File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
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April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

Liberty Update

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As Trump Lead Widens, Prosecutors Step Up Pursuit Print
By Byron York
Wednesday, December 13 2023
People get caught up in the details and sometimes lose sight of the big picture. But the big picture is this: The current administration is trying to imprison its chief political opponent before the next election.

Two things are true: One, former President Donald Trump's polling  nationally, in key swing states, and in the first-voting state of Iowa  has never been better. And two, Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by the Biden Justice Department to prosecute Trump, is taking self-described "extraordinary" measures in a rush to put Trump on trial before the 2024 presidential election. The two things are not unrelated. And nothing could more effectively illustrate the contrast between Trump's rising political fortunes and the administration's effort to imprison him before the election.

Start with the Iowa polling. The new Des Moines Register poll, considered quite reliable, showed Trump extending his lead to 32 points over second-place Ron DeSantis, with Nikki Haley in third place. The pollster called Trump's lead "commanding" and noted that the shrinking GOP field, which was supposed to help Trump's opposition, "may have made Donald Trump even stronger than he was." The Iowa caucuses are now a little less than five weeks away.

As far as the key swing states are concerned, CNN released a new general election poll showing Trump leading President Joe Biden in head-to-head matchups in Georgia and Michigan. Biden, of course, won both states in 2020, but the CNN pollsters found Trump with a five-point lead in Georgia, and a 10-point lead in Michigan. As for the national polling, the Wall Street Journal released a new survey showing that Trump not only leads Biden in a one-on-one contest  47% to 43%. It is safe to say that in the last year of campaigning, Trump has never been in a stronger position. If that wasn't clear before Monday, when the polls were released, it is certainly clear now.

Also on Monday, Jack Smith, the Justice Department-appointed special counsel who is prosecuting Trump on 40 felony counts in the classified documents case and four felony counts in the Jan. 6/2020 election case, filed what he acknowledged was an "extraordinary request" with the Supreme Court in the election matter. Smith asked the court to shortcut normal procedure and get involved immediately in adjudicating Trump's contention that as a former president, he is immune from prosecution for things he did as president, or at least immune because he was previously impeached and acquitted.

Trump originally made the argument before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the Jan. 6/2020 election case. She rejected Trump's argument. Now, Trump has the right to appeal. Normally, he would appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The case would be assigned to a three-judge panel which would rule on the matter. If Trump lost again, he might ask that all the judges on the court consider the case. If he lost again, he could appeal to the Supreme Court.

Trump is fully within his rights to ask for those appeals, especially since the question he is presenting  immunity for a former president  has never been decided by any court. But the process takes time. Months and months will go by. Chutkan has scheduled Trump's trial to begin on March 4. If Chutkan can stay on that schedule, she can keep Trump locked down in a courtroom for a significant part of the Republican primary process, and then perhaps, if he is convicted by an all-D.C. jury, jail the former president by the time the general election campaign's final leg begins on Labor Day.

From former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy: "Under federal law, Trump will have to attend his trial every day. Combined, the felony charges carry a statutory minimum prison term of 55 years. A conviction on even one count is likely to call for an incarceration sentence under the federal guidelines. Hence, if Trump is convicted, he faces the very real possibility of being ordered to begin serving a prison term during the campaign stretch run. (If Trump were convicted in May, he'd likely be sentenced in August. The presumption in federal law is against bail pending appeal.)"

As far as Smith is concerned, a normal Supreme Court appeals process would mess everything up. Trial could not start on March 4, there would be no verdict in May, and Trump would not be in jail by Labor Day. The whole thing might stretch into 2025. So Smith has asked the Supreme Court to jump in and take the appeal directly, skipping the whole court of appeals process. "The United States recognizes that this is an extraordinary request," Smith wrote. "This is an extraordinary case. The Court should [take the case] and set a briefing schedule that would permit this case to be argued and resolved as promptly as possible."

Why the rush? Although Smith says the case is of "paramount" and "imperative" public importance, he never says exactly why. Perhaps some will think that is obvious: Trump is a former president accused of crimes, and there has never been such a case before in U.S. history. But why does that mean the case must be speeded through the courts? Smith does not say, but the reason seems clear: Smith is in a hurry because he has very little time to try the case and imprison Trump before the 2024 election. He just can't come out and say it that way; if he did, he would highlight the fundamentally political nature of the prosecution.

Smith's Jan. 6/2020 election case is Trump's adversaries' best hope of finding Trump guilty of something before the election. If you are die-hard Resistance or Never Trumper hoping to see the former president behind bars before the 2024 election, your best hope is the Jan. 6/2020 case. But that won't happen unless the Supreme Court grants Smith his "extraordinary request" and speeds up the schedule.

And the day Smith hurried to the court just happened to be the day the public received all sorts of new indications of Trump's strength in the presidential race. National, swing state, early state  he's doing very well in them all, against Republican primary opponents and against President Joe Biden.

It's always prudent to note that the election is still 11 1/2 months away and that everything could change between now and then. And what might change? Perhaps some Democrats and other Trump opponents won't say it so bluntly, but their hope is that convicting Trump of felonies, and actually putting him behind bars, will finally put an end to his bid for another term in the White House. 

People get caught up in the details and sometimes lose sight of the big picture. But the big picture is this: The current administration is trying to imprison its chief political opponent before the next election. One side thinks this is entirely reasonable, and the other side thinks it is what Andrew McCarthy called "a dangerous, norm-breaking precedent." Whatever you think, that is what is happening.


Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

COPYRIGHT 2023 BYRON YORK

Notable Quote   
 
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
 
 
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
 
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