[guest post by Dana]
Feel free to share anything that you think readers might find of interest. Please remember to include links.
First news item
President Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One late Friday that he plans to ban the short-form video app TikTok from use in the United States. While such a blanket ban would be nearly impossible under U.S. law, the president boasted of having absolute authority to abolish the app simply by issuing an executive order. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States…Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that,” Trump said Friday, according to the White House pool report. Microsoft has been in talks with TikTok’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance about acquiring the fast-growing app, according to multiple reports, a prospect Trump said he would not support. The acquisition of the app Musical.ly, which became TikTok, has been under national security review since late 2019, and TikTok itself is the subject of scrutiny and lawsuits over its data privacy practices.
Second news item
A federal appeals court Friday threw out Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s death sentence in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, saying the judge who oversaw the case did not adequately screen jurors for potential biases.
A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new penalty-phase trial on whether the 27-year-old Tsarnaev should be executed for the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.
“But make no mistake: Dzhokhar will spend his remaining days locked up in prison, with the only matter remaining being whether he will die by execution,” Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson wrote in the ruling, more than six months after arguments were heard in the case…Prosecutors could ask the full appeals court to hear the case or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Third news item
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), a leading contender to be Joe Biden’s running mate, heaped praise on the Church of Scientology at a 2010 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Los Angeles facility, The Daily Caller reports. At the event, which was filmed, Bass praised the church’s founder L. Ron Hubbard and told the 6,000 attendees that the opening was “an exciting moment because I know your goal and your commitment is truly to make a difference.” Bass, 66, was a member of the California General Assembly at the time. The shady church has been accused by former members of operating like a cult, allowing sexual and physical abuse to proliferate, and intimidating former members into silence by stalking and threatening them.
Fourth news item
The White House on Friday condemned Hong Kong for delaying its upcoming legislative elections for a year even as President Donald Trump a day earlier elicited significant backlash for suggesting the United States postpone its own November vote.
Earlier Friday, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam used emergency powers to push back the city’s hotly contested legislative council elections, a day after a dozen pro-democracy activists had been barred from running.
“We condemn the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone for one year its Legislative Council elections and to disqualify opposition candidates,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a news conference.
She went on, “This action undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity and this is only the most recent in a growing list of broken promises by Beijing, which promised autonomy and freedoms to the Hong Kong people until 2047 in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”
Fifth news item
Wisconsin Senate Republicans “stand ready” to strike down the statewide mask mandate that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced on Thursday, the GOP Senate leader said Friday.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stopped short of promising that the Senate would vote to kill the order, which is slated to take effect on Saturday. Fitzgerald, a candidate for Congress who faces a GOP primary on Aug. 11, also did not indicate when the Senate might convene.
“Republicans in the state Senate stand ready to convene the body to end the governor’s order,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “The governor has caved to the pressure of liberal groups on this. How can we trust that the he won’t cave again and stop schools that choose in-person instruction this fall? There are bigger issues at play here, and my caucus members stand ready to fight back.”
Sixth news item
It is not, as many think, a fear of being exposed as fraudulent or illegitimate—or otherwise of losing the debate or looking bad in the challenging conversation—that prevents those who have internalized a significant amount of the Critical Social Justice Theory mindset that prevents these sorts of things from happening. There’s a mountain of Theoretical reasons that they would avoid all such activities, and even if those are mere rationalizations of a more straightforward fear of being exposed as fraudulent or losing, they are shockingly well-developed and consistent rationalizations that deserve proper consideration and full explanation…There are a number of points within Critical Social Justice Theory that would see having a debate or conversation with people of opposing views as unacceptable, and they all combine to create a mindset where that wouldn’t be something that adherents to the Theory are likely or even willing to do in general. This reticence, if not unwillingness, to converse with anyone who disagrees actually has a few pretty deep reasons behind it, and they’re interrelated but not quite the same. They combine, however, to produce the first thing everyone needs to understand about this ideology: it is a complete worldview with its own ethics, epistemology, and morality, and theirs is not the same worldview the rest of us use. Theirs is, very much in particular, not liberal. In fact, theirs advances itself rather parasitically or virally by depending upon us to play the liberal game while taking advantage of its openings. That’s not the same thing as being willing to play the liberal game themselves, however, including to have thoughtful dialogue with people who oppose them and their view of the world. Conversation and debate are part of our game, and they are not part of their game.
Seventh news item
Joe Biden wants to change the way the Federal Reserve is governed for the first time in four decades.
In 1977, Congress set “maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates” as the central bank’s goals. It’s called the dual mandate, since everyone forgets the bit about interest rates.
In a recent speech, Biden mentioned the goals of low unemployment and price stability and then said, “Under my plan, I believe the Fed should add to that responsibility, and aggressively target persistent racial gaps in jobs, wages and wealth.” According to the Washington Post, his “campaign later said Biden has not explicitly embraced a third mandate for the Fed dictating that it consider racial justice in its policies, but that seeking one in the future is an option.”
…Adding another statutory mandate is the wrong way to go about improving monetary policy for Americans of any color.
Eighth news item
This is a message from the White House press secretary. pic.twitter.com/LRP3iSWwVh
— Alexander Nazaryan (@alexnazaryan) July 31, 2020
Note: I want to recommend to you Rod Lurie’s film, “The Outpost,” which is based on the book by Jake Tapper. It tells the true story of the Battle of Kamdesh, where a small and determined group of soldiers valiantly reclaimed Combat Outpost Keating when 300 Taliban fighters threatened to overtake it. There are really no words to describe the heroism and tenacity of the 53 soldiers who simply would not give up, no matter how much the deck was stacked against them. The film moves from the everyday tedium of life at the outpost to the erratic interruption of short-lived attacks by the Taliban taking potshots at the troops below. It was a cruel reminder of their sitting-duck position. One never gets lulled into a sense of complacency watching the film because it’s clear from the get-go that there is both a literal and figurative impending doom hovering above the outpost, and the viewer is swept up in the tense crescendo until all hell breaks loose. It’s a gut-wrenching watch, and a gut-wrenching reminder of what our service members are tasked with, how wholly vulnerable they can be, and that incredible men and women who put their lives on the line every day for the country they serve.
Now available in select theaters and via Video-On-Demand, a true story of real heroes: pic.twitter.com/Ck1yUL5peX
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 4, 2020
Have a great weekend.