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Fri, 23 Apr 2021
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'Bullhorn lady' wears hole-filled mask in public: Ordered by judge to explain why she shouldn't be jailed for mocking court order

Rachel Powell mask bullhorn
© Facebook
A woman believed to be Rachel Powell is seen in a Facebook video screen grab.
An accused U.S. Capitol rioter known online as "Bullhorn Lady" has been ordered to explain why her pre-trial release shouldn't be revoked after Law&Crime reported that she appeared to have been recorded in a bookstore wearing a mask with holes in it — in possible violation of court-ordered conditions for staying out of jail.

As Law&Crime discussed at length on April 9, a since-deleted video posted at the end of March on the Facebook page of Mr. Bookman's — a used book store in Western Pennsylvania — showed an individual who appeared to be Rachel Powell wearing a mesh mask. The problem was that Powell, as a unique condition of her pretrial release, was ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell to "wear a mask whenever she leaves her residence."

Light Saber

Taylor's mom rips Louisville BLM chapter as a 'fraud'

Tamika Palmer mother  Breonna Taylor BLM
© Associated Press
Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, addresses the media in Louisville, Ky., on Aug. 13, 2020
The mom of Breonna Taylor slammed a Black Lives Matter chapter as a "fraud" in a since-removed social media post.

"'I have never personally dealt with BLM Louisville and personally have found them to be fraud, (state Rep.) Attica Scott another fraud," Tamika Palmer wrote on Facebook.

The post was apparently removed from Facebook early Saturday, though it's unclear why or by whom.


Eye 1

Oregon considers extending mask mandate & social distancing indefinitely, 60,000 residents decry 'government overreach'

Oregon mask US
© AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus
Residents wearing masks sit in downtown Lake Oswego, Ore., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. Tens of thousands of Oregon residents are angry about a proposal to make permanent an emergency rule that requires masks and social distancing in the state's businesses and schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Opponents worry about government overreach and fear that state officials won't remove the mask requirements for businesses even after threat of the virus has receded if the emergency rule becomes permanent.
As states around the country lift COVID-19 restrictions, Oregon is poised to go the opposite direction — and many residents are fuming about it.

A top health official is considering indefinitely extending rules requiring masks and social distancing in all businesses in the state.

The proposal would keep the rules in place until they are "no longer necessary to address the effects of the pandemic in the workplace."

Michael Wood, administrator of the state's department of Occupational Safety and Health, said the move is necessary to address a technicality in state law that requires a "permanent" rule to keep current restrictions from expiring.


Over a year and $85bn later, US spies still don't know 'where, when or how' Covid-19 hit the world - but it 'could've been a lab'

Avril Haines
© Reuters
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats
The question of how SARS-CoV-2 came to wreak havoc on the planet is one many have asked but none, so far, have answered. The truth is out there, but the very people on the case could have every reason to ensure it doesn't emerge.

On April 14, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines revealed that after over a year of determined sleuthing, US spying agencies had no concrete answers on basic questions regarding the origins of the 2019 coronavirus.

"It is absolutely accurate the intelligence community does not know exactly where, when, or how Covid-19 virus was transmitted initially," Haines told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Components have coalesced around two alternative theories, these scenarios are it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals, or it was a laboratory accident."

This time last year, Donald Trump alleged he'd seen evidence confirming covid was laboratory-made and, throughout 2020, former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove also claimed the virus was "an engineered escapee" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Haines' public admission that a "laboratory accident" is a possible explanation is significant because intelligence services have thus far been quick to dismiss the suggestion as a conspiracy theory whenever it's been aired in public. In response to Trump's statement for example, the Director of National Intelligence's office firmly refuted the idea Covid-19 was "manmade or genetically modified." Of course, the virus could be neither and still have escaped from a lab.

Comment: See also:


Journalists, learning they spread a CIA fraud about Russia, instantly embrace a new one

US soldier in Afghanistan
A US soldier in Afghanistan
That Russia placed "bounties" on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed "American intelligence officials" have concluded that "a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops." The paper called it "a significant and provocative escalation" by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA's claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. "This is as bad as it gets," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump's refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump's "entire presidency has been a gift to Putin," while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans "in body bags."


Minnesota student falsely accused of sending racist Instagram messages fears for her safety despite officials confirming they were a 'hoax'

Avery Severson
© Fox News
Avery Severson, a sophomore at White Bear Lake High School near St. Paul, was falsely accused of sending racist direct Instagram messages to black classmates
A high school student from Minnesota has spoken out about being falsely accused of sending vile racist messages to black classmates, after the incident was exposed as a hoax.

Avery Severson, a sophomore at White Bear Lake High School near St. Paul, was falsely accused of sending the racist direct messages, prompting outrage and a student walkout.

But school officials said that an FBI investigation revealed that the female student who created the hateful messages wanted 'to raise awareness of social and racial injustice' by staging the stunt. They refused to name the true perpetrator.

Comment: So this poor girl has been falsely accused, held up as a pariah, made to feel unsafe in her own school, and possibly had her future destroyed so that some sick peeps could prove a point?! One wonders who the culprit could be and why the school is withholding the identity.

See also:

Eye 1

New Zealand govt 'considering' outlawing tobacco altogether by 2025

ardern smoking
New Zealand is considering phasing out the legal sale of tobacco with a date-based ban on smoking products.

Lawmakers are mulling plans to gradually increase the legal age at which people can buy tobacco products as New Zealand aims to become smoke-free by 2025.

Comment: This makes a mockery of adults, freedom of choice, and law generally; if a person is legally old enough to vote, drive a car, have sex, drink alcohol, surely they can choose whether they wish to smoke?

In a consultation document, the government said: "A smoke-free generation policy would prohibit the sale, and the supply in a public place, of smoked tobacco products to new cohorts from a specified date.

Comment: That didn't work for prohibition in the US, nor has it worked for any country with marijuana. Moreover, it actually tends to make things worse by channeling those profits into organized crime.

Comment: One of the worst aspects of the whole smoking 'debate' is that those pushing for its prohibition are basing their opinions on erroneous data; smoking tobacco isn't harmful, moreover, for some people smoking tobacco can be highly beneficial. However, the corruption of science is nothing new, and we see similar deleterious effects on society with government dietary guidelines that have led to soaring rates of obesity and diabetes: For more on the matter, check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: The Truth about Tobacco and the Benefits of Nicotine


Hunter Biden's book 'Beautiful Things' sells less than 11k copies in first week, despite PR rush

Hunter Biden
© Getty Images
Failure to launch
Hunter Biden's memoir sold less than 11,000 copies in its debut week, despite a massive promotional campaign that included appearances by the author and presidential son on CNN, CBS News and ABC's late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

As of Friday, first-week sales of Beautiful Things: A Memoir were 10,638 copies, according to Publishers Weekly.

The book by President Biden's son came in 12th, just behind The Calcium Connection: The Little-Known Enzyme at the Root of Your Cellular Health, by Brunde Broady, a book about teeth health.

The No. 1 selling book was The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country, by Amanda Gorman, whose popularity soared after her performance at President Biden's inauguration event. There were 42,318 copies sold last week.

Much of Biden's book focuses on his addiction problems and stories about the Biden family. Biden's overseas business dealing, include those in Ukraine, in part while his father was still vice president, became the focus of intense scrutiny during the 2020 election cycle.

Arrow Up

Castro confirms he is passing Cuban Communist Party leadership to new generation

Raul Castro
© file photo
Cuban First Secretary of the Communist Party, Raul Castro
Raul Castro confirmed he was handing over the leadership of the all-powerful Cuban Communist Party to a younger generation that was "full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit" at its congress that kicked off on Friday.

In a speech opening the four day closed door event, excerpts of which were broadcast on state television, Castro, 89, said he had the satisfaction of handing over the leadership to a group of party loyalists that had decades of experience working their way up the ranks.

Castro told hundreds of party delegates gathered at a convention center in Havana:
"I believe fervently in the strength and exemplary nature and comprehension of my compatriots, and as long as I live I will be ready with my foot in the stirrups to defend the fatherland, the revolution and socialism,"

Comment: Retirement marks the end of a 62-year history under a Castro control:
The Castro era has come to an end in Cuba. Raúl Castro, who has governed the island nation since his brother, Fidel, fell ill in 2006, officially announced his retirement from his powerful position as head of the Cuban Communist party as it opened its 8th party congress yesterday in Havana.

"As far as I'm concerned, I've concluded my task as first secretary of the Communist Party's Central Committee," Castro declared at the opening ceremony of the party meeting. A formal transfer of leadership to his successor as party leader — presumed to be President Miguel Díaz-Canel — will take place before the party congress adjourns on Monday.

The changing of the old guard — Castro is turning 90 in June--to a new generation of leadership in Cuba has been expected since April 2018, when he yielded his position as president of the country to Díaz-Canel. At the time, Castro stated he would stay on as leader of the Communist Party until 2021.

He was now retiring, Castro said yesterday, with "the satisfaction of having fulfilled the mission and confident in the future of the fatherland."

Although Díaz-Canel has adopted the slogan of "continuity" there is mounting pressure on Cuba's new leadership to adopt bold new initiatives to reduce state-centric control of the economy and remove restrictions on private sector initiative.

After Fidel Castro fell ill with diverticulitis in July 2006, he ceded his duties as president of the country and first secretary of the party to his younger brother. Raúl Castro officially assumed the title of president in 2008 and of first secretary of the party in 2011.

As maximum leader, Raúl Castro tentatively initiated economic reforms in an effort to modernize Cuba's stagnant economy. To create incentives for agricultural production, he authorized farmers to sell a percentage of their crops in private farmer's markets; he designated a limited number of occupations to be licensed for small businesses and self-employment; permitted the use of cell phones, expanded Internet access and more.

Of most consequence for Cuba's economic development, Castro secretly negotiated a modus vivendi with the Obama administration. The historic accord to re-establish official diplomatic relations and work toward normalized economic ties was announced in December 2014, and resulted in a dramatic, if short-lived, expansion of Cuba's tourist sector. The Trump administration rescinded Obama's policy of positive engagement with Cuba, and the pandemic forced Cuba to close its borders to tourism for most of 2020.

As Cuba moves into its post-Castro era, he also reiterated his commitment to sustaining the revolution he led with his brother. Nobody should doubt, Castro said, "that while I am alive I will be ready, with a foot in the stirrup, to defend Socialism, the Revolution, and the Homeland."


Cruz no longer wears a mask in the Capitol

Ted Cruz
© Business Insider
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) sans mask
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Thursday that he will no longer be wearing a mask at the Capitol since he is fully vaccinated. Cruz told CNN:
"At this point I've been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated. CDC has said in small groups, particularly with people who were vaccinated, don't need to wear masks."
Cruz and many other lawmakers have been fully vaccinated against the virus, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still recommending vaccinated people wear masks in large groups of people since many have not been fully vaccinated yet. Some Capitol staffers and reporters are still waiting to be fully vaccinated, with one reporter asking Cruz last month to wear a mask during a press event. Cruz told the reporter:
"Uh, yeah, when I'm talking in front of the TV cameras I'm not going to wear a mask. And all of us have been immunized, so... You're welcome to step away if you like. The whole point of a vaccine ... CDC guidance is what we're following."
The House requires that lawmakers wear masks, but the Senate does not.

Cruz is joining Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) in walking around the Capitol and on the Senate floor without a mask.

Comment: Trailblazing the new normal (which was the old normal).