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Wed, 04 Aug 2021
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St. Louis County Council votes 5-2 to rescind mask mandate, throwing rule into limbo

Public meeting
© Laurie Skrivan/lskrivan@post-dispatch.com
Public reaction to 5-2 council vote to repeal mask mandate.
The St. Louis County Council moved to end the county's new mask mandate Tuesday, throwing the order into legal limbo.

After hearing dozens of people rail against the mandate and County Executive Sam Page, council members voted 5-2 to end the order and rebuke Page for failing to consult them before issuing it, which they say was required under a new state law. Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-6th District, said:
"Too many American men and women have given the last full measure of devotion for us to be cavalier with the very liberty they fought and died to provide. I will not abide any measures that seek to compromise or erode our liberty and freedom."
Trakas was joined by council members Tim Fitch, R-3rd District, Mark Harder, R-7th District, Rita Heard Days, D-1st District, and Shalonda Webb, D-4th District. Councilwomen Kelli Dunaway, D-2nd District, and Lisa Clancy, D-5th District, dissented.

Page dismissed the vote as meaningless and continued to tout the mandate's benefits in remarks after the vote.
"We as elected officials cannot stand by and let the delta variant rack up more and more victims each and every day. Masks will help slow the spread of the virus while we continue to vaccinate as many people as we can."
Whether those masks will be mandatory is likely now a question for the courts. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, has filed suit challenging the order. In the meantime, county residents will have to choose which of their leaders they want to believe as the highly infectious delta variant continues to spread.


Trans scholar writes essay threatening violence against women, gets featured by prominent university

Matt Thompson
© London School of Economics
A paper presented by a student at the London School of Economics in the gender studies department calls for direct and sustained violence against women, specifically those who hold gender critical views. The paper was presented first in April 2021 and then again in June at a conference in the Department of Gender Studies, which is organized by doctoral students.

Author of the paper Matt A. Thompson read from his work:
"We go unnoticed, right up until the moment they scream for mercy. Am I a threat to you? Do I send chills down your spine? Picture this, I hold a knife to your throat and spit my transness into your ear. Does that turn you on? Are you scared? I sure fucking hope so

The work was done as part of a course called Transnational Sexual Politics, taught by Dr. Jacob Breslow and Professor Clare Hemmings. The session, called "No Time, No TERFs, No Norms," featured four papers:
  • "Trans* Endemics: Embodying Viral and Monstrous Threat in Times of Pandemic,"
  • "Nationalism's Cannon Fodder: the Birth of Transpatriots,"
  • "Is Letting Trans Children Die "Common Sense"?, and
  • "Vomit and Time"


Moscow police raid apartment of The Insider's editor, Bellingcat & British intel-linked outlet is subject of MH17 defamation case

© Sputnik
FILE PHOTO. Roman Dobrokhotov, leader of the "We" movement, takes part in opposition protest in the mini park on Kudrinskaya Square, Moscow.
Police in Moscow have raided the home of Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of Russian investigative outlet The Insider, in connection to a defamation case. His publication has been accused of lying about a Dutch researcher.

The search comes less than a week after the website he founded was labeled a 'foreign agent' by the authorities.

Comment: Lest we forget it was the US that began this whole business of defining government funded news outlets as 'foreign agents': 'Smeared, shut out & shadow-banned': The inside story of how RT was branded a 'foreign agent' by free press-loving US officials

Dobrokhotov revealed on social media early on Wednesday morning that police officers had come to his flat.

Comment: Bellingcat is accused of having ties to British intelligence, and any Russian agency in the UK would be subject to similar, and likely worse, treatment. Taken together with other incidents, it seems that Russia's tolerance for those who appear to be working towards destabalizing peace in the country, and abroad, is waning:


UK watchdog slaps Advanz pharma company with massive fine over 6,000% price hike on essential thyroid drug

liothyronine tablets
© AFP / Loic Venance
The competition watchdog has fined a pharmaceutical company and its private equity backers more than £100m for inflating the price of crucial NHS medication, marking the second crackdown on a drug maker in less than a month.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it wanted to send a "clear message to the pharma sector that breaking the law will not be tolerated" as it fined Advanz for increasing the price of tablets used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency by 1,110pc over eight years.

Packs of generic liothryonine pills increased from £20 in 2009 to £248 in 2017. The CMA said the prices were "excessive and unfair".

Liothyronine tablets are off patent and should, in theory, be cheaper than branded drugs. Advanz was able to increase the price of the pills because there was no competition from rival suppliers in the UK market.


Black Lives Matter-backing mayor of Washington, DC now wants to FUND the police, citing spike in murders

capitol police
© Reuters / Mike Theiler
Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who had 'Black Lives Matter' painted on the street that leads to the White House, now wants to hire more police officers and reopen the courts, citing an increase in homicides in the US capital.

Slashing the police budget for 2021 by $15 million hurt recruitment, resulting in only 42 new hires as opposed to 250 in a normal year, Bowser said on Wednesday. She called for another $11 million to hire and train 20 more officers in the current fiscal year, and 150 in 2022. The proposal is unlikely to be approved by the city council, however.

Bowser and Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department also complained that federal prosecutors - who have jurisdiction in the capital - still haven't pressed charges in more than 2,000 cases, and the courts, closed due to the pandemic, still haven't fully reopened.

"No matter how you look at it, the system is not working at full capacity, and that means justice is delayed," she said.

Snakes in Suits

Threat of domestic vaccine passports will help 'cajole' young people into getting jabbed, UK Foreign Secretary Raab admits

nhs app covid
The plan to require digital vaccine certificates for entry to clubs and other venues will help pressure young people into getting the shot, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has acknowledged.

With more than 70% of adults in the country fully vaccinated, uptake among the young is still lacking, Raab said on Thursday, hinting that the health pass rollout could be abandoned if enthusiasm for the jab increases.

Reversing its position on the use of domestic vaccine IDs, the government announced last week that, starting from the end of September, proof of vaccination will be needed in order to go to nightclubs and attend events with large groups of people.

The foreign secretary told BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme that the yet-to-be-implemented policy is designed to keep large venues in operation.


Charles Murray's 'Facing Reality' — A Review

charles murray bell curve facing reality
© American Enterprise Institute
Charles Murray also authored "The Bell Curve"
A review of Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America by Charles Murray. Encounter Books, 168 pages. (June, 2021)

I've known about Charles Murray since 1994, when I was a voracious and unsupervised teen reader in rural Oregon grabbing the library's latest issue of the New Republic the instant it was shelved. It was here that I stumbled upon the shocking views Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein expressed in The Bell Curve about race, class, and inequality in America. I didn't give those views much deep thought at the time, and so my perception of Murray and his ideas hewed more or less to the dismissive conventional wisdom. It wasn't until I read a 1998 essay in Commentary magazine by Christopher Chabris that I began to reconsider. Chabris argued that the media furor around The Bell Curve obscured more than it illuminated, and that the consensus among psychologists on the importance of intelligence to life outcomes was indeed close to what Murray and Herrnstein had asserted. To my surprise, in the 21st century, my relationship with Murray and his ideas took a different turn, as I had the pleasure and honor of becoming his friend. And rather like Murray, I am now the sort of public figure that certain types of people feel they have to publicly denounce in order to establish their own group bona fides.

Star of David

Ben & Jerry's co-founders say nothing 'anti-Semitic' about ice cream embargo of illegal Israeli settlements: 'We're proud Jews

Ben & Jerry's Ben Cohen Jerry Greenfield
© REUTERS/Lou Dematteis
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream co-founders Ben Cohen (C) and Jerry Greenfield serve the first scoop of the resurrected Ben & Jerry's flavor "Wavy Gravy" at an event in downtown San Francisco August 24, 2005.
Ben & Jerry's co-founders have pushed back against claims of anti-Semitism following the company's decision to stop offering its ice cream products in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, noting that they themselves are Jews.

Writing in the New York Times, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield said they were "proud Jews" who view Israel's occupation of the West Bank as a barrier to peace.

"It's possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we've opposed policies of the US government. As such, we unequivocally support the decision of the company to end business in the occupied territories, which a majority of the international community, including the United Nations, has deemed an illegal occupation," they argued, in an op-ed published on Wednesday. The move to pull Ben & Jerry's from shelves in Israeli-occupied territories was in keeping with the firm's "progressive values."



Warning: The moment Wall Street has been waiting for: The retail investor is all in

bull of wall street
The ideal bagholder is one who adds more on every downturn (buy the dip) and who refuses to sell (diamond hands), holding on for the inevitable Fed-fueled rally to new highs.

Old hands on Wall Street have been wary of being bearish for one reason, and no, it's not the Federal Reserve: the old hands have been waiting for retail--the individual investor-- to go all-in stocks. After 13 long years, this moment has finally arrived: retail is all in.

If you doubt this, just look at record highs in investor sentiment, margin debt and the Buffett Indicator (see chart below). Current valuations are so extreme that the previous extreme in the 2000 dot-com bubble now looks modest in comparison.

I have my own sure-fire indicators for when retail is all-in. One is my Mom's financial advisor recommends shifting her modest nest-egg out of safe bonds into the go-go stocks that are topping out. Back in late 1999, it was Cisco Systems and the other dot-com leaders, today it's the FANGMAN stocks. Sure enough, my Mom just informed me her advisor recommended moving money from bonds into a FANG-dominated stock fund. Bingo, we have a winner.

Second indicator: average people who have never traded stocks are all-in and supremely confident they can't lose. When 20-year college students are trading based on a "genius" 22-year old friend's advice, retail is all-in. When a worker cleaning a wooden deck pauses to put $100,000 in a company he knows nothing about (yes, true story), retail is all-in.


Politically motivated 'experts' predicting catastrophe have done far more harm than good during the pandemic

Neil Ferguson
© @SkyNews/twitter
Boffin Neil Ferguson said 100,000 cases a day was inevitable but now believes the pandemic is in retreat and will be over by October.
Nothing has worsened the panic, misery and loss of public confidence more over the past 18 months than freelancing scientists and other politically motivated "experts" baselessly predicting catastrophe.

Or suddenly changing their minds.

They have loved their 15 lucrative minutes of fame and snapped up every invitation to pontificate before a TV camera.

Comment: The old adage, 'never trust the experts' seems more applicable with each new day (or, at the very least, the experts who are paraded on mainstream media outlets spouting fear porn and propaganda). Maybe the new adage should be 'choose your experts carefully!'

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