NH: Political consultant behind fake Biden robocalls faces $6 million fine & criminal charges

Source: SFGate

“A political consultant who sent artificial intelligence-generated robocalls mimicking President Joe Biden’s voice to voters ahead of New Hampshire’s presidential primary faces a $6 million fine and more than two dozen criminal charges. The Federal Communications Commission said the fine it proposed Thursday for Steven Kramer is its first involving generative AI technology. The company accused of transmitting the calls, Lingo Telecom, faces a $2 million fine, though in both cases the parties could settle or further negotiate, the FCC said. Kramer has admitted orchestrating a message that was sent to thousands of voters two days before the first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 23. The message played an AI-generated voice similar to the Democratic president’s that used his phrase ‘What a bunch of malarkey’ and falsely suggested that voting in the primary would preclude voters from casting ballots in November.” (05/23/24)


Trump Mar-a-Lago lethal force claim is just stupid

Source: Fox News Forum
by Andrew McCarthy

“Having been at the Trump trial in Manhattan for the last couple of days, I cannot say I’m surprised at former president Trump’s inane claim that President Biden authorized the use of lethal force in connection with the FBI’s execution of a court-authorized search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The claim is political red meat for conspiracy theorists. A search warrant is not a day at the circus (something I can’t say about days spent at the trial). Most are executed without incident; many are not. All of them involve a probable-cause finding that incriminating evidence will be recovered on the premises — which usually are associated with people suspected of crimes. Many of those crimes, though by no means all of them, are violent. Virtually all of them involve situations in which law-enforcement officials have concluded that if evidence is not seized, it might be destroyed or manipulated (in cases of nonviolent crimes involving generally law-abiding people who exhibit cooperation with police and prosecutors, the government usually secures evidence by means less intrusive than a compulsory search).” (05/23/24)


Nevada to start tabulating ballots earlier on Election Day for quicker results

Source: SFGate

“Nevada election officials can start tabulating in-person Election Day votes as they come in, rather than waiting for polls to close in an effort to get results out quicker, Democratic Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar said Wednesday. Aguilar cited state law in making the recommendation to county election officials that also include tabulating mail ballots as early voting is underway. The recommendations apply to both Nevada’s primary on June 11 and the November general election. The changes could help quell anxiety over close races in a western swing state known for razor-thin margins. The nation watched Nevada closely in 2022 for the outcome of a U.S. Senate race that was decided by less than 8,000 votes, as the final mail ballots were counted after other battleground races were settled. If county election officials adopt the recommendations, ballots will be counted throughout the day of the primary and general elections. But no results will be released until after the polls close.” (05/23/24)


Dr. King’s Words on Vietnam Still Ring True for Gaza

Source: Antiwar.com
by Andrew Moss

“As Israeli troops continue their assault in Rafah, increasing the death toll and displacing – yet again – hundreds of thousands of Gazans, there’s much to be learned from recalling Dr. Martin Luther King’s visionary words on Vietnam 57 years ago. Breaking his silence on a war that by then had claimed over 20,000 American and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives, King declared that the war in Vietnam was swallowing ‘men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube.’ It was blocking, he said, whatever progress the nation had been making toward economic and racial justice. Moreover, any hopes for a genuine multiracial democracy were being cruelly undercut by a war that drew disproportionately on poor American youth.” (05/23/24)


Is Colorado Really the “Clean Energy” Leader It Claims to Be?

Source: American Prospect
by Jennifer Oldham

“Oil and gas companies claim their production in Colorado is among the cleanest and least polluting hydrocarbons in the country, if not the world. Are they right? The assertion (from a fact sheet by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, an industry trade group) has legs. PDC Energy, an oil and gas firm recently purchased by Chevron Corp., cited it in an application to drill hundreds of wells, which was approved by regulators in late 2022. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and his Republican rival Joe O’Dea repeated it in televised debates during their 2022 campaign. And the U.S. Bureau of Land Management referenced it in a 2023 federal supplemental environmental impact statement. Fossil fuel advocates leaned into it in the spring to justify why Colorado legislators should kill a bill that would have phased out fossil fuel drilling.” (05/23/24)


The Rages of Equivalence: The ICC Prosecutor, Israel and Hamas

Source: CounterPunch
by Binoy Kampmark

“The legal world was abuzz. The diplomatic channels of various countries raged and fizzed. It had been rumoured that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with his cabinet colleagues, had been bracing themselves for a stinging intervention from the International Criminal Court, a body they give no credence or respect to. Then came the words from the Prosecutor of the ICC, Karim A.A. Khan on May 20, announcing that arrest warrants were being sought in the context of the Israel-Hamas War, benignly described as the ‘Situation in Palestine,’ under the Rome Statute.” (05/23/24)


An interesting implication of happiness economics

Source: Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall

“Happiness economics is that idea that we shouldn’t prioritise mere economic growth, or GDP, but should instead decide to run policy by whatever makes people happier, or even happiest. That this is already incorporated into standard free market economics — everyone gets to build their own path to utility maximisation — gets lost by the ideologues. But, you know, let’s take the initial claim — happiness is what should run policy — and see where that takes us.” (05/23/24)


Harvard Overrules Faculty, Stopping 13 Pro-Palestine Seniors From Graduating

Source: Common Dreams

“Harvard University’s board on Wednesday rejected a faculty vote to allow 13 seniors who had participated in a pro-Palestine encampment to graduate, provoking outrage from educators and students, some of whom protested outside the commencement ceremony Thursday morning. The Wednesday announcement followed competing decisions by Harvard institutions in the days leading up to graduation. On May 18, the college’s administrative board announced disciplinary actions against students (suspending five and placing more than 20 on probation) for their involvement in the on-campus encampment, which ended last week. This left the 13 seniors ineligible to graduate. Professors in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences responded on Monday by voting to amend the list of students receiving degrees to include the 13 students, effectively rejecting the administrative board’s decision. Harvard’s main governing board, known as the Corporation, had to make the final decision, which they announced in a statement on Wednesday.” (05/23/24)


Vindication at the Gym

Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“In July 2020, police in Bellmawr, New Jersey arrested Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti, owners of Atilis Gym, for resisting tyranny. A few months earlier, they had defied lockdown orders imposed by the administration of Democratic Governor Phil Murphy by reopening their business. Smith contended that the lockdown mandates were unconstitutional and especially harmed small businesses. … Now, in May 2024, almost four years later, all charges and summonses have been dismissed. But the gym has not recovered the $269,000 in fines and court costs it’s had to pay out.” (05/23/24)