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Sun, 25 Aug 2019
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Hong Kong protesters copying colour revolutions, but some struggle to explain why they're there

Hong Kong
© Reuters / Ann Wang
Demonstrators in Hong Kong formed a human chain throughout the city, all of a sudden inspired by long-forgotten protests from 3 decades ago. Many however seemed lost about the state of the current standoff with their government.

RT America's Sara Montes de Oca asked the protesters why they are not satisfied with the government's response to their demands, which appear vague at best.

"The bill was not withdrawn, there was no independent investigation, I don't recall the rest of the three like precisely, but I am sure none of them were answered in a constructive way," one protester said.

Rallies in Hong Kong started at the end of March, over a proposed bill on extradition to the Chinese mainland that the government has since declared "dead." But the protesters want it officially withdrawn, and have added more demands: resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, for media to stop calling the protests "riots," pardons for all protesters, and an independent inquiry into police response.

Comment: See also:


Dollars

Top UK bankster argues for new 'synthetic hegemonic currency' to replace sinking dollar

Buck&Bit
© Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Form and Function
Bank of England head Mark Carney has urged his fellow central bankers to embrace tech like Facebook's Libra to build a multipolar system, warning against "swapping one currency hegemon for another" - unless it's their hegemon.

Acknowledging that the US dollar's days as the world reserve currency are numbered, he gushed that "technology has the potential to disrupt the network externalities that prevent the incumbent global reserve currency from being displaced" - and to ensure that Western central banks are properly positioned to take the helm in whatever system replaces it.

Carney declared that a Libra-like currency - with a few tweaks to silence critics - can bring about a new "multipolar international monetary financial system" (IMFS) during a speech at the Fed-sponsored Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium on Friday.

Comment: See also:


Handcuffs

DOJ: 2018 Federal arrests - 64% were non-citizens

ICE arrest
© Fox News
ICE arrest
Federal arrests of non-citizens has increased exponentially over the past two decades, and account for the majority of all federal arrests, data released by the Justice Department revealed.

Non-citizens made up 64% of all federal arrests in 2018 despite making up 7% of the U.S. population, according to Justice Department data released Thursday and reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Between 1998 and 2018, federal arrests of non-citizens grew by 234%, while federal arrests of U.S. citizens climbed 10%.

While the numbers provide credence to President Donald Trump's argument that illegal immigration results in increased crime, immigration experts also pointed out that migrant apprehensions make up a significant portion of current federal arrests.

Clipboard

New plan cuts more than $1B off New York rail tunnel cost

Tunnel
© Victor J. Blue/The New York Times via AP, Pool
This Oct. 17, 2018 file photo shows damage to the Hudson River rail tunnel in New York. On Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, New York and New Jersey submitted a plan that cuts nearly $1.5 billion off the cost of a new rail tunnel project under the Hudson River. Repairing the existing century-old tunnel that was damaged in 2012's Superstorm Sandy would cost about $1.8 billion, or about $200 million more than previous estimates.
New York and New Jersey submitted a new plan for a rail tunnel project under the Hudson River that cuts nearly $1.5 billion off the previous cost estimate, as officials seek to break a funding impasse with the federal government that has stalled progress in recent years.

The plan announced Friday envisions design and construction savings that would reduce the new tunnel's estimated cost from just over $11 billion to $9.5 billion. Repairing the existing century-old tunnel that was damaged in 2012's Superstorm Sandy, and is a source of frequent delays due to crumbling infrastructure, would cost about $1.8 billion, or about $200 million more than previous estimates.

The net cost decrease means the states will seek $5.4 billion from a federal grant program instead of $6.8 billion, project officials said in an email Friday.

Handcuffs

Kentucky high school teacher charged with raping 15-year-old student

Kendall Burk
© Grant County Sheriff's Office
Kendall Burk
A high school science teacher in Kentucky was busted for having sex with a 15-year-old boy in her car and at her home over summer break, authorities said.

Kendall Burk, 23, has been removed from Grant County High School in Dry Ridge after being charged Wednesday with four counts of rape and sodomy for the alleged off-campus sexual encounters with a male student, WLWT reported.

The hookups, which began in June, took place on four occasions and happened as recently as July 3. Two of the trysts occurred in Burk's Dry Ridge home, while the other encounters were in her car, investigators told the station.

Grant County High School officials reported Burk to a school resource deputy about a "possible inappropriate relationship" with a student on Wednesday, sheriff officials said in a news release.

A message seeking comment from district officials was not immediately returned Friday, but Burk has been removed from the classroom, according to the district's superintendent.

"While these events, of course, sadden us, our first priority - and that of the law enforcement with whom we work - is and must always be the protection and safety of students," superintendent Matthew Morgan told WLWT. "We express our appreciation to those who worked with us to this end."

Eye 1

HARPA: Trump admin considering use of big tech snooping devices for 'early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence'

Big Tech
The Trump administration is considering a proposal that would use Google, Amazon and Apple to collect data on users who exhibit characteristics of mental illness that could lead to violent behavior, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The proposal is part of an initiative to create a Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), which would be located inside the Health and Human Services Department, the report notes, citing sources inside the administration. The new agency would have a separate budget and the president would be responsible for appointing its director.

HARPA would take after Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which serves as the research arm for the Pentagon. The idea was first crafted in 2017 but has since gotten a renewed push after mass shootings killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in August.

The Suzanne Wright Foundation approached the president recently and proposed the agency include a project called Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes, or Safe Home, the report notes, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Comment: While addressing the issue of mental illness and gun violence seems logical, this appears to be an attempt to allow the government to further erode what little personal privacy the public has now. This also ignores the fact that in many of the mass shooting events, the perpetrators were previously known by authorities to be dangerous and nothing was done. Considering the fact that many of these shootings bear the signature of false flag domestic terror events, additional government snooping will do nothing to prevent more of the same.


Bullseye

Tucker Carlson: 'Those who control your words control your mind'

Tucker Carlson
© Fox News
On Thursday night Tucker Carlson opened his show on how the professional left has transformed the city of San Francisco, one of America's most beautiful cities, into a "cesspool of filth, homelessness and drug addiction." In response to this crisis the city of San Francisco is banning words that suggests the city has a crime problem, "If people are not allowed to talk about crime maybe they won't notice crime exists. That's the thinking."

Tucker went on to explain:
Last month the San Francisco supervisors decreed that there would be no more convicted felons in San Francisco. Going forward ex-cons are to be called justice-involved individuals. Well, as it happens the people they committed crimes against are also 'justice involved individuals.'

So now, in other words, victim and criminal are now morally indistinguishable. That's on purpose. That is woke equality... Meanwhile there are no juvenile delinquents. There are now young people impacted by the juvenile justice system as if the system and not the kid committed the crime.... You can laugh this off. It's San Francisco, after all, where all the crazy things happen.

But these are the implications. Language makes thought possible. When the words disappear so does our ability to think of the ideas the words represent. When they prevent you from saying the obvious, over time it becomes impossible to see the obvious. And that is exactly, of course, why they do it. Those who control your words, control your mind.


Fire

Brazil's Bolsonaro accuses Macron of sensationalism for sharing fake photos of Amazon fires

fire rainforest near Humaita Amazonas state

Smoke billows from a fire in the rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas state
The largest rainforest on the planet is being ravaged by thousands of fires and thousands of people, including politicians and celebrities, have been drawing attention to the problem using the hashtag #PrayForTheAmazon.

While raising awareness of a climate emergency is definitely a noble cause, some people have apparently resorted to misinformation in doing so, whether deliberately or not.

Some of the luminaries spreading the word about the burning Amazon rainforest have shared photos that were taken during previous fires, some of them not in Brazil at all.

For instance, a photo of the burning forest shared by French President Emmanuel Macron and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, was actually taken by a National Geographic photographer who died in 2003, reports AFP news agency which spotted it in the Alarmy photo library.

Comment: See also:

President Bolsonaro tells world not to meddle in Brazil's affairs as Amazon rainforest burns


Marijuana

Fund the NHS? Jeremy Corybn's son opens National Hemp Service shop and café

(L) Tommy Corbyn (R) Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn
© Instagram, Peter Nicholls / Reuters
(L) Tommy Corbyn (R) Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn's son is opening a hemp shop named after the UK's embattled National Health Service (NHS). The National Hemp Service will sell all hemp products and is based in Corbyn senior's Islington North constituency.

In a joint effort, Tommy Corbyn and his girlfriend will sell all hemp products including clothing and CBD (cannabidiol) oils, as well as cosmetics when their budding business opens in September. They say cannabis has been "demonized for a long time" and believe it offers solutions to problems in agriculture, the environment and the economy.

"Especially in the Brexit environment, when we are not going to be able to export much to the EU, hemp is part of the solution," Corbyn told the Islington Gazette.

Comment: Read more on hemp: Hemp 101: The incredibly versatile plant


Pills

Marianne Williamson has a point: Why are so many Americans taking psychiatric medications?

Marianne Williamson
© Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson speaks at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum on August 19, 2019 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson might be best known for her debate-stage denunciation of the "dark psychic force" allegedly underlying Donald Trump's presidency, but her comments on related psychotropic matters also merit serious consideration. Given Williamson's slightly otherworldly demeanor, it can be tempting to dismiss all her prescriptions about contemporary society as crankish proselytization — a ruse to sell self-help books and juice attendance numbers at the weird conferences she'll inevitably headline in the near future.

And some of her zanier proclamations — such as "cancer and AIDS and other physical illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream" — might reasonably lead one to conclude that she's not a reliable narrator.

Still, Williamson has brought attention to a genuine political and social conundrum which if not for her would go almost entirely ignored in the 2020 campaign cycle: Why, in the most prosperous country in the world, are enormous numbers of people using psychiatric drugs?

Roughly one in six Americans currently takes such a drug, and at least 40 million are on antidepressant medication alone. Rates of consumption have been climbing steadily for three decades. According to the American Psychological Association, the number of Americans on anti-depressants ballooned by 64% between 1999 and 2014.

Comment: The pharmaceutical industry has spread its largesse far and wide to insure that the government doesn't interfere. However with the growing awareness of the part it has played in the opioid crisis, perhaps there will be increased scrutiny of other drugs, but we aren't holding our breath.