Metal-ing In Affairs
November 10, 2021
Want answers? We’ve got you covered: DP 11/1 Quiz Answers. Hats off to Jennifer V., who scored a perfect 10 on last week’s quiz. Check back next week for another chance to test your current affairs acumen!
“What have I always believed? That on the whole, and by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.” — Terry Pratchett
There Gosar Dignity
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has long been criticized for his extremist views, including his spreading of conspiracy theories about the January 6 Capitol attack by a pro-Trump mob, and 2017’s deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville. So on Sunday night, when Gosar posted a link to an altered anime video on his Twitter and Instagram accounts showing him murdering Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and attacking President Biden, it was just a boy having some fun. “Any anime fans out there?” he said in the tweet.
The video’s animated scenes are interspersed with real-life footage of Border Patrol officers, some standing shoulder-to-shoulder, others on horseback rounding up migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. In one scene, footage of migrants crossing the Rio Grande is overlaid with what looks like splattered blood. In another, the words “drugs,” “crime,” “poverty,” “money,” “murder,” “gangs,” “violence” and “trafficking” flash across the screen. Subliminal messaging anyone?
Scores of Twitter users flagged Gosar’s tweet as a potential violation of Twitter’s rules, which prohibit violent threats and the glorification of violence. Instagram’s community guidelines prohibit “credible threats of violence, hate speech and the targeting of private individuals.” Gosar’s digital director, Jessica Lycos, dismissed the claims. “We made an anime video. Everyone needs to relax. The left doesn’t get meme culture. They have no joy. They are not the future. It’s a cartoon…This is about fighting for truth.” Basically, nothing to see here.
AOC’s sardonic response noted that while she was at work traveling to the COP26 Climate Summit, “a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me.” Without naming Gosar or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, she tweeted that the congressman will “face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses.” In a follow-up tweet, AOC listed several times she was accosted or harassed at the Capitol by GOP members of Congress, including Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and Florida’s Ted Yoho. “All at my job…. [And] nothing ever happens.”
A Twitter spokesperson said Monday that a “public interest notice” was placed on Gosar’s tweet because it violates the company’s policy against hateful conduct. It wasn’t taken down, however, because the platform “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
The moral of the story belongs to AOC. After tweeting about the lack of repercussions for lawmakers who harass or threaten their colleagues, she said this about “collection of wet toothpicks” Gosar: “White supremacy is for extremely fragile people & sad men like him, whose self concept relies on the myth that he was born superior because deep down he knows he couldn’t open a pickle jar or read a whole book by himself.” (WaPo, The Hill)
Ignorance Is Costly
- 85% of Singaporeans eligible for coronavirus vaccines are fully vaccinated and 18% have received booster shots. The government currently foots the bill for any Singaporean citizen, permanent resident, and holder of a long-term work pass who is sick with Covid-19, unless they tested positive shortly after returning from overseas.
- However, officials have decided that continuing to tolerate the predilections of the unvaccinated is no longer an option. On Monday, the Ministry of Health issued a statement saying the medical costs of people “unvaccinated by choice,” who make up the bulk of remaining new coronavirus cases and Covid-19 hospitalizations in the city-state, will no longer be covered.
- The government will continue to cover related medical costs for those who are vaccinated, as well as for those still not eligible: children 12 and under and people with certain medical conditions. Partially vaccinated people in Singapore will be covered until December 31. (WaPo)
Clipping Their Wings
- Pegasus, the hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, has been used to spy on journalists, opposition groups, and activists. NSO insists the software is intended to help countries fight organized crime and terrorism by allowing them to remotely and secretly penetrate a phone, monitor its location, and extract its contents.
- But there have been so many accusations of abuse that the Biden administration hit the company with sanctions last week. NSO’s biggest backer, Israel’s government, considers the software a crucial element of its foreign policy and is lobbying Washington to remove the firm from the blacklist. But abuse accusations keep coming.
- International computer privacy experts said Monday that Pegasus had been deployed against Palestinian rights activists. Israel denied the accusation and NSO wouldn’t identify who used the software or why. U.S. officials said that by imposing sanctions, the U.S. government is not only accusing NSO of acting against U.S. interests, but also implicitly accusing Israel, which licenses the software, of doing the same. (NYT)
Additional World News
- APEC leaders meeting to chart path forward from pandemic (AP)
- Head of Mexican money laundering unit replaced amid wedding scandal (Reuters)
- Pakistan government and local Taliban agree to ‘complete ceasefire’ (CNN)
- Hundreds of migrants and refugees camped at Belarus-Poland border (Al Jazeera)
- In fast-changing Dubai, once-isolated village to be razed (AP)
- Denmark revisits its ‘corona pass’ as third wave of epidemic looms (Reuters)
- Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala ties the knot in Birmingham ceremony (BBC)
Today Was A Hyundai
- The U.S. Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act was passed by Congress in 2015. It created a program where whistleblowers can be rewarded for providing information to safety regulators about defects in vehicles. In a news release Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced its first-ever award to a whistleblower who provided information related to Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America’s violations of the Safety Act.
- Former Hyundai engineer Kim Gwang-ho will receive $24 million for reporting Hyundai to the NHTSA in 2016. Kim said the company wasn’t doing enough to address issues tied to Hyundai’s Theta II engines, which were known to potentially catch fire. In 2020, the NHTSA fined Kia and affiliated automaker Hyundai $210 million after they failed to recall 1.6 million vehicles and inaccurately reported certain information regarding the recalls. (NHTSA, The Hill)
Metal-ing In Affairs
- Elaine Thomas, 67, worked as a metallurgist at a steel foundry in Tacoma, Washington from 1977 to 2017. As a supplier for companies that contracted with the U.S. Navy, Thomas’ company provided steel castings to make the Navy’s submarines. In 2009, Thomas became the company’s Director of Metallurgy.
- On Monday, Thomas pleaded guilty in federal court to falsifying the test results that measured the strength and toughness of the metal. She did this for more than 240 steel productions over more than three decades. Thomas’ company was the Navy’s leading supplier of “cast high-yield” steel used for naval subs.
- By altering the test results to “increase” metal weights by 10 or 20 foot-pounds, the U.S. Navy made contract payments it “would not have made if it had known the true characteristics of the steel.” Prosecutors said the productions whose tests were falsified make up “a substantial percentage of the castings [the company] produced for the Navy.” Thomas faces up to ten years in prison and a $1 million fine at her sentencing on February 14. (NYT)
Additional USA News
- Trump makes — and loses — overnight bid to block Jan. 6 investigators (Politico)
- Harris heads to Paris to soothe tensions with French after ‘submarine snub’ (ABC)
- Anchor Brian Williams is leaving MSNBC and NBC News (CNN)
- They Say Colleges Are Censorious. So They Are Starting a New One. (NYT, $)
- Why the first responding officer at the Ahmaud Arbery shooting didn’t provide first aid (CNN)
- Recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin heads to San Francisco voters in June (SF Chronicle)
Texing The Waters
- Since Brexit has worked so well for Britain, some Texans are considering following suit and seceding from the rest of the U.S. And who better to champion that thinking than Ted Cruz. The state’s buffoonish senator was speaking at an event at Texas A&M last month when a student asked him how he felt about the Texas secessionist movement. “If the Democrats end the filibuster, if they fundamentally destroy the country, if they pack the Supreme Court, if they make D.C. a state, if they federalize elections, if they massively expand voter fraud, there may come a point where it’s hopeless,” Cruz lamented.
- It seems Texas would simply have no choice but to secede. The Texas Nationalist Movement, or “Texit,” says its mission is “to secure and protect the political, cultural and economic independence of the nation of Texas…” The movement’s official website states this “means that Texans determine our own laws and not 2.5 million unelected bureaucrats in Washington. It means that we get a government that begins and ends at the borders of Texas.”
- Cruz may be laughable, but he’s cunning. “I think Texas has a responsibility to the country, and I’m not ready to give up on America. I love this country,” he rallied. To embellish his answer, he said Texas has an added responsibility to the U.S., as it is currently “an amazing force keeping America from going off the cliff” and is “keeping America grounded in the values that built this country.” He’s also practical and knows what’s most important to his supporters. “If there comes a point where it’s hopeless, then I think we take NASA, we take the military, we take the oil.” (The Hill)
- Girl rescued in US after using TikTok domestic violence hand signal – video (Guardian)
- With a wink, judge fights ‘tyranny’ of Elf on the Shelf (AP)
- What the physics of crowds can tell us about the tragic deaths at Astroworld (Ars Technica)
- SpaceX Crew-2 splashdown (WaPo, $)
- Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is deeper than we thought, NASA Juno spacecraft finds (NPR)
- Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Is Suing Van Morrison Over Covid Criticism (NYT, $)
- Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers says he might have misled people with his COVID-19 vaccination status but stands by his comments (ESPN)
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