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Thu, 06 Aug 2020
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Crossing the Rubicon: The UK slips into a repressive state

orwell 1984
Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon River in 49 BC in defiance of Roman law placed him and his army on a direct collision course with Rome, leading to the Civil War which established him as Roman dictator. It is a well-established metaphor for a point at which there is no going back and at which things will never be the same.

I predicted a few weeks ago that the UK Government would in the near future try to force everyone to wear facemasks in public. Leave aside the plethora of information that makes it clear face masks are of practically zero benefit in everyday circumstances, and may in fact be dangerous, the forced wearing of facemasks is a transgression so fundamental and of such significance that it is difficult to adequately express.

It implicitly hands your body over to state control, and renders one of your most basic existential freedoms subject to state interference. For the first time, the right to exercise a choice of whether you should inhibit your respiratory faculties and hide your face in public is taken out of your hands. If you doubt the significance of this, try to remember the public outcry that followed a debate regarding banning the wearing of burkhas and hijabs in the face of Islamic terrorism, and the connotations this had for civil liberties at the time.

Comment: See also:


The Great Deletion

© Getty
My two most recent columns for spiked dealt with cancel culture and hate-crime hoaxes. Thanks to the internet being what it is, events during the past month have provided me with a perfect real-life combination of these two trends.

On 29 July, Reddit, the self-proclaimed front page of the internet, deleted a popular 'subreddit' (a type of forum specific to the platform) dealing with hate-crime hoaxes. (Those so inclined can check out what is now simply a blank page here.) That same day, Reddit also deleted a number of other popular subreddits, including the r/GenderCritical and r/TrueLesbians/ - forums known for hosting debates by female feminists about the role of trans women in the feminist movement - and a subreddit devoted to female reproductive-health issues. It also deleted r/HBD - short for human biodiversity - a page which focuses on questions of race and human genetic variation. For good measure, the site also kicked off what may have been its most popular right- and left-wing political forums respectively: r/TheDonald/ and r/ChapoTrapHouse.

The explanation Reddit gave for banning all of these communities was that they 'promoted hate'. Having been on Reddit, this is probably not a wholly baseless claim. It is hard not to notice a small but noisy contingent of alt-righters on the HBD forum, alongside biology grad students and Charles Murray fan-boys, who seek an (elusive) wholly genetic explanation for small differences in traits like tested IQ and running speed. r/GenderCritical was attacked fairly often for criticising both straight males and trans women - often for the same reasons. And, certainly, both r/TheDonald and r/ChapoTrapHouse/ were known for crude, if often funny, memes mocking everything under the sun.


Ohio withdraws ban on Hydroxychloroquine, Fauci accused of 'misinformation campaign'


Update (1240ET):
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy withdrew a rule preventing the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 after Governor Mike DeWine called on the board to halt the rule, according to the Dayton Daily News.

"As a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Gov. DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has withdrawn proposed rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code," reads a Thursday statement from the board.

"Therefore, prohibitions on the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Ohio for the treatment of COVID-19 will not take effect at this time."
The board will reexamine the rule with the help of the State Medical Board of Ohio, clinical experts and stakeholders to determine the next step.

The rule, which was scheduled to go into effect today, would prohibit pharmacies from selling or dispensing hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for coronavirus unless the use is approved by the board's executive director. The rule would also void all previous approvals of the drug. -Dayton Daily News

Comment: Just scratch the surface and one realizes that Fauci and his ilk have been peddling Big Lies about hydroxychloroquine for quite some time now.


"Simpothy McVeigh": Portland rioter ID'ed by grandma's review of vest she bought for him

Simpothy McVeig
The rioter who allegedly threw an explosive device at the Portland federal courthouse early Tuesday morning was reportedly identified as a result of an online review his grandmother left on a vest she bought for him.

"I got this for my grandson who's a protestor downtown, he uses it every night and says its [sic] does the job," user "GrammaF" of Oregon posted in a vest review on Hibbett last week along with a picture of her grandson.
shocking twist. The guy who threw an IED at the portland courthouse was identified in a review by his grandma who bought his gear. This might be the most embarrassing defeat of antifa yet. Grandmas lil revolutionary. Retweet for luls. Archive https://t.co/tadAPQNg1l pic.twitter.com/kJbbTibQtf

— Anime gorilla (@animegorilla) July 28, 2020

Comment: This article would have made its way into Sott's 'Don't Panic! Lighten Up!' section - if what it suggests about the ideologically possessed rioters (and some of their family) wasn't so saddening.

Bizarro Earth

England's lockdown caused highest excess death rate in Europe

© RMV/Rex/Shutterstock
‘By the end of May, England had seen the highest overall relative excess mortality out of all the European countries compared.’
England had the highest levels of excess deaths in Europe in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data showing the effect of the virus across the continent.

Data analysis released by the Office for National Statistics showed that, while England did not have the highest peak mortality, it did have the longest continuous period of excess mortality.

It is the first time the ONS has compared mortality rates in different countries to measure the impact of the pandemic.

The data - which allows comparisons between 29 European countries and treats the four nations of the UK separately - shows that the cumulative death rate at the end of May (week 22) put England above Spain as the worst-affected country among those analysed.

Comment: For insight into just what havoc the lockdown wrought, see: Everything You Think You Know About Coronavirus...

And check out SOTT radio's:

Stock Down

Lockdown wipes out US economy, contracts by worst-ever 32.9% in Q2

US economy lockdown
© David Foster/Yahoo Finance
The US economy contracted at the sharpest rate on record in the second quarter this year, with GDP declining 32.9% on a quarter over quarter, annualized basis.
The US economy contracted at the sharpest rate on record in the second quarter this year, affirming fears that the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain it drove a historic plunge in consumer and business activity.

Here were the main metrics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis' (BEA) advance Q2 GDP report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:
  • Q2 GDP annualized, quarter over quarter: -32.9% vs. -34.5% expected vs. -5.0% in Q1
  • Q2 Personal consumption: -34.6% vs. -34.5% expected vs. -6.8% in Q1
  • Core Personal consumption expenditures, quarter over quarter: -1.1% vs. -0.9% expected vs. 1.7% in Q1
Market participants were bracing for an ugly second-quarter print, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing business closures and disrupting daily life for much of the April through June period.

"The decline in second-quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as 'stay-at-home' orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses," The BEA said in its statement.

"This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending."

Comment: Many of those countries that implemented some of the harshest - and most deadly - lockdown measures are now facing the economic consequences, many of which have only just begun to be felt:

Eye 1

Now masks are not enough! Fauci claims eye protection might be required for 'perfect' Covid-proofing

© Reuters/Willy Kurniawan
A health worker wears sports goggles during COVID-19 outbreak.
Top US immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci is now saying citizens are not "complete" in protecting themselves from the Covid-19 pandemic unless they go beyond wearing a mask and add in eye protection like goggles, too.

In an interview with Dr Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent, Fauci was asked if we might reach a point where masks are not only mandated, but eye protection as well.

"It might," he replied, going on to explain that the only way to have "perfect protection" from the virus is by protecting the eyes, as well as the mouth and nose.

"If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it," he said. "It's not universally recommended, but if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it."

Comment: We've been down dumbed, socially numbed, activity crumbed, mind mummed, economically bummed and now sight thumbed?

Pocket Knife

Man knifed in the back at Portland protest: 'I was stabbed for being a conservative journalist'

© Unknown
Andrew Duncomb, videographer
A videographer knifed near the scene of a protest outside Portland's federal courthouse said Wednesday he was nearly killed over his right-wing politics and activism.

"I was stabbed for being a conservative journalist," said Andrew Duncomb, 25, who films demonstrations and other political events under the moniker "Black Rebel."

Duncomb, who is Black and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he had traveled last Friday to Portland from his home in Northern California to document the nightly unrest outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and county Justice Center. He had a specific agenda in mind.

"My main goal was to show that it wasn't just the feds creating the problems," Duncomb said.


Study: Global lockdowns killing 10,000 children per month

covid lockdown cost
© InProportion2
Weighed against the benefit of slowing the spread of coronavirus, a new study bolsters the argument of those claiming that when it comes to lockdowns, the cure may be worse than the disease itself.

The study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in The Lancet puts a number to the human cost of lockdowns when it comes to children specifically and the results are grim: the deaths of 10,000 children per month, and severe malnutrition to another 550,000.

It's tragically ironic that some of the damage from the virus could've been averted had publications like The Lancet not published bogus studies attempting to discredit hydroxychloroquine that they were forced to retract.

Comment: See also: Does the Handling of the Coronavirus by Our Government Amount to Torture?

Eye 2

Two women charged with beating Wisconsin state senator during June Madison protests

kerida o'reilly samantha hamer beating wisconsin senator
© Dane County Sheriff’s Office via AP
Kerida O’Reilly, left, and Samantha Hamer, right, were charged Wednesday, July 29, 2020, with battery in connection with an attack on Wisconsin state Sen. Tim Carpenter, during a protest against police racism outside the Wisconsin state Capitol in Madison, on June 23.
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged two women, including a high school social worker, with attacking a Wisconsin state senator during a chaotic night of violence outside the state Capitol last month.

Kerida O'Reilly, 33, and Samantha Hamer, 26, were each charged with one count of being a party to substantial battery, a felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and three-and-a-half years in prison, online court records show.

Both women were arrested Monday after they turned themselves in to police. They were scheduled to make initial court appearances on Wednesday afternoon.

Comment: Wisconsin Senator Tim Carpenter collapses after being 'punched' & 'kicked' in the head at protests