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.
Sorry to report
This article was originally published on March 3rd.
I’m sorry to have to report that Isaiah Washington, a terrific actor and outspoken black conservative, announced that he is retiring from acting. He says his current Western series “Corsicana” that he directs and stars in will be his final project on screen. And it’s the leftist politics of Hollywood that convinced him to hang it up.
He said that after 12 years of fighting the good fight on Twitter, he’s tired and feels the “haters, provocateurs and the Useful Idiots” have won. “I’m no longer interested in the back and forth regarding a ‘color construct’ that keeps us human beings divided nor am I interested in politics or anything vitriolic. I will be traveling this great country before it falls into Socialism and then Communism.” From now on, he says his only public appearances will be posting pictures of his “retirement shenanigans.”
I certainly wish him all the best, and I can readily understand why anyone with his head on straight might want to get out of Hollywood for good. But I hate to see him go, not only because he is such a terrific actor and positive force, but because America desperately needs more conservatives in the arts and entertainment fields.
The unbridled woke leftism of Hollywood not only is poisoning the culture at large, it’s also ruining entertainment. Hollywood used to serve the entire audience because they wanted their products to make money. These days, they seem content with losing billions of dollars putting out flop after flop, as long as it pushes the woke agenda. Latest case in point…
Meanwhile, indie artists in movies and music are having growing success at serving audiences that are starved for entertainment that either has a more conservative or Christian viewpoint, or that’s neutral in viewpoint but is just fun to watch or listen to. I hope Isaiah Washington considers putting his talent to use there before packing it all in. He could yet get the last laugh on the liberal cry-bullies of Hollywood.
President Biden is expected to use his veto pen for the first time this week, and he’ll do it twice.
It’s almost unimaginable these days, but two bills had enough bipartisan support to pass both Houses of Congress, with Democrats joining Republicans to pass them in the Senate. One would overturn an insane move by the DC City Council to reduce punishments for a range of crimes. It’s the kind of criminal coddling that’s sparked major crime waves in other cities, and it’s so radical that even leftist DC Mayor Murial Bowser unsuccessfully tried to veto it. Members of both parties realize it would make the city in which they work, which is already suffering a violent crime wave that recently touched a female House member, even more dangerous.
And yet, Biden plans to veto it, on the lame excuse that it infringes on DC’s right to self-rule…which the Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to do.
The other bill would overturn Biden’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rule, or as the Department of Labor calls it, with enough fuzzy verbiage to obscure its true meaning, the “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” rule. It allows money managers to consider liberal agenda issues like environmentalism and racial representation instead of just investing in companies that provide the best returns.
Critics say it’s yet another attempt by the left to get their claws on investment and pension funds and use them to advance their political agenda. It will also undermine returns to retirees at a time when their retirement accounts have already taken a huge hit under Biden and their costs of living have skyrocketed due to inflation.
And Biden will veto the bill that would stop it and make fund managers look after their investors rather than fund leftwing causes. So on both counts, Biden sides with activists who are so far to the left that even some Senate Democrats broke with the monolithic party line to oppose them.
That’s why I say that when he vetoes these bills, what he’ll really be killing is the claim that he would govern as a moderate, which was the real “Big Lie” of the 2020 election.
This story was originally published on March 2nd.
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that a far-left, virtue-signaling law passed by San Francisco’s leaders backfired, didn’t do what was intended, and only ended up costing San Franciscans more money. Yeah, I know: you could say that about virtually every law they pass. But this specific law was their 2016 ordinance barring city employees from traveling to or contracting with any states that banned same sex marriage.
Over the years, they kept adding other “progressive” issues that any other states might dare to disagree with them about, such as abortion and “voting rights” (i.e., voter integrity laws to ensure fair elections.) The list of states they were boycotting grew from eight to 30, more than half the nation, as the bubble they lived in threw thicker and thicker.
Now, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering repealing the law after a report found that it’s not only been totally ineffective (surprisingly, no other states changed their values because San Francisco disapproved), but it also made contracting and compliance a complicated mess and severely limited the city’s choice of contractors, raising their costs by up to 20%.
It’s an encouraging sign that even in San Francisco, people are finally starting to wake up to the high cost of being woke. I’m also thankful that this gives me a good segue to Kurt Schlichter’s new column, which is, as usual, brutally hilarious. It’s about the many self-inflicted woes that California is suffering and why so many people are abandoning the “California lifestyle” and moving out (Kurt: “Hobos dropping last night’s boloney sandwich on your lawn is not a ‘lifestyle.’”)
He also echoes something I’ve written about many times, although usually in reference to New York: that once people start realizing they can do the same job via the Internet in a state that doesn’t tax and regulate them to death, where criminals are put in jail and housing costs a fraction as much and people use bathrooms instead of the sidewalk, the leftist politicians’ golden goose will be cooked.
New “Twitter File” drop, and more on our information overlords
Regular readers of this newsletter are familiar with a State Department-funded think tank called the Global Engagement Center because we’ve covered it in detail. One reason for this: they provided funding to a group that created a “disinformation blacklist” to provide to advertisers and then proceeded to put us on it.
There’s news on two fronts about the GEC, though it was generally ignored late Thursday because all anyone in the news wanted to talk about was the guilty verdict in the Alex Murdaugh trial. But let’s talk about something else, something very important: the (yes) conspiracy to spoon-feed “information” to us.
Before getting into the finer points of how the federal dollars flowed from one group to another and another, I want to say that the U.S. government has no business being involved in policing “disinformation” aimed at Americans AT ALL. They’ve already shown themselves to be the biggest spreaders of it. The Russia Hoax, Hunter Biden’s laptop, the origins of COVID...we don’t need to go back over all the examples now; you know what they are. Who needs Russia to spread disinformation when you’ve got the U.S. intel community? They’ve lost all credibility. If there’s any “policing” to be done, it should be our policing of THEM, and that’s what we have the Oversight Committees for.
With that said, let me outline for you what the House Oversight Committee is investigating and what they have found. On February 23, chairman James Comer of Kentucky sent a letter to the State Department, raising concerns that “federal funds administered by the Department of State were used to suppress lawful speech and defund disfavored news outlets under the guise of combatting disinformation. The Committee is disturbed by recent reporting that taxpayer money ended up in the hands of a foreign organization running an advertiser blacklist of organizations accused of hosting disinformation on their websites, including some conservative-leaning news organizations.”
The GEC, described as “an inter-agency organization housed within the State Department,” had passed $100,000 to an investment group called Park Advisors, who in turn passed it to the Global Disinformation Index in Britain, for a government-sponsored program called the U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge. The goal of this was “to advance the development of promising and innovative technologies against disinformation and propaganda,” according to their records.
Well, that sounds potentially evil. When I read the stated description of their goal, why am I reminded of gain-of-function research? That’s supposed to protect us, too. What could go wrong?
The news outlets they identified as the Top 10 “riskiest” all skew to the right and include THE FEDERALIST, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, OANN (One America News Network), THE BLAZE, DAILY WIRE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS, REASON, the NEW YORK POST, and THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR. Some of our very favorites! Though we were on their “blacklist,” I have to say we were disappointed not to make it into their Top 10 and are determined to try harder.
Anyway, according to the WASHINGTON EXAMINER (which sadly didn’t make the Top 10, either), Republican and Democrat staffers for the House Oversight Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee received a classified briefing Thursday in connection with the GEC and its bankrolling of the group that created this blacklist. (The Foreign Affairs Committee was involved because the Global Disinformation Index is British and the purported use of this $100,000 was to root out “foreign” disinformation.) According to sources, “roughly seven” State Department officials were there.
The $100,000 was given in 2021, and the GEC is silent on whether it will commit to stopping future funding. They defend it as legitimate because THAT MONEY is not used for U.S. matters. (Never mind that the news outlets that ended up on the blacklist were American.) That reasoning seems on par with saying the Biden Penn Center isn’t funded by the Chinese because THAT MONEY goes to the University of Delaware.
Rep. Comer told the WASHINGTON EXAMINER, “It’s alarming that the State Department passed U.S. taxpayer dollars to a foreign organization that attempted to censor conservative American news outlets. The State Department’s classified briefing provided to committee staff indicates that there may need to be stronger mechanisms in place to prevent domestic censorship.” MAY need to be?
Comer anticipates receiving more records from the State Department documenting their activities in this realm. We shall see.
Jim Jordan, House Judiciary chair, and Mike Turner, House Intel chair, are also working on getting information from 29 CIA officials concerning their efforts to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop. They’ve sent letters, but what do you bet they’re gonna need subpoenas?
Two weeks ago, the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees were briefed by the National Endowment for Democracy on their funding to GDI, which totaled over $545,000 between 2020-21. Important details are here…
The Global Disinformation Index also is funded by George Soros’ laughably-misnamed Open Society Foundations.
Here’s something we found from 2016, showing that even then, the National Endowment for Democracy was on India’s “watch list” --- they keep their eye on Soros --- but that doesn’t keep American leftists in our State Department from working to funnel money to organizations associated with him. It seems the world is just infested with groups like this.
On the other front, a new “Twitter File” from Matt Taibbi has dropped, this one about internal communications at Twitter regarding...the Global Engagement Center!
Our own GEC also funds the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), which says it doesn’t track Americans. That doesn’t fly with Americans who are on its “list.”
Taibbi describes how the GEC was created during Obama’s last year as an interagency group “within” the State Department, with initial partners including the FBI, DHS, NSA, CIA, DARPA, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and others. As Taibbi reports, “GEC funded a secret list of subcontractors and helped pioneer a new form of blacklisting that created an alarmist report and sent it to the slower animals in journalism’s herd, creating flawed or flat-out wrong news stories.”
“GEC’s funding is up for a vote this year,” he writes, “and the TwitterFiles expose the need to stop paying to blacklist Americans.”
And here’s a perfectly-timed new column about censorship from Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST. In it, she talks about what she has dubbed the Censorship Complex: “a cabal of government agencies, politicians, academia, nonprofits, the corrupt press, and Big Tech.”
Remember when Chuck Schumer said the intel community has “six ways from Sunday” to get you? Well, Cleveland says this cabal really does have six ways to censor your speech. Big Tech (as in Twitter, but they all did it) censored speech it didn’t like. It coordinated with intel agencies. It followed requests from “disinfo” groups such as nonprofits (like the GDI, as described above). It caved to pressure by concerted --- and false --- PR campaigns. It heeded censorship requests by past and present government officials.
And...last but not least...it used blacklisting to “starve” its targets of advertising dollars. That’s just what the Global Disinformation Index was doing --- what it was trying to do to us.
Given all this, Cleveland says Americans are “no better off than citizens of authoritarian countries with state-controlled media.”
I Just Wanted to Say:
Thank you for reading the Sunday Standard.