Saturday, April 30, 2022

Miss Dismal Now Has a Name, and a Voice

The Biden administration rolled out its Disinformation Governance Board this week, in an announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas while addressing Congress on Wednesday. 

The DGB seems to not have any legal powers of its own, but will be part of the Biden administration’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, so I suppose that federal grants will be the DGB’s weapon of choice against mis-dis-and-mal information. 

Best of all, Miss Dismal now has a face, and a voice. She is Nina Jankowicz, age 33, Executive Director of the DGB and someone with a fabulous musical legacy on social media.* 

I have many questions, and none of them were answered by Secretary Mayorkas. Like, how will the DGB spot mis-dis-and-mal information and then fish it out of the endless stream of news and opinion? Does it have some kind of Dipstick of Truth for measuring the depth and trustworthiness of foreign discourse? Can social media ever be truly Sanitized For Your Protection? And, by what means will the DGB examine a statement by you, me, or anyone else and determine its bona fides? 

Well, he didn't say, so that’s where you just have to have blind faith in the power of government to know what’s best for you. 

In related news this week, the United States – which, remember, invented the Internet – launched the Declaration for the Future of the Internet.** 

According to the White House Spokesperson:
On the international front — what we’re talking about today — we have seen a trend of rising digital authoritarianism, where some states have been acting to repress freedom of expression, to censor independent news sources, to interfere with elections, promote disinformation around the world, and deny their citizens other human rights.
I’m glad my own government doesn’t repress free expression, censor news sources, or do any of that digital authoritarianism stuff. No, it just works with tech companies to do that stuff on its behalf, which is different. To quote the White House spokesperson, they are "flagging problematic posts for Facebook" and "helping to get trusted content out there," and what could be wrong with that? *** 

I mean, unless you're the kind of American who harbors untrusted information. If that's the case, then Miss Dismal and the DGB will set you straight.     

And when my government interferes with elections it does so only for the purpose of promoting Democracy.**** As is well known, Democracy can’t defend itself forever from voters who harbor “unacceptable views,” to quote our neighbor to the North, ‘Jackboots’ Justin Trudeau.***** 

In fact, my government has a long and proud history of forcing democracy upon recalcitrant foreign nations, even if we need to use military force to make them achieve their Democratic Destiny. ****** 

Nothing can possibly go wrong with this Disinformation Governance Board. At least, not unless someone such as Ron DeSantis wins the election in 2024, because he’s just the sort who would use the info-policing powers of DHS for, frankly, partisan purposes.

* Certified True Fact ™ here (among many other performances, which you may google for yourself) 

** Certified True Fact ™ here 

*** Certified True Fact ™ here 

**** Certified True Fact ™ here

***** Certified True Fact ™ here 

****** Certified True Fact ™ here 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Mark Twain, a Notorious Radical From Way Back

Good luck finding that novel in your local high school library or curriculum (here's why), and never mind what you may have once been taught about moral inversion characters in American literature. 

Hemingway once said "all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called [Redacted, until I clear the rest of that sentence with Miss Dismal]," but then he is also under suspicion today, to say the least. 

As for Mark Twain, or whatever his real name may be, he was exactly the kind of irreverent and unpatriotic scoundrel that DHS would have policed right out of our marketplace of ideas. Read him on the Spanish-American War or the American Indian, for instance, or just see this

Our contemporary mis, dis, and mal information is actually kind of tame by comparison. 

Mike Tyson Takes an Intellectual Turn

Stranger things have happened. Thomas Sowell has been the economic-political gateway drug for David Mamet (here, in which Sowell is "our greatest contemporary philosopher") among many others, so why not for Mike Tyson?

Friday, April 15, 2022

Secret Service: "Stand Your Ground" Against Family Dogs (But Place Hands in Your Pockets)

A FOIA request has turned up 36 pages of Secret Service emails concerning bites inflicted on agents by First Family dogs. It turns out there were quite a few more than had been admitted by the White House Spokesperson.
At the current rate an Agent or Officer has been bitten every day this week (3/1-3/8) causing damage to attire or bruising/punctures to the skin.
I can see where that would be a problem for the White House detail. Some of the bites were serious enough to require treatment by a White House doctor.

Plus, I learned a new euphemism from those emails - "dropping code," something which dogs are known to do. 

On a serious note, don't doubt for a moment that Secret Service agents are fully prepared to defend themselves against canine attackers. Since tasers and pepper spray are out of the question in that delicate situation, here are the protective tactics they employ:
Panicking or running with [sic] only embolden animals so stand your ground and protect your hands/fingers by placing them in your pockets or behind your back.
Well, what to do with the First Family's aggressive German Sheppards? 

If they asked me, I'd deputize them as Secret Service K9 auxiliaries and make a virtue out of all that doggy energy. Problem solved, and you're welcome. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Shanghai MSGs on "Low Rations"

That headline has a kind of '55 Days at Peking' feel to it, but the low rations in this case are the result of Shanghai's city lockdown and zero-tolerance policy for movement outdoors, which has created food shortages. 

The MSGs have been reduced to MREs, which Reuters refers to as "vacuum-sealed rations."
The Marines only had vacuum-sealed rations left, the employee said in the message, seen by Reuters and verified by two people.
I'm sure the MSGs will improvise, overcome, adapt. (Question: was that ever a Marine slogan before it was said in Heartbreak Ridge? I think not, but let it go.) 

Living on MREs is unpleasant, no argument. OTOH, I'm old enough to have eaten C-Rats - combat rations, or technically the Meal, Combat, Individual - the old school field ration that the MREs replaced. Those came in cans, not vacuum sealed packs and, unlike MREs, nothing in them was dehydrated. 

In fact, one meal in every case of C-Rats contained the big prize, the golden ticket, a can of fruit salad in actual syrup. For all of their far greater nutritional value, MREs were never so good as a can of real fruit salad consumed in your bivouac position.

Pistols, Patches, and Pelican Cases = All It Takes To Cosplay as a Cop

The latest Secret Service scandal rolls on, along with conspiracy theories fueled by the Pakistan national identity card and the two passports with Iranian visas and entry/exit stamps that were found in the several apartments occupied by those two curious characters. 

But here's my favorite part of Washington's fake DHS agents scandal, the freebies those two got just for pretending to be cops:
A former representative of Crossing DC who worked at the building since the start of Taherzadeh's lease confirmed that none of the units were being paid for at any time. When asked why they were not paying rent on the units, the individual responded with one word: 'Government'.
Government?! Has that ever worked for you? I know it hasn't worked for me, but then, I admit I've never tried asking my mortgage holder if I could skip making payments because "Government."

Read the criminal complaint here and take note of the remarkably thin window dressing that was all it took to convince at least five Secret Service agents plus local Metro Police officers that those two wild and crazy guys were actually federal law enforcement officers. They carried the correct pistols for Secret Service agents, first a SIG 229 and then a Glock 19, even exchanging insider tidbits about the Glock transition course which the real Secret Service agents - AKA dupes - were taking. Sprinkle around a few shoulder patches and pose for a photo in front of a closet shelf stacked with Pelican gun cases and, why, anyone would be fooled. I mean, they would, wouldn't they?

Maybe it was giving the credulous cops free use of apartments and vehicles that overcame any doubts they may have secretly harbored. Anyway, the scam worked fine until it encountered a Postal Inspector, i.e., a law enforcement officer from one of the humbler and less romanticized federal agencies, who saw through the costumes.   

As an aside, I am kind of pleased to learn that DC city cops never questioned either the open or concealed carry of pistols by those two fraudulent feds. Despite all the gun bans in DC, it seems you may walk around armed so long as you add a little police paraphernalia to your daily wear. Hey, I have gun belts and other pieces of equipment with which to accessorize my office garb, why haven't I ever tried just adding a pistol and a couple magazines? It seems that might work.

As yet a further aside, I recall reading in G. Gordon Liddy's autobiography that when he first came to Washington as a political appointee in the Treasury Department he phonied-up a badge and credentials for himself as an excuse to - illegally - carry a pistol. Since Treasury was known to have lots of obscure law enforcement functions, he reasoned, he would be able to brazen it out should a local cop ever question his gun. Today, it's DHS that is know to have myriad obscure law enforcement functions, so its the clear choice for today's fraudsters.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

In Today's News, Phony DHS Cops Dupe Real Secret Service Agents

The Secret Service has had its fair share of scandals, and more, but a new one is shaping up today that might be particularly damning because it is the rare one that involves professional misjudgment rather than personal misbehavior.

According to the Daily Mail:
[Arian] Taherzadeh and [Haider] Ali are accused of posing as members of a fake Department of Homeland Security taskforce investigating gang violence and the January 6 Capitol riots. The pair, whose nationalities have not been revealed, are said to have driven around in an official-looking SUV equipped with flashing lights.

They are said to have successfully ingratiated themselves with Secret Service agents, who they supplied with rent-free luxury apartments, high-end electronics and policing equipment. Four members of the agency - including the first lady's bodyguard - have been placed on leave, with their identities not revealed.

In one instance, Taherzadeh allegedly offered a member of First Lady Jill Biden's security detail with a $2,000 assault rifle. He and Ali also reportedly supplied a USSS agent with a penthouse apartment valued at more than $40,000 a year.

It is unclear what they had hoped to gain from the ruse, and prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing, even as four members of the Secret Service - including the one from the first lady's security detail - have been placed on leave.
According to the WaPo (here) this genius scheme to do who-knows-what was foiled when the phony DHS agents voluntarily assisted a Postal Inspector who was investigating an assault on a mailman which they, eagled-eyed and on high alert as always for signs of terrorist activity, claimed to have witnessed.
The [Postal] inspector learned the men were in contact with several members of the Secret Service and had provided gifts to them or their families and use of the SUV, the affidavit states. The document did not explain how the inspector learned about the gifts.

The inspector informed [the real] DHS, which then informed the FBI.
Wow. Assuming the details being reported are true and even close to complete, there ought to be a lot of egg on a lot of federal law enforcement faces today.