Taibbi: Has The Media’s Russiagate Reckoning Finally Begun?
Glenn Simpson, the former Wall Street Journal reporter turned high-priced “oppo” merchant, didn’t like to think of himself as a private investigator.
He preferred to describe what he and his firm, Fusion-GPS, did as “journalism for rent,” an activity a class above spying, because a journalist can’t just say what he or she thinks.
“You have to prove it,” Simpson said.
“And that imposes a discipline to the investigative process that people in other fields don’t really absorb… When you’re a spy, you really don’t have to get into a lot of that stuff.”
Spooked, the meticulous new book on private spying by former New York Times reporter Barry Meier, reads like a direct rebuttal to Simpson, the book’s central character.
“There is little question that private investigators take on legitimate assignments,” writes Meier at one point.
“Still, everyone in the industry knows its secret — that the big money is made not by exposing the truth but by papering it over.”
Meier, a two-time Polk award winner who was also part of a team that won a Pulitzer in 2017, is the first mainstream press figure to break the industry omerta over the reporting failures of Russiagate. That Spooked is an important book can be judged by the nervous reaction to it. Though the Times did publish an excerpt and a review by William Cohan, and the Wall Street Journal commended him for saying “what hardly anyone else in his circle of elite mainstream journalists has had the courage to say,” much of the rest of the business has looked askance.
This reveals how much industry discomfort remains about the Steele story, still treated by media critics as a minor fender-bender and not the epic crackup Spooked describes.
Much of the point of Meier’s book is that there can be no such thing as “journalism for rent,” because the mere act of putting information up for sale corrupts the process Simpson claims to love. As Meier put it to me, “People who think of themselves as journalists and rent out those talents are no longer journalists.”
Although Spooked covers other private agencies like Black Cube (hired by Harvey Weinstein to dirty up his accusers) and K2 (the corporate descendant of Kroll Associates, who planted a phony documentarian to investigate health activists), the spine of the book is the story of Glenn Simpson’s Fusion-GPS. Simpson is the kind of half-absurd, half villainous character who makes for a great character study, and Spooked readers are fortunate he made the mistake of leaving a trail of unflattering stories before very gossipy witnesses across his years in the media business. Meier coldly gathers these tales together in a way that makes for a particularly entertaining read for anyone who’s ever worked in a newsroom (Simpson imploring his “dachsund-beagle mix named Irving” to take a dump on his editors’ desks on his last day at the Journal is just one of many amusing anecdotes).
Simpson had a rocky relationship to the journalism profession when he was in it. On one level, he apparently was well-liked, funny, a prankster. On another, editors were wary, finding him combative and, as Meier writes, “quick to see conspiracies where they didn’t exist”:
One Journal editor became so concerned about the conclusionary leaps that Simpson was capable of making that he asked another journalist on the paper’s staff to double-check Simpson’s reporting. His response to any pushback he got from editors was usually the same: they could go fuck themselves…
As Simpson soldiered on in a business whose ranks were shrinking, he drifted into a world where a thinker prone to “conclusionary leaps” might feel more comfortable, filling his rolodex with the names of private operatives who became his top sources. He did a series of reports about a fierce (if uninteresting) squabble between Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev and his former son-in-law and political rival, Rakhat Aliyev, with Aliyev’s lawyers and operatives serving as Simpson’s sources.
Feeling less wanted in the newsroom, and tempted by the money and allure of the private spy world, Simpson made the jump to become an informational Pinkerton, to disastrous effect. Meier emphasizes that for all its flaws, the journalism business at least once imposed some constraints on personalities like Simpson’s, forcing them to stay stuck in the world of evidence. In private spying, those constraints are removed, and a person prone to skipping steps in the proof process can get themselves into some very nasty situations. As Meier put it, “things could go really wrong.”
As the world knows by now, things did go wrong, in what Meier describes as “a media clusterfuck of epic proportions.”
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Wed, 06/16/2021 – 22:20
Comedian Kevin Hart had a fiery response on Tuesday to the critics of his rant against cancel culture.
Hart took to his Twitter account in response to some on social media who said that he was angry about cancel culture because he wasn’t funny enough.
“I got time today,” he began.
The “He’s not funny” slander is the best….this is for you. I have 3 stand up comedy specials that fall in the top… https://t.co/OmBWuBGwlk
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real)
“I have 3 stand up comedy specials that fall in the top 10 highest grossing comedy specials of all time….2 of my specials are in the top 3 of all time,” Hart tweeted.
“I have been the highest grossing comedian in entertainment for years now….I have also been the highest grossing comedian in the box office with over 4 billion in earnings,” he continued.
“I have also turned my comedic talent into a place of business and branding and radio and other revenue streams,” Hart explained.
“The hate/slander fuels me to do more,” he said.
“I rarely talk s***,” Hart added, “but I felt the need to today.”
He concluded with a quote mocking his detractors.
J Cole said it best “If ur laughing at a millionaire the jokes on YOU” …..Now back to ur regularly scheduled prog… https://t.co/nG1WRIUu9z
— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real)
Hart had originally derided cancel culture in a long detailed rant on an interview with the Sunday Times.
“When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time? I don’t understand. I don’t expect perfection from my kids. I don’t expect it from my wife, friends, employees,” said Hart.
“They’re saying that all life should be over because of a mistake?” he said elsewhere in the interview. “Your life should end and there should be no opportunity to change? What are you talking about?” he asked. “And who are you to make that decision?”
The popular comedian is starring in a movie entitled “Fatherhood” to be released on Netflix on June 18.
Here’s more about Hart against cancel culture:
Kevin Hart hits back at cancel culture
After Blisteringly Hot Temps, Texas Faces Shot Of Cold Air Next Week
A negative temperature anomaly has been spotted for Texas for early next week that may impact power prices. But, no matter the temperature, extreme climate variability has stressed out the state’s power grid and resulted in soaring prices and forced outages.
Next week’s forecast shows a negative temperature anomaly is expected to roll into the Lone Star State between next Tuesday and Wednesday. This indicates cooler than average temperatures are expected.
Texas’ power grid has proved no match for extreme climate variability this year due to all the renewable energy sources on the grid.
In February, Texas power prices infamously exploded higher during the frigid temperatures of the February winter storm. The power grid was seconds away from breaking as record cold temperatures affected power generation of all types. The state’s independent and isolated electricity grid (operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT) had to plunge millions of people into darkness to save the grid from a total collapse.
Earlier this week, a positive temperature anomaly in the state resulted in surging power prices and outages as millions of people turned down their thermostats to survive blisteringly hot temperatures. As a result, ERCOT requested customers this week to reduce electric consumption as much as possible. But as of Wednesday, Bloomberg notes blackout threats are easing as more power capacity comes online.
The threat of blackouts is easing in heat-ravaged Texas as more power plants return to service after going down for repairs. The state’s grid operator projects available capacity will rise to about 75,000 megawatts Wednesday afternoon, up nearly 6% from Tuesday, with demand projected to peak at around 70,000 megawatts. That offers more breathing room, though officials are still asking consumers to reduce power use.
Texas Power Demand vs. Texas Power Capacity
Texas’ reliance on renewable energy shows how an entire state, isolated from the nation’s grid, can barely handle shifts in power demand due to extreme climate variability.
So what happens to the power grid during next week’s cold snap?
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 22:00
An Ohio woman went berserk on a pair of McDonald’s employees earlier this week in an incident that was caught on video.
Police say the alleged perpetrator, 44-year-old Cherysse Cleveland, was apparently angry because the workers denied her request to mix slushie flavors together. She is seen physically attacking the employees multiple times in a clip taken by a witness.
What are the details?
Facebook user Brian Allen posted the video to the platform on Monday, writing in a message, “Craziness is out in full force, just saw this at Ravenna McDonald’s.”
Warning: Profanity and violence
Allen’s video shows Cleveland behind the counter at the McDonald’s, pushing two female employees as one calls for bystanders to call the cops and another asks her, “Are you crazy?”
Cleveland then punches one of the employees while the second worker tells the suspect, “Do not touch my boss!”
Cleveland continues to argue and yell at the two other women, who repeatedly ask her to leave before one of the employees tells her, “Honey, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”
That comment appeared to calm Cleveland for a brief moment. She replied with emotion, “Sorry, I’ve been up all day. I’m sorry.”
But Cleveland was quickly triggered again, and ripped the apparent supervisor’s mask off before running to the front of the counter to grab ice and returning behind the registers to attack one of the workers once again. That worker gets Cleveland on the ground and punches her several times. Police then arrive and place Cleveland in handcuffs.
Cleveland was arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault. The Daily Mail reported that when she appeared in court the next day, Cleveland was ordered not to return to the McDonald’s where the incident occurred and not to have any contact with her alleged victims. Her bond was set at $1,000.
WOIO-TV interviewed Mr. Allen, the witness who took the video, to gain his account of what occurred before he began recording.
“I heard her ask for a slushie with all three flavors mixed into one,” Allen told the outlet. “Whereupon the manager informed her that they could not do that, and she became increasingly irritated and combative and decided that she would go behind the counter and fix her own drink.”
As things began to escalate, Allen pulled out his phone to document the encounter. “I was concerned that she may start hurting somebody,” he said. “So, I started recording in case law enforcement needed the tape for any kind of evidence of the assault.”
Americans Are Increasingly “Fleeing” California And New York For Florida And Texas: Study
“Despite the 2020 pandemic, this year Americans are following similar moving trends as prior years. Millions of Americans are moving either to start a new job or to move home,” said a report (pdf) from North American Van Lines, a trucking and moving company.
Specifically, it noted that Americans “are fleeing” California to Texas and Idaho, although New York, New Jersey, and Illinois “are the three states with the most outbound moves.”
Other states that have seen a mass exodus of people, the report said, are Michigan and Pennsylvania.
“The top five inbound states in 2020 are Idaho, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina, with Tennessee overtaking South Carolina from the 2019 results,” the report found.
North American Van Lines did not make mention of the widespread protests and riots last year, or the pandemic. Crime rates in some cities have also spiked amid the “defund the police” movement that became popular in the summer of 2020. In major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York City, and Chicago, shootings and homicides saw upticks in 2020 and during the first six months of 2021.
But the report speculated that people might be leaving northeastern states due to the “harsh winters,” job availability as many firms “are avoiding the region” for now, and that many northeastern cities have a high cost of living that makes housing affordability more challenging.
The city that is most popular as a moving destination is now Phoenix, according to the report. The next on the list are Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Denver.
“With Texas’ warm climate and low taxes it’s not surprising that three of the top ten MSA [Metropolitan Statistical Area] destinations are in Texas,” the report noted.
Another report released this week from real estate website Zillow confirmed that there has been a significant shift in where people are living now, saying that Americans are “reshuffling” to “larger” and “more-affordable homes.”
“The average long-distance mover relocated to a ZIP code with home values nearly $27,000 lower than where they came from last year,” its report said. “U.S. movers in 2020 relocated to ZIP codes with homes 33 square feet larger than where they came from, on average.”
Zillow used data from North American Van Lines to find that “movers that changed states in 2020 moved to areas with homes that were, on average, both larger and less-pricey than in the areas they moved from.” That finding, according to the analysis, is a “notable reversal” of previous years’ trends.
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 21:40
IAEA Chief Says Nuclear Deal Will Have To Wait For New Iranian President
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said any agreement reached on a restored nuclear deal in Vienna will have to wait until after this weekend’s Iranian presidential election.
A national vote will take place on Friday, June 8, and it’s expected that the hardline candidate and current head of the judiciary Ebrahim Raisi will succeed Hassan Rouhani as president. Rouhani’s term ends on August 3rd. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in a Wednesday interview with an Italian daily paper that “Everyone knows that, at this point, it will be necessary to wait for the new Iranian government.”
“The discussions that have been going on for weeks have dealt with very complex and delicate technical questions, but what is needed is the political will of the parties,” he added.
The remarks come after prior widespread overly-optimistic reports that a deal would be reached prior to a new Iranian president being sworn into office.
These statements had actually previously come from the Iranian side, also given it was Rouhani who oversaw negotiations with the Obama administration in 2015 for the original deal. Rouhani has this week been pushing for a hasty positive conclusion to Vienna talks, with the hoped-for US dropping of sanctions:
President Hassan Rouhani in his cabinet meeting Wednesday said that while progress in the Vienna nuclear talks had slackened, an agreement was “two words and a dot” away and would happen soon.
With his period in office ending in August ? he was ineligible to seek a third consecutive term in Friday’s presidential election ? Rouhani has been heralding the imminent conclusion of Iran’s multilateral talks with world powers that began in April to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, the JCPOA.
In remarks likely aimed at bolstering turnout for the election, Rouhani today at the cabinet meeting acknowledged the Vienna talks on #Iran JCPOA had slowed but said an agreement was now “two words and a dot” away.https://t.co/moieI6WiGz
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) June 16, 2021
As for the current state of the now 6th round of talks in Vienna, which is being done “indirectly” in terms of Iran engaging US officials, Grossi stated: “The discussions that have been going on for weeks have dealt with very complex and delicate technical questions, but what is needed is the political will of the parties.”
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 21:20
You Know It’s Bad When A North Korea Defector Says That US Similarities To NK Are “Insane”
We interrupt your regularly scheduled brainwashing for a dose of reality for a brave young woman who defected from North Korea in a brutal journey so she could be free. Eventually, she made it to the US to attend an Ivy League American school.
Yeonmi Park has seen firsthand where the United States is headed….and it’s straight to North Korea if we don’t make changes soon.
Propaganda in North Korea
Anyone who saw the movie “The Interview” recognized that under the farce there was a lot of truth. Kim Jong Un is a brutal dictator who will not allow citizens to access the internet or learn anything about critical thinking. The propaganda in North Korea is rampant – both anti-American and pro-North Korea.
For example, there’s a long-running cartoon shown to schoolchildren called “A Squirrel and Hedgehog.”
Yet we should not forget that films and cartoons in North Korea send an ideological message. Usually it is very simple: all the army, the party, and the people follow the unsurpassed leaders of Mount Paektu in their march from victory to victory against the mortal enemies of the Korean people willing that the wicked American imperialists, the evil Japanese claimants of territory, and their south Korean puppets suffer defeat-after-defeat, bringing ever closer the day when they will be erased from the face of the planet.
The least ideological material on North Korean TV happens to be children’s cartoon series, the most well-known which is called “A Squirrel and Hedgehog”.
The story is quite simple. There is a community of good animals who live on Flower Hill, but they are attacked by an evil Weasel Legion. The Flower Hill animals respond by sending a brave squirrel named Goldie agent to infiltrate the Legion. Goldie becomes close to the evil overlord – the Weasel General – yet soon sabotages his plans, helping his allies from Flower Hill. And when the Weasel Legion is defeated in episode 26, a new enemy rises: a Jackal Legion…
…The morality presented in the series is utterly black and white alike those usually in North Korean fiction. Goldie and the other Flower Hill animals are smart, noble, witty and ready to self-sacrifice. Weasels, jackals and their allies, on the other hand, are mean and treacherous cowards, longing to betray everyone they see…
…Finally, and this is perhaps the saddest part of all, “A Squirrel and a Hedgehog” is actually a cruel cartoon.
Here I am not merely talking about the Jackal General, who suffers a nervous breakdown in almost every episode. The cruelty is actually more associated with Goldie and his allies, who constantly call their enemies “bastards” and “scum,” using violence against a defeated enemy on a regular basis…
…Outside of North Korea, most cartoons and films about wars talk about a show of compassion towards the defeated enemy and civilians, in which when the hero is forced to kill, it is not an easy thing. In North Korea, however, the mentality seems to be “We are right. The enemy is not. Kill the enemy and make him suffer.” (source)
In North Korea, there is no internet, all media is state-run, and there’s only one television channel. Only one point of view is allowed to exist. From the time they start school, children in North Korea are inundated with propaganda to the point that they’re completely brainwashed. Sound familiar?
Back to Yeonmi Park’s interview
Yeonmi, now 27, escaped from North Korea with her mother when she was 13 years old. The journey was treacherous. She and her mother were sold to sex traffickers, then rescued by missionaries, they walked across the Gobi Desert to reach freedom. Eventually, they reached safe haven in South Korea. She wrote about her fight to live free in her 2015 memoir, In Order to Live.
We’ve talked here before about a Marxist agenda in the US education system and Park agrees. When she transferred to Columbia University, she says she was deeply disturbed by what she saw.
“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”
Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness.
Yeonmi saw red flags immediately upon arriving at the school…
…It only got worse from there as Yeonmi realized that every one of her classes at the Ivy League school was infected with what she saw as anti-American propaganda, reminiscent to the sort she had grown up with. (source)
Yeonmi was baffled by what American students considered oppression.
“Because I have seen oppression, I know what it looks like,” said Yeonmi, who by the age of 13 had witnessed people drop dead of starvation right before her eyes.
“These kids keep saying how they’re oppressed, how much injustice they’ve experienced. They don’t know how hard it is to be free,” she admonished…
….”The people here are just dying to give their rights and power to the government. That is what scares me the most.” (source)
This is something we’ve witnessed to a shocking degree during the Covid pandemic, which has been used as an opportunity to change the world forever. People have given up their livelihoods, their lives, their very freedom to walk their dogs.
The United States of America was not what she expected.
Yeonmi had always dreamed of coming to the United States.
Having come to America with high hopes and expectations, Yeonmi expressed her disappointment.
“You guys have lost common sense to degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend,” she said.
She thought she was going to come here and learn to think critically.
She accused American higher education institutions of stripping people’s ability to think critically.
“In North Korea I literally believed that my Dear Leader [Kim Jong-un] was starving,” she recalled. “He’s the fattest guy – how can anyone believe that? And then somebody showed me a photo and said ‘Look at him, he’s the fattest guy. Other people are all thin.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I not notice that he was fat?’ Because I never learned how to think critically.”
“That is what is happening in America,” she continued. “People see things but they’ve just completely lost the ability to think critically.” (source)
Critical thinking is indeed becoming a lost art, particularly as anyone thinking outside the status quo gets “canceled” or “defunded.” Our country is rapidly turning into the kind of place in which only one opinion can be held. To hold a different viewpoint is practically criminalized.
The worst part is that people here have chosen their path.
Yeonmi is watching America go down a totalitarian path.
Witnessing the depth of American’s ignorance up close has made Yeonmi question everything about humanity.
“North Koreans, we don’t have Internet, we don’t have access to any of these great thinkers, we don’t know anything. But here, while having everything, people choose to be brainwashed. And they deny it.” (source)
We’re seeing changes though, that take us further and further toward that kind of world. Alternative news sites are shut down in a wave of virtual book-burning. Social media purges any dissenting point of view. TikTok brainwashes young people in 15-60 second intervals. University professors promote violence against those who think differently.
Have things gone too far?
Is it fixable? Yeonmi questions where our country goes at this point.
“Where are we going from here?” she wondered. “There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos.”
“I guess that’s what they want, to destroy every single thing and rebuild into a Communist paradise.” (source)
There’s a playbook, we wrote it, and it’s being used to turn our once-proud nation into a parody of itself. Our very education is brainwashing students into hating our country and being ashamed of our race if we’re white. Social media inspires paroxysms of self-induced guilt over the possibility one may have accidentally micro-aggressed or not been 100% inclusive to everyone on the planet, thinking ahead of any potential handicap or mental illness that might have caused someone discomfort. Americans have become offended over practically everything and the butthurt is real. Some of it would be funny if it wasn’t so damned tragic.
Because we’re being set up for a communist takeover and the brainwashed masses will applaud. With jazz hands, of course, so they don’t “trigger” those who are bothered by loud noises. And definitely no memos will be sent announcing the changes using “frightening” all-caps.
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 21:00
A man is accused of the gruesome murder of the former boyfriend of his mother in the town of Liberty, Texas.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office said that 37-year-old Robert Eugene Hoffpaiur murdered 60-year-old Roman Rodriguez after an argument about his relationship with Hoffpaiur’s mother.
Police say Rodriguez went to Hoffpaiur’s home on Saturday evening and they got into an altercation. Hoffpaiur allegedly beat the man severely, then tied Rodriguez behind his own truck with a tow rope.
Investigators believe he was dragged for about a mile before Hoffpaiur set the truck on fire.
Police said there was a trail of blood leading from the corpse to the home where the altercation began.
The violence has shocked the small community.
“It’s got everybody distraught out here,” said Chuck Barnes, who was a neighbor and friend to Rodriguez. “It’s got everybody distraught and very upset.”
“Right now, it seems like it was a domestic situation that went totally out of control and the son stepped in, took action he shouldn’t have taken — far beyond what was called for,” said Liberty County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Ken Defoor to KPRC-TV.
“We’re getting two or three different stories from both of them,” he added. “And we’re trying to get to the basic truth, what is the truth.”
Authorities say the body of the man was not burned with the truck but that they have not determined if he had died already when he was dragged behind the vehicle. Hoffpaiur was booked into the Liberty County Jail and his bond was set at a $1 million. He is charged with murder and abuse of a corpse.
“He’d do anything in the world for you,” said Barnes of Rodriguez. “He’d give his last dollar. You need a hand, he’d come to it.”
Here’s a local news video about the gruesome murder:
Man beaten, tied to truck and dragged, according to investigators
“Now In Bust Cycle” – China Hog Futures Plunge Near Record Lows On Pork Glut
Chinese hog futures have fallen nearly 38% since launching in January amid rising concerns that the Chinese pork market has gone from shortage to surplus.
Readers may recall African swine fever was first reported in China in August 2018. The spread of the disease slashed the country’s hog herd by at least 40%, resulting in hyperinflation of pork prices by 2019.
African swine fever has since been eradicated to some extent in the country as the government urged farmers to breed more pigs. At the same time, China Customs data showed the country imported a record amount of pork from the US in late 2019 and 2020 to replenish supplies.
Now the country has gone from a supply deficit to a supply surplus, sending domestic prices tumbling in 2021.
Hog futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange dropped more than 8% in the last four sessions to Rmb18,980 ($2966.23), a record low. Since the contracts started trading in early January, hog prices are down nearly 38%.
Pork prices are back to levels not seen since the beginning days of the outbreak.
Plunging prices are getting out of hand as farmers race to slaughter their herds before prices head lower – adding to oversupply fears, according to Financial Times.
“It’s definitely surprising how fast and far pork prices have fallen,” said Darin Friedrichs, an analyst at commodities broker StoneX Group in Shanghai.
Oversupply pork conditions have affected US pork markets on Tuesday. Lean hog futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are down 3%.
The latest drop in Dalian-traded hog futures is likely linked to a report by Beijing’s Xinfadi market, a large wholesale market, last Friday that noted smaller pigs were being brought for sale.
This “indicates some farms have significantly lowered their expectations for future meat prices and . . . are slaughtering ahead of schedule”, according to the report.
Downward pressure on prices has been so concerning that China’s cabinet, the National Development and Reform Commission, addressed the issue last week by promising to “maintain supply and stabilize prices in the pork market.” However, there was no word on what policies the agency would take.
Friedrichs said the government had anticipated the launch of hog futures contracts would flatten out boom and bust cycles in Chinese pork prices. “Now we’re in a bust cycle, so the volatility is still there,” he said.
Pork prices are a heavyweight in China’s consumer price index, and declining prices in late 2020 managed to push inflation into negative territory for the first time in over a decade. Also, China’s producer price index for hogs has gone negative on a year-over-year basis.
What may happen is that Chinese importers will order much less pork from the US this year.
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 20:40
Victoria’s Secret has sent its angels packing in a monumental rebranding that replaces the supermodels with a group of seven “women famous for their achievements,” including U.S. soccer star and activist Megan Rapinoe.
What are the details?
The New York Times reported that Victoria’s Secret will now be represented by a group called the VS Collective, comprised of “women famous for their achievements and not their proportions.”
In addition to Rapinoe, the collective includes 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier Eileen Gu, size 14 model “and inclusivity advocate” Paloma Elsessor, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Brazilian trans model Valentino Sampaio, model and South Sudanese refugee Adut Akech, and Amanda de Cadenet, “the photographer and founder of #Girlgaze, the digital platform for female photographers.”
Martin Waters, former head of Victoria’s Secret’s international business and its new CEO as of February, explained to The Times of the company’s rebranding, “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond. We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
When the news hit Twitter, people overwhelmingly predicted doom for Victoria’s Secret over their decision. “How To Destroy Your Brand 101,” one person wrote, with a laughing emoji. Another tweeted, “Hoooboy. RIP @VictoriasSecret.” Someone else replied, “reading the tweets seems like vast vast vast majority is hating this decision lol We can add Victoria secret bankruptcy list for 2022.”
Although Victoria’s Secret had expressed that their aim was to appeal to women, not all women are on board with the new plan.
One woman tweeted, “Men like to look at the Angels. Women hope to look like the angels in the overpriced stuff you sell. Megan Rapinoe has no place in this scenario, ever, at all. Just incredible stuff here.”
Another added, “Since they stopped the fashion show they’ve really just gone downhill on a woke sled and it kind of disheartening. I miss wanting to emulate the angels, the epitome of beauty, not see models that look just like me sitting awkwardly trying to hide their rolls.”
But others praised the move, with one person sharing, “I was in a [Victoria’s Secret] PINK store the other day and noticed mannequins of different sizes and it was such a comforting change.”
Joe Rogan Warns “What’s Happening In Mexico Could Easily Happen Here” Due To Defunding Of Police
Podcast king Joe Rogan issued a stark warning this week concerning the ongoing leftist campaign to defund police departments all over the country, noting that the U.S. could soon resemble Mexico if it continues.
“Cops don’t do anything if someone jumps into someone’s backyard, they don’t arrest them — like, you have to do like $900 worth of theft before they’ll even arrest you,” Rogan said, adding “If they do arrest you, they’ll just put you right back out on the street again.”
Rogan noted that things have gotten worse “after the defunding.”
The host added that “The defunding of the police in Austin has been a disaster, too, and New York’s been a disaster. It’s terrible everywhere. It’s a terrible idea.”
Rogan further noted that “the idea that you are going to send social workers to handle someone’s domestic violence case is fucking bananas!”
He asserted that the defund the police movement is supported by “a lot of people that don’t understand violence that think that’s OK, and they have this utopian idea.”
“What’s happening in Mexico could easily happen here with no police presence. People have to understand that,” Rogan urged.
As we have previously noted, researchers and experts have warned that defunding the police is having, and will continue to have, disastrous consequences.
Last year after unrest and violence targeting police, Harvard university Professor Roland Fryer urged that defunding the police would cause more loss of life, citing figures showing that there are “450 excess homicides per year” when police are not able to do their jobs proficiently.
“Defunding the police is not a solution and could cost thousands of black lives,” professor Fryer wrote in an email to the College Fix.
Fryer has recently authored a research paper titled “Policing the Police: The Impact of “Pattern-or-Practice Investigations on Crime,” noting that police are less present when ‘viral incidents’ occur, meaning crime, including homicides increase… a lot.
Last year it was reported by the New York Times that Gun violence is up 358% in New York City since June 2019 as police are being stripped of resources in Democrat run cities nationwide.
The explosion in gun violence dovetailed with the disbanding of NYPD anti-crime units, a decision that meant around 600 plainclothes officers were taken off targeted raids and reassigned.
In addition, Democrat imposed “reforms” have meant that around 40% of people arrested on gun possession charges were released without bail in 2019.
Despite the crime spike, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to replace the police department with a “community-led public safety system.”
Meanwhile, the radical leftists and Democrats who are pushing the movement think nothing of hiring their own armed security while everyday Americans are left at the mercy of criminality.
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Wed, 06/16/2021 – 20:20
China’s “Virus Control” Measures In Hong Kong: No Easing Lengthy Quarantine For Fully Vaccinated Execs
Hong Kong has within a mere couple years gone from packed streets to silence – as The Guardian has observed following the national security law and mainland China crackdown going deep into effect, given also the arrests and exiling of young protest leaders. One UK-based photojournalist laments that “With no protests left to photograph, it seemed a good idea to take a break… But it was with a heavy heart that I watched the situation continue to deteriorate from afar.”
And then the streets grew eerily calm after a couple years of mass protest and unrest: “In January 2021, the authorities arrested dozens of activists under the national security law. In one fell swoop, it was as if the entire cast of characters in the story of Hong Kong’s democratic movement – one I had been covering for years – were arrested, in jail, or in exile.”
Whatever additional “control” over the previously protesting crowds HK police couldn’t get the upper hand on, the virus seems to have taken care of the rest, as the city has remained an on-and-off potential pandemic hot spot of concern for the mainland given it’s a hub of foreign travel, now also as health officials are desperately seeking to trace a rare coronavirus variant infection that’s raising new alarm. All of this seems conveniently timed of course, through Beijing’s eyes at least.
Even business and top executives’ travel to the financial hub can now be tightly managed and controlled based on stringent health measures, as Bloomberg observes of the latest hugely disruptive restrictions: “Senior global bankers hoping to skip Hong Kong’s stringent quarantine regime will need to wait as concerns about imported Covid cases ratchet up,” according to the report.
“Bank executives who have applied to take trips in June are being advised to postpone, without any indication of when requests under the new plan will be processed, according to a person familiar with the matter,” it continues.
Currently a mandatory minimum hotel quarantine of at least three weeks is still in effect for Hong Kong inbound travelers as much of the rest of the world has opened up and moved on, for example other financial centers like New York and London, and even Singapore.
This is mandated even for the fully vaccinated, as Bloomberg underscores: “The pause is a blow for fully vaccinated bankers looking to travel outside the city and for executives from abroad planning to visit the financial hub without needing to quarantine in a hotel for three weeks.”
Remember when the Chinese Communist Party was facing the largest existential threat to its existence in HK? Pro-democracy protests in HK were out of control when…POOF everyone was gone from the streets as the virus was released. #GoodTiming #China #Wuhan https://t.co/GUQT3Tg14I
— ??Kyle Bass?? (@Jkylebass) June 16, 2021
At the end of May Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced an easing plan which would allow select bankers to travel more freely based on each financial firm having the ability to apply for two quarantine exemptions per month. The idea was to speed up a post-pandemic economic recovery.
But this too is now on hold as the quarantine process for those wishing to travel is still in full effect. Some are now seeing the inexplicable reversal as yet another tool of primarily political control.
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) June 8, 2021
A spokesman for the island’s Financial Services and Treasury Bureau issuing the following non-definitive statement via Bloomberg: “We are looking into the details of the applications received, and expect to take some time to process them in the light of latest local and global pandemic situations to ensure relevant control measures are sufficient to mitigate the risk of case importation.”
Of course, ensuring “sufficient” and “relevant control measures” can be taken in more ways than one.
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 20:00
A Canadian scientist said that her colleagues denied the possibility of a lab leak coronavirus origin because they were afraid of being associated with former President Donald Trump and becoming a “tool for racists.”
Alina Chan is a postdoctoral associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University and was among the 18 experts who signed a letter in May demanding that the Wuhan lab leak theory be investigated thoroughly. The letter is widely considered to be a turning point in the debate over the origin of the pandemic.
Chan told NBC News that some scientists were motivated by political considerations in their denial of the hypothesis.
“At the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to publicly call for an investigation into lab origins,” Chan said.
She cautioned that the theory has not yet been proven, but it should be seriously investigated.
“I know a lot of people want to have a smoking gun,” Chan continued. “It’s more like breadcrumbs everywhere, and they’re not always leading in one direction. It’s like the whole floor is covered in breadcrumbs.”
Chan previously documented how a team of amateur online sleuths were able to force the scientific community to admit that China and the Wuhan virology laboratory were covering up evidence that might substantiate the lab leak theory.
“What they have accomplished collectively is not something scientists can do. It’s more similar to intelligence gathering,” she tweeted.
Harper Books announced that Chan will be a co-author of a book exploring the twists and turns of the debate over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s Alina Chan discussing the Wuhan lab leak theory:
More Questions Than Answers On Covid-19 Origin | The Mehdi Hasan Show
Trump Wanted Supreme Court To Order New Election In Key Swing States, Emails Show
Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Former President Donald Trump through a lawyer and White House officials placed pressure on Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to probe the 2020 election results and wanted the Supreme Court to authorize a new election in key swing states, according to newly released emails.
Kurt Olsen, a Trump lawyer, was shown in one of the emails asking DOJ officials to connect him to then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. He said that he represented Texas in the Supreme Court lawsuit against Pennsylvania and other states and that Trump “directed” him to meet with Rosen “to discuss a similar action to be brought by the United States.”
A draft document attached to Olsen’s December 2020 message alleges elections in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada violated the U.S. Constitution. It asks the Supreme Court to stop the states from using their election results to appoint presidential electors to the Electoral College and to authorize them “to conduct a special election” to appoint electors.
The document was never filed.
The Texas lawsuit noted that non-legislative officials in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin put into place election measures without the approval of their legislatures. Texas asked the Supreme Court to declare the election in the states unconstitutional. At least one judge said the arguments had merit, blocking certification of the election results in Pennsylvania in a separate case until her order was overturned and the case was dismissed.
The Supreme Court ultimately rejected Texas’s lawsuit.
Molly Michael, an assistant to Trump, also directly sent Rosen and other DOJ officials the draft complaint Trump wanted the United States to file.
In another set of emails, Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff at the time, asked Rosen to have the DOJ investigate fraud allegations.
In one message to Rosen, Meadows sent a petition contesting the election that was submitted to Fulton County Superior Court by Trump and David Shafer, the Georgia Republican Party chairman.
“Can you have your team look into these allegations of wrongdoing. Only the alleged fraudulent activity. Thanks Mark,” the email stated.
The petitioners on Jan. 7 voluntarily withdrew the petition.
In another email, Meadows told Rosen that there had been allegations of signature match anomalies in Fulton County, Georgia.
He asked Rosen to get a DOJ official, Jeffrey Clark, “to engage on this issue immediately to determine if there is any truth to this allegation.”
Rosen sent the email to Richard Donoghue, the acting deputy attorney general, commenting: “Can you believe this? I am not going to respond.”
Rosen did ask Clark to followup on allegations of fraud in Atlanta and Clark said he was doing so.
A group of Georgia voters is engaged in an ongoing petition regarding fraud claims in Fulton County. A judge is set to hear motions to dismiss on Monday. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, meanwhile, is probing how a county official recently said some forms documenting chain of custody for mail-in ballots are “missing.”
Meadows also requested a review of allegations of fraud in New Mexico and sent Rosen documents and a video that claimed American electoral data was changed in facilities in Italy, with assistance from U.S. intelligence officials.
Donoghue, who again forwarded one of the emails, called the claims “pure insanity.”
Rosen said he learned that Brad Johnson, who created the video, was working with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and refused a request to have the FBI meet with Johnson.
The emails were released by House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who said they “show that President Trump tried to corrupt our nation’s chief law enforcement agency in a brazen attempt to overturn an election that he lost.”
“Those who aided or witnessed President Trump’s unlawful actions must answer the Committee’s questions about this attempted subversion of democracy,” she added.
Maloney’s panel wants Meadows, Donoghue, Clark, and several others to sit for transcribed interviews.
The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump did not return requests for comment sent to his campaign and political action committee.
Trump has made no secret of his view that the 2020 election was rife with fraud. Last week, after the DOJ announced it would focus on protecting voter access and probe election audits for possible legal violations, Trump said the agency would seem to have “no choice but to look at the massive voter fraud which took place in certain Swing States, and I assume elsewhere, during the 2020 Presidential Election Scam.”
“Whether it be voting machines, underaged people, dead people, illegal aliens, ballot drops, ballot cheating, absentee ballots, post office delivery (or lack thereof!), lock boxes, people being paid to vote, or other things, the 2020 Presidential Election is, in my mind, the Crime of the Century,” he added.
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 19:40
Maersk Warns South China Port Congestion ‘More Significant Disruption’ Than Suez Canal Closure
We previewed last week to readers that port congestion wasn’t just observed across US West Coast ports, such as Los Angeles/Long Beach, but also severe congestion was developing in southern China. At the time, we called it a “perfect storm” ahead of the peak shipping season.
Now the world’s largest container line, Maersk, calls the port congestion at Yantian International Container Terminal, a deepwater port in Shenzhen, Guangdong, in southern China, a much more significant disruption to its operations than the shutdown of the Suez Canal in March.
Ditlev Blicher, Maersk Asia Pacific Managing Director, was quoted by Seatrade Maritime, who said Yantian port is operating at a 40% capacity, and “We’re expecting that to continue for the next month with significant delays for vessels to be able to berth.”
A recent surge in COVID-19 infections in the port area and prevention and restriction measures put in place by local authorities is the primary reason for the lack of capacity at the port.
AP Moller-Maersk’s CEO of Ocean & Logistics, Vincent Clerc, stated:
“I would say this for us is a much bigger disruption than the Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal for some days because of the duration and the importance of Yantian as a gateway.”
Before the outbreak, the average shipping times at Yantian averaged a waiting time of 0.5 days. Now it’s 16 days.
“Right now, we have vessel delays of up to 16 days outside Yantian which is of course going to cause significant ripple effect across the network from a reliability perspective,” Clerc explained.
This has caused a massive traffic jam of container ships in the region, resulting in an unprecedented supply chain impact and another shipping crisis as delays mount, threatening to drive up costs again.
South China Container Port Congestion
Brian Glick, founder and CEO at supply chain integration platform Chain.io, told CNBC that the latest congestion in Yantian is “absolutely massive” and will have an “unprecedented supply chain impact.”
Already, shipping delays in major Chinese ports drive shipping costs higher as waiting times at berth jumped.
Global Container Prices
Guangdong accounts for about a quarter of China’s total exports. It’s home to Shenzhen port and Guangzhou port, some of the largest in the world.
Combined with the congestion challenges on the US West Coast, the latest round of congestion in southern China is a significant warning for US businesses and consumers that another round of delays, shortages, and soaring shipping costs is ahead.
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 19:20
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday that law enforcement agencies from across his state are stepping up and will deploy officers to Texas and Arizona, answering the border states’ calls for assistance as they struggle with a bombardment of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.
What are the details?
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) sent a joint letter to their fellow governors calling for “manpower” to assist in arresting migrants illegally crossing into the U.S. under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows them to “call in reinforcements” from other states during crisis.
Ducey has declared an emergency in Arizona over the border surge, while Abbott has declared a disaster and vowed to begin building Texas’ own border wall. Both governors have deployed national guard troops to their southern borders, and both have pleaded for the Biden administration to take action.
DeSantis says Florida is ready to help.
“America’s border security crisis impacts every state and every American,” DeSantis said in a statement. “The Biden Administration ended policies implemented by President Trump that were curbing illegal immigration, securing our border, and keeping Americans safe. Governors Abbott and Ducey recently sent out a call for help to every state in the nation, needing additional law enforcement manpower and other resources to aid with border security. I’m proud to announce today that the state of Florida is answering the call. Florida has your back.”
The Florida governor held a news conference along with state Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) and several sheriffs from throughout Florida to discuss the plan.
WPTV-TV reported that “in making his case for why the issue is one that impacts the safety of all Florida residents, DeSantis referenced a May incident in Martin County in which an 82-year-old woman was “raped by a criminal illegal alien.”
“I mean, how disgusting?” DeSantis said of the case during the presser. “This guy had been arrested. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) had never — was not willing to take him and remove him — and so he ends up committing a dastardly act against an elderly resident in Martin County.”
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that DeSantis reiterated, “We believe securing the Southern border is important for our country. Where the federal government has failed, the states are stepping up.”
DeSantis: Florida officers to respond to ‘border security crisis’ in Texas and Arizona
Florida Sheriff To Blue-State-Migrants: Don’t Vote The Way You Did Before “Or You’ll Have Here What You Had There
On June 9, The Epoch Times reported how Florida was the number one state in the nation for people to move to, while New York and California took first and second place respectively for states that have the most people leaving. To those moving to Florida from blue states, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says: “Do me a favor,” and “don’t vote the way the majority of the people voted from where you came or you’ll have here what you had there. Guaranteed.”
One of the reasons cited by those fleeing their blue state hometowns was the rising crime rates. According to Judd, the escalation in crime rates are a direct result of the “defund the police” movements in many Democrat-run states.
“Florida has had a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican governor for a very long time,” Judd told The Epoch Times in a phone interview.
“So all you have to do is compare-and-contrast. You go to these areas where crime is through the roof, look at your representatives.”
In April 2021, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Anti-Riot” HB1 bill into law. This new measure makes it a felony to tear down statues or monuments in the Sunshine State and provides the governor and Florida Cabinet the authority to override the efforts of any other state official to cut law enforcement spending.
Conversely, in June 2020, the Portland City Council voted 3-1 to cut at least $15 million from the police bureau. The cut effectively eliminated 84 positions in the department.
So far this year, 37 homicides have been reported in the city, an increase of more than six times compared to the same period last year.
In November 2020, the Seattle City Council cut 18 percent of the budget from their police department. By January, Seattle saw a 48 percent increase in murders, the highest number in almost 30 years. In May, 260 police officers chose to leave the Seattle police force.
Trust in Law Enforcement
“The good things that are happening in Florida don’t just happen,” Judd insisted.
“If they did, those good things would be happening in Seattle and Portland. But when you create an environment where criminal conduct is acceptable that’s exactly what you get.”
Judd also attributes the better safety conditions in Florida to the public’s connection with law enforcement and effective leadership in government.
“When people lose trust and they lose faith in the government or the police they quit interacting with you,” Judd explained.
“So you don’t know how bad the crime rate is if people aren’t calling to tell you and people quit calling to tell you when you quit caring.”
It’s the same sentiment shared by Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis.
“Florida Sheriffs, who report directly to their citizens, are very good at holding chronic criminals accountable, while simultaneously maintaining the trust of the law-abiding citizens,” Nienhuis told The Epoch Times.
“This has all resulted in a consistent decrease in crime during the last 4 decades. This is foundational to Florida’s growth, due to the fact that, regardless of age or family status, everyone wants to live in a safe community.”
“Florida’s great weather and beaches have always been a draw for tourists,” Nienhuis added.
“However, low taxes, common sense leadership in state government, and the community’s support of law and order, have made those tourists realize that Florida is also a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Changing Voting Habits
Judd agreed, saying when he asks blue state migrants if they chose to move to Florida because of the warm weather, low taxes, and low crime rates, they always answer “yes.”
“Then do me a favor,” he tells them. “Welcome to Polk County. Welcome to Florida. But please don’t vote like you did up north. You’ll still have warm weather in the winter but you won’t have low taxes or a safe community.”
“We are definitely seeing the trend of people fleeing blue ‘lockdown’ states for the ‘free state’ of Florida,” state House Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican, told The Epoch Times. “They are coming here because of sunshine and opportunities. I can only hope that they leave any liberal ideology at the border.”
“You are coming for a reason,” Ingoglia reminded the blue state migrants.
“Please don’t ‘New York our Florida.’ Don’t turn this great state into the state you fled from.”
Asked about the fears held by some Floridians that the blue state migrants will dim the freedoms of the Sunshine State, Judd admitted “their fear is well-founded” because individuals casting ballots in blue states don’t seem to understand that the officials they elect are the ones enacting the destructive policies that made them leave.
“None of the policies and practices in place up north just happened. It happened because they voted for elected officials that created those policies or laws.”
To assuage their fears, Judd advised worried Floridians to educate their new blue state neighbors and to explain that “all of the good things we have in Florida didn’t just happen.”
“It was the people we elected to the city commissions, to the county commissions and into the state legislature that made good things happen,” Judd said.
“If you live in a high crime community, vote those officials out.”
“Nothing else really matters if you aren’t safe and you don’t feel safe,” Judd concluded. “A community can’t thrive if it’s eaten alive by crime.”
Welcoming New Residents
The Epoch Times asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis what he’d like to share with the migrants coming from blue states.
“For the almost 1,000 people a day who are moving to Florida,” DeSantis wrote in an email.
“Welcome to Florida, I hope we can all work together to keep our state the special place it is, an oasis of freedom in our country.”
“All Americans can learn from the mistakes made in lockdown states and not repeat those mistakes,” he added. “It won’t happen in Florida.”
“People who come to Florida from lockdown states can see for themselves how well we are doing here. If you look at voter registration trends overall, it’s positive; there isn’t any indication that the people of Florida—newcomers and longtime Floridians—are shifting away from the principles that helped our state succeed.”
Judd also expressed goodwill to Florida’s new migrants: “Welcome to Florida. You’re in a safe state, you’re in a healthy state, and we love people coming to our state. But don’t vote the way the majority of the people voted from where you came or you’ll have here what you had there. Guaranteed.”
Wed, 06/16/2021 – 19:00
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Source Ano Turtiainen, member of Parliament of Finland, gave a straight speech 9.6.2021 about possible COVID vaccine genocide going on in Finland. He warned all members of the Finnish Parliament and media by letting them know if they would still continue misleading our citizens by telling them fairy tales about safe vaccines, they are intentionally … Read more
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