Critics of Silicon Valley censorship for years heard the same refrain: tech platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter are private corporations and can host or ban whoever they want. If you don’t like what they are doing, the solution is not to complain or to regulate them. Instead, go create your own social media platform that operates the way you think it should.
The founders of Parler heard that suggestion and tried. In August, 2018, they created a social media platform similar to Twitter but which promised far greater privacy protections, including a refusal to aggregate user data in order to monetize them to advertisers or algorithmically evaluate their interests in order to promote content or products to them. They also promised far greater free speech rights, rejecting the increasingly repressive content policing of Silicon Valley giants.
Over the last year, Parler encountered immense success. Millions of people who objected to increasing repression of speech on the largest platforms or who had themselves been banned signed up for the new social media company.
As Silicon Valley censorship radically escalated over the past several months — banning pre-election reporting by The New York Post about the Biden family, denouncing and deleting multiple posts from the U.S. President and then terminating his access altogether, mass-removal of right-wing accounts — so many people migrated to Parler that it was catapulted to the number one spot on the list of most-downloaded apps on the Apple Play Store, the sole and exclusive means which iPhone users have to download apps. “Overall, the app was the 10th most downloaded social media app in 2020 with 8.1 million new installs,” reported TechCrunch.
It looked as if Parler had proven critics of Silicon Valley monopolistic power wrong. Their success showed that it was possible after all to create a new social media platform to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And they did so by doing exactly what Silicon Valley defenders long insisted should be done: if you don’t like the rules imposed by tech giants, go create your own platform with different rules.
But today, if you want to download, sign up for, or use Parler, you will be unable to do so. That is because three Silicon Valley monopolies — Amazon, Google and Apple — abruptly united to remove Parler from the internet, exactly at the moment when it became the most-downloaded app in the country.
If one were looking for evidence to demonstrate that these tech behemoths are, in fact, monopolies that engage in anti-competitive behavior in violation of antitrust laws, and will obliterate any attempt to compete with them in the marketplace, it would be difficult to imagine anything more compelling than how they just used their unconstrained power to utterly destroy a rising competitor.
The united Silicon Valley attack began on January 8, when Apple emailed Parler and gave them 24 hours to prove they had changed their moderation practices or else face removal from their App Store. The letter claimed: “We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property.” It ended with this warning:
To ensure there is no interruption of the availability of your app on the App Store, please submit an update and the requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of this message. If we do not receive an update compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan in writing within 24 hours, your app will be removed from the App Store.
The 24-hour letter was an obvious pretext and purely performative. Removal was a fait accompli no matter what Parler did. To begin with, the letter was immediately leaked to Buzzfeed, which published it in full. A Parler executive detailed the company’s unsuccessful attempts to communicate with Apple. “They basically ghosted us,” he told me. The next day, Apple notified Parler of its removal from App Store. “We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content,” said the world’s richest company, and thus: “We have now rejected your app for the App Store.”
It is hard to overstate the harm to a platform from being removed from the App Store. Users of iPhones are barred from downloading apps onto their devices from the internet. If an app is not on the App Store, it cannot be used on the iPhone. Even iPhone users who have already downloaded Parler will lose the ability to receive updates, which will shortly render the platform both unmanageable and unsafe.
In October, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law issued a 425-page report concluding that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google all possess monopoly power and are using that power anti-competitively. For Apple, they emphasized the company’s control over iPhones through its control of access to the App Store. As Ars Technica put it when highlighting the report’s key findings:
Apple controls about 45 percent of the US smartphone market and 20 percent of the global smartphone market, the committee found, and is projected to sell its 2 billionth iPhone in 2021. It is correct that, in the smartphone handset market, Apple is not a monopoly. Instead, iOS and Android hold an effective duopoly in mobile operating systems.
However, the report concludes, Apple does have a monopolistic hold over what you can do with an iPhone. You can only put apps on your phone through the Apple App Store, and Apple has total gatekeeper control over that App Store—that’s what Epic is suing the company over. . . .
The committee found internal documents showing that company leadership, including former CEO Steve Jobs, “acknowledged that IAP requirement would stifle competition and limit the apps available to Apple’s customers.” The report concludes that Apple has also unfairly used its control over APIs, search rankings, and default apps to limit competitors’ access to iPhone users.
Shortly thereafter, Parler learned that Google, without warning, had also “suspended” it from its Play Store, severely limiting the ability of users to download Parler onto Android phones. Google’s actions also meant that those using Parler on their Android phones would no longer receive necessary functionality and security updates.
It was precisely Google’s abuse of its power to control its app device that was at issue “when the European Commission deemed Google LLC as the dominant undertaking in the app stores for the Android mobile operating system (i.e. Google Play Store) and hit the online search and advertisement giant with €4.34 billion for its anti-competitive practices to strengthen its position in various of other markets through its dominance in the app store market.”
The day after a united Apple and Google acted against Parler, Amazon delivered the fatal blow. The company founded and run by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, used virtually identical language as Apple to inform Parler that its web hosting service (AWS) was terminating Parler’s ability to have AWS host its site: “Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.” Because Amazon is such a dominant force in web hosting, Parler has thus far not found a hosting service for its platform, which is why it has disappeared not only from app stores and phones but also from the internet.
On Thursday, Parler was the most popular app in the United States. By Monday, three of the four Silicon Valley monopolies united to destroy it.
With virtual unanimity, leading U.S. liberals celebrated this use of Silicon Valley monopoly power to shut down Parler, just as they overwhelmingly cheered the prior two extraordinary assertions of tech power to control U.S. political discourse: censorship of The New York Post’s reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the banning of the U.S. President from major platforms. Indeed, one would be hard-pressed to find a single national liberal-left politician even expressing concerns about any of this, let alone opposing it.
Not only did leading left-wing politicians not object but some of them were the ones who pleaded with Silicon Valley to use their power this way. After the internet-policing site Sleeping Giants flagged several Parler posts that called for violence, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked: “What are @Apple and @GooglePlay doing about this?” Once Apple responded by removing Parler from its App Store — a move that House Democrats just three months earlier warned was dangerous anti-trust behavior — she praised Apple and then demanded to know: “Good to see this development from @Apple. @GooglePlay what are you going to do about apps being used to organize violence on your platform?”
The liberal New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg pronounced herself “disturbed by just how awesome [tech giants’] power is” and added that “it’s dangerous to have a handful of callow young tech titans in charge of who has a megaphone and who does not.” She nonetheless praised these “young tech titans” for using their “dangerous” power to ban Trump and destroy Parler. In other words, liberals like Goldberg are concerned only that Silicon Valley censorship powers might one day be used against people like them, but are perfectly happy as long as it is their adversaries being deplatformed and silenced (Facebook and other platforms have for years banned marginalized people like Palestinians at Israel’s behest, but that is of no concern to U.S. liberals).
That is because the dominant strain of American liberalism is not economic socialism but political authoritarianism. Liberals now want to use the force of corporate power to silence those with different ideologies. They are eager for tech monopolies not just to ban accounts they dislike but to remove entire platforms from the internet. They want to imprison people they believe helped their party lose elections, such as Julian Assange, even if it means creating precedents to criminalize journalism.
World leaders have vocally condemned the power Silicon Valley has amassed to police political discourse, and were particularly indignant over the banning of the U.S. President. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, various French ministers, and especially Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador all denounced the banning of Trump and other acts of censorship by tech monopolies on the ground that they were anointing themselves “a world media power.” The warnings from López Obrador were particularly eloquent:
Even the ACLU — which has rapidly transformed from a civil liberties organization into a liberal activist group since Trump’s election — found the assertion of Silicon Valley’s power to destroy Parler deeply alarming. One of that organization’s most stalwart defenders of civil liberties, lawyer Ben Wizner, told The New York Times that the destruction of Parler was more “troubling” than the deletion of posts or whole accounts: “I think we should recognize the importance of neutrality when we’re talking about the infrastructure of the internet.”
Yet American liberals swoon for this authoritarianism. And they are now calling for the use of the most repressive War on Terror measures against their domestic opponents. On Tuesday, House Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) urged that GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley “be put on the no-fly list,” while The Wall Street Journal reported that “Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.”
So much of this liberal support for the attempted destruction of Parler is based in utter ignorance about that platform, and about basic principles of free speech. I’d be very surprised if more than a tiny fraction of liberals cheering Parler’s removal from the internet have ever used the platform or know anything about it other than the snippets they have been shown by those seeking to justify its destruction and to depict it as some neo-Nazi stronghold.
Parler was not founded, nor is it run, by pro-Trump, MAGA supporters. The platform was created based in libertarian values of privacy, anti-surveillance, anti-data collection, and free speech. Most of the key executives are more associated with the politics of Ron Paul and the CATO Institute than Steve Bannon or the Trump family. One is a Never Trump Republican, while another is the former campaign manager of Ron Paul and Rand Paul. Among the few MAGA-affiliated figures is Dan Bongino, an investor. One of the key original investors was Rebekah Mercer.
The platform’s design is intended to foster privacy and free speech, not a particular ideology. They minimize the amount of data they collect on users to prevent advertiser monetization or algorithmic targeting. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, they do not assess a user’s preferences in order to decide what they should see. And they were principally borne out of a reaction to increasingly restrictive rules on the major Silicon Valley platforms regarding what could and could not be said.
Of course large numbers of Trump supporters ended up on Parler. That’s not because Parler is a pro-Trump outlet, but because those are among the people who were censored by the tech monopolies or who were angered enough by that censorship to seek refuge elsewhere.
It is true that one can find postings on Parler that explicitly advocate violence or are otherwise grotesque. But that is even more true of Facebook, Google-owned YouTube, and Twitter. And contrary to what many have been led to believe, Parler’s Terms of Service includes a ban on explicit advocacy of violence, and they employ a team of paid, trained moderators who delete such postings. Those deletions do not happen perfectly or instantaneously — which is why one can find postings that violate those rules — but the same is true of every major Silicon Valley platform.
Indeed, a Parler executive told me that of the thirteen people arrested as of Monday for the breach at the Capitol, none appear to be active users of Parler. The Capitol breach was planned far more on Facebook and YouTube. As Recode reported, while some protesters participated in both Parler and Gab, many of the calls to attend the Capitol were from YouTube videos, while many of the key planners “have continued to use mainstream platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.” The article quoted Fadi Quran, campaign director at the human rights group Avaaz, as saying: “In DC, we saw QAnon conspiracists and other militias that would never have grown to this size without being turbo-charged by Facebook and Twitter.”
And that’s to say nothing of the endless number of hypocrisies with Silicon Valley giants feigning opposition to violent rhetoric or political extremism. Amazon, for instance, is one of the CIA’s most profitable partners, with a $600 million contract to provide services to the agency, and it is constantly bidding for more. On Facebook and Twitter, one finds official accounts from the most repressive and violent regimes on earth, including Saudi Arabia, and pages devoted to propaganda on behalf of the Egyptian regime. Does anyone think these tech giants have a genuine concern about violence and extremism?
So why did Democratic politicians and journalists focus on Parler rather than Facebook and YouTube? Why did Amazon, Google and Apple make a flamboyant showing of removing Parler from the internet while leaving much larger platforms with far more extremism and advocacy of violence flowing on a daily basis?
In part it is because these Silicon Valley giants — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple — donate enormous sums of money to the Democratic Party and their leaders, so of course Democrats will cheer them rather than call for punishment or their removal from the internet. Part of it is because Parler is an upstart, a much easier target to try to destroy than Facebook or Google. And in part it is because the Democrats are about to control the Executive Branch and both houses of Congress, leaving Silicon Valley giants eager to please them by silencing their adversaries. This corrupt motive was made expressly clear by long-time Clinton operative Jennifer Palmieri:
It has not escaped my attention that the day social media companies decided there actually IS more they could do to police Trump’s destructive behavior was the same day they learned Democrats would chair all the congressional committees that oversee them.
The nature of monopolistic power is that anti-competitive entities engage in anti-trust illegalities to destroy rising competitors. Parler is associated with the wrong political ideology. It is a small and new enough platform such that it can be made an example of. Its head can be placed on a pike to make clear that no attempt to compete with existing Silicon Valley monopolies is possible. And its destruction preserves the unchallengeable power of a tiny handful of tech oligarchs over the political discourse not just of the United States but democracies worldwide (which is why Germany, France and Mexico are raising their voices in protest).
No authoritarians believe they are authoritarians. No matter how repressive are the measures they support — censorship, monopoly power, no-fly lists for American citizens without due process — they tell themselves that those they are silencing and attacking are so evil, are terrorists, that anything done against them is noble and benevolent, not despotic and repressive. That is how American liberals currently think, as they fortify the control of Silicon Valley monopolies over our political lives, exemplified by the overnight destruction of a new and popular competitor.
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A CBS 62 weather reporter, April Moss, said live on the air that she will expose the network for alleged “discrimination that CBS is enforcing” on its employees and will provide material to whistleblower platform Project Veritas.
During a Sunday segment on the weather for metro Detroit, where the CBS affiliate station is based, Moss abruptly stopped her normal broadcast and made an announcement.
“And speaking of a brand new week, I will be sitting down this week with Project Veritas to discuss the discrimination that CBS is enforcing upon its employees. Tune into Project Veritas for my full story,” she said, without elaborating on the nature of the alleged discrimination.
Following her comment, Moss seamlessly continued on with her weather report.
Project Veritas appeared to endorse Moss’s announcement in a tweet on Monday, with Veritas chief of staff Eric Spracklen saying her announcement “takes serious guts.” Previously, Project Veritas released secret recordings of CNN staffers who admitted that they skewed their news coverage to oust former President Donald Trump. . . .
Lone wolf killers are likely going to strike and murder innocents more often as a result of the “defund the police” movement, says a former strategic analyst in the Canadian intelligence community.
“Security systems in Canada are being torn in all directions simultaneously and they’re understaffed to do what they are being asked to do,” Phil Gurski, the president and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting, said in an interview.
“If you don’t have enough resources, then potentially there will be more of these attacks.”
The most recent lone wolf attack in Canada occurred on June 6 in London, Ont., when Nathaniel Veltman jumped the curb with his vehicle and struck a family of five, killing four of them and injuring one. Veltman, 20, is now facing terrorism charges.
Lone wolf, or lone-actor, attacks—in which an individual without formal ties to a terrorist organization goes on a murderous rampage—are considered among the most difficult to prevent, and the most shocking.
According to the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security, and Society, since the 9/11 attacks in New York there have been several high-profile lone-actor terrorist attacks in Canada, the United States, France, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, and other countries.
Terrorism experts Mark S. Hamm and Ramón Spaaij, authors of “The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism,” have documented 216 attacks by 83 lone wolves in the United States alone between 1940 and 2013.
Their research reveals a chilling fact: Lone wolves are striking more often. . . .
Baked Alaska Says FBI Is Trying To Force Him To Become An Informant With Threats Of Federal Prison Time Over 1/6
Livestreamer Anthime “Baked Alaska” Gionet revealed during an interview with Milo Yiannopoulos on Monday that federal agents have attempted to force him to cooperate with their persecution of Jan. 6 defendants by leveraging the threat of an “obstruction of Congress” felony charge over his head.
“I walked through an open door [at the Capitol], and that’s crazy because they’re trying to charge me with trespassing and disorderly conduct,” Gionet said. “And now, the feds are threatening to slap me with a felony if I don’t cooperate with them, and I’m not even sure what that really means.”
“So just so that I understand this clearly, and people understand at home, they’re saying that if you don’t cooperate with the investigation, meaning you don’t become an informant, meaning you don’t give the names of the people that you were with, meaning you don’t assist them in jailing other Trump supporters, that they’re going to add charges if you don’t cooperate?” Yiannopoulos queried.
Gionet nodded. “That’s right, a felony,” he said, adding that the FBI had communicated their demands for him to “cooperate” to his attorney.
The popular livestreamer went on to describe the conditions in the solitary confinement cell he was placed in earlier this year as “like hell,” with no room to walk and roaches infesting the cell. Gionet noted that his treatment was similar to that of international terrorists, despite having not committed any terroristic acts. A judge has also revoked his Second Amendment rights to own a firearm, and he has been placed on a “high security’ airport watchlist.
Reporting by Revolver News on unindicted co-conspirators and FBI informants composing a key part of the ongoing federal investigation were hastily “debunked” by corporate media and Twitter moderators, but the shoddy debunking quickly fell apart under its own inefficacy.
Medicaid enrollment rose sharply during the pandemic, with nearly 10 million Americans joining the public health program for the poor, a government report released Monday showed.
Eighty million people were covered under Medicaid, a record. It reflected an increase of nearly 14 percent over the 12-month period ending Jan. 31. The figure also includes enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but too little to afford other coverage.
The spike in enrollment demonstrates Medicaid’s increasingly important role not just as a safety net, but also as a pillar of the American health system, with fully a quarter of the population getting coverage through it.
“This tells us that Medicaid is a critical program for American families,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the Biden administration official who oversees Medicaid. “What we’ve seen during this pandemic is that people want access to affordable health insurance, and how important it is during a public health crisis.”
Episode 1,038 – Sovereignty and the Fight Within. Biden took the knee and let down the American taxpayer, the media can’t guilt people into giving up their sovereignty, and Americans push back against the poising of critical race theory. Guests are: M.B.B. Nigel Farage, John Spiropoulos.
Episode 1,039 – Woke America is Harkening North Korea. Biden took the knee and let down the American taxpayer, the media can’t guilt people into giving up their sovereignty, and Americans push back against the poising of critical race theory. Guests are: M.B.B. Boris Epshteyn, Jack Posobiec, Yeonmi Park, AMCMarine.
Portland Police’s Entire “Riot Squad” Resigns; McCloskeys Plead Guilty: ‘I’ll Do It Again’. Catholic bishops take a stand against politicians of faith who support abortions—including President Joe Biden. Court documents show unnamed people involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. The gun-wielding couple in St. Louis, Missouri, plead guilty to misdemeanor charges.
California on Friday rolled out a new system that enables people to obtain proof of COVID-19 vaccination from the state’s health system and present it as proof of having gotten a jab.
“We’re better enabling California to verify their vaccination status to ensure our state is in a better position to encourage the best practices for reducing the spread of COVID-19,” California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan told reporters on a call.
The vaccine verification system, dubbed a “digital vaccine record,” will require people to enter several details like their name and date of birth to get a digital copy of their vaccination record. If their record is found, they will get a link that they can use to access their vaccination information, including the date or dates they received doses and a QR code confirming their record is authentic.
It’s the same information that people see on the paper card that many receive when they get a vaccine, but authorities are recommending the vaccinated keep their paper cards in a safe and secure location and use the digital pass instead.
Over 23.5 million people in California have received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data. Whoever administers a vaccine in the state reports details of the recipient to state authorities. Over 90 percent of the people who have been vaccinated chose to give state authorities their contact information. . . .
The CEO of one of the largest U.S. gun manufacturers, Smith & Wesson, said that the current ammunition shortage is showing no signs of improving amid reports of Americans continuing to purchase record amounts of firearms.
Over the past year or so, according to FBI data, gun sales in the United States have skyrocketed amid uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Black Lives Matter demonstrations and violence, and Democrat officials’ proposals for more state and federal gun-control measures.
“It’s widely known the ammunition shortages continue,” said Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith in a Fox Business interview on Thursday. “There is still a lot of interest in firearms.”
He noted that Smith & Wesson shipped nearly 2.5 million units last year, up 70 percent from the previous year.
A firearms market research firm, in a report released late last month, found that about 80 percent of American customers said they experienced issues trying to find ammunition in 2020. . . .
Unvaccinated cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point are getting singled out, bullied and unfairly punished — even if they have COVID-19 immunity from earlier infections, according to a report.
All but around three dozen of the 4,500 students at the centuries-old New York training academy have been vaccinated — with a spreadsheet showing the cadets’ status getting widely circulated, Fox News said.
Those not vaccinated are derided as “diseased” and “dirty” and treated as outcasts — and punished for violating mask and social distancing mandates, even after statewide restrictions have been lifted, cadets and their families told Sean Hannity.
Some cadets complain that they are unable to take any leave this summer because a seven-day enforced quarantine eats up any available time. . . .
More than 10,000 rock fans gather at Download to enjoy their favourite bands with mosh pits, no social distancing and no need for masks at first festival selected as official test event
- Thousands flocked to Donington Park, Derby, for the beginning of the Download pilot festival event on Friday
- Around 40 bands will perform over three days on two stages and festival-goers advised not to leave venue
- It is the UK’s first post-Covid music festival which is being carefully monitored by government scientists
- The event is running at a reduced capacity but will not enforce social distancing measures and face masks
A marvelous review in these pages last November inspired me to read a new book by O. Carter Snead, “What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Human Bioethics.” It was published by Harvard University Press on Oct. 13. Covid-19 had begun its transformation of American life a few months before, and of course the book made no mention of it.
Yet Mr. Snead’s volume helped explain the bizarre and at times perverse response of prosperous Western nations to the pandemic: the long discontinuation of economic life, the belief that pixelated screens can facilitate human relationships, the prohibitions on ordinary social interactions, the fetishization of masks. These policies and practices weren’t handed down from the ether by Reason and Science but bore the weight of contemporary assumptions about—to borrow Mr. Snead’s title—what it means to be human.
His book isn’t about public health but “public bioethics”—the effort to make humane laws and rules for biotechnology and medical care. Mr. Snead’s premise and theme is that humans are embodied creatures, not mere wills and intellects. That premise stands in contrast with the dominant modern worldview, which he calls “expressive individualism”: the belief that the human self “is not defined by its attachments or networks of relations, but rather by its capacity to choose a future pathway that is revealed by the investigation of its own inner depths of sentiment. . . . Because this self is defined by its capacity to choose, it is associated fundamentally with its will and not its body.” . . .
An incredible thing happened this week in Washington — lawmakers passed legislation.
It is no small feat in this highly partisan era that politicians, who cannot agree on a commission to study the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection or what should go into an infrastructure bill, came together to create a holiday commemorating the moment people in Texas learned the emancipation had finally come.
On Thursday, the nation’s first Black vice president, Kamala Harris, spoke ahead of the bill’s signing, highlighting the significance of the new holiday and the misconceptions surrounding it.
“Let’s be clear about what happened on June 19, 1865. The day we call Juneteenth. Because you see, that day was not the end of slavery in America,” she told lawmakers and advocates who have long pushed for the federal recognition. “On that day, the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas learned that they were free ….”
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker ordered the attorneys to appear at a hearing on July 6, according to court documents.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel first asked the court to sanction Powell in late January over a lawsuit challenging the 2020 presidential election results in the state.
The suit, King v. Whitmer, which was filed in November, alleged that President Biden’s victory in the state was the result of fraud. The plaintiffs asked the state’s electors to be disqualified in favor of declaring Trump the winner of the election.
Parker sided with the state about a month later, writing in an opinion that the relief being sought “would disenfranchise the votes of the more than 5.5 million Michigan citizens who, with dignity, hope, and a promise of a voice, participated in the 2020 General Election.”
Nessel also asked the court to sanction Greg Rohl, Scott Hagerstrom and Stefanie Junttila.
Nessel later filed court documents in April to bring forward claims Powell made in a $1.3 billion lawsuit brought against her by voting technology company Dominion Voting Systems.
The attorney general said in a statement at the time that Powell admitted that no reasonable person would have concluded her statements were fact. . . .
Dozens of women have sued Pornhub, alleging that it posted and profited from videos depicting sex trafficking, child sexual exploitation and other non-consensual sexual content.
The complaint filed Thursday targets Pornhub’s parent company, MindGeek, for allegedly being a “classic criminal enterprise” and allowing the monetization of non-consensual sexual content. Brown Rudnick LLP filed a civil complaint on behalf of 34 victims of sexual exploitation who seek damages and protection, according to CNN Business.
“This is a case about rape, not pornography,” the complaint reads. “And it is a case about each of these defendants knowingly and intentionally electing to capitalize and profit from the horrendous exploitation and abuse of tens of thousands of other human beings so they could make more than the enormous sums of money they would have otherwise made anyway.”
The complaint lists just one of the defendants — a woman named Serena Fleites — while the other 33 remain anonymous. . . .
Supreme Court Sides With Catholic Foster Care Agencies; Texas Gov. Signs Into Law 7 Gun Rights Bills. The Supreme Court dismisses a major challenge to Obamacare, a sheriff in Nevada says his peers nationwide are fed up with the federal government, and a Christian organization is denied a tax benefit by the IRS.
Episode 1,031 – Anthony Fauci and the Chocolate Factory. That’s an interesting issue. What we know is that the ground zero for this virus was within a few miles of that lab, if you simply do a Occam’s razor approach it’s the simplest explanation is the probably the most likely I think it’s incumbent on China to prove that it wasn’t that lab. Guests are: Dr. Peter Navarro, Jack Posobiec.
Member States are required to start issuing the first certificates within six weeks of the July 1 start date, if they haven’t done so by then.
During the official signing ceremony, three main EU institutions — Parliament, the Council and the Commission — signed the regulation to show their support, asserting the certificate is “a symbol of what Europe stands for.”
Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland started issuing the first passports on June 1. Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Spain began issuing passports days later.
The remainder of the EU and Schengen Area countries, except for Hungary and Finland which are still in the test phase, are expected to connect to the new technology framework.
How the EU passport works
Under the vaccine passport scheme, each EU Member State will issue its own certificate, but all will adopt the same entry requirements for visitors.
Individuals will obtain their passports through test centers or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal.
The digital version of the certificate can be stored on a mobile device. Citizens can also request a paper version. Both will have a QR code that contains essential information, as well as a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.
The Digital COVID Certificate will show that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus.
The certificate information differs based on the vaccination status of users. For those who have received their shot, the vaccine manufacture, date of vaccination and the number of doses will be documented.
For those who have not yet been vaccinated, Member States require PCR or antigen test results be provided when traveling between countries. The passport will record the “type of test, date and exact time of test, name of the test centre and the results.”
The stated intent of the Digital COVID Certificate is to allow people to move between EU countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests. However, according to the regulation, member states can impose extra travel restrictions in cases where “additional measures are a must in order to safeguard the public health.”
What about travelers from outside the U.S.?
Earlier this month, an EU spokesperson said the app could be extended to citizens from non-EU countries, including U.S. Americans who obtain the certificate would be exempt from travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.
“Right now if you’re an American, not living in the EU, you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a member state to give you that certificate based on some proof that you’ve been vaccinated, or had a recent COVID test,” said the EU spokesperson.
The decision on whether to allow non-EU citizens to use the app rests with each individual member state.
Why U.S. won’t have national vaccine passport anytime soon
So far, the Biden administration has resisted the idea of a “vaccine passport” for the U.S. On May 28, U.S. Director of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas said the U.S. was taking a “very close look” at vaccine passports for international travel. Later that day, the DHS clarified there will be no “federal mandate” for vaccine passports in the U.S.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. does not have a national database for immunization records that could act as the source of vaccination data for use in digital passes. That’s because a national system to create a unique identification number to link the health records of every American has been banned since 1998, spearheaded by then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who said such a system would be an unwarranted privacy intrusion.
In the absence of a federal policy, Americans could need several digital passes, similar to having many credit cards in a wallet, The Los Angeles Times reported. It could also mean employers, businesses and venue operators will each have to decide which option works for them — or might not bother using any at all.
Hundreds of digital health pass initiatives are attempting to launch apps that provide a verified electronic record of immunizations and negative COVID test results to streamline the process for businesses and other institutions.
States take a stand
New York implemented the “Excelsior Pass” — an electronic proof of vaccination developed by IBM — that some businesses in the state are requiring for entry.
According to The New York Times, the state plans to expand the program — estimated to cost taxpayers $17 million — possibly using the system in the future to verify a resident’s age, driver’s license status and other health records.
In Hawaii, fully vaccinated individuals who upload proof of vaccination to the state’s “Safe Travels” system are allowed to travel inter-county without pre-travel testing or quarantine restrictions. Gov. David Ige said he is targeting July 4 for allowing vaccinated out-of-state travelers who come into Hawaii to bypass restrictions through a similar system.
Beginning June 15, Hawaii will expand its passport program to trans-Pacific travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii.
During an event in San Francisco on June 14, Newsom said the system will consist of electronic vaccine cards that individuals can keep on their phones as opposed to carrying around a paper card.
Once the state fully reopens without capacity limits, which happened Tuesday, businesses can require individuals to show their vaccine cards to prove they do not need to wear a mask, SFGATE reported. Newsom will announce California’s version of this electronic system later this week.
In all of the new or proposed digital passes or apps in the U.S., people who have been vaccinated or received a negative test result must first consent to have their information uploaded into the pass or app, the Los Angeles Times reported.
26 people hit by gunfire in Chicago Tuesday — including 8 in a house in Englewood and 5 on the street in West Garfield Park
A total of eight people were killed, the most homicides in a single day in Chicago this year.
Twenty-six people were hit by gunfire in Chicago Tuesday, one of the most violent days of the year with eight shot in a house in Englewood and five wounded on the street in West Garfield Park.
A total of eight people were killed, the most homicides in a single day this year, according to Sun-Times data.
The day also saw the city’s third mass shooting in little more than a week. Around 5:40 a.m., four people were shot and killed and four others were seriously wounded when an argument apparently broke out inside a home in the 6200 block of South Morgan Street, according to Chicago police.
Four people were pronounced dead at the scene, three women and a man who lived there. The four others were taken to hospitals, at least two of them in critical condition. A 2-year-old girl was taken from the home and brought to Comer Children’s Hospital for observation, but did not appear injured, police said. . . .
Peter Andre apologises for YouTube video showing daughter Princess fulfilling ‘dream’ of swimming with dolphins – after PETA highlights misery of mammals kept in captivity for tourism
- Video on The Andres YouTube channel featured an emotional Princess Andre, 13, discussing her bucket list dream of swimming with dolphins
- Clip showed the teen gliding through water holding on to fins of two dolphins
- PETA wrote to Peter, 48, highlighting poor conditions mammals can be kept in
- He vowed to re-edit the video and remove any reference to swimming with dolphins from his social media channels, saying ‘we live and learn’
A Virginia Lyft driver has been charged after he allegedly sexually assaulted a teen passenger during a Monday ride, according to a local report.
The incident unfolded Monday when the 17-year-old unidentified male victim took a Lyft ride from 58-year-old Ejaz Hussain to school in the morning, Fox 5 reported. While on the way to school, the victim and Hussain reportedly gave each other their contact information.
The victim later called Hussain directly for a ride from school to home, according to the report. While in the vehicle, Hussain allegedly sexually assaulted the victim, Fox 5 reported. . .
Credit…Cindy Elizabeth for The New York Times
For contestants, it’s a pageant, yes, but also a place to celebrate Black sisterhood and promote a deeper understanding of a complex holiday. . . . Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, is rooted in emancipation for the enslaved, so it involves both the celebration of joy and the commemoration of pain. June 19 marks the anniversary of the day in 1865 when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas — nearly two years after the Proclamation had been issued. African Americans, beginning in Texas, have celebrated the holiday since 1866. . . .
Don’t let the rocket hatch hit you where the good lord split you, Jeff Bezos!
That’s the message from the 10,000 — and counting — haters who’ve signed a petition calling for the billionaire Amazon.com founder and former CEO to be denied re-entry to Earth following his upcoming space launch on July 20, according to Change.org.
Bezos, the world’s second richest man with a net worth of approximately $186 billion, “is actually Lex Luthor,” the petition alleges. “He’s actually an evil overlord hellbent on global domination. We’ve known this for years.”
The author of the petition also claims that Bezos, 57, has “worked with the Epsteins and the Knights Templar, as well as the Free Masons to gain control over the whole world.”
“Meanwhile our government stands by and lets it happen,” they conclude. “This may be our last chance before they enable the 5G microchips and perform a mass takeover.” . . .