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Thu, 22 Oct 2020
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World Bank: Lockdowns may push 150 million people into extreme poverty

Comment: And that may be a conservative estimate...

madrid food bank poverty
© Reuters
People queuing up at a food bank in May, in Madrid, Spain
The World Bank said on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic could push as many as 150 million people into extreme poverty by the end of 2021, wiping out more than three years of progress in poverty reduction.

Releasing its flagship biennial report on poverty and shared prosperity, the multilateral development lender said that an additional 88 million to 115 million people will fall into extreme poverty - defined as living on less than $1.90 a day -in 2020. The report said this could grow to 111 million to 150 million by the end of 2021.

Comment: With soaring demand at food banks throughout the Western world, those in extreme poverty won't just be in so-called 'developing countries'.

That would mean that 9.1-9.4% of the world's population would be living under extreme poverty this year, about the same as 2017's 9.2% and representing the first rise in the extreme poverty percentage in about 20 years.

Comment: Bear in mind the lockdowns aren't over, with France, Ireland, Spain, the UK, Scotland and Germany locking down regions and contemplating even harsher measures. That, along with the 'furlough' schemes, that have buffered the massive unemployment just waiting in the shadows, and it's clear that the devastating economic impact of the tyrannical lockdowns have not yet even begun to be felt:

Black Magic

Desperate for relevance: Greta Thunberg urges US voters to support Joe Biden, NOT the Green Party candidate

thunberg joe biden
© REUTERS/Juan Medina (L)/REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (R)
Greta Thunberg and Joe Biden
Swedish citizen and climate activist Greta Thunberg, 17, is encouraging US voters to "get organized" and vote for Joe Biden, despite claiming she does not "engage in party politics."

Thunberg made her endorsement while citing a tweet from Scientific American Magazine telling voters to "protect science instead of destroying it" by voting Donald Trump out of office in November.

"I never engage in party politics. But the upcoming US elections is above and beyond all that," the 17-year-old, who has been critical of Trump in the past despite her no "party politics" rule, said.

Comment: As if another reason was needed to not vote for Creepy Joe, but there it is.


City of Austin hires convicted thief, gets robbed of over $1.3M

austin library Whited thief

Investigators said Whited was caught on surveillance footage moving boxes of toner from the library to his car several times in 2019.
Local officials ineptly allowed one of the largest fraud cases on city government record.

During an affordability crisis in the city, local officials continue to disastrously mishandle citizens' precious money — this time allowing a convicted thief to casually steal over $1.3 million.

Randall Nelson Whited, a former employee of the Austin Public Library, is facing a criminal case after the city auditor's office investigated and alleged he used city credit cards to buy $1.3 million in printer toner — 10 times more than the library needed — so he could steal the extra and resell it online.

Whited is also accused of using city credit cards — of which he had access to more than 10 — to fund his apparent personal spending spree, buying at least $18,000 worth of electronics such as video games, robotic vacuums, virtual reality headsets, and even a drone.

The thefts spanned more than a decade, from 2007 to 2019, but officials believe most of it occurred within the last five years.

Comment: Heavy.com has this background report on Whited. Pity City of Austin wasn't so thorough. An excerpt:
Whited has been arrested on theft charges before. A search of online records on InstantCheckmate shows Whited was arrested in October 1984 for "theft by appropriation" and larceny. He was convicted in September 1985 and sentenced to six months probation. It's unclear how much he had to pay in fines; the record merely states "The Monetary Amount to BE Paid IS a Combination of Fine and Court Costs."

Whited was arrested on July 30, 1985, for burglary at a "non-residence." He was picked up again for burglary on February 28, 1986. He was convicted, but it's unclear how long of a sentence he served. The record shows the maximum jail sentence was 150 days and probation.

There was an arrest for aggravated theft of an item worth more than $750 on January 24, 1989, and another arrest for theft on November 19, 1993. Whited was convicted in both cases.

According to the Statesman, the city of Austin runs criminal background checks every two years on employees whose jobs involve "financial responsibility." A city spokesperson told the newspaper, "During Mr. Whited's tenure with the city, five criminal background investigations were conducted for financial responsibilities, showing no convictions within the last 10 years."


A recipe for carnage: As Portland burns, why are so many people arrested in the riots being let off?

portland riots
© Getty Images / Nathan Howard
Protesters gather in front of a fire near the North police precinct during a protest against racial injustice and police brutality on September 6, 2020 in Portland, Oregon
It was recently revealed that nearly 70 percent of people charged with crimes during the constant rioting in Portland have had their charges dropped. With no obvious deterrent, this is an open invitation for more rioting.

Of all the cities in the United States that have suffered rioting over the past few months, there isn't one that has seen quite as much trouble as Portland, Oregon. The unrest in the city has stretched from the end of May all the way to this month. There doesn't seem to be an end to it either.

Not long ago, there was an exposé by the New York Times that alleged that these rioters were even considering murdering police officers. There were also reports of them going to residential areas to terrorize citizens.

Cell Phone

W.H. Spox: Scully tweet shows he isn't impartial, 'calls into question' 'the Debate Commission's judgment'

Steve Scully tweet
© Twitter / @SteveScully
On Thursday's broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "Fox News @ Night," White House Deputy Communications Director Brian Morgenstern reacted to a tweet from C-SPAN host and planned debate moderator Steve Scully's account asking Anthony Scaramucci if he should respond to President Donald Trump's criticisms of Scully by stating that Scully isn't impartial and "that really calls into question, again, the Debate Commission's judgment here."

Morgenstern said, "[I]f anybody's having a bad week, it's certainly the Presidential Debate Commission, with the way they've handled this. And now, their chosen moderator certainly seems not to be very impartial. The first one — Susan Page, of course, is writing the glowing biography of Speaker Pelosi and now, Mr. Scully, who interned for Joe Biden now colluding...with the Mooch. ... I think the cat's out of the bag. I don't think Mr. Scully is impartial. So, that really calls into question, again, the Debate Commission's judgment here."

Update: CPD Co-Chair Frank Fahrenkopf claims Scully was hacked.

Comment: More coverage of the alleged "hack":

'He was hacked, it didn't happen': Debate commission defends moderator Steve Scully after cryptic tweet about Trump sparks outrage
C-SPAN's Steve Scully, who was slated to host the next presidential debate, is under fire over a now-deleted cryptic tweet about Trump sent to Anthony Scaramucci. The debates commission has claimed he was "hacked."

The context-less tweet was posted on Thursday night sparking speculation that it was meant to be a private direct message, not a public tweet, as many called into question Scully's ability to fairly moderate the face-off between Trump and challenger Joe Biden.

"Should I respond to Trump" Scully tweeted to Scaramucci, former White House Communications Director, who has since become one of the president's most vocal mainstream media critics. Many instantly suggested the pair were in cahoots or "coordinating" against Trump.

Scaramucci's response only added fuel to the fire. He replied with his own mysterious tweet, telling the C-SPAN host to "ignore" Trump because he was having a "hard enough time" and that some more "bad stuff about to go down."

In a twist, however, Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates, told Fox News on Friday morning that the host's account had been "hacked" prior to it sending the controversial tweet. "He was hacked. It didn't happen," Fahrenkopf told the network.

A statement posted by C-Span also stated that Scully did not send the tweeted and believed he had been hacked.

Given the fact that the tweet was online for more than 10 hours, however, quite a few commenters had already seized on it, with some suggesting it was "disqualifying" for a moderator to possibly be consulting with a fierce Trump critic.

Others simply mocked him for the Twitter fail.

"If you select me as your moderator, I promise to at the very least not be a sketchy boomer and tweet out my private [direct messages]," quipped conservative host Saagar Enjeti.

The Twitter backlash marks a second instance of Scully being accused of anti-Trump bias. It was previously revealed that the slated debate moderator had been an intern for Joe Biden when he was a senator in Delaware.

Judging by responses to the claims of hacking on Twitter, most were not buying the excuse, with many saying if he really was hacked, it should be easy to prove.

The second debate was scheduled to take place on October 15 in Florida, but was switched to a "virtual" format by the Commission on Presidential Debates on Thursday, due to Trump's diagnosis with Covid-19. Trump rejected the notion of a virtual debate, however, saying he wouldn't "waste his time" on it. It's unclear when, or even if, the second debate will now go ahead at all.


NBA will stop pushing BLM message on the court after ratings plummet

The NBA, amid suffering from record lows in their ratings, has agreed to leave all the recent social justice messages "off the floor" starting with the next season.

Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, had during past months insisted in promoting a pro Black Lives Matter to support the leagues overwhelmingly African American players.

According to NBC Sports, "Adam Silver told them, 'Hey guys, this is what we're going to do to support our players. Our league is overwhelmingly comprised of African American players. This is important. This is a partnership. We need to work together to get through this season and into next year.'"

Comment: Money talks. See also:

Magic Wand

Silver lining? Students in Manchester hold 'Covid Positive' parties where only people with the infection are allowed to attend

covid positive party

Undergraduates confined to their halls of residence are throwing 24-hour parties as they remain under stringent restrictions.
University students are throwing 'Covid positive' parties as they desperately try to salvage their social lives amid draconian lockdown measures on campuses.

Freshers at the University of Manchester and Northumbria University say undergraduates confined to their halls of residence are throwing 24-hour parties as they remain under stringent restrictions.

Meanwhile the University of Exeter today confirmed a number of students had been sent home for breaching Covid guidelines.

Comment: What else can you do when faced with ludicrous restrictions and social isolation? The students have probably realized that the virus itself is a NothingBurger™, so why not have some fun within the limits of the authoritarian's diktats?


Christmas 'not a priority' for UK public amidst lockdowns, Twitter rejects poll results

© Zuma Press via Global Look Press / Jay Shaw Baker
(L) A person in a Grinch costume. Bryan Smith; (R) Christmas celebration in London in 2017.
More than half of Britons think fighting Covid-19 is more important than having a normal Christmas, Sky News has reported, citing a new poll. The news was met with mistrust and anger by the outlet's Twitter audience.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent signals that the notorious "rule of six", which bans larger gatherings during the coronavirus epidemic, could be lifted for Christmas Day. But the proposal runs contrary to the wishes of the "majority of the public" in the UK who "do not agree that Christmas is a priority", according to a Sky News report on Friday.

Britons are actually happy to sacrifice Christmas gatherings and support even tougher lockdown measures, the outlet said, citing an opinion poll conducted on its behalf by YouGov.

Comment: Sadly, there is still a significant proportion of the population that believe the government manufactured hysteria over the coronavirus, and so it's likely there is some truth to the poll, and, obviously, Twitter does not always reflect the thinking of average British citizens.

That said, there is clearly a shift of opinion afoot, and, although it may not yet be shared by the average person, it is held and discussed by those in society who often have more influence. And so, as the government continues to enforce irrational and tyrannical measures against the people, it may only be a matter of time before those usually unwilling to question authority are forced to do so - because they finally realise that their livelihoods are at stake. This pushback is already apparent in the reactions of numerous local leaders against unjustified government diktats from the UK to Italy, France, and Madrid.

See also: UK gov admits lockdowns aren't working but is mulling HARSHER measures and new lockdowns in northern England anyway

Brick Wall

'Lockdown is a terrible experiment': Interview with Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff

Martin Kulldorff

Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff
Harvard epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff on the Great Barrington Declaration and why lockdown harms public health.

The lockdowns around the world have been justified on the basis of 'The Science'. But now a group of eminent infectious-disease experts have come together to sign the Great Barrington Declaration, calling for an end to the lockdowns and for more resources to be devoted to protecting the vulnerable. One of the three main signatories is Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. spiked caught up with him to find out more.

Comment: See also:


Darren Grimes under police investigation after interviewing historian David Starkey

Darren Grimes
© Jeff Gilbert
Darren Grimes has described the investigation as 'an abuse of taxpayers' money'.
Darren Grimes is being investigated by police on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred over an interview with the historian David Starkey that he published, it has emerged.

Mr Grimes, a conservative commentator, has been asked to attend a police station to be interviewed under caution after publishing a podcast in which Dr Starkey said slavery was not genocide because there are "so many damn blacks".

It has been warned that the investigation, by the Metropolitan Police, will have a "chilling effect" on free speech, while Mr Grimes has described it as an "abuse of taxpayers money".


7 years in prison for something your interviewee said. It's bad enough that an offhand comment, while arguably insensitive, has ruined the career of the historian, but that a journalist who is simply doing his job could be imprisoned due to the subject of his reporting is simply mind-boggling. The death of free speech is at hand.

See also: