House Republican wants lists of U.S. military gear in Afghanistan back online

House Republican Rep. Ted Budd is taking aim at the Biden administration’s move last month to scrub government websites of reports which detail the equipment that the U.S. military provided to the Afghan security forces throughout the 20-year war, some of which has been seized by the Taliban.

The North Carolina lawmaker said the administration is attempting to gloss over its “monumental failures while withdrawing from Afghanistan” by removing the lists and has introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy bill, to make the lists public again.

“My amendment simply restores some accountability to the taxpayer-funded equipment that President Biden left behind,” Mr. Budd said. “Taxpayers paid for this equipment, and they deserve to know how much of it is now in the hands of hostile Taliban forces.”

Earlier this month, officials from the Government Accountability Office confirmed that they removed close to 400 reports on Afghanistan from U.S. government websites, including comprehensive lists of U.S. military gear provided to the Afghan security forces.
The officials said the reports were removed to prevent the Taliban from identifying Afghans who had supported the U.S. throughout the war.

But Mr. Budd said he is skeptical of the administration’s explanation.

“The Biden administration’s attempt to cover up their monumental failures while withdrawing from Afghanistan is outrageous and must be reversed,” he said.

GAO officials quickly restored approximately 300 reports online after an initial review. Close to 75 documents remained under review as of Sept. 1.

A GAO spokesperson said Tuesday that 64 reports remain off-line. The agency recently cleared 35 reports for reposting and expects them to go back online later this week. 

The turnover of U.S. military equipment to the Taliban became one of several hot-button issues following the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Republican lawmakers especially became furious when it was revealed that arms meant for the U.S.-aligned Afghan security forces had ended up in the hands of the Taliban. The list of hardware included, among other items, Black Hawk helicopters, small arms and biometric equipment used to vet U.S. partner forces.

In the days following the collapse, social media posts showed Taliban forces carrying U.S. weaponry and posing before aircraft and other equipment provided by the U.S. military.

Early estimates of the total dollar value of turned-over equipment were disputed. All told, The Washington Post found that the U.S. provided more than $80 billion in materiel and training to the Afghan war efforts dating back to 2001, but only a relatively small fraction of that total constituted the weapons, helicopters vehicles, and equipment abandoned by U.S. troops in last month’s hurried evacuation.

Mr. Budd‘s amendment is one of several hundred that the House is slated to begin considering this week for the defense bill.

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Democrats Propose Section 230 Repeals Gunning for Online Firearms Marketplaces

The left wants to censor more! Big Tech has continued its onslaught of censorship of free speech online at the behest of the left. And now the left is gunning for online firearms marketplaces with a proposed repeal of certain Section 230 protections.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) officially introduced Senate Bill 2725 or the “Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act of 2021” last week. The bill would remove Section 230 “liability shield” protections from internet firearms marketplaces, greatly limiting and even potentially ending gun sales on internet marketplaces. The Reload, an outlet specializing in gun-related news, suggested “the bill is likely to have a chilling effect on internet speech and lawful online commerce in firearms and accessories.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who is cosponsoring the bill with Blumenthal and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), claimed that the proposed bill is targeted at preventing criminals from being able to purchase firearms online without background checks. “This bill will reverse the disastrous holding in Daniel v. Armslist and ensure that online firearms marketplaces are held accountable for the gun deaths they bear responsibility for,” Blumenthal stated. The bill asserted that almost “1 in 9 prospective gun buyers” responding to “unlicensed sellers” on major internet gun marketplaces would not pass background checks.  No citation was provided for the study.

Even supposing the study is accurate, almost 90 percent of prospective buyers from “unlicensed sellers” are acting lawfully, noted The Reload.  Therefore the bill, if passed, has the potential to harm legitimate buyers more than criminals, the outlet suggested. A 2016 University of Pittsburgh study concluded that “79% of perpetrators are connected to firearms for which they are not the legal owner.” The study saw “theft or trafficking” as more likely sources for criminals’ guns.

The Reload sees a high likelihood of online gun marketplace platforms shutting down “permanently” if the bill is passed. The outlet classified the push to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) as another factor potentially causing a “war of attrition” likely to make gun sales “decrease” and gun companies go out of business.

Democrats have previously attacked Section 230 in its First Amendment applications as enabling too much free speech online on multiple occasions. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) claimed that Section 230 allowed “radicalization” to spread through social media in January. The Biden administration was considering changing Section 230 in July to increase censorship. Yet, Biden called for Section 230 to be revoked while running for president.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Sens. Richard Blumenthal by phone at (202) 224-2823 or by email, Dianne Feinstein by phone at (415) 393-0707 or by email, and Sheldon Whitehouse by phone at (202) 224-2921 or by email, and demand that they require Big Tech to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency and equal footing for conservatives.  If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable



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Ugh: NY Times Bows to Biden Press Secretary and Her ‘Yasss Queen’ Online ‘Cult of Psaki’

New York Times media reporter Michael Grynbaum devoted 2,300 words to profiling President Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki for Sunday’s edition, bragging in the online headline that normalcy (and a more compliant press corps?) had returned to the White House with Trump out: “Bully Pulpit No More: Jen Psaki’s Turn at the Lectern.”

Grynbaum’s piece reeked of cringy attempts to be hip, down to the Instagram-ready opening line in which we learn that “political fame hits different” (i.e., has a different effect on one than it did previously) with bad man Trump off the scene.

Jen Psaki, President Biden’s press secretary, may be the most prominent spokeswoman in American politics, but political fame hits different in the post-Trump era.

Grynbaum relayed shout-outs from Psaki’s embarrassing online fan club.

But a cult of Psaki has proliferated online, where clips of her restrained, if occasionally withering exchanges with reporters have established this once obscure political strategist as an unlikely cultural force. Her retorts earn “yas queen” praise from liberals, while conservatives jeer her attempts at spin, particularly over the past month, when the confluence of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, extreme weather and coronavirus confusion meant the questions were more pointed and the answers more scrutinized.

He let Psaki prevail while staging a social media smackdown against her “regular foil,” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy.

Now the hashtag #jenpsaki has 139 million views on TikTok, and its pun of a cousin, #psakibomb (the P in Psaki is silent — get it?), has racked up more than 13 million. She posed for Annie Leibovitz in Vogue magazine and answered questions on the NPR [game] show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! Olivia Rodrigo stood next to her for a briefing. Her exchanges with a regular foil, the Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, often get memed.

As the TikTok user “fabiantiktoks30sclub” put it, in a clip with 65,000 likes: “Yassss queen jen psaki let the clown doocey have it!!”

Meanwhile, Grynbaum glossed over Psaki’s press-room evasions.

Crisp and precise in her answers, even if she does not always respond directly to a reporter’s questions, Ms. Psaki, in her speaking style, is a contrast to Mr. Biden and his circuitous folksiness. In interviews, Washington correspondents often used the word “professional” — high praise in D.C. — to describe interactions with her, deeming her straightforward, detail-dense briefings a relief after an era when Mr. Trump’s press secretaries repeatedly insulted, denigrated and frequently ignored journalists.

To be fair, the bar may be rather low.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to not have people personally attacked on a regular basis,” said April Ryan, a correspondent for The Grio who has covered White House press briefings since the 1990s and received her own share of vitriol from the Trump administration.

It’s not surprising that a Democrat partisan like Ryan would approve. Grynbaum briefly noted critics “on the right,” but strove to neutralize their criticisms of the White House press corps, using Psaki herself.

Not surprisingly, she has her share of detractors, especially on the right.

“I walked into the lion’s den every day — she walks into a bunch of kittens,” Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s first press secretary and now the 6 p.m. anchor on Newsmax, said in an interview.

Mr. Spicer often complains that White House correspondents who aggressively questioned the Trump administration now give Mr. Biden a free pass. (The correspondents disagree.)

He also noted Breitbart White House reporter Charlie Spiering called her briefings “rehearsed, scripted, and boring.” This was the story’s last paragraph:

For Ms. Psaki and her allies — who know the power of a certain bury-them-in-facts tedium — this may be more feature than bug. “You guys can be an ornery bunch, you know,” Mr. [David] Axelrod said of the reporters who cover the White House. “She commands respect.



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Singapore primary schools to shift online as COVID-19 cases rise

FILE PHOTO: A man receives his vaccination at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination center in Singapore March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

September 18, 2021

(Reuters) -Singapore’s primary schools will shift to home-based learning for 10 days ahead of a key national examination, the education ministry said on Saturday, as the country reported 935 new COVID-19 cases the previous day, the highest since April last year.

Primary 1 to 5 students will move to home-based learning from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6.

Primary 6 students will go on a study break for a few days from Sept. 25 before sitting for the national examination to minimise risk of school-based transmissions and reduce the number of students placed in quarantine.

“With the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examination) written paper examinations approaching, we will undertake further measures to protect students who are not yet medically eligible for vaccination and give parents and students greater peace of mind,” said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.

A recent rise in cases after the relaxation of some COVID-19 measures has prompted Singapore to pause on further reopening. More than 80% of its population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The country is looking at vaccinating children under 12 years in early 2022.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore and Jahnavi Nidumolu in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Richard Pullin)





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AOC torched online for wearing “Tax The Rich” dress to Met Gala

Progressive Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is facing backlash from online audiences for her wardrobe choice at the famed Met Gala on Monday evening.

Tickets to the high-fashion soiree reportedly cost $30,000-$35,000 a head, and tables sell for $250,000-$300,000. Despite the hefty price tag and A-list guest list, the New York congresswoman opted to wear a white gown with the words “Tax The Rich” splashed across the back in bright red. 

The progressive second-term representative has repeatedly called to increase taxes on wealthy Americans.

Fans and detractors of the congresswoman alike derided her wardrobe selection at the New York City event as a political misstep:

“What makes @AOC a bigger fraud: The “tax the rich dress” while she’s hanging out with a bunch of wealthy leftwing elites or the lack of masks after spending the past 18 months as one of the biggest authoritarian mask Karens in the country?” wrote Donald Trump Jr.

Chief Variety TV critic Daniel D’Addario wrote, “I am a big admirer of the work of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in government and on the public stage, and think tonight looks, in the moment, like a weird misstep. There’s changing the system from within, and there there’s …”

Political commentator Stephen Miller wrote, ‘You know who isn’t at the Met Gala? Joe Manchin.”

Ocasio-Cortez wore the dress hours after the Democrat-controlled House release a plan to raise roughly $3 trillion in revenue through a package of tax increases on high-wager earner, corporations and other to pay for $3.5 trillion spending bill full of progressive initiative including those on green energy and expanded, government-funded health care.

Actor Michael Rapaport wrote, “@AOC will soon be rich with a ginormous production deal from somewhere & done with Politics, guarantee it. Stop treating ANY of these people like celebrities they are public servants and work for us.” 

Ocasio-Cortez dress was designed by Aurora James who, according to the congresswoman is a “sustainably focused, Black woman immigrant designer.”



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Nat Geo’s flowery Fauci documentary is getting absolutely torched online: ‘Pure garbage,’ ‘Worst doc ever,’ ‘This man belongs in prison’

A new National Geographic documentary portraying Dr. Anthony Fauci as an American hero and one of the country’s most dedicated public servants is getting mercilessly shredded by critics online.

What are the details?

The documentary, simply titled “Fauci,” aimed to show off the shrewdness and brilliance of the longtime National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director known for managing America’s national response to the AIDS epidemic and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

But based on early reaction, that objective was a complete miss. Since debuting in select theaters on Sept. 10, the film has garnered nothing short of an embarrassingly negative response.

As of Monday afternoon, a trailer for the documentary posted on YouTube showed 59,000 dislikes in comparison to just over 4,000 likes.

The documentary is similarly unpopular on IMDB.com, where more than a thousand users have given the project an embarrassing 2.1/10 rating.


Fauci | Official Trailer | National Geographic Documentary Films

www.youtube.com

The film’s failure, however, may have less to do with the quality of the production and more to do with its slanted admiration for the unpopular subject.

According to one reviewer, the film is “clearly enamored with its subject who has attained movie-star-level fame.” But that is not a sentiment shared by many.

Fauci, despite being revered by progressive lawmakers and mainstream media figures, has long since fallen out of favor with much of the American populace, who are tired of his support for draconian health guidelines, endless economic shutdowns, and vaccine mandates.

That’s not to mention the fact that many Americans justifiably hold some level of suspicion towards Fauci over his involvement in funding risky gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated.

What are people saying?

Comments posted on YouTube and reviews posted on IMDB drip with vitriol towards the documentary and its portrayal of the infectious disease expert. Below is just a small sampling:

  • “Pure garbage: Worst doc ever, I would give negative stars if it were possible.”
  • “You’ve got to be kidding: This man belongs in prison. He’s literally lied to Americans and destroyed lives. How in god’s name is anyone making a movie idolizing this criminal?”
  • “Absolute garbage. Can’t even believe this is a thing.”
  • “Propaganda 101. Prop em up on a pedestal and shine a big bright light on them to blind us from the lies. Glad to see from the rating and comments, the public is more awake than I thought.”
  • “He used US money to pay China to develop this virus. It’s his fault we are in this mess. We demand justice.”
  • “This man is one of the worst humans to ever walk the Earth. His lies, deceit, and empowered mistruth by the current administration does not deserve a documentary.”
  • “If this is not damage control, I don’t know what is…”
  • “Props to the camera crew for being able to keep the tail and horns out of frame for the whole movie.”
  • “Quite literally nobody wants to see this fraud depicted as something he isn’t.”

Another YouTube commenter noted the irony of a line used in the film, which says, “If you are a public servant, you don’t do it for the money.” As the commenter went on to point out, Fauci is the highest-paid federal employee, making $417,608 a year.

As if frequent interviews with Fauci were not enough to turn off critics, the producers trotted out notable controversial figures such as Bill Gates and Susan Rice to say nice things about the public health expert.

Despite their best attempts, it seems, America’s opinions on Fauci are settled. The only thing that remains now is to see how large the dislike count will grow.





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Wisconsin Republicans pitch online anti-censorship legislation

A pair of Republican lawmakers in Madison are wading into the debate over online free speech.

Rep. Shae Sortwell, R-Gibson, and Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, on Wednesday introduced three pieces of legislation they say will protect people’s free speech right on social media.

“Big Tech has long been violating people’s free speech rights through deleting, censoring, and shadow-banning because they disagree with what is posted or who is posting it,” Sortwell said. “And now, Big Tech is colluding with President Biden to suppress free speech and push his agenda. Government cannot simply bypass their Constitutional restrictions by having businesses do their dirty work for them.”

Sortwell and Roth’s plans include:

  • LRB 2090, which provides a civil cause of action for any Wisconsin resident against a social media company who censors, shadow-bans, or otherwise alters a user’s speech on social media sites.
  • LRB 3211, which protects the ability of journalistic outlets to publish their materials on social media by creating a cause of action for journalistic outlets to push back on social media giants’ censorship of their publications.
  • LRB 4301, which implements a penalty structure for government officials in Wisconsin who choose to engage in unethical conduct in direct violation of the First Amendment’s principles. Sortwell said the idea is to push back on what has become an increasingly aggressive political tone and censorship online.

“We expect this kind of suppression in China, but it is disturbing that we have allowed it to occur in America, the Land of the Free,” Sortwell added.

None of the plans are likely to become law.

Even if they pass the Republican-controlled legislature, it’s unlikely Gov. Evers would sign them. And then there are the legal challenges.

A federal judge earlier this year struck down a Florida law that aimed to do many of the same things. The judge in that case said the laws threatened Facebook’s and Twitter’s free speech rights.





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CBS’ new reality show ‘The Activist’ to showcase political activists seeking online attention

Political activism spread from street protests to corporate boardrooms and now has found a new home: a reality television series airing weekly on CBS this fall.

“The Activist” will feature six rabble-rousers competing in “media stunts,” missions, digital campaigns, and other events to spur change to the environment, to education or on health issues, according to CBS.

The contestants’ success will be measured by digital engagement, social media metrics, and scores from celebrity judges Usher, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Julianne Hough.

The show is being produced in part by Global Citizen, a political advocacy group that says it works to defeat poverty, defend the planet and demand equity.

“‘The Activist’ is a first-of-its-kind competition series that will inspire real change, as the series progresses from the United States to Rome for the Activists’ final challenge at the G20,” Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans said in a statement. “The audience will see the Activists’ passion and commitment for their causes tested as they petition world leaders to take urgent action to resolve the interconnected crises we face.”

The contestants are playing for the chance to be crowned “The Activist” and meet with world leaders in hopes of getting more money and garnering more attention for the causes they represent.

According to CBS’ website, the show will demonstrate that people live in a borderless world.

“One thing seems more clear than ever: Planet Earth is a singular village, demanding if not relying on individual engagement,” read the description on CBS’ website. “From the Global Citizen movement comes an awe-inspiring look at what can come of it.”

The Global Citizen movement is sponsored by large corporations, many of whom have amassed attention for their political stances in recent months.

Global Citizen lists more than a dozen “core partners” on its website, including companies such as Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola and Google that have recently become more vocal or aggressive in partisan politics. Executives at Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola spoke out against Georgia’s newly passed election laws earlier this year, and Google-owned YouTube banished former President Donald Trump from using its platform while he was still in office.

The Global Citizen website also lists media partners including MSNBC, Comcast NBCUniversal and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, among others.

The reality show is set to debut on October 22 at 8 p.m. EDT and will be available to stream on Paramount+. It is set to run for five weeks.

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Online gambling, sports wagering closer to fruition in Connecticut

Connecticut is one step closer to implementing sports wagering and online gaming.

Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news release Thursday that the state, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and Mohegan Tribal Council have received the all-clear from the Bureau of Indian Affairs for their revised gaming compacts, which were submitted to the agency this summer.

“This critical step in the process of modernizing our gaming landscape here in Connecticut ensures that our state will have a competitive, nation-leading marketplace for wagering both in-person and online,” Lamont said in the release. “I thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for approving these revisions, as well as the efforts of our partners with the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.”

The Lamont administration worked with Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and James Gessner Jr., chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, on the revisions.

Butler said in the release the “approval from the Department of the Interior is historic and begins and exciting new chapter for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.”

“This expansion will allow us to enhance investments in support of our tribe, to contribute additional revenue to the State of Connecticut, and to provide a new level of entertainment for our guests,” Butler said.

Gessner thanked the governor and the state’s Congressional delegation for their efforts.

“Modernizing our gaming industry will help protect and create Connecticut jobs, and it will generate tax revenues to the benefit of both state and local municipal budgets, as well as our tribe’s members,” Gessner Jr. said in the release. “This is not just a regional issue – it will have a statewide impact as Connecticut works to meet critical needs as it recovers from the pandemic.”

Last month, according to the release, the General Assembly’s Regulation Review Committee approved the recommended regulations as proposed by the state Department of Consumer Protection.

The department, the release said, “will now continue to licensing process and the review necessary to certify the gaming platforms.”

Lamont is anticipating that sports wagering and online gambling will begin for state residents in October.





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DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS! Governor Abbott Signs Law to Protect Free Speech Online

Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) signed a bill into law that will protect Texans from being censored for merely expressing their opinions online.

Texas may just be one of the freest places in America to speak online after its governor signed a critical bill. “Governor Greg Abbott today signed House Bill 20 into law, which protects Texans from wrongful censorship on social media platforms,” a September 9 press release from the Office of the Texas Governor explained. “House Bill 20 prevents social media companies with more than 50 million monthly users banning users simply based on their political viewpoints,” the press release illustrated. “These sites must disclose their content management and moderation policies and implement a complaint and appeals process for content they remove, providing a reason for the removal and a review of their decision.”

Abbott proclaimed, according to the press release: “‘We will always defend the freedom of speech in Texas, which is why I am proud to sign House Bill 20 into law to protect first amendment rights in the Lone Star State.’”

He then explained the reasoning behind the legislation and why it is to crucial for modern American life:

Social media websites have become our modern-day public square. They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas. That is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas. I thank Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Briscoe Cain, and the Texas Legislature for ensuring that House Bill 20 reached my desk during the second special session.

Detroit Free Press claimed that Big Tech and its supporters are already gearing up to oppose the bill: “Facebook, Google’s YouTube and Twitter will fight a new Texas law cracking down on social media companies for allegedly censoring conservative speech and former President Donald Trump.” The article also recounted that: “Texas House Democrats warned during a recent hearing that the new law would stop social media companies from taking down harmful content. They offered amendments that would have allowed the removal of posts promoting Holocaust denial, terrorism and vaccine disinformation but were defeated.”

Abbott is not alone in attempting to rein in Big Tech.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) implemented similar legislation in his state, but it was temporarily stopped: “[A] federal judge temporarily blocked the new law after NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association – trade groups that represent Facebook, Google and other tech companies – sued.” However, “DeSantis is appealing.” Netchoice ridiculously argued in the lawsuit that a law that protects the free speech rights of individuals online is in violation of the First Amendment.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your local representative and demand that Big Tech mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form and help us hold Big Tech accountable.



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