Saturday, June 03, 2017

2 Dystopian Views: Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us; Huxley, on the other hand, warned of an onslaught of news, real or fabricated, that reduced its consumers to passivity and egotism

Responding to an article in The Economist on Newspapers and television, Joseph Ting writes from Australia that
Regarding “The Trump bump” enjoyed by America’s media (February 18th), Neil Postman, in “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, envisaged this dangerously fractured moment in modern history. George Orwell was afraid of overseers depriving us of information. Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, warned of an onslaught of news, real or fabricated, that reduced its consumers to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley contended that when truth is drowned in a sea of irrelevance, we would become a trivial culture.

Both dystopian views have proven presciently true. Real facts are submerged into the swamp bottom of lies and manipulation (Orwellian) by the sea tides of their manufactured alternative cousins. But the media, both print and social, need to take care that this moment-by-moment accounting doesn’t drown us in its thought-extinguishing momentum (Huxleyan).

Friday, June 02, 2017

Wonder Woman: Is The Civil Rights Act of 1964 an affront to sovereignty, privacy, dignity, and property rights? And does it exist primarily to keep an army of litigators employed?

In a nod toward female empowerment the Alamo Drafthouse chain of movie theaters plans to offer several screenings of the soon-to-debut Wonder Woman film to female customers only
reports Benny Huang on the Constitution website.
The company has released a statement saying:
“Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying ‘No Guys Allowed’ for several special shows…”
This is blatantly illegal.

Not that it should be. Alamo Drafthouse is a private company and should be free to discriminate till the cows come home. The women-only screenings nonetheless violate state and local law in multiple localities. An Alamo cinema in Brooklyn, for example, will be in violation of New York State law which declares it to be
“an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, because of…sex…directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof…” 
Similar laws can be found in other cities and states where Alamo Drafthouse is holding its flagrantly illegal screenings.

The reason Alamo Drafthouse is getting away with illegal sex discrimination is because the word “sex” in nondiscrimination laws has morphed before our eyes. Some government entities are now interpreting “sex” to mean “sexual orientation” which is almost always a code word for sexual conduct. It’s also being interpreted to mean “gender identity” or “gender expression.” What this means in practice is that laws that were intended to protect women are now being interpreted to protect men who have sex with men as well as men who think they’re women. The only thing that “sex” apparently doesn’t mean these days is its actual dictionary definition. Consequently, businesses now feel free to discriminate on the basis of sex and no one does anything about it…as long as it’s only men who are being discriminated against, of course.

Isn’t it about time to admit that private sector nondiscrimination are ridiculous? I think so but I’m apparently in the minority on this issue. Almost everyone claims to revere these laws, even conservatives. Most righties support them laws in principle but resent their arbitrary enforcement—and rightfully so. Alamo Drafthouse is proof that the government discriminates in its application of nondiscrimination laws. A law that clearly and unambiguously prohibits discrimination based on sex is only invoked to protect one sex. What’s equal about that?

Nonetheless, a broad consensus exists that private sector nondiscrimination laws are both righteous and necessary. We Americans love them so much that we’ve enacted them by the boatload and created almost as many enforcement agencies to back them up. If a person is refused service he may be able to file simultaneous complaints with the city, county, state, and federal governments. This legal barrage often results in the business owner’s unconditional surrender even if he wasn’t harboring an illegal thought when he decided not to do business with this person. Capitulation is just easier.

Even among conservatives I find myself swimming against the tide on this issue. I’ve tried in vain to explain to my fellow conservatives that they shouldn’t brag about more Republicans than Democrats voting for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It’s true but it’s also a horrible black mark on the party’s record. A few Republicans understood what a monstrosity this law would become and opposed the statist (and racist!) Lyndon Johnson in his efforts to pass the bill. Their names were Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan—perhaps you’ve heard of them?

Politicians certainly don’t speak out against the Civil Rights Act, even conservatives and so-called libertarians like former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. It’s political suicide. I know of only one elected official currently holding office who has ever criticized it—Rand Paul—and he quickly walked it back.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, like all private sector nondiscrimination laws, is big government at its worst. It appears to exist primarily to keep an army of litigators employed. It is selectively enforced against disfavored groups and it is often warped with new “interpretations” that are at odds with its text and original intent. It is an affront to sovereignty, privacy, dignity, and property rights. It’s a crap sandwich that the whole country has been choking on for more than fifty years. It needs to be struck down as unconstitutional and we need to teach our children to be ashamed that it ever existed in the first place.

The Wonder Woman kerfuffle makes me wonder where all of the nondiscrimination hardliners have gone. Former Congressman Barney Frank, for example, ought to be the first to file a complaint with one of our many wasteful, redundant “civil rights” bureaucracies because he has zero patience for people who discriminate. Or at least that’s the position he pretended to hold during the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law.

Barney Frank operates under the false impression that there’s some kind of law that requires businesses to serve everyone. Said Mr. Frank:
“When you open a business, you are being given a set of privileges and protections from the society to make some money and in return the obligation has always been under basic common law that you serve the general public, that anybody who behaves well can be served…” 
Actually, there is no such law and it would be unconstitutional even if there were. Businesses can decline any economic transaction whatsoever as long as they provide a proper government-approved justification. I think that “I don’t want to” should suffice but the law says that’s just not good enough.

It’s important to really hear what Frank is saying here. He’s not saying that there ought to be a law compelling businesses to serve everyone. What he’s saying is that such a law already exists and has existed since time immemorial. He’s trying to pass this off as some kind of great American tradition, as if forcing businesses to serve the general public without exception has been part of our social contract for generations. This is the big lie that surrounds and pervades the debate over private sector nondiscrimination laws. They want us to believe not only that business owners are bondage servants with no right to pick and choose which economic transactions they will engage in but also that it’s always been this way.

I have encountered Frank’s argument roughly a zillion times while debating private sector non-discrimination laws. The argument is that business owners, simply by going into business, have already agreed to “serve the public” which includes absolutely anyone walks in the door. In essence, that means that they have already waived any rights they may have under the Constitution to protect themselves from government coercion. Any business owner who later decides that he doesn’t want to do business with a particular customer or fulfill a particular order is somehow going back on his word and shirking his duty to the public. This is absurd. Business owners don’t make any such promise to “serve the public” nor should they be required to. They can serve those members of the public they want to serve—or at least that’s the way it should be. It’s a two way street; just as customers can choose which businesses to patronize, businesses should be able to choose which customers they will take on. That’s freedom—and it scares the living crap out of some people.

Another candidate for the Hypocrite of The Year award is opinion commentator and militant lesbian Sally Kohn. In 2015, she wrote a column in which she argued that maximum freedom comes through maximum government coercion. “Everyone deserves equal treatment, and businesses should be forced to serve everyone,” was the sub-header.

The gist of Kohn’s column is that nondiscrimination laws are eminently fair because they bind everyone just as they protect everyone. Anyone who doesn’t like these laws must be accustomed to discriminating without being discriminated against. They’re scared because they feel their privilege slipping away. She tries to pretend that she’s very consistent, pointing out she supports laws that work both ways. Yes, she believes that a devout Mormon couple should be forced to rent a hotel room to a radical lesbian feminist but she also thinks that the same law should apply in the reverse scenario. Kohn writes: “The point is that businesses should serve everyone the same and not discriminate. Once upon a time it was lunch counters. Now it’s wedding cakes.” Yes, then it was movie theaters and Sally Kohn was AWOL. She didn’t force her morality on the movie theater owner the same way she would a devout Christian bakery owner because—let’s face it—her supposed consistency isn’t that consistent.

But mine is. Businesses shouldn’t have to serve anyone and they shouldn’t have to explain themselves to the government. I don’t care if it’s lunch counters, wedding cakes or movie theaters. Economic transactions should be made on a voluntary basis. Period.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Putin to French Newspaper: The Storm in Washington Is Based on Fantasy—"They would rather explain that the Democrats' policy was the correct one, but that an outsider deceived the American people"

After his meeting with Emmanuel Macron in Versailles, Vladimir Putin gave an an exclusive interview to Le Figaro's Alexis Brézet and Renaud Girard (video) from a classroom of the Russian cultural center in Paris (translated from the French translation of the remarks in Russian).

Excerpts related to the accusations of the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 election:
Suspicions of Russian interference in the US election campaign have triggered a political storm in Washington. In France, similar suspicions have been expressed. What's your reaction? 

The Western press talks about Russian hackers. But where does the idea come from? When President Trump mentioned the situation, he said things that are quite right. Maybe it did not come from Russia, maybe there was someone who inserted a USB stick under the name of a Russian citizen. In this virtual world, today, anything can be done. Russia has never hacked. We do not need it. No interest. What's the point ? I've talked to several American presidents, you know. Presidents come and go, but politics do not change. And do you know why ? Because the bureaucracy in America is very powerful. The person elected has his or her opinions, ideals, visions, but the day after the election, people with briefcases, in tie and suits with white shirts come to explain how to act as a good president. And changing something in this situation is very difficult. I say this without irony.

So, are you saying that this storm in Washington is based on nothing but a fantasy? 

Yes, on fantasy. On the desire of those who lost the elections to remedy their situation by accusing Russia of interference. They lost because the winner was closer to the people and had a better understanding of the voters' aspirations. It's hard to admit. One would rather explain and prove to others that the policy followed by the Democrats was the right one, but that someone from outside deceived the American people. That someone rigged the election. But this is not the case. They simply lost: one must know how to recognize one's defeat, and have the strength to do so. Once this is done, it will be simpler to work together. But today, we use the anti-Russian card in Washington, and this is detrimental to international relations. They could of course quarrel among themselves: who is the best? Who is the most intelligent? But hey, it will pass…
Related: If it weren’t for anonymous sources, it seems
that the media wouldn’t have any sources at all

Nixon and Watergate: What Do the MSM and History
Books Fail to Tell Us About the 1970s Scandal?

See also: a Donald Trump interview — on a different subject
("We’re going to make it 10%; Now it’s 35% … this would
be the biggest tax cut in the history of the country …
We want to keep it as simple as possible")

La vidéo intégrale de l’entretien de Vladimir Poutine au Figaro

EXCLUSIVITÉ FIGARO LIVE - Après sa rencontre à Versailles avec Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Poutine a accordé une interview exclusive à Alexis Brézet, directeur des rédactions du Figaro, et Renaud Girard, chroniqueur international au Figaro.

Les souçons d'immixtion russe dans la campagne électorale américaine ont déclenché une tempête politique à Washington. En France, des soupçons analogues ont été exprimés. Quelle est votre réaction ? [22:18]

La presse occidentale a parlé de hackers russes. mais sur quoi se base-t-elle ? Lorsque le président Trump en a parlé, il a dit des choses tout à fait correctes.  Peut-être que cela ne venait pas de Russie, mais que quelqu'un a inséré une clé USB avec le nom d'un citoyen russe. Dans ce monde virtuel, aujourdhui, on peut faire n'importe quoi. La Russie n'a hamais fait de hacking. Nous n'en avons pas besoin. Aucun intérêt. À quoi bon ? J'ai parlé avec plusieurs présidents américains, vous savez. Les présidents arrivent et repartent, mais la politique ne change pas. Et vous savez pourquoi ? Parce que la bureaucratie en Amérique est très puissante. La personne élue a son opinion, ses idéaux, sa vision des choses, mais le lendemain des élections, des personnes avec des attachés-cases, des costumes-cravates et des chemises blanches viennent expliquer comment il doit agir en bon président. Et changer quelque chose dans cette situation, c'est très difficile. Je le dis sans ironie.

Cette tempête à Washington serait donc fondée sur une fiction absolue ? [25:22]

Oui, sur de la fiction. Sur le désir de ceux qui ont perdu les élections de remédier à leur situation en accusant la Russie d'ingérence. Ils ont perdu car le vainqueur était plus proche du peuple et a mieux compris les aspirations des électeurs. C'est difficile de le reconnaître. On veut plutôt expliquer et prouver aux autres que la politique suivie par les démocrates était la bonne, mais que quelqu'un de l'extérieur a trompé le peuple américain. Que quelqu'un a truqué l'élection. Mais ce n'est pas le cas. Ils ont tout simplement perdu : il faut savoir reconnaître sa défaite, et en avoir la force. Une fois que ce sera fait, il sera plus simple de travailler ensemble. Mais aujourd'hui, on utilise à Washington la carte antirusse, et ça porte préjudice aux relations internationales. Ils pourraient bien sûr se quereller entre eux : qui est le meilleur ? Qui est le plus intelligent ? Mais bon, cela passera…
Update: Damien Sharkov reports on the Figaro interview for Newsweek, while Fox News and BBC News produced similar reports from St. Petersburg…
Putin deftly brushed off [NBC reporter Megyn Kelly's] questions about meetings that members of the Trump campaign – including then-Sen. Jeff Sessions – had with Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak.
“So our ambassador met someone. That's his job. That's why we pay him,” Putin said, according to a translation. “So what? What's he supposed to do, hit up the bars?”
He described the focus on Kislyak's contacts as “catastrophic nonsense.”

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

France's Former Ambassador to Iraq Risks Prison Time on Charges of Tax Fraud and Forgery

A French diplomat and close adviser to the former president Nicolas Sarkozy has gone on trial after he was stopped trying to leave the country with a bag stuffed with banknotes
reports Kim Willshir in The Guardian, with Le Figaro's Anne Jouan adding that the prosecutor is asking for prison time for Monsieur Boillon.
Boris Boillon, who was known as “Sarko Boy”, appeared in a Paris court on Monday on charges of tax fraud and forgery following the discovery.

Boillon, who once appeared on the cover of a celebrity magazine with the headline “The James Bond of the diplomatic world”, was pulled over by customs officers at Gare du Nord in Paris in July 2013 before he boarded a train to Belgium, where he lives with his family near Brussels.

When Boillon opened the sports bag that he was carrying, police found €350,000 (£302,000) and $40,000 (£31,000) in cash wrapped in plastic bags and a plastic box. Boillon claimed he had been paid the money for consultancy work on a stadium construction in Iraq. As well as the fraud charges, he is accused of breaking strict limits on the transfer of cash within the European Union. The forgery charge relates to documents he allegedly presented justifying the cash.

Investigators say they have been unable to trace the source of the money. Boillon, who is facing four charges, could be fined up to €855,000 if found guilty of each and be ordered to serve up to five years in prison.
No Pasarán Boris Boillon has appeared on No Pasarán before, notably when he went on Canal+
to defend Muammar Gaddafi, saying: “He was a terrorist, he is no longer. We mustn’t fall into cliches. We’ve all made mistakes in life and we’ve all the right to be forgiven.”
One cannot refrain from wondering whether the Frenchman's travails aren't due, at least partly, to a political assassination à la François Fillon, in view of the fact that
Boris Boillon — an Arab-[speaker] who served as ambassador in Baghdad — voiced support for George W Bush during the Iraq War! That, of course, makes his sins all the more unforgivable
As Simon Piel and Joan Tilouine confirm in Le Monde,
En Irak, où il fut ambassadeur de 2009 à 2011, il s’était montré favorable à l’intervention américaine. Nommé à Tunis à la chute du régime du dictateur Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, le jeune diplomate n’avait pas hésité à afficher son corps sculpté sur le Web, uniquement vêtu d’un slip de bain, ou à poser en James Bond dans la presse locale. Son ton franc voire arrogant, mal perçu dans le milieu diplomatique, avait choqué une partie de l’opinion publique tunisienne.

Lorsqu’il reçut pour la première fois des journalistes tunisiens, qui l’interrogèrent sur le rôle de la France durant la révolution, Boris Boillon s’emporta, évoquant « des trucs à la con », des « questions débiles », avant de brutalement mettre un terme à l’entretien filmé et diffusé sur les réseaux sociaux. Une attitude qui poussa des centaines de Tunisiens indignés à se réunir devant l’ambassade de France, trois jours plus tard, en scandant « Boillon dégage ». Contacté par Le Monde, M. Boillon n’a pas donné suite à nos demandes d’entretien.

Monday, May 29, 2017

If it weren’t for anonymous sources, it seems that the media wouldn’t have any sources at all

If it weren’t for anonymous sources,
deadpans Benny Huang on the Constitution website (thanks for the link, Maggie), in an homage to a favorite Instapundit meme,
it seems that the media wouldn’t have any sources at all. In the past two weeks the media have promoted a number of weighty stories that rested upon the credibility of people whose names we are not allowed to know. Two of these stories were veritable bombshells that, if true, should rightly land powerful people in prison. It’s too bad both stories were so thinly sourced.

Perhaps the bigger of the two stories, measured at least by the news coverage that it got, was the Washington Post’s scoop that Donald Trump had allegedly shared classified intelligence with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador concerning ISIS terror plots. That report was followed by a barrage of stories about exactly which beans were spilled and whether they were really classified beans. Each volley of articles only muddied the waters more.

The second bombshell involved a new development in the Seth Rich murder investigation. Rich, a 27 year-old DNC staffer, was gunned down last July in a wealthy section of Washington, DC. Shortly thereafter, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange very strongly hinted that Rich was the source of embarrassing internal party emails leaked to his organization—emails that showed that the system was rigged against the insurgent candidate Bernie Sanders among other juicy details. If that were the real motive for his murder it would seem to point accusatory fingers at officials in the Democratic Party.

This relatively cold case got a little warmer last week when Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and former DC homicide detective, made the astonishing claim that there was solid evidence on the victim’s laptop that he had been in contact with Wikileaks before he died. This claim seemed a little weak considering the fact that Wheeler had not himself seen the laptop and was not even sure which law enforcement agency had it in their possession. Still, he insisted that a source at the FBI had told him that the laptop was the key to cracking the case. Within about 24 hours, FOX News was claiming to have an anonymous federal investigator who confirmed the veracity of Wheeler’s claim. FOX News has now officially retracted that story, though exactly why is a mystery. The New York Times clearly implied that FOX News backed off under pressure from the victim’s family, which is a pretty lousy reason to retract a story if you ask me. If it’s not true that’s something else entirely.

The problem with anonymous sources is that they only have as much credibility as the news outlets that vouch for them. When reporters use anonymous sources they are affirming that the mysterious individual has placement, access, and above all credibility. The reporter is asking his readers for their trust and, by running the story, the news outlet is backing him up. In days gone by[,] reporters usually received the trust that they sought because people didn’t see the media as a bunch of partisan hacks. These days, just saying that “a little bird told me” doesn’t cut it because the media has sullied its own reputation.

Given the declining trust that the public places in journalists, you might think that journalists would scale back their use of anonymous sources but the opposite seems to be happening. Though I know of no database that tracks how often anonymous sources are cited in a given year, casual observation tells me that the practice is more common now than when I started paying attention to the news in the 1990s. Journalist Paul Fahri, who covers the media beat at the Washington Post, concurs. Writing in 2013, he said that “According to sources who didn’t insist on anonymity, more and more sources are speaking to the news media on the condition of anonymity for the oddest of reasons.” I would argue that this trend has only increased since 2013 and that it’s become an epidemic since the inauguration of Donald J. Trump. The news cycle is starting to feel like a middle school rumor mill in which catty girls snipe at each other from behind a veil of secrecy. The news is no longer the news—it’s all the Washington gossip fit to print. This has to stop, at least until the Fourth Estate reestablishes its credibility with the American people, which could take a very long time.

Yet the media seem incapable of hearing any criticism of their profession or their employers. This attitude was driven home last week when a panel of reporters appearing on CNN reacted in shock, disbelief, and anger when their guest, former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie, stated that he was not convinced President Trump had given classified intel to Russian guests. “Tell you what, name those sources, then we’ll have something to talk about,” said Higbie. The exchange that followed was absolutely priceless, mostly for the reaction of hostess Kate Bolduan who lost it on national television. She was incensed that someone wouldn’t take a mainstream media-approved anonymous source as gold.

Journalist Kirsten Powers interjected with the classic defense of anonymous sourcing—Watergate. That scandal was broken by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post who received some tips from a mysterious man in a suburban DC parking garage. Until 2005 Woodward referred to his source, whose real name was W. Mark Felt, as Deep Throat.

Unfortunately, Woodward set a very bad precedent. In the years since Watergate, anonymous sourcing has become almost de rig[u]eur. Every anonymous source is now treated like a latter-day Deep Throat. Never mind the fact that Woodward used his secret source mostly as a starting point and that he didn’t expect the entire story to hold together on that single source’s credibility.

If Kirsten Powers wants to use Deep Throat as an example of anonymous sourcing at its best I can surely provide counterexamples of anonymous sourcing gone horribly wrong. Two such examples can be found at The New Republic (TNR), a publication that liberals tend to hold in high regard despite the various journalistic abominations it has run over the years.

In 2007, TNR ran three dispatches from a GI in Iraq whom they referred to as “Scott Thomas” (pseudonym) or the Baghdad Diarist. The Diarist wrote of American soldiers behaving more or less like savages: disrespecting the bodies of dead Iraqi civilians and running over dogs with their Bradley fighting vehicles. Readers were supposed to feel as if they were getting the ground truth instead of Pentagon spin when in fact they were merely having their preconceived notions confirmed. Unfortunately for TNR, the Baghdad Diarist was basically making all of this stuff up. A US Army investigation into this blatant misconduct found it baseless. None of the details of his story stacked up, “Scott Thomas” refused to cooperate with TNR’s own inquiry, and eventually TNR retracted the story.

To make matters worse TNR was by then still on probation for another incident that happened nine years prior, from which they claimed they had learned some lessons. In 1998 TNR got burned by one of its associate editors, Stephen Glass, who turned out to be a compulsive liar. An investigation later determined that 27 of Glass’s 41 TNR pieces contained at least some made up material and a few were entirely confabulated. Glass of course hid behind anonymous sources.

 … These two examples illustrate the pitfalls of anonymous sources. The Baghdad Diarist was a real soldier deployed to Iraq but he wasn’t credible. There was no way for TNR readers to assess his credibility because they didn’t know who he was. Believing that his account would never be checked, “Scott Thomas” wrote whatever his imagination could dream up, slimed his brothers-in-arms, and hurt the mission. Stephen Glass’s scandal was even worse because his anonymous sources were entirely fictional, a secret he thought he could keep.

When reporters have leeway to cite anonymous sources there’s really nothing to stop them from pulling these kinds of stunts. They can write anything at all and just attribute it to some guy they met in a parking garage. The guy in the parking garage may or may not exist, may or may not be a crackpot, may or may not have an agenda, may or may not have the access he claims to have. We don’t know.
And, I might add, neither may the journalist himself know, for that matter.
Journalism as a profession has some well-deserved black eyes and it would behoove reporters to start earning back the public trust. Anonymous sources do the opposite. Too often they’ve been used as covers for lousy and unethical reporting.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

CNN's Don Lemon Ain't Too Happy with Morgan Freeman's Answers

The Scoop's Bob Amoroso posts a video showing CNN's Don Lemon interviewing Morgan Freeman:

 … young, inexperienced pups like CNN host Don Lemon attempts to play the victimization “race card” while interviewing acclaimed Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, who knows a thing or two about real discrimination.

If anything this brief video clip perhaps best illustrates the disconnect between the generations, when it comes to the issue of race among African-Americans, it’s that same disconnect that immigrants first felt coming to America during the 20’s, 30’s 40’s and perhaps even the 50’s.

Lemon attempts to suggest that racial discrimination among African-Americans is by extension an economic issue, saying; “Do you think race plays a role in wealth distribution?”

Freeman momentarily taken aback by the question and seemed a bit bemused responded, “No. You and I are proof of it.”

Which apparently doesn’t satisfy the CNN host, as he tries again to illicit a response more to his liking, suggesting that some individuals might find it too hard to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.”

Freemen’s bemusement instantly evaporates, and begins schooling the young progressive pup, by reminding him he was born over 70-years ago in a place called Memphis, Tennessee then stating “um, I had a long haul from where I came from to here…but here we are.”

Lemon interjects saying: “not everybody can do that.”

Freemen sitting back on his chair exclaims “BULLSH*T, everybody can!”