By Jeff Childers
Happy Tuesday, C&C! I’m traveling this week, so the schedule’s a little mixed up (we’re in a different time zone). Also I accidentally checked the wrong box, or forgot to check one, and the comments were accidentally throttled to paying subscribers only yesterday (sorry).
Anyway, today’s thoughtful roundup includes: the UN Human Rights Commissioner takes a stand against … human rights; Biden does an about-face and supports lefty dissident’s killer; the AP fires the reporter who fingered Russia for the Polish missile strike; and the Wall Street Journal ties Trump to SBF, or SBF to Trump, or something.
🗞 *THE C&C ARMY POST* 🗞
🪖 NOTE: C&C will be taking a brief holiday hiatus on Thursday (Thanksgiving in the U.S.) and Friday of this week, so get ready.
🪖 Stew Peters’ new documentary “Sudden Death” became available online yesterday, and several readers asked me to post the link. It’s a fascinating, high-production-value effort. The interviews with the embalmers are worth the watch even if you don’t watch anything else. It’s some of the best and most compelling video of what embalmer after embalmer described as an epidemic of fibrous clots — in most bodies — that started about 18 months ago.
🗞*WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
🔥 Back during the battles against mandates, in and out of court, I often made the point that a good constitution is necessary — but not sufficient. You know who had a terrific constitution, a REALLY good one? Weimar Germany, before Hitler came to power. It guaranteed all kinds of rights, even to jews. The trouble came from a teeny tiny emergency provision that gave “temporary” powers to the chief executive, and that ultimately gulped down all other rights after Hitler used those temporary emergency powers to suspend other key constitutional provisions.
You know who else had a terrific constitution? Soviet Russians living under Stalin. Theirs loftily provided for separation of church and state, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to vote by secret ballot, free health care, free education, and freedom of assembly. In reality though, Soviet citizens weren’t permitted to exercise any of those rights. That appalling irony has even birthed an infamous term, “the Soviet Constitution problem,” used to describe ambitious paper rights that are only “ornamental” but aren’t enforceable in any practical sense.
This morning, the Daily Sceptic ran a story headlined, “Why is the UN Commissioner For Human Rights Trying to Suppress Free Speech on Twitter?” Before I get into the details of the story, let’s refresh on the U.N.’s wondrous Declaration of Human Rights, passed in 1948, which the Commissioner has the duty to uphold, enforce, and promote.
The United Nations is very proud of its Declaration, which it modestly describes as “a milestone document in the history of human rights.” In Declaration’s prefix, it says that it “sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected[.]”
Sounds nice. But we’ll see that when words can mean whatever the ruling élite want them to mean, the words “universally” and “protected” mean something quite different than what you originally thought they meant.
Let’s begin with this idealistic “whereas” paragraph from the Declaration’s preamble:
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people[.]
There it is. The highest aspiration! Humans’ highest aspirations include enjoying freedom of SPEECH. Free speech AND free belief. Reading that lovely paragraph, you’d think people should be able to say or believe whatever they want while being free from fear of anything bad happening to them for speaking out.
Next — now, don’t laugh — let’s take a look the Declaration of Human Rights ensures those highest aspirations of humanity in its Article 19:
Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
That’s the whole thing. I didn’t leave anything out. According to this, governments are supposed to “interfere” with people’s freedoms of speech and belief. Note that last one, the right to “impart information and ideas through ANY media.”
You with me so far? Just double check me; I didn’t see any words like “except for” or “excluding” in Article 19.
The Daily Sceptic reported that, on November 5th, Volker Türk, the UN’s newest High Commissioner for Human Rights, sent an open letter to Elon Musk expressing his “concern and apprehension” (both!) about Twitter’s role in the “digital public square.” Mr. Türk urged Musk to ensure human rights would be “central to the management of Twitter” — so far, so good — but then he said, also to “address harms” associated with the platform.
You’re probably thinking, as I was, that the harms Mr. Türk was concerned about included things like threats to human rights from human trafficking and censorship. But no.
Mr. Türk was actually fretting about disinformation and misinformation.
To be fair, he started well. Mr. Türk urged Twitter to “stand up for the rights to privacy and free expression to the full [sic] extent possible under relevant laws.” But then, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights went off the rails. Without even trying to reconcile the two views, he declared that “free speech is not a free pass” and that the “viral spread of harmful disinformation…results in real world harms.”
Türk urged Twitter to take responsibility to “avoid amplifying content” that could result in undefined “harms” to people’s “rights,” which were also undefined. Here’s the paragraph from Türk’s letter:
Warming to his theme, Türk piled onto to the list of contraband speech, now adding speech that he — or the government? a court? anyone? — finds to be “hatred that incites discrimination, hostility, or violence.” Again, this is to protect people, for SAFETY, because Türk’s “own investigations” (undescribed) prove that “hate speech” (undefined) results in “horrific, life-threatening consequences for thousands of people” (unnamed).
Then, on behalf of the United Nations and on behalf, really, of all humanity, the High Commissioner called for more “content moderation” and a “safe platform,” including, but not only, here in the United States.
By definition, content moderation IS censorship. Is it not? And censorship is a limitation on speech, correct? Which is sort of the opposite from what Article 19 provides, unless I am missing something.
If we microscopically inspect the exact language in Article 19, every character, comma, and em-space, we still find no lofty list of limitations on the fundamental “freedom to hold opinions without interference” (interference by whom?) or on the fundamental right to “impart information and ideas through any media[.]” ANY media. Like Twitter, presumably.
How do we square all this? There’s only one way. Put plainly, according to the U.N.’s own High Commissioner on Human Rights, a subject-matter expert if ever there were one, Article 19 does not mean what you think it means.
See, this right here is the problem. The same problem the Germans had. The same problem the Soviet Russians had. In fact, we should probably update the phrase “Soviet Constitution problem,” and instead use the more modern formulation, the “Declaration of Human Rights problem.”
On paper, the U.N.’s fundamental human rights look wonderful. But rights can be downright vexing when they interfere with your lucrative vaccination program, so in practice, the United Nations has reserved to itself the right to enforce, to not enforce, to amend, or to simply override peoples’ fundamental rights, whenever it can enunciate a “life-threatening” risk to “thousands of people” out of the Earth’s eight billion souls.
Even if those “life-threatening risks” come from WORDS. (How far we’ve come from ‘sticks and stones can break my bones,’ et cetera.)
We already watched this movie, back in the 20th century, and we saw how it turned out. Poorly, that’s how. So, no, thank you.
While I was writing up this story, I decided that I’m going to exercise my fundamental “right to impart information” by mailing a copy of the U.N.’s Declaration of Human Rights to Mr. Türk, with the relevant part (Article 19) highlighted. Maybe he overlooked it on his initial review? Be optimistic.
Here’s his mailing address in case you want to impart any information to Mr. Türk, too:
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
I’ll put my letter up on my Twitter feed after I send it to my staff for delivery.
If you prefer to email, general inquiries should be sent to:
🔥 Sometimes, every once in a while, I feel a sense of profound sympathy for our brothers and sisters on the left. It must be exhausting trying to keep up, day in and day out, with who to hate, and who to love, and who to support, and who to oppose, especially when the narratives are pivoting faster than a turnstile at a dog track.
The Associated Press ran a controversial story Friday headlined, “U.S. Moves to Shield Saudi Crown Prince in Journalist Killing.”
It’s generous to call Jamal Khashoggi a journalist. He was a radical leftwing activist (euphemistically, a “dissident”), beloved by marxists, and a long-standing thorn in Saudi Arabia’s favorite camel’s hoof. But since the Washington Post employed him as a cover, Khashoggi has been universally described in the lefty press as a “journalist.”
He’s dead now though. The evidence suggests Khashoggi probably encountered an unhappy ending. While nothing has been proven, the left is 100% sure that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered a hit on Khashoggi, although his body has never been found.
“I think it was a flat-out murder,” candidate Biden said in a 2019 CNN town hall, even though he’s not a detective or even knows what day it is. He went on, sort of yelling and pumping his fist, saying “And I think we should have nailed it as that. I publicly said at the time we should treat it that way and there should be consequences relating to how we deal with those — that power.”
Consequences! Remember that.
Back in February 2021, the New York Times also reported that candidate Biden promised voters that his plan was to make the Saudis “pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.”
MAKE THEM a pariah.
Whoopsies! Life has a way of catching up with you, and whalloping you in the face right when you’re bending down to pick the season’s first wildflower. It turns out that Khashoggi’s (now ex-) fiancé and his non-profit (“Democracy for the Arab World Now,” or DAWN) sued the Crown Prince in U.S. federal court, and the Crown Prince asserted sovereign immunity as a defense.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The judge gave the federal government until this week to say whether it agreed with the Crown Prince or not on the sovereign immunity issue. For some reason, the judge wants to know what the feds think.
If you’re Joe Biden, and you swore to bring justice to the Saudi leader, and make the country into a “pariah” nation, but on the other hand you also want to lower the price of Arab oil to tighten sanctions against Russia, what do you do? Adhere to your principles? Or do the politically expedient thing?
He did the politically expedient thing. The State Department filed a brief SUPPORTING the Crown Prince’s assertion of sovereign immunity as a complete defense to the lawsuit. Instead of of supporting or opposing the Crown Prince’s sovereign immunity status, the government had the option to just stay silent.
Instead the State Department said yep, by “long standing precedent,” the Crown Prince is a sovereign who should be immune from lawsuits by U.S. citizens. The government said what MBS did was awful, but what can you do? The law’s the law.
Some people weren’t too happy. Sarah Leah Whitson, who runs Khashoggi’s non-profit, reacted to the news saying, “It’s impossible to read the Biden administration’s move today as anything more than a capitulation to Saudi pressure tactics, including slashing oil output to twist our arms to recognize MBS’s fake immunity ploy.”
Now leftists will have to exercise their cognitive dissonance glands again, and reconcile helping blood enemy Crown Prince Mohammed get off the hook, with the ugly political necessity of cozying up to the Saudis to help out the proxy war effort.
Someone should probably make a virtue-signaling app that tells you who to like and who to hate in real time.
🔥 And just like that, look what happened next:
Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 @JackPosobiec
BREAKING: Saudis to boost oil production after Biden admin grants MBS immunity from lawsuits in Khashoggi death thepostmillennial.comSaudis may boost oil production after Biden admin shields crown prince from punishment in death of Jamal KhashoggiA production increase of up to 500,000 barrels a day is now under discussion for OPEC’s December 4 meeting, delegates said….12:42 PM ∙ Nov 22, 20225,108Likes2,232Retweets
🚀 In another wonderful illustration of how at times life on the left can be very hard indeed, the Daily Beast ran a story yesterday headlined, “AP Fires Reporter Behind Retracted ‘Russian Missiles’ Story.”
Last Tuesday the AP broke a story, written by investigative reporter James Laporta, that “a senior U.S. intelligence official” had reported that “Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people.” The story went viral — as it should have, given the implications — but was abruptly yanked off the internet the very next day.
Instead, Laporta’s story was replaced with an editor’s note saying the “senior U.S. intelligence official” was wrong, and that “subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were … most likely fired by Ukraine[.]”
So, never mind.
Yesterday, the AP fired Mr. Laporta. The Daily Beast reached out to the AP for a comment, but got back only a generalized response referring to the agency’s rules over the use of anonymous sources. Nor would the AP say who edited Laporta’s story, or whether that person was also disciplined.
Poor Mr. Laporta. He probably thought he was helping out, by reporting the evil Russians had bombed the Poles. But it backfired, since it was the evil Ukrainians who did it instead, and we aren’t supposed to call them evil Ukrainians, are we, so the story was SUPPOSED to be about an importune accident, no one’s fault really, happens all the time during these unfortunate conflicts.
Even better would have been a story about how it was actually RUSSIA’S fault, because Russia started the war after all, and without the war, this never would have happened.
Life can be hard for journalists in the narrative whirlwind. Let’s take a moment to sympathize for poor Mr. Laporta, who grabbed the wrong narrative line, and jibed when he should have tacked, or vice-versa, or something.
🔥 The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed Sunday comparing FTX’s slovenly frontman Sam Bankman-Fried to … former president Donald Trump! The piece is headlined, “What Donald Trump and Sam Bankman-Fried Have in Common,” further explained by the sub-headline, “Both men cast themselves as saviors. Yet both deceived and exploited their supporters.”
Yeah, they’re TOTALLY the same. Okay.
The writer goes through a long laundry lists of complaints about Donald Trump and them metaphorically compares them to SBF. That part is largely unoriginal and dull. But then she got a little more interesting when she discovered one single difference between the two:
Yet there’s one striking difference: Most Republicans didn’t buy Mr. Trump’s election lies, and many GOP leaders called them out. By contrast, a sycophantic press and sophisticated investors—including BlackRock, Sequoia Capital and SoftBank—seem to have disregarded the glaring red flags about Mr. Bankman-Fried.
Indeed! She points out that nobody — not journalists or investors or analysts — ever asked Sam some very simple questions like, where did the $74 million to buy the Bahamas properties come from, or where did the $37 million he gave to democrats come from?
That was the article’s high point. The op-ed quickly ramped down to a lame ending, concluding “FTX failed because Mr. Bankman-Fried’s supporters lost confidence in him.” On one level, this is just inartful wishful thinking, showing the writer stretching to make a final comparison to Trump — i.e., maybe Trump’s supporters will lose confidence in him, too.
But at a deeper level, the op-ed’s silly conclusion illustrates how corporate media is still running cover for Bankman-Fried. FTX didn’t fail because investors lost confidence. Its bankruptcy filings show it had less than a million dollars’ assets, after it raised — and spent — almost ten BILLION bucks.
No, FTX failed because Sam Bankman-Fried is a politically-connected crook, and FTX was a fake front for a massive criminal conspiracy, protected by politicians and by corporate media. Corporate media like the Wall Street Journal.
The whole silly, throwaway op-ed is a strategic plate of narrative psyops. It ties SBF to Republicans (‘he’s like Trump’) instead of democrats, minimizes SBF’s criminal culpability (‘his investors lost confidence’), and plants the story in the world of politics and virtue signaling, instead of where it should be: news and media manipulation.
All of which makes me wonder: how many news grant dollars did the Wall Street Journal take from Sam’s fake nonprofits?
The ‘news grant’ technique is very sophisticated, like all good con jobs. They say the best cons are the most ridiculous ones, leaving the victim too embarrassed or ashamed to admit he got conned. Let’s suppose the WSJ got $10 million from an FTX partner, say, the “Happy Sunny Human Good Works Foundation.” All good so far.
But, now that the gravy train has crashed into a school bus filled with investors, if the Journal were ever to admit FTX was a fraud, they’d hypothetically have to admit the gift of $10 million was stolen investor money, and then they might have to give it all back.
In other words, telling the truth about FTX could cost a media company millions. Devilishly clever. And, because the money transfers are shamelessly dressed up as “grants,” the Journal couldn’t even claim they’d EARNED the money. They’d have no moral or ethical justification for keeping it.
Who knows, maybe there’s some kind of lesson here. Maybe, if you’re a news company, you shouldn’t take large unearned, unsolicited, and undisclosed gifts, because it could leave you in a tight spot later. Just say no! I realize it’s tempting, but money isn’t everything, and it’s how the Devil gets you.
Just an idea.
Have a terrific Tuesday! I’ll see you guys tomorrow for the gala pre-Thanksgiving roundup.
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The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.