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Ex-WH Spokesman Weiner announces articles OpEdNews named H1, H4 Insurrections world model, self driving cars lack safety

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, February 8, 2023 / -- Former White House spokesman Robert Weiner and his team recently wrote op-eds in the Orlando Sentinel and The Detroit News that were named H1 and H4 by OpEdNews, respectively. The Orlando Sentinel piece was co-written by Parker Treichel about how insurrections like the one after the 2020 U.S. election and the one that recently took place in Brazil might now be the norm for the losers of elections. The second op-ed, written by Weiner and Sophia Hosford is about the safety (or lack thereof) of self-driving cars. 

***February 2, 2023: Are Insurrections Becoming Normal in Global Politics? by Robert Weiner and Parker Treichel in the Orlando Sentinel (Ranked H1 by OpEdNews as the #1 op-ed in the nation)

Weiner and Treichel begin, "Jan. 6 marked the second anniversary of the insurrection by Donald Trump supporters after the former U.S. president lost the 2020 election. On Jan. 8, Brazil faced a similar, horrific event."

They write, "Supporters of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, now residing in Orlando, broke into the Supreme National Congress of Brazil, Federal Court and the Planalto Presidential Palace. The insurrections were strikingly similar, destruction of buildings, windows, property and artwork. Trump insurrection supporters stole then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop, podium and a letter. Brazil had gifts from foreign leaders stolen. Both insurrections set out to overturn each country's election because the far-right candidate did not win."They continue, "A supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro holds a poster showing Bolsonaro and former U.S. President Donald Trump that reads in Portuguese 'The year of the awakening' during Bolsonaro's campaign rally for reelection in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. The presidential run-off election is set for Oct. 30."They argue, "The comparisons are easy. Bolsanaro was often compared to Trump and they have numerous policies and statements that mirror each other. While Bolsonaro denounced the riot, he still held responsibility for spreading the disinformation and conspiracy theories that the election was stolen from him."

They go on, "Steve Bannon, a constant figure in Trump's White House even after Bannon was no longer on staff, 'reported' on Brazil's election for Breitbart News. Bannon has also worked closely with Brazilian congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, Jair Bolsonaro's son, about the power of his base. Eduardo Bolsonaro also met with ex-President Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Oct. 30. After former President Bolsonaro lost, Bannon's tactics seemed to mirror the actions taken after Trump's defeat: He claimed that the voting machines in Brazil were hacked. Both 'hacking' allegations were false."

They contend, "Luiz Início 'Lula' da Silva was sworn in as president on Jan. 1, with the ability to respond quickly to arrest insurrection suspects and not just let people leave, as they did in the U.S. International observers, including judges, confirmed the legitimacy of the Brazilian election, David Anderson, an American judge who was an observer in Brazil and is a member of the National Press Club, told us. By Monday 1,200 people had been detained according to Flívio Dino, the Minister of Justice. There have been 978 arrests in the Jan. 6 insurrection as of the two-year anniversary. Lula promised that those who participated in the insurrection would be brought to justice.

They explain, "The answer to stopping this radical right movement from metastasizing around the world is complicated and will not happen overnight. Brazil is currently taking steps to ensure that all of the protestors are arrested and face justice, thanks to getting a quick start on the day of the riots. The Jan. 6 committee referred Donald Trump and others to the Department of Justice, suggesting they face criminal charges for their actions inciting the insurrection. The most important action isn't only to arrest the people who were physically at these events, but also the people who organized and incited them."

They continue, "We must be proactive in protecting our democracy and those around the world. The spread of misinformation has fueled these right-wing movements. The Jan. 6 committee looked at tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that not only fuel political hate speech and disinformation, but reward it."

Weiner and Treichel conclude, "Protecting freedom of the press is critical so they can play their role as government watchdogs and counter misinformation whether it comes from countries' leaders or fringe parties. We need to require nations to take action by sanctioning and punishing countries and leaders like Vladimir Putin or Jair Bolsnaro who try to restrict or eliminate freedom of the press. Journalists are called the Fourth Estate because they prevent authoritarians from gaining power and they hold leaders big or small accountable. Right-wing governments are rising and there needs to be consistent factual reporting to stop them."

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***February 5, 2023: Self-Driving Cars Still Need Drivers. It's Dangerous to Say Otherwise by Robert Weiner and Sophia Hosford in The Detroit News (Ranked H4 as the #4 op-ed in the nation)

Weiner and Hosford begin, "Self-driving cars are no longer a figment of our imagination, but their need for better safety measures is also a reality. We may have initially believed that autonomous cars addressed fears of driving in cities and on highways, but these vehicles are accidents waiting to happen and the destruction has already begun. Tesla announced in November they would start construction on a new research, maintenance and repair facility in Southfield, inevitably a job-creator in the greater Detroit area.

They explain, "But according to a 2022 report from U.S. safety regulators, automated tech was a factor in nearly 400 car crashes in 11 months, and 273 of those cars were Teslas."

They continue, "Last year, the California DMV accused autonomous vehicle giant Tesla of misleading consumers to believe the vehicles are more capable than they actually are. A bill in California, SB 1398, signed by the governor and now in effect, would block manufacturers from using misleading language that does not actually describe the capabilities of their cars."

They write, "The legislation redefines driver assistance features to explicitly define the features of the car which include lane-keep assist and parking assist. The legislation highlights that these actions are not possible without the "active control or monitoring of a human operator." Similar legislation should be passed in Michigan as well as nationally."

They argue, "Currently, the issue is not necessarily the presence of these vehicles, but the speed with which manufacturers are trying to push them out and advertise them as completely autonomous undoubtedly very appealing, but that is not what they are, and their capabilities and faults are being overshadowed by the excitement."

They go on, "In 2022, a Tesla owner using the autopilot feature was involved in a crash on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles and his car burst into flames, according to a report from Business Insider. The driver recounted that while his car was on autopilot, 'It suddenly veered hard to the left and stopped against the wall.' The driver reported several additional miscalculations and failures of the model. Another Tesla owner who witnessed the crash dubbed the autopilot feature 'the scariest ride you'll ever take.'"

They contend, "Tesla has often claimed it is 'accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy with electric cars, solar and integrated renewable energy solutions,' but when it comes to self-driving technology, the company is accelerating the introduction of cars claiming autonomy but that are, so far, incapable of performing it."

They continue, "To avoid misleading information, self-driving car giants need to reevaluate the software being used to provide these features and recall the models that are responsible for the highest number of crashes and safety faults. Perhaps we are not yet ready for autonomous vehicles."

Weiner and Hosford conclude, "There is no good reason to push technology that cannot yet perform as advertised. The prioritization of sales over safety is plaguing many industries, but doing so in the autonomous vehicle industry is particularly dangerous."

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Robert Weiner and Ben Lasky
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