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Tear gas fired, arrests made as thousands protest against Beijing's planned national security law for Hong Kong

hong kong police tear gas
© Sam Tsang
Riot police fire tear gas at the junction of Hennessy Road and Percival Street.
Police fired multiple rounds of tear gas in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay shopping district on Sunday as thousands took to the streets to protest against Beijing's planned national security law for the city, even as top Chinese officials sought to ease fears about its impact on local freedoms but remained stern about seeing it implemented.

Police said at least 180 people were arrested - mostly on suspicion of unauthorised assembly, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct in a public place - in a crackdown as protesters spread out along streets of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.

A water cannon truck was used and volleys of tear gas were fired in a series of confrontations as some radicals among the protesters defying the government's coronavirus crowd restrictions blocked multiple roads, smashed traffic lights, lit small fires and hurled bricks dug up from pavements at police.

Some also vandalised shops, while at least two people objecting to the roadblocks were severely assaulted by black-clad groups.


The protests erupted just hours after Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng, Beijing's top leader in charge of Hong Kong, told local delegates to the national legislature that Beijing's determination to push through the national security law should not be underestimated, and that mainland authorities would "implement it till the end".

Gold Coins

Which American elite are benefiting from the COVID-19 pandemic?

There is one very select group of Americans that have become significantly wealthier thanks to the COVID-19 virus. While tens of millions of American workers are no longer working thanks to the shuttering of the economy, the Institute for Policy Studies found that five American billionaires have seen their wealth increase by staggering amounts.

Let's start by looking at the growth in the number of unemployed Main Street Americans:

unemployment rate lockdown us
© U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
As you can see, the unemployment level in the United States has reached levels that have never been seen during any prior crisis. Over the eight week period between March 18, 2020 and May 14, 2020, over 36 million American workers lost their jobs.

Comment:


Bizarro Earth

Alyssa Milano goes on defensive after showing off her KNITTED mask (that does NOTHING to stop Covid-19)

knitted mask
© Twitter / Alyssa_Milano
Actress and liberal activist Alyssa Milano has pushed back against an avalanche of online mockery, after she shared a photo of herself donning a visibly unreliable knitted mask.

The anti-Trump #Resistance 'heroine' urged her Twitter followers to don masks to stop the spread of Covid-19, and included a pic of her face-covered family.

The public service announcement drummed up a great deal of interest - although apparently not for its intended purpose. Her Twitter feed was flooded with jokes and memes pointing out that her personal protection equipment (PPE) was... knitted.

Comment: Masks are security blankets for adult infants - nothing more


Stock Down

Bankruptcy tsunami begins: Thousands of default notices are "flying out the door"

dominos falling
Two weeks ago, when showing the uncanny correlation between defaults and the unemployment rates, we predicted that the number of Chapter 11 filings that is about to flood the US will be nothing short of biblical.

liquidity to solvency
All that was missing was a catalyst... and according to Bloomberg that catalyst arrived in the past week or so, as retail landlords have been sending out thousands of default notices to tenants, who in turn have experienced a collapse in foot traffic, sales and cash flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are simply unable to pay their debt obligations.

According to Bloomberg, restaurants, department stores, apparel merchants and specialty chains have been receiving notices from landlords - some of whom have gone as long as three months without receiving rent.

Brain

The Covid-19 brainwashing and new vocabulary: 12 Words and phrases I never want to hear again

safety
Remember how after September 11th happened, there was that nasty bill that formed the TSA and authorized all sorts of surveillance against the American people and they called it, ironically, The Patriot Act?

Of course, we knew then that the bill was anything but patriotic, however, that didn't stop it from being passed and trampling all over the Constitution. The word "patriot" was perverted by those in power who wanted everyone to fall into lockstep with the unconstitutional searches at airports and many other invasions into our privacy.

Which brings us to another word that doesn't mean what people think it means - it was all done in the name of "security."

If you've been watching any type of media coverage or reading articles, you've probably seen or heard a plethora of words and phrases which are currently being perverted due to the coronavirus pandemic. I don't know about you, but if I never heard "safe" or "new normal" again, I'd be a much happier person.

Comment: Writer Mike Luongo agrees with James Corbett about not using the term 'contact tracing':
Contact Tracing? Really? That's the next big government program to push for total surveillance over our lives. Now the real fallout from the Coronapocalypse comes to light.

The very people who created a fake pandemic out of faulty statistics, media fear-pimping and the rankest of propaganda are now pushing the total surveillance state to protect us (them?) from the next crisis.

James Corbett from the Corbett Report just published an excellent video discussing 'contact tracing' as promulgated by (who else?) the Clinton Global Initiative to create an army of new Brown Shirts to assist our wise and benevolent leaders in managing us like livestock.

[...]

James is urging us not to use their Orwellian term, and I agree with him. But the best way to do that is to make fun of it and them.

I propose just looking at them and saying, "Don't Trace Me, Bro."

As always when they want to herd us towards a terrible idea they first have to come up with a harmless sounding euphemism for it. Either that or just call it a war that we're going to fight and win together, you know, for kids!

But this was always the plan with this virus. We can speculate as to why this has been done, why it was directed from the commanding heights of our society but, in the end, that speculation is irrelevant.

This is happening, it's here and they are now working to square the circle. The goal is to finish off the last vestiges of anonymity and individuality started with the destruction of financial privacy during the Clinton Adminstration, which was wrapped in the classic government phrases "Know Your Customer" and "Anti-Money Laundering"

Now those sets of rules which got ramped up after 9/11 dominate the global financial landscape.



Brick Wall

The politicians were wrong—predictions on coronavirus deaths were wild exaggerations

toronto empty lockdown
The facts are in. The COVID-19 death predictions of governments are proving to be wild exaggerations that have inflicted unnecessary fear, anxiety and stress on millions of people.

In mid-March, the United Kingdom and other countries listened to predictions by Dr. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, who predicted as many as 510,000 COVID-19 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million deaths in the US. These numbers were relied upon by the United Kingdom and governments around the world to justify imposing lockdowns.

As of May 22, 2020, US deaths were 97,102 (4 percent of the Ferguson estimate) and UK deaths were 36,393 (7 percent of the Ferguson estimate). COVID-19 deaths in the UK, the US, Italy and globally are within the same range of the annual flu, which kills between 291,000 and 646,000 per year.

Comment: See also:


Books

On Facebook, history can violate community standards

soldiers wwII
© Getty
On Facebook it now seems that merely writing about – and then sharing those writings – could violate community standards.
One thing that is often taught to students of history is that "history" didn't happen. Events happened in the past, but history is just our way of chronicling those events. There is also a saying that history is written by the winners, but that too isn't entirely accurate - if history were only written by the winners we'd never hear of the setbacks, mistakes made by generals or losses incurred by said winners. History, to put it bluntly, is written by historians and those with knowledge of past events.

On Facebook it now seems that merely writing about - and then sharing those writings - could violate community standards. Even in this era of "fake news" it isn't so easy to understand why the social network has taken this stance, but that was the case with a recent story that marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

This reporter wrote the piece, titled "Fact: Adolf Hitler Could Have Won World War II," for The National Interest and shared it on several Facebook groups devoted to military history. While the title could be seen to be provocative and perhaps even slightly shocking, this story wasn't meant as a glorification for Nazi Germany or Hitler, but was rather a straight forward look into the facts.

Comment: See also:


Brick Wall

Did the lockdown save lives?

empty highways city lockdown
For two to three months, Americans have suffered the loss of liberty, security, and prosperity in the name of virus control. The psychological impact has been beyond description. We thought we could count on basic rights and freedoms. Then over a few days in March, it all ended in ways hardly anyone could believe possible.

The manner in which governments dealt with foundational principles of modernity has been shocking. They put half the country under house arrest and managed every movement in disregard for the Bill of Rights and all legal precedent, to say nothing of the Constitution. It felt like a coercive unraveling of civilization itself. It's like we are all waking up from a bad dream only to look around and see the wreckage that proves it was all real.

So how can we deal with this terror that befell us? One way is to figure out some aspect in which our sacrifice has been worth it, maybe not on net given the consequences, but surely some good has come out of this. If my email and feeds are correct, this is how many people have been justifying this. The psychology here is rooted in the sunk-cost fallacy: when you commit resources to something, even when it is a proven error, you tend to find justifications by doubling down rather than just admitting the mistake.

Comment: See also:


Arrow Up

Deadlier than Covid? Medics sound alarm as lockdown suicides SOAR in US - and health officials knew it would happen

depressed
© Getty Images / Knk Phl Prasan Kha Phibuly / EyeEm
After two months of devastating lockdown, doctors at one California clinic say they've seen more suicides than Covid-19 deaths - and they're not alone. But warning signs were there since day one. Why have they been ignored?

"We've seen a year's worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks," Dr Mike deBoisblanc, lead trauma surgeon at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, told local media on Thursday, confirming the center had seen more deaths from suicide over the two-month lockdown period than deaths from coronavirus.

Not only are the numbers of attempts "unprecedented" but so is their seriousness, according to a trauma nurse at the clinic. "I have never seen so much intentional injury," nurse Kacey Hansen attested, adding the deaths are mostly young adults who are clearly not making "cry for help" suicidal gestures. "They intend to die."

Red Flag

Upcoming 'Apple Watch for kids' is a bad sign of creeping tech addiction

apple
© Getty Images / Yifan Ding
The next Apple Watch update may be a lot more child-centric, bringing better parental controls and a school mode. But regardless of the benefits, this early induction into the tech world is a win for the tech, not for the kids.

Enthusiasts digging into Apple software for hints of what future updates might bring have discovered that the Apple Watch, a gadget sold in the tens of millions every year, is likely moving to be more 'child-friendly' in the future. The new functions apparently in the works would make it more appealing for a parent to buy a set for their kids.

Big Tech is aiming to be with us from day one - but is it a world we should be looking forward to?

Over the past decade or so, the world's honeymoon period with a number of social media and tech giants has hit a few rocky patches. Many have begun to question whether the luxury of communicating with one another and purchasing online is worth handing away information detailing our every move.