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Thu, 29 Oct 2020
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Protesters ready in case Trump election result

Sean Eldridge

Sean Eldridge, at an anti-Trump meeting in New York in January 2018
Sean Eldridge says he's "preparing for the worst" in case President Donald Trump tries to undermine the results of next month's vote or refuses to accept a victory for the Democrats.

The 34-year-old is one of the organizers of a coalition planning protests across the United States if Trump loses to his election rival Joe Biden but refuses to concede.

The White House incumbent has repeatedly refused to say whether he would cede power peacefully in the event of defeat in the presidential vote on November 3.

He has suggested that massive voter fraud involving the tens of millions of ballots sent by mail this year and early voting due to the coronavirus pandemic could prevent him from winning.

Comment: Good example of fake news and journalistic corruption. Trump is clearly talking about how mail-in voter fraud could try to skew the results, and that evidence of fraud would need to be challenged.


Bomb at seminary in Pakistan kills 8 students, wounds 136

Pakistan bombing
© REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz
Police officers and officials survey the site of a bomb blast at a religious seminary in Peshawar, Pakistan October 27, 2020
A powerful bomb blast ripped through an Islamic seminary on the outskirts of the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar Tuesday morning, killing at least eight students and wounding 136 others, police and a hospital spokesman said.

The bombing happened as a prominent religious scholar during a special class was delivering a lecture about the teachings of Islam at the main hall of the Jamia Zubairia madrassa, said police officer Waqar Azim. He said initial investigations suggest the bomb went off minutes after someone left a bag at the madrassa.

TV footage showed the damaged main hall of the seminary, where the bombing took place. The hall was littered with broken glass and its carpet was stained with blood. Police said at least 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of explosives were used in the attack.

Several of the wounded students were in critical condition, and hospital authorities feared the death toll could climb further. Authorities said some seminary teachers and employees were also wounded in the bombing.

Arrow Up

Don't believe the polls - Trump is 'winning bigly'

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump
We predict that President Trump is going to win the 2020 presidential election — and win big.

While the majority of the polls suggest that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading, or at best that it's close, those polls suffer from at least three problems.

First, the tone of the questions. There is significant evidence from behavioral psychology that suggests that the way a question is framed predetermines the range of potential answers. In fact, Gallup has found that respondents can answer very differently to questions with the same topic even in the same survey based on the language that's used. And the use of metaphors can even dwarf the importance of preexisting differences between Republicans and Democrats.

One of the reasons respondents do that is because of a tendency to give socially desirable answers, which was the case especially during the 2016 election. Most people don't like confrontation, so the easiest, albeit not necessarily the best, solution is to avoid it. Right now, saying that you're voting for Trump/Pence is often not the socially desirable answer. In fact, a recent poll by the Cato Institute suggests that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the political climate is sufficiently harsh that they don't want to give their genuine opinion about politics.

Arrow Down

China's top censor orders another crackdown on dissent

cellphone censorship
© Bitter Winter
While Facebook readies emergency measures to halt the spread of viral election day misinformation, contributing to a bout of social media hysteria that is starting to feel vaguely reminiscent of the perturbation that preceded Y2K, the censors over in Beijing are as busy as ever.

Reuters reports that China's "top cyber authority" has declared that it will carry out a "rectification" of China's mobile internet browsers. The campaign is a response to concerns about "chaos" in terms of information being shared online.

Doesn't sound too different from what's happening over at Twitter and Facebook. But we digress.

Anyway, the Cyberspace Administration of China, or CAC - the regulator in question - has told mobile browser owners that they have until Nov. 9 to finish a "self examination" (sounds fun) and rectify any previously unaddressed "problems."


Flu vaccine deaths: South Korea scrambles to control panic, says any link is 'coincidental'

flu shot
© Reuters
Flu shot administered in a hospital in Seoul.
Numbers plummet with public concern following a number of deaths.
South Korean officials are scrambling to contain widespread public panic sparked by news reports of deaths thought to be linked to influenza vaccines, with President Moon Jae-in urging calm and saying any link was merely coincidental.

Over the past two weeks, 59 post-vaccination deaths have been reported, mostly involving those in their 60s or older with pre-existing health conditions.

Alarmist news headlines since the first death was reported on October 16 have deterred many people from getting vaccinated, and the Korea Medical Association recommended a temporary suspension of the flu shots.

Comment: See also:


Wales bans smoking in playgrounds, school grounds and hospitals

Smoking ban in Wales
© Getty Images
A ban on smoking in playgrounds, school grounds and hospital sites in Wales will begin next March.

Councils will have powers to issue fixed-penalty notices for breaches of the law, the Welsh Government said.

It means smokers at hospital will need to leave the grounds to have a cigarette. Smoking rooms in hotels will also be banned in 2022.

Senedd members backed the measure in a vote on Tuesday night, with 45 politicians voting for the regulations.

The law makes Wales the first country in the UK to ban smoking in playgrounds and school grounds.


Media maverick Joe Rogan interviews Alex Jones in latest podcast, snowflakes flip out, threaten to cancel Spotify subscriptions

joe rogan alex jones spotify
© (L)Instagram / @timjdillon; (R) Spotify logo
Joe Rogan and Alex Jones from Rogan's Instagram account
Top podcaster Joe Rogan surprised his audience by having right-wing controversialist Alex Jones back as a guest on his show, prompting outcry online as outraged subscribers said they would cancel their Spotify subscriptions.

Rogan's Tuesday show turned out to be even more polarizing than usual - and somewhat unexpected given that the podcast's fans noticed in recent months that some episodes featuring conservative guests curiously never made it onto Spotify, where Rogan has an exclusive deal. Jones himself was previously banned on the platform in 2018, with Spotify citing "hate content" as the reason.

His reappearance on the show seems to have cleared up suspicions that Rogan had succumbed to editorial scrutiny following the missing episodes and his recent retraction after pushing debunked claims that left-wing activists had started wildfires in Oregon.

Comment: Spotify management can't afford to lose their big selling point as the free-speech supporting alternative to YouTube, which brought Rogan over to them in the first place. Indeed, BuzzFeed reports that Spotify management is defending the move internally. But that matters little to the SJW segment of their staff and audience. The GIF gods got in on the fun:


Anti-cop protesters leave trail of destruction in Downtown Brooklyn

vandalized Bank of America Brooklyn anti-cop protest
© Kenneth Bachor/NY Post
A vandalized Bank of America at Court Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn
Dozens of marching protesters were arrested in Brooklyn on Tuesday night after clashing with NYPD cops and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake in response to the Philadelphia police shooting death of an armed black man.

About 200 protesters met in Fort Greene Park before snaking their way through the streets, vandalizing police vehicles, torching an American flag and igniting at least one rubbish fire during their travels, according to footage posted to social media by video journalist Issa Khari.

"Burn the precinct to the ground, every city, every town!" the group, mainly clad in black, chanted as they marched near Boerum Place and Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Near Willoughby and Jay streets, several protesters chucked rocks and bottles at police officers, sources said. Others in the group wielded pieces of wood.

Nearby, a man in the crowd stole a pumpkin off the steps of a brownstone and hurled it at a car windshield.


Female prisoner suing UK govt after claiming sexual assault by transgender inmate

prison security cameras
© Reuters / Darren Staples
A female prisoner is suing the UK government in an effort to ban some trans women from all-female prisons, after claiming she was sexually assaulted by a biologically male inmate who had not undergone gender reassignment surgery.

A judicial review of the lawsuit, launched on Wednesday, will last about two days, and could overturn the government policy allowing biological men to be housed in women's prisons if they have procured a gender recognition certificate.

Before being placed in the Downview women's prison in Surrey, the alleged attacker was previously convicted of rape as a man, according to Keep Prisons Single Sex, a campaigning group supporting the claimant. Despite the past conviction, the trans woman was still placed in an all-female environment.

The legal action will specifically challenge the lawfulness of placing transgender women who have been convicted of sexual and violent offences in women's prisons.

Eye 2

US sex cult leader Keith Raniere receives 120-year sentence

Keith Raniere court room sketch
© Reuters
A courtroom sketch shows Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere during his sentencing hearing at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse in New York, on Oct 27, 2020
A "self-help" guru convicted of running a cult-like organisation of sex slaves who were branded with his initials was sentenced to 120 years in prison by a New York judge Tuesday (Oct 27).

The effective life sentence for Keith Raniere, 60, comes after he was found guilty of coercing women into having sex with him as the charismatic leader of Nxivm, a life-coaching group that attracted a coterie of rich and famous devotees.

Followers signed up for US$5,000, five-day self-help courses, but some were then financially and sexually exploited and forced to follow a restrictive diet, as Raniere - known as "Vanguard" - exerted control, his six-week trial heard.

He established a faction within the group called DOS, a pyramid structure in which the women were "slaves" and "Grand Master" Raniere sat at the top.