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UTOPIA DENIED: Finland’s Basic Income Trial Falls Flat 

karl-marx-007

The experiment in paying a basic income to 2,000 jobless Finns will not be expanded.

Laurence Peter repots: The Finnish government has decided not to expand a limited trial in paying people a basic income, which has drawn much international interest.

Currently 2,000 unemployed Finns are receiving a flat monthly payment of €560 (£490; $685) as basic income.

“The eagerness of the government is evaporating. They rejected extra funding [for it],” said Olli Kangas, one of the experiment’s designers.

Olli Kangas wanted the two-year trial to be expanded to people in work

Olli Kangas wanted the two-year trial to be expanded to people in work

Some see basic income as a way to get unemployed people into temporary jobs.

The argument is that, if paid universally, basic income would provide a guaranteed safety net. That would help to address insecurities associated with the “gig” economy, where workers do not have staff contracts.

Euro notes, file pic

Supporters say basic income would boost mobility in the labour market as people would still have an income between jobs. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Higher Priority: The Investigation of James Comey Raises Serious Questions Over His Leaking Of FBI Material

Jonathan Turley writes:

… The release of the memos already contradicts critical aspects of Comey’s explanation for his leaking of the information.  What is troubling is that many have worked mightily to avoid the clearly unprofessional aspects of Comey’s conduct.  Comey could well be accurate in his account of Trump and justified in his concerns over Trump’s conduct but that does not excuse the actions that he has exhibited in both the leaking of the memos and the timing of his book.  Comey’s best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, could prove tragically ironic if Comey showed a higher loyalty to himself in responding to his own firing rather than the investigation that he once headed. In the very least, there remains a serious question of Comey’s priorities in these matters.

Here is the column:

One day after the disclosure that the Justice Department inspector general has recommended criminal charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, it has been confirmed that fired FBI director James Comey is under investigation by the same office for leaking information to the media. This disclosure followed the release of the Comey memos, which seriously undermined both Comey and his cadre of defenders. Four claims by Comey are now clearly refuted, and the memos reaffirm earlier allegations of serious misconduct.

James Comey was a leaker

For more than a year, various media experts have advanced dubious defenses for Comey, including the obvious problem that the man charged with investigating leaks became a leaker himself when as it suited him. Clearly, Comey removed the memos and did not allow for a predisclosure review of the material. Moreover, the memos were withheld by Comey’s surrogate, a Columbia University law professor, who reportedly read the information to the media.

If taking and disclosing memos were perfectly proper, why the surrogate and subterfuge? More importantly, Comey did not disclose the memos to Congress or hold copies for investigators. If Comey was not a leaker, then any fired FBI agent could do the same with nonpublic investigatory material. If the inspector general agreed with that position, then federal laws governing FBI material would become entirely discretionary and meaningless.

The memos were FBI material

Various media experts and journalists also defended Comey by portraying the memos as essentially diary entries. When I argued that the memos clearly were FBI material subject to limits on removal and disclosure, the response was disbelief. Legal expert and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa said that these constituted “personal recollections,” and CNN legal expert and Brookings Institution fellow Susan Hennessey wrote, “It’s hard to even understand the argument for how Jim Comey’s memory about his conversation with the president qualifies as a record, even if he jotted it down while in his office.”

The plain fact, then and now, is that it’s hard to understand that it would be anything other than a record under federal rules. These were memos prepared on an FBI computer, in the course of an FBI investigation. All FBI agents sign a statement affirming that “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America” and that an agent “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.” Read the rest of this entry »


Police Brilliantly Employ Anti-KKK Law to Arrest Mask-Wearing Anitfa Protestors

Counterprotesters are held by law enforcement officers as the National Socialist Movement holds a rally at Greenville Street Park in downtown Newnan on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The far-right hate group also drew anti-fascist demonstrators as well as hundreds of police officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

Counterprotesters are held by law enforcement officers as the National Socialist Movement holds a rally at Greenville Street Park in downtown Newnan on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The far-right hate group also drew anti-fascist demonstrators as well as hundreds of police officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

‘Remove your mask, or you will be arrested’

Greg Bluestein reports: Faced with hundreds of demonstrators rallying against a crowd of neo-Nazis in Newnan, local and state authorities turned to a little-known Georgia law adopted in 1951 to combat the Ku Klux Klan.

The law, which makes it illegal to wear a mask at most public events, was cited in several of the arrests of counterdemonstrators who joined a protest Saturday against white supremacists.

And the irony was not lost upon the organizers of the counterdemonstration, who were fuming Sunday that a law aimed at weakening white supremacists was used to arrest protesters who opposed a neo-Nazi rally.

“They were trying to stop us, and we were trying to dial down the racist stuff,” said Jeremy Ortega, a 19-year-old who was among the counterprotesters charged with a misdemeanor for wearing a mask.

He said many of the demonstrators wore masks to avoid being identified and threatened by white power groups.

Barricades and fencing are in place around a city park in Newnan as police prepared for Saturday's rally by a neo-Nazi group on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The neo-Nazis expected a turnout of 50 to 100, but only a couple dozen showed up. They were well outnumbered by counterprotesters and law enforcement officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

Barricades and fencing are in place around a city park in Newnan as police prepared for Saturday’s rally by a neo-Nazi group on Saturday, April 21, 2018. The neo-Nazis expected a turnout of 50 to 100, but only a couple dozen showed up. They were well outnumbered by counterprotesters and law enforcement officers. (HYOSUB SHIN / AJC)

“The law, which makes it illegal to wear a mask at most public events, was cited in several of the arrests of counterdemonstrators who joined a protest Saturday against white supremacists.”

“We were peacefully protesting, yet they put guns in our faces and told us to take our masks off,” said Ortega, who added that he is considering filing a civil lawsuit. “It made no sense.”

State and local authorities did not comment on specific allegations of abuse on Sunday. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said the overwhelming security – nearly 700 law enforcement officers were on hand – helped prevent the clashes from escalating.

“Making arrests in a volatile situation is never going to be pretty,” Keenan said.

No one from the white supremacist group was arrested on Saturday, and they largely avoided confrontations with police or the counterdemonstration group. The two dozen white supremacists who attended the rally were separated from the group by an 8-foot fence – and hundreds of armed officers.

‘Remove your mask’

On Sunday, a coalition of counterprotest groups planned a vigil at the Coweta County Jail to criticize what they said was excessive violence by police.

The Huffington Post reported that a contingent of officers approached a group of 50 counterdemonstrators before the rally and demanded they remove their masks or face arrests. The news outlet wrote that officers then “grabbed those who were still masked, tossing them to the ground and handcuffing them.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘SEX CULT!’ New York Post Cover for April 21, 2018

Source: New York Post


Comey and McCabe Leap From The Moral High Ground Into The Trump Abyss

JONATHAN TURLEY

440px-Comey-FBI-PortraitAndrew_McCabe_official_photoBelow is my column in USA Today on the rapid demise of James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who have fulfilled the very stereotypes drawn by President Donald Trump.  Comey continues to spin the controversy over his book as fulfilling what he saw as a need for ethical leadership (i.e., Comey himself).  Comey acknowledged that he never asked Mueller if he should wait on the book.  Why? If you are so committed to the FBI and this investigation, why would you not ask about the possibly deleterious effects of a tell-all book (which discussed both public and nonpublic evidence).  Clearly the book was not helpful to the investigation, but that did not matter to Comey who saw the greater need as advancing himself as the personification of virtue and ethics — while cashing in on the first tell-all book from a former FBI Director.

Here is the column:

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New York Post Cover for April 18, 2017

Source: New York Post


The NSA Wants a Skeleton Key to Everyone’s Encrypted Data 

Francisco Seco/AP - In this October 2013 file photo, a man looks at his cellphone as he walks on the street in downtown Madrid. The NSA’s ability to crack cellphone encryption used by the majority of cellphones in the world offers it wide-ranging powers to listen in on private conversations.

Encryption can protect personal data from government intrusion, which means the government wants the key to break it.

reports: Like it or not, you are your data. In this day and age, your receipts, social media activity, public records, GPS data, and internet search history are the proof of who you are. And while you may have thought you had secrets, the Federal Government would like the rest of them.

The seemingly innocuous pieces of information we trade away every day create a detailed mosaic of our lives used to target advertising and create personality profiles that are exploited by the FBI, political operatives like Cambridge Analytica, and Russian propagandists.

And those are just the legal shenanigans! Instances of malicious hacking that jeopardize social security numbers and other important data are on the rise as well.

But all hope is not lost! There is but one meaningful defense against such intrusions, one used by whistleblowers, banks, the government (often poorly), and college students: encryption.

Encryption, to oversimplify, is the process of putting your data in a combination locked safe, and it’s becoming more popular. Like all passcodes, these combinations are best stored non-electronically.

Automatically encrypted search engines and internet services simplify the process for users. They protect individuals’ data from hacking, theft, and even the government, but they also retain a repository for all the combinations they use to lock data up.

This is the Trojan horse the NSA means to use to gain access to your private data even when it is encrypted.

But that may soon change.

If the executive agencies have their way, the NSA will have a record of every lock combination in use by every company—a skeleton key, if you will, to gain access to your digital home, papers, effects, and aspects of your person without warrant or probable cause—effectively mandating that companies hand over skeleton keys to the locks that they provide to their users, at any time: what they call “exceptional access.” Read the rest of this entry »


Thomas Jefferson’s 275th Celebration 

Studying Jefferson should be a guiding star.

Jamie Gass and Will Fitzhugh write: “Students of reading, writing, and common arithmetick . . . Graecian, Roman, English, and American history . . .,” Thomas Jefferson advised that democratic education “should be… able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.”

Mid-April marks the 275th anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday. Given his world-changing achievements, this milestone is worthy of recognizing – and of being taught in our public schools. His contributions to the American civilization are incalculable; he was a revolutionary, statesman, diplomat, man-of-letters, scientist, architect, and apostle of liberty.

Rather than forcing a titan like Jefferson to conform to our era’s often Lilliputian-style narcissism, we should study history by entering the past with imagination and humility.

In drafting the Declaration of Independence, the most elegant and universally quoted political document in history, Jefferson displayed his greatest talents. He powerfully combined literary language and self-evident truths to shape the legal and political future of the United States.

The first member of his family to attend college, Jefferson loved books and classical learning. He could read six languages, including ancient Greek and Latin, while his 18th-century education taught him timeless principles.

Jefferson’s trinity of great thinkers – Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, and John Locke – embodied what’s been called the Enlightenment’s “science of freedom.”

But his favorite writer was the ancient Roman historian Tacitus – a brilliant chronicler of warped, tyrannical emperors. Jefferson’s liberal-arts-centric education instilled in him a vigilance for liberty, which made him ever wary of threats to his republican experiment in ordered self-government.

Legal scholar David Mayer effectively summarized Jefferson’s strict federalism: “constitutions primarily [served] as devices by which governmental power would be limited and checked, to prevent its abuse through encroachments on individual rights…” Jefferson despised the corruptions of kings, standing armies, banks, and cities, which he identified with the Roman and British empires. Read the rest of this entry »


Elon Musk’s SpaceX Will Be the Third Most Valuable Private Company in the Country After a $500 Million Fundraising Round

Turns out this space stuff is pretty lucrative. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Turns out this space stuff is pretty lucrative. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Elon told you so.

Tim Fernholz writes: Elon Musk’s bet on the future of space transportation is set to be the third-biggest private tech company in the US, behind only Uber and Airbnb, and worth more than $27 billion.

SpaceX filed paperwork in Delaware to raise an additional $500 million in capital, according to Equidate, a stock market for private technology companies that tracks such filings. Once the fundraising round is completed, the company’s value will have increased by approximately 25% in the last nine months, according to Equidate COO Hari Raghavan. It has more than doubled since 2015.

It’s not clear yet which investors will provide the cash, but the company has preferred to retain old investors than add new ones. Fidelity is rumored to be leading the round, and Musk is supposedly set to put up more equity in the company he founded out of his own pocket in 2002.

SpaceX confirmed the fundraising round, but did not share any details about how the capital will be used. Read the rest of this entry »


‘SYRIA STRIKE’: New York Post Cover for April 14, 2018

Source: New York Post


‘Chappaquiddick’ is a Long-Overdue Dismantling of the Kennedy Myth

Maureen Callahan writes: Nearly 50 years after Senator Ted Kennedy left a young woman to die in a shallow pond — and America went on to reward him with a lifelong career in the US Senate — we are finally beginning to reckon with the Kennedy myth.

But only just.

The new film “Chappaquiddick” is, to date, the most brutal and honest account of what happened that night. But it’s also something else: an indictment of our collective hero worship at the altar of Brand Kennedy, which bred so much corrosive entitlement that surviving brother Ted, the family beta male, went home to sleep it off after leaving a loyal young staffer to die alone.

“Chappaquiddick” is a much-needed counterweight to two current hagiographies: CNN’s docuseries “The Kennedys,” airing to high ratings on Sunday nights, and Netflix’s forthcoming documentary “Bobby Kennedy for President.”

JFK and RFK remain, of course, the family lodestars. But in 1969 Ted was next in line, and he had a lot of public sympathy.

His brother Robert had been assassinated while campaigning for president the year before. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Ted himself barely survived a plane crash in 1964, dragged to safety by Senator Birch Bayh (the irony) and hospitalized for five months. It was assumed, within the family and without, that Ted would run for president in 1972. He had three small children and, the July weekend he went partying in Chappaquiddick, a pregnant wife at home confined to bed rest.

As portrayed by Jason Clarke, the young senator is a venal, self-pitying coward, thoughtless and remorseless, ambition his only care. He treats loyalists and groupies with equal contempt, and as the weekend begins, he toasts them all for “wanting to prove yourselves worthy of . . . the Kennedy name.” Read the rest of this entry »


Science Reveals: Communism Makes Nations Poorer and Less Healthy

Alain Tolhurst writes: Living under communism makes countries poorer and less healthy for decades, according to a landmark new study.

Researchers testing historical connections between cultures found that whether a country had been under communism was the biggest factor for those with lower health, income and educational levels.

In the first undertaking of its kind, they analyzed the fortunes of 44 countries across Europe and Asia and looked at geography, religion, systems of government and a more intangible quality called “deep cultural ancestry.”

Russian Communist Party supporters attend a memorial ceremony March 5 in Red Square to mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's death.

Russian Communist Party supporters attend a memorial ceremony March 5 in Red Square to mark the 65th anniversary of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s death.

Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, they matched these factors against where they ranked on the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures per-capita income, life expectancy at birth and the number of years its citizens spend in education.

Most of the issues they looked at appeared to have little or no effect on the disparities between the countries, except for Islamic countries scoring a little worse on education. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MONTAGE: Zuckerberg Promises ‘More AI Tools’

Amber Athey reports: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a simple solution for most of the problems presented to him by Congress: “more AI tools.”

Zuckerberg repeatedly stressed Facebook’s growing focus on artificial intelligence during his testimony Read the rest of this entry »


FBI Lovebirds Peter Strzok & Lisa Page Might be Getting Busy in Other Ways, Too

Well, that piece caused a healthy amount of speculation from readers on why Strzok and Page are still FBI’ing. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MONTAGE: Zuckerberg Doesn’t Know — His ‘Team’ Will ‘Follow Up’ 

During Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before two Congressional committees, it was unclear whether the Facebook CEO knew the answer to ANYTHING. Don’t worry though, his ‘team’ will be sure to follow-up.


Kevin Williamson Firing Shows the ‘Nonpartisan’ Media’s True Colors

Williamson came to The Atlantic from the conservative National Review, and his hiring sparked an uproar on the left. After combing through over a decade of his writings, detractors found a tweet where he called for death, by hanging, for abortion. When Goldberg learned Williamson also had referenced the tweet on a podcast, he gave in.

Surely Williamson’s quip was mere hyperbole, meant to provoke. After all, he never wrote an actual column making that argument, despite having written extensively, including about abortion. And his first tweet simply argued that “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.”

Only when he was asked what kind of punishment he had in mind did he tweet back: “hanging.” He was “absolutely willing to see abortion treated like regular homicide under the criminal code.”

You don’t have to agree with that; I don’t. But Williamson’s position (not all pro-lifers’) is that abortion is murder (literally, the killing of a baby), that it should be made illegal and carry a punishment equal to that of similar crimes.

Is this more radical than Ruth Marcus’ view in The Washington Post? “I’m going to be blunt here: That was not the child I wanted,” she wrote about how she would have aborted her child if the baby was found to have had Down Syndrome. Her view is disgusting to conservatives, yet there was no move to get her fired. Read the rest of this entry »


‘WE OWN YOU: Pay Us For Your Privacy’: New York Post Cover for April 7, 2018

Source: New York Post


[VIDEO] Black Gun Owner’s Epic Rant Against The Government Goes Viral

‘When are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? … I’m the majority!’

Ryan Saavedra On Tuesday, while speaking during a city council meeting on curtailing gun violence, an African-American gun owner in North Carolina blasted government officials who want to restrict gun rights of law-abiding citizens.

“When are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? … I’m the majority! I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody,” Mark Robinson said. Read the rest of this entry »


Peggy Noonan Channels Jordan Peterson: ‘If Adults Won’t Grow Up, Nobody Will’

From Facebook to Harvey Weinstein, America’s scandals amount to a giant crisis of maturity.

harvey-gameover

“The signal fact of Mr. Zuckerberg is that he is supremely gifted in one area—monetizing technical expertise by marrying it to a canny sense of human weakness. Beyond that, what a shallow and banal figure.”

It has to do with not being able to fully reckon with your size, not because it is small but because it is big. I see more people trembling under the weight of who they are.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has been on this message for years. Are voices like his finally being being heard?

Laura Ingraham got in trouble for publicly mocking one of the student gun-control activists of Parkland, Fla. She’s been unjustly targeted for boycotts, but it’s fair to say she was wrong in what she said, and said it because she didn’t remember who she is. She is a successful and veteran media figure, host of a cable show that bears her name. As such she is a setter of the sound of our culture as it discusses politics. When you’re that person, you don’t smack around a 17-year-old, even if—maybe especially if—he is obnoxious in his presentation of his public self. He’s a kid. They’re not infrequently obnoxious, because they are not fully mature. He’s small, you’re big. There’s a power imbalance.

As of this week, it is six months since the reckoning that began with the New York Times exposé of Harvey Weinstein. One by one they fell, men in media, often journalism, and their stories bear at least in part a general theme.

mark-zuckerberg-HT

They were mostly great successes, middle-aged, and so natural leaders of the young. But they treated the young as prey. They didn’t respect them, in part because they didn’t respect themselves. They didn’t see their true size, their role, or they ignored it. Read the rest of this entry »


Kyle Smith’s Movie Review: Ted Kennedy Exposed, Finally 

The movie isn’t a hit piece, but the history it tells is infuriating.

Kyle Smith writes: Chappaquiddick must be counted one of the great untold stories in American political history: The average citizen may be vaguely aware of what happened but probably has little notion of just how contemptible was the behavior of Senator Ted Kennedy. Mainstream book publishers and Hollywood have mostly steered clear of the subject for 48 years.

“If Chappaquiddick had been released in 1970, it would have ended Kennedy’s political career.”

Chappaquiddick the movie fills in an important gap, and if it had been released in 1970, it would have ended Kennedy’s political career. (It was only a few weeks ago that a sitting senator resigned over far less disturbing behavior than Kennedy’s.) Yet this potent and penetrating film is not merely an attack piece. It’s more than fair to Kennedy in its hesitance to depict him as drunk on the night in question, and it also pictures him repeatedly diving into the pond on Chappaquiddick Island, trying to rescue his brother Bobby’s former aide Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). He may or may not have made such rescue attempts. Moreover, as directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil), the film is suffused with lament that a man in Kennedy’s position could have been so much more than he was. Yet Ted, the last and least of four brothers, was shoved into a role for which he simply lacked the character. That the other three were dynamic leaders who died violently while he alone lived on to become the Senate’s Jabba the Hutt is perhaps the most dizzying chapter of the century-long Kennedy epic. Read the rest of this entry »


YouTube Shooting: Female Suspect Dead at Firm’s HQ in San Bruno, California

It wasn’t immediately known whether the woman killed herself or was killed by responding security or responding officers.

Alex Johnson and Andrew Blankstein report: A woman opened fire at YouTube’s California headquarters Tuesday afternoon before dying of a gunshot wound, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News. Multiple injuries were reported.

It wasn’t immediately known whether the woman killed herself or was killed by responding security or law enforcement officers.

Little other information was immediately available. Zuckerberg General Hospital told NBC News that it had received three patients and was expecting more, while Stanford Medical Center said it was expecting four or five patients.

YouTube employees tweeted that they had evacuated the building in San Bruno, south of San Francisco, or were in hiding. Read the rest of this entry »


Jews Are Being Murdered in Paris. Again. 


What Do You Like About Not Living in a Democracy?

Dima Vorobiev

Camille Paglia’s Defense of Jordan Peterson, Excerpted from a Longer Statement Sent in Response to Queries from a Brazilian Journalist 

From Camille Paglia: excerpted from a longer statement sent in response to queries from a Brazilian journalist writing a profile of me for a major Brazilian magazine, Epoca.


COMMENTARY: How Obama’s Portrait Reveals the Failures of the Elitist Art World

THE REMODERN REVIEW

In the Weeds: Kehinde Wiley’s Obama Portrait 

.As the United States clips along at the speed of Trump, the news cycle races by in a dizzying blur. Events rapidly recede without any time for real analysis. Such was the case for the big reveal of the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Although it just happened on February 12, it already feels like ancient history. Yet this regrettable image is going to be cluttering up the National Portrait Gallery forever, so it’s worth understanding just what the tax payers had to subsidize.

The Michelle Obama portrait is just sad. A tentative, pallid non-likeness. The apparatchiks at the museum assure us that it is so popular it had to be moved to a larger display space. Perhaps a pilgrimage to it gives the same solace that some progressives get from the plastic Obama…

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Civil Rights and the Second Amendment

The Great Equalizer

 writes: In her harrowing 1892 treatise on the horrors of lynching in the post-bellum American South, the journalist, suffragist, and civil-rights champion Ida B. Wells established for her readers the value of bearing arms. “Of the many inhuman outrages of this present year,” Wells recorded, “the only case where the proposed lynching did not occur, was where the men armed themselves.” She went on to proffer some advice: “The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense. The lesson this teaches, and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

“Of the many inhuman outrages of this present year, the only case where the proposed lynching did not occur, was where the men armed themselves.” 

Conservatives are fond of employing foreign examples of the cruelty and terror that governments may inflict on a people that has been systematically deprived of its weaponry. Among them are the Third Reich’s exclusion of Jews from the ranks of the armed, Joseph Stalin’s anti-gun edicts of 1929, and the prohibitive firearms rules that the Communist party introduced into China between 1933 and 1949.

pam-grier-with-gun-700x4001

To varying degrees, these do help to make the case. And yet, ugly as all of these developments were, there is in fact no need for our augurs of oppression to roam so far afield for their illustrations of tyranny. Instead, they might look to their own history.

“The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense. The lesson this teaches, and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

— Journalist, suffragist, and civil-rights champion Ida B. Wells

“Do you really think that it could happen here?” remains a favorite refrain of the modern gun-control movement. Alas, the answer should be a resounding “Yes.” For most of America’s story, an entire class of people was, as a matter of course, enslaved, beaten, lynched, subjected to the most egregious miscarriages of justice, and excluded either explicitly or practically from the body politic.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

We prefer today to reserve the word “tyranny” for its original target, King George III, or to apply it to foreign despots. But what other characterization can be reasonably applied to the governments that, ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence, enacted and enforced the Fugitive Slave Act? How else can we see the men who crushed Reconstruction? How might we view the recalcitrant American South in the early 20th century? “It” did “happen here.” And “it” was achieved — in part, at least — because its victims were denied the very right to self-protection that during the Revolution had been recognized as the unalienable prerogative of “all men.”

When, in 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney buttoned his Dred Scott v. Sandford opinion with the panicked warning that if free blacks were permitted to become American citizens they might begin “to keep and carry arms wherever they went,” he was signaling his support for a disgraceful status quo within which suppression of the right to bear arms was depressingly quotidian. Indeed, until the late 1970s, the history of American gun control was largely inextricable from the history of American racism. Long before Louisiana was a glint in Thomas Jefferson’s eye, the French “Black Codes” mandated that any black person found with a “potential weapon” be not only deprived of that weapon but also beaten for his audacity.

"Legitimate self defense has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal misuse of guns." —Gerald Vernon, veteran firearms instructor

British colonies, both slaveholding and free, tended to restrict gun ownership to whites, with even the settlements at Massachusetts and Plymouth prohibiting Indians from purchasing or owning firearms. Throughout the South, blacks were denied weapons. The intention of these rules was clear: to remove the means by which undesirables might rebel or resist, and to ensure that the majority maintained its prerogatives. In 1834, alarmed by Nat Turner’s rebellion in Virginia, Tennessee amended its state constitution to make this purpose unambiguous, clarifying that the “right to keep and to bear arms” applied not to “the freemen of this State” — as the 1794 version of the document had allowed — but to “the free white men of this State.”

In much of America, this principle would hold for another century, emancipation notwithstanding. As Adam Winkler of UCLA’s law school has noted, a movement comprising the Ku Klux Klan and those Democrats who sought to thwart the gains of the Civil War “began with gun control at the very top of its agenda.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Actors at Casting Call Are Surprised by Real Gun Facts They’re Asked to Read

‘Imagine that.’

Stephen Kruiser writes: Here is what happens when people on both sides of the gun conversation in America are able to be heard. The producers of this video had a variety of actors cold read statistical truths about guns and crime in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


CRACKDOWN: China to Take Direct Control of Media, Film

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media will be getting more propaganda now that the Communist Party has announced it will be in direct control of broadcasters and the regulators of everything from movies and TV to books and radio programs.

The move is part of a push by President Xi Jinping — emboldened by the removal of term limits on his time in office — to tighten party supervision over broad swaths of Chinese public life as he pushes for what he calls “unity in thought” among officials and citizens.

Reuters Magazines and books are seen at the media center during the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 7.

Magazines and books, featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping on the cover, are seen at the media centre during the China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 7, 2018. REUTERS

Analysts say having direct oversight of the media will help the party hammer home its message domestically and also work to improve its image internationally.

“It’s one vast effort to get everybody thinking together,” said David Zweig, director of the Center on China’s Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology … (read more)

Source: The Japan News

No laughing matter: China regulator bans TV parodies amid content crackdown

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Pei Li and Adam Jourdan report: China’s media regulator is cracking down on video spoofs, the official Xinhua new agency reported, amid an intensified crackdown on any content that is deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under President Xi Jinping.

censorcop

The decision comes after Xi cemented his power at a recent meeting of parliament by having presidential term limits scrapped, and the ruling Communist Party tightened its grip on the media by handing control over film, news and publishing to its powerful publicity department.

Xinhua said video sites must ban videos that “distort, mock or defame classical literary and art works”, citing a directive from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »


BIG DATA: A Tale of Two Campaigns

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[VIDEO] REWIND: Ambassador John Bolton – The President of Red Eye


[VIDEO] Suspect in Kim Jong Nam’s Killing Simulated Attack in Pranks

Security camera footage shows a Vietnamese woman accused of poisoning the North Korean leader’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, performing a prank at Hanoi’s airport that simulated the attack.


Xi Strikes Nationalistic Tone in Parliament Address 

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen as he delivers a speech at the closing session of the annual National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen as he delivers a speech at the closing session of the annual National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping struck a strongly nationalistic tone in his closing address Tuesday to the annual session of the ceremonial parliament, saying China would never allow “one inch” of territory to be separated from it.

Speaking before the nearly 3,000 members of the National People’s Congress who had earlier abolished term limits on his rule, Xi declared that the Chinese people were now “closer now than at any time in history to realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

“Maintaining national sovereignty, territorial integrity and complete unification of the motherland is the common aspiration of all Chinese,” Xi said.

“In the face of national righteousness and the tide of history, all attempts or tricks aimed at dividing the motherland are doomed to failure,” Xi said to loud applause. “All will receive the condemnation of the people and the punishment of history.”

Read the rest of this entry »


What’s ‘Genius’ for Obama is Scandal When it Comes to Trump

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The scandal involving Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of Facebook data underscores the point.

Ben Shapiro writes:

…  In 2012, The Guardian reported that President Obama’s reelection team was “building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.”

… Facebook had no problem with such activity then. They do now. There’s a reason for that. The former Obama director of integration and media analytics stated that, during the 2012 campaign, Facebook allowed the Obama team to “suck out the whole social graph”; Facebook “was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.” She added, “They came to [the] office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”

Not so with Trump. As soon as Facebook realized that Cambridge Analytica had pursued a similar strategy, they suspended the firm.

Again, this isn’t surprising. Since Trump’s election, Democrats — in search of a rationale for their favored candidate’s defeat — have blamed a bevy of social media outlets. Senate Democrats trotted out pathetic Russian-created memes on Facebook, viewed by a handful of human beings, as an excuse for Hillary’s loss; Democrats claimed — without evidence — that “fake news” had swamped Facebook and thus led to Trump’s victory. Democrats have also insisted that Facebook be regulated. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) raged, “You’ve created these platforms, and now they’re being misused, and you have to be the ones to do something about it. Or we will.” Facebook’s former privacy manager called for the government to step into an oversight role regarding Facebook.

[Read the full story here, at TheHill]

In February, Wired magazine ran a cover story specifically dealing with Facebook’s role in the election of 2016, and their subsequent attempts to “fix” the problem. After the election, Mark Zuckerberg even met with Barack Obama, apparently in an attempt to convince Obama that he was serious about stopping the “misuse” of the platform. And in February, Zuckerberg said he wanted to re-jigger the algorithms on his platform to benefit content that Facebook deems “trustworthy, informative, and local.” Wired celebrated: “You can’t make the world more open and connected if you’re breaking it apart.” Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Lives Rent-Free in Our Heads 

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We need to think about more than Trump. We need to deliberate over the course of public policy in a beneficial way.

Jay Cost writes: If the people deliberate about nothing except Trump, they are not thinking about important issues.

It can be hard to keep one’s wits about oneself during the Age of Trump. Our president is like the ringmaster of a circus, and the American people are his enthralled spectators. It seems as if we cannot get enough. Love him or hate him, he remains at the center of our public consciousness.

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It is hard to meditate on anything about politics these days without one’s passions being inflamed by Trump. Case in point, Jeff Flake’s appearance on State of the Union Sunday afternoon. CNN reported:

Flake said he was “puzzled” by the White House’s intense focus on former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and disagreed with Trump declaring McCabe’s firing “a great day for democracy.”

“I think it was a horrible day for democracy,” Flake said.

This is how the Trump effect works. He says something ridiculous — in this case, that the firing of Andrew McCabe was a “great day for democracy.” Flake, in disagreement, says the opposite. No, it was a “horrible day for democracy.”

“This is a great way to become the main character, be it the hero or villain, which is exactly what Trump has managed to do. But if we move outside his orbit for a moment, it’s easier to appreciate how we have become detached from reality.”

How about: Neither great nor horrible? How about: The quality of our democracy does not hinge on whether some relatively obscure government official receives his pension?

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Temperamentally, the American people have often tended to millenarianism — a great hope that the world is on the cusp of some massive transformation, which hinges on this generation. It is amazing that this predominantly Protestant expectation has managed to remain part of the civic consciousness, even while the United States has become less and less religious.

Trump-Kong

Trump brings this impulse to the forefront in the way he communicates with the nation. He frames just about everything in hyperbolic terms, and those who disagree with him seem compelled to do likewise. Read the rest of this entry »


China to Ban Citizens with Bad ‘Social Credit’ Rating from Raking Flights or Using Trains for Up to a Year 

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President Xi Jinping’s plan based on principle ‘once untrustworthy, always restricted’ to come into effect on 1 May.

China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.

People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on Friday.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated 2 March.

It added that the rules would come into effect on 1 May.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] KAMIKAZE INTERIOR SECRETARY: Ryan Zinke Says ‘Konichiwa’ To Hawaii Congresswoman

That… was a very dumb thing to say.

Christian Datoc reports: Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke put his foot in his own mouth during a Thursday hearing before the House Committee on Natural Resources by attempting to make a very ill-advised joke about Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s Japanese heritage.

The Hawaii representative first asked Zinke about decisions to cut funding for a memorial to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, during which she herself brought up her heritage.

“I sit before you the granddaughter of two internees,” Hanabusa stated. “I didn’t even know my grandfather was interned on Oahu for a lot of the war time because he was 80 years old.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] China’s Eye-Rolling Journalist Incident – the Aftermath

A remarkable moment during a media conference of the 13th National People’s Congress has ignited a social media storm.

A female journalist attracted the attention during a live broadcast when she disapprovingly glanced at the woman next to her posing a rather long and stylized question. Everything about this controversy and its aftermath. (Turn on English subtitles if needed).

Go here for more


OH YES HE DID: Obama Used Fusion GPS Investigate Mitt Romney 

  • A new book claims former President Barack Obama hired Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Romney
  • Obama used law firm Perkins Coie to hide payment to Fusion GPS
  • The Clinton campaign would later do the same thing to investigate Trump

Chuck Ross reports: The Barack Obama presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to dig up dirt on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a book released on Tuesday.

The Obama campaign hid its payments to Fusion GPS through its law firm, Perkins Coie. The arrangement is similar to the one that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee used to pay Fusion for its investigation of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

Dossier ‘coincidences’ pile up

That contract led to the creation of the infamous Steele dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele.

“In 2012, Fusion GPS was hired to do opposition research on Mitt Romney for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign,” reads “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and Donald Trump’s Election.” Read the rest of this entry »


Rex Murphy: The Contemptible Concept of ‘White Privilege’ is Just Ugly, Angry Racism 

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Maxime Bernier is right: Identity politics dissolves community, reduces a country to subsets of clans, and obscures the diversity of individual lives.

Then there is Justin Trudeau inviting the fanatically anti-Alberta-oil Bill Nye to Ottawa for a public chat on science, the highlight of which was the signal revelation of the centrality of breastfeeding to the scientific method — delivered by our PM. When baby wails and the milk flows, can Planck’s constant be far behind?

As well: Jaspal Atwal, failed Sikh assassin, holding what he ludicrously called a press conference. The only takeaway: his lawyer is scarier, though not necessarily more competent.

Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen shares the stage with Parliamentary Secretary MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, centre, and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly during a Black History Month reception at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., on Feb. 12, 2018. Justin Tang/CP

More fertile than them all however was the brisk, chippy, and entitled Twitter blast levelled by Liberal MP and person of colour, Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Whitby, Ont.), at Conservative MP Maxime Bernier (Beauce, Que.).

Bernier had criticized an earlier tweet by Ahmed Hussen in which the Immigration Minister said the federal budget was historic for “racialized Canadians.”

Bernier said he deplored that tweet’s “awful jargon,” the pitch to “racialized” Canadians, and put out a plea for “colour blindness,” character over skin colour. His critics, Bernier said, implied (he was) a racist because “I want to live in a society where everyone is treated equally and not defined by their race.”

“Please check your privilege and be quiet.”

— MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes

The parliamentary pigeons were duly agitated. Instanter, Caesar-Chavannes fired off her Twitter blast: Read the rest of this entry »


Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews Find LSD “Harmonizing” on Brain, Changes Personality for Years, Studies Show from Scientific Reports 

The study found that taking LSD is ‘harmonizing’ because it helps connect different parts of your brain in new ways while “reorganizing” it.

Josh Magness writes: Your brain on LSD is kind of like jazz improvisation.

That’s according to Selen Atasoy, a research fellow at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. She was among the authors of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports that found the psychedelic drug can reorganize your brain in a “harmonizing” way.

“Just like improvising jazz musicians use many more musical notes in a spontaneous and non-random fashion,” she told PsyPost in an interview, “your brain combines many more of the harmonic waves (connectome harmonics) spontaneously yet in a structured way.”

Twelve people were examined for the study, with some taking LSD and some a placebo drug. Researchers examined their brain with an MRI scan both during and after the subjects listened to music.

Researchers said they wanted to study the combined effect of music and LSD because “music is also known for its capacity to elicit emotions, which is found to be emphasized by the effect of psychedelics.

“Exploring the combined effects of music and the psychedelic state induced by LSD provided us an opportunity to reveal not only the LSD-induced dynamical changes in the brain,” they wrote, “but also how these dynamics are affected by the presence of a complex, natural stimuli like music.”

The study found that taking LSD is “harmonizing” because it helps connect different parts of your brain in new ways while “reorganizing” it. The effects were temporary, but Newsweek reports that it’s a positive sign for people with some psychological conditions.

The brain could more efficiently make those new connections while a person listened to music, the study also found.

Atasoy told PsyPost that because changes in a brain with LSD were “structured” instead of random, this “suggests a reorganisation of brain dynamics and the emergence of new type of order in the brain.” Read the rest of this entry »