27 thoughts on “News/Politics 4-16-22

  1. Like I said, they’re the experts on stupid, because they are.

    Here’s just a few examples of the “journalism” and such these clowns offer. They’re also experts on disinformation, since it’s pretty much all they do.

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  2. Clowns, as far as the eye can see.

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  3. And sooooo principled….

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  4. 😂🤣🤣

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  5. These are just some examples why The Atlantic is a joke. There are tons more, but I think you get the idea. Their body of work is laughable at best.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, this probably falls under bad timing — and it’s not meant to provoke — but The Atlantic has recently run an excellent article on how social media is impacting our culture and US politics.

    It’s written by Jonathan David Haidt who (from Wikipedia) is an American social psychologist, Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University Stern School of Business, and author. His main areas of study are the psychology of morality and moral emotions.

    The piece is very long — a conservative colleague (a strong DeSantis supporter) sent it to me earlier with high praise and so I printed it out to read later. (One can also listen to it if that’s easier.) I finished it last night.

    It can be found at this link:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/05/social-media-democracy-trust-babel/629369/

    I didn’t agree with everything — including his thoughts about how social media perhaps can be better “regulated” and how party primaries should be made open to everyone, not just party members (though I wonder if we’re moving that way with a growing number of independents anyway?).

    But he really makes some excellent points, takes both the left and right to task when appropriate, and raises some excellent points and provides what I felt was a fair and good analysis.

    I’ve pulled out some excerpts, probably too many, I apologize), but thought it might be interesting for some folks here (or not 🙂 ).

    ________________________

    WHY THE PAST 10 YEARS OF AMERICAN LIFE HAVE BEEN UNIQUELY STUPID
    It’s not just a phase.

    By Jonathan Haidt

    ______________________________

    By way of introduction, in part, he writes:
    _______________________________
    ~ … The story of (the Tower of) Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past.

    It’s been clear for quite a while now that red America and blue America are becoming like two different countries claiming the same territory, with two different versions of the Constitution, economics, and American history … (Babel) is a metaphor for what is happening not only between red and blue, but within the left and within the right, as well as within universities, companies, professional associations, museums and even families. Babel is a metaphor for what some forms of social media have done to nearly all of the groups and institutions important to the country’s future — and to us as a people. How did this happen? And what does it portend for American life? ~
    ________________________________

    Some excerpts from the piece:

    * Babel is not a story about tribalism. It’s a story about the fragmentation of everything.

    * Once social-media platforms had trained users to spend more time performing (for their personal brand) and less time connecting, the stage was set for the major transformation.

    * One of the engineers at Twitter who had worked on the “Retweet” button later revealed that he regretted his contribution because it had made Twitter a nastier place. As he watched Twitter mobs forming through the use of the new tool, he thought to himself, “We might have just handed a 4-year-old a loaded weapon.”

    * The newly tweaked platforms were almost perfectly designed to bring out our most moralistic and least reflective selves. The volume of outrage was shocking.

    * It was just this kind of twitchy and explosive spread of anger that James Madison had tried to protect us from as he was drafting the U.S. Constitution. The framers of the Constitution were excellent social psychologists. They knew that democracy had an Achilles’ heel because it depended on the collective judgment of the people, and the democratic communities are subject to “the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions.” The key to designing a sustainable republic, therefore, was to build in mechanisms to slow things down, cool passions, require compromise, and give leaders some insulation from the mania of the moment while still holding them accountable to the people periodically, on Election Day.

    * Social media has both magnified and weaponized the frivolous. Is our democracy any healthier now that we’ve had Twitter brawls over Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Tax the rich’ dress at the annual Met Gala, and Melania Trump’s dress at a 9/11 memorial event, which had stitching that kind of looked like a skyscraper?

    * What changed in the 2010s? Let’s revisit that Twitter engineer’s metaphor of handing a loaded gun to a 4-year-old. A mean tweet doesn’t kill anyone; it is an attempt to shame or punish someone publicly while broadcasting one’s own virtue, brilliance, or tribal loyalties. It’s more a dart than a bullet, causing pain but no fatalities. Even so, from 2009-12, Facebook and Twitter passed out roughly 1 billion dart guns globally. We’ve been shooting one another ever since.

    * First, the dart guns of social media give more power to trolls and provocateurs while silencing good citizens … Across eight studies, political scientists (Alexander) Bor and (Michael Bang) Peterson found that being online did not make most people more aggressive or hostile; rather, it allowed a small number of aggressive people to attack a much larger set of victims.

    * Second, the dart guns of social media give more power and voice to the political extremes while reducing the power and voice of the moderate majority. (In a “Hidden Tribes” study by a pro-democracy group More in Common, identified 7 groups that shared beliefs and behaviors: “devoted conservatives” — furthest to the right — comprised 6% of the population; “progressive activists” — furthest to the left — comprised 8%.)

    * Finally, by giving everyone a dart gun, social media deputizes everyone to administer justice with no due process. Platforms like Twitter devolve into the Wild West with no accountability for vigilantes. A successful attack attracts a barrage of likes and follow-on strikes. … we get a society that ignores context, proportionality, mercy and truth. (Young progressives dominate on this front, he says.)

    * The most pervasive obstacle to good thinking is confirmation bias, which refers to the human tendency to search only for evidence that confirms our preferred beliefs. … The most reliable cure for confirmation bias is interaction with people who don’t share your beliefs.

    * Tragically, we see stupefaction playing out on both sides in the Covid wars. The right has been so committed to minimizing the risks of Covid that it has turned the disease into one that preferentially kills Republicans. The progressive left is so committed to maximizing the dangers of Covid that it often embraces an equally maximalist, one-size-fits-all strategy for vaccines, masks and social distancing.

    ….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. … (continued)

    … The author goes on to look at how the younger generations are handling social media — and what it’s “doing” to them as well, by way of anxiety and depression in adolescents that are reaching record numbers.

    He looks at how, on the “progressive” side, it’s led to attempts to “disinvite” speakers to college campuses among the more recent generation.

    He puts a plug in for “free play” during childhood:

    “Economist Steven Horwitz argued that free play prepares children for the ‘art of association’ that Alexis de Tocqueville said was the key to the vibrancy of American democracy; he also argued that its loss posed ‘a serious threat to liberal societies.’ A generation prevented from learning these social skills, Horwitz warned, would habitually appeal to authorities to resolve disputes and would suffer from a ‘coursening of social interaction’ that would ‘create a world of more conflict and violence.'”

    _________________

    But, he ends with some thoughts I find quite encouraging:

    “Yet when we look away from our dysfunctional federal government, disconnect from social media, and talk with our neighbors directly, things seem more hopeful. Most Americans in the More in Common report are members of the ‘exhausted majority,’ which is tired of the fighting and is willing to listen to the other side and compromise.”
    ________________________

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  8. While AJ is right about The Atlantic generally, a few days ago their staff writer Derek Thompson produced an excellent article about the rising rates of depression among American teens.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2022/04/american-teens-sadness-depression-anxiety/629524/

    “Why would social media affect teenage mental health in this way? One explanation is that teenagers (and teenage girls in particular) are uniquely sensitive to the judgment of friends, teachers, and the digital crowd. As I’ve written, social media seems to hijack this keen peer sensitivity and drive obsessive thinking about body image and popularity. The problem isn’t just that social media fuels anxiety but also that—as we’ll see—it makes it harder for today’s young people to cope with the pressures of growing up.”

    “The world is overwhelming, and an inescapably negative news cycle creates an atmosphere of existential gloom, not just for teens but also for their moms and dads. The more overwhelming the world feels to parents, the more they may try to bubble-wrap their kids with accommodations. Over time, this protective parenting style deprives children of the emotional resilience they need to handle the world’s stresses. Childhood becomes more insular: Time spent with friends, driving, dating, and working summer jobs all decline. College pressures skyrocket. Outwardly, teens are growing up slower; but online, they’re growing up faster. The internet exposes teenagers not only to supportive friendships but also to bullying, threats, despairing conversations about mental health, and a slurry of unsolvable global problems—a carnival of negativity. Social media places in every teen’s pocket a quantified battle royal for scarce popularity that can displace hours of sleep and makes many teens, especially girls, feel worse about their body and life. Amplify these existing trends with a global pandemic and an unprecedented period of social isolation, and suddenly, the remarkable rise of teenage sadness doesn’t feel all that mysterious, does it?”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh boy…..

    “Russia’s ‘broken arrow’: Fears that NUCLEAR MISSILES sank with Putin’s flagship Moskva amid claims that 452 of the 510 crew have drowned and top admiral has been arrested after cruiser was ‘hit by Ukrainian missile’

    Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, has been confirmed to have sunk near port of Sevastopol

    Experts and analysts are now warning that the warship may have been carrying two nuclear warheads

    They are calling for an urgent probe into ‘broken arrow’ incident – military slang for an accident with nukes

    Meanwhile questions remain over the fate of Moskva’s 510-strong crew, most of whom are unaccounted for

    Ilya Ponomarev, a politician exiled from Russia, said as many as 452 members of the crew could have died ”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10721351/Ukraine-war-Fears-Moskva-warship-carrying-nuclear-weapons-sank.html

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  10. They have no financial interests, only political ones.

    That’s why they turned down the money. Sucks for the shareholders though, as the company loses value.

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  11. This is great news.

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    Less students means less union teachers, which means less money for Democrats. That’s a win/win. 🙂

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  12. They only care because they’re facing a blood bath in Nov. 🙂

    “Vulnerable Democrats Oppose Biden on Title 42 and 21 States Sue Administration

    “We have yet to hear a plan from the Biden administration to address the dynamic we will have on the border once Title 42 ends.”

    https://legalinsurrection.com/2022/04/vulnerable-democrats-oppose-biden-on-title-42-and-21-states-sue-administration/

    “The Trump administration implemented Title 42 early in the pandemic to thwart the spread of COVID-19 at the southern border by illegal crossers.

    As we’ve noted previously, the concensus is that ending Title 42 will make the border crisis far worse. So naturally, Biden is planning to do it.

    Some Democrats running in 2022, who realize Biden is hanging a political anchor around their necks, are objecting.

    Sophie Mann reports at Just the News:

    Liberal 2022 candidates come out against Biden’s repeal of Title 42, slam admin for ‘lack of a plan’

    Democrats candidates in the midterm elections are joining in the criticism that the Biden administration doesn’t have a OK plan to end enforcement of the federal law known as Title 42, used during the pandemic to migrants and COVID-19 out of the U.S.

    Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke hit at the administration for what he considers failing to come up with a plan for border communities to deal with the expected surge in immigration by ending Title 42 enforcement.

    “It does not make sense to end this until there is a real plan and the capacity in place to handle those and address those that come over, he told the Texas Tribune on Tuesday. “We have yet to hear a plan from the Biden administration to address the dynamic we will have on the border once Title 42 ends.”…

    Elsewhere in the country, other Democratic hopefuls are also wondering whether the administration will announce a detailed plan before ending Title 42.

    “There’s not a detailed plan in place so that we can keep asylum seekers and people in the country safe,” Mandela Barnes, a Democratic Senate candidate in Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’d like to see Biden put forward a comprehensive plan that deals with an influx of asylum seekers before we lift Title 42.”
    At the same time, 21 states are now suing the Biden administration over this.

    Ronn Blitzer reports at FOX News:

    21 states now suing Biden admin’s Title 42 rollback, calling decision a ‘self-inflicted calamity’

    More states across the country are suing the Biden administration over the decision to rescind the Title 42 public health order, which allows swift removal of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A case was originally brought by Louisiana, Arizona and Missouri, but a new amended complaint filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Louisiana adds 18 more states as plaintiffs.

    “The Biden Administration’s border policies are a disaster for our country and the safety of our citizens.” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, whose state is one of the new additions to the case. Moody called President Biden’s decision to lift Title 42 a “reckless” one…

    “This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this Administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into unmitigated chaos and catastrophe,” the new complaint states…”

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  13. This is the same lame argument HRW uses.

    “Washington Post’s Aaron Blake Defends Groomers In Public Schools”

    https://thefederalist.com/2022/04/14/washington-posts-aaron-blake-defends-groomers-in-public-schools/

    “Afascinating element to the controversy over teaching sex topics to very young children in public schools is the knee-jerk reaction by leftists in the media, not to dispute that kids are being taught sex stuff, but to defend that they are!

    In an “analysis” piece both hilarious and infuriating, the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake this week attempted to explain away official guidelines in New Jersey for the state’s school teachers in educating children on sexual and gender identity and expression.

    “Conservative media oversell New Jersey’s guidelines for teaching gender,” read the headline.

    True, in recent days Republicans and conservatives have drawn attention to New Jersey to back up the argument that new policies regulating how and when children are taught about sex are needed in more states and school districts. Florida is the most well-known example of a state crafting and passing legislation expressly for that purpose.

    The reason for making an example out of New Jersey is because earlier this year, one school district promoted materials offering first-grade teachers lessons on “honest sexuality education” that would “Define gender, gender identity and gender role stereotypes.”

    Included in that sweet-sounding literature was instruction for teachers in discussing the young students’ body parts. “You might feel like you are a boy, you might feel like you are a girl,” it says. “You might feel like you’re a boy even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘girl’ parts. You might feel like you’re a girl even if you have body parts that some people might tell you are ‘boy’ parts. And you might not feel like you’re a boy or a girl, but you’re a little bit of both.”

    This is, again, material made available by the school district to teachers of first-grade children.

    But not so fast! Blake was ready to demonstrate why this is all nothing. “Repeatedly, Fox News and others have framed this as something amounting to actual school curriculum,” he wrote. “But the school district and the advocacy group both say that’s not the case — that these were sample materials that the district shared as it reviews the state guidelines.”

    Don’t you see? This isn’t “actual school curriculum.” It’s only “sample materials” that were “shared”!

    Blake helpfully included a quote from district Superintendent Raymond González, who offered this simple explanation: “The cited sample plans were part of a website that was included as a link to illustrate the type of possible resources for school districts shared by the N.J. Department of Education. We have said repeatedly that these are resources only and that they are not state-mandated.”

    It makes all the difference, doesn’t it? The guidance on talking with first graders about how their “‘boy’ parts” and “‘girl’ parts” make them feel isn’t “state-mandated.” They’re just “possible resources for school districts”!

    —–

    Wink, wink…..

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  14. More good news…..

    Unless grooming kids is your thing, then, not so much…..

    “Missouri House approves ‘Parents Bill of Rights’

    “We are responding to the concerns of our constituents,” Rep. Ben Baker said of the bill.”

    https://justthenews.com/nation/states/center-square/parents-bill-rights-gets-initial-ok-missouri-house

    “A10-page “Parents’ Bill of Rights Act of 2022” was perfected in the Missouri House this week after being voted out of the Legislative Oversight committee earlier this month.

    After the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee passed the bill 15-6 in February, the Legislative Oversight advanced it by a 5-3 vote in April. On Tuesday, lawmakers added 10 amendments to House Bill 1858, sponsored by Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho.

    “We are responding to the concerns of our constituents,” Baker said in his closing. “That’s what this bill is about. … There are a lot of opinions and a lot of emotion involved in this. But we have to get back to understanding parents have the right to make the decisions about the education of their child.”

    The bill provides a list of rights parents can require of school districts, including a review of curriculum, books and instructional materials. The bill allows parents to bring a civil action against the school district or public school where their child is enrolled for violation of stipulations in the bill. It also provides stipulations for how school boards conduct meetings.

    “If you ask me is this an important bill… I would say it’s more than important,” Rep. Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, said during floor debate. “They think we’re stupid. They think we don’t care about our kids. They think we’re racist, homophobic, bigots – all of the above. All the pejoratives that you call us.”

    An amendment by Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a tool to access every school district’s curriculum and professional development materials. The bill’s fiscal note projected a cost of approximately $647,000 for six full-time employees and 10 regional program support specialists and $3 million for information technology expenses.”

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    Good. No more hiding your activism lefties. 🙂

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  15. I saw something about the battleship sinking with (potentially? not confirmed yet) nuclear weapons last night but haven’t seen it updated at all today.

    As for masks, the war will continue, of course. But with (we hope) the worst of the pandemic behind us, the immediate future will probably be just one of ups and downs for variants that (we hope again) won’t be as serious.

    Most of us are, indeed, enjoying some new freedoms and that isn’t being callous, it’s pretty much a natural response after the past two years.

    That said, many of us know folks who are at added risk for complications and life for them hasn’t changed as much. Acknowledging that they still need to take precautions and showing some empathy is probably the Christian approach to take.

    The past 2 years has revealed much about our own human nature, eh?

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  16. Yet the CIA, like the FBI, media, DoJ, and Pentagon all pretended it was valid.

    So when will the apologies for the lies and deceit from all of them be coming? And where’s the coverage of these bombshell revelations in our corrupt media?

    I wouldn’t want to miss them.

    “Durham says CIA found data alleging Trump-Russia connection not ‘technically plausible,’ was ‘user created'”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/durham-says-cia-found-data-193143924.html

    “Special Counsel John Durham asserted in a court filing Friday that the CIA concluded data from Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann alleging coordination between Donald Trump and Russia was “not technically plausible” and was “user created.”

    In the filing, Durham responded to objections from Sussmann’s defense regarding what evidence could be admissible at Sussmann’s trial, which is scheduled to begin next month. Sussmann is accused of lying to the FBI by saying he was not attending a meeting on behalf of a particular client when he was actually presenting the information on behalf of the HIllary Clinton campaign and a technology executive with whom he worked.

    Durham in February first revealed that the government would establish during trial that among the data “exploited” was domain name system (DNS) internet traffic pertaining to “a particular healthcare provider, Trump Tower, Donald Trump’s Central Park West apartment building, and the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP).”

    In February, Durham said data was exploited “by mining the EOP’s DNS traffic and other data for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about Donald Trump,” adding the data was used to establish “an inference” and “narrative” tying Trump to Russia.

    But Sussmann is moving to preclude evidence concerning the “gathering” of that “DNS data” by “Tech Executive 1,” who has been identified as Rodney Joffe, and his associates.

    In Friday’s filing, Durham argued that the gathering of the data is a “necessary factual backdrop to the charged conduct.”

    Durham’s original indictment alleges Sussmann told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 — less than two months before the 2016 presidential election — he was not doing work “for any client” when he requested and held a meeting where he presented “purported data and ‘white papers’ that allegedly demonstrated a covert communications channel” between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

    The indictment alleges that Sussmann lied in the meeting, “falsely stating to the general counsel that he was not providing the allegations to the FBI on behalf of any client.”

    Sussmann has pleaded not guilty and has sought to dismiss the case. The federal judge presiding over the case denied that request this week.”

    Liked by 1 person

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