Saturday, April 29, 2023

James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual

See, James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg, The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age.

As E. Jean Carroll Case Proceeds, Donald Trump Is Riding High in the Polls


I love it. 

At the New York Times, "Rape Case Places Trump in Legal Jeopardy. Politically, He’s Thriving":

The former president’s new campaign is rolling unimpeded under the spotlights. In quiet courtrooms, he faces more serious threats.

During E. Jean Carroll’s first day on the witness stand, her lawyer asked what had brought her to a federal courtroom in Manhattan.

“I am here because Donald Trump raped me and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen,” Ms. Carroll replied. “He lied and shattered my reputation, and I am here to try to get my life back.”

A day later, Mr. Trump, who has denied the attack and called Ms. Carroll a liar, campaigned in New Hampshire, joking to a crowd about his changing nicknames for Hillary Clinton and President Biden. He did not mention Ms. Carroll’s testimony, or the civil trial going on 250 miles away. But he remarked cheerfully on a poll released that day, which showed him far and away leading the 2024 Republican primary field.

Since Mr. Trump was indicted last month in a criminal case brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, his legal travails and his third presidential campaign have played out on a split screen. The courtroom dramas have taken place without news cameras present, even as the race has returned Mr. Trump to the spotlight that briefly dimmed after he left the Oval Office.

Mike Murphy, a Republican political strategist who advised John McCain and Jeb Bush, said that trials and investigations of Mr. Trump often create “a psychological roller coaster for Trump-hating Democrats,” giving them hope that he will be taken down, only to leave them disappointed. Mr. Trump’s legal problems have yet to create significant political problems given the unflinching loyalty of his core supporters.

Since Mr. Trump was indicted, his poll numbers have risen. Criminal investigations against him, in Georgia and Washington, as well as Ms. Carroll’s trial and a civil fraud lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general’s office, have done little to hamper him with his supporters. The poll he mentioned Thursday predicted that he would receive 62 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. His closest opponent, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has not yet declared that he is running, was polling at 16 percent.

But the investigations could cause Mr. Trump real harm. If he is convicted in Manhattan, where he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, he could face up to four years in prison. Criminal charges in Georgia and Washington could come with steeper punishments. And the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against him — which accused him of deceiving lenders and insurers by fraudulently overvaluing his assets — could exact a heavy financial toll.

No matter the outcome, any direct connection between Mr. Trump’s legal fate in the rape case and his political fortunes is tenuous. But Ms. Carroll’s lawyers have reshaped a political bombshell from 2016 into a potent legal weapon: They plan to use the “Access Hollywood” tape on which Mr. Trump boasts about grabbing women by the genitals as the basis for a compelling story about a self-styled playboy man-about-town whose modus operandi was assaulting women.

Mr. Trump said on the tape that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” When the comments became public during the 2016 election, Mr. Trump characterized them as “locker room banter” and after his victory, they became an example of his apparent immunity to scandal.

In the courtroom, which Mr. Trump has avoided, Ms. Carroll’s team argued that his words were not to be dismissed, even years after they became public...



On Twitter, they're real and spectacular.

Newsmax Ratings Climb After Tucker Carlson’s Exit at Fox

I tried watching Newsmax last summer and I was bored out of my mind. I doubt they'll ever be a peer-competitor network to Fox, but if the latter keeps imploding, you never know. 

At the New York Times, "The niche conservative news channel is still small compared with Fox News, but its viewership has doubled and in some time slots even tripled since Tucker Carlson was dismissed":

Newsmax, the niche conservative news channel that has long played David to Fox News’s Goliath, has seized on Tucker Carlson’s shock dismissal from its rival network and declared itself the true TV home for right-wing Americans.

So far, the strategy is showing some promise.

Viewership of Newsmax remains far below that of Fox News. But its audience at certain hours has doubled, and in some time slots tripled, in the immediate aftermath of Mr. Carlson’s exit — an abrupt spike that has turned heads in conservative circles and the cable news industry.

On Monday evening, Eric Bolling’s 8 p.m. Newsmax program drew 531,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. One week earlier, it had 146,000. On Tuesday, Mr. Bolling’s audience grew to 562,000 viewers, equal to about 80 percent of Anderson Cooper’s CNN viewership that evening. Newsmax’s other prime-time shows also experienced big jumps.

The sharp rise in viewership can be timed almost to the minute of Fox News’s announcement on Monday that it was parting ways with Mr. Carlson, in part because of private messages sent by the anchor that included offensive and crude remarks.

Executives at Newsmax quickly sensed an opportunity.

Starting on Monday, Newsmax programming has aggressively pushed a narrative that Mr. Carlson’s dismissal was a capitulation to the left by Fox News and the Murdoch family.

One pundit mused on the air that Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman of the Fox Corporation, was “much more liberal” than his father, Rupert. Andrew Napolitano, a Newsmax pundit who was fired by Fox News in 2021 over a harassment allegation, said Fox News dismissing its top-rated anchor “is like the 1927 Yankees firing Babe Ruth for his table manners — I don’t get it.”

Anchors and guests harped on a recent appearance by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, in which she called for Mr. Tucker’s firing. “A.O.C. speaks, and now Fox listens,” grumbled the Newsmax anchor Chris Salcedo. “These really are end times.”

By Thursday morning, the network was inviting viewers to vote in a poll: “Is it right for Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson?”

“Fox has been moving to embrace more of an establishment position,” Newsmax’s chief executive, Christopher Ruddy, said in an interview on Thursday. “They want to renounce some of the Trumpisms and populist MAGA stuff that Tucker was echoing.” Mr. Ruddy said he preferred to “embrace all sides of the Republican Party.”

Over all, Newsmax remains a ratings minnow. On Tuesday evening, “Hannity” on Fox News drew 2.1 million viewers; “The Ingraham Angle” attracted 1.6 million. Fox News has pointed to Nielsen data showing that in the first three months of the year, it was the highest-rated network across all of cable TV. And the network has bounced back from losing stars like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

But the absence of Mr. Carlson, its biggest prime-time star, has been felt.

On Tuesday, Fox News lost to both CNN and MSNBC in the 8 p.m. hour among adults ages 25 to 54, an exceedingly rare defeat for the network in the key demographic for cable news advertisers. The “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade, sitting in for Mr. Carlson, fell short to Mr. Cooper on CNN and Chris Hayes on MSNBC in that coveted demographic, although he was first in total viewership.

Newsmax is surging shortly after Fox News paid $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology firm. Evidence in that case showed that Fox News executives were deeply concerned by Newsmax’s growth after the 2020 election, when President Donald J. Trump denounced the Murdoch-owned network for its projection that Joseph R. Biden Jr. would win Arizona.

At the time, Newsmax saw a burst in viewership, even recording higher ratings than the Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum one evening in December 2020. (Ms. MacCallum was switched to a different time slot not long afterward.) But its audience eventually shrank. And despite Mr. Trump’s complaints, Fox News continued as the undisputed ratings king of cable news, powered in part by Mr. Carlson’s increasingly provocative program.

So would Mr. Ruddy consider hiring the now-former Fox anchor for Newsmax? ...

Still more.


Elon Musk on Real Time with Bill Maher (VIDEO)

A great interview. The more I see Elon unfiltered the more I love the guy. He doesn't get ruffled.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Midea Duo 12,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner

At Amazon Midea Duo 12,000 BTU (10,000 BTU SACC) HE Inverter Ultra Quiet Portable Air Conditioner, Cools up to 450 Sq. Ft., Works with Alexa/Google Assistant, Includes Remote Control & Window Kit.

Richard Overy, Blood and Ruins

At Amazon, Richard Overy, Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War, 1931-1945.

Don Lemon Fired! (VIDEO)

Same day as Tucker Carlson, too. Makes for some intrigue. 

Lemon's termination is hardly surprising. The fucker's both arrogant and stupid. It cost him. 

Tucker? That's another story. That one hits me out of left field, though I can understand Rupert Murdoch's position. He's still on the hook for the Smartmatic lawsuit, which is supposed to be more blockbuster than Dominion's. 

At the Wall Street Journal, "Don Lemon Is Out at CNN."

Tucker Carlson Out at Fox News (VIDEO)

Blockbuster! Absolutely blockbuster!

I was teaching when I happened to see that Carlson was fired --- and I stopped for a minute to mention to my class how big a piece of news this is. I'm just now back home and able to surf around for some news.

He's out not just because of Dominion, apparently. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Carlson’s exit is related to the discrimination lawsuit filed by Abby Grossberg, the producer fired by the network last month, the sources said."

And at CBS News:

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Another Biden-Trump Presidential Race in 2024 Looks More Likely

And there's been so much hope for DeSantis too. 

But this does seem about right.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Biden’s impending campaign entry and Trump’s lead in Republican field mean they could square off again":

WASHINGTON — America could be headed for an epic rematch.

President Biden is expected to announce his re-election campaign this week, putting to rest questions of whether he will seek a second term as the nation’s first octogenarian president. At the same time, polls show former President Donald Trump with a substantial lead in the Republican presidential field despite facing criminal charges in New York and the potential for more legal problems on the horizon.

While the race for the White House remains in an early stage and presidential campaigns can shift quickly, the start of the 2024 cycle shows that a rematch between Messrs. Biden and Trump is a distinct possibility, one that would play out before a divided nation as the two parties uneasily share control of the levers of power in Washington.

A second showdown, this time with Mr. Biden in the White House and Mr. Trump as the outsider, could determine how the U.S. proceeds in its support for Ukraine’s war against Russia and its work to counter the effects of climate change, as well as how it would balance domestic and military spending and economic policies at a time of high inflation.

A 2024 campaign would likely be different from the first encounter, when Mr. Biden limited his in-person campaign events and rallies because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Mr. Trump used the trappings of the White House in his campaign, often featuring Air Force One in the backdrop of airport rallies.

Mr. Biden is expected to open his re-election bid with a video announcement. Advisers are considering a Tuesday launch to coincide with the fourth anniversary of his entry into the Democratic primaries in 2019. Mr. Biden is scheduled to address the North America’s Building Trades Unions that day, allowing him to highlight his $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law before an audience of union members who have backed both Democrats and Republicans in the past.

Mr. Trump is planning a response to the announcement, aides said, and he has said the president is vulnerable on a range of issues, from immigration to inflation.

Mr. Biden defeated Mr. Trump three years ago in an election marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and heated protests over police tactics and racial justice. Since then, the aftermath of the 2020 election has lingered over the nation’s politics, with Mr. Trump facing investigations into his attempts to overturn his defeat, the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol by his supporters and the former president’s storage of sensitive government documents at his residence and club in Florida.

Mr. Biden faces an investigation into his own handling of sensitive documents after his time as vice president, while his son, Hunter Biden, is facing a criminal investigation related to his taxes and whether he made a false statement in connection with a gun purchase.

“Our politics have only gotten more divided since Election Day 2020, as we saw most graphically on Jan. 6,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist. “Add to that we’ve never had an indicted nominee, nor potentially, a son of the incumbent president indicted, and thoughts of a high-road election on issues are foolish to the extreme.”

A Wall Street Journal poll released last week found Mr. Biden at 48% and Mr. Trump at 45% in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, a lead within the poll’s margin of error. In testing a potential field of 12 competitors for the Republican presidential nomination, the poll found that Mr. Trump had the support of 48% of GOP primary voters, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 24%. No other Republican candidate was in double digits.

While Mr. Biden faces minor opposition in the Democratic primaries, polls show that the public holds deep reservations about his presidency. In the six Wall Street Journal surveys dating to late 2021, an average of 43% of voters have said they approve of Mr. Biden’s job performance, while an average of 48% said they approved of how Mr. Trump handled the job when he was president.

When a Journal poll asked this month about Mr. Biden’s work on eight issue areas, voters rated him more positively than negatively on only one—his handling of Social Security and Medicare. By 22 points, more people disapproved than approved of his handling of the economy, and the gap was 27 points on dealing with inflation, 26 points on border security, and 21 points on fighting crime.

Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist and a member of the Democratic National Committee, said that Mr. Trump would seek to make a rematch about retribution and revenge over the 2020 election and that Mr. Biden would be tasked with making the campaign about his agenda and the future...

Still more.

Julie Kelly, January 6th

At Amazon, Julie Kelly, January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right.


This woman fascinates me.

On Instagram.

Saturday Evening Movie Thread

At AoSHQ, "In the absolute most basic sense, the producer's job is to supply money to a movie production. This is why independent productions tend to have so many producers because the money comes from so many sources. So, some banker supplies $15,000, and he's a producer in the credits now. However, with money comes the ability to control a lot if one so chooses. A producer, even up to a studio executive, could supply the cash and walk away, waiting for the opportunity to use his tuxedo at the film's premiere..."

'The unsettling reality is that America in the not-too-distant future is going to have a lot in common with partial-collapse societies of Eastern Europe and Latin America where gangs have more power and influence than the government; where politicians pass the laws but gangs enforce the rules...'

At Gray Zone Activity, "The disturbing reality of America's future: This is the Gray Zone America you should be preparing for — not quite collapsed, but not quite standing."

Bed Bath & Beyond Files for Bankruptcy

My wife briefly worked there. Briefly. It wasn't her most memorable or rewarding job. 

The company made a bad bet on its own-store brand lines, alienating longtime customers who shopped there for deals on major brand names. 

At the Wall Street Journal, "Bed Bath & Beyond Files for Bankruptcy":

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. BBBY -2.17%decrease; red down pointing triangle filed for bankruptcy protection to wind down its business after years of losses and failed turnaround plans left the once-powerful retailer short of cash.

The company had warned of a potential bankruptcy for months. It needed a $375 million loan to get through the holidays. It struck an unusual $1 billion financing deal with a hedge fund in February to put off a bankruptcy filing, then scrapped the deal and tried this month to raise $300 million from other investors.

None of the moves were enough. Nor were efforts to stem losses by closing hundreds of stores. Sales evaporated and its stock price tumbled well below $1 in recent weeks, as the rescue efforts dimmed.

The retailer filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, N.J., and said it expects to close all of its 360 Bed Bath & Beyond and 120 Buybuy Baby retail locations eventually. Top lender Sixth Street Partners has put up $240 million in financing to keep Bed Bath & Beyond operating through the liquidation process, the company said.

Bankruptcy gives Bed Bath & Beyond the breathing room to conduct going-out-of-business sales at its physical stores and solicit interest from potential buyers for its remaining assets, such as its branding. Individual investors who continued to back Bed Bath & Beyond during its final months, when it was flooding the market with shares, will likely be wiped out in chapter 11, which prioritizes the repayment of debt over shareholder recoveries.

As Bed Bath & Beyond’s situation worsened, suppliers stopped shipping goods to the retailer. Photo: Johnny Milano/Bloomberg News If a bidder emerges for the business in bankruptcy, Bed Bath & Beyond said it would pivot away from its liquidation plans to pursue a sale.

Once a pop-cultural phenomenon, Bed Bath & Beyond has long been losing shoppers to rivals and struggling to stock its stores. Replacing KitchenAid mixers and other name brands with private label goods further alienated vendors and customers.

Bed Bath & Beyond joins a growing list of once-ubiquitous retail chains seeking court protection. Some like J.C. Penney Co. continue to operate hundreds of stores; others like Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us closed most of their locations; while Circuit City and Linens ‘n Things disappeared altogether.

The country’s largest wedding dress retailer, David’s Bridal LLC, recently filed for bankruptcy and said it would shut all of its stores if it doesn’t quickly find a buyer. It was the chain’s second bankruptcy filing in less than five years....

Bed Bath & Beyond didn’t have an unprofitable year as a public company until 2019—when it reported its first annual sales decline. By then, the rise of Inc. and other online retailers had started to eat into the business. “We missed the boat on the internet,” Mr. Eisenberg said.

A group of activist investors forced the co-founders, who had relinquished their executive duties in 2003 but remained co-chairmen, off the board in 2019. The reconstituted board hired former Target Corp. executive Mark Tritton as chief executive.

Mr. Tritton moved quickly to put his stamp on the company. He sold many of the company’s noncore businesses, including Christmas Tree Shops. Then, in January 2020, he signed a deal to sell roughly half the company’s real estate to a private-equity firm and lease back the space.

With the world in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Tritton pushed through what the company called the biggest change to its assortment in a generation. It replaced name brands such as KitchenAid mixers, All-Clad cookware and OXO spatulas with private-label goods manufactured just for Bed Bath & Beyond.

The rationale was sound: Private-label merchandise carries higher margins and helps retailers differentiate their offerings from competitors. The playbook has worked for countless chains from Target to Macy’s Inc. But it failed at Bed Bath & Beyond for several reasons, according to former employees and analysts.

Mr. Tritton made the switch at a time when supply chains had been upended by the pandemic. Factories had temporarily closed and shipping delays were proliferating, along with rising costs, making it difficult for retailers to keep goods flowing to their stores in a timely manner.

The company also rolled out too many private brands too quickly, before it had the infrastructure to support them, the former employees said. It planned to launch eight new brands in 2021 alone. At first, the results of Mr. Tritton’s strategy looked promising. Bed Bath & Beyond’s sales rose 49% in the spring quarter of 2021, compared with a year earlier when stores were closed for Covid lockdowns. Mr. Tritton presented results to the board showing that some of the early private-label launches—such as the Simply Essential line of bed, bath, kitchen, dining and storage items—were well-received by shoppers, according to people with knowledge of the company.

Some of that buying was due to consumers stocking up while sheltering from the pandemic. As that demand ebbed, the gains quickly evaporated. By August 2021, sales were falling, and they continued to drop, as losses piled up.

“You know if you buy Cuisinart what you are getting,” said Sheryl Bilus, a 68-year-old retired bank manager who lives in Canton, Ga. “But with their own brands, you don’t know what the quality is like.”

Mr. Tritton had planned a similar overhaul of the Buybuy Baby chain by replacing Gerber and other children’s brands with private-label goods. But he was pushed out in June 2022, before he could make many of those changes. Sue Gove, a veteran retailing executive and Bed Bath & Beyond director, was named interim CEO.

Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock went on a wild ride after Ryan Cohen, the billionaire founder of pet retailer Chewy Inc., took a big stake in the company and agitated for changes, including the sale of Buybuy Baby. The board considered strategic alternatives for the baby chain, but decided against selling because separating it would have been time-consuming and costly, and they needed to nail down a new strategy before marketing it to potential bidders, people familiar with the situation said...

GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist USB Humidifier

At Amazon, GENIANI Portable Small Cool Mist Humidifiers 250ML - USB Desktop Humidifier for Plants, Office, Car, Baby Room with Auto Shut Off & Night Light - Quiet Mini Humidifier (White).

Decoding the Bud Light Disaster

At Instapundit, "THOMAS LIFSON: Decoding the Bud Light disaster as marketing VP Alissa Heinerscheid ‘takes leave of absence’.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Book Bans Are Soaring

They are, but blame for the outrage also goes to authors and publishers. You publish garbage. Now one has to read your shit, and the push-back is appropriate. 

At the Los Angeles Times, "Book bans are soaring in U.S. schools, fueled largely by new laws in Republican-led states."

Dorothy Roberts, Torn Apart

Dorothy Roberts, Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families--and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Luke Harding, Invasion

At Amazon, Luke Harding, Invasion: The Inside Story of Russia's Bloody War and Ukraine's Fight for Survival.


On Instagram.

Margaret Lawrence, The Stone Angel

At Amazon, Margaret Lawrence, The Stone Angel.

One Dead After Driver Intentionally Plows Car Through Group of Teenagers at Westlake High School (VIDEO)

There's too much death. 

Day after day we're subsumed by "senseless" acts of violence. Damn. What next? Car control?

At the Los Angeles Times, "Driver intentionally hit Westlake High students, killing 1, after Walmart stabbing, authorities say."

The poor kid.

West Coast Cities Are Letting Drug Addicts Kill Themselves

At the Washington Examiner, "Liberals in the biggest cities on the West Coast have made it easier for drug addicts to die from overdoses based on the fallacy that letting drug addicts destroy their own lives is some form of compassion."


On Twitter.

Alleged Pedophile Throws Himself Under Wheels of Utility Van

Be sure to check the comments.

Fox News Defamation Settlement

Is this the big decimation denouement that the left's is jonesin' for? 

There's a lot of churn at Memeorandum, with what looks like is absolute glee at this defeat for Rupert Murdoch.

At the New York Times, "A $787.5 Million Settlement and Embarrassing Disclosures: The Costs of Airing a Lie":

Fox News’s late-stage agreement with Dominion Voting Systems came with a rare acknowledgment of broadcasting false claims by the conservative media powerhouse.

In settling with Dominion Voting Systems, Fox News has avoided an excruciating, drawn-out trial in which its founding chief, Rupert Murdoch, its top managers and its biggest stars would have had to face hostile grilling on an embarrassing question: Why did they allow a virulent and defamatory conspiracy theory about the 2020 election to spread across the network when so many of them knew it to be false?

But the $787.5 million settlement agreement — among the largest defamation settlements in history — and Fox’s courthouse statement recognizing that the court had found “certain claims about Dominion” aired on its programming “to be false” at the very least amount to a rare, high-profile acknowledgment of informational wrongdoing by a powerhouse in conservative media and America’s most popular cable network.

“Money is accountability,” Stephen Shackelford, a Dominion lawyer, said outside the courthouse, “and we got that today from Fox.”

The terms of the agreement, which was abruptly announced just before lawyers were expected to make opening statements, did not require Fox to apologize for any wrongdoing in its own programming — a point that Dominion was said to have been pressing for.

Shortly after the agreement was reached, Fox said it was “hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues.”

The settlement carries an implicit plea of “no contest” to several pretrial findings from the presiding judge in the case, Eric M. Davis, that cast Fox’s programming in exceptionally harsh light.

In one of those findings, the judge sided with Dominion in its assertion that Fox could not claim that its airing of the conspiracy theory — generally relating to the false claim that its machines “switched” Trump votes into Biden votes — fell under a legally protected status of “news gathering” that can shield news organizations when facts are disputed. The judge wrote, “the evidence does not support that FNN conducted good-faith, disinterested reporting.”

In another finding, the judge wrote that the “evidence developed in this civil proceeding demonstrates that is CRYSTAL clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.”

Through those findings, the judge seriously limited Fox’s ability to argue that it was acting as a news network pursuing the claims of a newsmaker, in this case, the president of the United States, who was the lead clarion for the false Dominion narrative.

In those heady days before the first day of trial, Fox had been indicating that if it were to lose at trial, it would work up an appeal that would, at least partly, argue with those judicial rulings. Now they stand undisputed.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, it was clear that Fox’s lawyers were engaged in an urgent calculus to take the financial hit rather than risk losing at trial.

As so many legal experts before the trial had argued, Dominion had managed to collect an unusual amount of internal documentation from Fox showing that many inside the company knew the Dominion election conspiracy theory was pure fantasy. That extended to the network’s highest ranks — right up to Mr. Murdoch himself.

That evidence appeared to bring Dominion close to the legal threshold in defamation cases known as “actual malice” — established when defamatory statements are “made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or not.” (That bar, however, is not always easy to meet, and there are no guarantees in front of a jury.)

“Dominion Voting had elicited much critical evidence that Fox had acted with actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth, which it could have proved to a jury, so the only question remaining would have been damages,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. “Trial of the case also might have undermined the reputation of Fox when the evidence was presented in open court.”

It was less surprising that Fox settled than that it did so at such a late stage on Tuesday...

Keep reading

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Zojirushi Zutto Coffee Maker

At Amazon, Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker, Silver.

Also, Aeropress Original Coffee and Espresso Maker, Barista Level Portable Coffee Maker with Chamber, Plunger, and Filters, Quick Coffee and Espresso Maker, Made in USA.

BONUS: Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life.

Because You're Being Lied To (VIDEO)

By the mass media.

Here's Tim Pool, for Prager University:

No One Has Done More Damage

Says Michele Tafoya:


On Twitter.

Rupert Murdoch Down the Rabbit Hole

A big piece on Murdoch's Fox News problems.

At the New York Times Magazine, "How Fox Chased Its Audience Down the Rabbit Hole: Rupert Murdoch built an empire by giving viewers exactly what they wanted. But what they wanted — election lies and insurrection — put that empire (and the country) in peril."

We Are In a Jacobin Revolution of the Sort That in 1793-94 Nearly Destroyed France

From Victor Davis Hanson, "Our French Revolution."

Matt Taibbi to Use Substack Notes

If you've by chance been following the Twitter files.

Here's Matt Taibbai with his latest predicament.

See, "The Craziest Friday Ever: On staying at Substack, and leaving Twitter, I guess."

Xi Jinping Says He Is Preparing China for War

From John Pomfret and Matt Pottinger​, at Foreign Affairs, "The World Should Take Him Seriously":

Chinese leader Xi Jinping says he is preparing for war. At the annual meeting of China’s parliament and its top political advisory body in March, Xi wove the theme of war readiness through four separate speeches, in one instance telling his generals to “dare to fight.” His government also announced a 7.2 percent increase in China’s defense budget, which has doubled over the last decade, as well as plans to make the country less dependent on foreign grain imports. And in recent months, Beijing has unveiled new military readiness laws, new air-raid shelters in cities across the strait from Taiwan, and new “National Defense Mobilization” offices countrywide.

It is too early to say for certain what these developments mean. Conflict is not certain or imminent. But something has changed in Beijing that policymakers and business leaders worldwide cannot afford to ignore. If Xi says he is readying for war, it would be foolish not to take him at his word.


The first sign that this year’s meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference—known as the “two-sessions” because both bodies meet simultaneously—might not be business as usual came on March 1, when the top theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) published an essay titled “Under the Guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Army, We Will Advance Victoriously.” The essay appeared under the name “Jun Zheng”—a homonym for “military government” that possibly refers to China’s top military body, the Central Military Commission—and argued that “the modernization of national defense and the military must be accelerated.” It also called for an intensification of Military-Civil Fusion, Xi’s policy requiring private companies and civilian institutions to serve China’s military modernization effort. And riffing off a speech that Xi made to Chinse military leaders in October 2022, it made lightly veiled jabs at the United States:
In the face of wars that may be imposed on us, we must speak to enemies in a language they understand and use victory to win peace and respect. In the new era, the People’s Army insists on using force to stop fighting. . . . Our army is famous for being good at fighting and having a strong fighting spirit. With millet and rifles, it defeated the Kuomintang army equipped with American equipment. It defeated the world’s number one enemy armed to the teeth on the Korean battlefield, and performed mighty and majestic battle dramas that shocked the world and caused ghosts and gods to weep.
Even before the essay’s publication, there were indications that Chinese leaders could be planning for a possible conflict. In December, Beijing promulgated a new law that would enable the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to more easily activate its reserve forces and institutionalize a system for replenishing combat troops in the event of war. Such measures, as the analysts Lyle Goldstein and Nathan Waechter have noted, suggest that Xi may have drawn lessons about military mobilization from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failures in Ukraine.

The law governing military reservists is not the only legal change that hints at Beijing’s preparations. In February, the top deliberative body of the National People’s Congress adopted the Decision on Adjusting the Application of Certain Provisions of the [Chinese] Criminal Procedure Law to the Military During Wartime, which, according to the state-run People’s Daily, gives the Central Military Commission the power to adjust legal provisions, including “jurisdiction, defense and representation, compulsory measures, case filings, investigation, prosecution, trial, and the implementation of sentences.” Although it is impossible to predict how the decision will be used, it could become a weapon to target individuals who oppose a takeover of Taiwan. The PLA might also use it to claim legal jurisdiction over a potentially occupied territory, such as Taiwan. Or Beijing could use it to compel Chinese citizens to support its decisions during wartime.

Since December, the Chinese government has also opened a slew of National Defense Mobilization offices—or recruitment centers—across the country, including in Beijing, Fujian, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Shanghai, Sichuan, Tibet, and Wuhan. At the same time, cities in Fujian Province, across the strait from Taiwan, have begun building or upgrading air-raid shelters and at least one “wartime emergency hospital,” according to Chinese state media. In March, Fujian and several cities in the province began preventing overseas IP addresses from accessing government websites, possibly to impede tracking of China’s preparations for war.

XI’S INNER VLAD If these developments hint at a shift in Beijing’s thinking, the two-sessions meetings in early March all but confirmed one. Among the proposals discussed by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference—the advisory body—was a plan to create a blacklist of pro-independence activists and political leaders in Taiwan. Tabled by the popular ultranationalist blogger Zhou Xiaoping, the plan would authorize the assassination of blacklisted individuals—including Taiwan’s vice president, William Lai Ching-te—if they do not reform their ways. Zhou later told the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao that his proposal had been accepted by the conference and “relayed to relevant authorities for evaluation and consideration.” Proposals like Zhou’s do not come by accident. In 2014, Xi praised Zhou for the “positive energy” of his jeremiads against Taiwan and the United States.

Also at the two-sessions meetings, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang announced a military budget of 1.55 trillion yuan (roughly $224.8 billion) for 2023, a 7.2 percent increase from last year. Li, too, called for heightened “preparations for war.” Western experts have long believed that China underreports its defense expenditures. In 2021, for instance, Beijing claimed it spent $209 billion on defense, but the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute put the true figure at $293.4 billion. Even the official Chinese figure exceeds the military spending of all the Pacific treaty allies of the United States combined (Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand), and it is a safe bet China is spending substantially more than it says.

But the most telling moments of the two-sessions meetings, perhaps unsurprisingly, involved Xi himself...

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