Reason Roundup

FBI Backs Off Attempt To Subpoena Info on USA Today Readers

Plus: America's love-hate relationship with booze, Twitter CEO says "bitcoin changes absolutely everything," and more...

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Press freedom continues to be threatened by Biden administration. In an insane new bit of federal law enforcement overreach, the FBI demanded that USA Today turn over records showing who read a February story about two FBI agents killed in Florida. The FBI sought information, including I.P. addresses, on all "computers and other electronic devices" that accessed the story during a 35-minute period on the evening of the shooting. The subpoena is "a clear violation of the First Amendment," said USA Today Publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth in a statement.

In late May, USA Today's parent company, Gannett, asked a federal court to quash the April subpoena, calling it unconstitutional and a violation of Department of Justice (DOJ) rules. "The FBI has failed to demonstrate compliance with the United States Attorney General's regulations for subpoenas to the press—regulations that President Biden himself recently pledged the Administration would follow," said Gannett's May 28 motion, revealed by USA Today last Friday.

Amid the publicity, the FBI backed off. "The FBI has withdrawn a subpoena demanding records from USA TODAY that would identify readers of a February story," the paper reported on Saturday.

But disturbingly, the agency doesn't seem to think it did anything wrong. The FBI didn't withdraw the subpoena because it was a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution but because the person it sought to find through subpoenaed reader records was identified "through other means," USA Today says.

That makes the FBI's move even more shocking. Authorities clearly had other ways to find the suspect they were looking for and, apparently, still decided that infringing on freedom of the press was a good first step.

The situation highlights a broader debate about the federal government's lack of respect for First Amendment rights and media. Under the Trump administration, the DOJ obtained the phone records of reporters from CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. When this was first revealed, President Joe Biden called it "simply, simply wrong."

But once in office, Biden changed his tune.

"Unfortunately, new revelations suggest that the Biden Justice Department not only allowed these disturbing intrusions to continue — it intensified the government's attack on First Amendment rights before finally backing down in the face of reporting about its conduct," Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan wrote in an op-ed published yesterday:

After Biden took office, the department continued to pursue subpoenas for reporters' email logs issued to Google, which operates the New York Times' email systems, and it obtained a gag order compelling a Times attorney to keep silent about the fact that federal authorities were seeking to seize his colleagues' records. Later, when the Justice Department broadened the number of those permitted to know about the effort, it barred Times executives from discussing the legal battle with the Times newsroom, including the paper's top editor.

This escalation, on Biden's watch, represents an unprecedented assault on American news organizations and their efforts to inform the public about government wrongdoing.

After the Biden DOJ's continued attempts to interfere with journalistic freedom were revealed, the department finally pledged to cut it out. "Going forward, consistent with the President's direction, this Department of Justice — in a change to its long-standing practice — will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs," said DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley in a statement.


FREE MINDS

America's love-hate relationship with booze. "By 1830, the average American adult was consuming about three times the amount we drink today," points out The Atlantic. "An obsession with alcohol's harms understandably followed, starting the country on the long road to Prohibition."

"What's distinctly American about this story is not alcohol's prominent place in our history (that's true of many societies), but the zeal with which we've swung between extremes," writes Atlantic Senior Editor Kate Julian. "Americans tend to drink in more dysfunctional ways than people in other societies, only to become judgmental about nearly any drinking at all. Again and again, an era of overindulgence begets an era of renunciation: Binge, abstain. Binge, abstain."


FREE MARKETS

Big bitcoin praise from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. "Bitcoin changes absolutely everything," said Dorsey at the Bitcoin 2021 Conference in Miami on Friday. "I don't think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on.…I don't think there is anything more enabling for people around the world."

Dorsey added that if he "were not at Square or Twitter, I would be working on bitcoin. If [bitcoin] needed more help than Square or Twitter, I would leave them for bitcoin."

See also: "Don't Ban Bitcoin."


QUICK HITS

• Royal Caribbean Cruises is caving to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' threats to fine the company if it requires cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated. "Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible," it said in a new announcement. "Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date."

• The Arizona election audit "is a simple exercise in how disinformation spreads and takes hold in 2021," suggests NPR. "And experts fear it presents a blueprint for other states and lawmakers to follow, one that is already showing signs of being emulated across the country."

• With new food freedom laws, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Montana become the latest states to deregulate homemade food.

• No video captured the fatal shooting of Winston Boogie Smith Jr. by members of a U.S. Marshals Service task force in Minneapolis last Thursday. "The U.S. Marshal Service currently does not allow the use of body cameras for officers serving on its North Star Fugitive Task Force," the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement. "There is no squad camera footage of the incident."

• Three years ago, a federal judge ruled that "Crosley Green's murder conviction couldn't stand. Green still isn't free."

• Don't try to fix Big Tech with politics, writes Reason Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward.

• The Food and Drug Administration freaks out over the prospect of people eating cicadas.

• The American mind, "when roused to anger, invariably seeks more concrete satisfactions: invade this, regulate that, throw so-and-so in jail," notes Stephen L. Carter in an op-ed on potential consequences if the Wuhan lab leak theory is proven true. "Anger seeks catharsis, often in the urge to 'do something.' Lots of bad policy is driven that way."

NEXT: New Yorkers Are Watched by More Than 15,000 Surveillance Cameras

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  1. https://twitter.com/BretWeinstein/status/1401648242899578884

    Stunning. For those not tracking: Andersen is the lead author on the
    @Nature
    “Proximal Origins…” paper used to shut down lab leak discussion. He is caught in Fauci’s emails arguing the opposite. Also: his co-author has suddenly backed out of a Munk debate with me on the topic

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  2. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1401384750829408263

    BREAKING: China announces they are planning to build 25 to 30 more bio labs in the next 5 years

  3. https://twitter.com/themarketswork/status/1400981139561480194

    It was never just about Fauci or EcoHealth’s Peter Daszak:

    “The Pentagon gave $39 million to a charity that funded controversial coronavirus research at a Chinese lab accused of being the source for Covid-19, federal data reveals.”

    1. https://twitter.com/JackPosobiec/status/1400959401725513734

      Judicial Watch Obtains Records Showing NIAID under Dr. Fauci Gave Wuhan Lab $826k for Bat Coronavirus Research From 2014 to 2019 | Judicial Watch

      1. There is also a report of a whistle blower out of China saying these funds went directly to funding bio weapon research in China.

        1. Chinese military = recipient of US welfare payments?

  4. Royal Caribbean Cruises is caving to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ threats to fine the company if it requires cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated.

    Hard to believe the cruise industry couldn’t afford to write off Florida completely.

    1. Royal Caribbean Cruises is caving to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ threats to fine the company if it requires common sense regarding cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated.

    2. It wasn’t caving when they were pressured by the CDC.

    3. “Royal Caribbean Cruises is caving to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ threats” ENB is starting her 2024 campaign early.

  5. The Arizona election audit “is a simple exercise in how disinformation spreads and takes hold in 2021,” suggests NPR.

    Now, let’s scrutinize the January 6th insurrection.

    1. Npr is an expert in disinformation

    2. I see people are spending their time helping the FBI search the images of the people in dc on Jan 6.

    3. Strangely for an insurrection, an unarmed one. Those Trumpers can’t seem to get anything right.

    4. Now, let’s scrutinize the *DEADLY!!!!!* January 6th insurrection.

    5. OK, how in the world are there people, some who comment here, who think that all the people who broke into the Capitol building on January 6th “stayed inside the velvet ropes” and did nothing more violent than “taking selfies”?

      To believe that, they have to actively ignore readily available contradictory information, including videos.

      So, one clue to “how disinformation spreads” is that some people actively avoid information that they don’t want to hear. This is, of course, nothing new. Paul Simon captured the problem in the lyrics of “The Boxer” way back in 1968: “Still, a man he hears what he wants to hear / And disregards the rest.”

      1. A cop getting brained by a fire extinguisher is an even better example of misinformation from January 6th.

      2. Yeah a guy named Elvis Costello captured your problem in the lyrics of Radio Radio
        They say you better listen to the voice of Reason
        But they don’t give you any choice
        ’cause they think that it’s treason.
        So you had better do as you are told.

  6. https://twitter.com/JordanSchachtel/status/1400851910001938437

    Canada is doomed. Get out if you can.
    Quote Tweet
    Doug Ford
    @fordnation
    · Jun 4
    We’ve seen in the modelling that returning to in-person learning will lead to thousands of new cases.

    This week’s announcement that schools will not be returning for in-class learning until the fall was a difficult decision, but I won’t take unnecessary risks with our children.

    1. The models that have constantly been wrong are right this time.

    2. It’s June. What difference, at this point, does it make?

      This would be a far healthier society if we could just be honest about things: it’s too late in the school year to bother to change, and this is just a convenient ass-cover.

    3. Canada is so gay it can’t get all it’s gaying done in one month.

      https://tinyurl.com/35ep6ptw

      1. 40+ years ago it was the Summer of Love, now we have the Summer of Gayness.

  7. https://twitter.com/JordanSchachtel/status/1400817405887234053

    Especially messed up because the Fauci emails directly involve Mark Zuckerberg and his accepted proposal to disseminate COVID hysteria on behalf of Fauci
    Quote Tweet
    Jonathan Hamel
    @jhamel
    · Jun 4
    Facebook is now attaching a “Fact-Check” to any mention of #FauciEmails

    1. Facebook is for fools.

  8. With new food freedom laws, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Montana become the latest states to deregulate homemade food.

    Just in time for the scheduled next wave and subsequent very necessary lockdowns.

  9. https://twitter.com/JordanSchachtel/status/1400600294220865538

    Dr Rachel wants to “improve Americans’ physical and mental wellbeing.”
    SkullExploding headFace with tears of joy
    Quote Tweet
    Chris Stigall
    @ChrisStigall
    · Jun 3
    And now, a message on mental health… Eyes

  10. The U.S. Marshal Service currently does not allow the use of body cameras for officers serving on its North Star Fugitive Task Force…

    FOR REASONS

  11. https://twitter.com/the_brumby/status/1400528324846178309

    Reflecting on Fauci emails, my biggest takeaway is degree to which overall dialogue on the pandemic was controlled & censored mostly by BigTech/Media. But also by the left, which has become increasingly & strangely anti-free speech. This isn’t “muh freedoms”…this cost lives

    1/7
    2:02 PM · Jun 3, 2021·Twitter Web App
    986
    Retweets
    87
    Quote Tweets
    3,953
    Likes
    Brumby
    @the_brumby
    ·
    Jun 3
    Replying to
    @the_brumby
    Things “we” weren’t allowed to discuss but turns out Fauci was discussing early ‘20
    – lab leak
    – focused protection (GBD)
    – asymptomatic spread
    – PCR
    – masks ineffective
    – aerosolized transm.
    – virus already “past point of no return”
    – seasonality
    – risk contextualization

    1. This board discussed every one of those topics with the usual lefty losers yelling it was settled science instead.

  12. Don’t try to fix Big Tech with politics…

    Instead EMP it from orbit?

    1. Low-yield nuke preferable. We are, after all, assured by our ‘betters’ that out of work coal miners, oil workers, and farmers can learn to code. There could be no noticeable hiccup as we transitioned to new social media, search engines, and other services.

    2. “it’s the only way to be sure.”

  13. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1401879886994759682.html

    Large populations are very difficult to persuade. They tend to be inherently conservative, thanks to long-standing traditions, a sense of cultural history, and a general comfort level with their societies. They tune out demands for radical change from heated activists.
    Totalitarianism “fixes” that problem by politicizing EVERYTHING. The option to “tune out” is removed. The larger population has no choice but to hear the demands of dominant political activists, – all day, every day, everywhere. Punishment awaits those who don’t “care” enough.
    Totalitarianism attaches real consequences – social, then economic, and eventually legal – to ignoring the demands of radical activists. The public is programmed to think of radicalism as undeniable and omnipresent. Submission becomes the path of least resistance.
    Totalitarianism turns the inherent conservatism of a society against it, by making radicalism the “default” setting. Appeasing the radicals and regurgitating their propaganda is the only way to find peace. Compliance is required to have a normal life. Resistance has steep costs.
    You see this all the time with our new social media-fueled brand of totalitarianism. Weary people give in and stop resisting just because they want to be left alone. They stop resisting first – they learn not to object, not to use politically incorrect language, to avoid hassles.
    Instead of persuading people – which is extremely difficult and frustrating – totalitarians use their power to eliminate resistance first, then inculcate acceptance. Once a critical mass of people are afraid to dissent, totalitarians will assert that silence equals acceptance.
    Totalitarians learned a century ago that societies can be herded by imposing initially modest costs on dissent and resistance. It only takes a little political and cultural power to weaponize the natural human desire for acceptance and approval, if it can be applied pervasively.
    That’s the trick – it’s what puts the “total” in totalitarianism. There can be no refuge from the demands of the dominant minority. Their politics have to be EVERYWHERE, all the time. Dissent becomes first unspeakable, and then UNTHINKABLE. There are no “safe spaces.”
    When you have people thinking about politics every time they speak in public, every time they go shopping, every time they order a chicken sandwich, then you can forcibly change society without persuasion. Raise the cost of resistance to radicalism until it becomes the New Order.
    Of course it works. That’s why totalitarianism is the hottest ideological product on the planet – vastly more popular than our Founding Fathers’ thoughts on the dangers of raw democracy and the importance of sovereign individuals.

  14. “Anger seeks catharsis, often in the urge to ‘do something.’ Lots of bad policy is driven that way.”

    But a lot of precious votes are obtained.

  15. Remember this when the left talks about “the consensus of THE SCIENCE!!” concerning climate.

    Ex-CDC Director Robert Redfield Says He Got Death Threats for Saying He Thought COVID Leaked From China Lab
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/ex-cdc-director-robert-redfield-says-he-got-death-threats-for-saying-he-thought-covid-leaked-from-china-lab/ar-AAKGvCI

    “I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory. You know, escaped,” Redfield told the network’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta. “Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out.”

    Redfield, who led the CDC under former President Donald Trump’s administration from 2018 to 2021, told Vanity Fair that he was allegedly targeted by fellow scientists over the statement.

    “I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis,” he said. “I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science.”

  16. Press freedom continues to be threatened by Biden administration.

    HE LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING OBAMA, OKAY???

  17. how disinformation spreads
    I didn’t read the article. I don’t have an opinion on what’s going on in Arizona.

    BUT HOLY FUCKING SHIT REASON DON’T EVER HUMP A “DISINFORMATION” ARTICLE AGAIN.

    What a core betrayal of libertarian principles. I’m simply aghast.

    1. Reason isn’t a libertarian publication.

      1. Exactly!! At some point this outlet was co-opted by leftists. I really noticed it back in 2016. Too bad.

  18. #BidenBoom update.

    In 2021 Democrats have raised the minimum wage by: $0.00 / hour

    In 2021 Reason.com benefactor Charles Koch’s net worth has increased by: $8.37 billion

    The Biden Era is proving to be even more billionaire-friendly than I expected. I figured Mr. Koch would gain about $1 billion per month, and he’s dramatically exceeded that pace so far.

    #GetReadyForTheKochComeback

  19. “The U.S. Marshal Service currently does not allow the use of body cameras for officers serving on its North Star Fugitive Task Force,” the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement. “There is no squad camera footage of the incident.”

    This way nobody can use silly facts to contradict The Word Of God police reports.

  20. Too bad nobody at the bitcoin convention killed dorsey

    1. Every morning I hope to read a headline saying “Dorsey Dead in Freak Beard Grooming Incident.”

      1. He does have a freak beard.

    2. Sounds like Dorsey’s chomping at the bit to get Bitcoin.

    1. So God is trying to fix the mistake that is kamala

    2. You know… the left likes to claim the right caves to cults of personality… but Harris of all people was handing out cookies made in her likeness.

      1. So Harris handing out cookies made in her likeness negates the observation made by libertarians and others that conservatives have become a cult of personality around Trump?

        Interesting logic.

        1. Not negated, just funny.

        2. Did I say it did? Or are you just trying to blame the GOP for Harris cookies for some odd reason?

          The left has lived a cult of personality for decades at this point. But for some reason those you seem to associate with have never called the left out on it. Yet when I point out the fact that the left engages is way worse narcissism on average… you jump in.

          You don’t find that weird?

          1. What are you talking about? I was calling out the left’s cult of personality during the entire Obama administration, and was constantly accused of being racist for it.

            Your post was nothing but whataboutism. “The left accuses the right of cult of personality… but what about Harris handing out cookies!!?!?!”

            Yet you make everything about me… as usual… try sticking to the topic instead of me, me, me, me, me….

            1. I was calling out the left’s cult of personality during the entire Obama administration

              Citation Needed.

              Because even last week your comments were blaming NCLB for the current state of the schools despite the Obama passed Common Core that basically ended NCLB.

              And the cries of “whataboutism” is especially harris as your entire post was a whataboutism in the first place.

              1. Citation needed? Really? That was over five years ago. Jeez.

                And no I didn’t blame NCLB for all of the problems in public schools. I mentioned it because your Republicans aren’t totally blameless in the education mess.

                As is usual when trading comments with you, the subject is now me, me, me and the original topic is forgotten.

                That’s why I muted you in the first place. It’s always me, me, me, me, me…

                You cannot have a conversation with me. It’s always about me.

                Guess I’ll put you back on Mute then. Better than having to defend myself from your constant personal attacks.

          2. I seriously dare you to make a single comment that isn’t some personal snark, that sticks to the topic, and doesn’t contain the word “you.”

            Double-dog dare ya.

            1. Which links from this thread alone do you want? The majority of my posts don’t use the word “you”. Just making things up now buddy.

              Or do you think the term interesting logic was in some way different than you are accusing me of?

              It is odd that you took offense to me countering an attempted strawman.

              1. https://reason.com/2021/06/07/fbi-backs-off-attempt-to-subpoena-info-on-usa-today-readers/#comment-8938079

                Another… Boy I can do this all day.

                Can you do one post where you don’t ironically try attacking the right for something the left did?

                1. Can you do one post where you don’t ironically try attacking the right for something the left did?

                  Pointing out your cult of personality around Trump is an attack?

                  Was pointing out the left’s cult of personality around Obama an attack?

                  I’m sure you’d say “no” to the second question. So in principle you should say the same about the first.

              2. A comment that is a reply to mine. But you knew that.

            2. And by the way sarcasmic… from your posts today:

              What are you talking about … Your post was nothing but whataboutism. … you make everything about me … dare you to make … Double-dog dare ya.

              That was from a whole 6 posts. Good work hypocrite 🙂

              1. That’s in response to personal attacks. Which is all you have.

                1. YOU have mental problems sarc. Seek help.

        3. Stopped muting Jesse, still broken as ever.

        4. How did you see that muted I thought you muted post, X-Ray vision?

          1. You don’t think sarc would lie, do you?

        5. So Harris handing out cookies made in her likeness negates the observation made by libertarians and others that conservatives have become a cult of personality around Trump?

          You spelled ‘insinuation’ wrong.

          It’s i-n-s-i-n-u-a-t-i-o-n.

          Also, you misspelled ‘leftists’ or ‘leftist morons’ completely, “libertarians and others” is totally wrong.

          But then….it DOES say ‘morons’.

        6. No, it does not negate it.

          Why would you think that it does?

  21. China tried fing parents on covid vaccines 5 weeks after finally admitting covid was in existence. Scientist who filed patents mysteriously died a few weeks later.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/top-chinese-military-scientist-filed-coronavirus-vaccine-patent-in-february-2020-died-mysteriously-report

  22. Twitter mocked for their human right to Twitter tweet since Twitter has no problem silencing voices themselves.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/twitter-reacts-to-nigeria-ban-mocked-for-calling-open-internet-essential-human-right-after-censoring-trump

  23. https://twitter.com/cmsub/status/1401701417715486734?s=19

    @vp made an OTR visit to the back of the plane and delivered cookies decorated with the shape of her likeness as well as AF2. [Pic]

    1. “Hey, this cookie tastes like fish”.

      1. Tastes like willie brown.

        1. Icing on the cake.

          1. “Icing”

  24. Legacy media lobbying democrats and Biden to be given government funds and to be treated as an agency. Yes… Democrats want a state run media force.

    https://justthenews.com/accountability/media/mon-really-local-news-should-be-given-billions-dollars-infrastructure-bill

    1. If it moves, tax it.
      If it keeps moving, regulate it.
      And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
      – Ronald Reagan

  25. California governor Newsome promised to give up emergency powers by June 15th if cases and deaths were dropping. They are.

    Newsome: “just kidding”

    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/rick-moran/2021/06/05/governor-newsom-reneges-on-promise-to-surrender-his-emergency-covid-19-powers-n1452370

    1. Shouldn’t “renege” be banned at this point?

      1. Replaced with “Indian giver”.

      2. Newsom certainly should be.

  26. https://twitter.com/ScottFishman/status/1401879890836742153?s=19

    Soooo let me get this straight…

    ⛽️ The oil industry can be hacked.

    ???? The meat industry can be hacked.

    ???? The biggest businesses in the world can be hacked.

    But…

    ????Outdated election machines can’t be hacked?

    #QuestionOfTheDay

    1. What part of cleanest election in history don’t you get?

      1. It was so pure it was fortified!

    1. 2A and pissed off people

    2. Arizona audit teams. For great justice!

  27. Kamala Harris Greeted In Guatemala With ‘Go Home’ and ‘Trump Won’ Messages
    President Trump was also popular in Central American

    https://floridianpress.com/2021/06/kamala-harris-greeted-in-guatemala-with-go-home-and-trump-won-messages/

    1. Republicans celebrate mayoral win in majority-Hispanic McAllen, Texas
      Hidalgo County, home of McAllen, went to President Biden by roughly 17 points in the 2020 election
      https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republicans-mcallen-mayor-javier-villalobos-texas

      1. “Amazing news! McAllen, Texas is a major border town of 140,000 people. 85% Hispanic — and just elected a Republican mayor. The macro realignment accelerates in South Texas, and elsewhere, as Hispanics rally to America First,” former Trump 2020 campaign adviser Steve Cortes wrote on Twitter.

        Villalobos defeated opponent Veronica Whitacre by a little more than 200 votes in a runoff election, KVEO reported. He is currently a McAllen City Commissioner.

        “Let me start by thanking the voters, my team, my family [and] everyone who helped run this campaign. Thank you McAllen for trusting [and] believing in me. I promise to not let you down,” Villalobos wrote on Facebook this weekend.

        He received praise from conservatives across the country. Hidalgo County, home of McAllen, went to President Biden by roughly 17 points in the 2020 election.

        “Holy cow… Republicans just flipped the mayorship of McAllen, Texas. This was not expected and shows Hispanics in South Texas may have shifted with the GOP even post Trump,” author Ryan Girdusky wrote on Twitter.

        “BIG win for Republicans tonight in a border community. Biden’s border crisis has real world ramifications for communities across the country, especially in cities like McAllen,” RNC spokesman Nathan Brand said on Twitter.

  28. https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1401724547968159747?s=19

    “All homophobes will be assaulted”

    Antifa in Portland are organizing a direct action for Pride month. The flyer features scenes of arson & a shooting. [Link]

  29. The left:

    Will Labor Shortages Give Workers More Power?
    https://news.slashdot.org/story/21/06/06/1728234/will-labor-shortages-give-workers-more-power

    Also the left:
    open the border and bring in more workers to eliminate the shortage

  30. For those of you who missed it over the weekend, a couple of scientists are making an argument with a basic form that looks like the following:

    —-Premise: “In the entire class of coronaviruses that includes CoV-2, the CGG-CGG combination has never been found naturally”.

    —-Premise: “It was this exact sequence that appears in CoV-2”.

    —-Conclusion: Therefore, “the scientific evidence points to the conclusion that the virus was developed in a laboratory”.

    You can read the whole thing yourself at the following link. If you need the Wayback Machine to read it, then use the Wayback Machine.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-science-suggests-a-wuhan-lab-leak-11622995184?

    1. Intermediary observations include the following:

      1) Researchers use the CGG-CGG combination when they engineer viruses to identify their own handiwork–and keep it separate from control groups of naturally occurring viruses–specifically because the CGG-CGG combination has never been shown to occur naturally.

      2) A virus cannot acquire the CGG-CGG sequence through recombination with other viruses if the CGG-CGG sequence doesn’t already exist in nature.

      3) It is possible–however remotely–that the first known CGG-CGG mutation happened in a coronavirus naturally at the exact same time that a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was creating novel coronaviruses with the standard CGG-CGG engineered code, but it is far more likely that the tell-tale CGG-CGG sequence was engineered in that lab.

      And we know that the researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were engineering coronaviruses because they published papers about what they had done with them and because the research they intended to do with engineered coronaviruses is described in the publicly available funding request that Dr. Fauci’s NIAID approved.

      4) Scientific consensus doesn’t depend on absolute certainty like mathematical proofs, and the standard isn’t beyond a reasonable doubt like in a criminal trial. No one in this article is claiming that there is no other possible explanation. They’re simply claiming that “the scientific evidence points to the conclusion that the virus was developed in a laboratory”. And I’m having a hard time finding a hole in their argument.

      1. It is possible–however remotely–that the first known CGG-CGG mutation happened in a coronavirus naturally at the exact same time that a researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was creating novel coronaviruses with the standard CGG-CGG engineered code

        At the exact same time and the exact same place. Well, shipped in from the jungle–however remotely–to a wet market down the street.

      2. Fauci is a mass murderer. A true evil scientist.

      3. From what I’ve read, most of the arguments against the lab leak theory essentially boil down to “But it’s happened before!” while offering no evidence that it happened that way THIS time.

        In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. In this case, there’s no evidence to the contrary. No one is saying it’s not possible that it was natural, just that it’s incredibly unlikely. Maybe they’ll find the evidence they need to change that, but at this point, it doesn’t exist.

      4. This is something that had to be known pretty much instantly after the virus sequence was publicly said to be determined, back in January 2020.

        As you are describing it in these quotes, Ken, this had to be to medical microbiology researchers, a gigantic, 100 foot tall sign, in neon lights, with a fucking volcano erupting out of the top of it. Yet no major molecular biologist or virologist was publicly claiming this at the time. I mean, I was paying attention to the news on SARS COV2 back then, and I don’t remember anyone making this particular specific claim about these AA sequences being a signature of genetic manipulation.

        (They were making other claims about COV2’s obvious genetically manipulated origins.)

        Something has changed where officials now feel comfortable publicly discussing the immediately obvious about Covid. Why? Why now?

        1. The reasonable assumption is that they were concerned about losing their funding from the NIH.

          Behind closed doors, however, national security and public health experts and officials across a range of departments in the executive branch were locked in high-stakes battles over what could and couldn’t be investigated and made public.

          “A months long Vanity Fair investigation, interviews with more than 40 people, and a review of hundreds of pages of U.S. government documents, including internal memos, meeting minutes, and email correspondence, found that conflicts of interest, stemming in part from large government grants supporting controversial virology research, hampered the U.S. investigation into COVID-19’s origin at every step. In one State Department meeting, officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.

          —-Vanity Fair, June 3, 2021

          https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/06/the-lab-leak-theory-inside-the-fight-to-uncover-covid-19s-origins

          The “experts” get a tremendous amount of funding from the NIH, and if you bring . . . um . . . “unhelpful” attention to NIH funding.

          When you bite the hand that feeds you, you risk not being fed much anymore. The principle is as old as the saying itself.

          We should suspend their funding immediately until there’s a full investigation–at the very least.

          1. “The NIH invests about $41.7* billion annually in medical research for the American people.

            More than 80 percent of NIH’s funding is awarded for extramural research, largely through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state.

            —-NIH website

            https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/what-we-do/budget

            If you want to be one of the 300,000 researchers at 2,500 universities that gets some of that $41 billion in taxpayer funds every year, you might do well to STFU about the origin of covid-19 if it’s tied to the NIH’s funding of research in China.

            That’s what that Vanity Fair article is talking about.

      5. The biggest problem was that for the first year the “scientific concensus” was the opposite of whatever trump says

  31. > The FBI sought information, including I.P. addresses, on all “computers and other electronic devices” that accessed the story during a 35-minute period on the evening of the shooting.

    Okay, my brain is confused. Does this mean the story about killing of two FBI agents was published the same evening as the killing? And the FBI wanted IP addresses of everyone who read the story during a tiny windows?

    First, how does a story get published that fast? Police blotters don’t get published that fast. Usually got to wait until the next day for the police blotter. But US Today not only identified the victims as FBI agents, but got the story through the editorial review in time to get it out the same evening. Sure they can do that for big stories. But we’re not talking big story here, we’re talking police blotter level stuff.

    Keeping IP addresses of all visitors? Sure I guess. But tracking which stories they read, then saving that information so it can be requested? WTF? On second thought, yeah, that’s the new normal. Coupled with cookies it allows deep data mining for targeted ads. But is this stuff stored by IP address? I thought it was a cookie that was the unique identifier. IP addresses mean jack shit when everyone reading stuff via their phones and mobiles. Does anyone but the professionals have static IP addresses anymore?

    This whole story is just weird.

    1. Why is it a problem for the FBI if I read news stories?

    2. There is a reason I never use a USA Today link – – – – – – – – – –

    3. I’m not sure two dead FBI agents is “police blotter” stuff. Despite what you see in the movies, FBI agents rarely die, and are rarely involved in gun play.

      I believe the # of FBI agents killed in the line of duty since the inception of the FBI is 81.

      1. The only time I encountered an FBI agent. Was when I was questioned relating to a coworker getting a security clearance.

        The man was a fucking gorilla in a suit. Huge. Drove a black SUV of course. And who knows what he was packing underneath.

        1. I was questioned by an FBI agent when I apied for my Secret Clearance.

          He was in his late 40’s and was built like an accountant.

          1. Sarc frequently makes up stories whole cloth to make himself look cooler.

      2. How did USAToday know two FBI agents were killed, if they weren’t there? Thus, the police blotter. Not the only way newspapers get clued into stories, but for crimes that’s the usual method.

        It just seems weird to me that a paper such as USA Today would be publishing this story within 35 minutes of the event, unless they had a reporter on the scene. Which in retrospect, might be a reasonable assumption. FBI contacts USA Today to come watch their operation.

  32. Amazon driver attacks 67-year-old woman during delivery dispute
    https://nypost.com/2021/06/05/amazon-driver-attacks-67-year-old-woman-in-delivery-dispute/

    The vicious encounter was caught on video from multiple angles.

    Ramirez reportedly verbally berated the victim about her “white privilege” before the attack, according to KTVU FOX2. Police say that the victim may have called the suspect a “b—h” before the exchange turned to fisticuffs.

    The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department said that the victim suffered visible injuries and perhaps a broken nose.

    “It was frightening to see an Amazon driver do that, somebody who we allow onto the property to provide us a service,” Doug Smith, the owner of the Vista Creek Apartments where the attack took place, told local station KRON4.

    1. Private company

    2. Amazon goes postal.

  33. > “By 1830, the average American adult was consuming about three times the amount we drink today”

    In general, one did not drink the water in 1830. Or the milk. And if you had any fruit juice then drink it quick before it turned to wine.

    The modern teetotaler is a product of sanitation and refrigeration. Before then even the most devout ascetic drank alcohol. Small beer was low alcohol beer people drank instead of water. Milk was for cooking. Juice was for wine, or jams and jellies. Canning was a thing, but canning water for drinking wasn’t worth the effort.

    Just drink the fresh water? Sure, if you lived out in the wilderness and all you had to worry about was bison urine in your water. But before sanitation you simply did not drink city water. If you were out on a farm with a well, sure, anywhere else it wasn’t safe.

    People drank more alcohol because they didn’t have a choice.

    1. https://reason.com/2014/02/22/george-washington-boozehound/

      Indeed, we still have available the bar tab from a 1787 farewell party in Philadelphia for George Washington just days before the framers signed off on the Constitution. According to the bill preserved from the evening, the 55 attendees drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer, and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.

      That’s more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a number of shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. That seems humanly impossible to modern Americans. But, you see, across the country during the Colonial era, the average American consumed many times as much beverage alcohol as contemporary Americans do. Getting drunk—but not losing control—was simply socially accepted.

      By contrast, the Temperance movement insisted that alcohol was a beverage whose use inexorably progressed to alcoholism. I sport in my apartment the eight illustrations of George Cruikshank’s “The Bottle.” In the first, “Frances Latimer brings the bottle out for the first time; he induces his wife to take a drop.” By the fourth plate: “Unable to obtain employment, they are driven by poverty into the street to beg, and by this means they still supply the bottle.” And four more plates remain where (spoiler alert) things get “progressively” (as in alcoholic progression) worse.

      Note: Cruikshank was English, and provided the illustrations for Charles Dickens’ early books. But Dickens, who favored the workingman’s right to drink (as well, certainly, as his own!), grew alienated from Cruikshank, the Temperance nudge.

      This type of Temperance propaganda has so suffused our consciousnesses that even the most liberated among us view alcohol and drugs as leading to the kind of addictive progression represented by Cruikshank’s illustrations. At the time Temperance held sway in the U.S., opiates were widely dispensed to men, women, and children in tincturated forms such as laudanum. Yet, today, we are convinced by every drug scare that comes down the pike that we cannot possibly control the effects of narcotics and other drugs, let alone alcohol.

      1. This is why wemon shouldn’t have political power

        1. Wemons should not have political power. Neither should lemons. Or memons. The Memonites are a blot on the Anabaptists.

          Women, on the other hand, should have the right to vote. Despite memes to the contrary, it was the men who were in power that ratified the 18st amendment.

          1. After being nagged into it.

      2. Puritans are alive and well. Only the costumes have changed.

        1. Surprisingly Puritans drank beer and had lots of sex.

  34. The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?
    https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/the-origin-of-covid-did-people-or-nature-open-pandoras-box-at-wuhan/

    “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin,” a group of virologists and others wrote in the Lancet on February 19, 2020, when it was really far too soon for anyone to be sure what had happened. Scientists “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,” they said, with a stirring rallying call for readers to stand with Chinese colleagues on the frontline of fighting the disease.

    Contrary to the letter writers’ assertion, the idea that the virus might have escaped from a lab invoked accident, not conspiracy. It surely needed to be explored, not rejected out of hand. A defining mark of good scientists is that they go to great pains to distinguish between what they know and what they don’t know. By this criterion, the signatories of the Lancet letter were behaving as poor scientists: They were assuring the public of facts they could not know for sure were true.

    It later turned out that the Lancet letter had been organized and drafted by Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance of New York. Daszak’s organization funded coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. If the SARS2 virus had indeed escaped from research he funded, Daszak would be potentially culpable. This acute conflict of interest was not declared to the Lancet’s readers. To the contrary, the letter concluded, “We declare no competing interests.”

    1. Virologists like Daszak had much at stake in the assigning of blame for the pandemic. For 20 years, mostly beneath the public’s attention, they had been playing a dangerous game. In their laboratories they routinely created viruses more dangerous than those that exist in nature. They argued that they could do so safely, and that by getting ahead of nature they could predict and prevent natural “spillovers,” the cross-over of viruses from an animal host to people. If SARS2 had indeed escaped from such a laboratory experiment, a savage blowback could be expected, and the storm of public indignation would affect virologists everywhere, not just in China. “It would shatter the scientific edifice top to bottom,” an MIT Technology Review editor, Antonio Regalado, said in March 2020.

      A second statement that had enormous influence in shaping public attitudes was a letter (in other words an opinion piece, not a scientific article) published on 17 March 2020 in the journal Nature Medicine. Its authors were a group of virologists led by Kristian G. Andersen of the Scripps Research Institute. “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” the five virologists declared in the second paragraph of their letter.

      Unfortunately, this was another case of poor science, in the sense defined above. True, some older methods of cutting and pasting viral genomes retain tell-tale signs of manipulation. But newer methods, called “no-see-um” or “seamless” approaches, leave no defining marks. Nor do other methods for manipulating viruses such as serial passage, the repeated transfer of viruses from one culture of cells to another. If a virus has been manipulated, whether with a seamless method or by serial passage, there is no way of knowing that this is the case. Andersen and his colleagues were assuring their readers of something they could not know.

      1. https://harvardtothebighouse.com/2020/03/19/china-owns-nature-magazines-ass-debunking-the-proximal-origin-of-sars-cov-2-claiming-covid-19-wasnt-from-a-lab/

        Maybe you shouldn’t blindly believe everything you read? Even if the source has a pretty solid reputation?

        Nature magazine has censored over 1,000 articles at the request of the Chinese government over the past several years, and runs columns sponsored by outside interests. And it seems pretty clear that their recent article, “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” is just one more example of their influence. China bought off the head of Harvard’s chemistry department, you don’t think they could buy off run-of-the-mill research scientists scrambling for tenure and funding and publication? It’s absolutely horrific that so many scientists and researchers are taking part in what’s really clearly a disinformation campaign orchestrated by the Chinese Communist Party, and willfully spreading a smokescreen about something that’s already killed thousands and is projected to kill millions more across the planet.

        And while the mainstream corporate media mindless regurgitates claims from the Chinese government that are falsifiable with the simplest of google searches, allowing the public to be lulled into a false sense of security and complacency, and Reddit rapidly censors and moderates anything that might indicate that this virus leaked from a Chinese lab and so the Chinese government is to blame for this pandemic – sites like ZeroHedge, that have been at the forefront of keeping the lines of investigation open, have been banished from Twitter and marginalized.

        Below is a takedown of that article, and the good news is a much more nuanced and honest look at the origins of COVID-19, the Wuhan Strain of coronavirus is just a click away.

        1. https://thebulletin.org/2021/05/the-origin-of-covid-did-people-or-nature-open-pandoras-box-at-wuhan/

          The Daszak and Andersen letters were really political, not scientific, statements, yet were amazingly effective. Articles in the mainstream press repeatedly stated that a consensus of experts had ruled lab escape out of the question or extremely unlikely. Their authors relied for the most part on the Daszak and Andersen letters, failing to understand the yawning gaps in their arguments. Mainstream newspapers all have science journalists on their staff, as do the major networks, and these specialist reporters are supposed to be able to question scientists and check their assertions. But the Daszak and Andersen assertions went largely unchallenged.

          1. That said, the available evidence leans more strongly in one direction than the other. Readers will form their own opinion. But it seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.

            It’s documented that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were doing gain-of-function experiments designed to make coronaviruses infect human cells and humanized mice. This is exactly the kind of experiment from which a SARS2-like virus could have emerged. The researchers were not vaccinated against the viruses under study, and they were working in the minimal safety conditions of a BSL2 laboratory. So escape of a virus would not be at all surprising. In all of China, the pandemic broke out on the doorstep of the Wuhan institute. The virus was already well adapted to humans, as expected for a virus grown in humanized mice. It possessed an unusual enhancement, a furin cleavage site, which is not possessed by any other known SARS-related beta-coronavirus, and this site included a double arginine codon also unknown among beta-coronaviruses. What more evidence could you want, aside from the presently unobtainable lab records documenting SARS2’s creation?

            1. This is all just an amazing coincidence and circumstantial evidence.
              What, you don’t believe your chocolate icing -smeared mouth kid when he says “it must have been the dog who got into the cake.”

  35. FBI Backs Off Attempt To Subpoena Info on USA Today Readers

    Because coming from USA Today, the info would have been wrong.

  36. Yelled says higher interest rates would be good for the US.
    Guess she isn’t aware of the huge debt.
    Or she is just as mentally decrepit as SleepyJoe.

  37. “By 1830, the average American adult was consuming about three times the amount we drink today,” points out The Atlantic.

    Imagine how much more we would be drinking this year if Trump had been re-elected.

    1. I have successfully returned to 1830 levels this year.

  38. “What’s distinctly American about this story is not alcohol’s prominent place in our history (that’s true of many societies), but the zeal with which we’ve swung between extremes,” writes Atlantic Senior Editor Kate Julian. “Americans tend to drink in more dysfunctional ways than people in other societies, only to become judgmental about nearly any drinking at all. Again and again, an era of overindulgence begets an era of renunciation: Binge, abstain. Binge, abstain.”

    Almost like a bunch of teenage girls.

    1. “Americans tend to drink in more dysfunctional ways than people in other societies”

      Has Kate Julian ever met anyone from Japan?

  39. The FBI sought information, including I.P. addresses, on all “computers and other electronic devices” that accessed the story during a 35-minute period on the evening of the shooting.

    The fact that they can ask for this… and might get it, but for the good graces of a liberty-minded court should give everyone pause about what you think your anonymity really is when just browsing the web.

    1. The FBI probably found the information anyway and said they backed off after they did.

  40. “I don’t think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on.…I don’t think there is anything more enabling for people around the world.”

    They talk like social justice advocates, but have the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler.

  41. water was bad in the past alcohol killed the germs, we have better methods today

  42. “That makes the FBI’s move even more shocking. Authorities clearly had other ways to find the suspect they were looking for and, apparently, still decided that infringing on freedom of the press was a good first step.”

    It’s telling that ENB only appears concerned about the press’s rights being violated, but not all the people who accessed the article on-line. Explains why there’s been no coverage here of Feds raiding people’s houses simply because their cell phone data indicated they were in washington 1/6.

  43. “Again and again, an era of overindulgence begets an era of renunciation: Binge, abstain. Binge, abstain.””

    But enough about sarc’s battle with alcoholism.

  44. Twitter – We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society.

    Thread winner – Twitter should just go start their own Nigeria.

    1. Thast line is a total winner indeed.

    2. Their prince still owes me a lot of money

  45. ENB has an interesting concept of “caving” in regard to Royal Caribbean. There’s no logical or legal reason to require that all passengers be vaccinated. Is it caving to avoid a fine by not doing something that makes no sense? Would she consider it caving to avoid a jail sentence by not stealing from others?

    1. ENB has a rule: If Democrats pressure someone to do something, but Republicans pressure them not to, only the latter is caving.

  46. But once in office, Biden changed his tune.

    So, you’re saying Biden is continuing the policies of the Obama administration the?

    The most transparent administration ever?

    I mean, you guys wanted ‘wrong, but within normal.parameters’. That’s what this is.

    1. When Obama said “Leave it to Joe to fuck things up” it was an endorsement.

  47. “Press freedom continues to be threatened by Biden administration”
    One of Trump’s signature “achievements” was eroding trust in the American institution of a free press. Whatever the radical socialist far-left Biden administration is doing is far less than the destruction that Trump with the slavish support of Republicans has wrought.

    1. We didn’t trust the press long before Trump. They have been liberal and edging far left since the 1950s (at least).

    2. The press eroded their credibility all by their lonesome.

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