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British activists want NHS to come clean about secretive deal with shady data-mining company Palantir

palantir phone
© Piotr Swat / Alamy
Under a deal negotiated in secret with the British government, shady data firm Palantir will continue to manage NHS data for two years. Activists calling for transparency have now brought the NHS to court.

When the British government unveiled its 'Covid-19 data store' last March, controversial "spy tech" firm Palantir was given control of the data collected from the public, which included sensitive data such as patients' ages, addresses, health conditions, treatments, and whether they smoke or drink, among other private information. Awarded the contract for a nominal fee of £1 ($1.40), Palantir was only supposed to hold this data until the end of the coronavirus pandemic, but was awarded a second £23 million contract in December, ensuring the data-gathering project will continue until at least December 2022.

Comment: Palantir has its fingers in many surveillance pies:


NPC

If anyone's interested, Demi Lovato condemns gender reveal parties on basis of 'transphobia'

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato
Instead of their regular over-the-top and sometimes physically destructive nature, Demi Lovato is offended by gender reveal parties on the basis of transphobia.

Instead of their regular over-the-top and sometimes physically destructive nature, Demi Lovato is offended by gender reveal parties on the basis of transphobia.

The American singer and former Disney kid actor Demi Lovato took to Instagram to share "why gender reveals are transphobic." A nine-page post that isn't even her own words, but reposting what LGBTQ activist Alok Vaid-Menon wrote.

Newspaper

Politics As Usual: McConnell says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee

Trump - Mitch McConnell
© REUTERS/Leah Millis
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2020.
Senator Mitch McConnell said he would "absolutely" support Donald Trump as his party's next presidential pick, taking a more friendly tone after a recent poll found nearly half of the GOP would dump the party for the former POTUS.

Asked whether he would support Trump as the Republican presidential nominee in 2024 during a Thursday interview, the Kentucky senator answered readily in the affirmative.

"The nominee of the party? Absolutely," McConnell told Fox's Bret Baier, but added "There's a lot to happen between now and 2024. I've got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus some governors and others."

Comment: See also:


Map

Five Oregon counties to vote on leaving state, escaping to 'Greater Idaho'

greater idaho
© Image courtesy of Move Oregon’s Border
Move Oregon’s Border seeks to bring rural Oregon and northern California counties into neighboring Idaho.
Two Greater Idaho initiatives passed, two failed in November.

Five Oregon counties will ask voters in the next election whether they want to detach from the deep-blue state and join neighboring red-state Idaho.

Move Oregon's Border, also known as Greater Idaho, confirmed Tuesday that the initiative to move swaths of largely rural eastern and southern Oregon into Idaho qualified for the May 18 special election ballot in five counties: Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman.

In Baker County, organizers far exceeded the 496 signatures required by submitting 746, with the clerk reporting that 630 were accepted. The county population is about 16,000.

Comment: Tim Pool sites several counties in different states looking to secede from their current states, including Northern California. See:




Binoculars

Naomi Wolf joins Tucker Carlson to warn we've become a Covid-19 police state. Guess which one liberals think is the bigger crime?

anti-lockdown protest
© AFP / Timothy Clary
Anti-lockdown protest in New York City.
Liberal feminist author Naomi Wolf dared to take her alarm about the US' slide into totalitarian dictatorship onto Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, triggering a predictable uproar that largely ignored the police state issue.

Naomi Wolf, who has studied and written extensively about how democratic societies devolve into totalitarian regimes, told the Fox News host "there are 10 steps that would-be tyrants always take when they want to close down a democracy," ending with "suspension of rule of law." Wolf noted the US had sunk to that level over the last year, imposing draconian Covid-19 restrictions at the speed of light without even the slightest nod to the democratic process.

"I know from history that no one gives up emergency policies willingly, they always drag it on and drag it on," she explained, pointing out that "only from studying history do I know how predictable it is when you start to have elected officials say 'No, we're not going to follow the constitution because there's a pandemic.' Nowhere in the constitution does it say 'all this can be suspended if there's a bad disease.'"

Comment: See also:


Mr. Potato

Mr. Potato Head drops the title and is now just 'Potato Head' finally giving gender neutral vegetables the visibility they deserve

mr and mrs potato head
© Hasbro Shop
Screenshot from the official Hasbro Shop.
Since when was a potato ever male or female anyway? A potato is a potato, but Hasbro are keen to cash in on the lucrative woke parent market so have dispensed with the formalities to make the 70-year-old toy less "limiting."

"Where do baby potatoes come from, dad?" Funny, but my kids have never actually asked me that one. But here goes anyway.

"Well, son, sometimes daddy potato gets home a little drunk from the pub and, even though mummy potato does her best to hide out in the shrubbery, he always finds her. And then he..."

"He sticks his thingy in her?"

Comment: See also:


Megaphone

Andrew Doyle: Why free speech matters

John Milton visiting Galileo
© Getty
John Milton visiting Galileo.

To accompany the publication of his new book,
Free Speech And Why It Matters, Andrew Doyle explains why censorship impoverishes us all.

Our scene begins on a lake of fire. Satan has been cast into Hell after a failed rebellion against God, and is fixed in chains along with his cohort of fallen angels. He assures his second-in-command, Beelzebub, that their defeat is only temporary, and that he intends to recover and continue the struggle against the 'tyranny of heaven'. He breaks free and flies to dry land where he calls on his army to reassemble.

This is the dramatic opening of Paradise Lost (1667), John Milton's epic poem about the fall of man. Amid Satan's company of demons and counterfeit pagan gods there is an unexpected cameo which takes the form of a topical allusion. As Satan strides across the fiery landscape, Milton focuses our attention on his mighty stature by comparing his spear to 'the tallest pine / Hewn on Norwegian hills', and his shield to 'the moon, whose orb / Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views'. This is Galileo, the only one of Milton's contemporaries to be immortalised in Paradise Lost, here depicted with the recently invented telescope that he had adapted for the purposes of astronomical observation. Like Satan, he was cast out of favour for challenging the prevailing orthodoxies of his time - the evidence of his studies had persuaded him of the validity of the Copernican theory of the Earth's motion around the Sun - but unlike Satan, Galileo was right.

Comment: See also:


Network

TikTok will pay $92 million to settle class-action data harvesting lawsuit

tiktok offices
© Mike Blake / reuters
It allegedly collected a ton of personally identifiable info on users as young as six years old.

TikTok has agreed to pay $92 million to settle dozens of lawsuits, many from minors, alleging it amassed users' personal data without consent and sold it to advertisers, reports NPR.

The proposed settlement, described as one of the "largest privacy-related payouts in history," includes 89 million US users, some as young as six years old. According to lawyers involved in the suit, TikTok quietly collected a mountain of personally identifiable information on account holders, including biometric data such as their ethnicity, gender, and age. And even information from draft videos that were not shared publicly on the platform.

Comment: See also:


Shoe

Former US Olympic coach Geddert commits suicide after facing sexual abuse charges (UPDATE)

olympic rings
© REUTERS / DENIS BALIBOUSE
Ex-US Olympic coach John Geddert faced 24 charges for allegations of sexually and physically abusing his former female gymnasts. The charges were announced earlier in the day by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.

Former US gymnastics coach John Geddert has committed suicide hours after sex abuse charges against him were announced, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement on Thursday.

"My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved", the Attorney General stated.

Comment: Comment: UPDATE: Apparently, Geddert had a connection to Larry Nassar, the osteopathic physician/rapist currently serving prison time. From the Washington Examiner:
Geddert, head coach of the 2012 U.S. women's Olympic gymnastics team and associate of convicted sex offender Larry Nassar, was charged with 14 counts of human trafficking, six counts of human trafficking of a minor, one count of continuing criminal enterprise, one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Two of the crimes pertain to the sexual abuse of a teenager between the ages of 13 and 16, a charging document read.

Geddert's alleged conduct persisted from around 2008 to 2013. The 63-year-old was also said to have lied during the Nassar investigation, which saw dozens of women, some of whom were as young as 12 during the assaults, come forward to accuse the former Michigan State osteopathic physician of rape. Nassar was convicted and sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for his crimes.

"On or about September 27, 2016, John Geddert after being informed by Sam Miller MSUPD that the officer was conducting a criminal investigation, did knowingly and willfully make a statement or statements to the officer that he or she knew was false or misleading," according to the charging document.

Geddert allegedly lied and said Nassar had a limited role as the team physician, adding that he "never heard anyone complain" about his treatments and that "he was not aware" his athletes were "receiving any kind of intervaginal treatments."

Nessel said, "Geddert sold his reputation as an Olympic-level coach and promised to unsuspecting parents that he could turn his students into world-class athletes." She added that he "subjected multiple young women to an environment of continued abuse, in which he also neglected advice of medical doctors — except that provided by Larry Nassar."

"The Attorney General's office alleges that Geddert's treatment of young gymnasts constitutes human trafficking as he reportedly subjected his athletes to forced labor or services under extreme conditions that contributed to them suffering injuries and harm," Nessel said in a statement. "Geddert then neglected those injuries that were reported to him by the victims and used coercion, intimidation, threats and physical force to get them to perform to the standard he expected."

Nessel thanked "survivors" for "coming forward" and said the charges stemmed from "a great deal of hard work" coming from her office.

"These allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple young women. I am grateful for these survivors coming forward to cooperate with our investigation and for bravely sharing their stories," Nessel said.

See also:


Stock Up

GameStop short-sellers have lost $1.9 billion in just 2 days amid the stock's latest spike

gamestop store
© Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Nearly one month after GameStop's leap to record highs, Reddit traders are boosting the meme stock all over again. And just like in the January rally, short-sellers are hurting big.

Investors selling GameStop short - betting the stock price would decline - posted $664 million in mark-to-market losses as shares of the gaming retailer rocketed 104% into the close, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners. The stock's 84% intraday gain fueled another $1.19 billion in losses, bringing the two-day total to more than $1.85 billion.

To be sure, the losses pale in comparison to those fueled by the January surge. GameStop shorts are down $10.75 billion year-to-date on their bearish bets, according to S3. The sum includes Thursday's intraday rally.

Comment: See also: