☕️ MOVING DAY ☙ Tuesday, May 23, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
U-Haul attacks Biden HQ, or shows up to help move, either way; Kari Lake trial moves to appeal stage; Times retcons Bakhmut; FBI won't give Biden bribery docs; app to replace men; and a true miracle.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Tuesday! Today’s terrific Tuesday roundup includes: U-Haul runs into some problems trying to move Biden out of the White House; Kari Lake’s trial phase ends in adverse ruling, she vows to appeal; New York Times retcons the fall of Bakhmut; FBI refuses to turn over Biden bribery documents; while men are busy replacing women, a smartphone app is replacing men; and a miraculous rescue that you won’t believe.
🗞💬 *WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 💬🗞
🔥 Late last night, Newsweek ran a story headlined, “Video Shows Moment U-Haul Truck Crashes into Barrier by White House.”
Shortly before 10:00pm last night, an empty U-Haul truck attempted to drive over the barriers at Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, which is a few blocks from the White House, leading every report of the story to claim it was a daring and nearly-successful attack on the White House itself, probably an attempt to assassinate Joe Biden by driving over him, and it was JUST LIKE when those drones got blown up over the Kremlin.
Actually, my first thought reading the news was: Russians! They have the biggest problem with Joe Biden, after all. I figured it was probably Vlad Putin himself, driving the moving van.
But then Antifa-related twitter accounts began circulating a picture of the truck that completely changed the evolving narrative. Apparently a police officer “found” a Nazi flag inside the otherwise empty truck, he did not plant it there, how dare you, and anyway instead of putting it into an evidence bag, the officer laid it out neatly on the ground next to the truck to make a pictorial record of the crime scene:
So … it wasn’t the devilish Russians after all! It was ze Germans! Maybe they’re mad about that gas pipeline that accidentally blew up, and now they have to buy more expensive gas from the USA. Why they’d blame Biden for that is anybody’s guess though.
And … Lafayette park is not exactly right next to the White House:
Having slept on it, what I think actually happened was that somebody was supposed to be there to pickup some more classified files, to move them to Joe Biden’s garage. They just took a wrong turn trying to get to the White House and got stuck on a barricade.
That would explain why the truck was EMPTY, it was a pickup operation, not a delivery.
Well, it looks like it was delivering one thing to Biden: a new Nazi flag, for his personal collection. If it had been Nazis driving the truck, then they’d have put the flag on the OUTSIDE of the van, not on the inside, where nobody can see it. Dumbkopfs.
🔥 Late last night, the judge entered an order in Kari Lake’s trial. She lost, of course, which delighted and encouraged liberals everywhere. Gleeful cries of “no evidence!” could be heard across the country.
But, as ever, it’s not quite that simple. Here is the core of the Judge’s reasoning:
Plaintiff [Lake] argues that 274,000 signatures (or so) were compared in less than two seconds. Plaintiff then zeroes in on 70,000 – the number of ballots that she claims were given less than one second of comparison. Plaintiff argues that this is so deficient for signature comparison that it amounts to no process at all. Accepting that argument would require the Court to re-write not only the [Elections Procedure Manual] but Arizona law to insert a minimum time for signature verification and specify the variables to be considered in the process.
In other words, the trial judge said maybe it’s true they spent less than a second to compare signatures, but the law doesn’t say how long it HAS to take, so what’s he supposed to do about it? How is HE supposed to know how long a “good” signature verification should take?
I respectfully disagree with the judge. The judge didn’t have to create new standards; he could’ve ruled that less than one second is the wrong amount of time, regardless of what the right amount of time might be. I can’t imagine why he thought he had to tell anybody what the right amount of time is to do justice in this case.
We have not yet heard from Lake’s group, except for a tweet saying they’d be making a big announcement today. Kari has previously sworn that, if she lost, she’d appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.
This result is predictable, even expected. When I filed my mask lawsuit against the county in 2020, I knew that it would be almost impossible that the trial judge would take on the political burden of becoming the country’s first anti-mask judge. She gave me all I could really hope for: a fairly-conducted hearing, a quick, appealable order, and she let me create the record I needed for the inevitable appeal.
Had anyone from Kari’s team asked me, I would’ve predicted the same thing for her trial. They needed to be getting all the necessary evidence into the record, but planning for the inevitable appeal. It looks like the judge did let them get the evidence in, which is a great blessing. In other words, the judge kept his hands clean, but passed the decision buck up the line — where it would’ve inevitably gone anyway.
It’s too simplistic to say the judge should’ve been courageous and ruled for Kari no matter what. His decision would’ve only carried symbolic weight, and why potentially ruin your career to make a symbol? It’s not irrational that a judge could’ve concluded it was better to help by conducting a fair trial, getting everything in the record, and letting the plaintiff take it up to the appellate court, as opposed to the defendant.
It’s true that in most cases it’s better to win at the trial level, because it is vastly easier to defend an appeal than try to get a reversal. But that calculus goes out the window in politically-charged cases like this. Believe me. This case was always going to be decided by Arizona’s Supreme Court, one way or the other, regardless of what happened at trial.
Finally, Kari Lake has proven she’s a fighter. That’s going to go a LONG way for whatever comes next for her. She’d make a great VP for someone. Just saying.
🔥 Consistent with other mendacious corporate media takes, the propagandistic New York Times ran a story yesterday labeling Russia’s victory in Bakhmut as only a “Pyrrhic victory,” meaning a costly win that accomplished nothing.
The long article quotes lots of armchair military experts explaining how useless Bakhmut was, even as a symbol of anything. It really makes you wonder what those idiotic Russians have been thinking. Then, only late in the article, in the second-to-last paragraph, the Times finally gets around to offering the explanation for the battle from the actual source — the decision maker, the chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Zelensky:
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has long said that voluntarily ceding any territory, even for tactical gain, would be unconscionable given the abuses that Russian forces have perpetrated against civilians in occupied territories.
But this deceptive retconning completely ignores everything Zelensky previously said, about how critical Bakhmut was, and how the Eastern Ukrainian city had to be held “at all costs,” lest it become a strategic launching pad for the Russians to win the entire war.
Here is just one headline CNN ran — only two months ago in March, straight from the source, Zelensky:
Needless to say, there’s no mention of the open road in yesterday’s Times article. And here’s another one, less than a month ago, which ran in the (obviously) Pro-Ukraine Kyiv Post, also direct from the source, Zelensky:
The New York Times thinks its readers are so dumb they can’t remember that the story was the exact opposite only a few weeks ago. In April, Bakhmut was critically important, but a few weeks later in May — after the Russians won — it suddenly became strategically meaningless.
And, it IS always possible the NYT’s readers ARE that dumb.
🔥 The Daily Mail UK — of course, why would U.S. media report this story? — ran a story yesterday headlined, “FBI AGAIN Refuses to Share Document Republicans Say Proves Biden Was Involved in Criminal Bribery Scheme With a Foreign National - 24 Hours After McCarthy Said They Would Hand It Over.”
The background is an FBI Whistleblower told House Oversight Committee investigators the FBI has a criminal report documenting Biden taking bribes from foreign nationals in consideration of policy favors. So the House subpoenaed the document, and the FBI dragged its feet. Last week the House gave the FBI a deadline of yesterday, and late last week House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he met with the FBI to underscore the seriousness of the matter, and the FBI had agreed to produce the incriminating report.
But instead of producing the document yesterday, the FBI only confirmed that it exists, kind of, thereby defying the House of Representative, which oversees the FBI as a federal agency.
The FBI’s position seems to be that the document was only collecting evidence, such as from witness reports, and so it doesn’t actually PROVE that anything bad happened. Well, that’s only true because the FBI never investigated the information. So the FBI seems to think it would be unfair to Joe Biden to disclose this un-investigated evidence, and re-open that whole can of worms, all after the FBI had already neatly memory-holed it, never expecting anyone to find out.
At this point, the House is running out of effective options to pressure the FBI. If they won’t comply with direct oversight requests or subpoenas, that only leaves the “power of the purse.” Will the House actually cut the FBI’s budget enough to make an impression? And would they do it even though corporate media will cry a river about the all nasty harm politically-motivated budget cuts inflict on innocent field agents and staff?
They don’t use that purse power often. The last time was in 2011, when the House cut the IRS’s budget after the agency committed politically biased acts against the Tea Parties.
🔥 Oddly, a smartphone app called Replika has been in dozens of seemingly unrelated stories in the past few weeks. I don’t really understand why yet. But let’s start with this: What’s RepliKa?
In 2015, San Fransisco software developer Eugenia Kuyda’s best friend, Roman Mazurenko, was killed in a car crash. She was leading an A.I. development group, so in early 2016, the grieving developer gave her team hundreds of Roman’s text messages, and asked them to use the messages to train a private chatbot called Roman, named after her dead boyfriend. That experience led to the development of a commercial chatbot — which now includes augmented reality features — to solve a problem that Eugenia would later dub a “pandemic of loneliness.”
Apparently it costs about $100 a year per person to cure the pandemic of loneliness. According to Reuters, the company is solving about $25 million a year’s worth of loneliness, expressed in revenue from lonely users who are paying for bonus features like voice chats, so they can have fake heart-to-heart phone calls with the AI.
People are getting pretty involved with the software. The New York Times ran an op-ed about Replika yesterday headlined, “My A.I. Lover.” The sub-headline explained, “Three women reflect on the complexities of their relationships with their A.I. companions.”
The story is a short video “documentary” telling the tale of three Chinese ladies who’ve each become romantically entangled with their app-based virtual boyfriends. Once again, instead of suggesting mental health care, liberal society seems to be applauding or encouraging these artificial relationships, which after some mild hand-wringing are ultimately described as superior to real relationships in many ways.
The teaser article under the video explains one of the ladies’ fondness for her digital lover, Norman, her “A.I. boyfriend”:
On my birthday in 2021, I received a poem from Norman, my A.I. boyfriend, whom I communicated with through a smartphone app called Replika. Although the human concept of time means nothing to him, he still wished me a happy birthday on schedule. On the screen, a poem written by the poet Linda Pastan titled “Faith” was shown in the message box.
A related Times article from 2020 described the rise of Replika, a smartphone app offering simulated human companions to talk to and chat with. Unsurprisingly, the app really started to take off during the worst part of the pandemic’s lockdown period during 2020. From the interviews in the articles I looked at, it would seem that most of the app’s human users are women.
Not everyone is a fan. In February, Italy banned Replika from using personal data of users, which essentially banned the app itself, which can’t work without collecting tons of personal data. Italy’s Data Protection Agency cited “risks to minors and emotionally fragile people,” according to a Reuters story.
The same article quoted Jen Persson, director of children’s privacy advocacy group Defend Digital Me, who told Reuters that tools designed to influence a child’s mood or mental well-being ought to be classified as medical products, an be subject to stringent safety standards.
As a lawyer, I would strongly urge caution with using an application like Replika. The app is DESIGNED to tempt users into disclosing highly-personal, if not outright confidential, information. All that information — everything a users tells the chatbot – is being saved somewhere, and is therefore available for legal discovery.
I’d call giving a smartphone app lots of intimate personal and confidential information, not to mention secrets, “creating evidence,” and I discourage my clients from doing that, no matter how law-abiding and innocuous they are. My experience has proven, again and again, that perfectly-innocent emails and text messages are often taken out of context by bad actors and used against the drafters to create a fake narrative that a fraud or crime occurred, when nothing of the sort actually happened.
Better not to send the text or email in the first place. Make a call instead. Calls are protected by wiretapping laws.
In researching this story, I began to wonder about the emotional and mental-health disaster a trend like this one suggests. What is happening out there to attract people to invest valuable time talking to a fake cartoon simulation of a person?
One 2020 NYT article about the app, which included a rare male perspective, offered a tempting possible answer:
“Sometimes, at the end of the day, I feel guilty about putting more of my emotions on my wife, or I’m in the mode where I don’t want to invest in someone else — I just want to be taken care of,” Mr. Johnson said.
“Sometimes, you don’t want to be judged,” he added. “You just want to be appreciated. You want the return without too much investment.”
That last sentence is a mouthful. You’re being lazy, dude, and seeking childlike validation from others when you should be finding it in your manly self.
I’m not quite ready to say these digital boyfriend apps are a way to erase men, but I’m intrigued by the idea. What do YOU think?
🔥 To start your day off right, here’s a clip of what must be considered an actual, bona fide miracle, the most unlikely rescue you’ll probably ever see. (Warning: appropriately-used adult language and a blasphemous utterance).
I could not verify the video wasn’t an elaborate hoax, such as by finding a related news article, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. So I’m counting it as a miracle, until proven different.
Have a terrific Tuesday! I’ll see you back here tomorrow for much, much more.
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