Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue –
1. Whitmer. Federal prosecutors had a very bad week losing cases in Michigan and DC. Both were political cases brought against current enemies of the regime. The FIB was involved in both cases and came up looking pretty bad, especially in the Whitmer trial.
- There were four men charged and tried in connection with the politically charged plot to kidnap MI Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Charges were brought October 2020, right before the election (or during it), and Whitmer had a grand old time playing up her personal fright at the notion of so-called Trump supporters plotting to kidnap her. Trump and Whitmer had a good time calling one another names for a couple weeks. The media also had a grand old time playing this story up as a way to damage Trump via guilt by association. As it turned out, the entire plot was an FBI concocted entrapment scheme, with more FBI informants and employees participating than actual idiots. As the case came to trial, multiple FBI informants refused to testify. In the end, the jury acquitted two of the four on all charges. The other two were either acquitted or had a hung jury on the remaining charges. There is no announcement as yet on how soon the feds will attempt to retry this case. I want to stress the importance of this verdict, as entrapment is wildly difficult to prove. Yet the public defenders managed to do it much to the disgust of both the FBI and federal prosecutors. Prosecutors did manage to get a guilty plea from one of the participants before the case went to trial. He is currently in jail.
- The second case comes out of DC, where a Jan 6 defendant in a bench trial was found not guilty on all charges. The judge decided that Capital Police waving protestors into the Capital did not constitute an armed insurrection, a coup, obstruction of the operation of congress or anything else by the protesters. After all, they were invited in as confirmed by video (which is another reason the feds don’t want the 14,000 hours of video released). Prosecutors dismissed the defendant claim that he was invited into the building as nonsense. Their problem is that video shows police officers standing near the rotunda doors allowing people to enter as the defendant approached. The defendant was arrested April 2021 and has been in jail ever since.
- All was not sweetness and light as a federal judge (O’Bama appointee) in DC slammed another protester for claiming his protest was more peaceful than the BLM / AntiFa protests during the summer of 2020. This defendant ended up with 45 days in jail even though federal prosecutors weren’t asking for any jail time. One of her fellow federal judges (a Trump appointee) questioned why federal prosecutors had not brought more cases against the summer 2020 rioters, noting that the (In)Justice Department would have more credibility in court if it were even-handed with its treatment of riots and mobs in DC.
2. Axiom. SpaceX launched their first all commercial manned mission (Ax-1) to the International Space Station (ISS) Friday morning. Axiom Space was founded in 2016 with the goal of creating the first commercial space station. They were granted the use of the ISS Harmony module during their 8-day stay. They have plans to build and attach as many as 5 additional commercial modules to ISS. Given the current political standoff between Russia and the rest of the world, it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t end up with a free-flying station sooner rather than later. SpaceX is cranking up their ability to fly manned missions nicely. They have flown 22 people since May 2020. In the same period, the Russians have flown 18. And the Chinese, billed as the second largest space program in the world has only flown 13 – 14 taikonauts since their first manned flight in 2003. At the same time, NASA rolled out their Artemis 1 SLS (Space Launch System or Senate Launch System) to the pad for live fire tests last week. As of this writing, they have cancelled at least three tests due to safety concerns. At 4+ billion a pop, my prediction is that they will never fly enough of these to figure out how to operate them. SLS will be simply too expensive to learn anything or generate any sort of an operational flight rate. Congress is watching, and late last week the inestimable Bernie Sanders called for more money for NASA so SpaceX wouldn’t beat them to the moon or Mars. Bernie has never had a word to say about spaceflight. Now that the commercial guys are figuring it out far quicker than NASA, he is worried that his precious government is being left behind. Following video is the launch and recovery of Ax-1. Great video of the first stage automated landing.
3. Firing. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, in NYC, at least. We found last week that newly ensconced NYC Mayor Eric Adams has skin as least as thin as his predecessor. An angry mom confronted Adams during a press conference last Monday, demanding to know why he was still masking toddlers. At the time, Adams was standing in front of a podium banner reading “Come to the city where you can say whatever you want”, a slap aimed at the Florida anti-grooming legislation. Apparently, you can say whatever you want about grooming children, masking them is another thing entirely. The mom reminded him that he had promised 3 weeks ago to unmask toddlers by April 4. This hasn’t happened. Following the question, it took the NYC Law Department less than an hour to notify her that she had been fired. The Mayor denied firing her. Expect this to go to trial. Should be fun.
4. Elon. Elon Musk had himself quite a week, with another successful commercial manned launch, opening a massive new Tesla manufacturing factory in Texas, and last but certainly not least, purchasing a 9.2% piece of Twitter, making him the largest single shareholder, nearly 3x as large as Jack Dorsey himself. Musk has been sharply critical of Twitter’s censorship in recent months. For what it is worth, so has Dorsey. Solution appears to be something that would allow Twitter users to select their own algorithm, the software logic that allows the user what to see. Today, it is a one size fits all game. For its part, Twitter offered him a seat on his Board of Directors. He thought about it for a few days and turned down the offer over the weekend. Rationale appears to be that a seat on the Board would limit his actions to the point where would not have the impact he wants to have. His ownership would have been capped at 15% and his public pronouncements would have been significantly limited mainly due to SEC rules and regulations. The SEC is already gunning for Musk over Tesla. Why give them more ammunition? Musk’s purchase prompted at least one public resignation of a Twitter engineer. It also spiked the stock price, making Musk an overnight $25 million on a $3 billion stock purchase. Musk has demonstrated the ability to understand and force out of the box solutions to intractable problems, as have other members of the PayPal original cadre. This will be fun to watch.
5. Jackson. The US Senate confirmed the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the SCOTUS with a 53 – 47 vote. The three turncoats were Alaska’s own Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney. Murkowski appears to believe she can get some leverage on a contentious reelection campaign with the vote. Collins is somewhat old school, believing that democrat presidents should be afforded deference on their judicial nominees, so her vote is not a surprise. She has been doing this for a long, long time. Least surprising and most disgusting was the vote of Mitt Romney to support the nomination. Romney voted against Brown Jackson’s nomination to the DC Circuit last year. For some reason, she is now more qualified to be a SCOTUS Justice than she was to be the most overturned judge on the DC Circuit. Who knew?
6. O’Bama. Barack O’Bama made the trek to the WH last week ostensibly to celebrate the 12th Anniversary of the passage of O’BamaCare. Everyone (mostly) had a good time in front of the cameras. The fever swamps were running overtime, with at least one story about how O’Bama could be appointed VP and end up serving the remainder of Biden’s first (and hopefully last) term in office. The saddest thing were a few videos of the WH mob surrounding O’Bama, while Biden bumbled around looking for someone who would talk to him. Gutfeld showed the video one night.
7. Goolag. Ran across an interesting piece in dkb.io entitled Google Search Is Dying. While the piece is dated Feb 15, 2022, it discusses something I didn’t know was going on, something that should make us all smile a bit. Sounds like Google Search is in the process of being replaced by Reddit. Reddit doesn’t have a decent search interface, so the way to force it to be used is appending the word “reddit” to the end of search queries on other platforms (including Google). People are migrating to Reddit because Google search results have gotten pretty bad. Generally, the first couple listed results are search engine optimization (SEO) sites with affiliate links and ads. It might appear that Google is giving decent results for other categories, mainly factual information. The proliferation of SEO sites, specifically engineered to show up at the top of any search list display, has buried actual results to the extent that most of us are now self-censoring what terms we use in a search simply to bypass wading through all the commercial garbage. Google got popular 20 years ago because hackers and other first adopters figured out it was returning better results than Lycos or Excite. This is happening again, as the early adopters are transitioning away from Google. Google was always somewhat ad-based, making money from ads that come up in search requests. That business model looks like it has been cranked up in order to squeeze every single penny out of users before Google’s expected collapse. This particularly becomes clear somewhere into the second and subsequent pages loaded in any search. There are a bunch of people hired and currently working with the sole goal of gaming their way to the top of a Google search. And these folks are pretty good at what they do, making your search garbage. Google’s adoption of AI increasingly does not give you what you are looking for, as the AI tries to be smart and figure out what you really are looking for. And you can’t turn it off, even with the hard-wired query operator (“ “). If you want to force Reddit into your search, use the following to append your queries (and yes, it’s going to take a while to figure out how to use the new language) “+ “site:reddit.com” “.
8. Disney. One of the proposed pushbacks aimed at Disney’s newfound support for grooming youngsters is revocation of their special zoning authority that allows Disney to act like its own self-contained government in and around Disney World near Orlando, Florida. There is another special government perk that Disney has profited from for at least 30 years, ownership of their characters via copyright. Basic copyright law is generally limited to the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. Walt Disney died in 1966, In 1998, the Copyright Term Extension Act extended this number to 95 years from first publication or 120 years after its creation, whichever ends sooner. This Clinton-era law has been called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act following a campaign to protect Disney’s extended ownership of Mickey Mouse and related characters. Disney acquired the rights to Winnie the Pooh in 1961. Over the years, Disney has spun the characters into an annual revenue stream $3 – 6 billion, $80 billion since they purchased the rights. Copyrights for Winne the Pooh expire this year. Copyright for Steamboat Willie, the earliest Mickey Mouse incarnation expire in two years. Disney is going to be in front of congress, hat in hand sometime this year, demanding their copyright be extended. Now that they have gone scorched earth on Florida Republicans and Republicans elsewhere, I predict their road is going to be much more difficult. They chose. Poorly.
More later –