Thursday, April 04, 2024

John Bolton suggests Trump ‘hasn’t got the brains’ to be a dictator.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS:  My husband convinced me to get pregnant. I had the baby, got laid off, and left him — I’m happy with all of my decisions. “I let strangers — an immigrant family — live in my house and pay my utilities while I share a bedroom with my daughter in my childhood home. Instead of putting her in care and finding a new job, I made use of the government benefit, reduced my bills, and embraced the multigenerational family home.”

Jeffrey Epstein’s Island Visitors Exposed by Data Broker Wired. “[M]any of the coordinates captured by Near point to multimillion-dollar homes in numerous US states.”

WELL, THEN, NO WORRIES:  John Bolton suggests Trump ‘hasn’t got the brains’ to be a dictator.

 While Internet use is nearly ubiquitous in many countries, not everyone is online. Divides still exist on technology usage between people in some advanced economies and those in some emerging economies, according to Pew Research Center data from 27 countries in 2022 and 2023. Smartphone ownership and social media use also vary around the world. 

While most adults in the countries surveyed own smartphones and use social media, there are still pockets where many do not. In addition, there are divides within countries on internet use, smartphone ownership and social media use based on demographic factors such as age, education and income. 

Almost universally, younger people and those with more education and income are more likely to be online, own a smartphone and use social media…”

Rest of World: “…Over the past decade, there has been a steep rise globally in law enforcement using facial recognition technology. Data gathered by Steven Feldstein, a researcher with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, found that government agencies in 78 countries now use public facial recognition systems. 

The public is often supportive of the use of such tech: 59% of U.K. adults told a survey they “somewhat” or “strongly” support police use of facial recognition technology in public spaces, and a Pew Research study found 46% of U.S. adults said they thought it was a good idea for society. In China, one study found that 51% of respondents approved of facial recognition tech in the public sphere, while in India, 69% of people said in a 2023 report that they supported its use by the police. 

But while authorities generally pitch facial recognition as a tool to capture terrorists or wanted murderers, the technology has also emerged as a critical instrument in a very particular context: punishing protesters…In countries where demonstrating can come with physical or political risk, large-scale protests have historically offered a degree of anonymity, and, with it, a level of protection. 

Mass protests are a way for citizens to express dissent as a collective — often under the assumption that “they can’t arrest us all.” But in the last decade, the spread of facial recognition technology has changed that equation: A lone face in a crowd is no longer anonymous; facial recognition allows authorities to capture people’s identities en masse…”

“It’s OK to feel broken. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed,” soothed R.M. Drake, one of my favorite creators. 

“He’s not running from you, babe, he’s running from himself. Let him go,” Stephanie Bennett-Henry, another go-to source, wrote.

“If you don’t leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future. You’ve got to live for what today’s offering. Not for what yesterday took away from you,” read one post. But “yesterday” also gave me my kids. I found it hard to separate my lasting love for them from my failed marriage. I kept trying.

I Was Shattered When My Husband Left Me. Then I Saw A Post On Facebook That Changed Everything.

ROGER KIMBALL: Easter Reflections: George Washington’s Farewell Address in Today’s America.

We modern sophisticates tend to blush when the subject of religion is broached. We mewl about “the separation of church and state” and wait for the moment we can utter the word “fundamentalist” to dismiss our opponents.

George Washington, however, was not a member of that anti-Christian church. Indeed, in one of the most famous passages of the Farewell Address, he stipulates that “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” In case we didn’t get it the first time, he proceeds to drive the point home. “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.”

Okay, he says we ought to have regard for morality. For such an Enlightenment figure as George Washington, morality surely does not encompass or stand upon religion.

But it does. “Let us with caution,” he writes, “indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Well, that was then. We’ve made such progress since 1796. We have embraced our hatred and antipathies with uncommon zeal, to the point where the words “secession” and “national divorce” are once again circulating in earnest. A snarling partisan spirit is alive and rancorous. We have in all essentials transformed ourselves from a republic into an oligarchy, trampling on such quaint guardrails as the separation and disbursement of powers. We have loaded ourselves—or, rather, we have been loaded—with eye-watering, incomprehensible mountains of debt. And we have loudly rejected the claims of traditional morality and religion as so many otiose and unprogressive holdovers from a discredited past.

Like those crosses outlined in light on the Manhattan skyline at night, George Washington’s exhortations and admonitions are residues of a lost and probably unrecoverable past. What that means for us now and in the future is sobering to contemplate. But this is Easter, a holiday commemorating a miracle. That is good, because we are going to need one.