk reaction to these sensational headlines is to call for limits and constraints on AI. But we need to pause and realize that to err is both human and AI. Substitute a human for the AI in those headlines, and they become completely mundane. AI misconduct garners great attention, but that’s because human transgressions are taken for granted, not because technology is necessarily worse. In many cases, even the most egregious of AI errors can be audited and corrected. In extreme cases, AIs can be shut down. Society generally frowns on “shutting down” humans whose behavior is stupid or insulting.
Consider, for example, new NYC legislation that requires AI to be audited for bias before making hiring decisions. Proponents argue AI can be biased against certain classes of applicants. If these biases exist in the training set, it is because human agents have previously been biased. When an algorithm is a jerk, we can fix it, e.g. by changing the training data, and we can confirm that it is fixed before deploying into the wild. It’s very difficult to determine whether human biases have been remediated, especially given how deeply rooted they can be.
Similarly, people worry about a lack of transparency behind AI’s recommendations. Indeed, the best performing algorithms often offer little clarity in decision-making. But even black-box algorithms are extremely clear when compared to the mushy black boxes inside humans. Introspection illusion, a field of psychology, explains why humans are so bad at explaining their decision-making logic. On the other hand, suites of tools explain AI results, even for nontransparent algorithms. Given a resume, the AI response is deterministic. The same is rarely true of a human, who may not even respond consistently over a single day.
I woke up earlier this week to two depressing articles that on the surface seem unrelated but are actually connected.
They both speak to the existence of a war on marriage in our culture that will destroy the fabric of our country if not dealt with. This is a war that surfaced ideologically in the early years of the Soviet Union in a way oddly similar to a primitive version of our “woke,” but was soon withdrawn as impractical even there.
This war is now being fought in the USA on a deeper cultural level that could actually be more pernicious and ultimately succeed with monumental societal implications.
The first of these articles—“The Dating Pool Dropouts” by Olivia Reingold at The Free Press—details the declining number of men even attempting to find a life partner. Marriage itself has been declining for years.
Ms. Reingold describes a number of reasons for this, adding that “part of it also boils down to this: it’s hard for men to find partners at a moment when women are outpacing them both at school and work. Young women now hold 1.6 million more college degrees than men, and in a growing number of cities, including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and New York, they make as much as—or more than—their male counterparts. And even if they become mothers, odds are four in ten will become the breadwinners of their households.”
And yet we have feminists still yammering on about “equal pay.” Go figure.
You would also think these now-successful women might enjoy having a working-class man in the house who knows how to fix the plumbing or the electrical, but such is not the behavior of human society, ours anyway. If a man does not have a college degree, the fancier the better, he is filtered out on the dating apps.
What has evolved from this, according to the article, is pervasive loneliness among the younger generation.
Ms. Reingold also points out that, statistically, married people are happier. But most of us have known that from simple observation.
Meanwhile, with the male sex in decline, we have a war on gender—or more accurately, massive, and likely deliberately instigated, gender confusion, making matters worse and putting marriage in further jeopardy.
Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey declared a state of emergency in response to the surging number of migrants in state-managed shelters. Then, last week, the governor mobilized the National Guard to assist with the migrant crisis. Now, residents are outraged with the governor's decision to house the migrants as Biden's southern border crisis spreads nationwide.
Local newspaper The Bourne Enterprise reports anger spreads across the Cape Cod peninsula as "residents turned out in force to express opposition to the state's opting to provide temporary housing for migrant families who have been relocated to Massachusetts."
"Protesters outside the building that evening held signs reading "Americans First"; inside, residents at the lectern cited potential board of health regulations, as well as concerns with whether the public school system can accommodate children from the immigrant families," the paper said.
Over the past several years, a trend has emerged to label anything that deals with men, exercise, and masculinity as toxic.
In July of 2023, MSNBC reshared a year-old-tweet by extremism expert Cynthia Miller-Idriss that she penned in March of 2022, sounding the alarm that young men were being radicalized and recruited through encrypted chat groups, they’re ‘lured with health tips and strategies for positive physical changes.’ Researchers reported this as “fascist fitness.”
The author goes on to mention that physical fitness has always been central to the far right, referencing Mein Kampf and Hitler’s fixation with boxing and jujitsu. The author goes on to claim that far-right groups are setting up mixed martial arts and boxing gyms in Ukraine, Canada, and France.
Mrs. Cynthia Miller-Idriss speaks of extremism and fitness as it connects to an obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength, and competition. She talks of how combat sports are appealing to the far right because fighters are trained to accept physical pain, become warriors, and embrace solidarity, heroism, and brotherhood. I’m guessing she thinks that when a person, male or female, joins a CrossFit gym, a powerlifting gym, boxing, Muay Thai gym, or jujitsu school, a community from all walks of life, the bonds and confidence they build there is supposed to be a form of extremism.
Webmaster addition: We are on the verge of a global war, and not only is our military woke, but physical strength and ability is being discouraged in potential troops?!?
In October 2021, I gave a voluntary interview to two FBI agents about my coverage of the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. At one point, Special Agent Craig Noyes slid a photo across the table and asked me if I knew the young man pictured. The picture had been taken inside the U.S. Capitol Building. I didn’t know him, though I recognized him from videos I’d captured on my own camera that day.
Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are convening Tuesday and Wednesday for closed-door meetings to discuss the prospect of approving artificial wombs for use in human trials. The FDA's Pediatric Advisory Committee will chiefly address what kind of data scientists will have to produce in the trials and what sort of regulations may be needed.
In a raft of glowing reviews, Hunter Biden’s 2019 memoir “Beautiful Things” was celebrated as an “unflinchingly honest” (Entertainment Weekly), “confession and an act of contrition” (Guardian), that was “candid” and “doesn’t hold back details” (New York Times) of his substance abuse and broken relationships.
While describing the book as an “unvarnished confessional,” the Washington Post exalted it as a “harrowing, relentless and a determined exercise in trying to seize his own narrative from the clutches of the Republicans and the press.
In the years since, testimony from a former business partner, Devon Archer, and newly disclosed emails indicate that the president’s son’s memoir was an exercise in spin rather than truth-telling, especially concerning his father’s role in his foreign business dealings, which are now the subject of a House impeachment inquiry. That evidence shows how the Bidens used the memoir to create a politically charged narrative – one largely embraced by the mainstream media – that distorted the truth to protect the family.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, who will undoubtedly be decanted if and when Joe Biden can't manage to mount a 2024 campaign, says that Hunter Biden's alleged influence peddling scheme - in which prominent foreign businessmen, including the "fucking spy chief of China," paid the Biden family millions to affect US policy while Joe was VP - is no big deal.
"One of the things that Republicans are relentless on, of course, is Hunter Biden," CNN host Dana Bash asked Newsom, adding. "There is no evidence that Joe Biden benefited from anything that Hunter was doing, but Republicans have shown that Hunter Biden – he tried to leverage his father's name, and that the president allegedly before he was president joined phone calls that Hunter Biden's business associates were on. Do you see anything inappropriate there?"
To which Newsom, whose career was undoubtedly helped by his family's connections with the Pelosis, replied: "I don't know enough about the details of that. I mean I've seen a little of that," adding "If that's the new criteria, there are a lot of folks in a lot of industries – not just in politics – where people have family members and relationships and they're trying to parlay and get a little influence and benefit in that respect. That's hardly unique."
Several major retailers have already raised concerns about a downturn in consumer spending that may persist through the crucial holiday shopping season. Many mid to low-tier consumers are stretched thin in the era of 'Bidenomics,' grappling with rising credit card debt, diminished savings, and steep interest rates. Additionally, tens of millions of consumers are resuming their student loan payments this month. These factors are headwinds that may spark a growth scare narrative.
Online review platform Trustpilot published a new survey of 2,000 consumers, finding that many have less disposable income than in previous years. However, some respondents are finding ways to leverage up to fund purchases:
Today's economic crisis is undoubtedly contributing to consumer stress levels this year with 1 in 3 considering going into credit card debt to purchase holiday gifts this year.
This is followed by 41 percent considering Buy Now Pay Later services, while another 2 in 5 would cut down on essential expenses such as food and gas to afford their gift purchases.
34 percent would look at dipping into their savings, and 1 in 3 would consider starting a side hustle to offset the costs.
“Nonprofit voter registration” doesn’t sound interesting. Yet nonprofit voter registration, or the use of tax-exempt charitable organizations to conduct and fund voter registration drives, is one of the most important and underreported political scandals of our time.
Nonprofit voter registration, and the get-out-the-vote (GOTV) activities that usually accompany it, have become the heart of a billion-dollar industry in America. According to Candid’s Foundation Funding for U.S. Democracy database, since 2011 nearly 60,000 grants have been made for “Voter Education, Registration, and Turnout” and “Civic Participation,” benefitting 15,000 different organizations to the tune of $5.9 billion dollars.
Most of the largest grantors and grantees in this industry are left-leaning. Despite IRS rules prohibiting 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit groups from engaging in partisan electioneering, it has long been an open secret that the purpose of their work is to register voters from favorable demographics in order to help get Democrats elected. The voter registration industry has always retreated behind the fig-leaf of “nonpartisanship” when necessary, which has protected it from serious scrutiny..
Until now, that is. My recent special report, How Charities Secretly Help Win Elections, ripped away that fig-leaf. The report reveals the untold story of a nondescript charity named the “Voter Registration Project” that was used to funnel over $100 million into a five-year voter registration scheme hatched by Clinton campaign operatives to help Democrats win elections in 2020. Using tax forms, leaked documents, and leaked emails, the report shows how the scheme aimed to register over 5 million “non-white” voters in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Nevada; how it was developed through multiple drafts and edits into a highly sophisticated plan dubbed the Everybody Votes Campaign; and how that plan was eventually adopted by a super PAC tied to Sam Bankman-Fried that instructed billionaire donors to keep it completely secret since it was the most “cost-effective” method for “netting additional Democratic votes.”
President Biden took aim at Russia at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday in a speech that revealed US hypocrisy on the war in Ukraine and other issues.
Discussing arms control, President Biden accused Russia of “shredding longstanding arms control agreements,” mentioning that Moscow suspended its participation in New START, the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia.
Biden’s rhetoric omits the fact that the US withdrew from several arms control treaties in the years leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In 2019, the Trump administration pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned ground-launched short and medium-range missiles.
In 2020, the US exited Open Skies, a treaty that allowed the US, Russia, and other signatories to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory. At the time, then-presidential candidate Biden slammed the move, but his administration declined Russia’s offer to salvage the treaty in 2021.
Back in 2002, the George W. Bush administration pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited as the reason for developing the Sarmat ICBM, Russia’s most powerful missile that can pack a huge nuclear payload and travel 11,000 miles. A Russian official recently said the Sarmat was placed on combat duty for the first time.
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese slammed the prosecution of former President Donald Trump and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in Georgia as a historic “affront” to federal constitutional authority.
The cohosts of ABC’s “The View” were split over the Senate’s recent change in dress code — namely that the traditional dress code requiring male senators to wear suit coats while on the Senate Floor for deliberations and votes would not be as strictly enforced going forward.
“There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors.”—Professor Robert Gellately, author of Backing Hitler
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be an anti-government extremist (a.k.a. domestic terrorist) in the eyes of the government and flagged for heightened surveillance and preemptive intervention.
The discussions are part of a US effort to broker a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Riyadh’s main demands for normalization is for stronger security guarantees from the US and help in establishing a nuclear program.
Unnamed US officials told the Times that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regards a mutual defense agreement with the US “as the most important element in his talks with the Biden administration about Israel.”
Such an agreement would likely involve the US and Saudi Arabia pledging to provide military support if the other is attacked on Saudi territory or elsewhere in the Middle East. The comparison to the US pacts in East Asia suggests it could lead to a more robust US military presence in Saudi Arabia, as there are tens of thousands of US troops stationed in Japan and South Korea.
The Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Denmark lent artist Jens Haaning 532,549 Dutch krone, equivalent to about $76,400, so he could recreate two earlier pieces that physically depicted the average income of a Danish citizen versus an Austrian citizen, per NPR.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he would question Ukrainian President Volodoymr Zelensky about the money the US has spent on the war in Ukraine when the two meet later this week.
When asked if he would commit to more aid for Ukraine, McCarthy said, “Is Zelenskyy elected to Congress? Is he our president? I don’t think I have to commit anything and I think I have questions for him.”
“Where’s the accountability on the money we’ve already spent? What is the plan for victory? I think that’s what the American public wants to know,” McCarthy added.
Zelensky is headed to Washington after the UN General Assembly in New York and is expected to press Congress to authorize the additional $24 billion in spending on the war that President Biden has requested.
Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood told POLITICO that the Defense Department’s suspension of what is considered nonessential activities expected under a shutdown could interrupt “delivery of defense articles, services and/or military education and training” for Ukraine.
During government shutdowns, the US military typically stops activities that are deemed unnecessary for national security, including training. The Pentagon could issue exemptions for the Ukrainian training, but if not, the programs will be forced to stop, including the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s that recently started inside the US.
Actor Chris Pratt called on Americans to remember the feelings of unity and patriotism that swept the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, recalling that devastating day — and the groundswell that followed — in a recent speech.
While dozens of January 6th political prisoners languish behind bars, the man caught on camera repeatedly inciting them to enter the Capitol, Ray Epps, was just given a long-delayed slap on the wrist.
A review of Epps' behavior surrounding J6;
In July, Epps' attorney revealed that his client was going to be criminally charged, after Epps sued former Fox news host Tucker Carlson for defamation.
Epps hired attorney Michael Teter - formerly of Perkins Coie, the firm notorious for helping the Clinton campaign hatch the Steele dossier and collaborating with the FBI to push the Trump-Russia hoax. Teter immediately sent a letter to Carlson demanding that the former Fox News host retract "false and defamatory statements" that Epps was a J6 government plant.
Epps, 62, was identified as a key instigator of the riot who has long been suspected of being a fed (or a fed asset), told his nephew in a text message: "I was in the front with a few others. I also orchestrated it."
Julie Kelly compares a similarly charged defendant... whose sentencing keeps getting kicked down the road.