23AndGovernment | Red Flags For Our Fathers | Beat Your Face Soldier




Beat Your Face Soldier: In the Army “beat your face” means do push-ups. And beat your face was directed at me incessantly when I was a new cadet at cadet basic training. I didn’t shine my shoes well, I took too many bites while eating (I still do), and I couldn’t cut a pie into equal pieces (pecan pies are a personal favorite, and I still can’t cut a pie well).

Beating my face frequently during my first summer at West Point helped me become stronger. Not just physically but mentally. Being a bad new cadet taught me to embrace shame as oppose to look away. It also taught me what type of leader I didn’t want to become.

By the end of cadet basic training I was physically stronger and did better on my physical fitness tests than practically all of my classmates. And by the time I finished my freshman (plebe year) I could outscore my bosses. I still love pushups. Not out of a desire to be physically dominant but out of a healthy reminder that weakness can become strength. And now I can thank those who berated me to beat my face for making me healthier, physically stronger, and mentally stronger. “How Many Push-Ups Can You Do? It May Be a Good Predictor of Heart Health: Men who could get through 40 or more push-ups had 96 percent less risk of heart problems in the next 10 years than those who quit at 10 or fewer.” (NYT, $) We encourage everyone to go beat their face this weekend and frequently. It’s good for you. Additional song: Stronger by East of My Youth.




“The brain is heavily influenced by genes. But from birth through young adulthood, the part of the human brain that most defines us (frontal cortex) is less a product of the genes with which you started life than of what life has thrown at you. Because it is the least constrained by genes and most sculpted by experience. This must be so, to be the supremely complex social species that we are. Ironically, it seems that the genetic program of human brain development has evolved to, as much as possible, free the frontal cortex from genes.”

– Robert M. Sapolsky




Surprise! You’re Going To Be A Big Brother: American scientists and a Massachusetts company’s equipment were unwittingly instrumental in helping Chinese police collect DNA, for purposes of surveillance and oppression, from millions of unwilling Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. The Americans thought they were just doing what scientists do–sharing their knowledge for the overall betterment of mankind. But as a medical ethicist observed: “Honestly there’s been a kind of naivete on the part of American scientists presuming that other people will follow the same rules and standards wherever they come from.”

77-year-old Yale professor Dr. Kenneth Kidd is a major figure in the field of genetics. He first visited China in 1981, subsequently developing professional relationships with Chinese scientists and police authorities and assisting them in the furtherance of their forensic investigations and crime-fighting efforts. Police forces in the US and elsewhere use genetic material from family members to find suspects and solve crimes. Chinese officials also cited the crime-fighting benefits of building a broad nationwide database of DNA samples, much of which they got from Kidd. “I had thought we were sharing [DNA] samples for collaborative research,” Kidd said. Only after recently learning that Chinese authorities were collecting DNA and other personal data from some 36 million Uighurs, and detaining hundreds of thousands of them in “re-education camps,” did Kidd say he realized how his material and know-how had been used.

Similarly, DNA test kits and mapping machines, sold to the Chinese by Thermo Fisher, were vital to China’s efforts to map their people’s genes, particularly Uighurs. Last year Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized Thermo Fisher and asked the commerce department to prohibit American companies from selling technology to China that could be used for surveillance and tracking purposes. On Wednesday, the company announced it would stop selling its equipment in Xinjiang.




Goooooood Luck Vietnam: President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un will meet for a second summit next week, this time in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump plans to work hard to convince Kim to give up his nuclear program, although many doubt the reclusive despot will ever relinquish his stockpiles. “I don’t know if North Korea has made the choice yet to denuclearize, but the reason why we’re engaged in this is because we believe there’s a possibility that North Korea can make the choice to fully denuclearize,” one official said. Other officials point out that there isn’t a common definition of “denuclearization”, and Kim hasn’t committed to any timelines of any sort. Regardless, Trump has said a recent absence of missile and nuclear testing is evidence of his diplomacy’s success. (CNN)

A Dam Good Plan: India’s government plans to restrict the flow of water to Pakistan from its share of the Indus River and its tributaries that flow between the two countries. It is the latest effort by New Delhi to pressure its neighbor after a militant attack in Kashmir. “Our government has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan,” the transport and water resources minister tweeted. Instead water will be diverted from eastern rivers and supplied it to its people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab states. 80 percent of Pakistan’s irrigated agriculture depends on water supplies from the Indus and its tributaries. (Reuters)

Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $38 Million: Michael Calvey, a US investor and founder of the Baring Vostok investment fund, is being held in Moscow on charges of embezzling $38 million from a Russian bank, Vostochny. The US embassy in Moscow said US diplomats had not been allowed access to Calvey since his arrest a week ago. “Under the bilateral consular convention, Russia is obliged to provide consular access within four days. We insist on an immediate access,” the embassy said in a tweet. Calvey has denied the charges, saying they are being used as an instrument in a dispute among shareholders of Vostochny. Several prominent Russian businessmen have warned that the high-profile case could raise concerns among foreign investors about the business climate in Russia, and on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted that Calvey’s case was “at the centre of rather lively political discussions.” (BBC)

Additional World News:




Home-Grown Domestic Terrorist Thwarted: US Coast Guard lieutenant and self proclaimed white supremacist Christopher Paul Hasson wanted to “establish a white homeland,” even if he had to “kill almost every last person on earth” to do it. He had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017; he had prepared a spreadsheet of targets, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, other Democratic politicians, and prominent media figures; and he had conducted internet searches using phrases like “are supreme court judges protected.” Hasson was arrested last Friday by FBI agents with the Baltimore, MD field office and the Coast Guard Investigative Service; he was being held on illegal weapons and drug charges, which prosecutors called the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.” Court documents filed this week described Hasson as a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views, someone who “intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.”

Hasson had been studying the 1,500 page manifesto of far-right Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who had murdered 77 people, many of them children, in two bomb and gun rampages in Norway in 2011. Breivik called it his “martyrdom operation,” modeling it after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, whose main perpetrator, executed in 2001, is now a hero to many on the far-right fringes. Breivik’s crusade of terror was a political mission he hoped others would emulate, and indeed, the violence he espoused has inspired not only plots of similar ideological zeal, but other types of mass shootings as well. The inspiration Hasson drew from Breivik illuminates how a global exchange of extremist ideas has bound together lone-wolf, hate-filled actors, who portray themselves as martyrs for a “Western civilization” under siege by immigrants and elite opinion makers espousing multiculturalism.

Additional read: “Coast Guard officer accused of making hit list of Democrats.” (AP)




Red Flags For Our Fathers: The 29-year-old son of the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District testified Wednesday he warned his father repeatedly not to hire a political operative now at the center of an election-fraud investigation. John Harris, an assistant US attorney in Raleigh, said he advised his father, Mark Harris, in conversations and emails that he believed Leslie McCrae Dowless was “shady” and appeared to have illegally collected absentee ballots in 2016 while working for a different Republican candidate in the same district. The younger Harris’s testimony contradicted claims by both his father, a 52-year-old evangelical minister, and the campaign’s chief strategist, Andy Yates, that they had not been aware of any red flags that Dowless might be breaking the law. Yates had previously testified nearly eight hours over two days of the public evidentiary hearing into voting irregularities. (WaPo)

Additional USA News:

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Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: