Thursday 28th of January 2021

those who did began hunting down those who didn’t, like rabid boar...


On Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden delivered an acceptance speech promising to “work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did.” By Tuesday, ‘those who did’ began hunting down ‘those who didn’t’ like rabid boar.

It wasn’t a week after Democrats scolded their opponents for refusing to accept defeat that their pleas for hand-holding and national unity to turn into something much darker.

The latest salvo comes from the Lincoln Project, which raised $67.3 million over the past year to defeat President Donald Trump “and his enablers.” But the group wasn’t finished on Election Day. Its most recent move, a personal harassment campaign, should make all Americans sick.

The super PAC on Tuesday urged its 2.7 million Twitter followers to track down employees of Jones Day and Porter Wright — two law firms that it feels are in cahoots with the Trump campaign — and to confront them for “trying to overturn the will of the American people.” Soon after, the group published employees’ personal, private information online for those eager to do so.

Co-founder Rick Wilson said the Lincoln Project also plans to “target some of Jones Day’s largest clients,” such as General Motors, as retribution for the firm daring to represent Republicans.

This harassment campaign, while grotesque, was anticipated. It became clear soon after Election Day that Democrats were going to take their apparent victory as graciously as they took their loss in 2016.

In mere days following November 3, Mr. Biden’s campaign bragged that the federal government was “perfectly capable of escorting trespassers” like Mr. Trump “out of the White House.” Former First Lady Michelle Obama condemned the “tens of millions of people” who voted for “lies, hate, chaos, and division.” Social justice activists taunted Republican parents, including one activist who gloated that, under a Biden administration, “your children” will be “forced to read my book on anti-racism in school on your tax dollars.”

Then came the unthinkable commentary juxtaposing the election results with the defeat of the Axis Powers. Online, users described the streets of liberal strongholds as “like VDay after WWII,” with Labour Party loyalist Andrew Adonis comparing them to the “joyful celebrations at the end of WWII.” The Lincoln Project itself declared that “the mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled.”

These statements may sound shocking to some, but not to Mr. Trump’s supporters, who have now endured years being compared to Nazi collaborators. And, in a year during which Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Republicans “domestic enemies” and “enemies of the state,” it is no surprise what came next.

Senior operatives from Democrat Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, including his deputy campaign manager and national surrogates director, launched a public ‘enemies’ list called the “Trump Accountability Project” aimed at destroying the social and professional lives of anyone “who took a paycheck to help Trump undermine America.” It is rumored that Mr. Buttigieg will join a Biden administration.

Top figures aligned with the Democratic Party approved, and promoted, such tactics.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez instructed her political circle to archive the names of “Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future.” New York Times contributing writer Wajahat Ali insisted that, “when Biden is in power,” Republicans should be treated “like the active threats to democracy they are.” Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin warned that “we have a list” and that allies of Mr. Trump “should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite’ society” again.

Mr. Wilson, the Lincoln Project co-founder, concluded recently that “pain is the only teacher” and that some Republicans “don’t understand that yet. But you will.” His group’s sick, ongoing campaign against Jones Day is what these operatives’ tirades look like in practice.

While the election results are not official, Mr. Biden has claimed the mantle of president-elect. It is up to him to condemn and deter this threatening behavior from his allies, lest his inauguration will not be the end of the “grim era of demonization in America,” as his acceptance speech pledged, but the beginning.

Brian Anderson is founder of the Saguaro Group, an Arizona-based research firm.


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when trump does the right thing...

Senior Republicans have voiced their alarm at US plans to withdraw some of its forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US is to cut its number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq by 2,500, the US Department of Defense confirmed. 

President Donald Trump has long called for troops to come home and has criticised US interventions abroad. 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - usually a staunch defender of Mr Trump - called the plan "a mistake".

He also warned the president against taking "any earthshaking changes in regards to defence and foreign policy" before leaving the White House. 

Mr Trump is yet to concede to Democrat Joe Biden, and the cuts are scheduled to take place five days before Mr Biden takes office on 20 January 2021.

The president-elect has said he is "rightly weary of our longest war" in Afghanistan but also said there was a need to "end the war responsibly, in a manner that ensures we both guard against threats to our homeland and never have to go back."

In Iraq, the number of US troops will be cut by 500 to 2,500, while the number of service personnel in Afghanistan will fall from 4,500 to about 2,500. 

Acting US Defense Secretary Chris Miller said the move reflected Mr Trump's policy "to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a successful and responsible conclusion and to bring our brave service members home". 

Shortly after the announcement, several rockets were fired into the Green Zone in Baghdad and landed near the US embassy. It is the first such attack since Iraqi militias linked to Iran agreed to stop targeting the embassy compound last month. There are no reports of casualties or any damage.


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Actually the US military machine plans to stay in Afghanistan for another thousand years or until they are kicked out, like in Vietnam... After 19 years of US "occupation", the Taliban is as strong as it ever was, MOSTLY BECAUSE of the occupation which is resented by most of the locals. The US helped a bit but not enough during this time...

having the time of his presidency...

Donald Trump has fired the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election and pushed back on the president’s baseless claims of voter fraud.

Trump fired Christopher Krebs, who served as the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa), in a tweet on Tuesday, saying Krebs “has been terminated” and that his recent statement defending the security of the election was “highly inaccurate”.

The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, comes as Trump is refusing to recognize the victory of the president-elect, Joe Biden, and removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal. He fired Mark Esper, the defense secretary, on 9 November part of a broader shake-up that put Trump loyalists in senior Pentagon positions.

Krebs had indicated he expected to be fired. Last week, his agency released a statement refuting claims of widespread voter fraud. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” the statement read. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Krebs, a former Microsoft executive, ran the agency, known as Cisa, from its creation in the wake of Russian interference with the 2016 election through the November election. He won bipartisan praise as Cisa coordinated federal state and local efforts to defend electoral systems from foreign or domestic interference.

Trump mentioned the Cisa statement in his tweet firing Krebs. The president’s tweets also repeated many of the baseless election fraud claims he has made in recent weeks.

Several top Democrats were swift to condemn the president’s decision to fire Krebs.

On CNN, senator Chris Coons of Delaware said, “Chris Krebs’ federal service is just the latest casualty in President Trump’s four-year-long war on the truth.”

Angus King, the Maine senator who is among the candidates who may be appointed Director of National Intelligence in the upcoming Biden administration, called Krebs “a dedicated public servant who has helped build up new cyber capabilities in the face of swiftly-evolving dangers.


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anti-free speech movement in the democratic party...

For those of us who have been critical of the growing anti-free speech movement in the Democratic Party, the Biden transition team just took an ominous turn. The New York Post reports that Biden tapped Richard Stengel to take the “team lead” position on the US Agency for Global Media, including Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. As I previously addressed in a column, Stengel has been one of the most controversial figures calling for censorship and speech controls. 

For a president-elect who just called for everyone to “hear each other,” he picked a top aide who wants to silence many. Since it would be difficult to select a more anti-free speech figure to address government media policy, one has to assume that Biden will continue the onslaught against this core freedom as president. This is not the first Biden aide to indicate a crackdown on free speech in the new Administration and Biden himself has called for greater censorship on the Internet.

Last year, Stengel wrote a chilling Washington Post op-ed that denounced free speech as a threat to social and political harmony. Like a number of liberal and Democratic figures, Stengel struggled to convince readers that what they need is less freedom: “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

It is the European view that has destroyed free speech on that continent. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here

and here and here and here and here and here and here 

and here and hereand here).

It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

In January, Biden called for greater speech controls on the Internet and denounced Twitter for allowing others to speak freely. In insisted that tolerating such views in the name of free speech is same as “propagating falsehoods they know to be false.” Biden called for companies to bar Trump views on such things as mail-in voting as an invitation for fraud. He is not alone. Congressional leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have called for labeling and removal of material with some members directly threatening a legislative crackdown. This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for resisting speech monitoring and censorship as a matter of free speech. Pelosi lashed out that those who want to preserve a free speech zone are “all about making money,” ignoring free speech advocates who have no financial interest in these companies. Pelosi said that opposing such monitoring means that social media companies simply want “to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts” and are trying to “hide under the freedom of speech.”

These efforts are drawing upon the work of academics who are pushing for greater censorship and speech controls. The Atlantic published an article by Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods calling for Chinese style censorship of the internet. They declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong” and “significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.”

Stengel however is one of the most unnerving and outspoken voices against free speech. He wrote how hard it was to explain our views of free speech to Arab countries which of course routinely jail or even execute people for exercising free speech. However, Stengel was raising the point to suggest that they had a valid confusion over our values:

Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that? It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.

That design flaw is free speech itself. So in a nation filled with gifted people to lead the effort on government media policy and positions, Biden selected a person who rejects the very essence of free speech. Stengel promises the “unity” of a nation silenced by government speech codes and censorship.  If no one has a megaphone, free speech is no longer a problem.


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Святой Томас...

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - There is too much fuss over US President Donald Trump's statements about the accelerated withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, while this is in fact unlikely to significantly change the situation on the ground, Zamir Kabulov, Russia's special presidential representative for Afghanistan, said on Wednesday.

"This is presented in a lopsided manner ... Trump is truly going to pull the troops out, but not all of them despite his previous statements, 2,500 servicemen will be left, and, let's say, interested people in Kabul retain hope that [Joe] Biden will be able to cancel it all after taking office," Kabulov said, noting that "this is great cry and little wool."

At the same time, Kabulov is sceptical about NATO claims that US actions undermine the security situation in Afghanistan.

"One should ask [NATO Secretary General Jens] Stoltenberg if NATO presence has anyhow improved the situation? All this happened in their presence, so they would better turn the flashlights on themselves," Kabulov added.

It has been one of the key Trump's pledges in his campaign to put an end to American "endless wars" in foreign countries, as he vowed to reduce the number of the US military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.



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media intelligence...

If this is the level of media intelligence to be expected from The New York Times, we shall pack our bags and go live on planet Mars. Compare the drivel below with unique opportunity, usually with negative result... in sharing marbles: the game stops when the others don't have any... you could see what I mean. On the surface, smiles should be worn, congrats should be delivered and flowers smell good again: Trump is in the rearview mirror. Below this fictitious reality, in the engine room of political hubris and steamy manipulations, the turbines and the pistons are overheating beyond danger. And not just mentioning global warming... The haggle has barely commenced.




Bret: I have no problem making college more affordable, but I’m generally against making things free on the view that people rarely value, or stick with, what they don’t pay for.

Gail: Well, I value sunny skies and chirping birds.

Bret: Touché.

Gail: The part of funding for higher education that’s worried me most has been the for-profit schools, which the Trump administration allowed to really run amok, encouraging vulnerable kids — and adults — to enroll in very expensive programs that leave them drowning in debt.

Bret: I know very little about for-profit schooling, Gail, and I’ll gladly defer to your judgment. But people are also swimming in debts from attending traditional not-for-profit schools, where tuition increases outpaced inflation and the quality of education can leave a lot to be desired.

I guess what I’m really thinking about is breaking the current educational mold. For starters, we’d all be better off if college took three years, as it does in England, not four.

Gail: Just so we can end 2020 on a positive note, I’m prepared to agree to slice off senior year.


Bret: Or freshman year! I’m not sure it’s ever a good idea for students to go directly from high school to college, and a gap year that entails some form of service would do everyone a lot of good.

Giant companies like Boeing or Microsoft might be encouraged to start tuition-free apprenticeship schools, loosely on the model of West Point, so they can address their perennial skills shortage while offering successful graduates guaranteed five-year jobs in technical fields.

Gail: In a perfect world I’d be with you on national service. But the idea of requiring it hasn’t always been popular among the young people it would affect.

Bret: Anyway, the point here is just to think fresh. After four years of Trump, discussing these things feels a bit like seeing the sun and hearing those chirping birds you were just talking about for the first time in years.



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I don't think I've read any one their dribbling dabble (Gail Collins and Bret Stephens's) without seeing the world "touché" in it... Yes, see you in 21, the world as we know might still be there... And like in Australia (see guns contribute to the damage... ), get the weapon-makers to subsidise education — it's a bit like Monsanto sponsoring an agricultural college.


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