[Every week, I always see lots of headlines & news stories that I don't have the time or interest to analyze & give full treatment to, but I know that my readers like to inform themselves about various timely goings-on in the world. Roundup Saturday treats on this, but I make no claim of total accuracy or truthfulness with all stories listed here. Read on & caveat emptor…]

We'll start off this week back in the great state of Texas:

MCU Captain America Actor Chris Evans meets with "Literally Hydra". I generally like Chris Evans, but I'm unconvinced about how they describe the man he met with – U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw seems to me more like the white Nick Fury. Previous military experience – check. Eyepatch – check. Does he have an SUV with a machine gun?

In San Antonio, a gay couple who gave birth to their first (and maybe only) biological child are happy but probably won't want to do it again. (Warning: you possibly can't unsee images and afterimages.) The trans man who gave birth "doesn't see himself as less of a man", but was worried about "how it could affect me mentally." The baby seems healthy.

Feminists (second wave) in the 1970s who were peeved about the spelling of words decided to respell them, and the most well-known example is "womyn". Nowadays tho, as Diversity Rises® that spelling seems so old-school and connected to only the white, cisgender womyn, so the new fashionable spelling is "womxn" just to make sure to sever any ties to the Patriarchy. Can you pronounce it? That's not the point, but it may be a good idea to have that standardized soon if it could be used by the government…

U.S. Military

It's official girls ladies Female-Identifying Human Bipeds! The male-only draft is unconstitutional now that women womyn womxn have successfully fought for combat placement on the front lines. If you happen to know any unemployed Black, Muslim, transvestites looking for a gig right now, one USAF General wants you to know that diversity in the Air Force is really, really, really important for the future and missions and stuff. Seriously: a federal judge reversed his prior ruling on President Trump's ban to transgendered individuals in the military and it is now de facto authorized; the Pentagon says that it will announce new policies soon.

The US Navy needs more sailors right now – about 6,000+ more – to satisfy its demands for more crewmen crew members. But perhaps they shouldn't even bother if the Dept. of Defense continues to retire vessels ahead of schedule. The only downside to decommissioning your ships is that it is consequently more difficult to project force and sabre-rattle around the world, but don't worry because the Israelis have a plan for that. That's awfully generous of them, but can they step in anywhere around the world wherever the US isn't – even against China or the Russian Federation? If things keep on as predicted, and the US continues to lose war-game simulations, the Israelis may have found their new normal. On the positive side: maybe those 6,000 sailors aren't needed after all.

Historically, the US Dept. of Defense has spent a lots of time and money to research some spooky-sounding tech for robotics and machine learning to help the evolution of robots/androids thru comprehensive recording of human user lives, but now it appears that they're curious about social media too: they have spent millions on research about social media news feeds and their effects on populations and so forth. That could be is a very, very useful population-control machine, which is a great segue to the next topic…

More hue and cry about The Faceborg

As I wrote about two weeks ago, supposedly independent mobile apps on your phone send data without your consent to the 'Borg. After public outcry against The Faceborg that happened when NY Governor Andrew Cuomo assigned two state-agency investigations into the 'Borg's data practices in February, CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided that last week was the appropriate time to announce that he would be changing Faceborg, etc. "for privacy". Here's an excerpt from his memo:

"Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities, and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square. But people increasingly also want to connect privately in the digital equivalent of the living room. As I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today's open platforms. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks.

Today we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication. There are a number of reasons for this. Many people prefer the intimacy of communicating one-on-one or with just a few friends. People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they've shared. And we all expect to be able to do things like payments privately and securely."

That seems like an appropriate plan to begin to implement, Mr. Zuckerberg. Unfortunately for him, this week on Wednesday The Faceborg, Instagram, and WhatsApp all promptly crashed and went AWOL, with severe global service outages preventing millions of users from accessing apps, messages, and photos – hardly an auspicious start after that privacy announcement. The services were later restored and operational, and the official explanation was a server configuration change. My question is: Will The 'Borg need to hire more content monitors and moderators to accomplish this new privacy directive? Those who already work there may want a word with execs.

If you poke around more, it seems that Mr. Zuckerberg is a futurist with some zany ideas both about future human-machine integration and his personal security – and it also seems that he is unique in his expensive precautions. And you are getting on the privacy train now, Mark? How savvy and apropos for the zeitgeist.

But the dissonance increases when we consider their (proposed) equation of

Faceborg + Privacy = Internet Good Times

as we now know that the 'Borg was/is lobbying high-level politicians around the world against user data privacy. The Faceborg COO Sheryl Sandberg lobbied against it in the UK back in 2013 to the former Chancellor of the Exchequer with (to me) questionable activities. US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is campaigning for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination, decided to speak up about breaking up The Faceborg – and the 'Borg silenced her ads. They later walked that back as a mistake. Fortune asks a salient question about Faceborg and other tech giants and anti-trust concerns and the answer is yet to come, but in the meantime I would propose a new equation:

Faceborg + (Anything Else) ≠ Internet Good Times

Government News: Because Tribal Politics are American Politics…

It's almost always a good idea to know who your boss is – to know some details about him or her. I definitely recommend it: It can save you trouble, help you in your interactions on the job, or just keep you from making a fool out of yourself. Read on, and this will make sense.

As you may have seen recently, the big, country-wide politicos are out in force to campaign way ahead of schedule for elections that won't take place for more than 18 months. So far, the Democratic Party has had many contenders for their Presidential nomination, and last month Democratic Party Socialist Bernie Sanders (Marxist – VT), threw his hat into the ring his head into a door. That wasn't his only headache, as he appointed one of the prettiest illegal immigrants you've ever seen to be his spokesperson and do public relations, in a gesture that (I suppose) was made in a spirit of inclusion, but that quickly went south. Unfortunately for Bernie, this woman has a history of controversy (she's staying in the US as a "Dreamer" under DACA protection, and she picketed and was arrested at NY Senator Chuck Schumer's office in 2017), and this week she committed another faux pas: She asked a simple question about American Jews and dual allegiance to the State of Israel.

Senator Sanders is a Jew. I'll let you do the poor-optics calculation yourself. She has since apologized and withdrawn the "insensitive" post.

Meanwhile, new US Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Mogadishopolis) did the unthinkable again this week as she shifted the Overton window and criticized the progressive's saint Barack Obama – except she says she didn't. Isn't Fake News fun? You can claim anytime that the press twisted your words or took something out of context. Unfortunately for her, the link to audio seems to corroborate the article correctly quoted her in context, as it reported that she said the former President "[got] away with murder" in part due to "the pretty face and the smile". Not to be deterred, she not-so-subtly criticized current President Trump as well by implying that he was "not human", unlike Obama. Does anyone have the over/under on past relations between Somalis and Kenyans? According to the Kenyans right now, it's slightly testy, with a row over oil deposits, and the Kenyans withdrew their ambassador from Mogadishu. Maybe tribal squabbles don't vanish and stay on the other side of the Atlantic.

Of course Rep. Omar (who is Muslim) has already been in the hot seat for more than a month, with a lot of outrage concerning her alleged "anti-Semitic" comments and tweets about Jewish-Americans, and consequently the House passed a new resolution on March 7th that generally condemned hate and bigotry toward Jews, Muslims, and other minorities. But while some wanted it to be "as inclusive as possible" to denounce bigotry, the proposal was insufficient for some Jewish lawmakers, who wanted a specific condemnation of antisemitism. Even outside the Democratic party, GOP figures got involved as the former governor of Maine Paul LePage suggested that Omar's comments might produce losses of donations to the Democrats from Jewish constituents, as he accurately notes that most Democratic funds come from Jewish donors.

I appreciate Mr. LePage's magnanimity, but he must be unfamiliar with the maxim, "Never interrupt your opponent while he is making a mistake." My answer to the Democrats potentially alienating their voter and support base would be that it's probably best left for them to solve on their own.


(EDIT: March 16th, 23:00)

Tim Pool makes an observation and gives his hypothesis on some personnel cuts for media companies that used to be promoted by The Faceborg; I just hear another good reason not to rely on them for anything of import in life.

Header photo by Jessica Radanavong on Unsplash