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If you wonder why so many Twitter twits are panicking at the idea of Elon Musk buying the company and bringing back free speech, here are just a couple of the most recent examples of how Big Tech companies have become addicted to censoring speech. Claiming they’re fighting “disinformation” or “dangerous” rhetoric is just a fig leaf to cover their irresistible urge to censor any opinion or even unassailable fact that undermines leftist narratives.

First, meet social influencers Cole and Savannah LaBrant, a popular Christian couple with over 10 million Instagram followers and 13 million YouTube subscribers. They made a documentary on abortion. It doesn’t vilify anyone: it just talks to pro-life doctors, a doctor who stopped doing abortions, and women who opted not to get abortions, and tells their stories and the truth about what abortion really is (hint: it’s not “reproductive justice” or some other fuzzy euphemism.) It also talks about Embrace Grace, a non-profit that helps women in crisis pregnancies.

https://www.dailywire.com/news/instagram-removes-pro-life-video-posted-by-influencer-labrant-family-while-they-face-intense-backlash-from-fans

After getting some angry complaints from the pro-abortion crowd, Instagram removed the video. YouTube allowed it to stay up, but demonetized it, even though all ad revenues go to local pregnancy centers.

Now, exhibit B (and a headache that this newsletter deals with regularly): Issues & Insights conducts regular polls with the TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP.) TIPP has been the most accurate pollster in the last five presidential elections. In March, the I&I/TIPP poll found that nearly two-thirds of America’s registered voters said they believe that decisions about COVID restrictions are driven by politics and not science. Majorities of almost every political, ideological and identity group agreed.

Yet Google’s AdSense stripped ads from the article, claiming it contained “dangerous or derogatory content,” and had to be “fixed” if they wanted ad revenue back. I&I requested a review, but Google rejected the request.

Please note that the poll didn’t declare that politics rather than science rules COVID decisions. That would be a statement of opinion. Instead, it stated the hard fact that a majority of registered voters surveyed believe that. I&I pointed out that, ironically, an earlier poll found that by a 59-29% margin, Americans disapprove of social media suspending users for expressing opposing views on COVID. The only group that approved of such censorship was Democrats (44-42%.) Liberals were evenly split at 43-43%. All other groups strongly disapproved.

When these sites first began violating their obligation to be neutral platforms to maintain their federal protection against lawsuits, they claimed it was necessary to stop “dangerous” extreme speech, like the promotion of terrorism or Nazism. Do you see anything “dangerous” in the examples above?

They’ve redefined "dangerous speech" as anything that might be dangerous to the far-left “progressive” political agenda, which can mean anything from a solid fact to an intelligent, informed opinion. They have become the real danger to society; and if they have no respect for the law that grants them immunity from lawsuits, then it’s high time that law got revoked and let the lawsuits flow like mighty rivers.

It’s either that, or Elon Musk might have to buy all of them.

https://redstate.com/bonchie/2022/04/12/elon-musk-has-twitter-employees-hyperventilating-after-his-latest-move-n549475

President Biden made a speech in Iowa Tuesday, and the best thing you could say about it is that the bird poop that appeared to land on his lapel was probably just corn.

https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2022/04/12/bird-appears-to-poop-on-biden-in-iowa-and-that-was-the-high-point-n549416

Nevertheless, it did give us this hilarious headline from Matt Margolis at PJ Media: “Patriotic Bird Poops on Biden; Speaks for Entire Nation.”

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2022/04/12/watch-patriotic-bird-poops-on-biden-speaks-for-entire-nation-n1589208

As for everything else he said, from blaming 70% of our rampant inflation (a four-decade high 8.5% in March) on Vladimir Putin to his plan to lower gas prices, it was all 100% certified pigeon droppings.

https://redstate.com/nick-arama/2022/04/12/bird-appears-to-poop-on-biden-in-iowa-and-that-was-the-high-point-n549416

Not even one of the most prominent Democrat Senators is buying the White House’s fable that prices have been rising for over a year because Putin invaded Ukraine six weeks ago.

https://www.westernjournal.com/joe-manchin-torches-bidens-putin-price-hike-inflation-excuse-scathing-statement/

But Biden outdid himself with his announcement that he plans to ease high gas prices by letting 15% ethanol gas be sold from June to September, when it’s normally banned. There are so many crazy things in that plan that it’s hard to list them all. First, the real reason gas prices are so high is that Biden started from day one in office waging war on America’s domestic oil and gas industries, all in the name of fighting climate change. He exhibited the usual leftist logical fallacy of attacking a necessary commodity without having a feasible alternative.

Now, he proposes to lower those prices not by taking his boot off the neck of oil and gas producers, but by selling gas with higher amounts of ethanol, a corn-based alcohol. But that’s normally banned in summer under the Clean Air Act because it’s more volatile in hot weather and is believed to create more ozone and smog. (When Trump tried to make it available year-‘round, environmentalists successfully sued to block it.)

It also gets lower mileage, so you have to burn more of it to go the same distance, not only requiring the burning of more fuel, but negating any cost savings for drivers. In addition, many believe it damages your car’s engine. Plus, only about 2300 out of America’s 150,000 gas stations even have pumps for it. And even if you do find it and use it, the price is only about 10 cents a gallon lower.

Finally, at a time of looming food shortages, Biden proposes to use even more of our corn crop as a bad replacement for the gas he could produce simply by letting the oil and gas industry produce gas! The director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment said, “Turning more food into fuel at a time of looming global food shortages is as reprehensible as it is stupid.”

https://dailycaller.com/2022/04/12/joe-biden-ethanol-gasoline-inflation-russia/

So maybe a bird didn’t poop on Biden. But if it did, it would be the best review this speech got.

I waited a long time to comment on the big slap-down at the Academy Awards. For one thing, I like to have the last word, and maybe by waiting this long, I can actually have it. For another, there’s a lot to be said for the information-gathering phase preceding any expression of opinion –- it’s a phase many people skip –- and I processed a LOT of information. For example, I now know more about Will and Jada’s supposedly open marriage than anyone not getting paid $200 an hour should know, no matter how much Jada seemed to want to gab about it on video. Perhaps someday, if God is merciful, it will vanish from my brain cells to make room for something more worthwhile, which is to say just about anything else.

As far as I’m concerned, the Academy Awards have been ruined, but not by this literal slap in the face. I can’t remember exactly when it was during the past decade that I totally lost interest in what had always been a fun yearly tradition. But it’s no fun to watch an almost unimaginably successful but apparently broken man experiencing a public emotional meltdown, committing violence and bellowing the f-word from the audience on live TV. Now people will busily disagree about whether or not his punishment is appropriate, but it hardly matters. The Oscars were already wrecked.

The insular Hollywood community has always held little mystique for me. Celebrity means essentially nothing; some of the most talented people I know will never live in mansions or be household names. The sanctimonious and ill-informed politics of Hollywood have been extremely hard to take in recent years, but I think it was the “Oscars so white” brouhaha a few years back that finally did it, as the woke-left’s raging obsession with diversity got to be just too much. In a huge overcompensation, the race and gender quotas that are now built into Hollywood film projects and the awards that honor them have taken the focus away from fine artistic achievement in film. (And, sorry, but I don’t think you have to BE a (fill in the blank) to PLAY one. It’s called acting.) So goodbye, Oscars; I just don’t like what you’ve become. I feel like starting another #MeToo movement, as in, “Abandoning the Oscars? ME, TOO!”

I’m saying all this as a huge film buff, an actor myself and a member –- wait, the membership might have lapsed –- of the Dallas chapter of Women In Film. Deserving people should be recognized and rewarded for their talent and their work, period. These days, we’re lucky to see great films made by anyone. If they happen to check a few boxes, fine.

My personal taste runs to old movies, especially screwball comedies (not generally considered Oscar material) and black-and-white film noirs (ditto) featuring detectives in suits with fedoras, bad women with .22s in their rhinestone evening bags, and a total absence of cell phones, GPS and security cameras (which would make all these plots impossible). Most of my favorite movies were made before I was born, and the occasional modern remake typically pales in comparison to the original.

All of the above “backstory” is included as “exposition” for why I didn’t bother to tune in for the Academy Awards this year, I saw “the slap” later that night, on the news, and heard the criticism of Chris Rock for cracking a joke about the health condition (alopecia –- hair loss) suffered by Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. How dare he!

I won’t get into the marital issues that Will Smith and his wife are dealing with, other than to say to Will, “Get thee to a counselor,” and I don’t mean the one he and Jada have been seeing together. For Will to have done the shocking thing he did, he must be going through a terrible time in his life. At the same time, that doesn’t excuse him.

What I really want to say relates more to Chris Rock and his joke. As someone who’s been writing humor for more years than I care to divulge, I know that Chris –- a truly great standup –- would have known better than to joke about someone’s medical condition, at the Academy Awards no less. (As blunt as Ricky Gervais can be, I don’t think even he would do that.) Chris surely just thought she’d had her head shaved, either for the style or for a role. I myself had assumed she was just rocking the latest fashion trend among black women.

That’s because a week or so earlier, I was at the hair salon and happened to pick up the March issue of ELLE. It had a feature called “Black Women Cutting Their Hair Short Is Not Just a Style Trend.” Yes, it’s a trend among stylish black women, the article says, but it’s also about freedom and confidence. And right up there at the top left is a picture of Jada Pinkett Smith, looking fabulous and very glam with her confident smile and shaved head.

https://www.elle.com/beauty/hair/a39264372/black-women-buzzcut-not-a-trend/

The article goes on to talk about how much effort black women have traditionally put into their “crowning glory,” with wigs, weaves, processing, etc., and many are deciding to let go of all that. “’Hair carries a lot of power and energy,’ says Carla Gentry, PINKETT SMITH’S LONGTIME STYLIST [emphasis mine]. ‘Sometimes cutting it off offers a new start, and you might need that.’”

The piece goes on to quote Pinkett Smith from last fall, saying that she “was ready for this kind of expression and release.” Once the hair was gone, she said, she felt “more connected” to herself. In other words, losing her hair was an empowering thing. A positive thing.

In fact, Will and Jada’s daughter Willow –- known, ironically, for her music video “Whip My Hair” –-had HER head shaved the same week, onstage, as part of another music video of the same song. “I’m always shaving my head at monumental times in my life,” she explains, “when things are really changing. And this is one of those moments.” So, it can even be a mother-daughter thing.

https://www.prevention.com/beauty/hair/a37065810/willow-smith-shaved-head-concert/

Way down in the ELLE article, it mentions that Jada had been dealing with alopecia, “a condition that can cause patchy hair loss.” It says she’d had a post on Instagram that “implied it had influenced her decision to adopt a crop.” I never saw that Instagram post, and I’ll bet Chris Rock didn’t, either. And if she did mention the alopecia any other times, I didn’t see those, and I’ll bet Chris Rock didn’t, either. I only saw the article about how great and empowering it was when black women cut off their hair.

Chris did nothing wrong and handled the incident and the aftermath with class. It was just a silly joke about somebody’s shaved head. And if shaving one’s head is so all-fired empowering for a woman, then that woman should smile graciously and accept the little joke, and the moment should pass. As for Jada, she seems to be doing all right.

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/jada-pinkett-smith-stuns-gold-191400851.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall

That’s about all I have. I hope this is the last word.

Last week, the jig was up for a couple of men who'd passed for at least 18 months as officials of the Department of Homeland Security. They’d been living at an apartment complex called simply “Crossing,” in the upscale, trendy Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, DC, and had fooled at least four Secret Service agents into thinking they were legit, impressing them with official-looking trappings and offering them expensive gifts. We brought you the story of how they were accidentally discovered as phonies and taken into federal custody, but the big question remained: What was their goal?

According to investigative reporter Lee Smith, author of THE PERMANENT COUP and THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, court filings and press reports suggest that they might have been part of an Iranian assassination team whose mission was to kill former high-ranking U.S. officials. We mentioned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week as someone they might be targeting, but Smith says there could be others from the Trump years, including Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook and, especially, National Security Adviser John Bolton. In fact, all three have been threatened in Iranian media.

Here’s why Smith suspects they were after Bolton: Pompeo and Hook, as former State Department officials, have security details provided by the Diplomatic Security Service. But Bolton, a former White House official, had his security detail provided by the Secret Service. In fact, because of reports of him being targeted, he has had round-the-clock Secret Service protection, perhaps even as far back as late 2021. These two imposters were trying to get in good with...the Secret Service.

Some media reports have said both men, Arian Taherzageh and Haider Ali, are American citizens; others say just Taherzageh is. Ali reportedly told witnesses he had links to Pakistani intelligence. He has a visa to visit Iran and has traveled to that country twice in recent years.

It was obvious from the start that these two men were very well funded. They had a large collection of arms, along with sophisticated electronics and cash, which they used to impress their new acquaintances in the Secret Service. Those four agents --- thoroughly compromised, it would seem --- have been placed on leave pending investigation.

If you don’t know the story up to this point, including the apparently random event that led to the discovery of the imposters, Smith’s article will catch you up. We can thank an on-the-ball U.S. Postal Service Inspector for their apprehension. Smith asks the obvious question: In a building full of federal law enforcement officials, how did these guys manage to hang around, hiding in plain sight, for so long without being found out? One of them even had a recognizably Iranian name, at a time when we’ve known Iran wanted to take revenge for the assassination of their chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, Qassem Soleiman.

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/infiltration-secret-service-iranian-plot-kill-john-bolton

Apparently, Taherzageh told a Homeland Security employee in the building that he had a list of all the residents in the apartment complex, and codes to give him access from the elevators to every floor. He said he could access all the security video footage from every floor, and even the cell phones of everyone who lived there.

To his or her credit, the DHS employee went into the internal database and tried to verify that the two men worked for the agency. Of course, their names didn’t come up, but when he was asked about this, Taherzageh had an explanation: that their names were redacted due to their undercover status. But a real undercover agent would not have discussed his undercover work at all, and he probably wouldn’t have shown off all his weapons and tactical gear. It’s not known if this unusual behavior is what tipped off the DHS employee.

As Smith notes, the U.S. and Iran are currently in negotiation to re-establish the nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Apparently nothing is going to get in the way of this, even Iran’s attempts to infiltrate our government and revenge-kill American officials. In order to get this deal done, the Biden administration seems okay with Iran’s stated targeting of officials from the previous one. Smith puts it this way: “As depraved as that may sound to ordinary Americans, it is the reality that U.S. negotiators have brought about in their decade-long attempt to give international legitimacy, and U.S. protection, to Iran’s nuclear program.”

And, yes, it does sound depraved. Crazy, actually. Our administration seems to want Iran to have its nuclear program just as much as Iran does. What’s wrong with this picture?

We happened upon a story from about a year ago that might help explain, as it describes in detail Obama’s plan to create a new Middle Eastern order centered on Iran, a strategy that might be called “the Realignment.” If Obama were in the White House now, the administration would be doing just the same as Biden is regarding the nuclear deal with Iran. Biden’s even got much of Obama’s foreign policy team in place. Writers Michael Doran and Tony Hadran make the case that, certainly where Iran is concerned, this might as well be the third term of Obama, and “the worst is yet to come.” As they say, “...the Israelis have yet to absorb the full scope and magnitude of Biden’s accommodation of Iran.”

As we outlined a couple of days ago, we even wonder if Obama might not be working behind the scenes to oust both Harris and Biden and make that third term official. But as much as this might please Iran, I’m afraid they’d still insist on their revenge, so the Secret Service had better shape up and stay on alert, especially if they’re guarding former Trump officials.

The article picks apart what’s in the Iran deal --- and what isn’t. Notably missing is any provision that would block all pathways to Iran getting a nuclear weapon. Any obstacles exist as “sunset provisions” that disappear as early as 2025. “By 2031,” these writers say, “the Islamic Republic will have, with international protection and assistance, an unfettered nuclear weapons program resting on an industrial-scale enrichment capability.”

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/[sectionSlug]/articles/realignment-iran-biden-obama-michael-doran-tony-badran

They call Obama’s Iran policy “a Trojan horse designed to recast America’s position and role in the Middle East.” And, “in practical terms, America will use its influence to elevate the interests of Iran over those of other U.S. allies in key areas...” Yes, the article is quite long and detailed, but for when you have time, it’s an eye-opener. The lack of transparency and the deceptions involved are stunning.

A year ago, these writers called Obama “either the most powerful man in Democratic politics or a very close second.” I think if they were writing this today, seeing Biden as feeble and unpopular as he is, they’d say Obama is far and away the most powerful, and, by way of his former staffers still working at the State Department, is the one pulling the strings on foreign policy now.

Here’s how desperate Democrats are to deflect away their terrible agenda: They actually claimed that it’s really Republicans who are enabling pedophiles.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/athena-thorne/2022/04/09/lol-leftists-try-fail-to-paint-republicans-as-the-real-pedophiles-n1588423

Now, this is pretty stupid, so follow me closely: The Tennessee GOP proposed a bill defining common law marriage as being between “one man” and “one woman.” Since it didn’t include a minimum age, some Democrats immediately went the “Don’t Say Guy” route, slapped a false and misleading name on it (the “Marry Little Kids” bill!), and claimed it would legalize child marriage.

Of course, everyone other than Democrats and our newest Supreme Court Justice knows that “woman” means “adult human female” and “man” means “adult human male.” But the sponsors went ahead and added an 18-year-old minimum age, to make it crystal clear to those who are a bit slow.

On the other hand, if you’d like to see what it looks like when people with a political agenda aggressively push sexualizing small children, let me introduce you (and I’m sorry) to “The “GayBC’s.” It’s a book that allegedly teaches kindergarteners how to read by telling them that, say, B is for “bi,” C is for “coming out,” D is for “drag,” I is for “intersex,” N is for “nonbinary,” T is for “trans,” and so forth. And does “G” stand for “groomer”?

Roger Simon at Epoch Times reports that this was actually on iPads given out to kids by schools in Williamson County, Tennessee. That article is behind a paywall, but Instapundit has a lengthy excerpt.

https://instapundit.com/514166/

Oh, and if that isn’t disgusting enough, try this (and I warn you, you will be outraged that anyone thinks this is appropriate for children.)

https://thepostmillennial.com/theater-group-stages-naked-family-sex-show-to-teach-children-as-young-as-five-about-sex

By the way, if these people don’t like being called “groomers,” no matter how accurate it might be, then what else could possibly explain their relentless efforts to force inappropriate sexual materials onto small children? Amber Athey at the Spectator has a plausible theory. (Again, this is for subscribers. You can read it for free by registering, but Instapundit has an excerpt.)

https://instapundit.com/514291/

And as long as we’re on the subject of motivations for indefensible policies, here’s a look at why schools are trying to force “The 1619 Project” onto kids as a history book, even though it’s a big load of codswallop.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/schools-1619-project-curriculum-historical-errors