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Daily Tech News 14 May 2024 | Main | Mid-Morning Art Thread
May 14, 2024

The Morning Report — 5/14/24


Good morning, kids. There's cluelessness and then there's cluelessness. Sometimes I guess it's just a way of coping; trying to process the events in front of one's own eyes while preserving one's sanity and worldview. And then there's just having one's head shoved so far up their alimentary canal they can see light from their own nostrils.

The former applies to Jonathan Turley. Here are his observations about Michael Cohen's performance in the Stormy Daniels anti-Trump show trial:

Michael Cohen apparently wants a reality show but, if his testimony Monday is any indication, reality is about to sink in for not just Cohen but the prosecutors and the court. In stoking interest in his own appearance, the former Trump counsel promised the public that they should be “prepared to be surprised.” Thus far, however, Cohen has offered nothing new and, more importantly, nothing to make the case for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. . .

. . . With the prosecution’s case almost over, Bragg needed Cohen to clearly state that Trump intentionally committed fraud to conceal some still poorly defined crime. The problem is that Cohen only confirmed that Trump knew he was going to pay for the nondisclosure agreement and that it would be buried before the election. None of that is unlawful. 

On his reality show promo, Cohen tells viewers that he is now there to fix their problems because “the little guy doesn’t usually have access to people with my particular set of skills. ”Those skills seem to have escaped all of the witnesses who were compelled to work with him. Witnesses detailed how Cohen was ridiculed as someone “prone to exaggeration” and unprofessional. . .

. . . Absent a sudden epiphany in his final testimony on Tuesday, Merchan should rule in favor of a directed verdict — that is, throwing the case out before it goes to a jury. If he instead sends this farcical case to the jury, it is Merchan, not Cohen, who may have a better claim to a reality show as the ultimate “Fix It Man.”

I will give Turley credit for that last paragraph. He is a brilliant legal scholar but sadly he, like Alan Dershowitz and others, still believe we are living in a country where, flawed as our legal system was, is still the best/fairest that the world has ever seen and justice will prevail.

The sad truth of the matter is if that were still the case, this pornographic farce of banana-republicanism would never have happened in the first place. Ditto the other show trials Trump is facing. Does Turley actually believe that a NYC jury is going to acquit Trump or that Merchan, whose fangs dripping with nitric acid have been bared against Trump from the get-go is going to throw this case out?

Meh, why should I hammer away at a decent guy like Turley? He's merely trying not to have a complete breakdown by realizing the profession and cause he devoted his entire life to is now a farce. In a mirror universe way, it's why Merchan and all the others are going all out to destroy Trump and by extension all of us. They are true believers in every sense of the word that what they are doing is absolutely justified to save "our precious democracy."

For them to actually follow the very same law in the same way that Turley has tried all his life would create an equal if not opposite crisis of conscience that Turley faces by letting the scales fall from his eyes. It'd be a fascinating Beale vs Loki situation were it not for the fact that it has such dire and direct consequences on every one of us.

In the "having one's head shoved so far up their alimentary canal they can see light from their own nostrils" category, we have another entry from the floundering ship that is The American Conservative these days:

My conundrum begins with the base concept that there is no such thing as hate speech according to the First Amendment. I believe something very different than the encampment protesters at Columbia. But I believe in defending their right to protest legally just as much. Makes for some uncomfortable times, but it’s the thought that counts.

There are no laws against “hate speech.” Some people have developed an alternate understanding of free speech, with students in particular believing “offensive” speech should not be protected, particularly when the offense is directed at groups defined by race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. But the 1A says a speaker can call people names and insult them by their religion. What many people think and say is hateful. It is in fact carefully thought out to inspire hate, to promote hate, to appeal to crude and base instincts. Indeed, that is the point. Free speech means just that, with any limited restrictions content-neutral. So there’s nothing in the law per se preventing people from holding and/or shouting anti-Semitic views.\

(BONUS: Much of what follows applies to Donald Trump’s own statements to the mob on January 6. His so-called inflammatory statements that morning are protected by much of the same law as the Gaza encampment people. It should make a college age ACLU donor proud to know her $25 contribution with Mom’s credit card helps the Gaza encampment people, Israel supporters, and Trump all at once.) . . .

. . . Universities like Columbia, which accept pubic funds, are avoiding the 1A by claiming their protesting students are trespassing or violating school Codes of Ethics that specify time, place, and manner of protests. Whether the latter would stand up in court is an open question.

There is no legal or other justification for banning speech based on who it may offend or threaten; in fact, quite the opposite. Wendell Holmes declared a “marketplace of ideas”—all ideas, not just popular ones. Free speech is messy as hell, but it is our essential defense against fascism, whether from the left or the right.

Even in the week before finals.

Bravo, Peter Van Buren, for a fairly rational, cogent, point by point argument. And bonus points for your nice "bonus" shot at Trump, despite the fact what you said about his "inciting" the J-6 crowd, and even the nature of that crowd, is complete bullshit. But seriously, given everything we know about cancel culture and our own government colluding with media to actively silence all voices of opposition and prosecute parents at school board meetings among many other things, do you really expect us to believe that you believe we have a level playing field where all opinions are welcome? Give me a fucking break. The title of the above quoted drivel, "Free Speech Still Applies at Universities" is the giveaway.

As a palate cleanser, there's no one better than Daniel Greenfield:

After weeks in which college students at campuses from Columbia to Harvard to UCLA celebrated murders and rapes, waved the flags of Islamic terrorist organizations and assaulted Jewish people, one student has finally been held accountable.

The student, a frat brother at University of Mississippi, was a counterprotester who allegedly mocked a pro-terror student as “Lizzo” and made sounds some thought resembled a monkey.

While no amount of calls for the destruction of America or assaults on Jewish students led to any outrage in the media or actual consequences (including Khymani James, a leader of the Columbia University encampment who talked to university officials about killing Jews), the incident at a decidedly non-Ivy school has actually generated outrage and consequences.

Knocking a Jewish female UCLA student unconscious didn’t do it. Barring Jewish students from being able to go to their classes didn’t do it. Assaulting staff members and faculty at universities didn’t do it. But call a fat black female activist Lizzo” and it’s an instant nationwide outrage. . .

. . . No university would tolerate a KKK rally on its premises. When racists marched at the University of Virginia, it was a national outrage, but when UVA recently cleared an encampment of Hamas supporters, the president felt the need to offer multiple apologies to the terrorist supporters. The terrorist rallies are not protected because of free speech, but because the Left backs them.

Even while defending the Hamas encampments, universities and the media have taken every opportunity to criminalize and punish opponents and counter-protesters. Whether it was assistant professor Shai Davidai being banned from the Columbia campus, Yale spending a year investigating Evan Morris, a Jewish engineering professor, for signing a letter condemning campus antisemitism, or blaming UCLA Jewish counterprotesters for fighting back against violent assaults by Hamas supporters or the Ole Miss incident, there’s a consistent pattern of harassing, penalizing and demonizing anyone who gets in the way of the Hamas supporters.

That’s not free speech either. . .

. . . Now the unfortunate former frat brother at ‘Ole Miss’ is the latest national villain because it allows the media to distort the conflict between Jewish students and Hamas supporters in the Ivies into a more familiar story about a showdown between Southern racists and black people. While the story of the frat brother was covered by every major national media outlet, the story of Eleanor Saghian, a Jewish UCLA student who was knocked unconscious, only appeared on FOX News. Milagro Jones, a formerly homeless non-Jewish UCLA student who was mistakenly assaulted by Hamas supporters, was likewise only able to tell his story to FOX News.

The perpetrators of the assaults have not been suspended or expelled from campus. If Hamas supporters violently assault students, the national media will boycott the story, but if a counterprotester insults a Hamas supporter, the media will make sure it’s front page news.

Meanwhile, we have this garbage. Not from a cave in the Tora Bora hinterlands. But from right here in the good old US of A! In Miami of all places.

Jews — who are “tyrannical” and the “brothers of apes and pigs” — should be “annihilate[d],” according to a Florida Islamic cleric, who also accused Israel’s army of being “worse than the Nazis.”

During a sermon at the North Miami Islamic Center in Florida in late April, Imam Dr. Fadi Kablawi called for Allah to support “our oppressed brothers” in Palestine, as well as for the total annihilation of Jews, whom he referred to as “apes and pigs” — a phrase that radical Islamists have historically used to describe Jews.

“Oh Allah, annihilate the tyrannical Jews… for they are no match for You,” he said. “Oh Allah, annihilate the brothers of apes and pigs… [and] cut off their seed.”

. . . “[Israel’s army] is the most immoral army… they are worse than Nazis,” he claimed, adding that he “apologized to the Nazis last week because these people have been proven to be worse than the Nazis.”

“They steal the skin of the Palestinians. It is not enough that they stole their land; now they steal their skin,” he added, claiming that organs are “missing from children [and] from adults.” 

Kablawi, who called for Allah to “show us the black days that you inflict upon the Jews” just weeks after the October 7 massacre, then suggested identifying just “who is behind organ trading” both in the United States and around the world, reviving conspiracy theories alleging that Israeli rescue and medical teams sent to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake participated in organ trafficking.

Kablawi. No doubt named after that most stylish of Muslim sartorial perfections that goes Ka-bloo-ee in Israeli pizzerias, London tube stations, German nightclubs and US Marine barracks, right? Funny how Jews are worse than Nazis who managed to annihilate two thirds of Europe's Jews, and who Hamas has emulated since forever in trying to achieve the same not just in Israel but all over the world. Which is funny given their constant yammering that the Holocaust was a myth. Also, referring to him as a "radical Islamist" is a redundancy given the nature of Islam itself. He's a Muslim. Period.

Is this protected speech Mr. Van Buren? Well, okay. But I double dog dare you or anyone else to set up a sound truck and blast "Hava Nagila" in front of his mosque or set up a barbecue and do a pork roast during Ramadan and see what happens.

You'll be indicted by Alvin Bragg 34 times. One for each piece of your desecrated body they can find after scraping up the rest of you from the pavement.

Meh. At some point, when sharia rules from "the river to the sea" – that is from the Hudson to the Pacific – this conversation will be moot. Or impossible due to our tongues having been cut out.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in the links may or may not reflect my own. I include them because of their relevance to the discussion of a particular issue.

ALSO: The Morning Report is cross-posted at if you want to continue the conversation all day.

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