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Friday, June 24, 2022

Links - 24th June 2022 (General Wokeness)

Katie Couric admits she edited RBG’s anthem-kneeling comments - "Katie Couric has admitted that, in a 2016 interview, she withheld Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s harshest comments on kneeling during the national anthem.  The editing was done in an effort to “protect” the late Supreme Court justice, Couric wrote in her memoir... She revealed in “Going There,” which is out Oct. 26, that she felt that Ginsburg, who was 83 at the time of the interview, may not have totally gotten what Couric was asking her...   Not standing for the anthem shows a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life … Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from … as they became older, they realize that this was youthful folly. And that’s why education is important,” Ginsburg told Couric at the time"
Apparently RBG was senile despite being a Supreme Court Judge

Facebook - "Our public spaces celebrate the festivals of our various communities throughout the year. I passed by the familiar HortPark scarecrow yesterday and was struck by its change of attire. See this photo from my January post. Took a pic to send my greetings to all Muslim friends. I am dismayed that some have misinterpreted the post as portraying Malays/Muslims as "scarecrows". This is far from my mind. I spent my political lifetime working for a harmonious multi-racial society. This episode reminds us that strengthening multi-racialism is always work in progress. All of us have to do our part. Scary, isn’t it? --- gct"
"It's mind numbingly appalling how many people online somehow conclude that ESM Goh goes around dressing up scarecrows that are the property of Horticultural Park. Any 2 min long online search will teach that scarecrows must have their clothing and location constantly changed (by Horticultural Park management) to ensure that the birds never get accustomed to thinking that the scarecrow is fake. If anything, the only thing ESM Goh is wrong about, is assuming that the average person is smart / curious enough to know / learn how scarecrows work, or to infer that long serving politicians don't just suddenly dress up and display caricatures."
Why diversity and representation are losing strategies - grievance mongers will just attack you regardless

Meme @lilicitRapture: "May the 4th be with you, The real truth, The racist white people trying to over shadow Cinco de mayo. Cue, the fan boys now.. Ps. Lord of the Rings is better."

Spivey Consulting on Twitter - "BREAKING: the ABA is officially recommending the elimination of the standardized test requirement for admission to law school"

Time to forget about "Latinx": The new way to refer to Hispanic men and women is officially "Latine" 😂 - "In response to complaints that 'Latinx' is culturally insensitive, 'gender non-binary and feminist' activists have proposed 'Latine' as an alternative."
"A 2020 survey conducted by Pew Research found that only about a quarter of American Hispanics are familiar with "Latinx" and just 3% actively use the term to identify themselves. Of those who knew the term, 65% believe that Latinx should not be used to describe the Latino community."

Blaire White on Twitter - "The same people who say misgendering is violence refuse to stop saying “Latinx” no matter how many Latino people tell them to stop."

Marvel achieves peak cringe with a Spider-Man comic lecturing us about the meaning of "Latinx" 🤡 - " Only 3% of Latinos don't mind the woke term "Latinx," which means the other 97% really, really don't like it. Many see it as a derogatory slur (because it is) that erases their language (which it does) and the traditional family values that Hispanic families (and all other humans besides leftists) adhere to...
Remember: This is supposed to be a comic about people who use spider powers to stop supervillains...
The comic ends with a pie-in-the-sky vision of utopia, where all Hispanics have come under the banner of Latinx and are ready to enact a neo-Marxist future free from sin and death!"

Tressie McMillan Cottom on Twitter - "If I ever go on national television and get giddy at learning I am X% white please pre shoot me, like baby Hitler. Thank you."

Meme - "How people who put #StopAsianHate and #BLM in their Tinder bio see themselves *halo*"

Meme - Karen Alea @KarenAlea: "My father turned 90 and wanted to do a photoshoot to be posted on social media even though he isn't on it. <3"
Porsche Monkey @Malibubar...: "I want to like these photos... but I need to know who they voted for president and what they were doing, during the 60s."
@SiNcerely_LfC Replying to @Malibubarbarian and @KarenAlea: "Fr. lol my first though was is this man a racist ."
When you hate certain groups of people so much, your first thought is to find an excuse to cancel them

Meme - "JUDGING PEOPLE BY THEIR RACE AND SEX IS WRONG
I WISH YOU PRIVILEGED WHITE MEN WOULD GET THAT"

Meme - Black women: "Mayo monkey"
"snow roach"
"whitey"
"cracker"
White man: "N-"
Black women: "NOO YOU CANT SAY THAT THAT'S RACIST"

The Dangerous Rise Of Anti Woke Men - "he also doesn’t believe in white privilege, irrespective of the fact that he works in a painfully undiverse industry, was privately educated and comes from a wealthy acting family which is nothing short of a dynasty. Fox is denying racism and sexism, irrespective of whether or not they exist. It’s nothing short of gaslighting. It’s all very Donald Trump. And as you would expect, the whole debacle has lit a fire under anti-woke poster boy Piers Morgan while gaining Fox thousands of extra Twitter followers... Not wanting to date "woke" women, far from being laughable, is actually one of the more insidious aspects of it. Spend an afternoon on any major dating app and you’ll come across (generally white) men saying openly sexist and misogynistic things. They might say "no psychos" or that they "fucking hate big eyebrows" in their bios. And, by and large, they also tend to hold extremely right-wing views and see themselves as victims of liberal thinking... As the campaign group Hope Not Hate reported last year, a hostility towards feminism is feeding directly into far-right movements online. They found that a third of young British people today believe that feminism is marginalising or demonising men and warned that these beliefs were a "slip road" to other far-right ideas. This isn’t just speculation. We know that the number of far-right referrals to the British government’s deradicalisation scheme Prevent has dramatically increased recently. In the year from 2017/18 they jumped by 36%, while referrals for Islamism actually decreased by 14%."
Men are not allowed to turn down any women. But the reverse is "racist"
Liberal assertion suffices as proof of whatever absurd claim they have. Then again, everything is "far-right" now, so

Sarah Silverman Bashes Liberal School For Expelling Students - "Comedian Sarah Silverman’s displeasure with her own ideological side is continuing after children at her friend’s child’s “liberal” school were expelled for making a list ranking students by their popularity...   “This story made me so sad because it’s just what I’m seeing happening with liberals and progressives,” Silverman continued. “I worry what liberal has become is becoming antithetical to its cause.”"

Harvard Students Slam Autism Awareness Panel as 'Violently Ableist' - "The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard University. It was slated to host a panel on autism titled "Autism Awareness: Thinking Outside the Box"; that event has now been postponed due to an outcry from students.  While such subjects as "alternative ways to treat autism" and "communicating with people on the autism spectrum" probably sound benign to most people, a Change.org petition created by Harvard students accuses the panelists of promoting "violently ableist" views...   "By supporting such an event, Harvard is signaling that its campus is unsafe for Autistic people, and that is unacceptable. We call on organizers and attendees of this event to learn from Autistic self-advocates during this time."   The petitioners do make the reasonable point that perhaps the panel should have included an autistic person. One of the panelists—Marcia Hinds—did have experience raising an autistic child, though she was the expert the students objected to the most. Hinds' book, I Know You're in There: Winning Our War Against Autism, is an example of "violent misinformation" about autistic people, according to the students."
Don't treat autistic people and let them suffer in order to appease white virtue signallers. Excellent

Meme - "If you can get someone fired for stating their opinion, you are not oppressed. You are the oppressor"

Kat Murti - Posts | Facebook - "A lot of (largely non-Indian) people are mad at Dita Von Teese  for rocking this gorgeously goth-tacular sari. As an Indian woman, I really appreciate Indian fashion being normalized in this way. Why should our clothes be relegated to Indian-only spaces? Why are only Western clothes allowed to be worn by mainstream society? This kind of generally well-meaning social segregation has the overall effect of holding White Western culture as a neutral norm all other cultures can and should draw from, while simultaneously telling us our cultures must be kept to ourselves.  Cultural appropriation is real, but it’s not the same as cultural exchange... It's perhaps worth making the distinction that none of what Dita's wearing here has deep religious significance. So, let's apply the same rubric to wearing the bindi, which is a Hindu religious symbol.  That doesn't mean non-Hindus should never wear them, but they should be mindful of that and why they're choosing to wear them.  I tend to roll my eyes at non-Hindus wearing bindis, but that again comes down to context... I have happily put bindis on Christian and Jewish friends when going to Indian weddings, etc, and am very open to talking about and sharing my culture with those who are genuinely interested. I equally love learning new customs, foods, etc from my friends around the world.  The line is whether you treat people as a stereotype or a brand ambassador for their culture, dehumanizing them and their unique experiences, or if you are able to humbly share your own culture while relishing in parts of theirs.  I love listening to country music and eating frito pie; that’s not cultural appropriation. But, if I were to, say, throw a “white trash” party where I played country music and served frito pie “ironically,” because *of course* I‘m not one of *those people* who genuinely like those kinds of things (*shudder*), that IS cultural appropriation. The difference is a genuine appreciation vs using someone else’s culture to mock and deride them, or otherwise benefit from their social capital while holding them to be lesser humans than you. It’s about respect."

Meme - "Hey Jackie. Douglas from Propnex representing tenant. not taking comm from u. Still available? Thanks"
"tenant profile?"
"single Chinese guy. Singaporean. working in A-sTar"
"Hmn owner said prefer non Singaporeans"
"wah, first time hear that ..haaaa.. meaning Singaporeans themselves also discriminated from landlord..."
"Bad experience"
"wah steam....."
"Have bad encounters with some
Not all Singaporeans are angels
Is not discrimation but preference"
"yup agree... always bad apples in the cart..."
Facebook - "See lah, even got landlords dun want to accept Singaporean local Chinese tenants. End of the day, people have preference, shaped by bad personal experience. Sometimes, it's as simple as that."
I'm told that some landlords don't want single Singaporeans, because they think they should stay with their parents
Comments: "The problem is, if any landlord don't accept Chinese tenant, people will take it as normal. But any landlord don't accept minority tenant, people will take it as racist."
"Last time I rent to local, every month cannot pay rent, keep asking to extend extend, drama and wayang and scream and cry. My sample size only 1 local tenant but walau how come sia"
"a Singaporean Chinese ah Beng/ family man just handed back a HDB flat to me And the way he spoke to me was like that / when I queried him if he'd done quarterly AC Svcg .. "eh come on la, anything wrong with the AC anot?" Why you wanna choose to lead such a pessimistic life keep asking about AC? Me : 🙄 And in the future, moving forward, no more local Singaporeans"
"One of my landlord does not favour local Singaporean because they love to complaint."

Adam B. Coleman, Proud Father on Twitter - "When I was a liberal, one of the biggest mistakes I made was listening to other liberals & liberal media about conservatives instead of going directly to the source. When I went direct, I saw how much misinterpretation was going on or outright lies were manufactured."
Reply: "Whenever the mainstream media was outraged about something Trump said, I went to the YouTube footage or transcript to see what he actually said because invariably they would warp it in the worst possible way."

Opinion | Maia Kobabe: Schools are banning my book 'Gender Queer.' But queer kids need queer stories. - The Washington Post - "Maia Kobabe is the author of “Gender Queer: A Memoir.”"
Gender Queer: A Memoir : Kobabe, Maia: Books - "Reading age: 18 years and up"
The same people who get upset over terms like "Christian kids" claim that kids can be queer

Rebel💔 (Chad Roberts–they/them/iel) on Twitter - "Margaret Atwood didn’t see the future. She stole the history of Black and Indigenous women, gave it to some fictional white women, and profited off it. Stop idolizing her."
You either die a liberal or live long enough to see yourself become a bigot

Meme - Handmade Tube sign: "SEE SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS?
HAVE YOU TRIED:
SMOKING LESS WEED?
TACKLING YOUR INTERNALIZED PREJUDICES
GETTING THERAPY?
MINDING YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS?"
And this is why we had the Manchester Arena attack. It was worse to be "racist" than to question suspicious people

New books and programs teaching social justice to young kids - The Washington Post
Liberals love indoctrination when they're in control

Kyle Rittenhouse Shooter Launches On Steam, Is As Awful As It Sounds
So much salt

Most black adults say race is central to their identity, feel connected to black community | Pew Research Center
15% of Whites say race is extremely or very important to their identity. For Blacks it's 74%, Hispanics 59% and Asians 56%. Yet we're supposed to believe that Whites are the most racist - when the evidence suggests that they're the least

Twitch bans of Hasan, Vaush spark debate over racist language - The Washington Post - "Twitch suspended popular political streamers Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker and Ian “Vaush” Kochinski, as well as a smaller streamer who goes by the handle “Fawn,” for saying the word “cracker” in reference to White people. Piker, a leftist political commentator and one of the most popular streamers on Twitch, was suspended first after multiple discussions of the word dating back to last week when two of his chat moderators were banned from Twitch for using it. At the time, he took issue with this. In the following days, Piker contended during multiple streams that the term is not a slur in the same way as overtly dehumanizing terms like the n-word."
Racism against white people is ok. At least Twitch has some principles

Not Equal - "Some white supremacists have adopted the mathematical sign "≠" (Not Equal or Not Equal To) as a white supremacist symbol. The use of this symbol is an attempt to claim that different races are not equal to each other (and to imply that the white race is superior)."
Time to cancel maths. It's racist, after all

Opinion | George Washington University needs a new name - The Washington Post
SPOING

Historians: No, Mr. President, Washington and Jefferson are not the same as Confederate generals. - The Washington Post - "President Trump on Tuesday equated the statues of Confederate generals with the monuments of two past presidents, suggesting that if the former were removed, then the latter might also be at risk.  After all, Trump told reporters, they all owned slaves... historians say those statements completely gloss over key differences among the men, what they did and what they accomplished... When a reporter said that Washington and Lee are not the same, Trump responded: “George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status?”  “Are we going to take down — excuse me — are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? … Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner.” To make an equivalency between two of the Founding Fathers and Confederacy leaders is not only “absurd,” but also “unacceptable for the president of the United States,” said Jim Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association... Douglas Blackmon, an author and senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, said Trump either does not understand the history of the Confederacy or he’s sympathetic to white nationalist views."
From 2017. So much for the "myth" of the slippery slope
Even if you fall on the cope that historically the two groups were different (which is true), that wasn't Trump's point - his point was that they would be next (and indeed now they are, because of the reality of the slippery slope). And indeed statues of the two were already taken down in 2020, so now names are next

UW-Madison chancellor signs off on removing rock seen by some as symbol of racism - "A 70-ton boulder seen by some students on UW-Madison’s campus as a racist symbol is another step closer to being removed from Observatory Hill.  Chamberlin Rock, named after geologist and former university president Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, was referred to at least once after it was dug out of the hill as a “n*****head,” a commonly used expression in the 1920s to describe any large dark rock. The Wisconsin State Journal printed the slur in a 1925 headline. UW-Madison historians were unable to identify any other time the term was used but said the Ku Klux Klan had an active presence in Madison at that time."
First, they came for the Confederate Generals. What's next after the rocks?

The 'Racial Caste System' At The U.S. Capitol - ""There's a whole army," Jones points out, "workers who are mostly Black and Brown, who really are the custodians of Congress. They are making sure this vast physical complex is up and running for lawmakers, staff and visitors."
Clearly we can't let blacks work those jobs, so they need to be fired

Straight men's physiological stress response to seeing two men kissing is the same as seeing maggots
Since we kept being told about "harm" to minorities from stress and how we need to accommodate and protect them, does this mean that we can ban men kissing in public?

Catholic Churches Across The Country Burned, Vandalized Over The Weekend - "At least four Catholic churches in four states were vandalized over the weekend in a string of attacks that have authorities wondering whether religious icons and statues are next to be targeted by anti-racism and “anti-fascist” protesters... authorities are concerned that, particularly in light of statements made by activists like Shaun King identifying religion and religious figures as a tool of “white supremacy,” religious institutions may also be targeted."

Shaun King Disputes Clothing Line a Scam After Orders Reportedly Unfilled - "TV personality and comedian Ashley Ray wrote, "hello, it has been 8 months since shaun king launched a 'private clothing line' that sold $165 hoodies, there hasn't been an update since October, the entire Instagram has been deleted and the last existing comments were people saying they still hadnt gotten their orders. Ray went on to discover that the Instagram account for the brand was still active, but had reportedly blocked her from viewing the account. "lmaooo shaun king really blocked me on instagram on his main acct and all his scam side hustle accts, that's so thorough," Ray wrote... One user tweeted, "I really don't know why anyone would fall for a Shaun King scam in 2022 bc he's been exposed for scamming for literally years. But in case you haven't heard it already, he's a scammer and not doing any actual work.""

Palestinians refuse joint Israeli probe into reporter's death; won't transfer bullet - "The Palestinian Authority said on Thursday it had refused Israel’s request to conduct a joint investigation into the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.  “Israel requested a joint investigation and the handing over of the bullet that assassinated the journalist Shireen, and we refused that, and we affirmed that our investigation would be completed independently, and we will inform her family, America, Qatar and all official authorities of the results of the investigation,” Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs head Hussein al-Sheikh said on Twitter.  The official added the claim that “all indications, evidence and witnesses confirm her assassination by Israeli special units.”  “Those who have nothing to hide do not refuse to cooperate,” Israel’s Army Radio quoted unnamed Israeli officials saying in response."
Rejecting third party inquiries is only bad when Israel does it

Meme - Willie Garson @will..: "Christian. Shut the fuck up. Vile piece of shit."
ESS  @Dave_ Again: "Jew. Shut the fuck up. Vile piece of shit."
Willie Garson @WillieGarson: "And....there it is *Quoting only ESS's reply and not his original Christianphobic tweet*"
Of course, we know that only one of them got banned from Twitter

Polygamy: Muslim women in India fight 'abhorrent' practice - "About 2% of the global population lives in polygamous households, according to Pew Research Centre's 2019 report. The practice is banned in much of the world, including in Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey and Tunisia, and is extensively regulated in most countries where it is allowed. The UN has described it as "an inadmissible discrimination against women" and called for it to "be definitely abolished".  But in India, the issue is a political hot potato. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to enact a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) - a contentious piece of legislation that will mean marriages, divorces and inheritance will no longer be governed by their religious law but will come under a common law applicable to all citizens.  And at a time when the country is highly polarised along religious lines, any reform suggested by the government is bound to be considered an onslaught on Islam by a majority of Muslims."

HuffPost attacks Tucker Carlson for fixating on Karine Jean-Pierre being black and gay by fixating on her being black and gay. - "Ron Dicker never once attempts to explain why Tucker was being bigoted and prejudiced, he merely assumes that his ideologically driven and intellectually dim readership would simply nod along in self-satisfied moral superiority...
Ron Dicker has made a specialty of sorts not understanding things he sees. Here is an example from today in which Eric Reed, the trainer of long-shot Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike tweeted something we're supposed to be outraged about...
'Heard she's good on her knees !!'
Nowhere in the short piece does Dicker provide any indication that he understands the context of this. It's not some random piece of misogyny. It's based on allegations that Kamala Harris had an extramarital affair with then San Francisco mayor Willie Brown who later helped her launch her public career. Is it true?... When Snopes rates an accusation against a political ally as "mixture," you know it's true"

Andie MacDowell Suffered Panic Attack From Men on Set: I Freaked Out' - "Andie MacDowell revealed to Marie Claire that she suffered a panic attack on a set in 2016 after noticing the production was populated entirely by male cast and crew. The actor was the only woman on set at the time. MacDowell said the panic attack occurred shortly after Donald Trump got elected president, which didn’t help her emotional state on set."
Clearly she is no longer capable of acting and should never be hired again
Hope she doesn't go on about "white fragility"

Barbie unveils first doll with hearing aids and first Ken with vitiligo as part of diversity push - "In 2020, Mattel revealed another set of inclusive dolls, which included a Ken doll with long hair and a Barbie with vitiligo.   Last year they released another Barbie with a prosthetic limb in a dark skintone"
Comment: "We must be inclusive to every person with a physical or mental abnormality that affects less than 1% of the population."

Calling women ‘birds’ is ‘plainly sexist’, judge rules as Barclays banker wins discrimination claim - "A UK judge has ruled that calling women “birds” is “plainly sexist,” and even using the term jokingly is “foolish” in a landmark discrimination case... Anna Anca Lacatus said her boss, James Kinghorn, continued to refer to her as a “bird” despite requesting that he stop and warning that the term was making her feel uncomfortable"

Calling men bald is sex harassment, judge rules - "Insulting a man by calling him "bald" is sex harassment, a panel of balding judges has ruled.  In a landmark judgment, an employment tribunal found that because men are more likely to lose their hair than women, using the term to describe someone is a form of discrimination.  In their finding the judges suggested that mocking a man’s baldness was equivalent to remarking on the size of a woman’s breasts...   Mr Finn alleged that during a shop floor row in July 2019, Mr King referred to him as a "bald c***". The allegation resulted in the panel - consisting of Judge Jonathan Brain, David Dorman-Smith and Keith Lannaman - deliberating on whether remarking on his baldness was simply insulting or actually harassment...   A lawyer for the British Bung Company said that the remark was not sexist because both men and women can be bald...   To illustrate their point, the panel noted the findings of a previous tribunal where a man was found to have sexually harassed a woman by remarking on the size of her breasts.  "It is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a comment such as that which was made in (that) case would be female," the tribunal said.  "So too, it is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a remark such as that made by Mr King would be male.  "Mr King made the remark with a view to hurting the claimant by commenting on his appearance which is often found amongst men."... Mr Finn said it was not his intention to make the statement appear like an official police document. However, the firm accused him of attempted intimidation and fired him for misconduct."
Calling men 'bald' at work now considered sexual harassment in the UK - "Things first got hairy when one of Finn’s supervisors, Jamie King, allegedly called him a “fat bald c—” and he was later fired from the West Yorkshire-based British Bung, which makes wooden cask plugs"

Native American man calls out Disney for teepee theme park display - "The portrayal of Native American people and culture by Disney has again been called into question after a TikTok user asked why “my people” were featured in a ride display.  John Barbachano, the TikTok user and a Native American man, filmed the Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes ride at Disneyland California... “The guy in front of me looked at me like he’s never seen a Native American in the flesh before lol”... The comments on the video, which appeared to criticise Disney for appropriating Native American culture for a ride display"
Comments: "Proving you can be First Nation and just as “woke” as everyone else… How does the guy know that it’s “his people” too? I’m from Ireland and France is less than 100 miles away. The French are not “my people” anymore than the Shawnee are Crow."
"The Native American should be proud of his ancestors and hold his head up high"
"Do they want to be erased from US history? I do not get it."
"Either you want to be a part of history or you don’t. You can not have it both ways"
"Maybe Disney should have made a casino instead of teepee"
"Didn't he answer his own question when he talked about what the guy in front of him had said?"

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Links - 22nd June 2022 (2 - Hunter Biden)

Jack Dorsey is finally starting to admit Twitter’s censorship problem - "CEO Jack Dorsey admits that Twitter made “a mistake” in censoring The Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings. It’s a start. “We recognize it as a mistake that we made, both in terms of the intention of the policy and also the enforcement action of not allowing people to share it publicly or privately,” Dorsey confessed at Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. But he was still playing games, saying the move was “corrected” within “24 hours” — when Twitter actually kept The Post’s account locked for two full weeks... Earlier, it cited its policy against spreading hacked materials as leading to the ban. Yet The Post had reported that Hunter Biden left his laptop at a repair shop, which gained legal control of it when he didn’t return for it. Biden never claimed he’d been hacked, nor ever denied the veracity of the e-mails. “We made a quick interpretation, using no other evidence, that the materials in the article were obtained through hacking,” Dorsey claimed Tuesday. Huh?... As Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) noted, Twitter also suspended Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Mark Morgan for his tweet trumpeting the success of the southern border wall just days before the election. “That was a mistake. We reverted it,” Dorsey said, pleading “heightened awareness around government accounts during this time.” As Lee wryly noted, mistakes happen “almost entirely on one side of the political aisle rather than the other.”"

Do you really believe a Hunter Biden painting is worth $500,000? - "Here is the good news for fans of ethical presidencies: The White House has come up with a plan to let Hunter Biden sell his art without him — or anyone in the Biden administration — finding out who bought the stuff. The idea is to discourage potential purchasers who might actually be more interested in buying favor with President Biden than in embracing the creative visions of his son. On the other hand, Hunter Biden's artwork is reportedly going to be listed for between $75,000 and $500,000... There are two likely reasons to spend more than a middle-class family's annual income on one of these pieces: You enjoy the kitschy appeal of owning a Hunter Biden original, or you want powerful people in President Biden's government to notice. Even with a nondisclosure rule in place, it's easy to think of ways one could let it be known that a purchase had been made. Oops! There's Hunter's painting in the background of our family portrait we posted to Instagram! Oops! We thought Hunter's painting was so fine we mounted it in the lobby of our corporate offices!... Real art lovers, meanwhile, should bide their time — you can probably get a discount on Hunter's paintings after his dad leaves office."

House needs probe of Hunter Biden art sales, Rep. Comer says - "The top Republican on the House Oversight Committee wants the panel to investigate the sale of Hunter Biden’s artwork — which could earn President Biden’s son millions — and he has contacted the gallery owner to divulge details of the ethics deal he reached with the White House."

Hunter Biden's ex-stripper baby mama was on his payroll while pregnant: texts - "The former stripper who bore Hunter Biden’s out-of-wedlock child — and who he claims that he has no memory of meeting — was on his consulting firm’s payroll during her pregnancy... And the first son made sure she was booted off the company insurance plan months after she gave birth... The messages, which are contained on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, shed new light on the relationship between him and Lunden Roberts, who gave birth to their daughter Navy Joan Roberts in August of 2018"

Mainstream media ignores lewd Hunter Biden N-word texts to his lawyer - "The news this week that first son Hunter Biden routinely used a racial slur in conversations with his white attorney as recently as early 2019 has been studiously ignored by the mainstream media... the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN have all ignored the messages, which were revealed days after Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, became the first president to formally commemorate the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The story did cut through on Twitter, where the phrase “#RacistHunter” began trending earlier this week. Many users questioned what the media response would have been if one of former President Donald Trump’s children used the N-word the way Hunter Biden did... charged language. Just last year, he told “Breakfast Club” radio show host Charlamagne Tha God that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”"

Secret Service says it can't find Hunter Biden travel records for 2010, 2011, or 2013 - "In laptop emails, Biden said his Secret Service detail was annoyed when he ditched them to pursue business deals in Kazakhstan... White House press secretary Jen Psaki continued to refuse to answer basic questions about Hunter Biden’s role in a Chinese government-linked firm that has invested in companies sanctioned by the United States despite a lawyer for Joe Biden’s son saying he no longer holds his 10% ownership stake."

US Attorney Doc: IRS Issued Grand Jury Subpoena to JPMorgan for Hunter, James Biden Bank Records In Probe into Biden Family’s China Connections

Schweizer: NYT's 'Turn' on Biden Family 'an Important Development' - "Breitbart News senior contributor Peter Schweizer, author of Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win, reacted to The New York Times suing the State Department for access to Hunter Biden’s emails. Schweizer told FNC’s “Fox & Friends” that the media’s “turn” on President Joe Biden and his family’s overseas dealings “is an important development.” He added the media see “Biden is struggling as president” and know he is likely on his way out."

Meme - Alex Griswold: "the level of apology and disclaimer required to report on wrongdoing from the president's son"
INSIDER: "Hunter Biden isn't Trump, but what's he's up to is bad and deserves your attention - even if you hate Fox News"

Mike Lee on Twitter - "Four years ago BuzzFeed posted the Steele Dossier, filled with lies and misinformation, and twitter and Facebook happily spread their fake news. Now these platforms are blocking transmission of a New York Post story critical of a Democrat. The hypocrisy is not sustainable."

Wag the Poso on Twitter - "How can Joe Biden be trusted with our national security when his son is the biggest blackmail risk in US history?"

Unearthed video shows a naked Hunter Biden claiming Russian drug dealers stole his laptop - "Hunter Biden claimed Russians stole another one of his laptops for blackmail while he was close to overdosing in a Las Vegas hotel room, DailyMail.com can reveal. The alleged incident would mean Hunter lost a total of three computers - the first abandoned at a Delaware computer store and the second seized by federal agents - each likely to hold sensitive information on President Joe Biden and the embarrassing pictures, videos and communications of his son. The third laptop still appears to be missing – and was taken by Russian drug dealers after they partied with Hunter in Vegas, he told a prostitute in a conversation caught on camera... The prostitute asked Hunter if he was worried the Russian alleged thieves would try to 'blackmail' him. Hunter replied: 'Yeah in some way yeah.' 'My dad [inaudible] running for president,' he told her in a hushed voice. 'He is. I talk about it all the time. 'If they do, he also knows I make like a gazillion dollars.'"
Facebook is blocking shares of this story but somehow there's no story on their censorship

Hunter Biden: Joe Biden's son Hunter made money from Russia, China: Donald Trump - "during Biden' s tenure as vice president, Hunter, 50, received a USD 3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the widow of Moscow's former mayor Yury Luzhkov. The report further alleged that Chinese nationals lavished Hunter and other members of the Biden family with money, giving Hunter and Biden' s brother James credit cards for a USD 100,000 international shopping spree."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "Last night Twitter acknowledged that it made an error in aggressively censoring the Hunter Biden article, and those who shared it. Presumably they will no longer censor news articles with ‘hacked’ information or block those who link to the news articles. Before Twitter changed course it had blocked a news story in a major American newspaper and disable the accounts of anyone who linked to the story including the White House press secretary, several members of Congress, and an official presidential campaign account."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - NPR: "Why haven't you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post's Hunter Biden story? Read more in this week's newsletter"
"When something is newsworthy enough that you have to explain why you’re not covering it."

New York Times covers for Swalwell and Democratic party misdeeds - "In the days after the election, after the "safe harbor" deadline had passed by which states' election certifications were final, the Biden Harris transition team released a statement from Hunter Biden which said that he was under investigation. It turns out that he declined to report $400,000 in foreign income received from Ukrainian oil company Burisma. This statement, a clear indicator that Biden's foreign affairs were not entirely on the level, was widely reported by the press. In fact, many mainstream media outlets ran stories on the new revelations regarding Hunter Biden's alleged misdeeds as though they had never publicly declined to run the previous allegations at all. NPR, The New York Times, and the Washington Post all conveniently memory-holed any refusal to cover alleged Biden family corruption prior to the election. The reason they didn't run it before is that they did not want to do anything to jeopardize a Biden Harris win. They discredited reasonable reporting from the New York Post, diligent research, because they wanted their boy to win and they didn't care what they had to cover up to do it. Perhaps they felt plagued by their 2016 decisions to run with stories about Hillary Clinton's email server mishaps, where it turned out that she was not keeping safe confidential national security information. This time around, they unwilling to accurately report on information that could have changed people's votes from Biden to Trump."

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "As you may recall from last fall, Twitter blocked the New York Post’s account for publishing a link to its story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. It then refused to allow links to that story. The reason given at the time was that the story was likely false. Now Hunter Biden has acknowledged that the laptop may have been his and NPR has issued a correction for their reporting that US intelligence had discredited the story. It hasn’t. Which generates all kinds of questions about how these anonymous intelligence sources keep getting discredited when information becomes public"

MSNBC host totally confused by revelation that the Hunter Biden laptop story is real - "MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes reached out to Twitter to find out if all the hype about this Hunter Biden laptop is really a thing. "So, like, did we ever find out the actual deal with the Hunter laptop?" Hayes asked... Raheem Kassam of The National Pulse recalled having invited MSNBC to have a look at the hard drive, which they had obtained a copy of, only to be rebuffed... Shortly after the laptop was released, the Biden campaign spouted off nonsense that it was the product of some sort of misinformation effort, or Russian hacking. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the information gathered was the result of a hack, a premise which he later had to walk back when it turned out to absolutely be a false assertion."
When today's "misinformation" is tomorrow's truth. Of course if you don't trust the media, you are a dangerous far right conspiracy theorist

Twitter’s ban almost doubled attention for Biden story | MIT Technology Review - "When Twitter banned, and then unbanned, links to a questionably sourced New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, its stated intention was to prevent people from spreading harmful false material as America heads into the final stretch of the election campaign. But thanks to the cycle of misinformation—and claims from conservatives that social-media platforms are deliberately censoring their views—Twitter managed to do the opposite of what it intended."
"Misinformation" is what elites don't want you to know

The Media Do Not Want You To Read, Share, or Discuss The New York Post‘s Hunter Biden Scoop - "the New York Post published an attention-catching original report: "Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad." In the previously unreleased email, which was allegedly sent on April 17, 2015, an executive with Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company, thanks Hunter Biden for "giving an opportunity" to meet Joe Biden, according to the New York Post. It's a story that merits the attention of other journalists, political operatives, national security experts, and also the public at large—not least of all because there are serious questions about its accuracy, reliability, and sourcing. And yet many in the media are choosing not just to ignore the story, but to actively encourage others to suppress any discussion of it. Indeed, two mainstream reporters who acknowledged (and criticized) the Post's scoop—The New York Times' Maggie Haberman and Politico's Jake Sherman—faced thunderous denunciation on Twitter from Democratic partisans simply for discussing the story... This is the work of journalism—to ask questions, to probe, to find and share the truth. Haberman and Sherman were right to let their audiences know that the New York Post story exists, and they were right to challenge it. Many others in the media apparently believe the public cannot be trusted with such a challenging article. They have not merely shamed people for sharing it online, but also want to make it difficult for people to read the report at all. Facebook Communications Director Andy Stone, a former Democratic staffer, announced that the social media platform would limit the article's distribution pending a fact-checker's review. He directed users to Facebook policy, which states that "in many countries, including in the US, if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker." While Facebook is within its rights to take action against content it believes is factually misleading, this seems like a tough standard to enforce evenly. News articles in the mainstream press frequently contain information that is thinly or anonymously sourced, and sometimes proves to be inaccurate. It's one thing for social media platforms to take swift action against viral content that is very obviously false or incendiary, like conspiracy theories about coronavirus miracle cures or voter fraud. It's quite another for the platform to essentially make itself a gatekeeper of legitimate journalism, or a very selective media watchdog that appears to be more concerned about bad reporting when it comes from right-leaning outlets than left-leaning outlets, given the partisan leanings of social media company's internal policy setters. The obvious result will be a double standard, and an unsustainable one: The right will claim (correctly) that social media companies are biased against questionable conservative content, while the left will claim (also correctly) that plenty of misinformation eludes the moderators... In defending his decision to publish the Steele dossier, which contained unverified, dubious, and speculative information, then-BuzzFeed News Editor in Chief Ben Smith (now a media critic for The New York Times) wrote the following: "You trust us to give you the full story; we trust you to reckon with a messy, sometimes uncertain reality." That's a lesson the entire media should take to heart, and apply evenly, no matter the inconvenience of the narrative."

No News Is Good News: Media Willfully Ignore Hunter Biden Scandal - "a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed how the son of a major presidential candidate, who has an extensive history of shady foreign business dealings, received a $3.5-million wire transfer from the wife of a Russian politician. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and most major media outlets didn’t cover the wire-transfer story at all. Four years ago, not reporting such a story was a possibility too absurd to even contemplate – but then again, no one would have predicted the candidate with the shady Russia ties is not Donald Trump, but Joe Biden. People often talk about how Trump is responsible for destroying political norms, and that’s a valid concern. However, one of the truly frightening things about the Trump era is how institutions have exploited a perceived crisis in truth-telling to justify abandoning their own standards by blaming it on Trump. Increasingly, we see major stories break where the media establishment decides on a collective omertà because the story undermines its own credibility or might sway voters in directions it doesn’t approve of. When that happens, no news is good news. The problem with hiding the truth is that you can’t suppress it forever, let alone a week, in this news environment. After the initial blackout, we are finally starting to see some coverage of Hunter Biden’s suspect wire transfer – but only after Trump himself raised the issue in the recent presidential debate and forced the media’s hand. The little coverage the issue has received is instructive, and not in a good way. When Trump raised the issue at the debate, Joe Biden responded by saying the claim was “Totally discredited. Totally discredited.” Given that it’s a direct allegation in a government document and Biden is flatly denying it, you’d think this would be a perfect opportunity for the media to dig in and sort out the truth of the claim. Instead, they have essentially punted on the issue... For Joe Biden to tell the American people this accusation is “totally discredited,” when the media hadn’t even touched the story, well, honest fact-checkers would tell it like it is: Joe Biden stood up in front of tens of millions of Americans on Tuesday night and told a self-serving lie – a lie that would have been called a four-alarm trouser conflagration if Trump had said it. Naturally, there are consequences for the decision not to report major news such as the Hunter Biden story until you are forced to. The most obvious one is that media credibility takes a huge hit. The media have adopted a fairly jejune attitude toward their own institutional decline, blaming it on an increase in partisanship and polarization, but they’re quick to mix up cause and effect. They never seem to ask how much their skewed coverage is fueling that same polarization. Exhibit A here would be the media’s QAnon fascination – the right-wing, largely pro-Trump online cult centered on a bunch of deranged conspiracies about a pedophile ring running the country. There’s a case to be made that the blizzard of media coverage has vastly overstated the influence of QAnon, but it’s caused enough real-world problems that the media are understandably baying for relevant Republicans and conservative activists to make it clear this lunacy is “totally discredited,” in the literal, as opposed to Joe Biden meaning of the phrase. The rise of QAnon, however, is also partially a result of a media environment where supposedly authoritative sources of information aren’t credible. If you can’t trust, say, the New York Times to do straightforward reporting on Hunter Biden’s obvious corruption, you’re going to be a lot more inclined to stumble across fringe sources of information while searching for facts online. Unfortunately, the Hunter Biden story is practically the new normal in terms of how it illustrates media willingness to suppress or ignore inconvenient truths. The credulous groupthink coverage of Trump-Russia collusion, as well as the unwillingness to pursue Jeffrey Epstein – an actual pedophile cabal involving very powerful people – also goes a long way toward making QAnon’s nutjobbery seem more credible than it should be... For once, the media were handed a Russian influence-peddling scandal on a silver platter and the vast majority of major outlets declined to even mention it. Such bad behavior makes the calculus for determining who’s a bigger threat pretty clear for a lot of Trump supporters. Even if the president does and says things that make them uncomfortable, he’ll be gone in four months or four years. A media that hides the truth this brazenly is going to be much harder to get rid of."

Hunter Biden to teach university students about 'fake news' - "Tulane University announced that President Biden's troubled son will help teach students as a guest lecturer in a class that covers 'fake news' later this year... Biden is one of many guest speakers lined to contribute to the course during the Fall 2021 semester. Out of the seven listed, only one is from a conservative-leaning news outlet. The inclusion of Hunter Biden is puzzling, since he is not a member of the media in any capacity. Tulane University has not made it clear exactly why he was chosen. Perhaps the justification is that recent stories related to the President's son have been presented quite differently by different media outlets"

‘Breaking the News’ Reveals: Secret Service Records Show Hunter Biden Took at Least 23 flights Through Joint Base Andrews, Home of Air Force One and Two

Cooper: One in six Biden voters would have changed their minds if they had known the full story - "45.1% of Biden voters were unaware of the financial scandals of Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and how Hunter's business had been wrapped up in Biden's work in foreign affairs while vice president under President Barack Obama. It further showed 35.4% of Biden voters were unaware of his former aide Tara Reade's allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her on Capitol Hill in the 1990s, and 25.3% of his voters didn't know that Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, Biden's vice presidential running mate, was ranked America's most "progressive" senator in 2019. Meanwhile, the same voters were clueless about Trump's accomplishments because the national media refused to tell them. More than half of those surveyed, 50.5%, did not know the United States became a net exporter of oil for the first time in 2019. Nearly half (49%) of Biden voters had no idea economic growth rebounded by 33% in the third quarter, which was a record, albeit one caused by the global pandemic lockdown that forced a 31.4% plunge in the second quarter. Further, 45.3% of respondents who voted for Biden had no idea the Trump administration had helped broker historic agreements between Israel and Arab nations, and 39.4% of the same voters weren't aware the five consecutive pre-election jobs reports — from June 5 to October 2 — showed a record 11.1 million jobs were created in the summer and fall. Incredibly, and perhaps most tellingly since the president was given widespread false blame for the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S., 36.1% of Biden voters said they did not know about the administration's critical role in promoting coronavirus vaccine research and the development of a vaccine through Operation Warp Speed. National media bias against Republicans and conservatives is nothing new. Sadly, it goes with the territory. As the Media Research Center pointed out in just one example, in 2004 Newsweek's Evan Thomas boasted the media would go all in for Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards, and crowed it's "going to be worth maybe 15 points.""

Report: Kamala Harris Listed as 'Key Contact' for Biden Family Business Venture in China

Hunter Biden in 2017 sent 'best wishes' from 'entire Biden family' to China firm chairman, requested $10M wire

Hunter Biden has 'no recollection' of meeting stripper - "The stripper, Lunden Alexis Roberts, was working in a DC strip club when she met Hunter, who had been going through “more than four years of active addiction.”... Biden also said he didn’t believe he made a “mistake” by taking a seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was the then-vice president tasked with overseeing US policy in the country."

Ex-FBI chief gave $100K to Biden grandkid trust as he sought 'future work': Hunter emails - "Former FBI Director Louis Freeh gave $100,000 to a trust for two of President Biden’s grandchildren as he sought to pursue “some very good and profitable matters” with him"

Feds also probing Joe Biden's brother James, report says - "Federal investigators probing Hunter Biden’s taxes have also been asking questions about Joe Biden’s brother and his involvement in a bankrupt hospital business, amid calls that a special counsel be named to probe both... According to a CNN report, investigators in the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware are also probing a laptop that reportedly belonged to Biden’s scandal-scarred son, which was first reported by The Post."

Federal probe into Hunter Biden's taxes intensifies, sources say

The Bidens and Beijing - WSJ - "Exactly one year ago, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and six Democrats chairing House committees unveiled their plan to charge President Donald Trump with impeachment articles which did not claim he had committed any crimes. Mr. Trump’s alleged offense was suggesting that a foreign government look into Hunter Biden dealings which any reasonable person would say deserved examination. A source now tells the Journal that the feds began investigating Biden taxes in 2018. One year ago today, did any of the congressional Democrats know that as they were accusing Mr. Trump of non-crimes, the subject of his scrutiny was already under U.S. criminal investigation? And no, the investigation wasn’t manufactured by Mr. Trump... Now why won’t Joe Biden’s office say when he learned about the investigation? Perhaps there’s a difference of opinion within the family about whether Tuesday is a plausible moment for the subject of a two-year-old investigation to learn about it. “What is curious is that Hunter Biden says that he just learned of the investigation on Tuesday,” observes George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley on Twitter. “Yet, many of us have discussed the 2019 subpoena in the case for his laptop as an obvious indicator of a criminal investigation.”... It surely is a concern, especially when the manifestly unqualified son of a leading American politician scores financial coups in China—in ventures that no one seems able to fully explain... Looking at the roster of Biden associates, this column’s most celebrated alumnus might mischievously ask: Why do bad things keep happening to them? But where and with whom the Biden family chooses to do business has nothing to do with coincidence. When your humble correspondent and Maria Bartiromo were interviewing the president last summer for a book, Mr. Trump mentioned that he used to wonder why his Beltway adversaries always use Russia when advancing conspiracy theories about him. He chuckled as he recounted the moment he understood why and said, “They never use China. You know why? ’Cause they’re all getting rich on China.”"

Hunter Biden's book 'Beautiful Things' sells less than 11k copies in first week, despite PR rush

Republicans call for new probe into Hunter Biden laptop - "A growing number of Republicans around the country are demanding a new investigation into Hunter Biden after the New York Times confirmed the authenticity of a laptop whose contents were published by The Post 17 months ago. Though The Post exclusively revealed in September 2020 the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and the potentially compromising material contained there, the story was censored by social media companies at the behest of the Democratic Party. Mainstream media outlets — including The Times — attacked or ignored The Post revelations, while the Biden administration falsely suggested it was part of a Russian disinformation campaign. More than 50 intelligence agency officials publicly attempted to discredit the coverage saying it had “the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation” — and none offered any apology when contacted by The Post this week... The laptop — which Hunter left at the Delaware computer-repair shop of John Paul Mac Isaac and contained evidence that he was colluding with deep-pocketed corporations in China and Ukraine and giving a cut to his father — eventually made its way to Trump attorney and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He brought it to The Post in September 2020. The Post authenticated the computer and its contents in interviews with Mac Isaac and Biden cronies whose emails were found on the hard drive. The coverup helped swing the election to Biden. Outlets and social media only admitted they were wrong after the election, which Biden won with 51% of the popular vote. Almost 50 percent of Biden voters knew nothing of the laptop scandal at the time of the election and almost 10 percent said they would not have voted for Biden had they known, according to a survey from The Media Research Center. Hunter Biden is already facing a sprawling federal probe into his tax filings and business dealings around the world, the New York Times finally reported this week... Legal experts said a new Hunter Biden probe could potentially implicate his father President Biden. “There is very damning evidence that Hunter Biden sold his father’s access when his father was the vice president of the United States and that’s on his laptop and there is even evidence that then Vice President Joe Biden may have been in on this,” said Mike Davis, a former chief counsel for nominations for the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The president needs to clearly state right now that he will not interfere in any federal probe into his son Hunter, and he will not use his presidential powers — including the pardon power — to rescue his son if there are charges brought against Hunter.”"
"Disinformation" is whatever hurts liberal causes

Hunter Biden To Be Indicted? - "The lawyer representing Lunden Alexis Roberts, the former stripper with whom Hunter Biden has a three-year-old daughter, says that Hunter will likely be indicted for tax fraud.“I expect him to be indicted,” attorney Clint Lancaster told CNBC on Thursday. “Just based on what I saw in his financial records, I would be surprised if he’s not indicted.”... Joe Biden infamously threatened the Ukrainian leaders with withholding a billion-dollar loan from the Obama administration unless they fired Ukrainian Prosecutor General Shokin, who was investigating Burisma for corruption at the time, while Joe Biden was vice president. As the New York Times reported earlier this week, Hunter Biden has been under federal investigation for potential criminal tax violations, money laundering, and illegal foreign lobbying since 2018."

Hunter Biden's close relationship with Chinese-American secretary revealed - "After launching his multi-million-dollar joint venture with CEFC, Hunter was assigned a 29-year-old Chinese-American assistant, JiaQi Bao, who quickly struck up a close and intriguing relationship with her Biden boss. At first, emails show the New York-based Bao diligently scheduled flights, hotels and even doctor's appointments for the president's son. But mysteriously, the young assistant also sent him opposition research to help Joe Biden's 2020 election bid, urged him to take cash from the joint venture's accounts as the business collapsed and wrote flirty and personal messages and even ended up with Hunter's military dog tags in her New York apartment – the same tags he can be seen wearing in home-made porn videos he recorded on his laptop... A Senate probe highlighted links between Hunter's Chinese backers and the country's spy machine, and reported that his dealings with the Chinese 'raise criminal financial, counterintelligence and extortion concerns'... Hunter himself seems to have believed his business partner's ties to Chinese intelligence agencies – telling a friend in an audio recording on his laptop that Ho was the 'spy chief of China'... Bao listed negative stories about Trump for Hunter to use, including allegations of selling citizenship to corrupt Chinese officials, his alleged links to a Chinese-owned Florida 'prostitution parlor', and letting human rights violations slide in negotiations with China. Bao also attacked Trump's trade war with China, slamming it as 'a complete failure thus far, resulting in tremendous loss to Americans'. Under the heading 'Uncle Joe 2020', the former assistant encouraged Hunter to tell his father to 'lead by example', 'bring back sensibility', and emphasize his experience and age as a strength. Bao's suggestions appear to fit with China's foreign policy at the time. Joe Biden was expected to have a less confrontational policy towards China, and appeared to be preferred by the Chinese government over Trump."

Opinion | The Media’s Hunter Biden Conundrum - The New York Times - "the decision by Twitter to attempt to shut down the circulation of the New York Post story, which looked bad when it was made, looks even worse now that we have more of the back story and more evidence in view. At this point we can posit with some certainty that The Post’s story was not some sort of sweeping Russian disinformation plot but a more normal example of late-dropping opposition research, filtered through a partisan lens and a tabloid sensibility, weaving genuine facts into contestable conclusions. It was, in other words, analogous to all kinds of contested anti-Trump stories that various media outlets have run with across the last four crazy years — from the publicity around the Steele dossier’s wilder rumors to the tales of Michael Cohen’s supposed Prague rendezvous to the claims that Russians hacked Vermont’s power grid or even C-SPAN. In none of these cases did social-media minders step in to protect the public from possible fake news. As Matt Taibbi and other gadfly press critics have pointed out, it’s hard to come up with any reasonable social-media rule that would justify the suppression of The Post’s story that couldn’t just as easily be applied to all the pieces of conspiratorial Trump-Russia reportage that didn’t pan out, or the Julie Swetnick allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, or various scoops based on technically illegal leaks. That capriciousness is a bad sign for the project of harnessing social media giants to filter out disinformation; it suggests that any filter would inevitably feel partisan, partial and obviously reverse-engineered... The power of media gatekeepers (like this newspaper) to shape political coverage is still significant, and just b

ecause some charge or scoop circulates in the right-wing ecosystem doesn’t mean that it has any impact beyond the realm of people who are already voting for Donald Trump... It is not a coincidence, as some of my Times colleagues note in their story, that “the countries that Hunter Biden, James Biden and their associates planned to target for deals overlapped with nations where Joe Biden had previously been involved as vice president.” Nor is it a coincidence that the areas of Hunter Biden’s particular interest, China’s and Russia’s near abroad, were particularly important foreign policy zones under recent Democratic presidents. And given that pre-Trump American foreign policy in these regions was a conspicuous failure — with China tilting totalitarian and Vladimir Putin outmaneuvering the West — the fact that Biden’s nearest relative was trying to influence-peddle in both places is a useful reminder of why the establishment that’s likely to reclaim the White House next week lost power in the first place. More specifically, Bobulinski’s story and the email evidence both suggest that Joe Biden took at least enough interest in his son’s dealings to have a meeting during the Trump presidency with his business partners. This isn’t proof that he partnered with Hunter or profited in any way, but it seems like evidence that he wasn’t particularly worried about keeping his son’s sketchy salesmanship at arm’s length"
October 2020
This is an admission that media lies matter

Hunter Biden’s Laptop Is Finally News Fit to Print - WSJ - "Talk about burying the lead—for 17 months. The New York Times has finally acknowledged that Hunter Biden’s business dealings are legitimate news. Implicit apology accepted. The Times waddled in this week with a story on the “tax affairs” of the President’s son, including this gem in the 24th paragraph: “Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.” You don’t say. This admission comes six months after a Politico writer published a book that also confirmed that the laptop emails were authentic. But the original scoop belonged to the New York Post, which broke its laptop story in October 2020—only to meet a media wall of denial and distortion. Rather than attempt to confirm the emails, nearly all of the media at the time ignored the story or “fact-checked” it as false. This in-kind contribution to candidate Joe Biden was all the more egregious given other evidence supporting the Post’s scoop. Neither Hunter Biden nor the Biden campaign denied that the laptop was Hunter’s. And Hunter’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, went public with documents backing up some of the laptop’s contents. The herd of media conformists also echoed the speculation of obviously partisan “intelligence officials.” Some 50 of these officials—headlined by former Obama spooks James Clapper and John Brennan —circulated a statement peddling the Russian “disinformation” line—even as they admitted they had no evidence. This result was a blackout of the Hunter news, except in a few places, including these pages. Twitter blocked the Post’s account for nearly two weeks, and Facebook used algorithms to quash the story. This deprived voters of information they might have wanted to know before Election Day. There’s more for our reborn media sleuths to investigate. Mr. Bobulinski provided these pages with documents showing Hunter was looking to use the Biden name to profit from a business deal with a Shanghai-based company with ties to the Chinese government... The Times won a Pulitzer prize for pushing the Russia collusion narrative, which proved to be much ado about nothing. The New York Post deserves a Pulitzer, but it will probably have to settle for well-earned vindication."
I was reading lots of confident dismissals from 2020 and 2021 of it as fake news, and almost no one saying it was genuine, on Quora. So much for that

Mark Hemingway on Twitter - "The media, en masse, waited a year and a half to verify Hunter's laptop so they could report on it, but ran with the false Trump phone call gap story immediately without needing to verify it. This kind of thing keeps happening. Hopelessly politicized and corrupt."

'No yellow!' Hunter Biden referred to Asians with a slur in 2019 texts | Daily Mail Online - "Hunter Biden referred to Asians as 'yellow' in a 2019 text conversation with his cousin. Caroline Biden, President Joe Biden's niece, was texting Hunter discussing setting him up with her rich, model friends... The slur, uncovered from Hunter's abandoned laptop, is particularly distressing as it comes amid a surge in racist attacks against Asian-Americans. President Biden signed into law last month legislation to expedite review of Covid-19-related hate crimes, and vowed to 'stop the hatred and the bias' against Asians. This is the second revelation about Hunter's use of racial slurs in text conversations from his laptop... Hunter also used the n-word multiple times in conversation with his white lawyer. In the days since the n-word texts surfaced, the majority of US media outlets failed to cover Hunter's use of the racial slur... During the January 2019 conversation with his cousin, Hunter, then age 49, said he wanted to date 24-year-olds because they were 'easy to impress'. '24 is great. Seriously,' he wrote. 'Its incredibly easy to impress a 24 year old.' Caroline suggested logging Hunter into Raya, an exclusive dating app that is known for pairing celebrities and the super-rich with models and young groupies... Like Hunter, Caroline has reportedly struggled with addiction for years, and attended court-ordered rehab after one DUI. Friends told the New York Post the 33-year-old went to rehab for alcohol and Adderall addiction while studying at Georgetown University. In 2009 she was briefly detained by Amtrak police after a dispute over a train fare, and in 2013 she was accused of assaulting a New York Police Department officer who broke up a fight. She was sent to an anger management rehab the following year. In 2017 Caroline admitted spending $110,000 on a stolen credit card in New York, and in December last year she spent 20 days in rehab for a DUI after crashing her car into a tree in Pennsylvania... Hunter's father has attempted to make race a central issue in both his presidential campaign – which came amid nationwide protests over racism and police brutality in 2020 – and in his administration."russia

Joe Biden met with Hunter Biden business partner at the White House - "Hunter Biden’s closest business partner made at least 19 visits to the White House and other official locations between 2009 and 2015, including a sitdown with then-Vice President Joe Biden in the West Wing. Visitor logs from the White House of former President Barack Obama reviewed by The Post cast further doubt over Joe Biden’s claims that he knew nothing of his son’s dealings. Eric Schwerin met with Vice President Biden on November 17, 2010 in the West Wing, when he was the president of the since-dissolved investment fund Rosemont Seneca Partners. The logs also reveal that Schwerin met with various close aides of both Joe and Jill Biden at key moments in Hunter’s life when he was striking multi-million dollar deals in foreign countries, including China. Yet President Biden has long insisted he had no involvement in his son’s foreign affairs. “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” he said in 2019... Hunter Biden is already facing a federal investigation over his tax filing, which insiders say has widened to include potential money laundering and violations of lobbying laws. Former business partners have reportedly been cooperating with the feds. House leaders have vowed to subpoena the younger Biden before Congress to answer questions should they retake control of the chamber in 2022. Chief among the unanswered questions is the identity of the Big Guy — a figure mentioned in the hard drive as someone who would receive a slice of equity in a deal with a Chinese energy company. Tony Bobulinski, another Hunter Biden business partner who appeared frequently in hard-drive emails, has said there is “no question” President Biden was “the big guy.”"

NPR Public Editor on Twitter - "Why haven't you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post's Hunter Biden story? Read more in this week's newsletter➡️"
Newsletter - "“We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR Managing Editor for News Terence Samuel told me. “And quite frankly, that's where we ended up, this was … a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.”
NPR on Twitter - "President-elect Biden's dog, Major, will soon be the first shelter pup to make it to the White House. That shelter, the Delaware Humane Association, is planning a virtual "indoguration" ceremony for Major on Sunday."

Repair shop owner sues CNN, Daily Beast, Politico over 'Russian disinformation' claims regarding Hunter Biden's laptop - "The laptop repair store owner at the center of publicizing the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned hardware is now suing CNN, the Daily Beast, and POLITICO for defamatory damages that cost him his livelihood amid claims that the story was "Russian disinformation." Hunter Biden first dropped off his laptop in April 2019, but forgot about it. Mac Isaac shared the laptop’s data with the FBI in December of that year, before then Rudy Giuliani obtained it and the New York Post broke the story in October 2020... "This was collusion led by 51 former pillars in the intelligence community and backed by words and actions of a politically motivated DOJ and FBI. I want this lawsuit to reveal that collusion and more importantly, who gave the marching orders." Mac Isaac singled out Adam Schiff of the House Intelligence Community for pushing the baseless claims in a last-ditch effort to protect the Biden family’s reputation... It was later revealed that Hunter Biden likely lost possession of more than one single laptop"

Daily Beast issues apology to laptop repairman amid lawsuit after claiming Hunter Biden's laptop was 'stolen'

Spectre of son’s scandal to haunt Joe Biden presidency | World | The Sunday Times - "According to Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner, Hunter regularly asked his father for sign-off on deals he was doing in China, which included travelling with Biden on an official vice-presidential trip, when he solicited investment from state banks. In 2017, Hunter accepted a 2.8-carat diamond — worth up to $80,000 — from Ye Jianming, a Chinese tycoon. It was a thank-you gift for helping Ye invest in America."

The Perverse Panic over Plastic

The Campaign Against Plastic Is Harming the Planet and the Public.

"Why do our political leaders want to take away our plastic bags and straws? This question is even more puzzling than a related one that I’ve been studying for decades: Why do they want us to recycle our garbage?

The two obsessions have some common roots, but the moral panic over plastic is especially perverse. The recycling movement had a superficial logic, at least at the outset. Municipal officials expected to save money by recycling trash instead of burying or burning it. Now that recycling has turned out to be ruinously expensive while achieving little or no environmental benefit, some local officials—the pragmatic ones, anyway—are once again sending trash straight to landfills and incinerators.

The plastic panic has never made any sense, and it’s intensifying even as evidence mounts that it’s not only a waste of money but also harmful to the environment, not to mention humans. It’s been a movement in search of a rationale for half a century. During the 1970s, environmentalists like Barry Commoner wanted the government to restrict the use of plastic because it was made from petroleum, which we needed to hoard because we would soon run out of it. When the “energy crisis” proved a false alarm, environmentalists looked for new reasons to panic.

They denounced plastic for not being biodegradable in landfills. They blamed it for littering the landscape, clogging sewer drains, and contributing to global warming. Plastic from our “throwaway society” was killing vast numbers of sea creatures, according to Blue Planet II, a 2017 BBC documentary series that became an international hit. Its depictions of sea turtles, dolphins, and whales in jeopardy prompted Queen Elizabeth II to ban plastic straws and bottles from the royal estates, and the documentary has galvanized so many other leaders that greens celebrate the “Blue Planet Effect.”

More than 100 countries now restrict single-use plastic bags... Celebrities and politicians photographed with the wrong beverage container or straw now endure online “plastic-shaming.”

Some reformers are well-intentioned, but they’re hurting their own cause. If you want to protect dolphins and sea turtles, you should take special care to place your plastic in the trash, not the recycling bin. And if you’re worried about climate change, you’ll cherish those gossamer grocery bags once you learn the facts about plastic.

Like the recycling movement, the plastic panic has been sustained by popular misconceptions. Environmentalists and their champions in the media have ignored, skewed, and fabricated facts to create several pervasive myths.

Your plastic straws and grocery bags are polluting the planet and killing marine animals. The growing amount of plastic debris in the seas is a genuine problem, but it’s not caused by our “throwaway society.” Environmental groups cite a statistic that 80 percent of the plastic debris in the oceans comes from land-based sources, but good evidence has never supported that estimate, and recent research paints a different picture.

After painstakingly analyzing debris in the north central Pacific Ocean, where converging currents create the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a team of scientists from four continents reported in 2018 that more than half the plastic came from fishing boats—mostly discarded nets and other gear. These discards are also the greatest threat to marine animals, who die not from plastic bags but from getting entangled in the nets. Another study, published last year by Canadian and South African researchers, traced the origins of plastic bottles that had washed up on the shore of the aptly named Inaccessible Island, an uninhabited landmass in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean. More than 80 percent of the bottles came from China and must have been tossed off boats from Asia traversing the Atlantic.

Some plastic discarded on land does end up in the ocean, but very little of it comes from consumers in the United States or Europe. Most of the labels on the plastic packaging analyzed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch came from Asia, the greatest source of what researchers call “mismanaged waste.” Of the plastic carried into oceans by rivers, a 2017 study in Nature Communications estimated, 86 percent comes from Asia and virtually all the rest from Africa and South America. Developing countries don’t yet have good systems for collecting and processing waste, so some of it is simply dumped into or near rivers, and these countries’ primitive processing facilities let plastic leak into waterways.

It’s true that some plastic in America is littered on beaches and streets, and some of it winds up in sewer drains. But researchers have found that laws restricting plastic bags (which account for less than 2 percent of litter) and food containers do not reduce litter (a majority of which consists of cigarette butts and paper products). The resources wasted on these anti-plastic campaigns would be better spent on more programs to discourage littering and to pick up everything that’s discarded—a direct approach that has proved effective.

When you recycle plastic, you prevent it from polluting the oceans. This myth is based on the enduring delusion that plastic from curbside bins can be efficiently turned into other products. But sorting the stuff is so onerous and labor-intensive—and the resulting materials of so little value—that recycling plastic is hopelessly unprofitable in the United States and Europe. Municipalities expected to make money selling their plastic waste to local recyclers, but instead they’ve had to pay to get rid of it, mostly by shipping it to Asian countries with low labor costs. The chief destination for many years was China; but two years ago, China banned most imports, so the plastic waste has been diverted to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

That means that some of the plastic from your recycling bin has probably ended up in the ocean because it has gone to a country with a high rate of “mismanaged waste.”...

The good news is that these countries are starting to share China’s reluctance to accept the stuff from our recycling bins. Waste managers in America and Europe lament that their warehouses are overflowing with bales of plastic recyclables that nobody will take off their hands, and they’ve been forced to send the bales to local landfills and incinerators. It would have been smarter to do that in the first place instead of running a costly recycling program, but at least they’re preventing that plastic from polluting the ocean. You can do your own bit for marine animals—and your town’s budget—by throwing your plastic straight into the trash.

Single-use plastic bags are the worst environmental choice at the supermarket. Wrong: they’re the best choice. These high-density polyethylene bags are a marvel of economic, engineering, and environmental efficiency: cheap and convenient, waterproof, strong enough to hold groceries but so thin and light that they require scant energy, water, or other natural resources to manufacture and transport. Though they’re called single-use, surveys show that most people reuse them, typically as trash-can liners.

Once discarded, these bags take up little room in the landfill, and the fact that they’re not biodegradable is a plus, not a minus, because they don’t release methane or any other greenhouse gas, as decomposing paper and cotton bags do. The bags’ tiny quantity of carbon, extracted from natural gas, goes back underground, where it can be safely sequestered from the atmosphere (and the ocean) in a modern landfill with a sturdy lining.

Every other grocery bag has a bigger environmental impact, as repeatedly demonstrated by environmental life-cycle analyses of the bags and by surveys of consumer behavior...

To offset the initial carbon footprint of a cotton tote bag, you’d have to use it 173 times, but the typical tote is used just 15 times, so the net effect is about nine times more carbon emissions than a thin plastic bag.

Environmentalists who have looked at these numbers advise greens to shun cotton bags (even their beloved organic ones) in favor of plastic tote bags, because a bag of nonwoven polypropylene needs to be used just 14 times to offset its initial carbon footprint. At first glance, that looks like a slight net plus for the atmosphere, given that the typical tote is used 15 times. But that benefit disappears once you consider another consequence observed in places that have banned single-use bags: when consumers are deprived of the bags they were using as bin liners, they start buying plastic substitutes that are thicker than the banned grocery bags—and thus have a bigger carbon footprint.

So the net effect of banning plastic grocery bags is more global warming. Exactly how much more depends on which researchers’ life-cycle analysis you choose, but there’s definitely more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as Julian Morris and Brian Seasholes of the Reason Foundation concluded. Using the range of available analyses, they calculated that San Francisco’s plastic-bag ban had caused the greenhouse emissions related to grocery bags to rise by at least 9 percent, and possibly to more than double.

Moreover, as the Reason researchers note, those calculations understate the greenhouse impact because they’re based on analyses that omitted an important factor: the need to wash tote bags to avoid contaminating food with bacteria that leaked from last week’s groceries...

If our goals are to reduce carbon emissions and plastic pollution, we can take some obvious steps. Stop forcing consumers to use grocery bags and other products that increase emissions. Stop exporting plastic waste to countries that allow it to leak into the ocean. Help those countries establish modern systems for collecting and processing their own plastic waste. Send plastic waste straight to landfills and incinerators. Step up the enforcement of laws and treaties that restrict nations from polluting the ocean and that prohibit mariners from littering the seas.

But politicians and environmentalists have other ideas. They’re doubling down on their mistakes by banning more plastic products and demanding alternatives that are more expensive, less convenient, and worse for the environment. Even experts familiar with the facts succumb to magical thinking. Yes, they acknowledge, we shouldn’t be exporting our plastic waste to Asia, but the solution is to recycle it at home. And yes, that’s impractical today, but everything will change after we create a “circular economy,” which merely requires a transformation of society. Guided by wise central planners, manufacturers will redesign their products and retool their factories so that everything can be reused or recycled, and consumers will painstakingly sort everything into just the right recycling bin, and we will all live happily ever after in a world with “zero waste.”

This fantasy isn’t merely a waste of time and money. It is interfering with practical solutions to dealing with plastic pollution. Improving sanitation systems was traditionally a top priority for public-health officials and foreign-aid donors, but it has been neglected as they’ve redirected money and attention to “sustainable development” schemes for recycling and conserving water and energy. This shift in priorities has hampered the development of effective waste-management systems that would keep plastic out of the oceans, according to Mikko Paunio, an epidemiologist in Finland who has studied public-health programs in rich and poor countries around the world.

“Ideologically motivated environmentalists in the 1980s and their dreams of recycling and a ‘circular economy’ are the ultimate cause of the marine waste problem,” he concludes, “because they have discouraged development of municipal waste schemes in Asia and Africa, and because they have encouraged developed nations to use management schemes that make it hard or expensive to deal with waste and therefore tend to ‘leak’ to the environment, sometimes catastrophically so.”

Even if the dream of a circular economy were possible, it would accomplish remarkably little, at enormous expense. Suppose a miraculous revolution occurs in consumer behavior. Suppose you used the tote bags with the lowest carbon footprint (the ones of nonwoven polypropylene) every time you went to the supermarket, and you conscientiously washed the bags with water heated by solar panels on your roof. Over the course of a year, the Reason researchers calculate, you would reduce your carbon emissions by less than the amount spewed by the typical car in two trips to the supermarket. You could have done more for the planet by eliminating those car trips, and there’s a convenient way to do that a lot more often than twice a year: order your groceries online from a service like FreshDirect or Peapod. University of Washington engineers estimate that online grocery shopping can reduce the related carbon emissions by at least half—clearly a more effective method than banning plastic grocery bags.

Then why do environmentalists hector consumers about plastic bags instead of urging them to shop online? Why not focus on something that not only reduces greenhouse emissions but also makes people’s lives easier? The short answer: because the plastic panic isn’t really about saving the planet—and it’s certainly not about making people’s lives easier.

I have been trying to understand the green psyche since 1996, when I set a record for hate mail at the New York Times Magazine with a cover story titled “Recycling Is Garbage.” It was obvious then that the cheapest way to dispose of trash was to bury it in a landfill, and that there would never be a shortage of landfill space, yet people were clamoring to pay extra for the privilege of sorting their own waste. I concluded that recycling was a sacrament to expiate guilt, a rite of atonement for the sin of buying too much stuff. I subsequently found support for that theory from James B. Twitchell’s 2002 analysis of consumer passions, Lead Us into Temptation. “While we claim to be wedded to responsible consumption,” he wrote, “we spend a lot of our time philandering. Trash is lipstick on the collar, the telltale blond hair.” Recycling is our way of saying, “I’m sorry, honey.”

The plastic panic involves consumer guilt, too, but that explains just a small part of it. While recycling programs have long enjoyed broad public support (even as the economics have worsened), similar enthusiasm doesn’t exist for restricting plastic. Market researchers have found that only 15 percent of consumers care enough about environmental issues to change their buying habits and that 50 percent will change only if it comes at no extra cost or hassle. Yet politicians eagerly go on banning plastic bags and looking for more ways to annoy voters, like California’s new law forbidding hotels from providing disposable plastic toiletries.

Why would the California legislature and governor deprive their constituents of those handy little bottles of shampoo? It seemed bizarre to me until I discovered scholars’ analysis of just this sort of petty tyranny in the past. Today’s plastic bans represent a revival of sumptuary laws (from sumptus, Latin for “expense”), which fell out of favor during the Enlightenment after a long and inglorious history dating to ancient Greece, Rome, and China. These restrictions on what people could buy, sell, use, and wear proliferated around the world, particularly after international commerce increased in the late Middle Ages.

Worried by the flood of new consumer goods and by the rising affluence of merchants and artisans, rulers across Europe enacted thousands of sumptuary laws from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. These included exquisitely detailed rules governing dresses, breeches, hose, shoes, jewelry, purses, bags, walking sticks, household furnishings, food, and much more—sometimes covering the whole population, often specific social classes...

Religious authorities considered these laws essential to curb “the sin of luxury and of excessive pleasure,” in the words of Fray Hernando de Talavera, the personal confessor to Spain’s Queen Isabella...

For historians, the great puzzle of sumptuary laws is why rulers went on issuing them for so many centuries despite their ineffectiveness. The specific explanations vary from country to country, but there’s a common theme: the laws persisted because they benefited the right people. In a recent collection of scholarly essays, The Right to Dress, the laws’ appeal is summarized by Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli, a medieval historian at the University of Bologna: “Whatever the lawmakers’ original or prevailing purpose might have been, sumptuary laws were useful instruments of rule.”

The laws didn’t curb the public’s sinful appetite for luxury or contribute to national prosperity, but they comforted the social elite, protected special interests, enriched the coffers of church and state, and generally expanded the prestige and power of the ruling class. For nobles whose wealth was eclipsed by nouveau-riche merchants, the laws reinforced their social status. The restrictions on imported luxuries shielded local industries from competition. The fines collected for violations provided revenue for the government, which could be shared with religious leaders who supported the laws. Even when a law wasn’t widely enforced, it could be used selectively to punish a political enemy or a commoner who got too uppity.

The laws persisted until the waning of royal sovereignty and church authority, starting in the eighteenth century. As intellectuals promoted new rights for commoners and extolled the economic benefits of free trade, sumptuary laws came to be seen as an embarrassing anachronism. Yet the urge to rule inferiors never goes away.

Today’s plastic bans are even less rational than the old sumptuary laws, but they, too, benefit elites. Cheap plastic products have been a boon to the poor and the middle class, which just makes plastic seem even tackier to their social superiors. The old-money scions who used to join the clergy today do their preaching as green activists, and they’ve got the power to impose their preferences now that environmentalism is essentially the new state religion in progressive strongholds. They can lord it over the modern merchant class—the corporations desperately trying to curry social favor by touting their green credentials and making the proper financial obeisance. The plastic panic gives politicians and greens the leverage to extract contributions from companies afraid that they’ll be regulated out of business. It provides fund-raising pitches for greens and subsidies for environmentally correct companies and nonprofit groups.

Most important, the plastic panic gives today’s political rulers and modern nobility a renewed sense of moral superiority. With her half-dozen regal residences, Queen Elizabeth II has one of the world’s largest carbon footprints, but now that she has banned plastic bottles and straws, she can share the first Queen Elizabeth’s dismay at her subjects’ “inordinate excess.” No matter how much fuel politicians and environmentalists burn on their flights to international climate conferences, they can still feel virtuous as they issue their edicts to grocery shoppers.

For now, their power seems secure, but perhaps the public will eventually come to agree with Adam Smith. In The Wealth of Nations, he dismissed sumptuary laws as not just terrible economics but also rank hypocrisy. “It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries,” Smith wrote. “They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs.” We could even be trusted with our plastic bags and straws."

Of course, virtue signalling is more important than actually protecting the environment. Then once the novelty wears off, liberals look for new bullshit to virtue signal and make people's lives more difficult about. And the whipped cream on top of the cherry on top of the sundae is that this all ends up hurting the environment instead.

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