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Tue, 27 Oct 2020
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Sydney university professor who teaches law of protest arrested at student protest

Simon Rice
© Honi Soit
University of Sydney Prof Simon Rice says he was trying to move past a protest when he was pushed to the ground by police with ‘disproportionate force’ on Wednesday.
A University of Sydney law professor, who was observing a student protest on Wednesday as part of research into protest law, was thrown to the ground by police, then arrested and fined.

Prof Simon Rice said he was not participating in the protest and was trying to move past it when he was pushed to the ground by police with "disproportionate force".

Multiple students and staff were arrested at the university as hundreds protested the government's changes to higher education, university funding cuts and job losses.

Previous protests at the university have also been disrupted by police with arrests made.

Footage captured by the university's student newspaper, Honi Soit, showed Rice being pushed to the ground by police, and another student thrown to the ground.

"I have been running an extracurricular volunteer law firm research project," Rice told Guardian Australia. "I have a bunch of students who are working on reforming protest laws. I told them there is a protest today and you may want to watch. I also chose to watch.

"The footage shows from a distance them pushing me down. That is actually the second time, they had kicked my legs out from under me and that was me trying to get up again, then they pushed me down."

Comment: Nothing to see here... Just Australia turning into a complete authoritarian nightmare.

Arrow Up

Jobless claims spike to 898,000 in latest sign of economic weakness; Trump signals he's ready to 'go big'

© Unknown/KJN
Fragmentation of wealth: A mosaic of instability
Initial jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 10 spiked to 898,000, the latest sign of weakness in the U.S. labor market.

The figure was up 53,000 from the previous week, and the number of claims has remained persistently high over the past few months.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that the total number of people claiming benefits across a slew of programs in late September fell by 215,270, to 25.3 million.

The weak economic figures pose a challenge to President Trump in the final weeks of the campaign, particularly as many economists say they are the result of a pandemic that the U.S. has yet to get under control.

When factoring in an additional 373,000 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a CARES Act program that expanded benefits to gig economy workers and the self-employed, the total number of new claims approached 1.3 million. Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain said the latest figures
"cast a dark cloud over the nation's slow economic recovery. America is unlikely to see a full recovery and a return to low unemployment until the pace of weekly UI [unemployment insurance] claims dials back significantly. As the virus remains in the driver's seat, today's elevated claims cast a shadow over the fate of the U.S. labor market in the next half year."

Comment: A forecast on the pandemic hole in the global economy:
This year's output figures will be reminiscent of the 1930's Great Depression, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It said that the world is at risk of significantly lowered investment, trade and job numbers.

The IMF's economic expert, Gita Gopinath, said this week that "the cumulative loss in output relative to the pre-pandemic projected path is projected to grow from $11 trillion over 2020-21 to $28 trillion over 2020-25...this represents a severe setback to the improvement in average living standards across all country groups."

The IMF praised central banks around the globe for stimulus plans that softened the impact that Covid-19 has had on the world economy, and warned that an early removal of these support packages could prove disastrous for recovery efforts. Gopinath advised that:

"The considerable global fiscal support of close to $12 trillion and the extensive rate cuts, liquidity injections and asset purchases by central banks helped save lives and livelihoods and prevented a financial catastrophe, to the extent possible, policies must aggressively focus on limiting persistent economic damage from this crisis. Most economies will experience lasting damage to supply potential, reflecting scars from the deep recession this year."

The World Bank has warned that up to 150 million more people may be pushed into extreme poverty by 2021.


Head of Russia's national health watchdog: Shutting down economy to prevent spread of Covid-19 is pointless

© Sputnik/Anton Denisov
Masked in Moscow
The top official at Russia's state health watchdog believes that there is no point in suspending the economy to fight coronavirus. Anna Popova's comments came after the Kremlin said a second lockdown isn't even being considered.

Speaking at a coronavirus event at well-known university RANEPA, on Tuesday, Rospotrebnadzor boss Anna Popova explained that Russia has quite a low rate of Covid-19 per capita, and therefore there is no sense in taking drastic measures. Currently, there are few restrictions in the world's largest country with bars, restaurants, and shops open as usual.

"Despite the fact that we see a growth in cases, today, in Russia, we are not talking about blocking the economy," Popova said. "We do not see any point in it."

In addition, she noted that Covid-19 testing has not dropped off at any point, even during the summer. Statistics from the country's official coronavirus center show that Russia has carried out over 51 million tests, fourth globally, behind the three most populated countries, China, the US, and India.

According to Popova, over the last week, the average daily rate for new coronavirus cases is eight per 100,000 people. This is much better than in other countries such as Israel (54), France (28), and the Netherlands (27), which are all more than three times worse.

Comment: At least there are still places where common sense prevails.

Gold Coins

Russia considers issue of digital ruble as demand for cashless payments grows

© Getty Images / Savushkin
The high level of development of financial technologies in Russia, and the growing share of non-cash payments make the issue of launching the digital ruble more relevant, according to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

The regulator said in a report that it is currently assessing all the possibilities and prospects of such a project, which will allow users to freely transfer digital rubles to their electronic wallets and use them on mobile devices, both online and offline. "The digital ruble will be able to combine the advantages of both cash and non-cash money," the CBR said.

According to CBR Deputy Chairman Aleksey Zabotkin, the share of non-cash payments in the country's retail and public sectors has nearly doubled, from 39 percent to 69 percent.


Facebook and Twitter censor NY Post's new story about Hunter Biden on their platforms

the bidens joe hunter biden
© AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu
Facebook announced on Wednesday they will be "reducing" the spread of the new New York Post story about Hunter Biden, which claims new emails and photos shed light on his foreign business dealings, as it undergoes a review by "third-party fact checking partners."

The announcement was made by Andy Stone, who currently works as Policy Communications Manager for Facebook. In his tweet, he made it a point to not link to the Post's story, adding, "I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform."

Comment: Apparently this is the first time Twitter has invoked this hacked materials policy. From RT:
Twitter BLOCKS sharing links to NYPost's Hunter Biden emails story, invoking 'HACKED MATERIALS' policy for first time ever

Twitter has one-upped Facebook's censorship regarding a story based on alleged emails from Democratic candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter about his Ukraine dealings, blocking all users from sharing it via tweet or direct message.

Twitter users were blocked on Wednesday from sharing the New York Post story critical of the Bidens published just that morning. The decision was based on a never-before-invoked "hacked materials policy" that Twitter announced hours after Facebook had stomped on the same story.

The Post cited emails that appeared to show Joe Biden - then vice president to Barack Obama - had met with Ukrainian Burisma exec Vadim Pozharskyi at the behest of his son and Burisma adviser Hunter Biden, less than a year before the current Democratic presidential candidate allegedly demanded Kiev fire its top prosecutor.


Twitter "errors" started pouring in just a few hours after Andy Stone, a Facebook executive with a long history of working for the Democratic Party, warned Facebook was "reducing [the Hunter Biden story's] distribution" on its platform and seemingly invited Facebook's fact-checkers to tear the story apart.

While Twitter users were able to share the offending Post link for hours after Stone tagged it for destruction, what Twitter lacked in temporal primacy it made up in intensity.

Users who attempted to share the story on Wednesday afternoon were informed they could not retweet the "potentially harmful" link. Unlike typical Twitter warning screens that can be clicked through, the link to the Post story was not even allowed to be posted.

As speculation swirled regarding the Biden emails, Forbes reporter Jack Brewster posted a statement, allegedly from Twitter, reading that "in line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter."


While Twitter has outlawed entire domains in the past - most notably Bitchute.com, a YouTube competitor whose exile it partially walked back after widespread protest from users - nothing like the blanket ban on the Post URL has ever been seen before.

Many readers opined that by blocking the URL and deleting the Post's tweet Twitter had inadvertently confirmed the authenticity of the Biden emails.


Others merely interpreted the secondhand missive as Twitter throwing its hat in the ring for Biden, deeming the act "brazen election interference."


Meanwhile, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) said he wrote to Facebook to complain about executive Andy Stone's actions, asking if the preemptive shadowbanning pending fact-checking was "normal" and whether the Biden campaign had played some role in reducing the article's reach.
Meanwhile, NYT journalist Maggie Haberman. From RT:
Even mentioning the October surprise story about Hunter Biden in order to criticize it has landed journalist Maggie Haberman in hot water with online Democrat activists, who furiously accused her of helping President Donald Trump.

It appears that Haberman broke the unwritten code of silence in the mainstream media by sharing a New York Post story on Wednesday that claimed to show that the son of the Democratic presidential nominee engaged in corrupt dealings with a Ukrainian gas company.

Haberman was apparently trying to criticize the story, but merely mentioning it earned the New York Times reporter an avalanche of opprobrium - and a new nickname, based on the Trump campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."


The avalanche of attacks on Haberman is particularly ironic, given that it was four years ago this week that she was exposed as a "friendly journalist" trusted by Hillary Clinton's campaign to "tee up stories" for them.

On October 10, 2016, WikiLeaks published an email obtained from the personal account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, showing a January 2015 exchange between her campaign staff.

"We have [had] a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year," wrote Clinton's communications director Nick Merrill to campaign manager Robby Mook. "We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed."

The campaign thinks it "can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie," Merrill added.
Apparently the tweets of former Democratic Party staffer now working as Facebook's communications exec, Andy Stone, caught the eye of Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr:

More from RT on the reaction of the Biden campaign and others:

After the story had already made the rounds on social media, the Biden campaign weighed in to deny any meeting between Biden and Pozharskyi had taken place - though it notably did not comment on any of the more salacious aspects of the Post's stories, including photos and videos appearing to show the candidate's son smoking crack and having sex.

Apparently bracing for fact-checker impact, the Post reported the repairman-whistleblower who'd leaked the emails was working with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to verify the information. He claimed to have reached out to the committee in September after it released a report on Biden's apparent conflicts of interest, which included a reported $3.5 million payment from the wife of the ex-mayor of Moscow to a company co-founded by Hunter Biden.

Blue-checks and #Resistance stalwarts rallied to Stone's (and Biden's) defense on Twitter, warning that the Post story was based on a "huge falsehood" - namely that Biden had forced the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma. This was untrue, they argued, because others had wanted the prosecutor fired as well.


Stone's Twitter feed bristles with boasts about suppressing content on Facebook, including claims that the platform "displayed warnings on more than 150 million pieces of content" that had been "debunked by one of our third-party fact-checkers," deleted "more than 120,000 pieces of Facebook and Instagram content" for violating its US policy on voter interference, and "rejected ad submissions before they could run about 2.2 million times."

Facebook is far from the only social media platform to attract Democrat apparatchiks, however. Twitter communications exec Nick Pacilio previously worked as press secretary for Democrat vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, while the platform's head of editorial for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Gordon MacMillan, is a member of the UK military's infamous 77th Brigade information-warfare unit.

Twitter applied a warning screen to the Post's story late Wednesday afternoon, presenting users who clicked on the link with an alert that the "link may be unsafe."
Even Trump has weighed in on the controversy:

From RT:

"REPEAL SECTION 230!!!" the president added, referring to the provision in the Communications Decency Act shielding social media platforms from legal liability if they act "in good faith" to remove objectionable content posted by users.

Since then, Facebook, Twitter, Alphabet and others have invoked it as grounds to police any content they deem inappropriate - including the ever-shifting definitions of "potential harm" and "election interference."


"It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician," Trump said cryptically in his tweet, suggesting more information is forthcoming.

Shortly thereafter, his son Donald Trump Jr said it was "time to break up Big Tech. Their total bias and flagrant suppression of information can't stand in America."

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans tweeted: "See you [Jack]," along with a video of someone unsuccessfully trying to share the New York Post story. It was aimed at the company's CEO Jack Dorsey, ahead of the October 28 Commerce Committee hearing about censorship, at which he is scheduled to testify.

And it seems that Twitter is also using this as an opportunity to eject some 'undesirables' from their platform. From The Daily Wire:
Twitter Locks Out WH Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany For Sharing NY Post Hunter Biden Story
By Jon Brown - Oct 15, 2020

Twitter locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday after she shared a New York Post story alleging that Hunter Biden introduced his father to a Burisma executive a year before the former vice president pushed Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, who was investigating the company.

In a screenshot disseminated by the Trump War Room, Twitter appeared to have sent McEnany a notification that her "account has been locked" for "violating our rules against distribution of hacked materials." McEnany's tweet was subsequently deleted. It remains unclear if McEnany was forced to delete it, or if Twitter deleted it for her.


[Sen. Josh] Hawley called on the FEC to investigate whether Twitter and Facebook violated campaign finance law by interfering in the dissemination of the story. As The Daily Wire reported:
After citing the relevant section of the U.S. Code, Hawley said, "Twitter and Facebook are both corporations. A 'contribution' includes 'anything of value ... for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office.'"

Hawley alleged that Facebook and Twitter's "active suppression" of the New York Post story "appears to constitute contributions under federal law," and that the Biden campaign "derives extraordinary value" from quashing a story that would link the former vice president to Ukrainian oligarchs.

Hawley also sent letters demanding answers to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In his letter to Dorsey, Hawley said in part, "There are various reports circulating on Twitter of users unable to post a link to the New York Post story, with some users posting responses from Twitter that the content was deemed to be 'potentially spammy or unsafe.'"

"I find this behavior stunning but not surprising from a platform that has censored the President of the United States," Hawley added. Later, he demanded to know the specifics of how the company decided to suppress the story, as well as if anyone involved with the Biden-Harris campaign was involved.

Chart Bar

New poll puts support for Scottish independence at record high of 58 per cent

scotland independence

Bombshell new poll puts support for independence at record high of 58%
Support for independence has risen to a record high of 58 per cent, a bombshell new poll has found.

The Ipsos MORI poll for STV News found just 42% of Scots now back staying in the UK, while 58% would vote to leave, once undecided voters are removed.

This puts support for independence at the highest it has ever been.

SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said the landmark poll showed independence is now the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.

Dollar Gold

Not enough black venture capitalists? What's next, not enough black war criminals? Fetishizing surface diversity insults us all

black businessman, businessman
© Getty Images / Deagreez
The obsession with 'diversity' that has taken the US professional sphere by storm is not only misguided, but insults minorities, who don't need white guilt to excel. It's also running out of steam, as its latest incarnation hints.

The problem with the venture capital industry, a sub-sector of private equity in which deep-pocketed investors bankroll cash-hungry startups, is the lack of black representation - or so says venture capitalist Frederik Groce, who co-founded BLCK VC in 2018 to increase black representation in the sector.

Surfing the wave of 2020's diversity-mania, Groce launched the Black Venture Institute on Tuesday with two other big-name venture capital firms and the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

Star of David

Israeli settlers' racism is no aberration. It's part of an apartheid system

apartheid road sign israel illegal settlers
© Twitter/@glick_sh
A sign outside the Yitzhar settlement warns Arabs not to enter
The Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, long a byword for nationalist extremism and anti-Palestinian violence, was in the news again on Monday, after residents erected a sign outside the settlement stating: "This road leads to the community of Yitzhar - Entry for Arabs is dangerous."

As explained by Haaretz, the background to the stunt was an incident two weeks ago, when "an Arab medical worker who was sent to conduct a Covid-19 test was refused entry to Yitzhar", reportedly on the basis that "he was an Arab".

In response, the senior Israeli commander for the region "made it clear to the residents of Yitzhar that they must allow the entry of Arabs", prompting the erection of the road sign in "protest". Pictures of the sign were quickly shared on Twitter, prompting widespread outrage and opposition.


Another mysterious 'jetpacker' spotted soaring above Los Angeles airport as FBI still struggles with previous encounter

Jetpacker over LAX
© Reuters / Lucy Nicholson; Reuters / Leonhard Foeger
An airline crew has reported seeing yet another person in a jetpack flying thousands of feet over LAX, the second such sighting in a matter of weeks. The FBI, which is still looking into the first encounter, has begun a new probe.

The jetpack-strapped individual was seen flying at an altitude of 6,500 feet by a China Airlines crew on Wednesday afternoon, roughly seven miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport, local media reported, citing a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman.

The FAA notified local law enforcement of the sighting and is in contact with the FBI, which said in its own statement that it had launched a new investigation, urging witnesses to come forward with any details they might have.

2 + 2 = 4

2 + 2 = thought crime? Mathematical certainty hangs in the balance as Orwell's worst fears come to life

Jonathan Farley
© Getty Images / Bill Greene / The Boston Globe
Dr. Jonathan Farley, a mathematics professor based at Harvard, in a classroom in the Math Department at Harvard University.
Not even the rules-based world of mathematics is safe from the PC inquisition, with the Mathematical Association of America claiming it is inherently racially biased. This madness threatens to halt progress in its tracks.

This month, Americans got another bitter taste of 'progressive' insanity from one of the most unexpected of places. The Mathematical Association of America (MAA), which prides itself as "the world's largest community of mathematicians, students, and enthusiasts," came out and declared that "mathematics is created by humans and therefore inherently carries human biases."

The MAA's revelation came in its October newsletter, which reads more like a fiery political manifesto than any mundane briefing on the math scene. It continued, "Reaching this potential in mathematics relies upon the academy and higher education engaging in ... uncomfortable conversations about the detrimental effects of race and racism on our community."