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Mon, 28 Sep 2020
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Attention

UK emergency lockdown scheme reportedly aims to ban social interaction amid fresh COVID-19 alarms

covid movie
© REUTERS / MOLLY DARLINGTON
Last week, Downing Street introduced a set of updated measures to battle the rising COVID infection rates in a bid to avoid a total national clockdown - curfews in widely visited public spots like pubs and restaurants among other things.

The UK Cabinet is reportedly readying to reinstate a total social lockdown across much of the country's north and potentially London to curb a progressing second wave of the pandemic. One government figure cited by The Times portrayed the capital's fate as "in the balance", with infection rates across a number of its boroughs sparking concern.

According to British government insiders, the first total social lockdowns are most likely to be imposed in Merseyside and the northeast, where case numbers continue to rise the fastest.

Comment: It looks like we're going to be seeing a lot more of this in the next coming weeks.


Attention

London police slam woman to the ground during anti-lockdown protest in Trafalgar Square

woman knocked over police
© JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
The shocking moment police officers brutally slammed a woman to the ground during a protest against Covid-19 restrictions in London was caught on camera, and the footage is being widely shared online.

The ugly scene unfolded as demonstrators massed in Trafalgar Square on Saturday for a 'We Do Not Consent' rally against the UK's coronavirus guidelines. The video shows the protester standing on a portable chair before police officers arrive and pull the chair from under her feet.


Comment: See also:


Padlock

The lockdown has gone from a mistake to a crime

Gavin Newsom
© AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Gavin Newsom
Four months ago, I wrote a column titled "The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History." I explained that "'mistake' and 'evil' are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people."

Regarding the economic catastrophe in America and around the world — especially among the world's poor who are dependent upon America and other first-world countries for their income through exports and tourism — I wrote, "It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe."

Unfortunately, I was right.

The world should have followed Sweden's example. That country never locked down and has even kept children under 16 in school the entire time. As Reuters reported on July 15, the number of Swedish children between 1 and 19 years of age who have died of COVID-19 is zero. And the percentage of children who contracted the illness was the exact same in Sweden as it was in Finland, which locked down its schools.

Newspaper

Days after inauguration, Belarusian police use tear gas & flashbang devices against anti-Lukashenko protesters

belarus
© Reuters / BelaPAN
FILE PHOTO: Belarusian police disperse a rally in Gomel.
Belarusian cops employed tear gas and flashbang devices to disperse a rally against the country's long-time President Alexander Lukashenko, on Sunday, in the country's second largest city, Gomel.

Police said they resorted to using the equipment because "some people acted inadequately." The flashbangs were fired only as warning shots, a spokesman insisted.

Videos from the scene showed a large group of demonstrators advancing on officers in balaclavas and full riot gear, who were blocking the street.

Comment: It would appear that Lukashenko won the election fairly, and those protesting for change of any kind aren't doing their cause any favors following leaders that are cavorting with known regime change enthusiasts nor those attempting to seize power undemocratically:


Heart

The death of Andre Vltchek, a passionate warrior for truth

Andre Vltchek
"If the world is upside down the way it is now, wouldn't we have to turn it over to get it to stand up straight?"
Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down (1998)
For decades, Andre Vltchek, an old-school journalist and artist (but a young man) who travelled the world in search of truth and who always stood up straight, tried to revolve the world and encourage people to revolt against injustice.

In this age of arm-chair reporters, he stood out for his boldness and indefatigable courage. He told it straight.

This irritated certain people and some pseudo-left publications, who sensed in him a no bullshit fierceness and nose for hypocrisy that frightened them, so they stopped publishing his writing. He went where so many others feared to tread, and he talked to people in places that were often the victims of Western imperialistic violence. He defended the defenseless and encouraged their defense.

Eye 1

German professor arrested by Met Police after speaking at 'We Do Not Consent' rally

Dr. Heiko Schoening
After Metropolitan Police claimed they would only crack down on marchers flagrantly violating social distancing rules (though the hated "rule of six" had been suspended due to the gathering's "protest" status), German professor Dr. Heiko Schoening was arrested by a gang of British officers - he was filmed being loaded into a paddy wagon - after speaking out against using tactics like economy-destroying mandatory lockdowns during yesterday's "We Do Not Consent" rally in London.

Video of the arrest was shared on Twitter.


Several purported bystanders tweeted in protest, by the story appears to have gone largely unnoticed.

Bullseye

Donald Trump Jr. blasts media for ignoring Hunter Biden report as House Republicans call for FBI to investigate

hunter joe biden
© REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Donald Trump Jr. slammed the media for largely ignoring the damning revelations from the GOP-led Senate report on Hunter Biden's foreign financial ties.

The Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees on Wednesday released an interim report on their months-long joint investigation into Hunter Biden's role on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings and his alleged "extensive and complex financial transactions," but also highlighted his questionable transactions with Russian and Chinese nationals.

None of the revelations, however, were given much coverage by many of the major news networks.

CNN and all three nightly news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC avoided the subject. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was the only host on the network to address the Senate report but spent those roughly two minutes of coverage downplaying it.

Comment: House Republicans are also demanding an investigation by the FBI after the Senate uncovered the evidence of corruption. Rep. Jim Jordan is leading the calls for an probe:
"The report by Chairman Johnson and Chairman Grassley shows that the FBI has been aware of some alleged misconduct for years," Jordan wrote. "The report detailed widespread concern within the Obama-Biden Administration about Hunter Biden's role on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian company founded by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. Then-U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Amos Hochstein personally raised concerns to Vice President Biden and — after Vice President Biden spoke to Hunter — to Hunter Biden himself.

"In addition, senior State Department official George Kent raised concerns to the FBI about a $7 million bribe paid by Zlochevsky to Ukraine's prosecutor general seven months after Hunter Biden joined Burisma's board," Jordan said.

Jordan questions why Wray has not addressed the allegations, suggesting it further tarnished the bureau's reputation in the aftermath of the Russia collusion scandal.

"The FBI suffered from a pattern of misconduct and politicization at the highest levels of the FBI during the Obama-Biden Administration. The FBI used Democrat-funded opposition research and Russian disinformation — as well as doctored evidence — to illegally spy on a Trump campaign associate.The FBI sought to entrap Trump National Security Advisor LTG Michael Flynn 'to get him to lie, so we can prosecute or get him fired.' The new revelations in Chairman Johnson's and Chairman Grassley's report only add more concern about the FBI's actions," Jordan wrote.



Red Flag

US military suicides soar as service members struggle under Covid, war-zone deployments, national disasters & civil unrest

US miltary suicides deaths
© MEREDITH TIBBETTS/STARS AND STRIPES
Thousands of American flags filled a grassy expanse on the National Mall on Oct. 3, 2018, each representing a veteran or a servicemember who died by suicide in 2018. The 5,520 flags were placed on the Mall by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America, an advocacy group trying to draw awareness to the issue of veteran suicide.
Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to with same period in 2019, and some incidents of violent behavior have spiked as service members struggle under COVID-19, war-zone deployments, national disasters and civil unrest.

While the data is incomplete and causes of suicide are complex, Army and Air Force officials say they believe the pandemic is adding stress to an already-strained force.

And senior Army leaders — who say they've seen about a 30% jump in active-duty suicides so far this year — told The Associated Press that they are looking at shortening combat deployments. Such a move would be part of a broader effort to make the wellbeing of soldiers and their families the Army's top priority, overtaking combat readiness and weapons modernization.

The Pentagon refused to provide 2020 data or to discuss the issue, but Army officials said discussions in Defense Department briefings indicate there has been roughly a 20% jump in overall military suicides this year. The numbers vary by service. The active Army's 30% spike — from 88 last year to 114 this year — pushes the total up because it's the largest service. The Army National Guard is up about 10%, going from 78 last year to 86 this year. The Navy total is believed to be lower this year.

Army leaders say they can't directly pin the increase on the virus, but the timing coincides.

Comment: The increase in suicides within the US military is concerning as this crisis has been an issue for years. In addition to the causes mentioned, there are others that officials aren't willing to discuss:


Cross

UK: 700 Church leaders say NO to another lockdown

choir mask
© OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
The York Minster Choir perform anthems to mark the resumption of choral signing at York Minster
Almost 700 church leaders have told Boris Johnson they must not be asked to close their churches again and have given a strong hint that they won't conform the next time he tries to suspend services in the name of virus prevention.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister and the leaders of the devolved administrations, Church ministers say a closure of churches "would cause serious damage to our congregations, our service of the nation, and our duty as Christian ministers."

The letter has been signed by ministers of several denominations in all four parts of the UK and is a strong hint that Christians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who up to now have acquiesced to coronavirus legislation, may defy a future instruction to shut their doors.

Comment: Similar sentiments have been voiced by various religions in those countries that continue to hand the threat of lockdowns over their citizens. Moreover, an elder from the Eastern Orthodox peninsula of Mount Athos went even further saying that 'this appears to be an excercise in how effectively the authorities can control people': It's notable that this comes at the same time that a number of Mayors - including the UK, France and Spain - have also voiced their objection to the 'unjustified and irrational' lockdowns. Could a significant backlash be finally brewing?


Arrow Up

Florida reopens: DeSantis lifts state's coronavirus restrictions

Key West
© Ed Schipil/Flikr Creative CommonsSA2.0
Key West, Florida: Ready when you are!
Florida will no longer require bars and restaurants to operate at less than full capacity, as Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday removing all remaining restrictions on those businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The order, which takes effect immediately, also prohibits local governments from closing businesses or collecting fines related to pandemic-related mandates, such as mask requirements — leading to at least one Central Florida county being inundated with calls asking if people no longer have to wear one. But it does allow local authorities to limit restaurant and bar capacity to 50% if they can justify it.

DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Petersburg:
"We are today moving into what we initially called phase 3. And what that'll mean for the restaurants is there will not be limitations from the state of Florida. We're also saying in the state of Florida everybody has a right to work. (Local governments) can do reasonable regulations, but they can't just say no."