We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Paypal have shut down the account of the Free Speech Union

“PayPal shut down the accounts of the Free Speech Union, its founder the journalist Toby Young and a news website he created after alleged Covid-19 vaccine misinformation”, the Times reports:

Recent tweets by Young appear to question links between excess deaths and the Covid-19 jab, despite no evidence of a link between the two. The Daily Sceptic, of which he is editor-in-chief, also publishes articles on the topic. In 2021 Young was rebuked by Ipso, the press regulator, over a “significantly misleading” column that claimed the common cold could provide “natural immunity” to Covid and London was “probably approaching herd immunity”.

However, he insisted he was not anti-vaccine: “I believe the risks of the mRNA vaccines outweigh the benefits for those under 65 and without any medical conditions. We have repeatedly made it clear in The Daily Sceptic that while we have reservations about the efficacy and safety of the mRNA vaccines we do not take a position on whether people should take them or not but encourage them to do their own risk assessments.”

For the record, I have had all the Covid vaccinations, and plan to have the booster. But if Big Tech wanted to spread doubt about the safety of Covid vaccines there would be no better way to do it than what they are doing now. The purpose of this is obviously to censor. Like all types of lying, censorship can often work well for the liar at first, but once people know that censorship is occurring, they start to doubt every subsequent statement from a censored source. Every line is read through a lens stamped with the words “What else are they hiding?” In this case, “Are they hiding reports of adverse reactions? Do they even know if adverse reactions are occurring, given that you can’t talk about it?”

What about the argument that Paypal are a private company and ought to be able to exclude whoever the hell they like? This is one of many things I would gladly leave to the free market if we lived in anything like a free market. Unfortunately, in the real world the big companies are locked in a loving embrace with the State. They are quite happy to squelch troublesome people like Toby Young in exchange for regulators squelching troublesome competitors. In an industry where there are very few big players, it does not take long for a senior civil servant to make all the necessary calls. Then suddenly all sorts of ordinary things get difficult. Want to buy or sell on eBay? This is the list of permitted payment methods. Short, isn’t it? How long before all of them follow Paypal’s lead?

I miss the days when these verses from the Book of Revelation were the preserve of wild-eyed men walking the streets wearing sandwich boards:

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads,

17 that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Konstantin Kisin delivers a master class…

… in calmly ripping an interviewer a new orifice. Behold and enjoy.

If we had…

…a free market in money then we wouldn’t have inflation. (Please note that with zero inflation prices can still move relative to one another.)

…a free market in housing then we wouldn’t have a housing crisis.

…a free market in healthcare then queues for cancer care would be much shorter, perhaps even non-existent.

…a free market in energy then – all things being equal – things would be looking a lot better for this winter. Of course, if we had a genuine free market in energy – all things not being equal – then polluters would be compensating their victims. This could lead to some very odd outcomes and I wouldn’t like to predict what they would be.

…a free market in education there would be a lot less wokeness and a lot less student debt.

…a free market in social media we would have pile-ons, doxing and cancel culture.

“The media could not be played”, and that frightens me even more

The video embedded in this tweet from Laurence Fox apparently shows someone being arrested for tweeting. I cannot see the video, but the top comment says,

“Chap shares a post by @LozzaFox and the police arrest the chap, even though Laurence is actually stood there 👀

This is disgraceful. People upset by hurty words need to turn the Internet off and remember the old children’s rhyme – Sticks and Stones.”

Apparently the arrest had something to do with that meme that shows four LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flags (my goodness, “Newsround” has changed a lot since John Craven presented it) arranged so that the triangular inserts form a swastika. Fox’s Wikipedia entry says, “In June 2022 Fox tweeted an image of a swastika made from the LGBTQ+ Progress Pride flag with the caption ‘You can openly call the [Union Jack] a symbol of fa[s]cism and totalitarianism on Twatter. You cannot criticise the holy flags’. This led to him being temporarily suspended from Twitter for a day.”

This tweet from Richard Taylor of GB News may show the same video.

As you can probably tell, I am not at all sure what is going on. Is my inability to play the video censorship by Twitter, or just my old computer not being up to the job? Some accounts seem to imply that that the threatened arrest was not carried through, although that reassures me very little. As we have all seen, making the process the punishment has been a very successful way for the police to chill free speech while avoiding having to defend their actions in court.

Rotherham 1400, Telford 1000

Twenty-two years after 16-year-old Lucy Lowe, her mother and her sister were burned to death in a house fire started by Azhar Ali Mehmood (the 26-year-old who impregnated her when she was 14), the inquiry into grooming gangs in Telford has released a report on the phenomenon of which that was an example.

the authorities dismissed the 1,000 figure as ‘sensationalised’ and suggested the newspaper had ‘made it up on the back of a fag packet’. This week, inquiry chair Tom Crowther QC described the Sunday Mirror’s estimate as a ‘measured, reasonable and non-sensational assessment’. (h/t spiked)

It’s another example of how one of the things Blair made it unsafe to say back then was not only true in Telford (and true enough to compete with Rotherham – and with Rochdale, Aylesbury, Oxford, Derby, Halifax, Keighley, Peterborough, Huddersfield, Manchester and Newcastle) but became much more common, much more true, because the resulting politically-correct suppression of anything resembling basic policing “emboldens offenders”.

‘Islamophobia’ is not the only ‘phobia’ restricting free speech. But it has a certain claim to priority in this century’s war on free speech in Britain, so if we want to know what’s coming up for the others, we’d better pay attention to what the effects of hating free speech were as ‘Islamophobia’ permeated culture and law.

“In none of these places were any human remains unearthed.”

You have probably heard the shocking story, reported worldwide, of the discovery of mass graves in Canada containing the bodies of what were then called Indian and are now called First Nations children sent to residential schools.

What you heard was exactly that, a story. It is not true.

Canada’s National Post carries an important and well-researched article by Terry Glavin: “The year of the graves: How the world’s media got it wrong on residential school graves”.

As for the most recent uproars: not a single mass grave was discovered in Canada last year. The several sites of unmarked graves that captured international headlines were either already-known cemeteries, or they remain sites of speculation even now, unverified as genuine grave sites. Not a single child among the 3,201 children on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 registry of residential school deaths was located in any of these places. In none of these places were any human remains unearthed.

Mr Gavin rightly acknowledges that the treatment of these children was shameful. It was denounced as such a full century ago:

…it was exactly 100 years ago this year that Peter Henderson Bryce, the former medical inspector for the Department of Indian Affairs, published a shocking account of the federal government’s indifference to deaths from infectious diseases and heartless neglect in the Indian residential schools. The 24-page booklet was titled, “The Story of a National Crime: Being an Appeal for Justice to the Indians of Canada; The Wards of The Nation, Our Allies in the Revolutionary War, Our Brothers-in-Arms in the Great War.”

The passage of a century has added other charges to the heartless neglect that Peter Henderson Bryce denounced. Beatings and sexual abuse were common at these schools, most of which were run on behalf of the government by the Catholic church. Their openly-stated purpose, at least at first, was to strip away the children’s native languages and cultures. While not every child’s experience was bad, the policy of taking children away from their parents en masse to be compulsorily educated in the majority culture was a monstrous act of repression.

The historical facts were not dramatic enough for the media. Perhaps not maliciously, but certainly recklessly, they promoted a different story, a new story:

The “discovery” of unmarked graves at the Marieval cemetery was one of the most dramatic front-page sensations that circled the world last summer. The June 24 headline in the Washington Post was typical: Hundreds of Graves Found at Former Residential School for Indigenous Children in Canada. The number of graves reportedly discovered: 751.

Except that’s not what happened.

The Cowessess people noted from the outset that they didn’t discover any graves; the crosses and headstones had gone missing under disputed circumstances decades earlier, and ground-penetrating radar had been brought in to enumerate and pinpoint the location of each burial. Cowesses Chief Cadmus Delorme told CBC News: “This is a Roman Catholic grave site. It’s not a residential school grave site.”

The predictable result of the sensationalist reporting of this and other grave sites was a wave of church burnings and vandalism that in any other context would have been called “hate crimes” but in Canada are known as “protests”. (Official Canadian terminology inverts the previous meanings of these two terms – peaceful protests for unapproved causes are deemed to be hate crimes and suppressed by force, as the disabled Indigenous woman trampled by police horses at the truckers’ Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa could tell you.) I know from reading the comments to many of these news stories that an awful lot of people got the impression that the children buried in these graveyards were murdered. That might simply be because many people are happy to comment on newspaper stories they have not read past the headline, or it might be that some reporters do not work very hard to dispel misunderstandings that will get them more clicks, or it might be due to the existence of a full-blown conspiracy theory to that effect. Mr Glavin links to this piece by Frances Widdowson that describes how Kevin Annett, a defrocked United Church Minister,

…has been disseminating the stories of Combes and others about the residential schools for about 25 years. One of these stories, recounted by Annett, claimed that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip took a group of students from the Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) on a picnic and then abducted them. Thorough fact-checking has shown that the Royals did not even travel to Kamloops in 1964.

While the Queen Elizabeth abduction story probably would be regarded with skepticism by most, many similar improbable accounts of “murders” and “missing children” are being repeated by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc “Knowledge Keepers” and are now accepted as “truth.” Knowledge Keepers, after all, cannot be questioned, because to do so would be perceived as “disrespectful.” This raises questions about the extent to which the “oral tellings” of the Knowledge Keepers, which have been provided as evidence for the existence of “secret burials” at KIRS, have been influenced by the lurid stories circulating over the past 25 years. These stories were given additional momentum in May 2021 and are now firmly ensconced within the Canadian consciousness.

Woke rage reveals a fact about the transition pipeline from schools to social services

Some Texan childcare social workers are so “distraught” that a new law regulates their handling of trans kids that they say they will resign! (We’ll see if woke bureaucrats’ promises to resign are worth more than woke celebrities’ promises to quit the US if Reagan/Bush/Trump became president.)

If anything could be more where all is most in their self-revealingly woke article, it is the moment (about half-way through) where a social worker tells of their horror at the thought of having to investigate a report of a parent giving their child trans drugs. Previously any such report had instantly been marked ‘priority: none’ and the agency only ever investigated (vigorously, it would appear) any report of a parent hesitating to give their school-groomed child the woke-prescribed trans drugs.

The pipeline starts at school.

– The woke-about-everything school teaches the child that their white skin condemns them to a life of inherited racial sin – but don’t tell their parents. The school then offers a way out: pupils can escape their otherwise-ineradicable guilt by adopting a marginalised sexual identity – but don’t tell their parents.

– Instead or (usually) as well, the school can affirmatively teach the kids a lot of pornography:

To girls who are pressured into regurgitating how fantastic and progressive porn culture is, the very idea of being a “woman” becomes repulsive.

In these and other ways, a child’s un-parental-informed consent to being transitioned is obtained and puberty blockers are prescribed. The day after the kept-in-ignorance parents finally discover this is happening, the school questions the child and informs the social services of the parents’ insufficiently enthusiastic response. The social workers then ‘investigate’ – and that’s where we came in at the start of this post.

There are several things wrong with this. In the rest of this post, I’ll focus on just one.

“I do not for a moment regret the act of change. I could see no other way, and it has made me happy. In this I am one of the lucky few. There are people of many kinds who have set out on the same path, and by and large they are among the unhappiest people on the face of the earth.”

The quote is from ‘Conundrum’, a book written in 1974 by Anglo-Welsh writer, Jan Morris, who from birth to mid-forties was known as James Morris (and served with the British army in Italy in WWII), before undergoing surgery. In the pages of Conundrum, “the unhappiest people on the face of the earth” are joined by

“the poor castaways of intersex, the misguided homosexuals, the transvestites, the psychotic exhibitionists, who tumble through this half-mad world like painted clowns, pitiful to others and often horrible to themselves.”

In short, the odds of becoming “one of the lucky few” were not good even in the old days.

  • Back then, Jan Morris’ books on Oxford characters and the like were popular enough. That the dust-jacket often had a summary of the author’s unusual life and circumstances didn’t seem to prevent decent sales.

  • Back then, the modern view that sexual identity was merely social was already being experimented with on children and the results lied about to preserve the narrative.

    “It was like brainwashing … I’d give just about anything to go to a hypnotist to black out my whole past. Because it’s torture. What they did to you in the body is sometimes not near as bad as what they did to you in the mind – with the psychological warfare in your head.”

    He is referring to the extraordinary medical treatment he received after suffering the complete loss of his penis to a botched circumcision when he was 8 months old. On the advice of experts at the renowned Johns Hopkins medical center, in Baltimore, a sex-change operation was performed on him, a process that involved clinical castration and other genital surgery when he was a baby, followed by a 12-year program of social, mental and hormonal conditioning to make the transformation take hold in his psyche. The case was reported as an unqualified success, and he became one of the most famous (though unnamed) patients in the annals of modern medicine.

    [The sad story told by that (long) account is in some ways typical of today: the doctor with a ‘progressive’ agenda – and compliant colleagues; the easily-published papers boasting of a success that never was; the decades it took for the facts to emerge. But in other ways the woke of today are uglier than the progressives of half-a-century ago. The link is to a page on the wayback machine. The facts came out in the late ’90s but are now being forced back in again.]

But, along with all that, back then, those who were “pitiful to others and often horrible to themselves” did not have the encouragement of hate speech laws and ‘microaggression’ theory. The doctors in my link above felt elite because the common herd did not share their ‘advanced’ opinion that sex was socially conditioned, not innate – and, back then, the common herd were not at all afraid to say so. So those who nevertheless presented themselves for the procedure were much more likely to have tried something (or everything) else first. Their chance of joining Jan’s “lucky few” was therefore far better than today, now the group is swelled by propagandised schoolkids, by asbergers assured it will solve their problems, by people kept grossly ignorant of trans-regret and by many a “misguided homosexual, transvestite and/or exhibitionist” who back then would have chosen another way to express themselves. In that group, the proportion of Jan’s “lucky few” will be few indeed – meaning, the woke will have ruined many lives for each one of them.

Abuse of power is greatest where the laws fail to anticipate it. (Montesquieu)

Just as woke-trans cancel culture makes grooming more likely by forbidding you to expect it, so being forbidden to notice the immense improbabilities of woke-trans recruitment methods makes it more likely their targets will end up among “the unhappiest people on the face of the earth”.

Out: Labour is about collective action. I’m listening to you. In: Take the debate off social media. Only experts should comment.

Here is Angela Rayner MP writing in the website Labour List on 13th January 2020 and making her pitch to Labour members for the job of Leader of the Labour Party: “Leadership starts with listening – and I want to hear from you”

As a trade union organiser for most of my life, I know this isn’t done through top-down structures. Our movement’s story is of collective action to achieve change. I don’t have all the answers – no one person does. But I know a few million people who can help.

That’s why I’m asking members, affiliates, councillors, candidates and everyone across the movement what you think we need to do. It starts with the lessons to learn from the election campaign but it goes much deeper than that – we haven’t won an election since 2005 and have lost support in too many areas of the country.

How should we be campaigning as a party? Is there something your CLP or branch is doing that you think everyone should know about? What resources and technology would really get us moving? What frustrates you – but also what inspires you? To be blunt: what went wrong this time, what can we do better and where do we need wholesale change? You can tell me here.

She didn’t get the top job, that went to Sir Keir Starmer. However Ms Rayner is currently Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

The slogan “Labour is listening” still gets plenty of Google hits, mostly linked to the websites of local Labour parties. However Angela Rayner has no time for that stuff any more.

Conor Clark of Gay Times reports, ‘Angela Rayner says discussion on trans rights “shouldn’t be debased into a debate”’

Angela Rayner said “debate” over transgender rights needs to be taken “away from commentators” as it “debases the serious issues” at hand.

During an appearance on Sky News on 29 March, Kay Burley questioned the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party on whether or not the world has “gone mad” because of people “struggling” to say whether or not a woman can have a penis.

Her question followed Sir Keir Starmer declining to answer the question during a radio interview a day earlier.

“This really upsets me because I think about a young person who’s struggling at the moment, who’s struggling with their identity, and when we’re having a social media or a debate around whether someone’s, what genitalia someone’s got, I think it really debases the serious issues that people face in their lives,” Rayner told Burley.

“There [are] protections for women and women that are in vulnerable situations, and we should also be looking after our young people who may be facing identity crises and making sure they get the help and support they need. When we debase it to whether or not what genitalia you’ve got, I think all that does is damage people and it doesn’t help us go forward on some of the real issues that people are facing.”

Trans rights are often the source of a so-called “debate” in the media, particularly when it comes to topics like self-ID.

Rayner called for these discussions to be taken “away from commentators” and handled by professionals instead.

She added: “Sure, we have to take everybody into account, and that’s why it shouldn’t be debased into a debate that is being had in media by people who are not qualified to discuss some of these issues.”

This tweet by Kay Burley contains a video clip of the words in question. Gay Times‘s summary of Angela Rayner’s words is fairly accurate – correcting her grammar in the first sentence of the quote did not change the meaning of what was said – but by presenting Angela Rayner’s words in a different order to that in which they were said, Mr Clark’s report makes them appear both more coherent and more benign than they actually were. Given that Mr Clark goes on to put scare quotes around the word “debate” in

Trans rights are often the source of a so-called “debate” in the media, particularly when it comes to topics like self-ID”

perhaps I should not have been surprised that he saw nothing wrong in Rayner’s suggestion that debate about gender should be “taken off” social media. However I am rather shocked that neither Kay Burley herself nor any other media outlet picked up on the implications of:

Rayner called for these discussions to be taken “away from commentators” and handled by professionals instead.

Her exact words at 0:35 were “I think we should be taking it off social media, taking it away from commentators and actually having…”

She never does say what “we” should be actually having, but abruptly changes course mid-sentence to saying that there are protections in place for “women in vulnerable situations”, which is another topic entirely. It sounds to me as if she started to say something nakedly authoritarian and then stopped herself. I would have liked to hear the end of the sentence. Who is the “we” that she thinks should be taking the debate off social media? Politicians? Labour politicians? The bosses of social media companies? The least alarming answer would be “we as a society should take the debate off social media”, but even that is a far cry from the egalitarian way she talked in 2020 when she sought the aid of “a few million people” to set the direction of the Labour party and hence, she hoped, the country. But that relatively benign meaning of Angela Rayner’s “we” – a call for us all to refrain from talking about the gender issue on social media – does not seem the most likely meaning. Later at 1:20 she says, “Sure we have to take everybody into account and that’s why it shouldn’t be debased into a debate that’s being had on media by people who are not qualified to discuss some of these issues.”

Most commentary on social media – read it while you still can – has centred around Angela Rayner’s answer to the question “Can a woman have a penis?” As I have said before, there is no one answer to that question and “there would be more scope for respectful compromise if people could agree to differ on the definition and get down to questions of what to do in difficult cases.” But there is a world of difference between “agree to differ” and “be forbidden to express your opinion if it differs from that of ‘experts'”. If Angela Rayner does not believe that non-experts should debate these matters, it is difficult to see why she believes that non-experts should be allowed to vote on them.

“All right then,” some may say, “what should we do in difficult cases?” Actually there is a simple answer, with a proven track record of success in reducing conflict. It is called “freedom of association”. The difficulty arises in having the self-restraint to apply it. It is hard for human beings not to exercise power.

The big guy takes a big percentage

Back when Vice-President Joe Biden was in charge of US policy for the Ukraine, he weaponised his power over US aid. Later, he boasted of it.

“I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. (Laughter.) He got fired.” (text and video link)

That Ukrainian prosecutor was investigating the company Biden’s son ‘worked for’. Except that Hunter Biden couldn’t have been working for them. Never mind trivia like Hunter’s knowing nothing of Burisma’s business. As a reformed addict explained, the timeline makes it impossible Hunter’s salary could have been for any services whatever that he himself rendered.

From my own experience, there is no such thing as a functioning cocaine addict. The worse it gets, the faster it gets worse.

A few years have passed, a few things have happened, Biden is again in charge of money voted for the Ukraine – and is again weaponising it. It’s $13.6 billion now, and these days even Biden’s ‘military aid’ includes actual weapons. However Biden is including it in other things – $1.5 trillion-worth of other things.

It was must-pass legislation, needed to keep the government operating and avoid the kind of partial shutdowns that have been seen in the past. But this one was not only huge — it was different from recent spending measures. The difference was that it revived earmarks, which are spending provisions put in at the behest of individual lawmakers. In the past, earmarks created a culture of runaway pork spending, which led Republicans to push for a ban successfully in 2011. Now, they are back.

Not back, because it was never gone, is MSM misreporting of it. For once, I think the New York Times’ phrasing,

To push the package through the Senate, lawmakers had to navigate a series of objections from conservative Republicans, who complained that they had little time to examine the legislation and pushed to prioritize emergency aid to Ukraine.

…may not suit Biden, and the cabal that gave him the presidency, quite as well as the way the Washington Post’s headline,

More than two dozen Senate Republicans demand Biden do more for Ukraine after voting against $13.6 billion for Ukraine.

…reported (or, one could say, avoided reporting) that a request to separate the aid-for-Ukraine bill from the earmarks bill was strongly made and was absolutely refused.

The WaPo’s headline is not wholly without information. If two dozen voted against, that tells us some other Republican senators voted for $13.6 billion for the Ukraine – along with a mere $1.6 million to assist “equitable growth of shellfish aquaculture in Rhode Island” and $800,000 to fund “artist lofts” in Pomona CA, and … and … and … (an earmark here, a thousand earmarks there – pretty soon you’re talking about real money). Whether they did this reluctantly, because they feel the Ukraine needs whatever fraction of that $13.5 billion it will finally get, or eagerly, because they feel they themselves need whatever fraction of that $1.5 trillion they will finally get (the 4000-odd earmarks were mostly for Democrats – but not exclusively so), I leave it to any readers who know those senators to speculate.

Meanwhile, here as elsewhere, the pro-Biden narrative and the pro-Putin narrative overlap. It was a Putin shill or dupe commenting way down a thread on this very blog who first told me it was Biden’s opponents in congress who “voted against aid to Ukraine”. Did he get that line from Russia Today or from the Washington Post? Who knows!

There’s nothing special to the Ukraine in all this, of course. All his political life, Biden has been exceptionally that kind of politician who demands his percentage of every transaction. It’s only noteworthy (and, let’s face it, it’s hardly surprising) that even now the Ukraine is fighting for its life, ‘the big guy’ still does.

The press big up Psaki to conceal that they are throwing the fight

When a boxer or wrestler who would normally be expected to trash-talk his opponent instead gushes about how strong they are, be suspicious. Here is the Jen Psaki story the press want to talk about:

“Jen Psaki Has Now Held More Press Briefing Than All Of Trump’s Press Secretaries Combined” – Jason Easley, Politicus USA. Mr Easley writes,

Biden and Jen Psaki have returned the government back to the people and restored accountability to the Executive Branch. The Trump administration consistently set records for days between press briefings.

This story about Psaki’s achievement in having done her job on two hundred separate days has been syndicated across the English speaking world. Jason Easley’s enthusiasm is matched by that of David Charter in the (London) Times: “Jen Psaki holds onto the White House job no Trump aide could handle”

For 14 months Psaki has earned a reputation for calmness under fire, no-nonsense put-downs and an ability to dodge most of the traps set by the more pugilistic members of the White House press corps. She has Facebook pages devoted to her including the Jen Psaki Fan Group, which recently discussed: “Are we seeing the next US president?”

I hope that Mr Charter remembered the stamped addressed envelope and the required four box tops from special Psaki-edition cartons of Rice Krispies when he sent off for his membership badge. He regales us with tales of her witty put-downs of Fox News reporters and Republican Senators. Only a spoilsport would say that the information revealed in the eleventh paragraph of the Times story, the one paragraph out of fourteen that had any news value, might have been given more prominence:

Psaki is also adept at evading well-aimed arrows. She was put on the spot about her tweet during the election campaign dismissing a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop as “Russian disinfo”. The New York Times finally conceded this week that emails from the laptop had been “authenticated”. Psaki’s response? “I’d point to the Department of Justice and Hunter Biden’s representatives. I’m a spokesperson for the United States; he doesn’t work for the United States.”

Emphasis added.

The New York Post’s October 2020 scoop about Hunter Biden’s laptop was censored by Facebook and Twitter, derided by the establishment media, and certified as “Russian disinfo” by “dozens of former intel officials”, according to Psaki. For some reason the Post wanted to talk about that rather than her 200th briefing: “Psaki won’t defend claim Post’s Hunter Biden laptop scoop was ‘Russian plant’”.

Samizdata quote of the pandemic

“I’m Not ‘Brave’; You’re Just a P—y !!” (Dr Naomi Wolf here, h/t instapundit, on which it has been linked repeatedly)

This is a companion post to Natalie’s one on ivermectin below. There is the pandemic science and the pandemic ‘science’ (the pandemic nonscience) – and then there is the issue of courage in science. I invite readers to put their comments about the science and the nonscience under Natalie’s post, and their comments about courage under mine – insofar, that is, as they can separate the two. The more our society indulges its desire to be safe, the more dangerous it seems to become.

(BTW, I don’t think Dr Wolf abbreviated her last word from the least cowardice to say it – she is rather clear in the essay that follows it – but only so the very people who most need to hear her say it were not protected from seeing her write it by their web-search engines. I refrained from the strong temptation to expand it again mainly from the desire to quote honestly but also for that reason.)

Courage is not just a virtue. It is the form of every virtue under test. Pontius Pilate was merciful – till it became risky. (C.S.Lewis)

Power in the U.S. – that doesn’t make the U.S. powerful

“If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.” (Monica Lewinsky, talking about Bill Clinton, in 2018)

If you want to know what power looks like, watch Democrat after Democrat safely, even smugly, say that Republicans intend to “put y’all back in chains”, to “go back to the days of enslavement and to the days of Jim Crow”, without ever worrying whether they will be asked which party backed slavery and Jim Crow back in the day. (Biden in 2012, Pelosi and others in 2022, lots in the decade between.)