Pinned toot

Sunday, April 9, 2023
Sent: 8:28 AM, PDT California Time

Hi, I am Monica Andrews, Investigative News Journalist, Appointed Editor-in-chief of Free Peoples Free Press News Sites

Unlike my role as Interim Acting Editor-in-chief at Free Press Without Borders News Sites. My primary purpose at News Sites will be to implement my own vision of deciding on what to focus on concerning special news stories.

I am a political liberal activist, however, I will not let my personal liberal views & opinions interfere in bringing special news stories that I feel are newsworthy.

Primary purpose of this site will consist of publishing conservative, liberal and independent political commentaries.

I also must research and get familiarized with Mastodon Qoto org instance policies.

I must comprehend and understand exactly what I can do cannot do on this site that is directly relevant and pertinent to publishing and republishing various types and forms of media contents.

There will be a learning curve, it is going to take some time for me to learn how to navigate Mastodon Qoto org.

I must experiment on how to post, so I will first make a few test posts or toots. Which I will delete.

Once I learn how to post correctly, I will revert to Free Press Without Borders strict policy of never deleting post or toots.

Sincerely, Monica Andrews, Editor-in-chief, Free Peoples Free Press News Sites

I've seen a lot of voices saying that " #Mastodon does not need to grow to be successful", and "we don't need to put in more effort to welcome new users", and frankly this attitude is pissing me off.

"The reason that social media did not work as promised is not because we misunderstood the nature of the internet and the possibilities of digital connectivity, but because oligarchs took over the digital space."

If there is any chance of using social media as a force for democracy, we desperately need a system that _cannot_ be taken over by the oligarchs. And, right now, the #Fediverse is the best candidate for this.

Thus, there is homework that needs to be done. We cannot just rest on our laurels and proclaim that the tech is already good enough, and that the #Fediverse tech approach somehow magically solves all the problems of other social media platforms. We need to get away from the overwhelmingly white male European/North American user base and look for ways on how to increase #BIPOC user participation - not to mention participation of users from Asia, Africa, and South America.

If we try to maintain the Fediverse as the home of a small, incestuous group of people with a particular tech slant, the oligarchs will win.

Pick one


Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a resolution late Monday to oust Kevin McCarthy as speaker, setting up a likely showdown vote in the House in the days ahead.

The far-right Republican from Florida has for months threatened to use a procedural tool — called a motion to vacate — to try to strip McCarthy of his office. 
#AureFreePress #News #GOP #Politics #USA #Breaking #BreakingNews

Critical thinking is a skill. If we don't practice it, we lose it.

California prisons price gouge necessities, leaving inmates struggling to pay for soap


Laura Hernandez is no longer incarcerated, yet hundreds of dollars leave her bank account each year and end up in the coffers of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

While incarcerated in California from 2007-2018, Hernandez paid exorbitant prices on basic necessities like shampoo, conditioner and bar soap from the prison canteen each month. Even though Hernandez is now a free woman living in Texas, she is still subject to the whims of CDCR’s price-gouging as a person who supports incarcerated loved ones. When Hernandez receives word that one of her incarcerated friends needs something, she mobilizes with groups of formerly incarcerated women to raise funds. Without this sisterhood of support, many of Hernandez’s incarcerated friends would have to go without the bare essentials.

Legislation now on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk from Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) could help women like Hernandez who support incarcerated loved ones, as well as the more than 92,000 people incarcerated in CDCR facilities. In its current amended version, Senate Bill 474 would prohibit CDCR prisons from charging more than a 35% markup above the amount paid to vendors until January 1, 2028. This would dramatically lower prices — a recent audit found that canteen products are marked up an average of 65% of the amount paid to the vendor.

OPINION Because prisons have a monopoly over the people they incarcerate, they are able to gouge prices far beyond retail prices in order to maximize profit. It’s often impossible for incarcerated people — who earn between 8 and 37 cents an hour — to afford these prices. At California State Prison Solano, toothpaste costs $4.45 (compared to the market rate of $1.38), a markup of over 200% that could require 37% of an incarcerated person’s monthly income. An eight ounce package of coffee can cost $9, as much as 75% of an incarcerated person’s income. Only in a forced monopoly can these kinds of prices exist. In the free world, a consumer would simply shop elsewhere. With the lowest-paid people in the country being charged the highest prices for basic necessities, the expense often falls to their loved ones.

"Imagine having to stretch $21 (a month) for hygiene,” Hernandez said, citing the health risks and social humiliation of not being able to afford soap or menstrual products. Even when her family sent her money, a portion of the funds went toward restitution fees. And many in prison don’t have anyone on the outside to offer financial support. April Harris, who is currently incarcerated at California Institute for Women, receives support from her mother, stepfather and three friends, including Hernandez. Yet, for the first five or so years of her incarceration, she didn’t have the same level of financial support and could not afford supplemental food items from the canteen.

Restricting canteen price-gouging wouldn’t just help incarcerated people, but also their families, who “pay both the apparent and hidden costs” of incarceration, according to a 2015 report published by the Ella Baker Center, an SB 474 cosponsor. Decades of “unjust criminal justice policies have created a legacy of collateral impacts that last for generations and are felt most deeply by women, low-income families and communities of color,” the report continued. Prison-related costs for loved ones can have debilitating ripple effects. A survey of 2,281 women published in 2018 by Essie Justice Group found that 35% of respondents experienced homelessness, eviction or an inability to pay housing costs on time as a result of their loved one’s incarceration.

San Francisco has already succeeded in ending markups in its city jail’s commissaries, a change the city enacted in 2019. On a national level, no other states have yet passed such legislation, though Virginia and Nevada are also fighting for similar legislation. In addition to Newsom signing SB 474, future legislation could address the prices of items in the catalogs from which incarcerated people and their loved ones can order quarterly packages. Harris also wonders if CDCR could spend the inmate welfare fund differently, perhaps using the funds to include better, name-brand products in the indigent kits.

Hernandez recalls a time when prisons allowed outside packages to be sent in, rather than requiring families to send packages from these approved vendors. As someone who is now sending, rather than just receiving these packages, Hernandez thinks that allowing outside packages would be cheaper and logistically smoother. “I think it would be a lot easier… for us out here,” Hernandez says. “To be able to help the ones that are in there.” Rachel Zarrow is a freelance writer based in San Francisco and a volunteer with Empowerment Avenue. Christopher Blackwell is an incarcerated writer in Washington State and a co-founder of the nonprofit Look 2 Justice.

Read more at:

California governor signs law to bolster eviction protections for renters


Updated 8:28 PM PDT, September 30, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law Saturday to bolster eviction protections for renters and close a loophole in an existing law that has allowed landlords to circumvent the state’s rent cap.

The move updates a 2019 landmark law that created rules around evictions and establishing a rent cap at 5% plus the inflation rate, with a 10% maximum.

Under the 2019 law, landlords can evict tenants for “at fault” or “no fault” reasons. “At fault” reasons include failure to pay rent on time. Under “no fault” rules, landlords can terminate leases by saying they need to move into units, make repairs or take the units off the rental market.

Renters’ advocates said some landlords have exploited the “no fault” evictions to get around the state’s rent cap. They pointed to a case in Santa Clara County in which a landlord evicted tenants, citing the need to move in relatives, but then re-listed the units at nearly double the price.

Under the new law, landlords moving into their units or renting to family also must identify the people moving in. In addition, the rental must be occupied within three months of eviction and they must live in the unit for at least a year. Those who evict tenants to renovate properties must include copies of permits or contracts, among other details, when serving eviction notices.

Landlords who do not follow through will have to allow evicted tenants to move back under the original lease terms.

“Today is a victory for all Californians,” said Michelle Pariset, director of legislative affairs at Public Advocates, the group that sponsored the legislation. “Through this law more of our neighbors will be able to stay in their homes!”

The law, which was authored by Democratic state Sen. María Elena Durazo, also allows the attorney general, local government and renters to sue landlords for wrongful evictions and illegal rent increases.

Proponents said they have worked with several local governments to tighten the loophole, but the new law will ensure landlords throughout the state can no longer abuse the system.

The bill faced fierce backlash earlier this year from powerful landlord groups, who said the changes went too far and successfully pressured lawmakers to eliminate a provision that sought to reduce the state’s rent cap to 5%.

French officials fight a bed bug invasion
Ahead of the Paris Olympics

Source: NBC NEWS

The long-repeated advice: Don't let the bedbugs bite. But with the Paris Olympics less than a year away, fears that the blood-sucking insects could take a bite out of those attending the Olympic Games next summer have led to demands for action.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Dear Alfredo_liberal: I am reaching out to you in the hopes that you will post some kind of message on one of your Mastodon Instance Accounts on the Fediverse letting your followers know that you are okay.

Sincerely, Monica Andrews, Interim Acting Editor-in-chief, #FreePressWithoutBorders News

Redoing this poll due to a suggestion by @kilroy_was_here ...

What name do you like best for a non-profit community for Ham Radio? Think Apache incubator but for Ham plus other open-source services and resources for the community.

FYI I have both the dot com and dot org as well as the hyphenated and non hyphenated versions of the below. Please mention which variant you prefer in comments.

"“Stolen car rates are not up by 10 percent, or 20 percent, or even 50 percent,” the report says. “In many cities, they are up hundreds of percentage points, Motherboard has found. Rates of stolen Kias and Hyundais in particular are up thousands of percentage points.”"

Which party do you think is to blame if there is a government shut-down?


Please share.

My Thoughts

The heart of our strength is diversity, we only thrive when our people from all walks of life come together to solve problems. Liberty is only sustained via collaborative efforts of an educated populus.


Sincerely, Monica Andrews, Interim Acting Editor-in-chief, #FreePeoplesFreePress News

The Bundestag declared Ukraine has the right to launch missiles towards Russian Federation territory.

This statement was made by Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the head of the Bundestag's defense committee, who called on the German government to promptly provide Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles.

"Furthermore, international law permits Ukraine to target military facilities within the territory of the Russian aggressor, regardless of the origin or supplier of these weapons," she said.

Here is your regular reminder the saying should be “always state the opinions upon which you base your facts.”



When I was a kid, we didn't have many vaccines.

I had friends in iron lungs from polio.

I had several now preventable diseases (chicken pox, whooping cough, measles, …)

I will never get vaccine fatigue.

AI girlfriends are ruining an entire generation of men


CONTRIBUTOR 09/26/23 07:00 AM ET

Source: The Hill

The rise of virtual artificial intelligence (AI) girlfriends is enabling the silent epidemic of loneliness in an entire generation of young men. It is also having severe consequences for America’s future.

How is something that seems so ridiculous — a virtual AI girlfriend — causing a future crisis among Americans? Well, with millions of users, apps have created virtual girlfriends that talk to you, love you, allow you to live out your erotic fantasies, and learn, through data, exactly what you like and what you don’t like, creating the “perfect” relationship.

These virtual girlfriends can even be based on real people. One influencer created an AI bot of herself named Caryn, then gained over 1,000 users (i.e. real boyfriends) in less than a week and a waitlist of more than 15,000 people.

An AI girlfriend might sound enticing. You get to connect with a super hot girl who listens to you and appreciates you, 24/7. Beyond choosing physical attributes, down to the size of her rear end, you can pick her personality. You prefer “hot, funny, and bold”? That’s what she will be. Or if “cute, shy, and modest” is more your cup of tea, she’s got you covered.

Yes, these are real attributes you can have your AI girlfriend embody. And to be clear, these aren’t cookie-cutter chatbot interactions. By definition, the AI learns from your reactions and is capable of giving you exactly what you want to hear or see, every single time. And they have come at just the right time to assuage the silent epidemic of loneliness that is hitting this generation of young men.

Let’s look at the hard numbers. More than 60 percent of young men (ages 18-30) are single, compared to only 30 percent of women the same age. One in five men report not having a single close friend, a number that has quadrupled in the last 30 years. The amount of social engagement with friends dropped by 20 hours per month over the pandemic and is still decreasing.

These young men are lonely, and it is having real consequences. They are choosing AI girlfriends over real women, meaning they don’t have relationships with real women, don’t marry them and then don’t have and raise babies with them. America desperately needs people to have more babies, but all the signs are pointing toward fewer relationships, fewer marriages and fewer babies. There have been 600,000 fewer births in 2023 in the U.S. relative to 15 years ago. The number of children per woman has decreased by more than 50 percent in the last 60 years.

Put another way, we don’t have enough people to work, and therefore we won’t be able to pay our bills, not just to other countries, but to ourselves. We spent more than $1.6 trillion in 2021 on Medicare and Medicaid, with the number of Americans on Medicare expected to increase by 50 percent by 2030, to more than 80 million people. But over the same period, we will have only 10 million more Americans joining the workforce.

And that is just health care. In 1940, there were 42 workers per beneficiary of Social Security. Today, there are only 2.8 workers per beneficiary, and that number is getting smaller. We are going broke, and the young men who will play a huge role in determining our nation’s future are going there with AI girlfriends in their pockets.

While the concept of an AI girlfriend may seem like a joke, it really isn’t that funny. It is enabling a generation of lonely men to stay lonely and childless, which will have devastating effects on the U.S. economy in less than a decade.

Liberty Vittert is a professor of data science at Washington University in St. Louis and the resident on-air statistician for News Nation, a sister company of The Hill.

No one is safe’: France vows action as bedbugs sweep Paris

France faces bed bug nuisance ahead of 2024 Paris Olympics - Would News - WION

No one is safe’: France vows action as bedbugs sweep Paris

By Chris Liakos and Maya Szaniecki, CNN
Published 12:58 AM EDT, Sat September 30, 2023

CNN Paris

The French government has vowed action to “reassure and protect” the public as its capital Paris reports a “widespread” rise in bedbugs.

French Transport Minister Clement Beaune said Friday he would “bring together transport operators next week” to “undertake further action” to “reassure and protect” the public from the reported surge in the numbers of the blood-sucking insect.

The announcement comes as calls for government action from Paris officials and trade unions mount after several videos of bedbugs spotted in public transport and other locations such as cinemas have surfaced on social media.

Speaking to French TV station LCI on Friday, deputy mayor of Paris Emmanuel Gregoire called the phenomenon “widespread.”

“You have to understand that in reality no one is safe, obviously there are risk factors but in reality, you can catch bedbugs anywhere and bring them home,” he said.

Three years ago, the French government launched an anti-bedbug campaign, which includes a dedicated website and an information hotline, as numbers of the insect surged.

But Gregoire said that despite that plan, “there are 3.6 million people who come into Paris every day, and bedbugs do not stop on the outskirts of the city.”

An expert from France’s national health and sanitary body, Anses, said the problem was “an emerging phenomenon in France and almost everywhere in the world.”

“It’s mainly due to the movement of people, populations traveling, the fact that people stay in short-term accommodation and bring back bedbugs in their suitcases or luggage,” Johanna Fite from the Anses department of risk assessment told CNN.

She added there was an “escalation” in numbers because bedbugs were increasingly resistant to insecticides.

“We are observing more and more bedbug populations which are resistant, so there is no miracle treatment to get rid of them,” Fite said.

However, the Paris deputy mayor warned against “hysteria” over the issue, noting there had been an “increase in Parisians who are referring to the town hall’s information services for information on bedbugs”.

“Professional companies which intervene in residential areas are telling us that currently the proportion of interventions for bedbugs is atypical compared to normal and is increasing rapidly,” he said.

The news comes as Paris gets ready to host the 2024 Olympics Games, but officials say they are not worried.

“There is no threat to the Olympic Games,” Gregoire said.

“Bedbugs existed before and they will exist afterward,” he added, saying the games were an “opportunity” for everybody to work together on the issue.


I can tell you why: Both populist extremes are driven by grievance. The populists see themselves as victims who deserve to fight back and take over.

The two types disagree a bit on what distinguishes the worthy, but agree quite a lot on who’s at fault.

The far right identifies as white men (or those adjacent to them) who are losing out to those woke nonwhites and such, but especially to the establishment status quo and big corps.

The far left identifies as the deserving poor and working class (they’re actually middle class, but let’s not pop their delusions) who are losing out to the evil 1%, but especially to the establishment status quo and big corps.

As for their death wish, it’s real, but they’re sure it won’t apply to themselves. They believe that, after the revolution, it’s just their enemies who will be put up against the wall and shot.

As for how well that goes, see below:

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