Yves here. Thomas Neuburger offers a sampler, admittedly designed for consumption on the Fourth of July holiday, but since for many this is a light work week, perhaps you can chew on it over the next few days.
By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies
Several Fourths ago I wrote a piece celebrating independence and what we could do to preserve it.
So the message for this Fourth of July: Let’s celebrate the amount of freedom we have while we have it. And if it seems like not too much trouble, let’s fight to keep it. If our rulers don’t have our best interest in their hearts, why have theirs in ours?
This Fourth I want to take a different tack, something more fit for the leisure-time barbecue crowd — a group of links of importance you can read at your leisure and ponder after the fireworks fade from sight.
This is also the first of the “Links posts” I talked about here.
Imagine a young woman named Jane who recently adopted a vegan lifestyle after learning about factory farming in college. She discusses animal welfare and begins attending protests.
For most, Jane’s experiences sound remarkably benign.
But for the Department of Homeland Security, the young woman is following a “path of potential radicalization,” according to new documents released through a public records request.
The enemies of almost any security state are never the Right; it’s often the Right that runs them. But it’s striking to see, here in the land of Fourth of July freedom fries, how close to the center you can be and still be Far Left.
File under “The unacknowledged coup.”
• Biden Admin Boosts Big Oil’s Colorado River Scheme (LeverNews)
In the parched Southwest, one in eight Americans rely on a single drought-stressed river that carries snowmelt from Rocky Mountain peaks down to desert communities. But instead of strengthening protections for that crucial water supply, the Biden administration has quietly laid the groundwork for a financial firm full of former government officials to use it as a route for oil trains — amid heightened concerns about derailments.
This is ugly on almost every count. First, the environment:
Critics say those hazards could easily trigger derailments, spilling crude oil into the water that millions of Americans living downstream need to survive. Indeed, even the federal agency that approved permits for the project admitted that such rail lines are susceptible to derailments, and that accidents involving oil trains often involve the release of toxins.
But also, it betrays again Biden’s campaign pledge to halt the climate crisis. From his now-deleted 2020 campaign climate page:
Joe Biden knows there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world [than “tackling climate change”]. That’s why he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency … [because] the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.
Words and deeds. File under “Biden betrayal.” It has company.
Over the past several years, the United States has embarked on a program of secret research on biological weapons that, some officials say, tests the limits of the global treaty banning such weapons.
The 1972 treaty forbids nations from developing or acquiring weapons that spread disease, but it allows work on vaccines and other protective measures. Government officials said the secret research, which mimicked the major steps a state or terrorist would take to create a biological arsenal, was aimed at better understanding the threat.
The projects, which have not been previously disclosed, were begun under President Clinton and have been embraced by the Bush administration, which intends to expand them.
Earlier this year, administration officials said, the Pentagon drew up plans to engineer genetically a potentially more potent variant of the bacterium that causes anthrax, a deadly disease ideal for germ warfare. (emphasis added)
Note the date on this one: pre-9/11 by just a week. How far we’ve come, or haven’t. Is “gain of function” research part of a Pentagon program? Feel free to decide for yourself.
File under “Gain of function, loss of life.”
• Best WhatsApp alternatives for privacy (Proton)
WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, which means the messages are encrypted on your device and can only be decrypted on the device of the intended recipient. So the actual messages are secure on the platform.
But this does nothing to protect your metadata. That’s information about who you communicate with, from where, at what time, how often, and from which device.
There are so many WhatsApp users these days (including yours truly), that I thought this was worth a read. Many apps are listed and considered.
File under “Privacy.”
Duke University announced Tuesday it will provide full tuition grants for undergraduate students from North Carolina and South Carolina whose family incomes total $150,000 or less.
The grants go into effect beginning in the fall 2023 semester.
Duke students from the Carolinas with family incomes of $65,000 or less will also receive financial assistance for housing, meals and some course materials or other campus expenses, without the need for student loans, according to Duke.
Speaks for itself, what universities should be doing all along — shelling out no-strings money for education. At the public university level, this should be mandated, the law. And private universities should be forced by the competition to reverse their pay-more-administrators-on-the-backs-of-students policies.
After all, if state schools are free, how much can their private competitors charge and keep the seats warm?
File under “Finally.”
• And your musical treat: