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Thu, 28 May 2020
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Russophobes crazed as IRS tweets Covid relief payment information in Russian - like it did for all major languages

IRS notice
© Twitter/IRS
Innocuous tweet about the Economic Impact Payment unleashed conspiracy theories.
Russophobic liberals are in meltdown after the US's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tweeted information about how to get the Economic Impact Payment in Russian, just like it's done for all major world languages.

It seems the mere sight of Cyrillic is enough to send Russiagate true believers into a tailspin. The innocuous tweet from the official IRS account, which was about a new tool to help people apply for the stimulus payment, unleashed an utterly dumbfounding stream of mind-meltingly stupid conspiracy theories.

Among the deranged replies were numerous xenophobic questions asking why the message was in Russian, jokes about US President Donald Trump outsourcing the IRS to Russian mobsters, and absurd claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is running the US government "through encrypted communications."


Michigan: Warnings ignored, AG sued to raise lake level prior to dam break to protect mussels

Wixom Lake channel
© AP/Carlos Osorio
Wixom Lake Channel, Michigan
In her ongoing audition to be Joe Biden's veep pick, Michigan Governess Gretchen Whitmer all but convicted a private dam owner for the disastrous floods that struck the middle of the state last Wednesday.

However, it wasn't the dam company that was trying to save a few clams — it was Whitmer's radical attorney general, Dana Nessel.

Nessel was suing the dam company to raise the lake level three feet in order to save mussels — both endangered and common — and in their response, the dam company cited safety as a reason for not doing so.

But to Dana Nessel, who is also suing to keep Michigan's chilly Upper Peninsula from having a reliable source of propane, citing an imaginary concern over a pipeline across the Straits of Mackinac, people come second. A distant second.

People 2

Breaking bad? '300-person' dance party in Siberia flouts Covid-19 social distancing rules

dance party
© Twitter / NGS.ru
Scores of revellers poured on the streets of Siberia's largest city Novosibirsk at the weekend to let off some steam during the coronavirus pandemic - but the flash dance party did not go unnoticed by local media and the police.

The city of 1.6 million has restricted large gatherings as part of measures to combat Covid-19, but that didn't stop an estimated (by media) 300 people from rocking out on Saturday night.

In a video of the unsanctioned event, a crowd of largely young people is seen dancing and mingling with one another, as music pounds in the background. Judging by the photographic evidence, conga lines and other activities that don't mesh particularly well with social distancing rules dominated the evening.

Comment: People are desperate for nourishing social interaction and to get out of their homes. No matter how much the authorities and their followers shame people for what is simply a human need, these kinds of events will continue to happen.


Police in Hamburg use water cannons to disperse demonstrators against anti-lockdown protest

hamburg police water cannons
Police have deployed water cannons to break up a sparse crowd demonstrating against a sanctioned anti-lockdown rally in Hamburg, Germany, that saw dozens turn out while minding social distancing rules.

Police had to intervene after a small group of about 120 counter-protesters, many of them clad in black hoodies, repeatedly ignored police requests to stay clear of the 'Vigil for the Basic Law' rally against the lockdown measures on Saturday.

The counter-demonstrators, who showed up unannounced, lacking any permission from the authorities, argued that the anti-lockdown rally attracted many right-wing extremists. "Against conspiracy fantasies, anti-semites and the right-wing agenda," one of the posters read.

Comment: Those buffoons in the black block brigade don't realize they're far closer to being Nazis than the ones protesting against the lockdowns.


Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine trial has 50% chance of success, says report

Professor Adrian Hill
© REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Professor Adrian Hill
The University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine trial has only a 50% chance of success as the coronavirus seems to be fading rapidly in Britain, the professor co-leading the development of the vaccine told the Telegraph newspaper.

Adrian Hill, director of Oxford's Jenner Institute, which has teamed up with drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to develop the vaccine, said that an upcoming trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return "no result" due to low transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

"It's a race against the virus disappearing, and against time", Hill told the British newspaper. "At the moment, there's a 50% chance that we get no result at all."

The experimental vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is one of the front-runners in the global race to provide protection against the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hill's team began early-stage human trials of the vaccine in April, making it one of only a handful to have reached that milestone.


No Evil Foods, a faux leftist vegan-meat company, busts union drive

No Evil Foods
Earlier this year, the company No Evil Foods, which sells a variety of socialist-themed vegan meats, fought a union drive at its Weaverville, North Carolina plant that included numerous "captive audience" meetings where management told workers to vote against a union.

Motherboard obtained a 23-minute video of No Evil Food's CEO and co-founder Mike Woliansky repeatedly imploring workers to vote "no" in the union election, and telling workers that a union could hamper the company's ability to "save lives" and "change the world."

In his speech, Woliansky compared joining the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which represents tens of thousands of meatpacking workers in the US, to "hitching your wagon to a huge organization with high paid executives and a history of scandal and supporting slaughterhouses," he said. "I don't think that's an organization you want to support with your dues money."


Tear gas fired, arrests made as thousands protest against Beijing's planned national security law for Hong Kong

hong kong police tear gas
© Sam Tsang
Riot police fire tear gas at the junction of Hennessy Road and Percival Street.
Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay shopping district on Sunday as thousands took to the streets to protest against Beijing's planned national security law for the city, even as top Chinese officials sought to ease fears about its impact on local freedoms but remained stern about seeing it implemented.

Police said at least 180 people were arrested - mostly on suspicion of unauthorised assembly, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct in a public place - in a crackdown as protesters spread out along streets of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.

A water cannon truck was used and volleys of tear gas were fired in a series of confrontations as some radicals among the protesters defying the government's coronavirus crowd restrictions blocked multiple roads, smashed traffic lights, lit small fires and hurled bricks dug up from pavements at police.

Some also vandalised shops, while at least two people objecting to the roadblocks were severely assaulted by black-clad groups.

The protests erupted just hours after Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng, Beijing's top leader in charge of Hong Kong, told local delegates to the national legislature that Beijing's determination to push through the national security law should not be underestimated, and that mainland authorities would "implement it till the end".

Gold Coins

Which American elite are benefiting from the COVID-19 pandemic?

There is one very select group of Americans that have become significantly wealthier thanks to the COVID-19 virus. While tens of millions of American workers are no longer working thanks to the shuttering of the economy, the Institute for Policy Studies found that five American billionaires have seen their wealth increase by staggering amounts.

Let's start by looking at the growth in the number of unemployed Main Street Americans:

unemployment rate lockdown us
© U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
As you can see, the unemployment level in the United States has reached levels that have never been seen during any prior crisis. Over the eight week period between March 18, 2020 and May 14, 2020, over 36 million American workers lost their jobs.


Bizarro Earth

Alyssa Milano goes on defensive after showing off her KNITTED mask (that does NOTHING to stop Covid-19)

knitted mask
© Twitter / Alyssa_Milano
Actress and liberal activist Alyssa Milano has pushed back against an avalanche of online mockery, after she shared a photo of herself donning a visibly unreliable knitted mask.

The anti-Trump #Resistance 'heroine' urged her Twitter followers to don masks to stop the spread of Covid-19, and included a pic of her face-covered family.

The public service announcement drummed up a great deal of interest - although apparently not for its intended purpose. Her Twitter feed was flooded with jokes and memes pointing out that her personal protection equipment (PPE) was... knitted.

Comment: Masks are security blankets for adult infants - nothing more

Stock Down

Bankruptcy tsunami begins: Thousands of default notices are "flying out the door"

dominos falling
Two weeks ago, when showing the uncanny correlation between defaults and the unemployment rates, we predicted that the number of Chapter 11 filings that is about to flood the US will be nothing short of biblical.

liquidity to solvency
All that was missing was a catalyst... and according to Bloomberg that catalyst arrived in the past week or so, as retail landlords have been sending out thousands of default notices to tenants, who in turn have experienced a collapse in foot traffic, sales and cash flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are simply unable to pay their debt obligations.

According to Bloomberg, restaurants, department stores, apparel merchants and specialty chains have been receiving notices from landlords - some of whom have gone as long as three months without receiving rent.