On May 15, 1970, the New York Times published an article by esteemed Russia scholar Albert Parry detailing how Soviet dissident intellectuals were covertly passing forbidden ideas around to each other on handcrafted, typewritten documents called samizdat. Here is the beginning of that seminal story:
Censorship existed even before literature, say the Russians. And, we may add, censorship being older, literature has to be craftier. Hence, the new and remarkably viable underground press in the Soviet Union called samizdat.
Samizdat – translates as: “We publish ourselves” – that is, not the state, but we, the people.
Unlike the underground of Czarist times, today’s samizdat has no printing presses (with rare exceptions): The K.G.B., the secret police, is too efficient. It is the typewriter, each page produced with four to eight carbon copies, that does the job. By the thousands and tens of thousands of frail, smudged onionskin sheets, samizdat spreads across the land a mass of protests and petitions, secret court minutes, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s banned novels, George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and “1984,” Nicholas Berdyayev’s philosophical essays, all sorts of sharp political discourses and angry poetry.
Though it is hard to hear, the sad fact is that we are living in a time and in a society where there is once again a need for scientists to pass around their ideas secretly to one another so as to avoid censorship, smearing, and defamation by government authorities in the name of science.
I say this from first-hand experience. During the pandemic, the U.S. government violated my free speech rights and those of my scientist colleagues for questioning the federal government’s COVID policies.
American government officials, working in concert with big tech companies, defamed and suppressed me and my colleagues for criticizing official pandemic policies – criticism that has been proven prescient. While this may sound like a conspiracy theory, it is a documented fact, and one recently confirmed by a federal circuit court.
In August 2022, the Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general asked me to join as a plaintiff in a lawsuit, represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, against the Biden administration. The suit aims to end the government’s role in this censorship and restore the free speech rights of all Americans in the digital town square.
Lawyers in the Missouri v. Biden case took sworn depositions from many federal officials involved in the censorship efforts, including Anthony Fauci. During the hours-long deposition, Fauci showed a striking inability to answer basic questions about his pandemic management, replying “I don’t recall” over 170 times.
Legal discovery unearthed email exchanges between the government and social media companies showing an administration willing to threaten the use of its regulatory power to harm social media companies that did not comply with censorship demands.
The case revealed that a dozen federal agencies pressured social media companies Google, Facebook, and Twitter to censor and suppress speech contradicting federal pandemic priorities. In the name of slowing the spread of harmful misinformation, the administration forced the censorship of scientific facts that didn’t fit its narrative de jour. This included facts relating to the evidence for immunity after COVID recovery, the inefficacy of mask mandates, and the inability of the vaccine to stop disease transmission. True or false, if speech interfered with the government’s priorities, it had to go.
On July 4, U.S. Federal District Court Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction in the case, ordering the government to immediately stop coercing social media companies to censor protected free speech. In his decision, Doughty called the administration’s censorship infrastructure an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth.”
In my November 2021 testimony in the House of Representatives, I used this exact phrase to describe the government’s censorship efforts. For this heresy, I faced slanderous accusations by Rep. Jamie Raskin, who accused me of wanting to let the virus “rip.” Raskin was joined by fellow Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who tried to smear my reputation on the grounds that I spoke with a Chinese journalist in April 2020.
Judge Doughty’s ruling decried the vast federal censorship enterprise dictating to social media companies who and what to censor, and ordered it to end. But the Biden administration immediately appealed the decision, claiming that they needed to be able to censor scientists or else public health would be endangered and people would die. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted them an administrative stay that lasted until mid-September, permitting the Biden administration to continue violating the First Amendment.
After a long month, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that that pandemic policy critics were not imagining these violations. The Biden administration did indeed strong-arm social media companies into doing its bidding. The court found that the Biden White House, the CDC, the U.S. surgeon general’s office, and the FBI have “engaged in a years-long pressure campaign [on social media outlets] designed to ensure that the censorship aligned with the government’s preferred viewpoints.”
The appellate judges described a pattern of government officials making “threats of ‘fundamental reforms’ like regulatory changes and increased enforcement actions that would ensure the platforms were ‘held accountable.’” But, beyond express threats, there was always an “unspoken ‘or else.’” The implication was clear. If social media companies did not comply, the administration would work to harm the economic interests of the companies. Paraphrasing Al Capone, “Well that’s a nice company you have there. Shame if something were to happen to it,” the government insinuated.
“The officials’ campaign succeeded. The platforms, in capitulation to state-sponsored pressure, changed their moderation policies,” the 5th Circuit judges wrote, and they renewed the injunction against the government’s violation of free speech rights. Here is the full order, filled with many glorious adverbs:
Defendants, and their employees and agents, shall take no actions, formal or informal, directly or indirectly, to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech. That includes, but is not limited to, compelling the platforms to act, such as by intimating that some form of punishment will follow a failure to comply with any request, or supervising, directing, or otherwise meaningfully controlling the social media companies’ decision-making processes.
The federal government can no longer threaten social media companies with destruction if they don’t censor scientists on behalf of the government. The ruling is a victory for every American since it is a victory for free speech rights.
Although I am thrilled by it, the decision isn’t perfect. Some entities at the heart of the government’s censorship enterprise can still organize to suppress speech. For instance, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security can still work with academics to develop a hit list for government censorship. And the National Institutes of Health, Tony Fauci’s old organization, can still coordinate devastating takedowns of outside scientists critical of government policy.
So, what did the government want censored?
The trouble began on Oct. 4, 2020, when my colleagues and I – Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, and Dr. Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford – published the Great Barrington Declaration. It called for an end to economic lockdowns, school shutdowns, and similar restrictive policies because they disproportionately harm the young and economically disadvantaged while conferring limited benefits.
The Declaration endorsed a “focused protection” approach that called for strong measures to protect high-risk populations while allowing lower-risk individuals to return to normal life with reasonable precautions. Tens of thousands of doctors and public health scientists signed on to our statement.
With hindsight, it is clear that this strategy was the right one. Sweden, which in large part eschewed lockdown and, after early problems, embraced focused protection of older populations, had among the lowest age-adjusted all-cause excess deaths of nearly every other country in Europe and suffered none of the learning loss for its elementary school children. Similarly, Florida has lower cumulative age-adjusted all-cause excess deaths than lockdown-crazy California since the start of the pandemic.
In the poorest parts of the world, the lockdowns were an even greater disaster. By spring 2020, the United Nations was already warning that the economic disruptions caused by the lockdowns would lead to 130 million or more people starving. The World Bank warned the lockdowns would throw 100 million people into dire poverty.
Some version of those predictions came true – millions of the world’s poorest suffered from the West’s lockdowns. Over the past 40 years, the world’s economies globalized, becoming more interdependent. At a stroke, the lockdowns broke the promise the world’s rich nations had implicitly made to poor nations. The rich nations had told the poor: Reorganize your economies, connect yourself to the world, and you will become more prosperous. This worked, with 1 billion people lifted out of dire poverty over the last half-century.
But the lockdowns violated that promise. The supply chain disruptions that predictably followed them meant millions of poor people in sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh, and elsewhere lost their jobs and could no longer feed their families.
In California, where I live, the government closed public schools and disrupted our children’s education for two straight academic years. The educational disruption was very unevenly distributed, with the poorest students and minority students suffering the greatest educational losses. By contrast, Sweden kept its schools open for students under 16 throughout the pandemic. The Swedes let their children live near-normal lives with no masks, no social distancing, and no forced isolation. As a result, Swedish kids suffered no educational loss.
The lockdowns, then, were a form of trickle-down epidemiology. The idea seemed to be that we should protect the well-to-do from the virus and that protection would somehow trickle down to protect the poor and the vulnerable. The strategy failed, as a large fraction of the deaths attributable to COVID hit the vulnerable elderly.
The government wanted to suppress the fact that there were prominent scientists who opposed the lockdowns and had alternate ideas – like the Great Barrington Declaration – that might have worked better. They wanted to maintain an illusion of total consensus in favor of Tony Fauci’s ideas, as if he were indeed the high pope of science. When he told an interviewer, “Everyone knows I represent science. If you criticize me, you are not simply criticizing a man, you are criticizing science itself,” he meant it unironically.
Federal officials immediately targeted the Great Barrington Declaration for suppression. Four days after the declaration’s publication, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins emailed Fauci to organize a “devastating takedown” of the document. Almost immediately, social media companies such as Google/YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook censored mentions of the declaration.
In 2021, Twitter blacklisted me for posting a link to the Great Barrington Declaration. YouTube censored a video of a public policy roundtable of me with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the “crime” of telling him the scientific evidence for masking children is weak.
At the height of the pandemic, I found myself smeared for my supposed political views, and my views about COVID policy and epidemiology were removed from the public square on all manner of social networks.
It is impossible for me not to speculate about what might have happened had our proposal been met with a more typical scientific spirit rather than censorship and vitriol. For anyone with an open mind, the GBD represented a return to the old pandemic management strategy that had served the world well for a century – identify and protect the vulnerable, develop treatments and countermeasures as rapidly as possible, and disrupt the lives of the rest of society as little as possible since such disruption is likely to cause more harm than good.
Without censorship, we might have won that debate, and if so, the world could have moved along a different and better path in the last three and a half years, with less death and less suffering.
Since I started with a story about how dissidents skirted the Soviet censorship regime, I will close with a story about Trofim Lysenko, the famous Russian biologist. Stalin’s favorite scientist was a biologist who did not believe in Mendelian genetics – one of the most important ideas in biology. He thought it was all hokum, inconsistent with communist ideology, which emphasized the importance of nurture over nature. Lysenko developed a theory that if you expose seeds to cold before you plant them, they will be more resistant to cold, and thereby, crop output could be increased dramatically.
I hope it is not a surprise to readers to learn that Lysenko was wrong about the science. Nevertheless, Lysenko convinced Stalin that his ideas were right, and Stalin rewarded him by making him the director of the USSR’s Institute for Genetics for more than 20 years. Stalin gave him the Order of Lenin eight times.
Lysenko used his power to destroy any biologist who disagreed with him. He smeared and demoted the reputations of rival scientists who thought Mendelian genetics was true. Stalin sent some of these disfavored scientists to Siberia, where they died. Lysenko censored the scientific discussion in the Soviet Union so no one dared question his theories.
The result was mass starvation. Soviet agriculture stalled, and millions died in famines caused by Lysenko’s ideas put into practice. Some sources say that Ukraine and China under Mao Tse-tung also followed Lysenko’s ideas, causing millions more to starve there.
Censorship is the death of science and inevitably leads to the death of people. America should be a bulwark against it, but it was not during the pandemic. Though the tide is turning with the Missouri v. Biden case, we must reform our scientific institutions so what happened during the pandemic never happens again.
Dr. Bhattacharya is the inaugural recipient of RealClear’s Samizdat Prize. This article was adapted from the speech he delivered at the award ceremony on September 12 in Palo Alto, California.
Canon’s new technology competes with ASML in chip manufacturing
The new system, FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce semiconductors matching a 5nm process and scale down to 2nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip…
The new system, FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce semiconductors matching a 5nm process and scale down to 2nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip found in Apple's iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
Canon, the Japanese company recognized for its printers and cameras, unveiled a pivotal solution on Friday, Oct. 13, designed to aid in the production of cutting-edge semiconductor components.
According to a report from CNBC, Canon's recently introduced "nanoimprint lithography" system represents the company's competitive response to Dutch firm ASML, a dominant force in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machine sector. ASML's machinery is essential for producing cutting-edge chips, including those used in the latest Apple iPhones.
The utilization of these machines has been drawn into the technological conflict between the United States and China. The United States, employing export restrictions and diverse sanctions, has aimed to obstruct China's access to crucial chips and manufacturing machinery, hampering the progress of the world's second-largest economy in a field where it is already perceived as lagging.
ASML's EUV technology has gained significant traction among leading chip manufacturers due to its crucial role in enabling the production of semiconductors at 5 nanometers and below. This nanometer measurement pertains to the size of chip features, with smaller values accommodating more features on a chip, consequently enhancing semiconductor performance.
Canon reportedly announced that its new system, the FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce semiconductors matching a 5nm process and scale down to 2nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip found in Apple's iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which is a 3nm semiconductor.
The Dutch government has imposed restrictions on ASML, preventing the export of its EUV lithography machines to China, where no units have been shipped. This limitation exists due to the critical role of these machines in the production of cutting-edge semiconductor chips.
With Canon's assertion that their new machine can facilitate the production of semiconductors equivalent to 2nm, it is likely to face increased scrutiny.
Cointelegraph reported earlier that the Biden administration is targeting a loophole that has allowed developers in China to purchase chips from the infamous Huaqiangbei electronics area in Shenzhen, a city in southern China.china
It’s All About Provoking Your Reaction
It’s All About Provoking Your Reaction
Authored by Scott Horton via The Libertarian Institute,
…so wise up!
With terrorism, as with all…
...so wise up!
With terrorism, as with all asymmetric political action, “the action is in the reaction of the opposition,” as Saul Alinsky, the leftist activist, put it in his book Rules for Radicals.
This isn’t conspiracy stuff, nor impossible “4th dimensional chess”—it’s just plain, old 2-dimentional chess. That’s all.
Hamas, al Qaeda, and similar groups slaughter civilians—beheaded babies or not, they certainly murdered hundreds and hundreds of innocent, civilian Israeli non-combatants in this one (including an extended family member of mine) just as they slaughtered thousands on September 11—for a reason, not simply because they are angry or devils. It’s a tactic. They are trying to provoke a reaction.
They are trying to make you angry, to make you hate, even drive you crazy. Yes—yes—for the purpose of making the more powerful force (i.e. the United States, Israel) do even worse to their own people, such as getting the U.S. to invade Afghanistan and getting Israel to bomb the Gaza strip. Not that al Qaeda was from Afghanistan, but that’s where they were and that’s who they knew were gonna get it. (Also, by the way, U.S. support for Israel’s crimes in Palestine and Lebanon was a huge part of the motive for al Qaeda’s war against the United States in the first place, including for some of the most important pilot hijackers and organizers of the plot.)
This is then meant to provoke still further counter-reactions. It “heightens the contradictions” as the commies used to say. It forces leaders of Muslim states and armed groups everywhere to take a stand. It destroys stability and negotiations and progress, radicalizes new groups and forces everyone back into the fight on one side or the other. It makes every sock-puppet princeling of the Gulf take a stand in support like the Ayatollah or sell out in silence in the most embarrassing way, like Crown Prince bin Salman, etc.
It’s the same reason Bosnian Muslim forces butchered Serbs and Chechen Muslim forces butchered Russians and ISIS slaughtered Shi’ites: to provoke a worse crisis for everyone in the hopes that the overall situation changes to their advantage.
I would note that terrorism is usually as stupid as it is evil; see Bosnia, where they got less and less; Chechnya, Syria and Iraq Wars II and III where they lost outright. Osama’s nemesis, the Saudi monarchy, still stands, and with as degenerate a self-worshiper in the Crown Prince position as he could have ever feared. Hamas may very well not survive this.
But for Israel to completely destroy them would require a level of violence that the civilian population of the Gaza strip, one half of them under 18 years old—all of them trapped with no where to go—simply cannot withstand. Hundreds have already been killed.
Ramzy Baroud argues that a land invasion of the strip will be a catastrophe for Israel too.
The longer this goes on, the greater the danger to the Israeli hostages as well.
By widening the war into a full-scale invasion of Gaza, the Israelis risk spreading the war to a full-scale uprising on the West Bank, a fight with Hezbollah in Lebanon or even northern Israel, which could then lead to things going sideways in Iraq—where George W. Bush installed a very Iran- and Hezbollah-friendly Shi’ite theocracy in power—and who-knows what.
Powerful Muslim states who are friendly to Israel, such as Turkey and Egypt, must be allowed to step in and play a negotiating role here.
Stop reacting. And stop posturing like a bunch of little girls on TikTok. Pull the brakes before it’s too late.
I know calling your congressmen feels like pissing in the wind. But do what you can to make your voice heard and call for cease-fire and talks as soon as possible.
Ultimately the Palestinians must have independence or citizenship. Otherwise, as Ariel Sharon’s man, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, they’re left with an untenable apartheid state.
And the United States should stop sharing in the responsibility for this shame immediately by ending all aid and military support for the occupation - and for that matter in all cases, everywhere.
Also, USS Gerald Ford: watch your six.
Where The Ultra-Rich Spend Their Holidays
Where The Ultra-Rich Spend Their Holidays
There are more than 25,000 centi-millionaires around the world today, forming an elite club composed…
There are more than 25,000 centi-millionaires around the world today, forming an elite club composed primarily of founders and heirs of family fortunes.
According to Henley & Partners, most of these individuals - who have more than $100 million in investable assets by definition - split their time between several properties each year.
To explore the destinations that are the most sought-after by the ultra-wealthy, Visual Capitalist's Selin Oğuz and Christina Kostandi visualized the cities that saw the biggest influx of seasonal centi-millionaire residents in 2022, using data from Henley & Partners.
Centi-Millionaire Vacation Hotspots
The top three seasonal vacation hotspots of the ultra-rich are found in the United States: Miami, the Hamptons, and Florida’s West Palm Beach.
This may not come as a shock given the concentration of centi-millionaires in the United States, with New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles being home to the highest number of centi-millionaire residents in the world.
Regardless of where they live year-round, the table below reveals where these elites flock for seasonal getaways in their secondary homes.
|Rank||City or Town||Year-Round Centi-Millionaire Residents, 2022||Peak Holiday Month Centi-Millionaire Residents, 2022|
|1||???????? Miami, Florida||160||800|
|2||???????? The Hamptons, New York||25||700|
|3||???????? West Palm Beach, Florida||64||400|
|4||???????? Paris, France||126||300|
|5||???????? Santa Barbara & Montecito, California||82||200|
|6||???????? San Diego, California||70||200|
|7||???????? Nice, France||60||200|
|8||???????? Napa, California||28||200|
|9||???????? Golden Triangle, Algarve, Portugal||20||200|
|10||???????? Aspen, Colorado||6||200|
|11||???????? Carmel-by-the-Sea, California||40||150|
|12||???????? Boca Raton, Florida||38||150|
|13||???????? Lisbon, Portugal||35||150|
|14||???????? Lugano, Switzerland||30||150|
|15||???????? Cannes, France||20||150|
|16||???????? Antibes, France||18||150|
|17||???????? Jackson Hole, Wyoming||10||150|
The data above only considers centi-millionaires vacationing in their secondary residences, therefore excluding hotel stays, holiday rentals, and yachts. Peak holiday months vary for each location.
Beyond the 10 U.S. cities that constitute the top 17 centi-millionaire seasonal hotspots, we come across several French cities on the list, including Paris, Nice, Cannes, and Antibes, as well as Portugal’s Golden Triangle and Lisbon.
Global Centi-Millionaire Trends
According to Henley & Partners’ 2023 Centi-Millionaire Report, the global centi-millionaire population is expected to grow by 38% in the next decade, reaching nearly 40,000 by 2033.
Much of this growth is expected to be seen in countries such as China, India, and Saudi Arabia. China’s Hangzhou and Shenzhen, specifically, are expected to see the highest percentage growth in centi-millionaire populations through 2033, growing by 95% and 88%, respectively.
Despite the rapid growth of the wealthy in the global East, however, it’s notable that many centi-millionaires are still graduating from American universities.
More than half of the top 20 universities with the most centi-millionaire alumni are in the United States, with Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania making up the top three spots.
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