May 17, 2022

Hunter Biden Art Sale: ‘Buying Access to White House’; Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson Are Cowards for Endorsing Anti-Vax Rhetoric; Bitcoin Mining Operation Turns Lake into a Hot Tub; Madonna Supports #FreeBritney: ‘Slavery was abolished so long ago’; Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and Boyz II Men in an Ultimate Boyband Collab

Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson Are Cowards for Endorsing Anti-Vax Rhetoric, Says MSNBC’s Chris Hayes

On Thursday’s MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, the host launched a scathing attack on right-wing media for its rhetoric discouraging people from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. While Hayes first targeted the hosts of Fox & Friends, the same message is also widespread among Fox News’ prime-time opinion shows Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

“We continue to see this very worrying, dangerous trend of the right-wing media, you saw some of it there, people in the most conservative parts of the country turning against the vaccine,” Hayes said, “and the leaders of this movement are cowardly. They refuse to have the courage of their convictions. They will not come out and say they are against the vaccine. Instead, they take this straw-man stance, saying they’re just against anyone trying to promote the vaccine, or, heaven forbid, mandate it.”

Hayes continued by accusing some members of the right-wing media of wanting people to obtain the vaccine but being scared to say it for fear of appearing to want them to die.

Hayes then shifted his attention to former President Donald Trump, who was surreptitiously vaccinated while in office and had periodically advised his staff to do the same. However, Hayes chastised Trump for not doing more.

“The exiled former president has occasionally, half-heartedly made that argument, telling the crowd at CPAC in February, quote, ‘Everybody go get your shot.’ But he’s not really leaning into it,” Hayes said. “At the end of the day, he’s just as scared of the anti-vaxxers in the base as the rest of his party, the rest of the conservative movement.”

Hayes was critical of many in right-wing media for not being truthful about vaccines, noting Trump and Carlson in particular, the latter of whom has consistently disparaged vaccines and questioned their safety for months while ignoring overwhelming evidence that they save lives.

“All of them, from Donald Trump to Tucker Carlson, are cowards when it comes down to it,” Hayes said. “They’re just chasing after the base; they’re chasing the base. They’re not leading. They’re not telling them things they don’t want to hear.”

As COVID cases continue to grow in parts of the country with poor vaccination rates, the majority of which are populated by Trump supporters, Hayes offered a suggestion for how Trump should vaccine his following.

Hunter Biden Art Sale: ‘Buying Access to White House’ Critic Says

White House officials have been working on an ethics plan to protect the names of individuals who bid on the president’s son’s artwork in recent months, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The proposal, which has drawn criticism from ethics experts, is intended to prevent a wealthy individual from currying favor with Hunter or his influential family by paying a hefty fee for the difficult-to-value artworks.

“Because we don’t know who is paying for this art and we don’t know for sure that [Hunter Biden] knows, we have no way of monitoring whether people are buying access to the White House,” Walter Shaub, who led the Office of Government Ethics under former President Barack Obama, told The Washington Post.

“The idea that even Hunter won’t know, but the WH has outsourced government ethics to a private art dealer,” Shaub added. “We’re supposed to trust a merchant in an industry that’s fertile ground for money laundering, as well as unknown buyers who could tell Hunter or WH officials? No thanks.”

According to the Post, Georges Berges, the owner of a New York gallery, will set the rates for Hunter’s artwork. Berges previously stated that Hunter Biden’s artwork is valued between $75,000 to $500,000 for his most prominent paintings.

Hunter Biden’s abstract art has elicited conflicting responses. The New York Post, which has been critical of Hunter Biden, published a story in June headlined, “Hunter Biden’s artwork is actually good and will be worth a lot, experts say.”

According to the tabloid, Mark Tribe, chairman of the MFA Fine Arts Department at New York City’s School of Visual Arts, Hunter Biden’s work is “pretty strong.”

“The colors and compelling organic forms — it’s the kind of organic abstraction that I find easy on the eyes and provokes your curiosity,” Tribe said.

However, Jeffry Cudlin, an art professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, told the conservative Washington Examiner newspaper that Hunter Biden’s paintings should cost no more than $3,000, as they are intended “to hang over someone’s couch.”

The ethics agreement is the latest source of contention for Hunter Biden, who has endured years of allegations that he unfairly benefitted from his father’s position.

Energy-Intensive Bitcoin Mining Operation Turns Lake into a Hot Tub

Summer on Seneca Lake, the largest of upstate New York’s Finger Lakes, is typically spent boating, fishing, swimming, and wine tasting. However, this season brings a new activity for many residents of this rural region: protesting a gas-fired power station they claim is contaminating the air and warming the lake.

“The lake is so warm you feel like you’re in a hot tub,” said Abi Buddington of Dresden, whose house is near the plant.

Greenidge Generation LLC owns and operates the facility on the shores of Seneca Lake. They have quadrupled the electrical output of the gas-fired plant in the last year and a half and are using a large portion of the fossil-fuel energy not to power the lights in surrounding towns but to conduct energy-intensive bitcoin “mining.”

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency – a sort of digital money that lacks physical bills or coins. To earn it through “mining,” massive high-performance computers are required. Computers make modest bitcoin incentives for validating bitcoin transactions that occur on the internet around the world. The arithmetic necessary to validate transactions and earn bitcoins becomes increasingly sophisticated over time, necessitating an increasing amount of computer power. At Greenidge, the computers run 24 hours a day, consuming an incredible amount of energy and emitting real pollutants in the process of collecting virtual wealth.

According to a University of Cambridge calculation, global bitcoin miners consume more energy in a year than in Chile. When fossil fuel is used to generate energy, the process can drastically increase carbon emissions. The Greenidge plant already houses at least 8,000 computers and is considering adding more, which means it will need to burn even more natural gas to generate additional energy.

Greenidge began mining bitcoin with the machine in 2019 and boosted its output. It continues to supply extra energy to the local grid, but a large portion of the power it generates is currently used for bitcoin mining. And, according to corporate filings, it has expansion plans for Greenidge and other locations. Greenidge announced last week the establishment of a new bitcoin mining operation at an Atlas-owned disused printing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Greenidge stated in March that its 19 megawatt Bitcoin mining capacity would increase to 45 megawatts by December and might reach 500 megawatts by 2025 as it duplicates its technology overseas. In the United States, larger gas-fired power stations range in capacity from 1,500 to 3,500 megawatts.

Madonna Supports #FreeBritney: ‘Slavery was abolished so long ago’

Madonna offered her support for Britney Spears on Thursday in an emotional Instagram Story, condemning her fellow pop star’s conservatorship and pleading for her release.

The singer of “Material Girl,” who collaborated with Spears on 2003’s “Me Against the Music,” criticized the constraints that Spears has been subjected to for more than a decade.

“Give this woman her life back,” Madonna began. “Slavery was abolished so long ago! Death to the greedy patriarchy that has been doing this to women for centuries. This is a violation of human rights!

“Britney, we are coming to get you out of jail!”

Madonna, 62, penned the remark over a photograph of herself wearing a tank top with Spears’s name.

The singer of “Vogue” is the latest music star to join the #FreeBritney movement following her emotional testimony last month where she described herself as “traumatized” and pleaded with the court to jail her father, Jamie Spears.

Earlier this week, the 39-year-old “Toxic” singer’s court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, requested to resign from her conservatorship case following the departure of her manager, Larry Rudolph, and the announcement of Bessemer Trust’s withdrawal as co-conservator of her estate.

According to TMZ, Ingham decided to retire after becoming “very outraged” at allegations made about him by Spears during her June 23 court appearance.

Britney told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny at the time, “Ma’am, I didn’t know I could petition the conservatorship to end. I honestly didn’t know that.”

Lynne Spears, Spears’ mother, filed court filings on Wednesday requesting that her daughter be allowed to hire her own attorney. Lynne’s petition, obtained by Page Six, complimented her daughter for “baring her heart to the court in an impassioned plea to be heard on several requests.”

Additionally, she stated that Britney is “capable of caring” for herself and has been “for the past many years.”


Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and Boyz II Men Will Deliver an Ultimate Boyband Collab in a Rare Las Vegas Performance

Boyband enthusiasts may want to schedule a summer trip to Sin City. *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and Boyz II Men members are teaming up for a limited summer event in Las Vegas, which means you can live out your tween and adolescent desires and scream-sing all the tunes alongside them.

Joey Fatone of *NSYNC, AJ McLean and Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, and Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men bring their talents to Las Vegas for a limited engagement.

Beginning Aug. 19 and running through Aug. 22, the boy band members will collaborate for an event named The After Party at The Sands Showroom within The Venetian Resort.

The four musicians will play their respective hits and those of one another during the nightly event, which will also feature interaction between the stars and appearances by special guests.

Tickets go on sale on July 10 at 10:00 a.m. PT through Ticketmaster.com, Venetian.com, and any Venetian Resort box office.

“We wanted to do something with the idea of the Rat Pack meets the Pop age now — different artists coming together and doing a show that’s fun, but also takes you through a bit of history,” Fatone, 44, told Variety. “But it organically also turned into more of a celebration of our bands and a homage to pop culture.”

“You’re going to see these guys and these groups in a light you’ve never seen them in before,” he continued.

“We’ve had so much fun putting this show together and finally sharing a stage. I can’t wait to share it with the fans,” McLean, 45, added in a press release, per Entertainment Tonight. “I promise an incredible night of wild surprises; this is an absolute must-see!”

Carter, 41, McLean, Fatone, and Lance Bass recently teamed up for a Pride celebration at Los Angeles’ The Grove.

The event, dubbed Bingo Under the Stars, raised $1 million in $TKINU Tokens for The Trevor Project on behalf of the cryptocurrency-backed charity coalition Mission Tsuki.

“Back in the day, before there was social media, press, and media and had to pit us against each other. Just to be able to do something like this together hopefully squashes all that crap that was never true in the first place,” McLean told PEOPLE of the event. “This is about coming together.”