Category: Media and Journalism

Striking Thirteen: Where We’ve Arrived

Striking Thirteen: Where We’ve Arrived

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

— George Orwell, opening sentence of 1984

It has taken thirty-eight years, but at last we have arrived in 1984. Lies have become truth, truth has become misinformation, and ignorance has become strength. It may not be a bright cold day in April, but the clocks are, indeed, striking thirteen.

As some of you may have noticed, it has been distressingly long, more than a month, since I’ve written in this blog. The easy, if only partially truthful, explanation is that I’ve been distracted with several other projects, some of a writing nature, some not, and some just to fill the void and, futilely, avoid dealing with the ever increasing absurdity that surrounds us and that seems so difficult to even explain any more.

In my last post I wrote of how Elon Musk planned to buy Twitter, hoping to return some semblance of free speech and thought to the platform. For this, he was viciously attacked and maligned, mostly by those on the political left, for whom free speech would seemingly be a priority. But in the way in which contemporary American life is twisted and mutilated in ways hard to explain, to those on the left, the idea of free speech, of all different views being openly expressed, is like holding up a crucifix to a vampire. It cringes and raises its arm over its eyes, screaming at the very idea. The left has gained the political strength it previously lacked through the use of its own misinformation, crushing and blocking any views that contradict its view of the world, and it is strongly resisting relinquishing that power.

Government becomes a parody of itself

And why should it, considering we now have an alleged president who, through his minions, daily tells the most bald-faced lies in the hope, not entirely without basis given a docile and compliant media, that they will be accepted by the masses as truth. To further its assault on the inconvenient truth, it — through the Department of Homeland Security (itself something of an Orwellian name) — came up with its own version of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, suitably dubbed the Disinformation Governance Board.

It turned into one of the rare instances when government becomes such a parody of itself that it can’t be covered up, no matter how diligent and proficient the liars at the White House podium are. We had the department, headed by the monumentally incompetent Alejandro Mayorkas, whose incessant misinformation about the catastrophe taking place on our southwest border is uttered under oath to Congress, appointing a self-anointed “disinformation fellow” and “Russian disinformation expert” — herself a clownish figure and Dem partisan given to spreading massive disinformation — to head its new Ministry of Truth.

If you haven’t been sequestered in a Nepalese rice patty over the past several weeks, you’ve probably seen this clip of the new (and then) Czar of Disinformation, Nina Jankowicz, doing her best (which is not to say good) Mary Poppins imitation on TikTok at least several dozen times. Viewer warning: If you are of weak stomach, or wish to retain any vestiges of faith in what passes for your government, you may wish to skip this short video . Viewer discretion definitely advised.

Aside from being an embarrassment to even herself, Jankowicz is a major purveyor of disinformation, calling the now infamous Hunter Biden laptop a product of Russian disinformation (it’s been well established to be authentic, and in fact was before the 2020 elections, though Twitter blocked any mention of it), and a promoter of the Steele Dossier, which formed the basis for the Russia Hoax that dogged the Trump administration for its entirety, an utter falsehood which has now been definiteively tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

But we can take heart, gentle reader. After just a few weeks on the job, and under cover of claiming she and her family had received death threats, Jankowicz resigned as Disinformation Czar, and DHS put its Disinformation Governance Board on hold. Clock, in this case, pushed back to 1983. But the fight is far from over.

The Supreme Court Springs a Leak

While the Ministry of Truth story was unfolding, an even bigger story broke lose. Unprecedented in U.S. history, someone — still undetermined nearly a month after the fact — leaked, to Politico, a draft of a majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, in which the 1973 landmark decision of Roe v. Wade was to be overturned. And, no surprise, all hell broke out over this news, and pro-choice demonstrators immediately showed up at the High Court, and then they took to raucous demonstrations outside the homes of the conservative justices after someone “doxed” their addresses.

As shocking as this unprecedented leak was — no one has yet been held accountable for it, despite an investigation announced by Chief Justice John Roberts — more shocking was the Biden Administration’s statement that it did not view the leak as a crime, and its refusal to condemn the demonstrations taking place at the justices’ homes. It seems the separation of powers — the Supreme Court being one of the three branches of government — holds little importance to the administration nor to the Democratic leadership in Congress. The latter should come as no surprise since no less than Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously, in 2020, threatened conservative justices that they would “reap the whirlwind” if they went ahead with decisions of which he disapproved.

“I want to tell you [Neil] Gorsuch. I want to tell you [Brett] Kavanaugh,” Schumer shouted out to an abortion-rights rally from the steps of the Supreme Court. “You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

As a matter of law, 18 U.S.C., Paragraph 1507 makes the actions and words of Schumer and those demonstrating outside the Supreme Court and the justices’ homes a crime:

“Whoever, with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer, in the discharge of his duty, pickets or parades in or near a building housing a court of the United States, or in or near a building or residence occupied or used by such judge, juror, witness, or court officer, or with such intent uses any sound-truck or similar device or resorts to any other demonstration in or near any such building or residence, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

But with an administration and a so-called Justice Department for which law means little, you can expect no action to be taken to enforce the statute. Justices couldn’t even get police protection for their homes in the liberal jurisdictions in which they live.

In a country where virtually every aspect of life is swirling down the toilet at an alarming rate, with the blame squarely falling on Democrats, who control the White House and both houses of Congress, it would not be cynical to see the leak as a way to try to gin up voter support to keep the party from going over an electoral cliff in the upcoming November midterm elections.

With support for Dems falling to record lows among Hispanic and black voters — upon which the party depends — the last remaining bastion of support was among women. So what better way to mobilize that support than by leaking the Alito decision? Of course, that logic escaped some on the left, including NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg, who led the false-flag counter-charge, claiming the “leading theory” was that a conservative clerk leaked the draft. “Leading,” to whom, other than Totenberg and the left?

Driving the school bus onto the tracks

If the domestic mess isn’t big enough, Jell-O Joe decided he needed to bolster his cred overseas, so he went off to South Korea and Japan, fumbling and bumbling as he went. But it wasn’t enough that he addressed the South Korean President by his predecessor’s name, or that he told jokes no one understood, or that he looked like his usual sleepy, disoriented self. No, that wouldn’t do.

Once again going off the remarks prepared for him by his handlers, while in Japan Biden announced that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan, in a moment reversing decades of U.S. policy. Needless to say, this drew an immediate outcry from Beijing, and Biden’s handlers once more were left walking back his remarks and cleaning up the mess in Biden’s brain. So, in an instant, the guy you wouldn’t trust to drive your kid’s school bus drove it, with all us kids aboard, onto the railroad tracks and stopped it there, with a train coming.

And then, if all this doesn’t tell you the clocks are striking thirteen in America, we have the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. And all the lessons we should have learned from Colombine and Sandy Hook and Parkland weren’t learned, and we’re back to mourning the dead and asking how these individuals slipped through the cracks when the warning signs were writ large and unmistakable. But that gets into a whole new area. I think I’ve depressed you, and myself, enough at this point, so will end it here.

Listen for those clocks, my friends, that tell us where we’ve arrived, and may they be a wake up call to all of us.

Featured image: Pure Evil’s George Orwell Graffitti Wall, Southwold, England. From streetartsheffield.com. Used under Fair Use.

Nina Jankowicz, from TikTok. Used under Fair Use.

Chuck Schumer reaping the whirlwind, AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.

 

Turning Twitter Around: A Battle Won in the War for Free Speech?

Turning Twitter Around: A Battle Won in the War for Free Speech?

Unless you’ve been living in an ice cave deep in the far reaches of the Antarctic continent for the past couple of weeks, you’re aware of the battle between Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest human, and the guardians of the septic system known as Twitter. You’re probably also aware that on Monday this week the battle was ceded by Twitter’s board and, pending government regulator approval and a vote of the shareholders, Musk will acquire all of Twitter’s stock and take the company private.

With an offer of $54.20 a share — a price encapsulating a subtle hidden message — the deal, valued at about $44 billion, was achieved with finance from Morgan Stanley and some other banks. Musk, worth an estimated $268 billion, is expected to put in about $21 billion in equity, the balance coming from debt and margin loan finance.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement following announcement of the deal. In a recent public presentation, he also said, “Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all.”

One would think that those for whom free speech should mean a great deal — people like the journalists, commentators, writers, academics, politicians, and other members of the chattering class that populate the platform — would be buoyed by those words. And sadly, tragically, one would be disappointed, hearing the great outpouring of blather criticizing both Musk and his ideas about the importance of free speech. For those people, the only free speech that matters is that which promotes their own leftist, woke, elitist, and establishmentarian view of the universe, and anyone who disagrees with it can stuff it. That is the state of discourse in this country and beyond, Twitter being but a distilled version of it.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth

Judging by the wailing and gnashing of teeth, ranging from Twitter employees, themselves responsible for so much of the repression of free speech on the platform, to commentators on CNN and MSNBC, to so-called celebrities, both known and unknown, one would think Musk’s acquisition of Twitter was akin to the death of unbiased speech, instead of its — far more likely — liberation. But in a time when “misinformation” equals anything that doesn’t support the official party line, however ludicrous and discredited that line might be, and when the epithets “racist” and “homophobic” can be bandied about like beads at a Mardi Gras parade, a true supporter of free speech might take heart at Musk’s intents.

While one can factually argue that Facebook and Google are both far bigger platforms and far more repressive of free speech than Twitter, Twitter is — as Musk describes it — “…the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” So in that sense, it is where the society’s gatekeepers and opinion setters gather and, for that reason, it holds far more power over the direction the society takes. And those who have benefited the most from holding sway over that direction are now panic-stricken that their oversized power and prestige and position might be threatened.

Actress Jameela Jamil who, pardon my ignorance, I confess I’ve never heard of, tweeted, “Ah [Musk] got twitter. I would like this to be my what lies here as my last tweet. I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny. Best of luck.”

Not to be outdone, an “activist” named Shaun King deleted his Twitter account after posting, “At its root, @ElonMusk wanting to purchase Twitter is not about left vs right. It’s about white power….He’s upset that Twitter won’t allow white nationalists to target/harass people. That’s his definition of free speech.”

Huh?

George Takei OOOH MYYY

Irony, irony, and more irony

Not a huge surprise, given contemporary realities, that the left, once married to principles of free speech, now dread, fear, and even condemn it. Irony? Or the result of the relentless erosion of traditional liberal values? Both you say?

Being unintentionally ironic, Star Trek actor George Takei, whom I’ve at least heard of, had this to say: “I’m not going anywhere. Should this place become more toxic, I pledge to strive even harder to lift up reason, science, compassion and the rule of law. The struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate requires tough fighters. I hope you stay in the fight, right beside me.”

One has to wonder if “reason and science” include blocking and de-platforming, as Twitter has done, any questions that COVID-19, arguably the biggest story of the past two years, might — might — have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, or if they include the possibility that the COVID vaccines maybe aren’t all they were cracked up to be. One also wonders if “the rule of law” and “the struggle against fascism, misinformation, and hate” could extend to the criminal activities of the Biden crime family, given that Twitter not only blocked but locked out the accounts of those reporting, or even linking to the articles, on the Hunter Biden laptop, the so-called Laptop From Hell, and the damning evidence it contained in the days leading up to the pivotal 2020 presidential elections. Or possibly the “Russia hoax” story and all the hatred it generated, which Twitter and much of the mainstream media were more than eager to promote as “truth” (and still do, despite the proof we now have that it was a manufactured lie promulgated by the Hillary Clinton campaign).

Similar questions might be raised about the tweet of Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, founder of the World Health Network. who wrote, “Just a thought–next time we have $44 billion laying around, can we please spend it to solve the pandemic, climate change, hunger, poverty, and malnutrition?” Maybe, one might think, some honest debate on those subjects can lead to more reasoned understanding of them, rather than treating them as tenets of religious faith.

None other than the nearly canonized Barack Obama told Stanford University students last Thursday that not more, but less free speech is needed to combat dreaded “misinformation” (read: anything that disagrees with the ruling class and official orthodoxy) on social media platforms. This coming from a world-class spreader of “misinformation” in the form of promulgating the Russia hoax, among other falsehoods. Of course, this view encapsulates Obama’s inherent distrust of the ordinary citizen to make his or her own judgments when faced with conflicting information.

Some of the silliest outcries were raised by those who said billionaires shouldn’t own tech companies or media. Do they mean people like billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, who owns The Washington Post, or Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who owns a significant chunk of The New York Times? Or perhaps they mean billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, or Google billionaire founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, or possibly billionaire Twitter founder Jack Dorsey? One suspects not, given the liberal tilt of all those billionaires. It’s just the billionaires, like Elon Musk, of a libertarian and free-speech tilt that they don’t approve of. Apparently lacking any sense of irony, one WAPO columnist went so far to say it was “dangerous” when billionaires buy media, seemingly oblivious to his own boss’s net worth.

And of course, behind much of the angst is the fear that the dreaded Orange Man, Donald Trump, might be allowed back on the platform. The horror! That a former president of the United States with tens of millions of supporters might be allowed to speak his mind. But those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome — which should be a bona fide mental illness listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM — might take comfort in Trump’s announcement that he didn’t plan on returning to Twitter but would stay with his own new platform, TRUTH Social.

A disclaimer

In the interest of fairness and honesty, things not much found on Twitter, let me offer a disclaimer of my own. Actually, two disclaimers.

First, I am not now nor have I ever been a member of Twitter. Even before it fully descended into the sewer of hatred and venom and bias in which it now wallows, I found it to be unconducive to effective communication. I wrote about this several years ago, and my opinion of it has not changed, except in a negative direction, since. Actually, it was back in 2015 when I had this to say in my comment about Twitter.

I am sure I could more effectively promote my own work, which continues to languish in obscurity, were I to take a place on Twitter, but I feel I have to deal with enough negativity in life without diving into the waves of mindless invective that permeate Twitter and, in truth, just about every other place online where people express their views, no matter how mindless and hateful. I fully acknowledge that that trend might continue, and possibly accelerate, if and when Musk takes the halters off the platform, but that is the price of free speech. Of course, as Twitter in its current manifestation demonstrates, it’s also the price of repressed speech.

I’ve long been a believer in the view expressed by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in his concurring statement in the 1927 case of Whitney v. California: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

My second disclaimer concerns Elon Musk. There is much about Musk I admire — his brilliance, his acute business acumen, his successful track record in creating effective private access to space. I also admire his mouthiness and willingness to not to take guff from anyone, whether it’s the head of the Russian space program, Elizabeth Warren, or the raving critics of his acquisition of Twitter. On the other hand, I’m not a huge fan of Tesla and EVs in general, but especially since Tesla is arguably more a Chinese than an American company. I also strongly disagree with Musk over the role of hydrogen, which Musk calls “incredibly dumb,” as the fuel of the future. Further, I’m not a fan of naming one’s child X Æ A-12, as he and current wife Grimes, AKA Claire Elise Boucher, named their son, youngest of Musk’s six children. But I try not to be too judgmental of peoples’ parenting.

One can take heart in Musk’s invitation to his fiercest critics to remain on Twitter.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter,” he tweeted, “because that is what free speech means.”

The war to preserve free speech is far from over, but this could be an important win on the battlefield of ideas.

 

Featured image: Elon Musk accepts Axel Springer Award, Berlin, December 2020, Britta Pedersen/Pool, via Getty-Images. Used under Fair Use.

George Takei, OOOH MYYY, ed7, Giphy.Com. Used with permission.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.

Sweeping Up the Mess in Biden’s Brain

Sweeping Up the Mess in Biden’s Brain

After his seriously faltering performance in Europe in recent days, even the most ardent supporter of our alleged president has to admit something is seriously wrong with him. If they can’t admit this simple fact, repeatedly broadcast out for all the world to see, either they are profoundly dishonest or, plausibly, they might be suffering from the same dementia afflicting the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Unless you’ve been vacationing in a cave on a remote island lackng Internet or cable service, and if you’ve been paying even cursory attention to the frightening blather coming out of Biden’s mouth in recent days, you have probably already heard the things he’s been saying that have gotten so much attention. These aren’t just Jell-O Joe’s usual gaffes and non-sequiturs. They go to the heart of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Ukraine and Russia, and they come at a time of critically high tension, the highest tension in many decades, between the two biggest nuclear powers on earth. In the midst of a world-class crisis when the utmost precision is needed in our leaders’ language, President Grandpa is out there uttering babble that would befuddle your typical Applebee’s waitress.

The only comfort we can take is that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping know Biden is just pinch hitting and isn’t really calling the shots in the U.S. Their psychological warfare experts have no doubt fully briefed them on what is, or isn’t, going on between Biden’s ears, so they can take some of his rants and rambles much as the rest of us take the rants and rambles of a favorite, but over-ripe, relative at a holiday dinner. That’s thin comfort, though. Not the only difference, but one of the bigger ones, between Uncle Terrance and Uncle Joe is that Uncle Joe has his finger on the nuclear button, while Uncle Terrance just needs some help putting gravy on this mashed potatoes.

Aside from my attempts at humor, this is no laughing matter. After all, Biden is, even if nominally, the Commander-in-Chief. So when he says the U.S. might use a chemical weapon, that American troops would soon be witnessing Ukrainian women standing in front of tanks in Kyiv, or that Vladimir Putin needs to go as head of state in Russia, these statements potentially indicate huge shifts in U.S. policy. And when, in each case, White House staff quickly come out and say, never mind, those things aren’t really U.S. policy, sweeping up the mess originating in Biden’s confused brain, that again raises the very real question of who really is in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If that isn’t bad enough, once back on U.S. soil, and adding to the confusion and the questions about what really is our policy, Biden petulantly insisted he never said the things he said — things that have been recorded and broadcast a zillion times — and then angrily said he’s not rolling back anything. Did you hear that, Vlad? Joe says you have to go. And he really means it. It’s enough to make preppers out of all of us.

Letting Joe Speak for Himself

We can see now, more clearly than ever, what happens when Jell-O Joe doesn’t have his trusty teleprompter to read from, and why he’s repeatedly told — as he himself readily says — that he’s not allowed to answer questions. Once off script, the script his aides and speechwriters have prepared for him, he’s like a four-year-old spilling out family secrets, and whatever else comes into his head, to the neighbors. Only he does it with his eyes closed, seemingly struggling to find the next idea hiding among his remaining functioning brain cells.

Let’s let Joe speak for himself, and just take the most egregious statements to come out of his visits to Belgium and Poland, juxtapositioned with what others in his administration and on White House staff have said, and you can draw your own conclusions.

On sanctions and deterrence

Joe, in Brussels last Thursday, in answer to a CBS reporter’s question: ““Let’s get something straight. If you remember, if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that in fact the sanctions would deter him [Putin]. Sanctions never deter. You keep talking about that. Sanctions never deter.”

But the administration line for weeks and months said something quite different (emphasis added):

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, on Feb. 11: “The president believes that sanctions are intended to deter. And in order for them to work — to deter, they have to be set up in a way where if Putin moves, then the costs are imposed.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February: ““The purpose of the sanctions in the first instance is to try to deter Russia from going to war. As soon as you trigger them, that deterrent is gone. And until the last minute, as long as we can try to bring a deterrent effect to this, we’re going to try to do that.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: ““We want them to have a deterrent effect, clearly. And he hasn’t invaded yet.”

Just after Russia’s initial incursion into Ukraine, Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser for international economics and deputy director at the National Economic Council: “Sanctions are not an end to themselves. They serve a higher purpose. And that purpose is to deter and prevent. They’re meant to prevent and deter a large-scale invasion of Ukraine that could involve the seizure of major cities, including Kyiv. They’re meant to prevent large-scale human suffering that could involve tens of thousands of casualties in a conflict.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, herself an expert at verbal nonsensical salad, at a NATO conference four days before the invasion: ““Absolutely, we strongly believe [that sanctions deter]. It will exact absolute harm for the Russian economy. The purpose of the sanctions has always been and continues to be deterrence.”

Of course, a day after the invasion started, Biden walked over his VP’s claim, saying: “No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening.”

Oopsie.

On possible U.S. use of a chemical weapon

Biden, last Thursday in Brussels, on whether Russia might use a chemical weapon and what the U.S. response would be: “We would respond. We would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.” Later, asked by a reporter whether the use of chemical weapons by Russia would trigger a NATO military response, Biden, again eyes closed as he struggled to make a reply, responded, “It would trigger a response in kind.”

Those last two word — “in kind” — raised the question whether that meant the U.S. would use a chemical weapon in response.

Friday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tried to mop up Biden’s verbal spill: “The United States has no intention of using chemical weapons, period, under any circumstances.”

On American troops in Ukraine

After chowing down on pizza and taking selfies with members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Rzeszow, Poland, last Friday, Biden, speaking in his somnolent way, told the troops: “You’re going to see when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re gonna see — you’re gonna see women, young people standing in the middle in front of a damned tank just saying, ‘I’m not leaving, I’m holding my ground.’”

Nothing like a good story to liven up reality, but a Biden sweepsperson, uh, I mean spokesperson, followed up by saying: ““The president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.”

On regime change in Russia

Wrapping up his tetralogy of verbal deviations from official U.S. policy, Uncle Joe had one more whopper to throw on the grill on Saturday before (thankfully) leaving Poland: After berating Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, this time shouting his words, Biden ended with, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

Other than giving the liberal American media something they can fawn over, shouting out the words don’t make them any less, well, stupid. If what Biden said sounds to you like a call for regime change in Moscow, you’re not alone in that. Even the very liberal Atlantic had a handle on the problem. As the magazine subtitled Tom Nichols’s piece on Biden’s speech, “The words of every world leader matter right now, and none more than those of the president of the United States.”

Which kind of underscores why Biden’s verbal wanderings are important. And troubling.

Rushing to walk back Biden’s impromptu remark, a White House spokesman said, “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

Well, that’s not what he said, and it sure sounded like a call for regime change to a lot of people.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned that use of such inflammatory language in an already volatile situation was not useful, and he was not alone among European leaders expressing anguish over Biden’s words. And the Kremlin said “personal insults” — Biden had called Putin “a butcher” — would further undermine relations, such as they are, between Russia and the U.S. Ostensibly this also would make reaching some sort of diplomatic settlement to the conflict more difficult. People can, and do, die over such blunders.

Amid all the blustery rhetoric, one has to wonder why the U.S. has been so slow to provide the levels of weapons support asked for by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and which the U.S. has promised. As I always say, don’t go by what people say. Go by what they do.

More Biden creepiness

Adding to the bizarre aspect of all this, Biden did his usual inappropriate flirting with a young Ukrainian refugee, serving as a volunteer assisting other refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, named Victoria. After hugging her, rubbing her shoulders, and letting his hands remain on her, he asked her, through a translator, “How do you say, in Ukrainian, who do you owe those beautiful eyes to? Your father or your mother? Who had the eyes?”

The stunned Victoria simply answered that they were from her mother.

“Mother’s eyes. You owe mama very big. You owe mama,” Biden blathered to the woman, before moving on to mingle with other refugees and volunteers and picking up small children to hold them, as he has been wont to do with small children over the years.

Not content to offend Ukrainian refugees, he also had to insult Americans’ intelligence, too. In one of his other more outrageous statements, Biden compared the Ukrainian refugees fleeing into Poland to the millions of illegal immigrants his administration has allowed to cross the U.S. southwest border into the U.S. As I keep saying, you can’t make this stuff up.

Denying reality . . . or not aware of it?

Of course, Biden never said any of these things, anyway. Just ask him, like Fox News’s Peter Doocy did at a presidential press conference on Monday. Here’s the actual conversation, and you can judge what the reality is:

Doocy: “Are you worried that other leaders in the world are going to start to doubt that America is ‘back’ if some of these big things that you say on the world stage keep getting walked back?”

Biden: “What’s getting walked back?”

Doocy: “Just in the last couple days . . . it sounded like you told troops they were going to Ukraine, it sounded like you said it was possible the U.S. would use a chemical weapon, and it sounded like you were calling for regime change in Russia, and we know . . . ”

Biden, interrupting: “None of the three occurred.”

Doocy: “None of the three occurred?”

Biden: “None of the three . . . You interpret the language that way.”

Later, Biden repeated, “I’m not walking anything back.”

He might not be, but the rest of his motley crew is busy not just walking, but running things back, desperately trying to sweep up Biden’s verbal messes, re-write what we actually heard, and stave off World War III. Meanwhile, the rest of us — and the world — wonder who, if anyone, really is at the helm. If you still believe it’s Jell-O Joe, I have a nice bombed-out building in Mariupol to sell you.

Featured image: Messy Room, levelord, Pixabay. Used with permission.

Joe Biden eats pizza with the troops in Poland, Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.

Back to the USSR: America’s Media Corruption

Back to the USSR: America’s Media Corruption

America’s newsrooms could use more people like Marina Ovsyannikova. That’s her there, holding up that sign on Russia’s state-run Channel One TV informing viewers that they’re being lied to about Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

“NO WAR,” the sign says, and then in Russian, “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here,” and finally ending with, “Russians Against War.”

Facing possible prosecution and severe punishment, Ovsyannikova, a news editor at the station, felt she couldn’t stay silent any more as state television pumped out falsehoods to gin up public support for the country’s invasion of its neighbor. Her dramatic display of dissent was followed in short order by the similarly inspired resignation of Lilia Gildeyeva, a long-time anchor at Gazprom Media-owned NTV — technically a commercial station but closely aligned with the Kremlin — who fled the country before submitting her resignation, saying she feared she wouldn’t be allowed to leave if she resigned first. Just last year Gildeyeva was on a list of journalists praised by Putin for “achievements in developing mass media.”

While many in Russia know they’re being lied to by their so-called news media, many Americans have been slow to catch on that their so-called news media have been lying to them, too. Incessantly fed tall tales of “Russian collusion” and “Russian misinformation” and “Russian interference in American elections” by their own print and broadcast news sources, Americans have been led down a path of divisiveness, lies, coverups, and political fraud that would put Russian propagandists to shame.

Some of us have known for a long time that the mainstream media were complicit in deceiving the American public, largely on behalf of the Democratic Party and party elites and in the rabid and irrational manifestation of TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). As a recovering journalist, I’m more attuned to these things than most, and have been calling out the lies and deceit in the nearly five years I’ve been posting my pieces on FJY.US and now on Substack. It’s always nice to be right, and as the truth inexorably comes out, things I’ve reported and opined on have almost in all cases been proven correct. It’s bitter pleasure, though, seeing how readily so many people, including people I know personally, bought, and continue to buy, into the lies being fed them.

Unless one is a regular viewer of Fox News — itself maligned by the media and political propagandists — or is willing to search out and read or listen to knowledgeable sources not corrupted by the prevailing political orthodoxy, one wouldn’t have a clue what really is going on in this country.

It only took 17 months and what amounts to a fraudulent presidential election for the exalted New York Times to finally acknowledge that the laptop reported in October 2020 by the New York Post to belong to First Son Hunter Biden is, in fact, authentic. The Times couldn’t even admit that it had covered up the story at the time it broke — part of a massive media and Big Tech coverup geared toward getting Hunter’s father, Joe, elected president, and to block the reelection of the Orange Menace. It buried the acknowledgment in a story this week reporting how Hunter borrowed money to pay a million dollar delinquent tax bill and remains under a federal investigation into his shady international business deals.

“People familiar with the investigation,” the Times bleated, “said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer [Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business partner convicted and sentenced to prison for fraud] and others about Burisma [the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Biden served for a cool million dollars a year despite knowing nothing about either energy or Ukraine] and other foreign business activity. 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.”

Duh. Ya think?

Hunter Biden himself from his laptop

Covering Up Biden’s Corruption

If you were reading my posts — or the New York Post — in October 2020 none of this would be news to you. You’d already know about the connection between Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Burisma, and the whole sordid affair. And if you were reading my posts or watching Tucker Carlson on Fox News, you would know about how the corruption involving Hunter ties directly to his father, then Vice President and now doddering about the White House masquerading as President while Ukraine goes up in flames. And if at the time you listened to Carlson’s interview with Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski you’d also know how that corruption extends to China and the Biden family’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

If you didn’t listen to that interview or read the Post stories and other key pieces of information I linked to in my October 29, 2020, piece on Applying RICO to the Biden Crime Family, the Dems, and the Media, now would be an opportune time to do so. Better late than never.

In a coordinated move that would make the Russian censors proud, most of the U.S. media and Big Tech — led by Twitter and Facebook — squelched the Hunter Biden laptop story in the run-up to the 2020 election, going so far as to lock out the Post‘s own accounts and shutting down anyone who even mentioned them. They were given cover by a letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials — including such professional Obama Administration liars and current CNN pundits as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who has admitted previous support for the Communist Party — which said the Hunter laptop story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Never mind that, by their own admission, they had no evidence to support this audacious claim.

“If we are right” — operative word if — “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this,” the letter said.

What would have been correct, and honest, would have been if they wrote “this is the Democratic Party trying to influence how Americans vote in this election.” But that was the last thing they wanted Americans to know as they were already casting their votes. Now these same “former intelligence officials” refuse to withdraw or apologize for their own misinformation discrediting the laptop story.

Following the election, one-in-six Biden voters polled — 17 percent — said they would have changed their vote had they known about the laptop story or the other stories concerning scandals related to the Biden-Harris ticket that the media and Big Tech suppressed. Of course, I wonder what it would take, if all that isn’t enough, for the other 83 percent to change their vote. In any case, what even the 17 percent number says is that the outcome of the election would have been very different had the media and Big Tech not conspired to pull the wool over the eyes of American voters. Russian disinformation, indeed.

Hillary and Vlad Vladivostok Sept 8 2012

Back to the Beginning: Hillary Clinton

As I said, some of us have known all along that the so-called Russian collusion theory, which attempted to tie Donald Trump to the Kremlin, was a hoax perpetrated by Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Once the Mueller investigation ended in March 2019 with no evidence of collusion, prosecution of the real guilty parties should have been commenced, but wasn’t. The wheels of justice, to the extent they turn at all, turn exceptionally slowly, especially when highly placed individuals are concerned, and 14 months later, in May 2020, we began to get further confirmation of the extent to which the effort to discredit Trump essentially amounted to an attempted coup d’etat.

Once the 2020 election was over it was considered safe to reveal details of the conspiracy that led to the election of Jell-O Joe Biden and, more at issue, the defeat of Donald Trump. The full details of this conspiracy — that’s the actual word used by the author of the Time story detailing the process — were contained in a pivotal February 2021 piece by Time‘s National Political Correspondent Molly Ball. Titled “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” in it Ball writes that she gained access to “the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum.”

Admitting the story sounds like “a paranoid fever dream,” Ball wrote of “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” And this from a highly placed media person who ostensibly approves of this sort of thing.

“They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it,” she wrote. “And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.”

Ignoring, if you can, Ball’s use of a semi-colon, you can be excused if you think this sounds a lot like incessant Democratic blathering about “saving democracy,” which you also would not be wrong to equate to the same sort of electoral manipulation that led to the 2020 results. Only they want it in perpetuity. The classic one-party state. All with the full complicity and collusion of the “liberal” mainstream media. Back to the USSR.

In July of last year I posted a piece I titled If You Don’t Read Anything Else This Year, Read This. If you didn’t follow that guidance then, now would be a good time to do it. That piece quotes 36 tweets by researcher, writer, and podcaster Darryl Cooper in which he lays out why, exactly, ordinary people know that the 2020 election was stolen. It closely parallels what Ball says about the conspiracy involved in its “fortifying,” and things I’ve been reporting on all along.

Finally, last month, we got the latest filings from the long-enduring investigation being conducted by Special Counsel John Durham which ties the whole Russian collusion hoax back to its source: Hillary Clinton. We already knew that she was willing to sacrifice national security by conducting classified and sensitive official business on an unsecured private server when she was Secretary of State under Obama, but we now have evidence that her campaign was actually attempting to garner information directly from the Oval Office during Trump’s presidency.

We’ve also had evidence, which predates even the 2016 election and Clinton’s ludicrous “reset” with Russia, of her ties to Putin and his oligarch cronies. We also had evidence, which alarmed even some in the FBI, how Clinton Foundation — the Clintons’ family business — activities in Russia posed a potential threat to U.S. national security and risked providing “. . .  a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application.”

With grifters like Clinton and Biden and their cronies, and with media that coverup the facts and perpetuate the lies and deceit, that collude to “fortify” our elections, who needs Russians? It might be too much to hope for a Marina Ovsyannikova, but at least some journalistic ethics and integrity and less malpractice and corruption would go a long way. Even those things, it seems, have gone beyond the range of expectation. And with them goes the viability of our democracy.

Featured image: Marina Ovsyannikova Tells It Like It Is, AFP via Getty Images. Used under Fair Use.

Hunter Biden, from his own laptop, via the New York Post. Used under Fair Use.

Vlad and Hillary Cozy Up in Vladivostok on Sept. 8, 2012, AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, Pool. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.

Twisted Up in Our Own Shoelaces

Twisted Up in Our Own Shoelaces

 

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” — George W. Bush

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” — George W. Bush

It’s a sad day when we have to go back to former President George W. to illustrate how befuddled our current so-called “leadership” is, but somehow his linguistic faux pas seem to best encapsulate the current confused state of affairs in this country. Besides, the present occupant of the White House, once King of the Gaffe, now seldom makes enough sense to even come up with a colorful misquote. He just presents as ornery and mean and overwhelmingly somnolent, and most of his words, such as they are, are fed to him by others on a teleprompter. At least George W. made a stab at it on his own, as ill-fated some of those attempts were. If you want to hear equally nonsensical statements, you have to turn to our allegedly second in command (sic), VP Kamala Harris.

As I write this, we’re seeing the results of our feckless approach to dissuading Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine. There are reports of explosions, likely from Russian cruise missiles landing in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, as sirens sound and tens of thousands of people flee the city, removing the doubts and questions of recent weeks whether Putin planned on invading Ukraine or not. Now we know.

While a masked Harris, looking more like some comical representation of a cartoon dog than a leader of the Western world, prattled on about “unity” in the aftermath of a security meeting in Munich a few days ago, Putin was lining up his ducks and getting them ready to quack. In a big way. Following a diplomatically polite meeting with Harris, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky laid out the reality in more clear terms.

“We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen,” Zelensky said, “and after our country will be fired at or after we will have no borders or after we will have no economy or parts of our country will be occupied. Why would we need those sanctions then?”

The prescience of Zelensky’s fears have now been made manifest. Whether the Nightmare Scenario I postulated previously will come to pass remains to be seen, but clearly Russia and China are in close touch, and China is observing closely what transpires in Ukraine. But as I predicted, Putin held back until after the Beijing Olympics had ended to make his move.

Giving Aid and Comfort to the Enemy

Biden (shown in the photo above with photos of media representatives, the friendly ones he was “supposed” to call on circled, at a rare press event) has done everything possible to aid and abet Putin’s plans while hindering our own ability to counter, in real terms, Russia’s threat, not just to Ukraine but to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Right from the beginning of his administration, Biden deliberately took America from the energy independence that had been a cornerstone of Donald Trump’s economic policy to returning the country to dependence on foreign sources of oil, including Russia. In 2021, the U.S. imported about 250 million barrels of oil from Russia, tripling the 2020 amount and setting a new record. While canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried Canadian oil to refineries in the U.S., and now  canceling oil leases on U.S. public lands and blocking all new drilling in this country, Biden lifted sanctions and greenlighted Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to carry Russian natural gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

Given that petroleum and gas exports are key elements of Russia’s economy — which, with nearly two and a half times the population, is smaller than Italy’s, or with nearly five times the population, is smaller than that of Texas — there is little Biden could have done that would not have been a bigger help to Russia and bigger hurt to the U.S. While Trump argued Germany and Western Europe should not be dependent on Russia for their energy needs, Biden encouraged it. Good work, Squinty Joe. Now we know who Putin’s real pooch is.

While Americans are now paying $4, $5, $6, and more for a gallon of gas — often spending north of $100 to fill their tank — compared with under $2 while Trump was president, Biden has cautioned that sanctions against Russia will incur further costs in the form of still higher energy costs to this country. Brilliant plan. With fuel prices at an eight-year high and inflation at a 40-year high, now Americans are told to buck up and pay up. And of course, the usual media toadies are blaming all this on the Ukraine situation, when in fact those issues were well underway and established long before Ukraine popped up as a crisis. Along with Russia, OPEC, and Iran, the real beneficiaries of this administration’s obtuse policies are the special interests who stand to profit from a so-called “green” economy, much as they did under Obama, when Biden was Vice President.

Biden’s strategic failures are numerous, but none bigger or more notable than his disastrous and scandalous surrender and withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was like giving a green light to Putin, Xi — with his eye on taking back Taiwan — and every other power-hungry despot in the world. And don’t forget: Biden declared climate change (when he wasn’t blaming white supremacy) as the biggest threat to U.S. security. I wonder how many Ukrainians, or even Americans, would agree with that assessment.

We shouldn’t be surprised by any of this. The same old merry band of morons that were in charge the last time Russia took a bite out of Ukraine, annexing the Crimea in 2014, is back in charge, and Putin knows that. And he knows he can play them like a balalaika.

I’m reminded of the game of chicken we used to play when I was a kid. One kid draws a line in the dirt with his foot and says, “I dare you to cross this line.” The other kid goes, “Oh, yeah?” He steps across the line and says, “There– what are you gonna do about it?” The first kid laughs and announces, “Now you’re on my side.”

What are Russia’s Real Objectives?

Putin and Russia couldn’t be more clear about at least some of Russia’s priorities and how sanctions won’t deter it from pursuing those priorities.

“Excuse my language, but we don’t give a shit about sanctions,” Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, told the Swedish daily Aftonbladet earlier this month. “The expansion of NATO is the biggest threat to Russia.”

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, using more polite language, reiterated the same point to CBS’s Face the Nation this past Sunday.

“We would like to put everything on the paper, we would like to see legally binding guarantees for Russian security,” Antonov said. “We sent our package of proposals, what should we do? We don’t want to see next wave of expansion of NATO. We would like you not to use any Eastern and Central European countries, as well as Baltic states, to deploy their new weapons. We don’t want INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] missiles deployed in Europe.”

The INF Treaty was signed between President Ronald Reagan and then-Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1987, but President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the treaty in 2019, citing Russian non-compliance, and also concerns about a Chinese arms buildup in the Pacific, since China is not a signatory to the treaty. Subsequently, Putin also suspended Russia’s treaty obligations.

Some in this country, such as former Democratic Congresswoman and one time presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, adhere to the theory that making it clear that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO would have caused Putin to back off on his threat to the country. If one puts the current crisis in the context of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, where the U.S., under President John F. Kennedy, faced down Soviet ships carrying nuclear missiles to Cuba, 90 miles off our shores, Russia’s concern about NATO expansion on its borders makes sense. A little heralded part of the resolution of that crisis was the unpublicized agreement by the U.S. to withdraw its Jupiter missiles from Turkey, on the Soviet Union’s border, revealing the reciprocal nature of not placing nuclear threats right on an adversary’s border.

Russia’s concerns about NATO expansion certainly are real, but whether they tell the whole story or are simply a red herring for concealing Putin’s expansionist aims may have been answered by Putin himself during a lengthy monologue, delivered on February 21. In that monologue, described by some as “surreal” and historically “revisionist,” Putin claimed that Ukraine has no right to exist as an independent country and merely is part of the old Russian empire. In the same speech, Putin announced he was recognizing two predominantly Russian rebel regions in the eastern part of Ukraine, the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic.” Putin later ordered troops to cross the border to those two districts, under the guise of being “peacekeepers.”

For his part, Biden issued an executive order putting sanctions, not on Russia, but on the two breakaway regions. You can’t make this stuff up.

“Ukraine is a test of western resolve. It’s not just about Putin,” said former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. “The Chinese communists and Iranian jihadists are watching too. It’s a major leadership moment for Biden. So far, he’s failing.”

Following launch of his invasion of Ukraine overnight, Putin issued the most dire threat yet to the U.S. and the West.

Speaking at 6 a.m. Moscow time this morning, Putin threatened “consequences greater than any you have faced in history” should Western countries become involved in Ukraine.

What these “consequences” might consist of were left deliberately ambiguous. Might they include massive cyber attacks? Invasion of the Baltic states? Nuclear retaliation? It is relevant to recall that, following resolution of the Cuban missile crisis, both Kennedy and Khrushchev said they had madmen on their side urging them to push the nuclear button. One has to wonder, given his increasingly erratic and aggressive behavior and his twisted world view, whether Putin would not have been one of those arguing for nuclear Armageddon. Or that he is not now capable of it.

How much further Putin’s view of returning Russia to what he sees as its former greatness will go, we will have to wait to see. We don’t have to wait to see Biden’s failure. We’ve seen plenty of evidence of that, all through this administration. Now we’re seeing more of it, and where it leads.

Featured image: Twisted Shoe Laces. Pixabay. Used with permission.

Befuddled Biden with press photos. EPA/Oliver Contreras/Pool Photo. Used under Fair Use.

Putin and his pooch. Reuters, from Esquire.com. Used under Fair Use.

This piece also appears on my Substack, Issues That Matter. Subscribe here, and there, and share the piece.