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Wed, 15 Jul 2020
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Why wearing face masks shouldn't be made compulsory in the UK

doctor mask
© CC0
The UK government is coming under intense pressure to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in shops and other enclosed public places in England, but if that happens, it would be the wrong move.

And so it goes on. Even though deaths with COVID have dropped sharply, even though the virus has clearly petered out in Britain, even though there's been an official acknowledgement that some 30,000 'positive' test results have been double-counted, the clamour for more 'New Abnormal' measures to be introduced grows by the day.

The 'big' thing this week is to try and make the wearing of face masks compulsory.

Comment: See also:

Car Black

BLM comes for Detroit industry: Some Ford employees call for end of cop car manufacturing

police car graphic fracture
© Jim Cooke/Getty Images
Some American corporations have been forced to come to Jesus in the past few weeks with acknowledgements of racial insensitivity, failures in workplace diversity, and other contributions to institutional racism — but for the most part this reckoning has largely bypassed the automotive industry. Or so we thought, before hearing that Ford Motor Company has a situation brewing that could lead to a re-examination of the automaker's role in law enforcement.

According to a tip in the Jalopnik inbox, a number of Black Ford employees came together to raise concern about their employer's manufacture of police vehicles. (We have since received clarification that the letter was written composed by a group of Black and white Ford employees.) Ford wouldn't be the first company to come under scrutiny for making equipment for law enforcement, as folks around the country are raising flags about who gets contracts to produce what for use by police. From small players like bike companies — such as Trek, who makes police bikes — to behemoths like Amazon and its facial-recognition technology a number of companies are facing pressure now, and Ford certainly isn't the first company with internal revolt.


Riot-torn Twin Cities already forgotten

riots in Minneapolis
Buildings burn during the riots in Minneapolis, May 30
The national media might have "moved on" from the riots in Minneapolis, but residents have nowhere to go. Much of the Twin Cities is still in ruins. Boarded-up storefronts still display makeshift notices that read "black owned" or "minority owned" to ward off further destruction. Many locals are reluctant to speak on the record, but some are eager to do so.

"It's been agony," says Mohamed Ali, a native of Somalia. "I respect the public anger, but I think we carried it too far, to burn our city." At the height of the chaos, rioters set a large fire in front of his apartment, which sits atop several streetside shops. He spray-painted desperate appeals onto plywood affixed to the storefront windows: "Don't burn please . . . Kids live upstairs."

"All these businesses are still boarded, and it's over a month later," Mr. Ali said, gesturing in every direction of his Minneapolis neighborhood. "This was a thriving area," he said. "Now a lot of minority businesses are burned."


Anti-abortion, anti-vaccine & pro-fun: Kanye West doubles down on White House bid, says he will run for the 'Birthday Party'

FILE PHOTO: Kanye West
© AFP / Saul Loeb
Kanye West has insisted that his presidential bid is not a publicity stunt, explaining in a rollercoaster interview that his newly minted 'Birthday Party' will be anti-abortion, anti-vaccine, anti-Democratic Party and pro-fun.

The billionaire music artist turned sneaker designer told Forbes that he was running to win in November - even though it is too late for him to register as a candidate in some states. (He'll win in 2024 if things don't work out this time around, he explained to the magazine.)

Although billing himself as an independent, West says he is forming a new Birthday Party to defeat Democrat Joe Biden and Republican incumbent Donald Trump. He chose the name "because when we win, it's everybody's birthday."

He is reportedly being advised by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and he has selected a little-known preacher from Wyoming, Michelle Tidball, as his running mate. West announced that their campaign slogan is "YES!" - not "YEP" or "YEAH," he clarified.


Orwell cancelled? Left-wing journalist calls him 'vile', says author aided Nazis; 'was a total fraud'

© Oliver Bunic/Getty Images
George Orwell, author of '1984' depicted on billboard
Despite being dead for 70 years, George Orwell may become the latest public figure to be cancelled after a left-wing journalist called him a "vile man" who aided the Nazis with his strident criticism of Stalinist Russia.

Yes, really.

"In addition to being a gov snitch, fraud George Orwell spent WWII demonizing the USSR as it defeated Nazism. As the Red Army sacrificed millions fighting Hitler, and as the Nazi regime shoved Jews into gas chambers, Orwell was writing Animal Farm. Vile man," tweeted Ben Norton.
Norton followed up by denouncing the 1984 author as:
"a reactionary who hated communists more than fascists. Orwell didn't actually believe in free speech. He wanted to take away the free speech of communists. Orwell was a total fraud."

Comment: So who, exactly, is the 'Orwellian'? The man who wrote about it as a warning...or the man who cancelled the man who wrote about it?


Facebook bans accounts linked to Roger Stone, Proud Boys, Jair Bolsonaro citing 'coordinated inauthentic behavior'

2 guys with Roger Stone banner
© Reuters/Tom Brenner
Facebook has banned dozens of pages allegedly linked to ex-Trump adviser and Republican operative Roger Stone, as well as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in its relentless battle against political 'misinformation networks'.

The 100-account network said to be linked to Stone, a Florida resident, was discovered in the course of an investigation into the right-wing group Proud Boys, banned from Facebook years ago, the social media behemoth revealed on Wednesday in a blog post. Some 54 accounts, 54 pages, and four Instagram accounts were removed in the purge. According to Facebook, the deleted accounts were followed by upwards of 320,000 people and had spent over $308,000 on Facebook ads.

Stone, a self-styled "dirty trickster" whose history with the Republican Party goes back decades, is due to report to federal prison next week on charges of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering for which he was sentenced to three years in prison. His lawyers have petitioned to have his incarceration delayed due to the coronavirus, citing his age (67).

The former Trump advisor was barred from social media last July after federal judge Amy Berman Jackson accused him of breaching a gag order regarding his case. The accounts supposedly linked to him had posted about his website, books, and media appearances, as well as the WikiLeaks materials released in the runup to the 2016 election, Stone's trial, and a Florida land and water resources bill.

Comment: Links to a Website! Books! Media Appearances!...and a Water Resource Bill - you know, bad stuff.

Arrow Down

Ilhan Omar: US must tear down its 'whole system of oppression'; Dems have 'given up' on America

Ilhan Omar
© Getty Images via AFP/Getty Images North America/Brandon Bell
Representative Ilhan Omar, (D-MN)
Ilhan Omar has called on the US "to tear down systems of oppression." But the Minnesota Democratic representative's remarks have outraged Republicans, who say she wants to ruin the whole American system.

Oppression is seen pretty much across the board in the American system, Omar claimed in a speech in Minnesota on Tuesday.
"We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in healthcare, in employment, in the air we breathe. We cannot stop at the criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it."
Omar, a Somali-American, has frequently called for the dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department since the death of George Floyd in the city, calling it 'rotten to the root.'


Russian health minister: Anti-vaxxers can rejoice - any future coronavirus vaccine will be voluntary

Taking temp
© Sputnik
Russia will not make immunization against Covid-19 compulsory, according to Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko. A homegrown vaccine is currently being trialled and could possibly be registered and mass-produced by September.

According to the health ministry, vaccinations in Russia can only be given with a citizen's expressed consent.
"Today, interest in the vaccine is quite high, because people have realized the full significance of vaccination. "Over this period [of Covid-19], the number of supporters of vaccination has increased."
In May, it was suggested that Russia's Code of Administrative Offenses include a fine for the refusal of compulsory vaccinations. Still in the discussion stage, the new code would allow a fine of up to 7,000 rubles ($100) for citizens refusing immunizations deemed necessary. According to Rospotrebnazdor, the country's health watchdog, the punishment would only be applied to those who perform work associated with a high risk of contracting infectious diseases.


Political stunt: AfD lawmaker wears gas mask in sarcastic salute to German anti-covid measure; parliament not amused

© Bayerischen Landtag
Stefan Loew wears gas mask to Parliament
A member of Bavaria's AfD faction tried to mock mandatory face protection rules, taking the floor with a gas mask on his face. The extravaganza saw him engaging in an uphill battle with parliament bosses.

Stefan Loew, a member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, stole the limelight during Tuesday's session of the Bavarian state parliament. Invited to take the floor by the speaker, he turned up at the podium wearing a heavy-duty gas mask.

The stunt garnered some chuckles from the audience, but those running the meeting refused to play along.

"Mr Loew, I'm now giving you three seconds more [to take the gas mask off]," a vice-speaker is heard saying in a livestream video. The stubborn MP hits back, his voice strangled: "There is indeed a requirement to wear a mask!" The vice-speaker repeatedly demanded that Loew stop "making fun" of the session, but the AfD lawmaker kept speaking anyway - albeit quite inaudibly.

Comment: Everyone calm down and take a deep shallow breath. At least this guy may have solved the fogging glasses problem.


Former warden from Ghislaine Maxwell's NYC jail says she should be on suicide watch: It would be 'unimaginable' for her to escape justice

Ghislaine Maxwell
© Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Ghislaine Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell should be kept on suicide watch at her federal lockup in Brooklyn because her case is too explosive to risk her killing herself behind bars, a former warden of the jail told The Post Tuesday.

Cameron Lindsay, who served as the warden at the Metropolitan Detention Center for three years, said he wouldn't risk the possibility of her suicide because it would be "unimaginable" for her to escape the justice system.

"She allegedly knows a great deal of information about a multitude of potential co-defendants in the actions against Jeffrey Epstein," Lindsay said.