Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. SCOTUS. A really strange opinion out of the SCOTUS last week was refusal to stay the NY vax mandate on religious grounds. The vote was 6-3, with Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch voting for the stay. So-called conservatives Barrett and Kavanaugh voted with the liberal block and Chief Justice Roberts. This opinion really shows the complete lack of will among those justices who pretend to be in the ideological middle to do anything to defend religious liberty currently under relentless attack by the political left. At issue was a recently issued medical regulation requiring all NY healthcare workers to receive the vax. There are medical exemptions, but none allowed for religious reasons. At least two of the vax use fetal cells and the religious exemptions come from the pro-lifers. When announced, Governor Cuomo promised a religious exemption. That changed as the regs were written and released. It appears that new NY Governor Hochul intentionally removed the exemption. She has made numerous comments depressing disbelief that doctors were really believers in their particular religion. She also announced that NY would change their unemployment insurance so that healthcare workers who failed to comply would not only be fired, but also be ineligible for unemployment insurance claims. Nice. Gorsuch’s opinion is well worth reading, as it takes his colleagues to task for once again refusing to provide relief to healthcare employees facing firing. The previous case was six weeks ago from Maine. He wondered:
But how many more reminders do we need that “the Constitution is not to be obeyed or disobeyed as the circumstances of a particular crisis … may suggest”? Downes v Bidwell, 182 US 244, 384 (1901) Harlan, J., dissenting).
For her part, NY Governor Hochul was positively giddy. And she should be, as she is sticking it to people she despises. I was interested in seeing if Cuomo’s replacement was going to be an improvement. Sadly, she seems to be worse, though apparently knows how to keep her hands to herself (so far). In a related story, it appears that every single request for a religious exemption by military members requesting a religious exemption from the vax mandate has been summarily denied, many via form letter. Pray for our military, as the leadership seems very good at following orders, regardless of how lawful those orders may be.
2. Newsom. Cali Governor Gavin (Hair Gel) Newsom thinks he has come up with a great response to firearms owners. His approach is legislation in Cali that will allow anyone who is injured by a firearm to sue both the vendor and the manufacturer in state court. This is essentially a variation of the Texas anti-abortion legislation making its way thru the SCOTUS. He was quite pleased with himself for coming up with the scheme, with state and national media chortling at his brilliance. Interestingly, Newsom has publicly blasted the Texas law as a vehicle to insulate its abortion laws from the courts. This little problem has not gone unnoticed by firearms groups, with at least one amicus brief filed against the Texas law warning about its application to firearms ownership and sales. Newsom has a problem though, as the Second Amendment clearly covers firearms. There is no similar amendment for abortion rights. Additionally, Texas is not banning abortions with their law. Also note that there is federal law that prohibits manufacturers and distributers of firearms from being sued in federal court, though there are a few states (Connecticut, Sandy Hook, for instance) that are attempting to take firearms dealers through the state and local court system in response to mass shootings.
3. NIH. President Eisenhower’s final speech in 1961 famously warned of the military – industrial complex. But in the same section of the speech, he also warned about government-funded science:
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields…. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.
These sentences rattled the scientific community at the time. Unfortunately, they were prescient, as we have seen with the Climate Wars, where all the manmade global warming due to CO2 emissions stuff comes out of government-funded academics, labs, agencies, and scientists. If you don’t produce the right results, you don’t get the next grant. The entire mess has turned into the proverbial self-licking ice cream cone. Sadly, we are seeing the same thing with public health, as the National Institutes of Health uses its dominance of funding for health research to empower itself at the expense of anyone who would think outside the accepted conclusions. Like the climatista world, anyone who is interested in pursuing outcomes outside those backing the NIH / CDC worldview gets no future grants. And everyone in the field knows that. This also corrupts the peer-review world, as it is responsive to the leadership of the NIH and CDC. This explains all the interest in vax and masking and little interest in therapeutics and early intervention. Public health science appears to be as corrupt as climate science, and for precisely the same reason.
4. Outage. Amazon Web Services (AWS) had a major outage last week, mostly in the eastern US. The five-hour outage impacted mostly businesses who rely on cloud services. AWS is a huge profit center for Amazon, which holds roughly a third of the market for cloud services. Unfortunately, as Americans have embraced the Internet of Things (IoT) and other smart devices, these devices are tied into ASW and other cloud providers. The AWS outage wiped out a wide variety of devices like Ring users, leaving people unable to even get into their homes as the apps were down. Others were unable to operate smart Christmas lights. It took down streaming services. It took down Alexa. Smart bulbs didn’t work. Roombas no longer worked. Refrigerators were down. Que the Skynet jokes. Be careful getting too many smart things in your homes, as you are SOL when they go stupid.
5. Forfeiture. One of the worst mistakes made during the Reagan administration was embrace of civil asset forfeiture as a tool in the War on Drugs. There are two types of asset forfeiture. Criminal is where charges were filed against the owner. 1997 – 2013, this was only 13% of all property seized. Civil forfeiture, where no charges were filed during that time was a whopping 87%. If you are not convicted in criminal proceedings, you get your property back. In civil forfeiture, you actively have to sue the local government for your property and win that lawsuit. Often this process costs more than what law enforcement stole from you. Thing have gotten so bad that the combined value of asset forfeitures passed that of all property lost due to burglaries in 2014. Things are so bad that the former Reagan DoJ Director who came up with the scheme has become a critic and wants it abolished. This is background for seizure of over $100k from a woman passing through Dallas Love Field from Chicago. Dallas Police staged a photo with a very large caliber German shepherd that alerted on the suitcase with the money in it. Local media posted a number of happy little stories about the government sponsored theft, and the photo and story went viral. But when you brag about stealing, without any charges being filed, you tend to get a lot of attention, much of it not nearly as friendly as expected. And the story prompted a lot of people in Texas, legislators and others, to come after the thieves on the public dime. Memes in the PJ Media piece on the event were devastating. It is time to shut down civil forfeiture. Completely. Immediately.
6. Ban. From the land of one hand doesn’t know (or care) what the other is doing (yes, I mean Cali), comes new regulation out of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that in the name of saving and protecting Mother Gaia, bans the sale of small gasoline engines stateside. While the reg is entitled as aimed at small off-road engines, it is written sufficiently broadly to cover everything – lawn mowers, leaf blowers, string trimmers, and last, but certainly not least, small portable generators. A review of past electrical problems in Cali has rolling blackouts due to Pacific Edison shutting down power during wildfire season. And when your home electrical feed is no longer reliable, what is your response if you aim to live there for any length of time? Right. Get yourself a generator, something they will no longer allow to be sold in Cali after 2024. The new reg does not appear to be aimed at diesel or propane powered generators. Yet.
7. dB. In happier news, hackers took down the Brazil Health Ministry and ConectaSUS platform a couple weeks ago. This platform centralized vax data and other health information for Brazil. The hackers either deleted the database (dB) or corrupted it to the point where it is no longer operable. The hack was done just as new Brazilian rules for travelers to go into operation. President Bolsonaro opposes a vax passport but did support a 5-day quarantine and vax test for incoming travelers. The new requirement was delayed for a week in order to recover national vax data. Given the Harris – Xiden push for a national vax database here in the US, I could see a similar response. The Brazilian hack sounds like a relatively standard ransomware attack, as the Brazilians were warned at least once before last week that their system was open. A similar attack on a US vax database will be a bit more difficult to do. However, given the stark split between Americans on the notion of vaxxing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see such an attack roundly cheered. And if captured, good luck seating a jury or getting a conviction on the perps.
8. Fact. Interesting admission by FakeBook lawyers in their legal battle against John Stossel. Stossel is suing FB for adding fact check labels to his videos on climate change. FB told the court that their fact checks are nothing more than statements of opinion. Stossel claimed that the labels constitute defamation. FB’s legal team claims the labels are neither false not defamatory. Rather, they constitute protected opinion. FB’s other argument is that since they outsource their fact checking, generally to left-wing media and non-profits, they are properly distanced from any responsibility for the actions of their employed contractors. Yet FB still acts on the recommendations of the contractors by labeling the videos, limiting their reach on the platform, and demonetizing videos their contractors decide are DoublePlus Ungood. Sounds like word games to me. We will see if they get away with it,
9. Fantasy. One of the stories I have been following have been recruitment and conversion of troubled youth by the ed establishment and social media all in the name of trans rights. One story out of Cali about a daughter who fell in with a bunch of online trans folks is particularly hair-raising. The mother eventually found therapy to help her daughter, who made a huge change in lifestyle right around puberty. She had to go out of state to get that help. And her Catholic school was not any help at all. A complete shutdown of social media seemed to be the most important step, as the daughter was behaving a lot like a prototypical cult member. It took about a year and a half for her daughter to start returning back to normal. John Sexton writing in Hot Air also covered the story.
More later –