Considering All Aspects Of Electric Cars

Zero Hedge posted an article today about one of the negative aspects of switching to electric cars.

The article reports:

Last month, a massive fire broke out at a German bus depot, destroying 20 electric buses. First responders weren’t prepared nor properly trained in extinguishing lithium-ion fires. The fire prompted one German official to question the zero-emissions vehicles as the “spontaneously” combustion of the batteries “is completely unaddressed,” according to RT News

“The risk of these fires, including in other locations such as bicycle basements or large apartment blocks, is completely unaddressed,” Heinrich Duepmann of Germany’s Electricity Consumer Protection Association told RT. “Also, insurance companies are not yet tackling the issue.”

Duepmann said the fires are “not regulated,” and fire barriers between electric busses and ones that run on diesel will be constructed to reduce the risk. 

The article notes an incident in Baltimore, Maryland, last month when after an automobile crash involving a Tesla, it took firefighters more than two hours to put out the fire that ensued.

The article concludes:

Baltimore County Volunteer Firefighters Association was so fed up with the incident because they’re not equipped nor have the proper training to handle such fires. They tweeted, “Let’s hope @elonmusk can work with the fire service and together we can develop a better response.” 

But it’s not just Baltimore firefighters who are not adequately trained in battling lithium-ion fires as more and more electric vehicles enter the roadways. There are firehouses across the country that are not prepared.

The only weapon that firehouses have is water and to let the fire burn out, but that could take hours. 

A few months ago, 20 tons of water were used to extinguish a Tesla fire in Taiwan. For some context, it only takes 3 tons of water to put out a gasoline car fire. A Texas fire chief told The Independent that a Tesla fire needed 40 times more water to control the blaze in a separate incident.

What becomes evident is first responders aren’t prepared for the brave new world of green transportation and the occasional battery fire. This has been proven around the globe as electric car companies, such as Tesla and VW, among others, should brief local governments on how to tackle lithium-ion fires. 

We may eventually get to a point where green energy makes sense, but we are not there yet.

Sometimes A Tragedy Is Simply A Tragedy

My sympathies go out to the family of the cinematographer who was accidentally shot on the set of the movie “Rust.” My sympathies also go out to Alec Baldwin. He fired the gun trusting that the special effects people had done their jobs correctly. As someone who had a well-known brother-in-law in special effects, I know how critical safety is to that profession.

Why my husband and I moved to North Carolina from Massachusetts, one of the first things I did was take a gun safety course. The gun culture of North Carolina was unfamiliar to me, and I felt that I needed to learn about gun safety. I learned some very basic rules about gun handling:

1. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

2. Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.

3. Visually and manually check to make sure the gun is not loaded–never assume anything.

4. Never aim at anything that you don’t intend to shoot.

I realize that some of those principles may not apply on a movie set, but had the special effects people followed these principles, I doubt the accident would have happened. What happened on the movie set of “Rust” was tragic, but steps can be taken to prevent future tragedies. The obvious first step would be to outlaw any live ammunition on movie sets.

My sympathies go out to the people impacted by this accident. I hope that everyone impacted can learn from the incident and be more aware of safety issues in the future.

This Is Not A Surprise To Anyone Who Has Been Paying Attention

One America News is reporting the following today:

U.S. President Joe Biden’s global energy security adviser said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting close to using natural gas as a political tool if Russia is holding back fuel exports to Europe as it suffers an energy crunch.

“I think we are getting close to that line if Russia indeed has the gas to supply and it chooses not to, and it will only do so if Europe accedes to other demands that are completely unrelated,” Amos Hochstein, Biden’s adviser, told reporters, when asked if Putin was using gas as a weapon.

Hochstein said gas prices in Europe have been driven higher not just by events in the region but also by a dry season in China that has reduced energy output from hydropower and increased global competition for natural gas.

Still, while a number of factors have led to the European gas crisis, Russia is best placed to come to the aid of Europe, he said.

“There is no doubt in my mind, and the (International Energy Agency) has itself validated, that the only supplier that can really make a big difference for European energy security at the moment for this winter is Russia,” Hochstein said.

He said Russia can increase upstream production of gas, and should do it quickly through existing pipelines.

Under the Trump administration, America was approaching the point where its natural gas exports would be a counter to the energy blackmail Russia has historically practiced. Ending America’s energy independence will be looked on in the future as one of the biggest mistakes made by the Biden administration.

What Happened In California

On Friday, Front Page Magazine posted an article by Daniel Greenfield. Mr. Greenfield generally focuses on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism, but stumbled upon the following information during an Uber ride from the airport. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. I will post some of the highlights.

The article reports:

After a long cross-country flight, I made it out of LAX and into an Uber. I wasn’t in the mood to talk, but the driver was. And hearing that I was a journalist, he wanted to tell me a story. I’ve heard a lot of stories over the years, but this may have been the most important one I let go.

He hadn’t always been driving an Uber at 11:30 at night. Not all that long ago he used to have his own business with 7 trucks before he was bankrupted by California’s insane regulations.

I listened, but didn’t pay enough attention. The impact of California’s Democrat legislative supermajority on truckers was just another data point alongside what was happening to freelancers of all kinds and a lot of small businesses. Stories like this were everywhere and there was little interest in them even in conservative circles outside the tarnished golden state.

…The massive supply chain mess that’s leaving stores empty and orders unfulfilled doesn’t have a single point of failure, but dozens of them. China’s energy shortages, the overhyped predictive powers of Big Data, the fragility of the global economy, fuel costs, and welfare state worker shortages are all players. But California’s truck bans are a key link in the great failure chain.

While I was riding home that night, California trucking companies were going bankrupt at a rapid rate. Few outside the industry were paying attention or understood what that might mean.

2019 was described as a “bloodbath” for the trucking industry with 640 trucking companies across the country filing for bankruptcy in just the first half of the year. Thousands of truck drivers were left unemployed. Many went into the expanding last mile delivery business, some as contractors for Amazon. But California truckers and businesses had their own special woes.

Two years ago, Governor Newsom signed the Democrat supermajority’s Assembly Bill 5 into law. While AB5 was billed as a crackdown on Uber and Lyft, forcing the companies to treat l freelance contractors as employees, the gig economy companies pushed Proposition 22 so that they were the only ones exempt from the law. (A Democrat judge has since illegally blocked the approved ballot measure while falsely claiming that it was unconstitutional.)

AB5 however was less about Uber than it was about outlawing freelance employees in order to force them into unions. The union power grab inconvenienced Uber and Lyft, but crushed freelance workers in a variety of fields including journalism. One of the fields was trucking.

Over the summer, the California Trucking Association actually went to the Supreme Court to fight AB5 and allow owners and operators to use independent contractors. The CTA listed 70,000 owner operators. In the years since AB5, Ubers have become scarcer and more expensive, which is what the law was actually designed to do, but the consequences to the trucking industry have been far worse albeit invisible to most people until now. While truckers are still protected from AB5, many in the industry are not willing to bet their future on SCOTUS.

AB5 was not only the assault on the trucking industry by California Democrats who were aggressively trying to unionize the industry and to impose environmental regulations on it.

The article then goes on to detail California’s efforts to switch all of its trucking to electric trucks.

The article notes:

While the ultimate truck ban was scheduled for 2045, an initial phase-in of 5% to 9% begins in 2024. Last year, California’s DMV began refusing to register thousands of trucks with an estimated 100,000 trucks under threat. With “green” trucks costing $70,000 more, this was a non-starter for already troubled independent owner-operators and even larger companies.

…Biden called for ports to operate around the clock, but that’s not going to magically bring back thousands of trucks or truckers. California Democrats still haven’t changed their regulations and without that, there’s no incentive or even legal structure that would allow trucks to operate.

Laws have consequences.

This May Be A Problem For The NATO Alliance

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed in 1949. The alliance was originally formed to stave off the possibility of the Soviet Union annexing more of Europe. In 1952, Turkey and Greece were added to NATO. Greece left NATO in 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus and NATO did not react (Cyprus was not a member of NATO, so no response was triggered). Greece rejoined NATO in 1980. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became President of Turkey in 2014 and has been moving Turkey toward an Islamic dictatorship since he took power.

Yesterday The Hill reported that President Erdogan has called on his foreign minister to banish 10 ambassadors from Western countries, including the United States, after they called for the “urgent release” of a Turkish philanthropist, Reuters reported.

The article reports:

Earlier this week, ambassadors from the embassies of 10 countries called on a resolution for the case of Osman Kavala, who has been in prison for several years after facing charges both in 2013 and 2016 for allegedly financially backing the 2013 protests and for his supposed involvement in a 2016 attempted coup.  

Those charges have been disputed by Kavala, and he was originally absolved of his 2013-related charges; however, earlier this year, the 2013-charges were reinstated along with charges from the 2016 incident, according to Reuters. 

“Today marks four years since the ongoing detention of Osman Kavala began. The continuing delays in his trial, including by merging different cases and creating new ones after a previous acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system,” according to a statement issued on Monday through the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.

“Together, the embassies of Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America believe a just and speedy resolution to his case must be in line with Turkey’s international obligations and domestic laws,” the statement continued. “Noting the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call for Turkey to secure his urgent release.”

Erdoğan claimed in his speech Saturday that the countries will “know and understand Turkey,” adding that “the day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave,” according to Reuters.

This is something to watch to see if President Erdogan’s actions have an impact on Turkey’s relationship with NATO. Since becoming President, Erdogan has drawn closer to the Muslim world and pretty much cut his friendly ties to Israel. I truly believe that it is President Erdogan’s intent to reestablish the caliphate that was the Ottoman Empire (with Turkey at the head). That will be interesting as Iran also plans to reestablish that caliphate with Iran at the head. Stay tuned.

A Good Solution To A Problem In A School

The Daily Wire posted an article yesterday about a high school in Shreveport, Louisiana, that was having a problem with fights among the students.

The article reports:

Last month, a video of several brawling Southwood students went viral on social media. More incidents over the next few days led to police arresting twenty-three students and charging them with disturbing the peace. One student was additionally charged with battery on an assistant principal.

Over the past few weeks, the Shreveport community — disturbed by the violence — has rallied around the school. As featured by CBS News, a group of local fathers began patrolling the school to provide a tender, yet firm, presence:

They formed Dads on Duty — a group of about 40 dads who take shifts spending time at the school in Shreveport, Louisiana, greeting students in the morning and helping maintain a positive environment for learning, rather than fighting.

The students say it’s working — and the numbers prove it. There hasn’t been a single incident on campus since the dads showed up.

“We’re dads. We decided the best people who can take care of our kids are who? Are us,” explained Michael LaFitte, who started Dads on Duty. The dads saw that “not everybody has a father figure at home.”

The article also notes the flight of parents from public schools to other options to educate their children. During the past year, homeschooling has increased, charter school enrollment has increased, private school enrollment has increased, and parochial school enrollment has increased. Parents are paying attention to what is being taught in our public schools and wherever possible, removing their children from those schools.

The article concludes:

In a July interview with The Daily Wire, conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey advised parents that everyone — from “Blue’s Clues” to government schools — is seeking to indoctrinate their children.

“They want to cultivate your child’s mind and form your child’s mind in their image — in the image of progressivism,” she explained. “They might not call themselves religious, but they are in every sense of the word. They’ve got their own dogmas, they’ve got their own kind of theology and their own worldview.”

“We have to teach our kids stuff that you and I probably didn’t even have to learn. Our parents didn’t have to teach us the difference between a man and a woman. But I also think it’s an exciting opportunity for parents to think through our faith. Why do we believe what we believe about gender, sexuality, abortion, God, creation, our bodies, and the government? Why do we believe these things? We can’t take anything for granted.”

Most parents are now awake and paying attention to what their children are being taught.

The Impact Of Public Opinion

Many parents of school children objected when they were called domestic terrorists because they had questions or disagreements with what their children were being taught in school. As parents began speaking out, other Americans became aware of the situation and also voiced their opinion. The actions of the parents and others have gotten results.

Today The Federalist reported the following:

The National School Boards Association has apologized for a letter that Attorney General Merrick Garland used to target parents as “domestic terrorists.”

“We regret and apologize for the letter,” the NSBA said in a memorandum sent to members on Friday. “To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue. However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter.”

The original letter, publicly sent to Biden administration officials after the organization worked with the Biden administration to craft its language, asked the federal government to take action against parents and citizens who “threaten” or “intimidate” school board officials and education administrators. It said nothing of the reports of some school officials engaging in the same behavior against parents.

“NSBA believes immediate assistance is required to protect our students, school board members, and educators who are susceptible to acts of violence affecting interstate commerce because of threats to their districts, families, and personal safety,” the original letter read. “… As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

As many as 20 state school boards have since distanced themselves from the NSBA in backlash against the letter: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

Fourteen state school boards, including Pennsylvania’s, said they were not alerted before the NSBA sent the letter. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association voted unanimously last week to exit the NSBA.

The article concludes:

House Republicans grilled Garland on his decision to mobilize the FBI against parents.

“It concerns us that [your letter] was issued just five days after the National School Board Association sent a letter to President Biden which referred to concerned parents as the equivalent of ‘domestic terrorists and perpetrators of hate crimes,’” Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson said. “Given the timing of all this, your memo appears to have been motivated by politics more than any pressing law enforcement need. This is concerning to us and it’s worthy of investigation.”

“A snitch line on parents, started five days after a left-wing political organization asked for it,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said. “If that’s not political, I don’t know what is.”

This incident shows the power of Americans when they choose to speak up. All of us need to be ready to stand up against over-intrusive searches and threats from our government. It seems as if our law enforcement agencies on the national level have been politicized. The best protection for all of us is to make sure we elect local officials who respect and abide by the U.S. Constitution. Otherwise we will find ourselves living in a surveillance state.

Our Pakistani “Allies”

Jihad Watch reported the following today:

Interrogation of two female suicide bombers named Shifa Haris and Mizha Siddique of the Islamic State’s Kerala module has revealed that around 3200 ISIS sleeper cells are operating in Kerala, India. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) team from Delhi arrested both of the women from a residence at Thana in Kerala’s Kannur in August of this year.

Each of these cells has around 10 members, which translates to the presence of 32000 Islamic jihadis in the state, with at least 40% of these being women. Many of these women have been converted to Islam from other faiths through narcotics jihad or grooming jihad. The charge sheet presented by the NIA states that Mizha Siddique had travelled to Tehran with her accomplices and intended to cross over to Syria illegally, but failed. Mizha was working under the direction of the Kerala ISIS kingpin, Mohammad Ameen, and recruiting Muslim youth for ISIS. Mohammad Ameen is now behind bars. Mizha had recruited her cousins Shifa Harris and Mushab Anwar for jihad and inspired them to join ISIS. Shifa had sent funds to their Kashmir module; they were planning Hijra, Islamic religious migration, to Kashmir. About seven young jihadis were set to migrate to Kashmir from Kerala.

This large-scaled permeation of sleeper cells suggests that the ideologues of the Islamic State are now embedded across Kerala, and its growth is difficult to monitor or check. Most of the members of the ISIS sleeper cells are part of its cyber brigade, are incorrigibly indoctrinated, and could pick up arms at any moment to fight for a caliphate led by the Islamic State.

These jihadis are mostly modern, highly qualified, and adept at using the latest technologies and gadgets. Apart from grooming, many were lured into this cause with promises of sex, money, positions, drugs, or foreign jobs. The Kerala brigade also involves people from the film and media industries, who are working closely with each other.

The article concludes by noting the role that Pakistan played in the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan:

The victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan was impossible without the support of the Pakistani military. In between May and June of this year, Pakistan started to position the Taliban with a renewed image on the international stage. Pakistani federal minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi publically claimed that “the Taliban might wear baggy dresses but they have intelligent brains,” and Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed asserted that the current Taliban leadership is a moderate one compared to the Taliban of 1996 that had publicly displayed the dead bodies of the then-Afghan president Najibullah and his brother. Again, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan denied the US airspace for attacking the Taliban.

The Taliban commanders, on the other hand, were functional in Peshawar and Quetta in Pakistan, much like how Osama bin Laden was operating out of their backyard. They were transferring both their troops and those of Pakistan towards Kabul and other major Afghan cities. The Pakistani agency ISI was overseeing these jihad terror cells, and has provided a fertile breeding ground for Islamic terrorists. When the most opportune time arrives, they may reach out to the jihadis-in-the-making in Kerala’s sleeper cells and order them to carry out massive acts of terror.

Why in the world are we giving Pakistan foreign aid?

The Risk Of Resettlement

Resettling thousands of people from a country with a culture radically different from the American culture has its risks. One of the places where those risks are going to be most apparent is in the way women are treated in America in contrast to the way women were historically treated in Afghanistan. I will admit that I hadn’t really thought about the impact of the twenty years of the American presence in Afghanistan had on the people until I watched the video I embedded yesterday. The young lady in the interview tearfully thanking the Americans for the fact that she was allowed to go to school caused me to rethink a lot of my ideas about our presence in Afghanistan. An article that appears today in The Daily Caller makes me wonder about the wisdom of bringing the Afghan refugees to America rather than resettling them somewhere in the Arab world where the culture would be similar to the culture in Afghanistan before Americans arrived.

The article reports:

An Afghan refugee was charged with raping an 18-year-old after resettling in Missoula, Montana, Fox News reported on Thursday.

Zabihullah Muhmand, 19, ended up in Montana as part of a State Department effort to resettle people evacuated from Afghanistan after the government fell to the Taliban in mid-August, Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced, according to Fox News. Gianforte asked the Biden administration to stop resettlement efforts so officials can look into the vetting process of evacuees.

“911 received a call from the victim and also from the local motel who wanted to report seeing some concerning behavior between a male and female,” police official Lydia Arnold said, local outlet KGVO reported. “Officers were able to connect the victim with the resources in Missoula to aid the victim with immediate medical assistance, conduct a preliminary investigation, and take a preliminary statement from the victim.”

Unfortunately there have been similar incidents in other areas of the country involving Afghan refugees. Some European countries who have accepted large numbers of Arab refugees have also had similar problems with the lack of respect for women that is woven into the Arab culture. I am not sure this is a matter of vetting–I suspect it may be a cultural matter that needs to be addressed very quickly. Any refugees coming to America from countries where women are routinely mistreated need to be educated quickly on the role of women in America. It is the responsibility of our government to protect ALL of its citizens.

Policies Matter

One of the successes of the Trump administration was the growth of small business and the growth of the middle class during his administration. There were a lot of reasons for that growth–the corporate tax cut caused all businesses to grow and the elimination of a lot of government regulation gave small and large businesses freedom to grow. The elimination of red tape took some of the load off of businessmen trying to start or grow a business. Unfortunately, the Biden administration seems to be blindly determined to undo anything the Trump administration did regardless of whether or not the Trump policies actually helped Americans and the American economy.

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about the Biden administration’s plans for businesses in America.

The article reports:

President Biden accelerated the regulatory state on his first day in office by ordering agencies to consider aspirational but vaguely defined goals and benefits when imposing new rules on businesses large and small.

The order greenlighting regulations even when the benefits “are difficult or impossible to quantify” sent shudders down the spines of CEOs. They fear business growth will be smothered in pursuit of vague objectives such as “human dignity” and “the interests of future generations.”

“It is the most aggressive thing I’ve ever seen by an administration,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a right-leaning economic think tank. “It’s one thing to put out a bunch of regulations, but this changes the way regulation is done. It allows you to jam through any regulation you want regardless of the impact [on] the private sector.”

The order, which tosses out the government’s traditional cost-benefit analysis before approving a regulation, is among a slew of executive actions Mr. Biden has signed to curb the power of businesses.

Mr. Biden‘s regulations provide a road map for his plans to transform business and what he sees as anti-competitive business practices. Without the regulations, Mr. Biden said, businesses can stifle competition, raise prices and limit consumer choice. The regulations are also designed to give workers more power to demand higher wages and mobility, the president has said.

The article concludes with an example:

Mr. Holtz-Eakin sees it differently. He said the red tape combined with the administration’s rhetoric has created a “negative business environment.” He views Mr. Biden‘s talk and actions as a two-pronged approach to getting business to bend to the administration’s will.

Last month, Mr. Biden‘s agriculture secretary and top economic adviser accused the meat industry of illegal price-fixing and blamed it for soaring food prices. They vowed to investigate and restrict the industry in the name of protecting consumers.

An industry trade group accused the administration of scapegoating meat producers. It said the prices increased because of a nationwide labor shortage.

“I think that was relatively unprecedented,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin (Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum) said of the attack on the meat industry. “There have been other industries singled out by presidents, but that one was a surprise.”

What we need to be aware of is the fact that the Biden administration is moving us away from private enterprise to government control of businesses. It’s not a good direction to be headed. The only solution to this is to elect conservatives to Congress in 2022 and elect either President Trump of Governor DeSantis as President in 2024. Otherwise we will probably be a socialist country within five years.

The Coercion In This Is Just Weird

Yesterday The American Thinker posted an article about a telephone call from the White House to the Department of Justice targeting religious objects to receiving the Covid vaccine.

The article reports:

That good Catholic, Joe Biden, is troubled by the fact that people are raising religious objections to taking the COVID vaccine. We know this because a leaked White House telephone call lets us listen in as a Department of Justice attorney works with the administration to brainstorm ways to force vaccines on religious people over their faith-based objections. The First Amendment is a dead letter in the Biden White House.

In 1558, when Elizabeth I ascended the English throne, England had seen Catholics and Protestants engaged in deadly fighting for 25 years. Elizabeth wanted none of it. “I would not open windows into men’s souls,” she said, voicing the world’s first expression of religious liberty. By the 18th century, though, Britain had passed a series of laws mandating religious tests barring non-Anglicans from roles in government or academia.

In response, the Founding Fathers ratified the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from requiring religious tests for people to participate in society. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof[.]” And thanks to the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment applies to all governments in America, whether federal or state.

Additionally, contrary to what many leftists assert, the First Amendment does not operate to bar people from having their religious beliefs inform their politics or their dealings with the state. It’s a limit on government, not on people. Or as Elizabeth would have said, the government cannot open windows into men’s souls.

Nevertheless, a leaked White House recording of Marty Lederman, a Department of Justice attorney, has him cynically talking about getting COVID vaccines into those Americans who object on religious grounds. He doubts their faith but reluctantly concedes that there’s little the government can do — except for using government force to override them by claiming a compelling government need:

The question of religion and medicine is not a new one. The Christian Science religion does not believe in taking drugs of any kind. The Catholic religion objects to the fact that fetal tissue may have been used in the development of the Covid vaccine. Up to this point, religious objections to vaccines or other medical procedures have been accepted.

There is something really strange going on here. First of all, anecdotal information from morticians and hospital workers indicates that the vaccine does not protect you from catching the disease, being hospitalized with the disease, or from dying from the disease. If the vaccine does not truly protect you, why is the government pushing it so hard? Why is the government putting corporations in a position where they are firing people for not receiving an ineffective vaccine? Why are the statistics on injuries caused by the vaccine not being made available to public on a regular basis?

Big Tech Is Watching You

The Western Journal posted an article today about privacy in America.

The article reports:

Those who are wary of smartphones, smart devices and virtual assistants generally cite concerns over their information being recorded and shared without their knowledge.

Only fueling those concerns, one woman recently shared that she had found over 3,000 recordings of herself taken by her various Amazon devices.

The woman, who goes by the username “my.data.not.yours” on TikTok, posts lots of videos on the topics of privacy, reviews privacy policies and gives people tips on how to limit (or at least be aware of) their digital footprint.

She started by informing viewers that she owns two Amazon Dots and an Echo device, and her house uses some smart bulbs.

“I requested all the data Amazon has on me and here’s what I found,” she said. “So when I downloaded the ZIP file these are all the folders it came with.”

In the video, she clicks on the “audio” file and says that it contains 3,534 short clips that her devices recorded, which she tells viewers is “so scary.”

She explained that one recording was of her asking Alexa to turn the lights on — nothing too surprising there. What she was more concerned about was that there was a file on her contacts, too.

“It turns out they have a full list of my contacts from my phone and I never remember syncing that,” she said.

That wasn’t the end of it.

“The very last thing that I didn’t know that they had — I could have assumed that they have but I don’t love that they have — is my location,” she continued, admitting that she’s “not totally comfortable with everything they have.”

The article also explains how you can delete things from Alexa:

In February, an article by CNBC stated that the Amazon Echo “saves a copy of everything you ask Alexa,” which makes sense. You can also delete these recordings — ironically — by asking Alexa to delete them.

You can also change the settings so that recordings are automatically deleted after a set amount of time.

According to the New York Post, an Amazon spokesperson acknowledged the voice recording feature and said that the recordings can be deleted at any time or you can change the settings so they aren’t saved in the first place.

“We give customers transparency and control over their Alexa experience,” the spokesperson said. “Customers can easily review and delete their voice recordings, or choose not to have them saved at all, at any time.

“Customers can import their mobile phone contacts to the Alexa app so they can use features like hands-free calling and messaging; this optional feature, which customers need to set up, can be disabled at any time.

“Finally, you can grant permissions for the Alexa app to use certain data, such as your mobile device’s geolocation, to provide relevant results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations), and you can manage these permissions in the app.”

Did you know about these features?

Wow.

A Story That Needs To Be Told

Yesterday YouTube posted a Glenn Beck interview with a young lady who escaped from Afghanistan after the government fell. The young lady and her sister were interviewed. It is a long, compelling interview. I understand that people surfing the Internet generally don’t take the time to watch something for almost an hour. However, if you are a military veteran, particularly an Afghanistan veteran, please watch the last ten minutes. What the young lady stated in the final minutes of the interview was a revelation to me and I suspect it will be a revelation to many Americans. Please watch the interview.

Evidently Ethics Investigations Are Not Allowed In The Biden Administration

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the possible conflict of interest in the Attorney General Merrick Garland’s investigation of parents objecting to the actions of local school boards.

The article reports:

Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA) questioned U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland about his clear conflict of interest today surrounding the Attorney General’s instructions for FBI agents to investigate parents who question school board curriculum. Merrick Garland’s daughter is married to the co-founder of the Critical Race Theory educational material being purchased by the school boards. The exact CRT material being directly challenged by the parents Garland has instructed the FBI to investigate.

In a clear conflict of interest Merrick Garland is using his office to protect the income and investments of his son-in-law’s business. However, when questioned about this conflict today, Merrick Garland says he will refuse to accept any ethical review of his conduct.

The article includes the following video:

The article concludes:

Conflict of interest much?

Yes, the Attorney General is instructing the FBI to investigate parents who might pose a financial threat to the business of his daughter’s husband.

Every government official should be expect regular ethics reviews of his conduct regardless of political party or position. The Attorney General is not above the law.

Rewriting History To Prevent A Second Trump Presidency

Today The Federalist posted an article about the media’s renewed interest in the Steele Dossier. What is happening right now with the Dossier is a shot across the bow in an effort to prevent President Trump from running for President in 2024.

The article lists four things the author learned from the Hulu documentary about the Steele Dossier.

These are the four things:

1. At Least the Media Came Out of the Shadows

2. Steele Selected Stephanopoulos For a Reason

3. Christopher Steele Stands By His Dossier

4. He’s Crazy Like a Fox

Please follow the link to read the entire article, but here are a few excerpts:

Raddatz (ABC reporter Martha Raddatz) was not the only ABC personality interviewed during the program, and in this respect the media’s penchant for becoming the story reached a pinnacle, so much so that Hulu followed Stephanopoulos from his New York apartment en route to the airport and then to England. Once there, Steele’s screen time paled in comparison to the time Stephanopoulos devoted to interviewing his colleagues.

…Of course, Steele couldn’t have really taken the lead in the story because he remains in legal jeopardy and subject to potential civil liability. Steele needed to thread a needle: saying enough to create sympathy and shore up a legal defense while ensuring he stayed silent on anything of substance. Stephanopoulos served his purpose.

President Clinton’s former White House communications director promised the publicity Steele needed and provided a surface of seriousness to sell the story as a true piece of journalism. And Stephanopoulos was willing to travel to England, most definitely a requirement for Steele to avoid the subpoena power of the John Durham special counsel’s office.

…While Stephanopoulos’ painting of Steele as a patriotic and sympathetic character did not quite descend to the Jane Mayer level of propaganda, the generous profile of Steele nonetheless laid the groundwork necessary to soften the more serious questions that would end the show. The Hulu special’s biographical focus also served to elevate Steele, suggesting a more substantial role in British intelligence than likely and bolstering his credibility by highlighting his connection to the FBI’s investigation into the World Cup soccer bribery scandal.

Against this backdrop, a viewer unacquainted with the depth of the Spygate scandal, such as Stephanopoulos and ABC’s regular audience, might find Steele’s assurances that his sources and their stories are credible, even against the backdrop of the U.S. inspector general’s “devastating” report that “eviscerated” Steele’s reporting, according to one of the few non-ABC figures interviewed, former New York Times reporter Barry Meier.

“With respect to your work,” Stephanopoulos noted, the IG report concluded that “certain allegations were inaccurate or inconsistent with information gathered by the Crossfire Hurricane team; and that the limited information that was corroborated related to time, place and title information, much of which was publicly available.”

The article concludes:

Those well-versed in the entire Russia-collusion hoax likely watched Steele in disbelief, wondering how delusional he must be to sit calmly before a worldwide audience and defend the unbelievable. But the interview served a purpose, because the few times Stephanopoulos challenged Steele, it works to his own benefit as it provided the dossier author the opportunity to counter claims that he peddled knowingly false information to the FBI

While Steele professed in the interview that he had done nothing wrong and did not fear being charged and extradited to the United States, sometimes the best defense is an offense. What better way to counter a potential charge of making false statements to the FBI than to profess you believe the information passed on was true? Well, that, and the defense colloquially known as Orange Man Bad, which Steele seemed to also hide behind, speaking of Trump as a continuing threat to the United States and United Kingdom’s national security.

Steele may be right about one thing, though, when he said in the final minutes of the interview that he “think[s] this book is not finished by a longshot.” Hopefully, however, it will be Durham writing the final chapter.

The Hulu version of events is pure propaganda, but those who get their news via the mainstream media and watch the ‘documentary’ will  see it as truth. That is part of the reason for the divide in America, and the media bears much of the responsibility for that divide.

Under The Cover Of Darkness…

On Monday, The New York Post reported the following:

There’s a reason the Biden administration is using secret flights to small airports to move unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border. 

They don’t want voters to know just how many people are being waved right into the country, because President Biden understands that open borders might be the policy of progressives, but it’s not popular among the majority of Americans. 

But you know who does realize these flights are happening? The people of Central and South America. Word travels fast that no one is getting deported, and that’s why they are paying money to smugglers to take their children on a perilous journey north. 

That’s why there are so many heartbreaking images of toddlers literally being dropped over the wall, abandoned in the wilderness. 

There were a staggering 18,958 encounters between the Border Patrol and unaccompanied children in July. In August, the figure was 18,847. 

That’s up 655.6 percent from the previous year. 

Generally speaking, people don’t do things under the cover of darkness unless they are doing something they want to  hide.

The article notes:

Sometimes, these kids are placed with relatives already in the United States. Sometimes, they are placed with aid groups happy to help.

The parents of these children are willing to send the children on this very dangerous journey because they desperately want a better life for their children. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the parents to stand up and fight for change in their country that would make the journey unnecessary? The migrant caravans are an illustration of how badly America’s foreign policy has failed over past decades. America has poured money into South America. That money has gone to corrupt tyrants who have done nothing to help their people. Drugs, gangs, and lawlessness have been allowed to run rampant. I think we need to reconsider our foreign aid to South America and Central America and make it conditional based on the amount of corruption in the country. Stopping drugs at our border would also help decrease the power of the cartels by decreasing their income. It’s time for some common sense in America’s aid programs.

A Reasonable Plan

The Gateway Pundit reported yesterday that Senator Ted Cruz has filed legislation on Tuesday that would establish processing centers for illegal immigrants in areas such as Martha’s Vineyard and other Democrat-led communities. Now realistically we understand that this will never be passed, but the bill makes a statement about life in America for ordinary people and life in America for politicians and the wealthy. People who own ranches in Texas have had their property destroyed, littered, and overrun on a regular basis during the Biden administration. People in places like Martha’s Vineyard, Greenwich, Connecticut, and other places where our politicians and wealthy live have not been touched by the crisis at our southern border.

The article reports:

Cruz stated that the Texas government was forced to proclaim a state of disaster and dedicate its law enforcement and financial resources to dealing with the problem. “Local Border Patrol Sectors in Texas continue to be overwhelmed by the volume of illegal aliens at the border. The Texas government has been forced to declare a state of disaster and provide its law enforcement and fiscal resources to address the crisis.”

Cruz reported that he encountered human traffickers and cartel members while traveling to the border in early March. One of his recordings showed him saying, “That’s Mexico and you can see there are three smugglers right there standing on the Mexican side looking at us.”

The proposed bill makes the point that what is happening at our southern border is a national problem–it has consequences. There is no way that those making our laws should be exempt from those consequences.

Everyone Can Make A Difference

A local group in eastern North Carolina is on a mission to make sure that those lost during the Afghanistan withdrawal and those still trapped in the country are not forgotten. The group is called American Lives Matter and is selling the lapel pins below:

The black ribbon represents grief or mourning for the fallen and abandoned during Biden’s Afghan departure.

The Flag lapel pin represents American lives and values.

Wearing the American Lives Matter Ribbon every day is your daily protest since we can’t be in the streets every day.

The group is planning a rally/demonstration/protest in Raleigh next October. The money raised through the sale of the ribbons will be used to pay the expenses of the rally/demonstration/protest in Raleigh.

For further information, please contact Kenneth Lang at kennethlang47@icloud.com

It’s Only Money

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted a list of “10 Absurdly Wasteful Items Tucked Into Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Tax-and-Spend Monstrosity.”

Below is the list. Please follow the link to the article for the details:

1) $25 Million for ‘Anti-discrimination and Bias Training’ at HHS

2) $200 Million for Presidio Trust, aka ‘Pelosi’s Park

3) Welfare for Journalists

4) $1.25 Billion for Activists, Bureaucrats to Go After Landlords

5) $4.5 Billion for Federal Housing Plan Takeover

6) $26.5 Billion for Left-Wing Transportation Programs

7) Extra Funding for Bureaucrats, Ad Campaigns

8) $197 Million to Subsidize Hiring Local Teachers

9) $7.5 Billion ‘Community’ Slush Fund

10) 2 Decades of Funding for Obscure Tech Accounts

The article includes the following:

Number 5 is particularly dangerous to the American dream–it is part of the attack on single-family dwellings begun by the Obama administration. The federal government should not be in charge of local zoning–that is what the goal of this plan is. Local governments are better equipped to see the needs of their communities and to meet those needs. The Tenth Amendment states that any federal powers not enumerated in the Constitution are left to the states. We need to have our Representatives and Senators spend some time reading the Constitution and then following it.

 

Incredible Coincidence?

Yesterday The New York Post reported the following:

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sold between $1 million and $5 million in stocks at the beginning of October 2020 — a month that turned out to be the worst for Wall Street since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The transaction, which is noted on a public disclosure form Powell signed off on in May and was first reported Monday by The American Prospect, is an uncomfortable echo of activities that led to the recent resignations of two regional leaders of America’s central bank.

The disclosure form indicates that Powell sold the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund shares on Oct. 1, 2020. Ten days earlier, a separate sale of shares from the same fund netted the Fed chair between $50,000 and $100,000.

As Powell played the market, he was calling on Congress to pass a second COVID-19 relief bill even as negotiations between lawmakers and the Trump administration were in a stalemate. The American Prospect, citing Powell’s public schedule, reported that he had spoken with then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin four times on Oct. 1, as well as with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The article concludes:

Separately, Bloomberg News reported on Oct. 1 of this year that Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida had moved between $1 million and $5 million out of one mutual fund and into two other funds on Feb. 27, 2020, the day before Powell signaled a potential interest rate cut due to the pandemic.

The disclosures have drawn the ire of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who wrote to the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month to ask for an investigation into whether Rosengren, Kaplan or Clerida had violated insider trading rules. In a Senate floor speech Oct. 5, Warren called out Powell and said he had “failed as a leader.”

However, other lawmakers have lined up behind Powell as President Biden nears a decision about whether to nominate him for a second four-year term that would begin in February. Fox Business Network reported Monday that at least eight Republican senators have said they would vote to confirm Powell for a second term.

The Federal Reserve did not respond to requests for comment about Powell’s transactions.

Mr. Powell’s biography notes that he is a lawyer who has worked in the investment banking field. I suppose this would give him the knowledge to make the kind of stock trade he made at the time he made it. However, I do think we need to take a really good look at the financial transactions of those in government. It seems as if there are a lot of people in government who seem to have an uncanny knack for buying and selling stock and stock options at exactly the right time.

What World Is College Preparing This Student For?

A college education has value. It has more than academic value (assuming the student earned a degree in a subject that is reasonably marketable). College teaches students how to manage their time, how to get along with a roommate, hopefully how to balance a checkbook and manage consumer credit, and many other useful skills that they will take into the world when they graduate. Ideally it also helps students become adults that will function well in society. Well, the following article leads me to wonder about that last sentence.

Yesterday The U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about an Oberlin College student who complained about the people who installed a radiator in his dormitory.

The article reports:

A student at an $80,000-a-year ultra-liberal Oberlin College in Ohio claimed in an op-ed that he was left ‘angry, scared, and confused’ because ‘cisgender men’ installed a radiator in his ‘safe space’ dormitory.

Peter Fray-Witzer, a student enrolled at Oberlin College, posted an article in Friday’s edition of The Oberlin Review in which he takes school administrators to task for giving him short notice about the installation.

Fray-Witzer writes that he asked a campus official if he could be exempt from having a radiator installed in his room so as to avoid the ‘intrusion.’

He also complains that he felt ‘mildly violated’ and ‘a little peeved’ when the contractors returned to his dorm room the next day to ‘check the insulation.’

I truly wonder how this person in going to function in the real world after he graduates from college. The majority of people in the real world are cisgender. The majority of people in the real world do not care what gender he is or was. The majority of people in the real world are not a threat to him. If he actually intends to be a contributing member of society, I suggest he seek therapy. If a radiator installation is this traumatic to him, what will he ever do if he lives in a house or apartment that needs some sort of maintenance? Is he comfortable taking his car to a dealership or buying a car?

It is obvious that this young man’s college experience is not preparing him for life in the real world. Is he the exception or the rule?

When Is A Law Not A Law?

The Epoch Times posted an article today about the federal vaccine mandates.

The article reports:

Several Republican attorneys general have said that President Joe Biden’s federal mandate for COVID-19 vaccinations hasn’t yet come into effect for private businesses, adding that if it is ordered, they will file lawsuits against it.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, a Republican, noted that the White House only last week submitted the text of its emergency rule regarding vaccinations to the Office of Management and Budget, meaning it hasn’t gone into effect.

But, Knudsen noted that “no such rule or regulation is currently in effect,” adding (pdf) that there has been a “great deal of confusion” over Biden’s announcement last month.

“Further, my office is preparing to immediately challenge and enjoin this federal overreach on a variety of grounds when the Biden administration issues its announced rule,” he said.

On Sept. 9, Biden announced that he would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to mandate that all private businesses with 100 or more employees force their workers to get vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Details about the rule, including fines, have not been released, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t answer questions earlier this month about a timeframe on when it would be unveiled.

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government the power to order people to take medicine they do not want to take. It may be possible for some states or local entities to find that power under public health laws, but there is no federal precedent for such a requirement.

The article concludes with an interesting statement about the double standard being applied to Americans and those crossing the border illegally:

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, already filed a lawsuit against Biden’s vaccine requirement, arguing that it would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The mandate would treat American workers differently than illegal immigrants who are crossing into the United States from Mexico, arguing that illegal aliens are able to decline the vaccine.

But last week, Biden said that his private-sector mandate will take effect “soon” and will address the “unacceptably high number” of people who have not taken the vaccine.

“The Labor Department is going to soon be issuing an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements,” Biden said on Oct. 14, referring to the mandate.

Earlier this month, a Department of Labor spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that OSHA has been working “expeditiously” to develop the rule, which it described as an “emergency temporary standard.”

The Epoch Times contacted the Department of Labor on Sunday for additional comment.

If the government moves at its typical speed, the word “expeditiously” may mean it will be done by 2024. Meanwhile, we need Attorneys General who will protect our rights. It has never been more obvious that your vote for local and state officials is as important as your vote for President.

How Many Times Does Someone Give You Wrong Advice Before You Stop Listening?

Townhall posted an article today about some of the recent advice given by Dr.
Anthony Fauci. It seems as if Dr. Fauci  has gotten a bit out over his skis lately in telling Americans what they should and shouldn’t do.

The article reports:

Since the start of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been preaching about avoiding crowds, so when football season at the NFL and collegiate level kicked off this year, he feared we could be stuck in “outbreak mode” with thousands of maskless fans packed together in stadiums across the country. 

“I don’t think it’s smart,” he told CNN last month. “Outdoors is always better than indoors, but even when you have such a congregate setting of people close together, first you should be vaccinated. And when you do have congregate settings, particularly indoors, you should be wearing a mask.”

Fauci wasn’t alone, of course. MSNBC host Joy Reid, looking at the crowds, told Fauci during an interview that she “thought COVID is about to have a feast.”

“I thought the same thing. I think it’s really unfortunate,” he replied.

The article shares some basic facts that contradict the prediction:

“Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths now all down nationwide,” Brewster said. “Cases are now in steep decline in every college football state across the south, including Florida, where hospitalizations fell 64 percent last month, even as some 90,000 fans packed the [University of Florida] Gators’ stadium.”

…Last month, Outkick founder Clay Travis also pointed out that packed stadiums haven’t led to surges in Covid-19 cases.

“There’s been a 35% decline in Georgia, 32% decline in South Carolina, 30% decline in Mississippi, 22% decline in Arkansas, 23% in Alabama, 9% in Texas. Every single SEC state where millions of people have gone to college football games has not led to a feast of COVID as Doctor Fauci predicted,” Travis said, reports Fox News.

COVID is a virus. It is probably a man-made virus, which may account for the fact that it doesn’t seem to follow all of the rules that viruses follow. However, it does seem to follow the basic rule of viruses–it seeks its own survival. It is quite possible that COVID is going to be similar to the annual flu–it will be with us indefinitely, it will be serious, and for some people it will be fatal–but it will not remain the pandemic it was last year. It’s time for all of us to come out of our houses, get the shot or don’t get the shot according to our own conscience, and get on with our lives.