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Watch: Civil War Time Capsule Being Opened for 1st Time in 130 Years

Western Journal

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Over 130 years ago, beneath the site of a now-canceled statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a group of Virginians buried two time capsules so that future generations would have an important link to their past.

In the grand scheme of world history, 130 years is a very short period of time, but in the short-yet-revolutionary period of history during which the United States has existed as a nation, these last 130 years have been world-shaking.

We have come so remarkably far as a nation and a people, and yet while we have much to learn from our recent past, these days sadly, as evidenced by the removal of controversial historical monuments like Lee’s statue, history isn’t examined so much as demonized and erased.

On Tuesday, a group of conservators opened what was the second time capsule found by the crew that is working to remove Lee’s statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, as NPR reported.

History buffs and nerds watched with bated breath as experts carefully opened the copper box, which NPR noted had evaded the crew that searched for it for months.

The conservators from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources showed the world what Victorian-era Richmond residents had collected to be buried in 1887, much of which was Confederate memorabilia and artifacts from the Civil War period as well as several documents.

“One book was called ‘The Minutiae of Soldier Life,'” NPR reported. “They found a Bible and an 1887 Almanac. Another booklet was called ‘Army of Northern Virginia Memorial Volume 1880.’ Two booklets were in a small container together: Chamber of Commerce reports from 1886 and 1887.”

There were also Masonic artifacts and a pamphlet, coins, various kinds of money and an 1884 commemorative ribbon which was used as a bookmark that featured a likeness of Lee.

Many of these items were expected; however, a potentially priceless photograph of Abraham Lincon before he was buried did not appear to be in the box.

“Conservators also found pages from an April 29, 1865 issue of Harper’s Weekly that featured a printed image appearing to show a person grieving over the casket of Abraham Lincoln,” NPR added. “There was speculation that the box may have contained a rare photograph of Lincoln in his coffin, though they did not find it upon their initial unpacking on Tuesday.”

WATCH:

It honestly takes my breath away to imagine what it must be like to carefully extract a newspaper, coin or book from this historical treasure box, knowing that it was carefully placed there so long ago by hands that had lived through one of the darkest and most important periods of American history. Their intention was that future generations could benefit from the preservation and discovery of these relics.

I wonder, however, what the people who preserved these priceless artifacts for us would think if they knew the state of American discourse surrounding our nation’s hard-fought civil liberties and victory over slavery and institutionalized racism.

As a Christian homeschool mom, one of the things I appreciate the most about studying history with my children with a biblical worldview is being able to see, throughout the grand drama of human history, that there has never been a period of time during which mankind has not been fallen and capable of sinning against God and fellow man.

Even history’s greatest kings and leaders had falls and setbacks, and even the most glorious endeavors mankind has undertaken to improve the conditions in this dying world are full of moral complexities and nuance.

I believe one of the greatest intellectual crimes currently being committed by our secular society is the oversimplification of several centuries of struggle against the institution of slavery and its legacy in our country.

How soon might it be before someone is spinning this impressive historical find, this deliberate act on the part of past generations of Virginians to preserve part of their history, as evidence of our nation’s irredeemable sins rather than a valuable peek into the past?

Already the comments left on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s tweet sharing the live opening of the capsule indicated that the event evoked references to things like the 1619 Project, which argues that our nation was founded on deep-seated institutional racism, despite the fact that the slaves first transported to what would become the U.S. in 1619 were likely captured and sold into slavery by other Africans.

Despite the leaps and bounds that the western world had undertaken to free the slaves and combat racism by 1890, it appears that there are many today who can’t look back on the last century-and-a-half without seeing only racism.

The reason this is so dangerous is that they are blind to the tremendous efforts all of our ancestors took to end the institutionalization of this grievous sin.

What’s more, I do not believe that we moderns can possibly grasp the weight of the Reconstruction period and the efforts made to raise up monuments to Confederate leaders and to heal the great bloody divide that the Civil War created in our country.

It seems horrific to us today to pay homage to men who fought to protect the Southern States’ right to maintain the institution of slavery, and there are certainly many worthy arguments to be made that perhaps these monuments need no longer remain intact.

However, we cannot simply erase or demonize our history; already, important American figures well deserving of our homage like Thomas Jefferson or Teddy Roosevelt are being treated with the same scorn as Confederate leaders, something which is grossly and abhorrently misguided.

Our history is full of painful and difficult occurrences, there is no doubt. It is fallacious, however, for proponents of things like critical race theory and the 1619 Project to paint what they offer as the “real” history of our country. They erroneously and shamefully link racism to the driving motivation of our Founding Fathers. Worse than that, they link racism to white people as a whole, despite the thousands upon thousands of white people who worked hard, many unto death, to end slavery and preserve a Union that could move forward.

The real history of our nation is a history of a people who have fought hard to be defined by their deeds and not the color of their skin, to overcome class and racial prejudices and ensure that all men are treated equally as the Good Lord created them, so that the original vision of the Founding Fathers could be seen through to fruition.

We would not be where we are as a nation without the legacy of men whose history we now view as problematic, so how can we possibly hope to progress toward a more perfect union by demonizing our forefathers?

You know what they say: Those who don’t know their history are bound to repeat it. I grow more concerned by the day that the fate of those who oversimplify and misrepresent our history may be even worse.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Elon Musk Announces Twitter Deal ‘Cannot Move Forward’ Unless CEO Proves Key Claim

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In a tweet that could shake the foundations and future of Twitter, Elon Musk said Tuesday morning he believes fake accounts make up as much as 20 percent of the platform.

The billionaire tweeted that his offer to buy Twitter was contingent on the accuracy of the company’s estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are spam or bot accounts instead of real people.

As such, Musk said, he will not move forward with his proposal to buy Twitter until company CEO Parag Agrawal proves Twitter’s numbers are accurate.

“20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” he said. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.

“Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Earlier, Musk had responded with skepticism to a series of tweets from Agrawal about the company’s spam calculations.

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he said.

His point was that advertisers pay to connect to real people, and if the platform has fewer real people than it claims, its bottom line could be shakier than it has reported.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has long proclaimed that Twitter is riddled with fake accounts.

On Friday, Musk posted that the deal with buy Twitter was “on hold” over the issue because the company’s numbers were lower than what he thought they should be.

Twitter had said in a quarterly filing on May 2 that its “estimation of false or spam accounts may not accurately represent the actual number,” language similar to that used in its past filings.

Musk followed up shortly thereafter to say, “Still committed to acquisition.”

Between Friday’s tweet and Tuesday’s, experts and analysts have offered three groupings of opinion.

One is that Musk is using the issue of bots to walk away from the deal.

Others believe that he wants to use this to lower the price of the purchase.

Tim Draper, an investor in Tesla and SpaceX as well as the Twitter venture, said he thinks the deal will eventually go through, according to the New York Post.

“I think so,” Draper said. “But I think he’s going to get a better deal because he found out that, whatever, two-thirds [of users] are bots or something.”

Axios pointed to a third option: “Some are even wondering whether the entire takeover attempt is anything more than Musk trolling Twitter, using Twitter.”

On Monday, Musk had brought up the subject of bots while speaking at a tech conference in Miami and estimated that the 20 percent number he tweeted Tuesday could be accurate, according to Bloomberg.

“Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” he said. “It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

In a tweet that could shake the foundations and future of Twitter, Elon Musk said Tuesday morning he believes fake accounts make up as much as 20 percent of the platform. The billionaire tweeted that his offer to buy Twitter was contingent on the accuracy of the company’s estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its accounts are spam or bot accounts instead of real people. As such, Musk said, he will not move forward with his proposal to buy Twitter until company CEO Parag Agrawal proves Twitter’s numbers are accurate. “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” he said. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.” 20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022 Earlier, Musk had responded with skepticism to a series of tweets from Agrawal about the company’s spam calculations. Let’s talk about spam. And let’s do so with the benefit of data, facts, and context… — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022 Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day. — Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022 “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he said. So how do advertisers know…

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Op-Ed: Xi Jinping Is Watching Putin to Decide When to Attack Taiwan

Western Journal

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to decide when to attack Taiwan. At this point that decision is made, but the timing won’t be settled until this fall and before President Joe Biden leaves the White House.

Let me untangle some issues that will dictate Beijing’s timing for its assault on Taiwan: Xi’s enemies and economic challenges, Biden’s green light indicators for Putin’s war, a growing list of battlefield lessons, and Biden’s broken foreign policy.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and Xi stakes his future on returning it to Chinese rule.

Last fall, he declared the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition of opposing separatism” and that “complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” The communist chairman added, “The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference,” and he warned last year, “Anyone who would attempt to [interfere] will have their heads bashed bloody.”

Yes, Mr. Xi is committed to reunification, but the timing is bound by two realities.

The first is the possible confirmation of his third term in office, an unprecedented eventuality since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Xi’s third term would begin this November.

Xi’s hold on power, however, isn’t assured. Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said last year that some officials are “in strong opposition and are trying their best to prevent Xi’s next possible term.”

Those enemies know Xi’s Achilles heel: a sagging economy. According to the Communist Party’s “Shanghai Gang” faction, Xi is ruining the Chinese economy and must be ousted.

So, if Xi is to gain a third term, he must balance his domestic opposition and his economic vulnerability before assaulting Taiwan. After all, he learned from the Ukraine war that an attack on the democratic island nation will earn him severe economic sanctions, further threatening China’s economy. Thus, he intends to delay any invasion until after he is assured another term.

The other reality for Xi’s anticipated assault is identified by Andrei Illarionov, Putin’s economic adviser for almost six years in the early 2000s.

Illarionov, now a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, said the Chinese are learning from Putin’s war. He explained that Putin’s “decision to invade Ukraine is based on his absolutely correct understanding of President Biden. Without Biden in the White House, Putin would never invade Ukraine.”

Xi learned from Putin that Biden is weak and broadcasts what he will and won’t do — a predictable enemy.

“Mr. Putin is a very good psychologist,” Illarionov said. “He studied [security agency] files for Mr. Biden. He understood that’s a person who would never do anything against his invasion against Ukraine.” In fact, Biden showed his hand long before the war began.

Last year, Biden removed sanctions on Nord Stream 2, renewed the U.S.-Russian nuclear arms agreement without negotiations, did nothing about the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border and ordered U.S. warships out of the Black Sea after a Russian-Dutch naval confrontation. Putin perceived these moves as weaknesses, an effort on Biden’s part to avoid confrontation.

Biden’s representatives weren’t any better.

He sent William Burns, the CIA director, to Moscow, where, according to Illarionov, he offered guarantees “on issues of security, even when Russian troops [were] on the Ukrainian border and ready to attack Ukraine. That can be understood only in one way: Biden administration is giving green light for Putin to attack Ukraine.”

Then, in December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart to discuss the Ukraine crisis. However, Illarionov said, “90 percent” of the discussions were about the Iran nuclear deal, yet again “giving a green light to Mr. Putin to attack Ukraine.”

On other fronts, according to Illarionov, Biden recalled American citizens and military personnel from Ukraine. He even offered to help President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leave Ukraine. Once again, Illarionov said, “Mr.  Putin understood these signs in the exactly right way”: as weakness and a go-ahead to invade.

Xi understands that Biden was never serious about stopping Putin’s war. In fact, Illarionov said Xi, like Putin, “understands very well that there is a unique window of opportunity … when Mr. Biden is the president. With any other U.S. president … [an invasion of Ukraine or Taiwan] would be impossible.”

The Russian concluded, “This dangerous moment will last at least until January 2025, until hopefully another president will be in the White House.”

Of course, there are numerous other lessons from Russia’s war for the Chinese dictator. His invasion of Taiwan will be tougher than Putin’s assault on Ukraine because the Chinese are attacking a well-fortified island nation 160 miles from the mainland, a true logistics nightmare. Further, unlike the go-it-alone fight forced on Kyiv, the government in Taipei expects the U.S. and other Western powers to directly intervene.

The most important lesson for Xi is that Biden is a predictable, weak enemy who broadcasts his intentions. So unless the Biden team finds better foreign policy acumen, we could as soon as late fall see the skies reflect green lights signaling Xi to assault Taiwan.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is watching Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine to decide when to attack Taiwan. At this point that decision is made, but the timing won’t be settled until this fall and before President Joe Biden leaves the White House. Let me untangle some issues that will dictate Beijing’s timing for its assault on Taiwan: Xi’s enemies and economic challenges, Biden’s green light indicators for Putin’s war, a growing list of battlefield lessons, and Biden’s broken foreign policy. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and Xi stakes his future on returning it to Chinese rule. Last fall, he declared the Chinese people have a “glorious tradition of opposing separatism” and that “complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.” The communist chairman added, “The Taiwan question is purely an internal matter for China, one which brooks no external interference,” and he warned last year, “Anyone who would attempt to [interfere] will have their heads bashed bloody.” Yes, Mr. Xi is committed to reunification, but the timing is bound by two realities. The first is the possible confirmation of his third term in office, an unprecedented eventuality since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. Xi’s third term would begin this November. Xi’s hold on power, however, isn’t assured. Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said last year that some officials are “in strong opposition and are trying their best to prevent Xi’s next possible term.” Those enemies know Xi’s Achilles heel: a sagging economy. According to the Communist Party’s “Shanghai Gang” faction, Xi is ruining the Chinese economy and must be ousted. So, if Xi is to gain a third term, he must balance his domestic opposition and his economic vulnerability before assaulting Taiwan. After all, he learned…

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