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Tue, 11 Aug 2020
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How Seth Rogen's serious concerns about human rights and Zionism have turned into dispiriting Jewish shtik

Seth Rogen
© Getty Images
Seth Rogen attends the premiere of the rom-com “Long Shot” at SXSW.
The Seth Rogen story is really one of the more dispiriting stories we've ever covered on this site, and I need to say why.

Last week, of course, the Hollywood actor and producer did a podcast with a comedian, Marc Maron, in which he said that Israel "makes no sense," that the Jewish state is an "antiquated," "ridiculous" idea and that Jews are safer being spread out, not collected. Also: Rogen said he had been fed a "huge" number of lies about Israel in Jewish day school in Vancouver, including that there were no Palestinians in Israel and that the door was just open for Jews to rebuild a homeland.

These are all very serious statements. And Rogen said, "I'm afraid of Jews" in making them. Because that's who would come down on him. Even though he ought to have autonomy, as a famous Jew.

We were the first to report the comments, and our traffic exploded, and Seth Rogen trended on Twitter. He began walking it back then, saying people didn't know how to take a joke, and the quotes were out of context.

Comment: See also: Israel is ridiculous, antiquated and based on ethnic cleansing, Seth Rogen says, but he's afraid to tell other Jews

Bizarro Earth

Video shows man attacked in Paris launderette for telling customer to wear mask

laundrette attack

Screenshot of the video
A man using a launderette in a Paris suburb says he was beaten by two men with baseball bats in front of his young children after asking a customer to put on a face mask.

Masks are obligatory inside all public places in France to combat a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

The alleged victim, named only as Augustin, 44, told French television he was folding up his washing in the launderette on Sunday afternoon with his children aged five and seven when a man entered without a mask.

He said the man replied "I'll do what I want" when asked to put one on. A row then reportedly broke out. The non-mask-wearing customer left the premises north of the French capital.

Comment: See also: Everything You Think You Know About Coronavirus...


The Beirut blast adds insult to the injury of Lebanon's plummeting currency & crumbling economy

Beirut blast harbor
© Sputnik / Zahra El-Amir
Aftermath of a massive explosion is seen in Beirut, Lebanon
A devastating explosion of around 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a Beirut port warehouse since 2014 shattered the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, claiming the lives of at least 100 people and leaving more than 4,000 wounded. Lebanese observers have shed light on the tragedy as well as its impact on the people and the country.

The blast came out of the blue, like one of Lebanese essayist Nassim Taleb's famous "black swans", hitting the country's already plunging economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. With a destroyed port, demolished buildings, and a blown-out main grain silo, the damage amounts to billions of dollars in Beirut alone. In the aftermath of the explosion, the Lebanese government rushed to allocate 100 billion lira ($66 million) in emergency funds to cope with the unfolding crisis.

Comment: No one will say it, but U.S. sanctions, encouraged by Israel, have a great deal to do with Lebanon's economic suffering:


Massive fire breaks out at market in Emirate of Ajman, UAE

uae market fire
Massive fires are not uncommon in the UAE in the summer, when the daytime air temperature rises above 50 degrees Celsius.

A major fire broke out in a marketplace in an industrial zone in the Emirate of Ajman in north-eastern UAE on 5 August, the Emirati newspaper Al Khaleej reported.

According to The National, the blaze erupted at the market at about 06:30 p.m. local time (14:30 GMT). The area has been closed for several months as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Ghislaine Maxwell has 'a lot of information' on Epstein's powerful connections - producer

Ghislaine Maxwell
© Chris Ison/PA
Ghislaine Maxwell
Ghislaine Maxwell has "a lot of information" about powerful people with connections to billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, the producer of a new documentary has claimed.

The British socialite is known to have been an ex-girlfriend of Epstein and is alleged to have recruited multiple young women to be sexually abused by him.

She was arrested on July 2 in the US on federal charges of trafficking minors and will stand trial next year - prosecutors have also alleged she participated in the abuse.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty.

Comment: Trump commented on Ghislaine Maxwell being arrested in a recent HBO interview:
"Her friend, or boyfriend, was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She's now in jail. Yeah, I wish her well. I'd wish you well. I'd wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty."
He also made mention of the question of whether Epstein committed suicide or something else:
People are still trying to figure out how did it happen: Was it suicide? Was he killed?

Eye 1

UK gov wants to track & trace children if schools open in case of a 'second wave'

school uk coronavirus

Socially distanced but now isolated school child
The reopening of schools in September must be accompanied by a high-coverage test-trace-isolate (TTI) programme if the country is to avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections, a study has suggested.

Comment: Isolating children carrying a virus acknowledged to be harmless would be inhuman and disproportionate treatment likely to cause the child significant trauma.

Researchers analysed data from the first wave of Covid-19 and modelled the potential impact of schools in Britain reopening in less than a month to understand how the virus can be kept under control.

The study, published in The Lancet Child And Adolescent Health, simulated various scenarios to examine the possible consequences of schools reopening in tandem with parents returning to their offices and increased socialising within the community.

Comment: It's worth noting and remembering which 'respectable' institutions are behind these inhuman and irrational policy suggestions.

Bizarro Earth

Melbourne cops may now enter homes without warrant, after 11 people die with coronavirus - Australia, this is madness, not democracy

© AFP / William WEST
Australia's second-largest city is now subjected to some of the most extraordinary Covid-19 lockdown measures on the planet, and all over an additional eleven deaths.

A total of 147 people have lost their lives to coronavirus in Victoria, making it undoubtedly the worst hit area of Australia, which has only experienced 232 deaths in total. However, internationally these are vanishingly small numbers, even adjusting for population.

Recently the Victoria government ramped up testing and, predictably, it has seen an uptick in cases. They discovered 671 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday and, sadly, eleven more people were found to have died with the illness. That's up from 295 new cases last Wednesday, but down from 723 on Friday.

Comment: Died with coronavirus, it's not sure they died because of coronavirus: Everything You Think You Know About Coronavirus...

Comment: Fairly frightening behaviour from the Australian authorities:

Although there were signs Australia was spiraling into a dystopia: China's 'Smart' surveillance tech arrives in Darwin, Australia


It's more than a few bad apples: Why conservatives should back police reform

police riot gear storm trooper
© Tomasz Warszewski/Shutterstock
The problem is more systemic than a single statistic. We need to restore trust between law enforcement and local communities.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 triggered massive protests across the country. Though the protests are unified in calling for widespread changes in how policing works in America, there is disagreement on what those changes should be. Some protestors are calling for aggressive police reforms. Others, like Black Lives Matter as an organization, demand complete defunding and disbanding of police departments.

Among conservatives, this disagreement manifests differently. The question plaguing conservatives is whether the whole policing system is broken or whether there are a few "bad apples" among police departments who are exploiting a basically functional system.

In the wake of Floyd's death, this distinction is pointless. It no longer matters if statistics or studies parse out to reveal racism in policing, because society is more than statistics. The nationwide agony and anger of millions of black Americans — agony that knows no class or geographic barriers — is evidence enough. The fact that millions of American citizens do not trust their law enforcement system to represent them, to respect them, to protect them, and to grant them the assumption of innocence is, in itself, a systemic problem. Conservatives must do better at acknowledging this as a prerequisite to proposals for police reform. In fact, one of the basic principles of conservatism — skepticism about the perfectibility of human society — requires us to be open to the possibility of systemic injustice and creative about addressing it.

Comment: Ms. Sharl makes many good points re the systemic mistrust in police, and the problem of unions in ousting bad cops, but her proposal on qualified immunity is not as well-grounded. In an interview with Face the Nation, AG William Barr outlined the issue:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you believe there is systemic racism in law enforcement?

BARR: I think there's racism in the United States still but I don't think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist. I understand the- the distrust, however, of the African-American community given the history in this country. I think we have to recognize that for most of our history, our institutions were explicitly racist. Since the 1960s, I think we've been in a phase of reforming our institutions and making sure that they're in sync with our laws and aren't fighting a rearguard action to impose inequities.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you think that's working?

BARR: I think- I think the reform is a difficult task, but I think it is working and progress has been made. I think one of the best examples is the military. The military used to be explicitly racist institution. And now I think it's in the van m guard of- of bringing the races together and providing equal opportunity. I think law enforcement has been going through the same process.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think there should be some tweaking of the rules, reduced immunity to go after some of the bad cops?

BARR: I don't think you need to reduce immunity to- to go after the bad cops, because that would result certainly in police pulling back. It's, you know, policing is the toughest job in the country. And I- and I frankly think that we have generally the vast, overwhelming majority of police are good people. They're civic minded people who believe in serving the public. They do so bravely. They do so righteously.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the bad cops.

BARR: I- I think that there are instances of bad cops. And I think we have to be careful about automatically assuming that the actions of an individual necessarily mean that their organization is rotten. All organizations have people who engage in misconduct, and you sometimes have to be careful as for when you ascribe that to the whole organization and when it really is some errant member who isn't following the rules.


Trump ruined our Venezuela coup and botched 'winning play,' gripes Dem Senator Murphy and gets torched online

Sen. Chris Murphy
© AP/J. Scot Applewhite
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy
The Democratic Party's gripes with President Trump are many, yet the latest may be the most bizarre to date. One Senator argued that Trump's brash personality bungled a perfectly good, American-style coup in Venezuela.

If Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) had his way, opposition leader Juan Guaido would be occupying the Presidential Palace in Caracas right now, after the successful ousting of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Despite the weight the US threw behind Guaido last year, the young upstart's planned coup was a failure, and Murphy blames Trump for that loss.
As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the debacle on Tuesday, Murphy laid out his list of complaints against the coup-bungler-in-chief.

Comment: The Democratic 'coup' didn't work at home on Trump either.


Priceless! Seattle protesters 'were forced to buy expensive protective gear' in protest tax lawsuit against city

Protester and gear
© Washington Post
Organizers of protests in Seattle are suing the local Police Department for what they characterized as "violent" use of force to disperse crowds, forcing protesters to buy "expensive" equipment to protect themselves. Lawyers for the protesters wrote in a lawsuit filed Monday against the city of Seattle:
"Because the Seattle Police Department has acted above and outside the law in dispensing its unbridled force, and the City has failed to prevent same, the government effect is to establish a de facto protest tax.

"Individual protesters subjected to SPD's unabated and indiscriminate violence now must purchase cost-prohibitive gear to withstand munitions — even when peacefully protesting — as a condition to exercising their right to free speech and peaceable assembly."
The lawsuit stems from a July 25 clash between protesters and law enforcement — an event police deemed a riotduring which officers used pepper balls and tear gas to break up crowds of people who were engaged in an unlawful assembly, destruction of property, or other criminal acts.

Police said the event started out as a peaceful march in support of Black Lives Matter but deteriorated into widespread looting, vandalism, and violence against officers. At least 12 members of the Seattle Police Department were injured after being attacked by rioters.