Here are the top stories from this week that I think you will want to read.
And after you read my Sunday Standard, please leave me a comment.
Pelosi attack: How does a reporter become a nonperson?
This was originally published on 11/30.
On November 4, NBC NEWS reporter Miguel Almaguer did an on-air report about the incident at Paul and Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home around 2AM October 28 between Mr. Pelosi and a hammer-wielding assailant. The 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Pelosi, who was in Washington DC at the time, had suffered injuries to his skull and arm and had been taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery for a fractured skull. He was released from the hospital a week later, is expected to make a full recovery, and we continue to pray for him and wish him well.
But Almaguer’s report differed in some details from the ‘Justice’ Department’s account. (For the record, so did that of local police.) According to Almaguer, Mr. Pelosi opened the front door to police when they arrived at his house with a “knock-and-announce,” and instead of immediately asking for help or rushing outside to safety, he stepped back into the home before being attacked by the assailant, David DePape, who was later found to be a “nudist activist” and a very weird person who indulged an odd assortment of conspiracy theories.
NBC NEWS took swift action after Almaguer's report quickly went viral, retracting it that afternoon and scrubbing it from the internet, saying only that this reporting “didn’t meet company standards.” As Brian Flood at FOX NEWS reports in an update, “Almaguer’s report seemed to coincide with theories that key details are being withheld from the public.” It appears that Almaguer, a Los Angeles-based correspondent, was suspended from the network, though NBC has made no official announcement of that.
The established narrative is now that DePape broke into the home and was looking for the Speaker, threatening to break her kneecaps if she didn’t “tell the truth” and even calling out “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” as some of the Capitol Hill protesters did on January 6. (Incidentally, we’ve never heard from whose account that little detail came. Who is the witness who offered that conveeeenient piece of information, so evocative of J6? It seems this would have had to come from Paul Pelosi unless there was another eyewitness in the house.)
Some critics were quick to say that Almaguer’s report had “fueled conspiracy theories,” but we now know that police bodycam footage supports what he'd said about Mr. Pelosi answering the door to the cops himself. According to the WASHINGTON POST, NBC sources told them that Almaguer was incorrect when he said Mr. Pelosi had told police he was not in danger. Was that definitely determined to be a mistake? And if it was, didn't they want to get that detail right instead of just being murky? In such a case, doesn’t a network usually just issue a specific correction and move on?
But San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins certainly has the “correct” narrative down pat: DePape’s motive “could not have been clearer,” she insisted. In her filing, she wrote, “He forced his way into the Pelosi home intending to take the person third in line for the presidency of the United States hostage and to seriously harm her. Thwarted by Speaker Pelosi’s absence, Defendant continued on his quest and would not be stopped, culminating in the near fatal attack on Mr. Pelosi.”
After being a regular correspondent on NBC’s “Today” and “NBC Nightly News,” Almaguer has been completely off the air for nearly a month now. The FOX NEWS update does offer some speculation from “NBC insiders,” but that’s all it appears to be --- guesswork. One theory is that they had a problem with his source, and we’ll likely never know who that was.
And this might be the strangest part of an already strange story: Since Almaguer’s apparent suspension, the NBC affiliate in the Bay Area reported details similar to what he had in his original report, and even asked the logical questions. But that report wasn’t scrubbed, and anchor Jessica Aguirre and reporter Bigad Shaban weren’t taken off the air. This twist to the media coverage should have everyone scratching their heads…
Almaguer’s status as a nonperson, at least for now, seems nearly complete. Although, like most reporters, he had been active on Twitter, he hasn’t tweeted anything since November 3. As far as we've seen, the only social media presence he’s had was this picture of himself posted on Instragram from Barcelona, Spain, last week. Perhaps he was spending the Thanksgiving holiday there.
NBC NEWS didn’t respond to questions from FOX NEWS such as how long Almaguer would be off the air and what was wrong with his report. Almaguer’s agent was reached but declined to speak “on client matters.” Jack Phillips at THE EPOCH TIMES also tried to contact both NBC NEWS and Almaguer and received no response from either. If you have a subscription to ET, here's a link to Phillips' report.
A former NBC NEWS executive who worked with Almaguer told FOX NEWS Digital that “NBC’s silence on this matter speaks volumes, and that the network “owes it to its audience to be truthful and not cover this up.”
And that’s the main point to keep in mind about this whole story. In looking at what happened to Paul Pelosi, my focus certainly has not been on his personal life at all, but rather on what’s happening to our media and how we can ever trust what it’s telling us. There’s a reason Miguel Almaguer is not on the air at NBC NEWS, and we all should be asking what it is.
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Word of the year
This was originally published on 11/30
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary people chose “gaslighting” as the “word of the year” for 2022. And if you think it’s not, you must be crazy.
It first entered the language with the 1938 movie, “Gaslight,” about a husband trying to convince his wife that she’s losing her mind. But only in recent years have politicians, academia, the media and social media made both a science out of brainwashing people into believing things that they should know instinctively are not true (for instance, yes: gender is binary, and men can't get pregnant.)
Fortunately, more people are waking up to the scam every day. One reason the gaslighters hate Elon Musk so much is that he’s pulling back the curtain to reveal how they’ve done it. For years, they’ve gaslighted us that there was no political bias in the decisions to ban or shadow-ban Twitter users, when it was obvious to many of us that it was leftwing censorship of anyone to the right of Rob Reiner.
But now, expect more howling from the left as Musk just announced that he’s found the Twitter files on free speech suppression and will soon make them public on Twitter because “the public deserves to know what happened.”
If you want to know who’s gaslighting you, just watch closely to see which “news outlets” applaud the idea of the public having a right to know what actually happened, and which ones openly oppose that principle and attack Elon Musk for pursuing it.
Related: CNN scolded Elon Musk, “Be better,” after they claimed he posted disinformation about them. It was actually an obvious joke meme of a fake news headline reading, “CNN: Elon Musk could threaten free speech on Twitter by literally allowing people to speak freely.”
It’s easy to knock CNN for having no sense of humor and being unable to recognize a joke, but look at it from their point of view. That sounds so much like an actual CNN headline, it’s easy to see how they might assume people would think it’s real. Maybe the solution is for CNN to be a better news network, so their headlines aren’t indistinguishable from satire.
Musk delivers PROOF Twitter censored Biden laptop story to rig electionn
This was originally published on 12/3.
“Big Tech censorship is a critical tool of the ‘national security state.’ Whenever anyone tries to do anything about it, these former people from the CIA...and the Pentagon and the rest jump up and say, ‘We cannot allow you to restore free speech; this form of censorship is a crucial weapon.’ And so they’re completely intertwined and integrated, and we’re seeing that in the role that Jim Baker, a former U.S. security state lawyer, who became a Twitter lawyer, played in the censorship right before the election.”
That was Glenn Greenwald, in an interview with FOX NEWS’ Tucker Carlson Friday evening, the night of Elon Musk’s promised revelations through an hours-long series of tweets from journalist Matt Taibbi, about how Twitter deliberately deep-sixed the Hunter Biden laptop story to make sure Biden won in 2020.
Taibbi normally writes on Substack, but apparently Musk required the release of these revelations about Twitter in a series of tweets first. I do enjoy the irony of seeing them on Twitter.
In yesterday’s newsletter, we outlined just how far into the censorship game Google is. And now that we know about Twitter as well, I don’t want to hear any more garbage –- not one more word –- from the left about “protecting our democracy” from “misinformation” and “disinformation.” It's not normally my style to tell people to just shut up, but I'll say it to them. They’re the ones dealing in fakery and deceit, to make sure we believed and voted the way they wanted.
They “protected” us from the REAL INFORMATION, the truth that voters deserved to know before they cast their votes. Talk about being a threat to democracy! The only time they should be using that term is when they’re looking in a mirror.
And, of course, the collusion between the U.S. government and media (both social and mainstream) to censor free speech that Greenwald is talking about is highly illegal. Twitter had information about Hunter Biden’s laptop that directly implicated candidate Joe Biden and his family in a lucrative scheme to sell influence to China and Ukraine. They even blocked the private sharing (!!!) of the Hunter Biden story, which was labeled “unsafe.” Subsequent polls make it clear that most people think this censorship had a direct affect on the outcome of the 2020 election, which makes it ELECTION INTERFERENCE. As I’ve said before, who needs Russia when you’ve got our own government to do it?
This is just about the worst systemic violation of the First Amendment we’ve ever heard of. I’ve raised huge red flags in the past about former FBI general counsel Jim Baker, neck-deep in the Russia Hoax, becoming the lead attorney for Twitter, and now it’s obvious why that development was (to use a favorite word of leftists) “problematic.” We clearly see how his move to Twitter is consistent with what we’re learning now. This confirms everything we suspected; It was just what it looked like.
As Tucker reported, “These documents show that, among other things, political officials in the Democratic National Committee were directing censorship at Twitter ahead of the 2020 election.”
Just one sample exchange between Twitter executives: “More [tweets critical of Biden] to review from the Biden Team.” “Handled.” As Taibbi describes it, “By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine.” Some of those accounts they suspended are still suspended today.
Miranda Devine, who broke the original Hunter Biden laptop story that was suppressed by the media and also authored LAPTOP FROM HELL, thinks Elon is still holding something back. Recall that the laptop story isn’t just about Hunter and his longtime affair with sex and drugs; it’s about buying access to his VP-and-future-President father, Joe Biden. It might be something more about dad. It might be something that implicates anti-Trump Republicans. I’m speculating; Taibbi has said there’s “more to come.”
Devine says it appears that then-CEO Jack Dorsey didn’t know anything about this censorship as it was going on and was “blindsided.” As Taibbi tweeted, “The decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing along.”
The story was that this material was suppressed because it had been hacked. Obviously, people at Twitter knew that was just a pretext, and a flimsy one at that.
As Carlson reported, Twitter’s former Head of Trust [!] and Safety, Yoel Roth, said that Twitter HAD to censor the story, “so Donald Trump would not be re-elected President.” As he wrote in an internal Twitter email, “The policy basis is hacked materials --- though, as discussed, this is an emerging situation where the facts remain unclear. Given the SEVERE [emphasis his] risks here and the lessons of 2016, we’re erring on the side of including a warning and preventing this content from being amplified.”
In other words, Twitter had to stop Trump from being re-elected, so it was necessary to suppress what they knew about the laptop being Hunter’s and pretend it was “unclear” when the evidence was there that Hunter had abandoned it at John Paul Mac Isaac’s repair shop. (Check out Mac Isaac’s excellent book, “AMERICAN INJUSTICE: My Battle to Expose the Truth,” to see how his life was destroyed over this. To create the fiction that the laptop was a Russian fake, Mac Isaac was falsely painted as a Russian agent himself. He had to go into hiding and lost his business.)
Twitter received a communication from a DC consultant who’d taken an informal poll of members of congressional Democrats that said, “Democrats in Congress support the censorship.” They didn’t think the First Amendment was “absolute.” This is reported in the U.K. DAILY MAIL, which you might recall verified the laptop as real.
If you’re not familiar with the details of the laptop story and how the media dealt with it, Laura Ingraham’s opening monologue offers a brief catch-up, followed by a MUST-SEE panel discussion with THE FEDERALIST editor-in-chief Mollie Hemingway, Mike Davis of the Internet Accountability Project (who has been all over this issue), and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.
Note that Musk’s revelation essentially verifies what had already been deduced. Chapter 8 in Hemingway’s book RIGGED, tells about it. She and others like us who’ve discussed it are vindicated.
“What happened with the Hunter Biden story wasn’t about mere media bias or double standards,” Hemingway wrote --- in 2021 --- “nor was it about the establishment’s giving a pass to the ne’er-do-well son of a politician. At every point, the media and their Big Tech allies deliberately controlled the information surrounding a major political corruption story involving a man who is now president, who knowingly let his family exploit his political power to strike deals with communist China and the violent oligarchs that emerged from the corrupt wasteland of the former Soviet Union. They withheld information on this corruption by any means necessary, eventually resorting to censorship and publishing disinformation in order to help Joe Biden win an election.”
Kirk put it well: “When Elon Musk bought Twitter, I don’t think he quite realized that he was actually buying a Democrat Super PAC.” If you don’t like a story, he said, “just email your friends at Twitter and you can make it vanish…”
“It will forever question and taint the 2020 election the more we learn about this, and I’m glad Elon Musk has the courage...to let this be known.”
Bonchie at REDSTATE has an excellent breakdown of what was going on, including Twitter’s collaboration with Democrats in the House and Senate. “To put it succinctly,” he tells us, “what was being said was downright disturbing.”
“What this boils down to,” he says, “is a small group of political elites who decided they had the moral authority to essentially rig the 2020 election.” He notes that after this, “Democrats will just move on to their next underhanded, possibly illegal scheme to hold onto power.”
See how the DNC went to Twitter and got actor James Woods silenced. Woods called in to Tucker Carlson’s show Friday night, saying he’s suing the DNC. (“I’m coming for you.”) The MUST-SEE video is here...
NATIONAL REVIEW has a good write-up that highlights some of the internal dissent at Twitter, and also this email to them from Trump campaign staffer Mike Hahn after Kayleigh McEnany was de-platformed as the election neared: “I...don’t [appreciate] how nobody on this team called me regarding the news that you’ll be censoring news articles. At least pretend to care for the next 20 days.”
Here's more about key figure Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's former Head of Legal, Police and Trust. (“Trust” –- don’t you love it?)
The BREITBART NEWS account is to the point. (Language alert.) Good highlights here.
Finally, J. D. Rucker at LIBERTY DAILY has reproduced the entire Twitter thread in what will forever be known as “Twittergate.”
Much more to come on Monday.
More on the FBI's controversial use of "geofence" warrants
This was originally published on December 1st.
In yesterday’s story on the verdict in the seditious conspiracy trial of Stewart Rhodes and his Oath Keepers co-defendants, we only scratched the surface on the issue of controversial “geofence” warrants, which the FBI used to essentially go back in time and sweep up the phone records of EVERYONE within a certain geographical area. They did this to thousands of people who were at some point present somewhere in a roughly four-acre area in or near the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.
Rebecca Fish, an assistant federal public defender in Tacoma, Washington, who is defending another participant at the rally named David Rhine, has put together an outstanding argument for why a “geofence” warrant, like a general warrant, is a civil rights abuse that violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. She also argues that Rhine had a reasonable expectation of privacy from Google, which cooperated with the government instead of respecting that. (Google says they have a “rigorous three-step process” for dealing with these warrants, to balance privacy with “the important job of law enforcement.” Gosh, I feel so much better knowing that, don’t you?)
The judge in Rhine’s case is expected to rule on the admissibility of the geofence evidence in December, with the trial scheduled for late January. This could turn out to be quite a high-profile case because of this issue and could end up before the Supreme Court. In case you didn’t see Michael Tracey’s excellent series of tweets on the subject that we linked to yesterday, here it is…
“Rather than establishing any basis for probable cause that subjects of the search had committed a crime,” Tracey tweeted, “the government relied on hypothesis and conjecture that merely [Fish's words] ‘equated presence at the Capitol with criminal activity.’”
Since the indictment of dangerous-domestic-terrorist-and-imminent-threat-to-our-democracy Rhine (for allegedly going inside the Capitol building with his wife, taking selfies, and leaving, as far as we can tell) and now the Oath Keepers verdict, we’re starting to see more expressions of concern about this type of warrant. For more information about how the government uses it –- and how they exploited it to glean information about January 6 participants –- Mark Harris at WIRED has an informative piece.
As Harris explains, even phones that were in airplane mode or otherwise out of cell service during the rally were caught up in the sweep. And the 37 people who tried later to delete their location data after the rally got out of control ended up in even worse trouble –- singled out by the FBI for greater scrutiny. After all, the reasoning must have gone, they’d tried to cover their tracks, so they must have had something to hide.
Apparently, this type of search has been going on for some time; it didn’t start with January 6. “Because Google’s Location History system is both powerful and widely used,” Harris writes, “the company is served about 10,000 geofence warrants in the U.S. each year.” A phone can be pinpointed to within a few yards, he says. (Aside: Isn’t it interesting that the use of GPS data to sniff out ballot dropbox-stuffing has been criticized for lack of accuracy, when this is the same technology being used by the FBI?)
Harris quotes a number of legal experts on the use of this type of warrant, one of whom, University of Utah law professor Matthew Tokson, says the discussion is “still in the very early stages.” But he rationalizes its use in this way: “Unlike a geofence warrant for a bank robbery, the people in this location are all likely to be engaged in at least a low-level criminal trespass [editorial aside: !!!] and in some cases worse. There’s a stronger than usual probable cause argument in favor of the government here.”
American University law professor Andrew Ferguson agrees and is worried about it, warning that “the January 6 cases are going to be used to build a doctrine that will enable police to find almost anyone with a cellphone or a smart device in ways that we, as a society, haven’t quite grasped yet.”
Maybe "as a society" we haven't, but I think most of us with half a brain have grasped it perfectly well.
The great Margot Cleveland, writing at THE FEDERALIST, expresses concerns of her own about this in a new column. She explains that Rhine has been charged by the DOJ with four federal crimes: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restrictive building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building [aside: don’t these charges seem to be getting redundant?]; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Rhine pleaded not guilty, and it was his public defender, Fish, who filed a motion to suppress any evidence derived from the geofence warrant. Nice to have a public defender who is such a go-getter.
It might be years, Cleveland thinks, before we have clarity on the Fourth Amendment issue relating to geofence warrants. “But what the Rhine case reveals now,” she says, “is the danger that a partnership between an equally politicized federal government and Big Tech presents to disfavored groups.”
Most of the people caught up in the January search and whose personal data was breached committed no crimes but did attend the rally, she says, which makes them political enemies of the Biden administration. Cleveland points out that those who were not charged with a crime “will never know the government collected their personal information.” And what use might the government make of it? Well, for one thing, they might be compiling an enemies’ list. The CCP would approve.
There’s another issue about this that Cleveland brings up; namely, that Google took the initiative to preserve the location data of its users from January 6 and 7, even though it was a week before the government came to them with their warrant. This apparently goes against Google’s policy that is supposed to let users delete their location history if they so choose. In other words, in the case of January 6, Google appears to have violated its own policy to help the government. “One has to wonder,” Cleveland observes, “if Google would have done the same had the DOJ sought data related to the violence flowing over from a Black Lives Matter protest.”
Of course, that’s a hypothetical question. The DOJ wouldn’t ask them for that.
Anyway, the courts will decide, and I wish I could be optimistic, but there’s just no way to know how it will go. It seemed beyond possibility that the Supreme Court would side with Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 Kangaroo Kommittee and enforce a subpoena for the private phone records of the Arizona GOP chairperson, but they allowed that fishing expedition to proceed. Who knows how the “geofence” warrant issue will play out?
In the meantime, I’d suggest that even if everything you do every moment of every day is strictly above-board and you have nothing whatsoever to hide, you might want to save yourself some potential grief and keep as little of your life on your cellphone as you can. You might even leave it at home if it’s possible that you, as an innocent person, might get swept up in a location search of someone’s political adversaries. Some people are even going back to flip phones --- remember those? The idea seems more appealing all the time.
Remember: you’re not paranoid if it’s really happening.
A pattern for Biden
Democrat Rep. Jared Golden of Maine has a bone – or rather, a shell – to pick with President Biden. For the recent State Dinner with the President of France, the White House ordered 200 Maine lobsters. Normally, Golden would think that was great, except he pointed out that Biden prioritized having a fancy dinner of Maine lobsters with a foreign leader, but he’s yet to find time to meet with the Maine lobster fishermen who provided it and who his Administration is currently regulating out of business.
It’s not surprising to hear this, since it’s a pattern for Biden: destroy something, then ignore the consequences. For instance, why is he buying oil from a socialist dictator in Venezuela (oil that’s more detrimental to the environment in both the drilling and the long transport) rather than talking to American oil and gas producers to get us back to the energy independence we enjoyed before he destroyed it? And how many times has he visited the border to talk to the people dealing with the humanitarian and national security disaster he started creating there from his first day in office?
By the way, I feel I should answer that last question (he’s never visited the border, not even once) in case his press secretary is reading this, since she obviously doesn’t know the answer. Or maybe she does and just figured that since dispensing misinformation is her job, she might as well go whole hog and start telling reporters things that both she and they know are complete garbage.
Still, at this point, I don't even know what good it would do for Biden to visit the border. If he hasn't figured out what he's done yet, nothing will penetrate his skull. And calling on him to fix the crisis at the border, as even some Democrats are starting to do, is like asking an arsonist to put out a fire.
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