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Tue, 11 Aug 2020
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1 dead, 6 rescued after gas explosion levels Baltimore homes

baltimore gas explosion
© WJLA-TV via AP
This photo provided by WJLA-TV shows the scene of an explosion in Baltimore on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Baltimore firefighters say an explosion has leveled several homes in the city.
A natural gas explosion destroyed three row houses in Baltimore on Monday morning, killing a woman and trapping other people in the debris. At least six people were seriously injured, and firefighters were searching for more survivors.

Dozens of firefighters converged on the piles of rubble. A fourth house in the row was ripped open, and windows were shattered in nearby homes, leaving the northwest Baltimore neighborhood of Reisterstown Station strewn with glass and other rubble.

"It's a disaster. It's a mess. It's unbelievable," said Diane Glover, who lives across the street. Her windows where shattered and her front door was blown open. "I'm still shaken up," she said hours later.

Seven people were hospitalized, while a woman was pronounced dead at the scene, the department said on its Twitter page. Rescuers were painstakingly going through the rubble by hand, prepared to work into the night.

Comment: See also:


The British public has been terrorised

© Getty
Polls and surveys over the past couple of weeks reveal the same troubling reality: British people have been terrorised. Not by the actual threat of Covid-19, but by what they perceive to be the threat of Covid-19.

Ipsos Mori, for instance, reported that 68 per cent of Brits were 'very concerned' about the threat coronavirus poses to their health, compared to 28 per cent who were just 'fairly concerned'. Perhaps more disturbingly, a separate survey found that, on average, the British public believes seven per cent of the UK population has died from coronavirus, which would amount to a death toll of nearly five million — as opposed to the real figure of 50,000-plus. It also found that Brits were the most fearful out of other surveyed nations about the threat of a second wave of infections, with 76 per cent 'expecting one in the next year or so'.

There may be lies, damned lies and polls, but these figures tally with the national experience over the past couple of months, from parents' fear of sending children back to school, to the curiously enthusiastic embrace of now mandatory face masks, to the increasingly deserted high streets in towns across the country.


States have authority to fine or jail people who refuse coronavirus vaccine, attorney says

vaccine requirement
As drugmakers race to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, several legal questions are emerging: could the government require people to get it? Could people who refuse to roll up their sleeves get banned from stores or lose their jobs?

The short answer is yes, according to Dov Fox, a law professor and the director of the Center for Health Law Policy and Bioethics at the University of San Diego.

"States can compel vaccinations in more or less intrusive ways," he said in an interview. "They can limit access to schools or services or jobs if people don't get vaccinated. They could force them to pay a fine or even lock them up in jail."

Fox noted authorities in the United States have never attempted to jail people for refusing to vaccinate, but other countries like France have adopted the aggressive tactic.

The legal precedent dates back to 1905. In a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the court ruled Massachusetts had the authority to fine people who refused vaccinations for smallpox.

Comment: See also:


YouTube shuts down a Russian "Fox"

Tsargrad TV Konstantin Malofeev
It has been worrying to read about Off-Guardian's recent difficulties with it's Facebook news feed, where posts have been blocked and denied propagation. Another very similar situation has been brought to my attention that reinforces the view that the US deep state is behind the steering wheel at Google, Facebook, YouTube and likely every other western social media platform as well.

Tsargrad TV is a Russian channel owned by Konstantin Malofeev, one of Putin's biggest supporters amongst Russia's wealthiest entrepreneurs. A renowned Fox News producer Jack Hanick shared Fox's production prowess with Tsargrad and the channel quickly became something of an Internet phenomenon, as has AJ+, Al Jazeera's YouTube channel.

Like AJ+ it was following a YouTube-centric (rather than a conventional TV) model. Besides becoming known for the best production values amongst Russian broadcasters, it unashamedly supports Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and the Donetsk People's Republic.

The Google subsidiary blocked Tsargrad's YouTube account on July 28th over "a violation of the law on sanctions and trade rules". The channel's owner, Konstantin Malofeev, was under EU sanctions for his alleged involvement in the civil war in Donbass (on the pro-Russian side that is supported by the overwhelming majority of the people of Donbass).

Comment: See also: Orthodox TV hits the airwaves, Russian style


Most US voters don't think Biden will be able to finish his full four-year term if elected president - poll

© REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Most US voters, including nearly half of Democrats, don't expect Joe Biden to serve his full four-year term if elected president in November, saying his vice president will have to take the helm at some point, a new poll reveals.

Fifty-nine percent of all likely voters and, somewhat surprisingly, 49 percent of Democrats, say the 77-year-old Biden probably isn't up to running the country for four years, according to the Rasmussen Reports poll released on Monday.

Comment: If there's any Democratic voter that feels that way, they should absolutely not vote for him.

Less surprising, 73 percent percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents agreed that it's likely Biden's running mate would become president sometime during his term.


Americans give up citizenship in record-smashing numbers as expats find 'pandemic & political climate too much to bear' - report

© Reuters / Peter Macdiarmid
Americans are ditching their US citizenship in droves thanks to an unbearable political atmosphere and the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, new research shows, indicating that both residents and expats are cutting ties in record numbers.

More than 5,800 Americans renounced their citizenship in the first half of 2020, according to a report by Bambridge Accountants New York, a firm that specializes in US expat tax compliance, a dramatic 1,210-percent spike compared to the last six months of 2019.

"There has been a huge turnaround during coronavirus of US expats renouncing [citizenship], where the figures have been in steep decline since 2017," said Alistair Bambridge, a partner at the New York-based accounting firm, pointing to a contentious political landscape, the coronavirus pandemic and onerous tax regulations.


White NYT reporter tells black people they didn't vote for Hillary in sufficient numbers because Russia duped them

© Reuters / Brian Snyder
It only took almost four years, but New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth has finally gotten to the bottom of why black Americans didn't get excited about Hillary Clinton's 2016 candidacy for president: Russian trolls.

"We don't talk about this enough, and it has been lost in the 2016 election hot takes," Perlroth said Sunday on Twitter. "While 2016 saw record turnout, it also saw record decline in black voter turnout - the biggest decline in 20 years. Blacks were the number one demographic Russian trolls targeted on social media."

So, it wasn't that some black voters possibly genuinely disliked Clinton or disagreed with her policies. There can only be one explanation for the decision of many to stay home, and it's the same answer that Clinton herself and other Democrats often turn to when explaining undesirable outcomes that might otherwise be attributed to their own shortcomings: It's Russia, obviously.


What we can learn from the Swedish paradox

© Getty Images
The summer houses of the Stockholm archipelago offer a vision of the Good Life, Swedish style
I am writing this from the water's edge on one of the 24,000 islands of the Stockholm archipelago. It's a lovely summers day, boats are coming in and out of the little harbour and the restaurant is doing a busy trade. Across the sound, the rocks slope straight into the sea and are dotted with summer houses.

The homes are not divided by fences, but sit at a respectful distance from each other, never in a row but each positioned in a particular spot of the owner's choosing; there's a harmony of style which still leaves room for individuation — some houses are yellow, some red, some slightly more modern, some slightly more traditional, but each adorned with a well-kept garden, a boat-house and pier, and of course a Swedish flag. It's a vision of the Good Life, Swedish-style.

Since its lockdown-free response to Covid-19, Sweden has suddenly found itself the pin-up nation for libertarians worldwide, who see in its more laissez-faire response a defence of individual freedom and self-governance above all else. But Sweden is not a libertarian society — far from it; in reality, they are sticklers for the rules. Try putting decking on the seaside edge of your garden, or buying alcohol from anywhere other than the state monopoly — you will be met with restrictions that would be unthinkable in either Britain or the United States.

Comment: Interesting essay, and a good effort by the author to explain why Sweden didn't 'go Nazi' over Covid-19.

It falls short, in our view, because the usual categories of language and philosophy cannot account for it.

Sweden is culturally similar to the other Nordic countries, yet those underwent lockdowns. So the answer is more likely to be found by assessing the degree to which a country's elite class is 'ponerized' (overcome with pathological ideological material and/or actual psychopaths and other character-disturbed people). It's known why Denmark, for example, went into lockdown. The prime minister there received 'advice' (probably understood by her as 'orders') from an unknown consortium or group not connected to her own national government, and she followed this 'advice' to the letter - against the recommendations of her own health department.

For whatever reasons, and assuming it received a similar or the same 'memo-from-the-top', the Swedish government rejected most of that same 'advice'.

Sweden, despite sounding like it was 'libtard left' all these years, turns out to be one of the few western countries still - for the most part - 'ruled by normal people and common sense'. That's fundamentally why there is harmony between the rulers and the ruled in Sweden, with respect to Covid-19 anyway.

That the author had to resort to citing a mix of both 'true liberal-left spirit' and Christian socio-cultural underpinnings to account for Sweden's freedom only underpins the fact that that country is apparently not (yet) 'as psychopathic as' other western countries, where the 'true liberal-left spirit' is implacably opposed to anything smacking of 'traditional Christian values'...


Blacks go on the rampage in Chicago, looting hundreds of stores to 'avenge' gangster who shot at police

officer outside of looted Best Buy store
© Scott Olson/Getty Images
A Police officer inspects a damaged Best Buy store after parts of the city had widespread looting and vandalism, on August 10, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Police made several arrests during the night of unrest and recovered at least one firearm.
Many rioters and looters took to the streets of Chicago early Monday, according to multiple reports, breaking into upscale stores after a man was reportedly hit during a shootout with Chicago police.

The police remain on the scene Monday morning after rioters smashed windows and burned vehicles, according to Newsweek.

Many on social media captured imagery of the mayhem as violence again exploded in Chicago following an incident with police and an assailant.

Reporter Ian Miles Cheong shared video of the apparent looting.

Comment: That's the mayor of Chicago saying that! No wonder 'her people' are completely out-of-control.

Lightfoot dragged her feet when it came to addressing one of if not the most pressing issue facing her city over the weekend, but she was Johnny-on-the-spot to call out beach-goers for daring to do something as harmless as going to the beach and not 'social distance' themselves:
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been excoriated for the city's belated response to an outbreak of looting, shooting and chaos that followed a police-involved shooting. The city was quick to shut down beach access, however.

Lightfoot belatedly condemned the looters during a press conference on Monday, urging prosecutors to "put their best people" on the task of rounding up those behind the violence that left 13 police officers injured over the course of a single night.

"There is no justification for criminal behavior ever," Lightfoot said, adding, "You have no right to take and destroy the property of others."

However, she made a point of distinguishing between "the righteous uprising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd" in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Memorial Day - an event that also triggered outbreaks of violence and looting in cities across the US, including Chicago - and the weekend's violence, which she called "abject criminal behavior."

Lightfoot also lambasted judges and prosecutors who allow criminals to "cycle through the system," a longstanding problem she seems to have only now discovered.
We can't allow...people to believe there is no accountability in our criminal justice system.
Some 100 people were arrested for looting, which reportedly began in the downtown Loop area before spreading to neighborhoods from Lincoln Park to the Gold Coast. There were a total of 31 shootings and three murders over the course of the weekend, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, who also spoke at the presser.

"Criminals took to the streets with the confidence that there would be no consequence for their actions," Brown lamented, pledging that a special team of detectives had been assigned the task of implementing a "multi-layered plan" to crack down on the violence "which will be based on lessons we've learned from earlier this summer."

Chicago residents were quick to point out that Lightfoot and the city government had wasted no time shutting down access to beaches and lakes earlier that weekend and condemning the "reckless behavior" of locals trying to enjoy the water peacefully.


Las Vegas: over 223K mail-in ballots bounced as 'undeliverable' in recent primary election, from one county

mail slot
© AP/Seth Wenig
More than 223,000 mail-in ballots sent to registered voters in Clark County, Nevada, were bounced as "undeliverable" in the state's June primary election, newly released data reveals.

According to data collected by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) from the Clark County Election Department, a total of 223,469 mail-in ballots sent to registered voters for the June 9 primary election ended up bouncing as "undeliverable" — 17 percent of the total 1,325,934 mail-in ballots that were sent out in the county.

"These numbers show how vote by mail fails," PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a statement, adding:
"New proponents of mail balloting don't often understand how it actually works. States like Oregon and Washington spent many years building their mail voting systems and are notably aggressive with voter list maintenance efforts. Pride in their own systems does not somehow transfer across state lines. Nevada, New York, and others are not and will not be ready for November."
For comparison, in the 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 general elections, the entire state of Nevada recorded just 5,863 mail-in ballots as "undeliverable." That data comes from U.S. Election Assistance Commission surveys.