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Sun, 24 Jan 2021
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Hungary to oppose 'shadowbanning' of 'Christian, conservative, and right-wing' voices online

Viktor Orbán
© AP Photo/Francois Mori
The Hungarian government is following Poland in moving against Big Tech, vowing action against the "shadowbanning" of "Christian, conservative, [and] right-wing opinions".

"'Shadowban' means the act of social media providers secretly, for political purposes, restricting the visibility and access of our user profile without our knowledge about it," explained Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice in Viktor Orbán's national conservative government, in a statement shared on social media, claiming that she has herself had "personal experience" of such treatment at the hands of "Big Tech".

"Tech companies thus violate all those fundamental democratic legal norms that form the basis of Western-type culture," she accused, adding that "we could... only learn about the system-wide practice of shadow banning from a now-leaked voice recording of the Twitter CEO [Jack Dorsey]."

Comment: See also:


UK minister warns more 'draconian' steps maybe be necessary to tackle Covid-19, hinting that police may receive health data

uk police
© REUTERS / John Sibley
The British environment minister has warned that additional measures may be necessary to combat lockdown fatigue and those guilty of repeatedly breaking Covid-19 restrictions as the government dismisses relaxing rules.

Speaking on Friday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government wants to be "straight" with people, adding that the current lockdown measures won't be reduced until case numbers start to fall and all vulnerable groups have received a vaccine.

Eustice was asked whether there was any truth to reports that police could be given access to health data to crack down on quarantine breaches.

"Generally, with this whole pandemic, we've had to take some quite extraordinary steps, very draconian steps, that are a big infringement on people's liberty," the minister responded.

"And yes, that does mean that we have to intervene in quite a draconian way and issue penalties, and we make no apology for doing that."

Comment: As if they weren't already draconian enough!
UK partygoers to be fined up to £6,400

In a bid to stem the ongoing spread of coronavirus, revellers will be slapped with £800 fines if they attend house parties with more than 15 people present during lockdown, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Thursday.

The fines will double for repeat offences, up to a maximum of £6,400, and the organisers of events will continue to be fined £10,000, as per the current restrictions, in what Patel called a "crackdown on those most serious cases of rule-breaking".

The home secretary was joined by the Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Martin Hewitt, who said that, from late August to January 17, some 250 fixed penalty notices had been issued in England for people organising large gatherings.

Wedding with 400 guests busted in London Jewish neighborhood

The Metropolitan Police busted a wedding celebration in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in London. Around 400 guests had convened behind covered windows in violation of the UK's strict social distancing rules.

The party was dispersed on Thursday night after police received a tip about a large gathering in Egerton Road, Stamford Hill. According to the BBC, the raid targeted the Yesoday Hatorah Girls Senior School. Stamford Hill is home to a large community of Orthodox Haredi Jews.

Police said an estimated 400 guests were taking part in the event, though many left when the officers arrived. A group of five attendees were issued £200 ($275) fixed penalty notices. The organizers of the event are facing a far heftier fine of £10,000 for the rule-breaking gathering.


Orthodox Jewish communities throughout the world have been reluctant to observe bans on mass gatherings, saying their spiritual obligations are more important than the mitigation of infection risks. This has opened them to criticism, including by members of other branches of Judaism who question the rationale.

Religious people are not the only ones defying lockdowns in Britain, even as the government imposes increasingly "draconian" measures, saying they are absolutely crucial to contain the infection. Rave parties appear to be the prime target for the Home Office's plan to increase fines for lockdown violators, which was announced earlier this week. With the screws tightening by the week, Britons are left to wonder and joke about the lengths that authorities will go to enforce the rules.

Control Panel

Mayors of 30 cities now pushing for Universal Basic Income

universal basic income
In Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1967 book "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" the civil rights leader discussed how to best address poverty in the United States.

"I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income," he wrote.

King was not the first to propose a guaranteed income; political philosophers from Montesque to Thomas Paine also penned their support for what is often referred to as "universal basic income." And the idea was recently re-popularized by former Democratic presidential candidate and current New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.

However, King stands out as the most visible influence on Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, a coalition of 30 mayors from Texas to Minnesota, who support direct, recurring cash payments for citizens and are starting guaranteed income programs of their own. The organization prominently features King's words on its website, describing its mission as "rooted" in the civil rights leader's legacy.

Comment: King lived in a different socioeconomic time of the US, and despite what some in Critical Race Theory circles would say we're not so sure he's be embracing Universal Basic Income in the same way if he had been alive today. And quite probably not for the same reasons that are given in today's political climate - never mind that UBI will be held over people's lives if they don't toe the line for getting vaccinated, being able to travel freely, speak freely, etc, etc.

Comment: What may be an essentially helpful motivation (helping cash-strapped Americans get through truly difficult times) - may also lead many to get hamstrung by over-dependence and policies that are NOT in their best interest.

From this article:
[...] one of the main arguments against a UBI is that participants will have more incentives to not look for work and simply live outside of the labor force. It is undeniable that work provides people with structure and a place where they can build relationships. Given that social capital has been in decline for many decades now, as documented separately by Robert Putnam and the Social Capital Project at the Joint Economic committee, the workplace has become an increasingly central place to build social capital.

Beyond providing an opportunity to climb the income ladder, work also provides the meaning needed to keep climbing. As Oren Cass recently described, work is the cornerstone of meaning, family relations, and social capital. Cass's "Working Hypothesis" claims that where:
[A] labor market in which workers can support strong families and communities is the central determinant of long-term prosperity and should be the central focus of public policy.
Work is both a nexus of community and a prerequisite for it. Work relationships represent a crucial source of social capital, establishing a base from which people can engage in the broader community. Communities that lack work, by contrast, suffer maladies that degrade social capital and lead to persistent poverty. Crime and addiction increase, their participants in turn becoming ever less employable; investments in housing and communal assets decline; a downward spiral is set in motion.
For a country that was forged and continues to thrive under the mantra of hard work, earned success, business dynamism, and innovation, the concept of a UBI as necessary to solve our problems seems strange. These attitudes have not significantly changed and human flourishing, the pursuit of happiness, and earned success continue to be the backbone of the American Dream. Certainly, welfare programs have a role in providing a helping hand, but they should be a trampoline instead of a mattress.
See also:


Federal judge blocks Obamacare mandate that compels doctors to perform gender reassignment surgery

© Saul Loeb / Getty Images
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
A federal court in North Dakota has made a ruling that will shield some doctors from penalty, should they refuse to perform gender transition surgery on the grounds of religious beliefs.

The decision, issued Tuesday by North Dakota District Court Chief Judge Peter Welte, granted a request to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from enforcing an Obamacare mandate that requires health care providers to perform gender-reassignment surgeries and services.

In 2016, HHS clarified Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which prohibited several forms of discrimination in health care including on the basis of sex. At the time, this meant that insurers and third-party administrators could not create or administer plans with gender-transition exclusions.

Also at the time, the HHS rule did not take into account an exemption for religious grounds. The agency argued, "a blanket religious exemption could result in a denial or delay in the provision of health care to individuals and in discouraging individuals from seeking necessary care."

Religious exemptions would, instead, be considered on a case-by-case basis under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


First they came for MAGA... Twitter now suspending popular Antifa accounts

© George Frey/Getty Images
Twitter has suspended several popular Antifa accounts with more than 71,000 followers combined following Inauguration Day riots.

At least four accounts tied with the militant group have been yanked offline — @JewishWorker, @RevAbolition, @RevAbolitionNYC and @TheBaseBK, the account for the anarchist center in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Archived web pages of the accounts show they shared more than 71,000 followers and dated as far back as 2012.

Their pages now read "Account suspended" for violating Twitter rules.

Antifa Sacramento railed against The Base's suspension on its own Twitter.

"Our comrades w The Base (@TheBasebk), an anarchist social center in Brooklyn, NY of 9 years now took this Twitter thing seriously. Reaching a platform of 17k followers they pushed a very specific line where politics were never blurred. Today, Twitter took their account down, and now theres a void," the group tweeted Thursday.

Comment: Even the naively and innocently Woke won't be safe eventually. Pseudo-reality revolutions always eat their own.


Two massive explosions at market in Baghdad kill 32 people - First such terror attack in 3 years

bagdad bomb
© AP Photo/Hadi Mizban
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a rare suicide attack that rocked central Baghdad, killing 32 people and wounding dozens.

The bombing targeted "apostate Shiites," the group said in a statement on an IS-affiliated website late Thursday.

At least 32 people were killed and over 100 people wounded in the blasts on Thursday. Some were in severe condition. According to officials, the first suicide bomber cried out loudly that he was ill in the middle of the bustling market, prompting a crowd to gather around him — and that's when he detonated his explosive belt. The second detonated shortly after.

The U.S.-led coalition recently ceased combat activities and is gradually drawing down its troop presence in Iraq, sparking fears of an IS resurgence. The group has rarely been able to penetrate the capital since being dislodged by Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition in 2017.

Comment: That's why this happened: it's 'counter-terrorism' strategy to tip the new Biden administration's hand.

The attack was the first in nearly three years to hit the capital. Elsewhere, in northern Iraq and the western desert, attacks continue and almost exclusively target Iraqi security forces.

Comment: Convenient timing. Attacks like this will be used to justify never leaving Iraq. Any guesses on how long before Biden either starts a new war, or reinvigorates an old one?

Eye 1

Lockdowns are betraying an entire generation: 500,000 more UK kids face mental health issues

child mask lockdown
© Getty Images / Imgorthand
British children suffer record levels of depression in our Covid lockdown, with suicidal thoughts, self-harm and eating disorders surging. With schools unlikely to reopen until April, it's not just their education that's at risk.

Watching my daughter fight the fidgets as she takes part in her latest Google Classroom call with a remote teacher and fellow pupils, I haven't the nerve to tell her that the promised return to school straight after February half-term ain't gonna happen.

Because Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said today that while schools in England would be given two weeks' notice before they were expected to open, he couldn't say when that would be, kicking into touch PM Boris Johnson's pledge of a February return at last month's address to the UK.

Comment: By now it should be pretty clear to anyone in government just what harm lockdowns are doing to the country, what with small and medium businesses being furloughed for nearly a year, the problem is that they're either just too hystericized to care, or that they never really cared to being with. Evidently, for those in positions of power there's another agenda that takes precedent over the livelihoods and freedoms of the average citizen:


When we live with lies

Adam Eve statue
© Jebulon, CC0, in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Adam, Eve and the serpent, 13th Century sculpture Notra Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
Satan is described as "the father of lies" in John 8:44 of the New Testament.

Whether we think of Old Scratch or not, most of us would agree we live in an age of deceit. Many citizens have abandoned common sense and reason for theory and wishful concoction, contending that black is white or that two plus two equals five, and then demanding the rest of us march in lockstep with them.

Some, for example, argue that biological men should be allowed to compete in sports against biological women. Protest that claim on social, media or in any public forum, and you will be declared a bigot.

Some would have us believe that the presidential election involved little or no fraud, and we should just move along. Those who claim to possess proof of that fraud are ignored by the mainstream media and our courts, or are dismissed outright as liars and sore losers.

Tens of thousands of Americans from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 to protest electoral fraud. The media and some of our politicians are now labeling them an insurrectionist mob incited to violence by President Donald Trump. Those of us who heard the president's speech know this is a lie.


It's a secret: California keeps key virus data from public

© AP
California Governor Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has from the start said his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public to provide maximum transparency. But with the state starting to emerge from its worst surge, his administration won't disclose key information that will help determine when his latest stay-at-home order is lifted.

State health officials said they rely on a very complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead the public if they were made public.

After Newsom, a Democrat, imposed the nation's first statewide shutdown in March, his administration developed reopening plans that included benchmarks for virus data such as per capita infection rates that counties needed to meet to relax restrictions. It released data models state officials used to project whether infections, hospitalizations and deaths are likely to rise or fall.

As cases surged after Thanksgiving, Newsom tore up his playbook. Rather than a county-by-county approach, he created five regions and established a single measurement — ICU capacity — as the determination for whether a region was placed under a stay-at-home order.

Comment: Lock down millions of people based on speculated ICU capacity? This is nonsense. The public won't understand the measurements? This is suppression.

Star of David

'Messed up comparison': NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang blasted for likening BDS movement to 'fascist boycotts'

© Reuters/Mike Segar
New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang
Former Democratic presidential candidate and millionaire Andrew Yang has landed himself in controversy after comparing the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to "fascist" anti-Jewish campaigns.

In a Friday article for Jewish news outlet Forward, Yang, who is running for New York City mayor, detailed some of his policies for the Jewish community - including his personal stance on the BDS movement.

"A Yang administration will push back against the BDS movement, which singles out Israel for unfair economic punishment," before claiming the movement - which works specifically to boycott the State of Israel in support of Palestinian rights - is "rooted in antisemitic thought and history." The movement hearkens back to "fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses" in the 20th century, he wrote.

Yang's casual and eyebrow-raising comparison quickly drew criticism on social media, including from some members of the Jewish community.

Jewish Currents contributing writer Alex Kane called Yang's words "a messed up, wrong comparison," and claimed the politician "comes across as deeply ignorant about Palestine, Palestinians and BDS."

Comment: Yang has done his best to unimpress New Yorkers. It's working!
See also: