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Sun, 27 Sep 2020
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With misogyny now a hate crime, we're officially criminalising thought

police desk booking handcuffs phone
© Getty Images / SARINYAPINNGAM
We'll soon have thought police exploring our private lives

Silence the wolf whistles, don't say 'you look lovely in lycra' to that woman at the gym, and don't tweet about transgender women not being real women. You could be breaking the law and be charged.

Welcome to an Orwellian world where what you think about women, gays or Muslims may now be criminalised under hate crime legislation proposed by the Law Commission. Since its invention in the United States in the 1980s, the number of different hate crimes have been growing and growing.

Eye 2

UK gov figures show 75,000 could die because of lockdown, excess deaths are already soaring

bojo nhs
© Ben Stansall/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks with a paramedic
Thousands of Britons who suffer heart attacks and strokes are dying at home instead of seeking medical treatment, a new study has found, as new government figures show 75,000 are projected to die as a result of lockdown measures.

Stay-at-home orders prompted countless people suffering from serious medical conditions to avoid hospitals, according to the study's findings, which were published in the Heart medical journal and first reported by the Daily Mail. The paper noted that deaths from heart disease in private homes surged by 35 percent from March to July, resulting in 2,279 more fatalities on average over the past six years. However, heart and stroke deaths in hospitals dropped by around 1,400 during the same period, suggesting that some who chose to stay home would have died anyway even if they had been hospitalized. The researchers calculated that in total, there were 2,085 excess deaths in England and Wales that could be linked to heart attack and stroke sufferers who refused to seek out medical treatment. This means that between March 2 and June 30, every day 17 people died needlessly from heart attacks.

Comment: And likely tens of thousands more - and counting:


Syringe

China approves Covid-19 vaccine for emergency testing in last phase of human trials, hundreds of thousands of vaccinations already given

china vac
After the first shot, he had no reaction. But Kan Chai felt woozy following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in China.

"When I was driving on the road, I suddenly felt a bit dizzy, as if I was driving drunk," the popular writer and columnist recounted in a webinar earlier this month. "So I specially found a place to stop the car, rest a bit and then I felt better."

His is a rare account from the hundreds of thousands of people who have been given Chinese vaccines, before final regulatory approval for general use. It's an unusual move that raises ethical and safety questions, as companies and governments worldwide race to develop a vaccine that will stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Chinese companies earlier drew attention for giving the vaccine to their top executives and leading researchers before human trials to test their safety and efficacy had even begun. In recent months, they have injected a far larger number under an emergency use designation approved in June, and that number appears poised to rise.

Comment: Evidently the article is written with the intent to smear China where possible, but what is clear is that China was already in late trials for the vaccine in July - way ahead of the West - and (again) unlike the US and the UK it was confident enough to trial it on some of its top staff; surely it wouldn't do that if it was having results similar to the 'serious concerns' seen at AstraZeneca.


Bullseye

Democracy muzzled

mask police protest australia
© William West / AFP
Subjugation: Police place a facemask on a protester in Melbourne, Australia
Covid masks are a potent symbol of the West's headlong flight from Enlightenment values

The long retreat of law, reason and freedom has now turned into a rout. It was caused by many things: the mob hysteria which flowered after the death of Princess Diana; the evisceration of education; the spread of intolerant speech codes designed to impose a single opinion on the academy and journalism; the incessant state-sponsored panics over terror; the collapse and decay of institutions and traditions.

These have all at last flowed together into a single force, and we seem powerless against it. Absurdly, the moment at which they have achieved maximum power is accidental, a wild, out of-proportion panic response to a real but limited epidemic.

Handcuffs

Maryland man sentenced to prison for throwing parties against COVID-19 orders

Shawn Marshall Myers
© Charles County Sheriff's Office
Shawn Marshall Myers
He's serving hard time for hard partying.

A Maryland man was sentenced Friday to a year in prison for hosting two parties in defiance of the state's coronavirus orders barring large gatherings, a local Fox affiliate reported.

Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, had 50 to 60 people over in his Hughesville home for the first bash he threw on March 22, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Office.

When officers arrived to shut down the soiree, Myers was "argumentative...but eventually agreed to disband his party," the county State's Attorney alleged.

But he went right back to raging, throwing another party with more than 50 people less than a week later on March 27, the station reported.

Comment: Gov. Larry Hogan should be serving this time instead, and preferably for much longer than one year.


Chart Pie

One China? Only 2-6% of Taiwanese identify as Chinese over Taiwanese

taiwan
© Tom Volz via Pexels
A large majority of residents surveyed in self-governed Taiwan consider themselves to be Taiwanese rather than Chinese, an opinion poll on national identity has found.

The survey conducted by a group called Taiwan Thinktank asked respondents whether they consider themselves to be Taiwanese or Chinese. Some 62.6 per cent identified themselves as Taiwanese while only 2 per cent identified as Chinese and 32.6 per cent considered themselves to be both.

Separately, when asked to choose between a Taiwanese identity and a Chinese one, 86 per cent identified themselves as Taiwanese over Chinese, while 6.2 per cent saw themselves as Chinese over Taiwanese.

The survey, whose findings were released at a press conference on Thursday, was conducted to gauge public opinion towards constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwanese parliament. These proposals are geared towards prioritising "Taiwanese" as a national identity in the international arena.

One element of the proposed constitutional amendments will mean the island will seek to represent itself as "Taiwan" at international events such as the Olympics where in the past it has taken part as "Chinese Taipei".

Attention

Death Race 2020: Mad Max meets Through the Looking Glass in BLM riots

blm black power fist
© Bigstock
Folks, we've officially entered a dystopian alternate reality that seems to be combination of Mad Max and Through the Looking Glass. It's not even October, and the wheels of our society are coming off.


In this video from Hollywood, the glamour capital of the USA, a confused driver in a Prius blunders into a BLM-Antifa (aka BLAMtifa) riot. The driver cautiously maneuvers around the rioters, avoiding contact with any of them. The rioters, having none of it, dispatch a customized truck to chase down the Prius and block it off. (This is the Mad Max part.) Rioters then swarm the trapped Prius and try to drag the driver out of his car in the hope of delivering a savage beatdown. After having his windshield smashed, the driver manages to back away in his vehicle and escape the scene. In a charming coda (this is the Through the Looking Glass part), we see him pulled over by L.A.'s Finest, the Thin Blue Line, the brave "men" of the LAPD, who arrest him for the crime of not allowing BLAMtifa to kill him.

CBS News, "reporting" the story, says that the driver struck several rioters (he did not) and was "stopped" by "protesters" (no, CBS, he was chased down, trapped, and swarmed by a homicidal mob that tried to assassinate him).

Eye 1

MORE city lockdowns loom in Ireland, nearby rural areas may be left alone

Micheal Martin
© Tom Honan/PA
Micheal Martin
IRELAND could be facing a series of city-wide lockdowns where urban centres are subjected to strict Covid-19 restrictions while adjacent rural county areas are allowed remain unaffected.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin issued the warning as he said there was rising concern over the increasing rate of Covid-19 detections in major urban centres in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway.

Dublin is already subjected to a three week lockdown in a bid to slash virus numbers.

The entire county of Donegal has also been subjected to a three week lockdown after virus case numbers soared.

Mr Martin said the Government will now consider city-wide lockdowns which spare rural county areas if recommended by NPHET.

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


Handcuffs

A 'culture of lawlessness' in D.A. offices

McSwain/Krasner
© APTOPIX America Protests/Thom Carroll/U.S. Attorney's Office/PhillyVoice/April Gamiz/The Morning Call/KJN
US Attorney William McSwain • Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner
U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania blames Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner for the rise in violence in the City of Brotherly Love. Krasner's policies, McSwain announced, "create a culture of lawlessness; they leave criminals emboldened; and they have inevitable consequences." Indeed, since Krasner took office in 2018, homicides are up 49 percent and shootings have climbed by 59 percent. If the trend holds, Philadelphia will tally more than 450 homicides in 2020 — the highest count in nearly 30 years.

Crime is spiking precisely because Krasner isn't holding serious offenders accountable. An analysis by my group, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, found that Krasner is failing to prosecute felony offenses. Compared with his predecessor's average conviction rates, Krasner either dropped or lost 26 percent more of all felony cases. More robbery cases (up 14 percent) and auto theft cases (up 37 percent) were dropped or lost. In drug sales (not possession) cases, Krasner dismisses or loses 55 percent of cases, compared with the 34 percent rate of his predecessor.

Comment: Justice and lawfulness go together as long as there is agreement anchoring this combination and publicly-approved consequences abide. To slack on justice to appease undefined, unwarranted and unjust societal trends, invites chaos and further imbalance. Boundaries and consequences must be both just and firm.

McSwain, appointed by President Trump, had this to say:
"Armed murderers cannot be permitted to walk the streets of Philadelphia in the name of criminal justice reform. The staggering homicide and shooting rates in Philadelphia are proof that the District Attorney's radical experiment has failed. Homicides, shootings and serious violent crime have all skyrocketed in 2020 - from already intolerable levels that existed in 2019 and 2018."

"The federal cases against defendants Tuggle and Kane are the latest efforts by my office to serve as a counterweight to the chaos in Philadelphia created by local criminal justice policies that coddle violent criminals. These policies create a culture of lawlessness; they leave criminals emboldened; and they have inevitable consequences - one of which is a murder rate in Philadelphia that is the highest it has been in nearly 15 years."


Tuggle was charged with robbery, carjacking and fatal shooting. Krasner agreed not to prosecute for first- or second-degree murder in exchange for information that never materialized.

Convicted felon Kane was found in possession of firearm while on probation for his second homicide in Philly. His sentence was dismissed on a technicality. He has again been arrested on a federal charge.


"The violence has been pervasive and it is destroying the soul of the city," McSwain said. "In the last month alone, 48 people have been killed and hundreds have been shot. And the average age of the shooting victims is getting younger. Tragically, the vast majority of the victims are racial minorities. I can't say it any clearer: the District Attorney's policies come at the expense of minority communities."

Krasner said in July:
"In the absence of a cash bail system that allows prosecutors and magistrates to make individualized decisions, my office will continue to simulate a no-cash-bail system by seeking very high bails for the most serious and dangerous offenders and seeking bails that do not require cash for non-serious offenses in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in jails during the second wave of the pandemic in Philadelphia."

Krasner joined local leaders and community members in announcing a gun violence prevention collaborative, stressing the need to address root causes such as underfunded schools, limited mental health assistance and a lack of employment opportunities. He has emphasized the traumatization of neighborhoods through a cycle of poverty, violence and an overly punitive criminal justice system.

In his remarks on Monday, McSwain laid the surge in violence squarely at Krasner's feet:
"We can draw a straight line from these policies to the carnage on the streets. My office has examined the circumstances underlying many of the recent murder cases in the city and the inescapable conclusion is that a great number of these murders were made possible by the District Attorney's Office's willingness - indeed, its eagerness - to offer sweetheart plea deals to violent defendants. Deals that allowed those defendants to quickly get back out on the street and kill."



Arrow Up

Hamas, Fatah agree to hold elections in the coming months

Gaza city mural
© Mahmoud Ajjour/APA images
Mural titled: 'Ready for elections' in Gaza City.
After more than a decade of political strife, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have agreed to hold elections for the first time in Palestine in nearly 15 years.

According to the officials from both sides, polls will be scheduled within six months and priority will be given to holding legislative elections, followed then by presidential elections of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The agreement was announced on Thursday amid talks between Fatah and Hamas officials in the Turkish city of Istanbul, which are expected to continue into the coming days to discuss details of the election process and further reconciliation efforts. Leaders from both factions welcomed the agreement, describing the meetings as "positive, fruitful and constructive."

Secretary-General of the Central Committee of Fatah Movement Jibril Rajoub said "we reached a clear vision of the mechanisms for building national partnership through proportional representation elections," adding that the mechanisms of holding elections in places like Israeli-controlled occupied East Jerusalem were still being discussed.