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Thu, 01 Oct 2020
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Slavoj Zizek warns the treatment of Assange is an assault on everyone's personal freedoms

assange protest canary cage london
© Reuters / PETER NICHOLLS
Vivienne Westwood demonstrates in support of Julian Assange, in London
Julian Assange has had his rights stripped away in a case that should alarm millions, but too few people care because his character has been assassinated. He might have to go to prison before he gets the support he deserves.

There is an old joke from the time of World War I about an exchange of telegrams between the German Army headquarters and the Austrian-Hungarian HQ. From Berlin to Vienna, the message is "The situation on our part of the front is serious, but not catastrophic," and the reply from Vienna is: "With us, the situation is catastrophic, but not serious."

The reply from Vienna seems to offer a model for how we react to crises today, from the Covid-19 pandemic to forest fires on the west coast of the US (and elsewhere): 'Yeah, we know a catastrophe is pending, media warn us all the time, but somehow we are not ready to take the situation seriously...'

Broom

Disrupting Western family structure no longer among BLM's stated goals as manifesto vanishes from website ahead of US election

Black Lives Matter banner
© Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
A family from Bowie, Maryland stands with raised fists in front of a Black Lives Matter banner near the White House in Washington, DC.
The Black Lives Matter activism group has deleted a page called "What We Believe" from its website, disappearing such objectives as disrupting the "Western-prescribed nuclear family structure" as the Nov. 3 election nears.

The manifesto was published on BLM's "What We Believe" page at least as long ago as on February 2 but was no longer available as of last Friday. The page is now blank, except for an error message indicating that it can't be found.

BLM gave no explanation for its missing manifesto; nor did it offer a comparable replacement, forcing all those curious about the movement's goals to go to an "about" page, which, in rather general terms, explains its mission to eradicate white supremacy and "intervene in violence inflicted on black communities." It does not, however, include a belief, featured in the original manifesto, that "the nuclear family structure" should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Arrow Down

UK to penalise schools that don't teach children LGBT activist propaganda

Boris Johnson LGBTQ
© Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Secondary schools which fail to teach pupils LGBT lessons will be penalised by inspectors, it has been revealed.

Ofsted, the British schools regulator, said that schools will no longer be able to secure a rating better than "requires improvement" if they neglect to inform pupils about LGBT lifestyles and about "all the protected characteristics", the Daily Mail reports.

An Ofsted spokesman commented: "The Department for Education's guidance makes it clear that secondary schools must teach about LGBT issues.

"Therefore, from next summer, if secondary schools do not teach about all the protected characteristics, they will receive a judgment of 'requires improvement' for leadership and management.

Arrow Down

Another 860,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

Store Closings
© Nam Y. Huh, The Associated Press
Another 860,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

It was another week-on-week decline for jobless claims as the jobs recovery drags on, but the improvements have been slow and the jobs recovery is running out of steam. Weekly claims have improved since mid-August, when they briefly inched higher.

Despite the improvement, last week's claims were still about four-times higher than they were before the pandemic.

Comment: See also:


Bell

Systemic racism? Make them prove it

judge gavel law
© Zolnierek/Getty Images
Progressives say racism is everywhere in the criminal-justice system, but they don't provide many specifics.

I worked in the criminal-justice system for a quarter century. It is run, day-to-day, by the crème de la crème of graduates from America's top law schools. Those institutions wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves and proclaim it for all the world to hear.

In their offhand rhetoric — insouciant, because they know their bien pensant allies in politics and media will never call them on it — legal elites will tell you that the administration of justice in America is systemically racist. But they are the system. The judges, the top prosecutors, the defense bar, the experts who craft the sentencing guidelines and the standards of confinement — overwhelmingly, they are political progressives.

Comment: See also:


Star of David

Tel Aviv bars rebrand as synagogues to protest virus lockdown rules

tel aviv bar
© Miriam Alster/Flash90
Israelis enjoy sitting at a bar in Tel Aviv on June 9, 2020.
The owners of a number of Tel Aviv bars have declared their businesses to be synagogues, in protest of government lockdown plans that on the one hand will prevent all bars and restaurants from operating during the closure, while on the other allow dozens to take part in prayers at houses of worship throughout the country.

Channel 12 news reported on two Tel Aviv establishments, Kiton and Shishko, that have put up placards declaring them to be places of worship. The report notes that the two bars are currently treating the act as one of protest and satire and are not planning to rebel against government restrictions at this time — though they also aren't entirely ruling it out.

Elad Dor, owner of Shishko, told the network: "Does it sound reasonable to you that you can bring 100 people into a synagogue, and I, who have a restaurant for 300 people can't let even 30 people in? Does that really make sense to you?

Comment: See also: Israel enforces unpopular second lockdown, protests erupt and some prepare to defy the orders


Brick Wall

Tech titans and censorship—The same people profiting from the quarantine are censoring criticisms of it

oligarchs profit lockdown
The same bloated Tech/Data and Telecom Titans now gorging themselves on the corpses of our obliterated middle class are rapidly transforming America's once proud democracy into a censorship and surveillance police state. As Naomi Klein chronicled in her classic, Disaster Capitalism, totalitarian elements and ruling elites have, throughout history, reflexively used crisis as opportunities to shift wealth upward. "You never," Rahm Emmanuel counseled, "want a serious crisis to go to waste." The tread worn strategy is to inflame public fears to justify the imposition of authoritarian controls and censorship thereby allowing oligarchs to silence protest against their power-grabs and their wholesale privatization of the commons.

Led by Bill Gates, Silicon Valley applauded from the sidelines as medical charlatans fanned pandemic panic, confined the world population under house arrest, and shattered the global economy. Silicon Valley fattened as masked and isolated families turned to social media and Amazon. In five months, their quarantine put 58 million Americans out of work, permanently bankrupted over 100,000 small businesses including 41,000 Black-owned businesses some of which took three generations of investment to build.

Comment: See also:


Bad Guys

Madrid calls in the ARMY as Spain imposes regional lockdowns, mostly poorer areas

spain lockdown
© Reuters / Sergio Perez
People hold placards during a protest against government as Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez meets Madrid regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso, at Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, Spain, September 21, 2020. Placards read "Government resignation".
The regional chief of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has requested help from the army to fight the coronavirus surge in and around the city after local authorities ordered a partial lockdown of some poorer areas starting on Monday.


Comment: Curiously, the UK has taken similar measures, with the poorest regions in the North of the country being those that were also slapped with the second, total, albeit regional, lockdown.


Fears of another lockdown prompted protests in the city over the weekend.

"We need help from the army for disinfection," Diaz Ayuso told reporters after her emergency meeting with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez about the coronavirus crisis. The army could also strengthen local police and law enforcement, Diaz Ayuso added, while authorities are trying to bring the spread of the virus under control in Spain's worst-hit region.

She also requested the government set up makeshift hospitals in the capital again, as the previous facilities were decommissioned three months ago after the number of infections fell in Spain and a strict lockdown was lifted.


Comment: They were decommissioned because through the 'pandemic' they, mostly, lay empty:: Empty Hospitals? Where Are All The Coronavirus Patients?


Comment: It's notable that the countries with the most tyrannical and nonsensical lockdown measures have also rather hastily - and without good (obvious) reason - called in the army against its own citizens: UK's NHS to enlist ARMY to vaccinate ENTIRE population with coronavirus vaccine, will do a 'dry run' with flu vaccine


Padlock

Closing churches is the cruellest Covid cut: Ireland only country in Europe to do so

Hairdressers, pubs and restaurants stay open while our religious leaders fail to put a strong case for places of worship

closed church
The myth of the wealth of the Catholic Church is about to be well and truly exposed. It might own plenty of buildings, but the church has little cash. Its parishes and dioceses are massively dependent on their weekly collections.

According to the Dublin archdiocese, revenue from the two collections staged each Sunday was down 80% in the three months ending in June, compared with the same period last year. The archdiocese is in the process of shedding dozens of staff, because the money is running out. Some priests have told me it will soon be difficult for their parishes to cover their insurance costs.

Since public masses were allowed to begin again at the end of June, collections have recovered only a little, because of strict limits on the numbers allowed to attend. This is true around the country, and must be affecting other churches as well.

Those who don't care for the Catholic Church, or religion in general, may welcome what is happening as a positive side-effect of the pandemic. But hundreds of thousands of Irish people are still actively engaged in their churches. Religious organisations continue to offer moral, spiritual and material support to individuals up and down the country, including to those who have no religion at all but receive help from the likes of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

Comment: It's clear by now that it's not covid devastating whole sectors of society, but the government's response. If a virus was so deadly as to shut down society, you wouldn't need to forcibly shutdown and tell people to 'isolate'. That will happen naturally. The author does pose a good question however: where is the pushback? Have these religious leaders forsaken their beliefs and fed their 'flock' to the wolves?


Beaker

"Novichok" - so poisonous that it's like using an atomic bomb to kill one person

Imagine an amount of poison the size of an ordinary pea:

Poison

Poison
Now imagine that such a crumb eliminates a person within a few minutes. To be precise, a lethal dose is about 0.1 grams, i.e., a glass of such a substance can send 2000 people to their forefathers!

If you think that I am talking about "Novichok" now, you are mistaken. In fact, we are talking about the famous "spy" poison - potassium cyanide.

This is what we will take as a reference point, so that it will be approximately clear what doses we will be talking about.

So, we all remember these detective films in which an enemy agent, in order not to be captured, bites the collar of his own raincoat with an ampoule of potassium cyanide sewn into it.

Death occurs very quickly and such scenes are not devoid of realism, because the maximum dose of cyanide for a person (0.1 grams) looks like this:

Comment: See also: