The lack of consequences tells you everything you need to know about who is actually running things.

CHANGE? The ‘Iron Lady’ of Venezuela Threatens to Unseat Its Autocrat.

Ms. Machado, 56, the newest leader of Venezuela’s opposition, has struck fear into the hearts of the country’s ruling party. In a matter of months, she has emerged from the political sidelines to build a powerful social movement capable of bringing thousands of people to the streets — and perhaps millions to the ballot box.

She is not the one running for president, but she is the driving force behind the main opposition candidate, a little-known diplomat named Edmundo González.

The mobilization Ms. Machado has catalyzed follows years of political apathy in Venezuela, where the government of President Nicolás Maduro has crushed protests and arrested dissidents, helping to spur an enormous exodus from the country.

An effort backed by the Trump administration to install a young legislator named Juan Guaidó as interim president failed, and last year Mr. Guaidó fled to the United States.

Now, Ms. Machado, a conservative former member of the national assembly once rejected by her own colleagues, has not only corralled Venezuela’s fractious opposition behind her, but has also captivated a broad swath of the electorate with a promise for sweeping government change.

Maduro won’t go quietly, that much is certain.

OUCH: Google Fails to ‘Wow’ as AI Bills Mount.

Tuesday’s results also set the stage for what might be a more challenging second half of the year. For one, comparisons will be tougher as the second half of last year had Google nearly recovered from an earlier advertising slump. Google also didn’t fully ramp up its spending on AI infrastructure until well into the second half of 2023; capital expenditures in the first half of 2023 were barely half of the $25.2 billion the company has spent in the first half of this year.

That spending won’t be taking a breather any time soon, even as Google has pared back other costs and even brought its head count down by more than 1,300 positions in the most recent quarter. Alphabet said Tuesday that capex will be at or above $12 billion a quarter for the second half of the year, likely leading to a total outlay of more than $49 billion for the year—84% higher than what the company has averaged annually over the past five years.

“Look, obviously we are at the early stage of what I view as a very transformative area,” Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said during Tuesday’s earnings call when asked by an analyst about the company’s AI investments. He added that “the risk of underinvesting is dramatically greater than the risk of overinvesting for us here,” not mentioning the record amounts of capex that tech rivals Microsoft, and Meta Platforms are pouring into the same thing.

Maybe it is similar or maybe it isn’t. But AI right now reminds me of the late ’90s dotcom bubble — lots of corporate spending on the latest stuff that few people have any clue how to monetize.



PRO-HAMAS PROTESTORS WARN HARRIS, TRASH THE CAPITOL: Yesterday’s massive and violent protests around the U.S. Capitol grounds by pro-Palestinian/radical far-Left activists were a blunt warning to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

That’s according to Richard Pollock, the former Saul Alinsky tactics trainer of New Left radicals in the Chicago 7 era. Pollock saw the light years ago and, after a successful career with ABC Good Morning America, has been one of the best investigative journalists on the Right. To say Pollock knows how the Far-Left operates is an understatement.

In his latest column on Substack (composed shortly after observing on-scene the protests throughout the day) Pollock pointed to comments by radical activist Linda Sansour:

“’Don’t be surprised that a war criminal has been invited by a country that harbors our own war criminals,’ she said. ‘And at the top of the list is President Joe Biden,’ she declared to vigorous applause.

“Sansour was direct. She warned the Democratic Party might lose the Muslim and Far Left votes in November. ‘Let us be clear. Our votes are still to be earned.’

“It was a direct warning to both Harris and to the Democratic Party that their election in November could be imperiled if they ignored anti-Israel voters. Similar warnings were issued earlier this year after voters in American Muslim enclaves voted to boycott then candidate Biden.”

As I’ve previously noted, Pollock was a much-valued colleague on my Watchdog investigative reporting teams at the Washington Examiner and Daily Caller News Foundation. The man knows the Far Left from the inside out and he knows how to dig out the facts the MSM refuses to report.


THE OLYMPICS ARE A CESSPIT OF CORRUPTION AND DOPING AND WE SHOULDN’T WANT THEM HERE, AND SALT LAKE CITY SHOULDN’T BE COMPLICIT: Salt Lake Awarded 2034 Olympics Under I.O.C. Pressure Over Doping Inquiries: Olympic officials insisted on the right to pull the Games amid U.S. investigations into how the World Anti-Doping Agency handled positive tests for banned substances among Chinese swimmers.

The International Olympic Committee awarded the 2034 Winter Games to Salt Lake City on Wednesday only after a last-minute demand that the agreement shield global sports authorities from U.S. investigations into doping by Chinese athletes.

Organizers of Salt Lake City’s bid and Gov. Spencer J. Cox of Utah agreed to the changes sought by the I.O.C. The unexpected twist came amid an escalating dispute between the global antidoping agency and its American counterpart, and at a time when the Justice Department and Congress are looking into why Chinese swimmers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs three years ago were not subject to penalties from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Mr. Cox told I.O.C. members before Wednesday’s vote awarding the 2034 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to Salt Lake City that he would “work with the levers of power,” including in Congress, to “alleviate your concerns.”

The announcement brought fully into the open a festering clash within the sports world over reports of Chinese doping, the adequacy of the response and aggressive efforts by the United States to combat it.

Critics of the I.O.C. and the antidoping agency, known as WADA, said they saw the developments as a blatant effort to cover up both a pattern of suspicious activity in the Chinese swimming program and the unwillingness of WADA to confront it.

Well, they see it as that because that’s just what it is.