There is at least one area where today’s Progressives diverge from Orwell’s Party. From the appendix to 1984:
[a Party member’s] sexual life, for example, was entirely regulated by the two Newspeak words SEXCRIME (sexual immorality) and GOODSEX (chastity). SEXCRIME covered all sexual misdeeds whatever. It covered fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions, and, in addition, normal intercourse practised for its own sake. There was no need to enumerate them separately, since they were all equally culpable, and, in principle, all punishable by death. In the C vocabulary, which consisted of scientific and technical words, it might be necessary to give specialized names to certain sexual aberrations, but the ordinary citizen had no need of them. He knew what was meant by GOODSEX—that is to say, normal intercourse between man and wife, for the sole purpose of begetting children, and without physical pleasure on the part of the woman: all else was SEXCRIME.
Regarding sexuality, in other words, 21st century governments that decide how to allocate an ever-larger share of GDP and thus occupy an ever-larger role in an individual’s life went in exactly the opposite direction predicted by Orwell. Orwell was correct in predicting that church-established moral rules would be dead, but he thought that even more strict sexual morality would be imposed by the state.
(Note that, in 1984, the Proles enjoyed more freedom of all kinds, including sexual, than Party members, but their sexual freedom was pretty similar to what was available in 1940s England not what we have in the U.S. right now. Contraception is never explained in 1984, unlike in Brave New World. The only women who have babies are married women, despite the existence of some sex outside of marriage, and family sizes seem to be small.)
Not a great time for us buy-and-hold index investors….
Since Joe Biden took office, the S&P 500 is down at least 6 percent in real terms (up 3.9 percent nominal, but up is the new down in a high-inflation environment).
Who wants to get bragging rights by calling the bottom on this market slide? I’m going to say that the correct value is 3,200 (pre-coronapanic value) plus 0 percent growth for 2020 when Americans cowered in place and 8 percent growth for 2021. Then add 20 percent for the inflation rate that is experienced by people with enough money to buy stock. So today’s correct nominal value is 4,096. Markets tend to overshoot, though, so let’s take 5 percent off that for the bottom: 3,891.
The United States has provided intelligence about Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died in action in the Ukraine war, according to senior American officials.
Ukrainian officials said they have killed approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts.
The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine. That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.
The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently.
If a country did that to the U.S., would we call it an “act of war” and flatten their capital in retaliation?
The United States provided intelligence that helped Ukrainian forces locate and strike the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet last month, another sign that the administration is easing its self-imposed limitations on how far it will go in helping Ukraine fight Russia, U.S. officials said.
The targeting help, which contributed to the eventual sinking of the flagship, the Moskva, is part of a continuing classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine.
What if a country helped some jihadists conduct an operation similar to the USS Cole bombing, e.g., by letting the attackers know exactly where one of our ships was?
What about funding? One way to figure out if a country is at war is if its taxpayers are funding a war. From a May 4 NYT article in which the President actually does run a proposal by Congress:
This week, the Senate will take up a request from President Biden to send $33 billion in aid to Ukraine, mostly in the form of artillery, antitank weapons and other military and security assistance. If the measure goes through, the United States will have authorized a total of $46.6 billion for the war, equal to more than two-thirds of Russia’s entire annual defense budget.
The request comes just weeks after President Vladimir Putin of Russia called on the Biden administration in a formal diplomatic letter to stop supplying advanced weapons to Ukrainian forces. If it didn’t, Putin warned there would be “unpredictable consequences.”
It sounds like Americans been doing everything on the Ukrainian side except the final trigger pull. We are funding the entire Ukrainian military, just as we fund our own military. We are directly running the Ukrainian military’s electronic and satellite intelligence branch. With some assistance from NATO allies, we are designing and building the weapons that the Ukrainian military uses in combat.
The above should not be intended as an opinion regarding the Russia-Ukraine war. (I don’t understand the languages, the history, etc.) The topic for this post is the process of governing the U.S. If the Constitution says “Congress shall have Power . . . To declare War” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 11), how is Joe Biden allowed to do all of the stuff that he is apparently doing without specific Congressional authorization?
The Biden administration will appeal a federal judge’s decision that struck down the mask mandate on public transportation, officials announced Wednesday.
The Justice Department filed notice of its plans to appeal after U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Florida on Monday concluded that the mandate exceeded the statutory authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ruling blindsided the White House and sparked days of debate within the administration about how to proceed.
Separately, as long as we’re talking about COVID Karens, I still can’t figure out why people who want to wear masks in public are in public to begin with. They’re afraid of COVID-19 so they put on a cloth mask or a non-fitted N95 mask after leaving the house. But if they’re afraid of COVID-19, why did they leave their houses in the first place? Karen visits a Florida theme park is an extreme example of this conundrum.
In a perfect illustration of the intergenerational conflict exposed by COVID-19 and with perfect timing for Passover (a holiday all about freedom), a 34-year-old federal judge struck down the 79-year-old’s order forcing healthy young (non-elite) people to wear masks on buses, subways, and commercial airliners. On one side, we have Dr. Biden’s husband at an age where COVID-19 is often serious and sometimes fatal. He’s presumably hoping to make it to 100 so that he can attend the Metropolitan Museum’s opening of a permanent wing devoted to the work of Hunter Biden (today: “face coverings required for all visitors age 2 and older; in 2043 maybe it will be “face coverings required except for visitors under age 2”?). On the other side, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a 34-year-old with no obvious COVID-19 risks (photo below from a Tampa Bay Bar Association interview) who can rely on her immune system to co-evolve with SARS-CoV-2.
Most young Americans meekly accepted the loss of their liberty (and, in many cases, their education) that was, at least in theory, supposed to help rich old people get richer and older. But not this judge!
A federal judge in Florida struck down on Monday the Biden administration’s mask mandate for airplanes and other public transport methods.
US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the mandate was unlawful because it exceeded the statutory authority of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and because its implementation violated administrative law.
A Biden administration official familiar with the White House’s decision previously told CNN the goal of the extension was to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus. Covid-19 cases in the US are on the rise, leading universities and the City of Philadelphia to reimplement indoor mask mandates.
The first part of the judge’s 59-page ruling turned on the meaning of the word “sanitation,” as it functions in the 1944 statute that gives the federal government the authority — in its efforts to combat communicable diseases — to issue regulations concerning “sanitation.”
Mizelle concluded that that the use of the word in the statute was limited to “measures that clean something.”
“Wearing a mask cleans nothing,” she wrote. “At most, it traps virus droplets. But it neither ‘sanitizes’ the person wearing the mask nor ‘sanitizes’ the conveyance.”
Mizelle suggested that the government’s implementation of the mandate — in which non-complying travelers are “forcibly removed from their airplane seats, denied board at the bus steps, and turned away at the train station doors” — was akin to “detention and quarantine,” which are not contemplated in the section of the law in question, she said.
“As a result, the Mask Mandate is best understood not as sanitation, but as an exercise of the CDC’s power to conditionally release individuals to travel despite concerns that they may spread a communicable disease (and to detain or partially quarantine those who refuse),” she wrote. “But the power to conditionally release and detain is ordinarily limited to individuals entering the United States from a foreign country.”
If her order sticks, maybe young people will say “Thank Mizelle” every time they get on public transit (which the rich old people who created the mask orders never used to begin with).
Speaking of Tampa, the children’s museum there in a photo from December 2021:
(One of the things that I am liking about Florida is the priority given to children. Events that would require paid tickets for each child up in Maskachusetts are generally free to children here. At least half of the time that I expect to pay for our kids I find out that a paid adult admission enables an unlimited numbers of kids to come in as well. A family of modest means, therefore, can afford a wide range of activities that would be out of reach for a family in the Northeast. Disney, of course, is an exception and is financially ruinous for anyone with kids.)
Reaction from a Facebook friend (old white guy): “If there was a hell, it would hold a special place for U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle”
(Kathleen in NY) It’s a shame that not one major airline was brave enough to keep the mask policy in place—offering passengers a choice to fly with other safety-minded people. Missed business opportunity too. It’s a tragedy that airlines caved to the vocal minority, rather than the more compliant majority—placing more importance on individual liberty (aka selfishness) than to the common good.
(Andy in Chicago) Even if masks were about to become optional anyway, this judge’s decision sets a dangerous right-wing precedent for future Covid waves and other epidemics.
(josh in NY): The judge who made this decision was a political appointee of Donald Trump, and utilized no scientific based reasoning in the decision to remove masks from travel. I think this will only harm the nation further and while no one likes to wear them, they are especially useful in tightly packed places like planes, trains, and buses. I hope the administration appeals this blatantly political opinion.
(Jason in NY): I had a trip planned to California next week. As a result of this politically motivated and dangerous move to end masks on flights, I have cancelled my trip.
(Martha in Tennessee) Woo hoo! Now the US needs to drop the negative test requirement for citizens to get back into the country. Those of you who insist on living in fear are just going to have to stay home.
(David in California, replying to Martha) I’ll stay home, thanks for your consideration. And I’m not the only one. Taking action that drives customers away isn’t necessarily a good business decision.
(John in San Jose) I read the decision of Judge Mizelle. It is shockingly bad and is based on narrow views of select words while ignoring not only other sections, but even common sense. … Judge Mizelle claims that the mask mandate exceeds its authority because it does not fit into the suggested list of remedies listed in the law, but she also chose to ignore the closing words of 42 U.S. Code 264 which state “and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary.” It is sad to realize that the hard work of thousands of well-trained people can be rendered moot by one judge with no knowledge of diseases and a partisan agenda.
COVID-safe restaurant chain idea (perfect for the NYT commenters above who want to continue living under the rules that prevailed in New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco circa January 2022)
Adult film star Stormy Daniels has lost her appeal in her failed defamation suit against Donald Trump — leaving her owing almost $300,000 in legal fees to the former president.
“I will go to jail before I pay a penny,” Daniels tweeted Monday after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her in the long-running case.
Trump hailed the ruling by the appeals court, which he often bashed as president, calling it “a total and complete victory and vindication for, and of me.”
Michael Avenatti filed the defamation suit against Trump in 2018, when he was Daniels’ lawyer. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said in a statement Tuesday that Avenatti had filed the suit “without my permission and against my wishes.”
“Once it was filed, Trump’s lawyers overwhelmed Avenatti and I was left the victim of an attorney’s fee award,” she added, calling it a “sad reality” that a “predator” like Trump “can openly brag about assaulting women and become president and be awarded money for his bad behavior.”
At 44, Stormy Daniels might be a little old to make money in the ways that she used to. But if she needs $300,000 from for her service to the cause of anti-Trumpism, why not create some artwork that loyal Democrats can hang next to their original Hunter Bidens (between $100,000 and $500,000 each, according to the NYT)? It shouldn’t take long to recover $300,000 after gallery fees and taxes.
What should Stormy’s medium be? Oils? Acrylics? Watercolor? And should the works be abstract or representational?
One idea, given the likely market: Stormy Daniels could paint portraits of Hunter Biden.
I haven’t been following the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson (CNN) closely, but it seems that nobody could apply for the job unless he/she/ze/they identified as a “Black woman”. From state-sponsored NPR:
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue in my view.
A person who switches racial identity from white to Black may be condemned (see Nkechi Amare Diallo, formerly “Rachel Dolezal”), but we celebrate those who change gender identity from “man” to “woman” (see Rachel Levine, for example).
If a Black judge who previously identified as a “man” had, after Dr. Biden’s husband announced his hiring policy, said “I identify as a woman and am proud to be a member of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community”, would that judge then have become eligible for the Supreme Court position?
William Thomas, for example, who was nominated by President Obama (see “Rubio Withdraws Support for Gay Black Judge’s Nomination to the Federal Bench” (NYT)) and who continues to serve as a judge in a Florida state court. Judge Thomas was already identified by the newspaper of record as “Black” and, under our prevailing theories of gender, only Judge Thomas can pick his/her/zir/their gender ID. What would have stopped Judge Thomas from being considered for the Supreme Court job as a “Black woman”?
And fourth and last, let’s end cancer as we know it.
Cancer is the number-two cause of death in America, second only to heart disease.
Our goal is to cut cancer death rates by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years. And I think we can do better than that: turn cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases, more support for patients and families.
To get there, I call on Congress to fund what I called ARPA-H — (applause): Advanced — Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. Patterned after DARPA in the Defense Department, projects that led — in DARPA — to the Internet, GPS, and so much more that make our forces more safer and be able to wage war more — with more clarity.
Thanks to Facebook, we know that Gladys West, Ph.D. in Public Administration, invented GPS:
But did DARPA fund Dr. West, as Dr. Biden’s spouse told the American people last night? “GPS History, Chronology, and Budgets” says that it was the mainstream Department of Defense, lead by the U.S. Air Force:
Finally, in April 1973, the Deputy Secretary of Defense designated the Air Force as the lead agency to consolidate the various satellite navigation concepts into a single comprehensive DoD system to be known as the Defense Navigation Satellite System (DNSS). The new system was to be developed by a Joint Program Office (JPO) located at the Air Force’s Space and Missile Organization, with participation by all military services. Colonel Brad Parkinson, program director of the JPO, was directed to negotiate between the services to develop a DNSS concept that embraced the views and needs of all services.
(Let’s not forget Gee from World War II, a British predecessor to LORAN, which was itself the predecessor to satellite-based navigation systems. See “The Origins of GPS, and the Pioneers Who Launched the System” (GPS World) for some photos of the early developers (below) and confirmation that it was not DARPA that funded GPS.)
The audience is thrilled to imagine a new federal agency (ARPA-H). But we already have the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with an annual budget of $52 billion. If NIH is doing its job, why would a new agency be needed to fund medical research? After all, the ordinary Department of Defense, merely doing its job in the 1960s and 1970s, managed to get GPS off the ground (so to speak).
Readers who watched the speech (I merely skimmed the transcript): What was your impression of our 79-year-old Commander in Chief? (and was Uncle Joe merely reading from a teleprompter or did he have to think on his feet?)
An additional point that I noticed: the speech did not begin with a land acknowledgment and, indeed, there is nothing in the transcript about Native Americans. LGBTQ+ (but not 2SLGBTQQIA+?) Americans are mentioned. Transgender Americans are mentioned twice. Asian Americans will be protected. “Women” (an undefined category) are mentioned three times as victims requiring government assistance. “Veterans are the backbone and the spine of this country. They’re the best of us,” is just a portion of the attention devoted to veterans. But nothing about Native Americans, who are apparently at best second-rate (unless a Native American becomes a veteran).
Finally, Biden said “we must prepare for new [SARS-CoV-2] variants.” For those who believe that ordering the general public to wear masks is effective at stopping the spread of an aerosol respiratory virus, how is this statement consistent with what Biden’s fellow Democrats are doing, i.e., dropping their mask orders? And with Biden’s own statement in the same speech: “Under the new guidelines, most Americans in most of the country can now go mask free.” Wouldn’t the best way to prepare for new viral variants be keeping mask orders in place until there is a simple cure for COVID-19?
Loosely related… pictures of Americans who were involved in the early years of satellite-based radio navigation (from GPS World):
“It’s not a requirement of law, but it’s a requirement, I think, of just some generic decency,” the president told NBC News’ Lester Holt.
President Joe Biden called out the lack of Black head coaches in the NFL in an interview that aired during the Super Bowl, saying having diverse leaders in the league is a requirement of “generic decency.”
As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pointed out, Biden said in an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, “they haven’t lived up to what they committed to and lived up to being open about hiring more minorities to run teams.”
“The whole idea that a league that is made up of so many athletes of color, as well as so diverse, that there’s not enough African American qualified coaches ‘to manage these NFL teams,’ it just seems to me that it’s a standard that they’d want to live up to,” he said. “It’s not a requirement of law, but it’s a requirement, I think, of just some generic decency.”
But how many Black cabinet secretaries has Joe Biden hired? He has hired some white-looking people who identify as “women” and at least one member white member of the “men who have sex with men” (the official CDC phrase) group, perhaps proving that white women and white 2SLGBTQQIA+ are the enemies of Black advancement in the Victimhood Olympics (if a company can get equal “diversity” credit for hiring a white woman as for hiring a Black man, essentially the white woman has grabbed the quota that had previously been reserved for Blacks).
In 2019, there were 46.8 million people who self-identified as Black, making up roughly 14% of the country’s population. This marks a 29% increase since 2000, when there were roughly 36.2 million Black Americans.
If we assume that at least 20 million out of the 46.8 million identify as “women”, why can’t the entire cabinet be people who identify as Black women, a historically underrepresented group in the highest levels of American government? President Biden said “there’s not enough African American qualified coaches” was an unacceptable excuse for the NFL. Does Joe Biden expect us to believe that, with respect to cabinet jobs, there aren’t enough qualified candidates in a pool of 20 million?
[MIT prof] Eric Lander, the president’s top science adviser and a member of his Cabinet, sent a Friday night email to his roughly 150-person staff apologizing for speaking to colleagues in a “disrespectful and demeaning way.”
“It’s my responsibility to set a respectful tone for our community. It’s clear that I have not lived up to this responsibility,” Lander wrote in an email provided to POLITICO. “This is not only wrong, but also inconsistent with our Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy. It is never acceptable for me to speak that way. I am deeply sorry for my conduct. I especially want to apologize to those of you who I treated poorly or were present at the time.”
Lander heads the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and is leading President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot,” an initiative aimed at reducing cancer deaths that had its splashy launch event earlier this week.
The email appears to reference an investigation POLITICO has been conducting into Lander’s treatment of staff, which Lander acknowledges in his email. “I understand that some of you have been asked about this, and I thought it was important to write directly to you,” he wrote. “I also realize that my conduct reflects poorly on this Administration, and interferes with our work. I deeply regret that.”
Biden himself declared a zero-tolerance policy for improper conduct on the first day of his administration. He pledged that “if you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.”
Lander pledges in his email that “[w]e will take concrete steps to promote a better workplace. We will schedule regular forums to check in with staff on how we are doing in creating and upholding a safe and respectful workplace. We will also ensure that every employee knows how to report conduct that concerns them.”
Lander is probably one of the nicer people at MIT (like being a dwarf among midgets, admittedly), so perhaps this shows that Science is something to follow every day while scientists are best restricted to their labs.