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Thu, 29 Oct 2020
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Twitter, Biden and the New York Post - social media censorship kicks up a gear

biden new york post
Yesterday, the New York Post published several articles claiming to show evidence of corruption on the part of Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

The charges are varied but not really surprising. One article claims Hunter introduced his father to a Ukrainian energy magnate who asked the family to use their influence to shut down an investigation into his company.

Another story suggests Hunter Biden used his family name to secure a high-paid job and stock interests in a Chinese company.

The NYP evidence these claims with emails and documents allegedly retrieved from a laptop left at a computer repair store in Delaware. The owner of the store alerted the FBI to the computer's existence when no one came forward to pay for the repairs and he could not contact the owner.

According to the NYP, both the hard drive and laptop were then seized by the FBI. They have a copy of the grand jury subpoena, which is certainly solid evidence, if genuine.

Comment: See also:


Kyrgyz Parliament Gives Newly Elected PM Japarov Presidential Powers

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov
© IGOR Kovalenko
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov speaks during an extraordinary session of the Jogorku Kenesh for the resignation of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov (not pictured), in Bishkek on October 16.
Kyrgyzstan's parliament on October 16 approved the transfer of presidential powers to recently elected Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov after days of uncertainty and political crisis amid mass postelection protests that led to the president's resignation.

Japarov had already told the country after President Sooronbai Jeenbekov's farewell statement a day earlier that "all power is in my hands" and urged demonstrators in Bishkek to go home.

"The process of power transfer proceeded peacefully," Japarov told parliament.

The Interior Ministry was quoted as issuing a statement saying that "the situation [in Bishkek] has stabilized and remains under law enforcement's control."

Comment: Turmoil in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, & Ukraine shows that, three decades on, the Soviet Union's still collapsing

Control Panel

Facebook and Twitter cross a line far more dangerous than what they censor

Twitter and Facebook
Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate.

The New York Post is one of the country's oldest and largest newspapers. Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, only three U.S. newspapers are more widely circulated. Ever since it was purchased in 1976 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it has been known — like most Murdoch-owned papers — for right-wing tabloid sensationalism, albeit one that has some real reporters and editors and is capable of reliable journalism.

On Wednesday morning, the paper published on its cover what it heralded as a "blockbuster" scoop: "smoking gun" evidence, in its words, in the form of emails purportedly showing that Joe Biden's son, Hunter, traded on his father's position by securing favors from the then-Vice President to benefit the Ukranian energy company Burisma, which paid the supremely unqualified Hunter $50,000 each month to sit on its Board. While the Biden campaign denies that any such meetings or favors ever occurred, neither the campaign nor Hunter, at least as of now, has denied the authenticity of the emails.

The Post's hyping of the story as some cataclysmic bombshell was overblown. While these emails, if authenticated, provide some new details and corroboration, the broad outlines of this story have long been known: Hunter was paid a very large monthly sum by Burisma at the same time that his father was quite active in using the force of the U.S. Government to influence Ukraine's internal affairs.


USA: Voter-registration patterns give Trump an edge invisible to polls - JPMorgan

Voter registration favors Republicans in many key battleground states, the bank's analysis says
Trump Biden
The 2020 presidential race may be closer than the polls suggest, according to an analysis of voter registration trends by JPMorgan Chase.

Changes in the number of voters registered to each of the major parties have proven to be a significant variable in election outcomes in the past, according to strategists at the New York-based bank, which analyzed trends in some of the battleground states that will be crucial to an electoral college victory.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump by 9.2 points nationally, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, but his lead is at a tighter 4.9 points in hotly contested states.

Four years ago, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also outstripped Trump in national polling and won the popular vote by nearly 3 million, only to lose the electoral college, where she took just 227 votes to Trump's 304.


A Bribe up the Bum: Police find cash hidden between Bolsonaro ally's buttocks

Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues is caught with notes during a search of his home
Chico Rodrigues
© Adriano Machado/Reuters
Chico Rodrigues reportedly had 30,000 reais (more than £4,000) in his underpants.
Jair Bolsonaro's efforts to portray himself as an anti-corruption crusader have suffered another blow after police reportedly seized a wad of banknotes from between the clenched buttocks of one of his allies.

Chico Rodrigues, the Brazilian president's deputy leader in the senate, was reportedly caught with the concealed bundle on Wednesday during a police search of his home. The raid was part of an operation against the suspected misappropriation of public funds for fighting Covid-19.

The Estado de São Paulo newspaper said two sources told it 30,000 reais (more than £4,100) were stashed in the underpants of Rodrigues, a senator for the Amazon state of Roraima.

Yellow Vest

Thai police blast anti-govt protesters with water cannons amid massive deployment in Bangkok

Bangkok protest
Police fire water cannons at protesters during an anti-government rally in Bangkok on October 16, 2020.
Thai police gathered in force on the streets of Bangkok, deploying water cannons to disperse anti-government protesters who had assembled in the capital in defiance of an emergency decree banning large gatherings.

The crowd chanted slogans calling for the release of jailed activists, while shouting abuse at Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Eyewitness footage from the scene shows large deployments of heavily armed riot police throughout the city, as well as water cannons being used to disperse the demonstrators.

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

Police swarm on London wedding for having 100+ guests, venue faces £10,000 fine

lockdown police

Police officers and security officials surrounded guests. They were asked to leave because the party breached coronavirus rules
London police have shared footage showing officers breaking up a wedding reception which fell foul of Covid-19 restrictions by hosting more than 100 guests, as the English capital heads for Tier-Two restrictions this weekend.

Police were called to the Tudor Rose in Southall, west London, shortly after 6:30pm on Tuesday, amid reports of a large gathering. Bodycam footage shows police officers milling among the dressed-up guests, who seem to be ignoring social-distancing guidelines and other coronavirus restrictions.

The venue now faces a fine of up to £10,000 (almost $13,000) at the recommendation of the Met Police Service, as Chief Superintendent Peter Gardner described the event as "dangerous and foolish."

Comment: With the number of people defying the tyrannical lockdown orders rising, clearly a great many people are beginning to realise that the coronavirus isn't as deadly as the government wants them to think it is: Firearms officers descend on gym for staying open despite lockdown orders in Merseyside, UK


Protests erupt in Barcelona as bars and restaurants shut for 15 days under new coronavirus restrictions

Barcelona protests
© Reuters/Albert Gea
Workers from the hospitality sector confront police officers during a protest Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. 16 October, 2020.
As new coronavirus restrictions came into force across Spain's Catalonia, bar and restaurant workers took to the streets to protest the 15-day closure of the hospitality sector, warning their industry is in danger of "extinction."

Approximately 1,000 hospitality workers gathered in and around the Plaza de Sant Jaume, in Barcelona's historic center, on Friday to reject the regional government's decision to close bars and restaurants for a fortnight amid a surge in new infections.

Most of the protests have been peaceful, with demonstrators banging pots and pans together as they highlighted the impact of the new Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and jobs.

Demonstrators chanted "do not close us," "government resign," and "we are not to blame" as they expressed their anger over the regional administration's decision. The demonstrations also blocked traffic and major roads as groups marched around the city.


White farmer's brutal murder sends protesters & counter-protesters to rally outside courthouse in South Africa

young white farmer was killed in South Africa
© Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko
Tensions ran high as two groups of protesters squared off after a young white farmer was killed in South Africa. The case has reignited the decades-old conflict surrounding land ownership in the country.

Local farmers and their supporters rallied outside a courthouse in the town of Senekal, demanding justice for farm manager Brendin Horner, 21, who was brutally murdered earlier this month. Some wore T-shirts saying "Stop farm murders, enough is enough," to highlight what they see as a string of violence against white farmers in the country.

Comment: And on that last point:

"I'm here because of white people... taking advantage of us," EFF supporter Khaya Langile, who came from the Johannesburg township of Soweto.

Tensions have been heightened by a government plan to expropriate white-owned land without compensation as part of an effort to redress economic inequalities that remain stark a quarter of a century after the end of apartheid.

Roughly 70% of privately-owned farmland in South Africa is owned by whites, who make up less than 9% of the country's population of 58 million. (Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Gareth Jones)

Cell Phone

Twitter changes its hacked materials policy in wake of New York Post controversy

© Eric Thayer / The New York Times / KJN
Twitter has announced an update to its hacked materials policy — saying it will no longer remove hacked content unless it's directly shared by hackers or those "acting in concert with them".

Instead of blocking such content/links from being shared on its service it says it will label tweets to "provide context".

Wider Twitter rules against posting private information, synthetic and manipulated media and non-consensual nudity all still apply — so it could still, for example, remove links to hacked material if the content being linked to violates other policies. But just tweeting a link to hacked materials isn't an automatic takedown anymore.