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Sun, 16 May 2021
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Project Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report

james o'keefe project veritas
A conservative activist group, helped by a former British spy, secretly surveilled government employees during the Trump administration with the goal of discrediting perceived enemies of former President Trump, The New York Times reported, citing people and documents on the matter.

Project Veritas — with aid from a former British spy and Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater — was part of a campaign that involved surveillance operations against members of the FBI.

The overall effort, the Times wrote, also included a plan for a sting operation against Trump's former national security adviser H.R. McMaster that involved some Veritas staffers, though Veritas itself has denied any involvement with that plot.

Comment: As O'Keefe points out in the video above, the Times piece stops short of actually accusing Project Veritas of taking part in the operation, hedging with "Although several Project Veritas operatives were involved in the plot, it is unclear whether the group directed it." It could be nothing but a smear aimed at a non-profit that's poised to sue the pants off them.

See also:

Stock Up

Trump won more blacks, Latinos, and women and a "sizeable" shift to Trump by immigrant populations in 2020 election — but Beijing Biden won?

red states
Biden got a record low number of counties in the United States by a supposed "winner" - only 16%.

Trump won every bellwether county except one and every battleground race in the US House.
bellwether counties

Comment: This seems obvious by now, but it's nice to have yet more evidence of the steal.

See also:


Greenwald blasts Intercept over 'hit piece' that claims conservatives' riot video 'smears' Black Lives Matter

Kenosha Wisconsin police
© REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Kenosha, Wisconsin police outside a building burned down in August 2020; The Intercept accused eight reporters of 'smearing' Black Lives Matter with their riot footage.
The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald has joined a legion of conservative and independent journalists slamming the outlet over an article going after "right-wing" journalists' coverage of last year's "mostly peaceful" US riots.

"Meet the Riot Squad: Right-Wing Reporters Whose Viral Videos Are Used to Smear BLM," blares the headline of the Intercept article, written by Robert Mackey and published Thursday.

It names eight reporters who "roam from city to city, feeding the conservative media's hunger for images of destruction and violence on the margins of left-wing protests" and calls them part of a "video-to-Fox News pipeline."

Microscope 2

World's leading scientists: WHO has failed to make 'balanced consideration' on possibility COVID leaked from Chinese lab

police wuhan institute of virology
© HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
"We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data."

A group of the world's leading scientists have written an open letter urging more investigation into the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic was caused by a leak from Wuhan's Institute of Virology, saying that the World Health Organisation has dismissed the notion without proper consideration.

The scientists, who all work for the globe's leading universities and health organisations, urged that the origins of the pandemic must be further investigated and that the lab leak theory remains "viable" despite the WHO's statements to the contrary.

Comment: The theory that the virus escaped a lab is plausible, even likely, but these theories always seem to leave out the Fort Detrick connection. Just because it was reported in Wuhan first doesn't mean that's where the virus originated.

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Eye 1

'Go back to England': Prince Harry angers Americans after calling First Amendment 'bonkers'

Prince Harry
© Steve Parsons - WPA Pool / Getty Images
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks to the media at Windsor Castle following the birth of his son on May 06, 2019 in Windsor, United Kingdom.
Prince Harry sparked yet another controversy this week after he criticized the United States' constitutional right to free speech, the First Amendment.

During a Thursday appearance on Hollywood actor Dax Shepard's 'Armchair Expert' podcast, the prince - who now lives in California after stepping down from his royal duties - said, "I've got so much I want to say about the First Amendment. I still don't understand it, but it is bonkers."

The comment angered many Americans who questioned why Prince Harry was living in the United States if he didn't appreciate and respect its Constitution.

Comment: See also:


Amazon creates tens of thousands of jobs in US & UK thanks to lockdowns

© Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty
Amazon's hiring spree, which the business secretary called a 'huge vote of confidence in the British economy', will take the US firm's UK workforce to 55,000 by the end of 2021.
Amazon is creating 10,000 permanent jobs in the UK as the company bolsters its workforce in response to the pandemic boom in online shopping.

The company, which has also announced it intends to hire 75,000 workers in the US and Canada, is opening a parcel centre in Doncaster and four fulfilment warehouses in Gateshead, Swindon, Dartford and Hinckley this year to keep up with shopper demand.

The new jobs include a wide range of roles at its corporate offices, such as engineering, fashion, video production and cloud computing, in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Cambridge. There will also be opportunities at its growing Amazon Web Services division, which offers internet services to third parties, and at the new centres opening as part of its operations network.

Comment: The vast majority of these jobs will be low skilled and low paid.

Comment: Hardly a cause for celebration:


'The burglars wore badges' - FBI seized contents of safe deposit boxes in Beverly Hills

Victims of the FBI's constitutionally dubious raid say they've been told to come forward and identify themselves if they want their stuff back.

Safe Deposit Boxes
© Photo 13306534 Davidgn | Dreamstime.com
Dagny discovered that the FBI had seized the contents of her safe deposit box — about $100,000 in gold and silver coins, some family heirlooms like a diamond necklace inherited from her late grandmother, and an engagement ring she'd promised to pass down to her daughter — almost by accident.

She'd been asked by a friend to recommend a convenient and secure location for keeping some valuables. Dagny searched Yelp to find the phone number for U.S. Private Vaults, a Beverly Hills facility where she'd rented a safe deposit box since 2017. That's when she saw the bad news.

"Permanently closed."

After a brief moment of panic, some phone calls, and several days, Dagny and her husband Howard (pseudonyms used at their request to maintain privacy during ongoing legal proceedings) figured out what happened. On March 22, the FBI had raided U.S. Private Vaults. The federal agents were armed with a warrant allowing them to seize property belonging to the company as part of a criminal investigation — and even though the warrant explicitly exempted the safe deposit boxes in the company's vaults, they were taken too. More than 800 were seized.

Howard tells Reason there was no attempt made by the FBI to contact him, his wife, or their heirs — despite the fact that contact information was taped to the top of their box. Six weeks later, the couple is still waiting for their property to be returned. (Both individuals are supporters of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.)

The FBI and federal prosecutors have "no authority to continue holding the possessions of some 800 bystanders who are not alleged to have been involved in whatever USPV may have done wrong," Benjamin Gluck, a California attorney who is representing several of the people caught up in the FBI's raid of U.S. Private Vaults, tells Reason.

Legal efforts to force the FBI to return the items seized during the March 22 raid have so far been unsuccessful, but at least five lawsuits are pending in federal court.

Stock Down

US government on track to top last year's record-breaking deficits

US debt 2020
© The Mises Institute
The Treasury department has issued its spending and revenue report for April 2021, and it's clear the US government is headed toward another record-breaking year for deficits.

According to the report, the US federal government collected $439.2 billion in revenue during April 2021, which was a sizable improvement over April 2020 and over March 2021. Indeed, April 2021's revenue total was the largest since July of last year when the federal government collected 563.5 billion following several months of delays on tax filing deadlines beyond the usual April 15 deadline. (Not surprisingly, in most years, April tends to be the federal government's biggest month for tax collections.)

In spite of April's haul, however, the federal government managed to spend much more than that, with spending topping $664 billion during April. This means the federal government ran a sizable deficit in April of 225.6 billion. This was a middling sum compared to other monthly deficits this fiscal year (which began on October 1), but deficits are adding up fast.

Comment: Governments across the lockeddown West are facing a similarly dire economic outlook:

Magic Wand

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to pardon anyone charged for defying COVID rules

© Fox News
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lifts refusal to mask penalties
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will pardon anyone in the Sunshine State charged for not wearing masks or socially distancing — breaking the news live on air to a gym-owning couple who were facing jail time for defying coronavirus safety recommendations.

The Republican governor made the unexpected announcement on Fox News Wednesday as he decried county officials penalizing people.

"It's a total overreach," he told Laura Ingraham. "These things with health should be advisory, they should not be punitive."

He broke the news of his pardon directly to Mike and Jillian Carnevale, who faced up to 120 days in jail for repeatedly allowing people to forgo masks at their gym in Plantation in Broward County.

Comment: DeSantis promotes common sense and reason! Hopefully other governors will follow suit.

Bizarro Earth

UK women forced to wear face masks during labour despite guidance against doing so, charity finds

woman baby
© BBC News
Rosie, 39, from London: 'I'm pushing my baby out, I have this mask on my face, and the feeling of claustrophobia is just massive.'
Nearly one in five pregnant women in the UK were forced to wear a face covering during labour, according to research by a charity, despite official health guidance saying they should not be asked to do so.

Women described feeling unable to breathe, having panic attacks or even being sick during labour because they were made to wear a face covering.

The research was carried out by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, who surveyed 936 women who gave birth during December. It found that 160 of those who went into labour were made to wear a face covering. This goes against current joint UK guidance, published in July 2020 by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Comment: If the guidance has always been that women in labour should not be wear a mask because of the harm it can cause, then the excuse of 'confusion' over the latest guidance is not supported by the facts. It's more probable that healthcare staff were so hystericized by the government backed fearmongering that it overrode their critical faculties, which, for people in positions of such responsibility, reveals a lot about the current state of the country. However, this isn't the only example in the UK, and elsewhere: