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Sun, 09 Aug 2020
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Fact Check: Was censored Trump right to say children are 'almost immune' from Covid-19?

Trump/little girl
© PanAmPost/Premium Photo
President Donald Trump • Mother removing daughter's mask
Facebook and Twitter have taken down the US president's claims on the insusceptibility of children to Covid-19 - a fact on which the science supports him - proving that Big Tech is increasingly acting in a nakedly political way.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Donald Trump declared that "children are almost immune" from coronavirus. The videos posted online have been deleted, but the trimmed audio is available here from CNN, which helpfully titled it "Trump falsely says kids are 'almost immune' from Covid-19," just in case its editorial position was in any way in doubt.

In his own inimitable vernacular, Trump says:
"If you look at children, children are almost - and I would almost say definitely - but almost immune from this disease." He adds, "I don't know how you feel about it, but they've got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. And they don't have a problem, they just don't have a problem."
His words may have the cadence of crazed ramblings, but so does everything he says. The question is rather whether or not he's correct.

Fact check!

Comment: No one elected Facebook or Twitter to adjudicate public conversation, whether it is offered by everyman or the president. Nor were these 'new rules' part of the original platform equations - especially when flying in the face of proven facts.

See what else has been said about this censoring:
"This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation," Andy Stone, a Facebook policy spokesperson said in a statement. A link to the post now diverts to a page that says, "This Content Isn't Available Right Now."

It is the first time that Facebook has removed a post from Trump entirely, rather than labelling it, as it has done in the past, making it a rare instance in which it has been willing to censor the president.

Twitter also removed a link to the same video clip, which the official Trump Twitter account @TeamTrump shared earlier on Wednesday. Links to the tweet now point Twitter users to a message that the tweet violated Twitter's rules and is no longer available.

The Trump campaign accused Facebook of "flagrant bias." "The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus," Courtney Parella, the campaign's deputy national press secretary, said in an emailed statement.

"Another day, another display of Silicon Valley's flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth," Parella said.
See also:

Snakes in Suits

US sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, the police chief, nine officials for 'undermining autonomy'

Pompeo and Chinese group
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo • Carrie Lam, Eric Chan, John Lee, Teresa Cheng, Zhang Xiaoming, Zheng Yanxiong, Stephen Lo, Luo Huining, Chris Tang, Erick Tsang, Xia Baolong
The United States on Friday slapped sanctions on Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam and 10 senior figures, in a major new step against China's clampdown in the semi-autonomous city.

In the most significant US action since China imposed a tough security law, Lam and the other leaders of the Asian financial hub will have any assets in the United States blocked. The move also criminalizes any US financial transactions with them.

"The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was acting because Beijing had violated its promise of autonomy that it made to Hong Kong before Britain handed back the territory in 1997.
"Today's actions send a clear message that the Hong Kong authorities' actions are unacceptable and in contravention of the PRC's commitments under 'one country, two systems' and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty."
Washington has already imposed sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the region of Xinjiang.

Comment: Perhaps the US should be sanctioned for overreach in another country's business.

See also:

Arrow Up

Trump claims if he wins the election US will make deals with Iran and N. Korea 'very quickly'

© Reuters/Joshua Roberts
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump said during a press conference that if he wins the presidential election Iran and North Korea will make deals with the United States very quickly regarding their nuclear weapons programs.

Tensions between the US and Iran around the latter's nuclear program re-emerged after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - better known as the Iran nuclear deal - and reintroduced sanctions on Tehran in 2018.

"If and when we win, we will make deals with Iran very quickly, we'll make deals with North Korea very quickly", Trump said on Friday. Trump also said that if not for his administration, the US will be now at war with Pyongyang. "Everybody said, 'Oh, Trump will get us at war'. No, just the opposite".

Comment: Rare glimpse? Whether this was what Trump has been wanting to do, or whether he finally sees the necessity to relieve certain global tensions, there are other factors and operators that may 'determine' his decisions. Time and actions will reveal the outcome but perhaps not the man.


Trump will use executive action to defer payroll tax if Congress refuses to pass relief bill

payroll tax
President Trump promised to enact a variety of financial policies through executive action amid the coronavirus pandemic if Congress fails to negotiate a federal aid package.

On Friday night, the president delivered an unexpected press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, promising to act unilaterally to alleviate financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Among those policies include deferring the payroll tax until at least the end of 2020, extending eviction moratoriums, enhancing unemployment benefits until the end of the year, and deferring student loans.

"If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need," Trump said.


Why we must #ExposeBillGates

© Corbett Report
Welcome. If you're reading these words, then it's likely that you're here because of the #ExposeBillGates global day of action.

Perhaps you're here out of curiosity. Perhaps you came here to argue with crazy conspiracy theorists. Perhaps you already know about the #ExposeBillGates movement but just want to learn more.

Whatever your motivations for clicking on this link, I promise you this article is not clickbait. This is not a put-on or satire or a trendy internet listicle. The #ExposeBillGates movement is deadly serious, and it aims to alert the public to the real dangers of the world that are coming into view: a world of lockdowns and quarantines, masks and vaccines, checkpoints and immunity passports, cashless payments and biometric IDs.

So the first question you might be asking is: why Bill Gates? Why are all these people on the internet trying to warn about Bill Gates in the midst of this global pandemic? Isn't Gates a philanthropist who's trying to help the world out by donating his fortune to good causes?

It was to answer that very question that I created my feature-length documentary on this subject, Who Is Bill Gates?

If you haven't watched it already, please do so in the player below. You can also follow this link to access the full transcript and audio/video downloads completely for free.

But if you need a bit more information before you invest your time in watching a two-hour documentary, here are some important issues for you to explore, along with some suggestions for further reading and viewing that will help you get caught up on the reasons that we need to #ExposeBillGates.


Trump trolls WaPo hack about press conference crowd: 'It's a peaceful protest'

© Shutterstock
During a Friday night press conference, President Trump dished out one of his most stinging burns against the liberal media, telling CNN and Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa that the large crowd of members from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club watching them weren't violating any social distancing measures because they were engaging in "political activity" and "a peaceful protest" against the press.

Olorunnipa began his question by noting Trump has often claimed the coronavirus pandemic would eventually "disappear," but then added: "We lost 6,000 Americans this week and just in this room, you have dozens of people who are not following the guidelines in New Jersey, which say you should not have more than 25 people [in a room]."

The Phil Rucker underling tried to ask about the supposed disconnect, but the crowd (which had largely remained quiet through both Trump's remarks and the Q&A) erupted in boos and drowned him out.

Trump interjected and began the trolling, telling him why the golf course didn't have to cap the size of the gathering or socially distance: "No, they don't have to. It's a political activity."


Nasrallah denies Hezbollah involvement with Beirut port, says investigation into explosion must be impartial if Lebanon is to survive (Full Speech)

Full speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on August 7, 2020, devoted to the explosion at the port of Beirut
Lider Hezbolaha Hassan Nasrallah
© AP

Translation: resistancenews.org

Key points
  • The tragic context requires a sacred union, in order to overcome the humanitarian crisis, and not to settle political accounts; Hezbollah has mobilized all its resources to help the victims
  • All the accusations claiming Hezbollah is somewhat responsible are outrageous, because Hezbollah has never had any activity, no warehouse and no role or control over what goes on in the port; this slanders constitutes an incitement to civil war
  • At this stage of the investigation, no hypothesis can be ruled out as to the intentional or accidental nature of the explosion, but criminal negligence seems to be proven in all cases.
  • An impartial investigation must identify and severely punish all the culprits, and break with the traditional sectarianism of the judicial system which judges people according to their political and religious affiliation; without a fair & transparent trial and full accountability, Lebanon will always be a failed State
  • The Lebanese army is the body most able to carry out this investigation, and all the calls to form an international commission of inquiry are only delaying tactics aimed at perpetuating the establishment and impunity.
  • Lebanon must use the current opportunities to overcome the US embargo and revive its economy
  • All those who hope to weaken Hezbollah through this crisis demonstrate their moral bankruptcy and lack of lucidity

Prior to this terrible event, I had announced a speech for Wednesday (August 5), and I intended to speak about several issues which were the hottest news at the time, namely:
  • the situation on the border between Lebanon and occupied Palestine, and the ongoing clash between Hezbollah and the Israeli enemy;
  • the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (and the expected verdict) on August 7 (concerning the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005);
  • the coronavirus, its development and the recent increase of cases in Lebanon;
  • the oil shortages and the gasoline crisis in the country;
  • other questions related to the regional situation.
But when the catastrophic event happened on Tuesday (August 4), I decided to postpone my speech, and today I am not going to bring up any of these topics, but only talk about one point, namely the cataclysmic event that occurred (in the port of Beirut) and the humanitarian crisis that engulfed Lebanon and the Lebanese people in recent days.

Comment: See also:


Ex-Saudi intelligence official accuses Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in lawsuit of ordering torture, assassination

Crown Prince MbS
© Brendan Smialowski/AFP
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
A former Saudi minister of state and intelligence official has filed an explosive lawsuit against Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, alleging that he "orchestrated an ongoing multi-year conspiracy by a Saudi government-sanctioned 'death squad' to torture and assassinate" the ex-intel officer on both U.S. and Canadian soil.

The plaintiff, Dr. Saad Aljabri, who is characterized in the complaint as a "trusted partner of U.S. intelligence officials," claims that the Saudi leader first dispatched a 50-person kill team dubbed the "tiger squad" in October 2018 - just two weeks after the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey - to Ontario, Canada, with an intention to take him out.

"The 'Tiger Squad' that was deployed to Canada included forensic personnel experienced with the clean-up of crime scenes, who carried with them two bags of forensic tools," the suit alleges. "The kill team was thwarted by attentive Canadian border security officials who were suspicious of their behavior at an airport checkpoint."

The complaint goes on to paint a horrific portrait of the "Tiger Squad's" kidnapping and disappearance of Aljabri's two children, attempts by squad operatives to lure Aljabri to locations "where he could be killed — including back to Saudi Arabia and the targeting of Dr. Saad through Interpol with baseless corruption charges."

Following this failed assassination attempt, the lawsuit alleges that the Crown Prince put out a "fatwa" on Aljabri and that he now plans to send agents to enter Canada "by land" directly through the United States to, once and for all, "eliminate him."


Trump says coronavirus vaccine possible before Nov. 3

donald trump
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was possible the United States would have a coronavirus vaccine before the Nov. 3 election, a more optimistic forecast on timing than anything suggested by his own White House health experts.

Asked on the Geraldo Rivera radio program when a vaccine might be ready, Trump said, "Sooner than the end of the year, could be much sooner."

"Sooner than November 3?" he was asked.

"I think in some cases, yes possible before, but right around that time," Trump said.

Later at the White House, Trump said he was optimistic a vaccine would be available around that date. Asked if it would help him in the election, he said, "It wouldn't hurt. But I'm doing it, not for the election; I want to save a lot of lives."

Russian Flag

US State Dept. spams random Russians and Iranians to 'fight election meddling'

© Yara Nardi | Reuters
With less than three months before the presidential election, Trump administration officials appear to be spamming foreign citizens in a bid to prevent election interference.

Russians and Iranians woke up Friday morning to strange spam text messages encouraging them to report any evidence of interference in the United States election to the U.S. State Department — and offering a hefty financial incentive to do so.

"The United States pays up to $10 million for any information on foreign interference in American elections," the messages read in Russian and Farsi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the generous reward a day earlier, citing efforts by "Russia and other malign actors." the State Department said the Rewards for Justice program would provide a $10 million reward for information leading to the identification of those who attempt to disrupt the U.S. election at the behest of a foreign government. In the announcement, the department encouraged recipients to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

A link appended to some of the Russian messages leads to the Russian version of the Rewards for Justice verified Twitter account, according to the Russian outlet Meduza. The messages reportedly appeared scattered across the vast country in cities like Saratov, Krasnodar, Ulyanovsk, Chelyabinsk, Perm, Yekaterinburg, and Tyumen.

Comment: It's a pretty useless tactic. But domestically it gives the impression that the Trump administration is doing something to prevent dastardly and mostly fictional 'Russian interference'. Just look at the press response to the 'Russian bounties in Afghanistan' nonsense to see why something like this might be seen to be necessary. Even the flimsiest rumor is taken up by the MSM with zeal, putting Trump on the defensive for 'not doing something' about it. It's total nonsense, but that's politics.