Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue –
3. Tax Returns
4. Gas Homes
5. Red Wave
6. SW Air
1. Twitter. Last week’s release of Twitter files document pressure by the government on Twitter to elevate and suppress certain content about COVID and the pandemic. Sadly, both the Trump and Biden administration participated. The Trump administration tried to head off runs on grocery stores for things like disposable gloves, cleaning wipes, toilet paper, etc., (all of which we saw). The Biden administration changed that message to some variation of the “… be very afraid of COVID and do exactly what we say to stay safe” message. Everything the feds said was pumped up. Everything that did not agree in lockstep was suppressed, especially including all information and discussion about therapeutics. The WH took over all private channels previously set up by the FBI and other federal agencies to talk directly to Twitter and other Big Tech companies. They were especially concerned about mRNA criticism by journalists like Alex Berenson. Biden personally was angry that the companies were not sufficiently aggressive in deplatforming multiple accounts questioning what was coming out of the WH and CDC. Twitter execs did not initially fully capitulate to these demands, but they did suppress views of those journalists and medical and public health professionals who had other viewpoints. Much of the moderation on COVID along with that of other contentions subjects was done by bots trained by machine learning and AI. Contractors operating in other nations were also moderating content. They were all followed up by Twitter managers. The buck stopped with higher level employees at Twitter, who chose inputs for the bots and censorship decision trees for the contractors. There was individual and collective bias. Legitimate dissident content was labeled as misinformation, with accounts being suspended for tweeting opinions and information found in medical journals, labeling it as false information, misinformation. Essentially, if you disagree with the CDC, you are taken down, even if you cited the CDC’s very own data. Some of the dissident users were put on secret internal blacklists. Trump himself was flagged for a tweet as he departed Walter Reed following his COVID recovery to not be afraid of COVID. Why is this important? The complete shutdown of discussion, airing of alternate views and approaches allowed all the awful COVID responses to continue, responses like school closures, vaxxing those under 18, gym closures, lockdowns, multiple boosters, exercise and masking. One of the other things falling out of this was the information that exercise, any exercise fundamental in the ability to fight COVID and survive. The more exercise you get, the better you do. Anyone else remember the lone surfer arrested offshore LA? The feds, CDC and the WH were fundamentally opposed to anyone knowing this, much less publicly discussing it. What else have they hidden?
2. Maricopa. An Arizona Superior Court Judge ruled Dec 23 that Kari Lake’s challenge to elections in Maricopa County were not due to intentional misconduct and dismissed the case. Lake will appeal. Elections in Maricopa were a mess, apparently and intentional mess, which flipped the statewide race to a 17,000 vote Hobbs win. In his opinion, Judge Thompson set a impossible new standard, that elections cannot be set aside or overturned without “… proof of the most clear and conclusive character.” Essentially, the higher the stakes, the more reluctant the judiciary is to set aside the election outcome. The defense took the position that it is up to individual voters to make sure their ballots are correct and the information put into the system is correct. The idea of a do-over would somehow disenfranchise those who originally voted. Those who were actually disenfranchised are left to embrace the suck some unknown time after the fact according to this judge. If fraudsters are creative enough to go outside the basis for challenge established by statute (which the Katie Hobbs operation appears to be), the lawsuits cannot proceed. Worse, election officials are presumed as a matter of law to be fair. The other thing working in AZ is that the State Bar is a screaming leftist cabal, and very aggressive, targeting and disbarring lawyers who challenge these sorts of idiotic judicial opinions, essentially what the left has been trying to do to lawyers who represent Trump, Trump officials, and Jan 6 political prisoners. Sigh. At least they are all out in the open.
3. Tax Returns. 24 House democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to release years of Donald Trump’s tax returns to the general public. The Ways and Means press release was filled with all the mealy-mouthed platitudes defending this partisan assault on the privacy of a citizen you would expect from congressional democrats. Response to the action was about what you would expect, though with an interesting twist. That twist is overwhelming support for release of democrat politician’s tax returns, starting with those of the 24 members who voted to go after Trump. We will see if the next Speaker is up to it, not as payback or retribution, rather, an object lesson to democrats to be very, very careful with setting new precedents in their pursuit of a smarmy little political win.
4. Gas Homes. When you elect democrats, they will do democrat things, regardless of the sanity level of those things. Latest example of this comes from Colorado, where democrats had a pretty good election. They reelected their democrat governor, US Senator, hold a 5-3 majority in the US House, a 21-14 majority in the state senate, and a 41-22 majority in the state house. On Dec 1, the state utilities commission issued new rules that make it all but impossible to build new homes or modify existing homes for the expanded use of natural gas, effectively pricing it out of the marketplace. Note that there is no practical or cost-effective alternative for home heating in Colorado to natural gas, though heating oil, coal, and wood stoves would suffice, as would propane. Unfortunately for the green true believers all of those alternatives are much harder on the environment in terms of emissions than natural gas. As usual, the rules support artificially levied greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals of 4% by 2025 and 22% by 2030. The new rules essentially require builders to pay the full cost of gas lines to their homes up front. This includes expanding capacity of existing gas lines to carry the additional gas. Cute. But effective in our new green nirvana.
5. Red Wave. David Giglio writing in America First Live posted a piece entitled Failure by Design: How and why the GOPe killed the Red Wave. The piece lays responsibility for conversion of the predicted red wave into a trickle directly at the feet of corporate GOP, where at least part of the blame resides. He did not get into the election shenanigans in Maricopa County and elsewhere. He should have. Instead, he concentrates on the failure of Minority Leader McCarthy, Minority Leader McConnell, and GOP Chair McDaniel, all pointing money before and after the primaries, at candidates supportive of them. In short, McConnell and McCarthy refused to support insurgent candidates, opting for candidates who would keep them in power. Now, this is expected through the primaries. But once, the primary results are in, every single dime ought to be spent to elect whoever won the primary or was otherwise the party nominee. In any sane world, if your leadership fails across the board, that leadership ought to resign or otherwise be replaced. Ours won’t and isn’t. The other thing is that we must give voters a reason to vote for us. Carping about Biden and democrats only goes so far. What do we want to do? How can we do it better? Why is our future better and theirs worse? Waving the bloody shirt of past disasters (2020 election, for instance), is not a winner. Better is a winner. In 2020, with Trump on the ballot, Republicans won almost every single House race that was rated a tossup. In 2022, we lost almost every competitive House race. Worse, perhaps all incumbents up for reelection of both parties were reelected. You aren’t gonna flip a government if you keep reelecting democrat incumbents.
6. SW Air. One of the larger stories last week was the implosion of Southwest Airlines during the Christmas holiday, cancelling over 15,000 flights, stranding tens of thousands of travelers. Rebooking were for Southwest flights days later. The melt down appears to be due to an antiquated and unresponsive scheduling system. Things were bad enough for Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to crawl out of wherever he was hiding and run his mouth against Southwest. Buttigieg is a smart guy. The problem is that he is also incompetent. If you are competent and doing your job, nobody knows the name of the Transportation Secretary. But we all know Pete’s name. There is a reason for that. The problem is that the scheduling system is simply the latest domino to fall for Southwest. Ostensible reason for the failure is lack of automation. Everything is done by phone, leading to hours on the phone waiting for help by employees and aircrews. A pilot wrote an extended piece in Ace of Spaces this morning. He claims that the aircraft were ready, the crews were ready, but the moving parts could never get matched to where they needed to go, leading directly to flight cancellations. There were previous mini-melt downs over the last decade, though nothing as bad as this. He also pointed to the appointment of an accountant as CEO in 2004 rather than someone with operational experience. Under his leadership, corporate focus shifted from operations and customer service to cost control uber alles. Communications between corporate and employees became increasingly hostile over the intervening 18 years. And the more hostile the communications became, the less interested either side was in making the system work. Add to this the draconian COVID rules inflicted by the CDC and FAA (masking, vax mandates, no relaxation of the 65-year-old retirement age for flight crews, etc), and the system was increasingly stressed. Throw in a large caliber winter snowstorm (not uncommon in the winter), and the increasingly brittle house of cards finally came down. Will this do the Southwest what the Lockerbie bombers managed to do to Pan American when they blew Flight 103 out of the sky in 1988? Dunno. But it will take a while for Southwest to recover. Whether they can do that or not remains to be seen. Note to corporate execs: If you have a public-facing operation, you probably ought to listen to your operators and your customers, especially when they tell you there is a bad moon on the rise.
7. Cosby. I am an unabashed fan of early Bill Cosby comedy albums thru the 1970s. He followed up with a HBO Special, Bill Cosby, Himself in 1983 which ended up as the foundation for the Cosby Show the next year. The Cosby Show in various iterations ran 1984 – 2000. Wildly, wildly popular. He was looking into a return to a TV series sometime after 2010, and the bottom fell out of his career, with at least 60 women coming forward with claims of sexual assault by Cosby for decades. A trickle of complaints quickly turned into a flood. The vehicle for impropriety was usually a knockout drug in a drink, with the woman waking up afterwards. Criminal complaint was filed against him in 2015. First trial was a mistrial. Second time around, he was convicted in 2018, sentenced to 3 – 10 years in a PA jail. He lost at least one civil case in LA in 2018. The PA Supreme Court threw out the criminal conviction in 2021, releasing him. The previous prosecutor made a deal with Cosby that his replacement ignored. This is typically reported as being released on a technicality rather than prosecutorial misconduct. Throughout all this, Cosby steadfastly maintained his innocence. His fellow cast members from the various iterations of the Cosby Show also steadfastly supported him. Last week on Gutfeld, they noted that Cosby was going to start touring again. My gut reaction is that this is a less than stellar idea. In my world, the complaints surfacing and subsequent prosecution in 2014 were a political hit job, by democrats who could not stand an unwoke black man with a normal family back on TV. If Cosby had indeed done the ugly acts he was accused of, this meant that everyone in Hollywood looked the other direction for at least 20 years, like Epstein and Weinstein, everyone knew what was going on. As long as Cosby was politically useful, they looked the other direction. The instant he was a problem, they all came forward, shocked, simply shocked at such a monster in their midst. My problem is the lesson we all learned from the Kavanaugh hearings in 2018, when literally hundreds of sexual assault claims were made against him. The two women who showed up in front of the Senate committee both lied through their teeth about Kavanaugh in an attempt to keep him off the SCOTUS, not unlike what Biden and Teddy Kennedy tried against Clarence Thomas in 1991. So, I am torn. I have no idea if Cosby did any of what he has been accused of. What I do know, is that the political left can and will manufacture any and everything humanly possible to eliminate a target. And Cosby has become a target.
More later –