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Mon, 02 Aug 2021
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Texas governor issues executive order restricting transportation of migrants due to COVID-19

Greg Abbott
© Gov. Greg Abbott's Office/WhatsApp-Image
Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order restricting ground transportation of migrants who pose a risk of carrying COVID-19 into Texas communities. The Executive Order also directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of such violation and reroute such vehicles back to its point of origin or a port of entry. DPS also has the authority to impound a vehicle that violates the Executive Order.

Governor Abbott stated:
"The dramatic rise in unlawful border crossings has also led to a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among unlawful migrants who have made their way into our state, and we must do more to protect Texans from this virus and reduce the burden on our communities. This Executive Order will reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure in our communities."

Comment: Governor Abbott also gives National Guard orders to assist local law enforcement with migrant arrests:
Governor Abbott on Tuesday sent his request for more "manpower" to mitigate border crossings in a letter to Maj. Gen. Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department, according to The Texas Tribune.
"To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed — in addition to the troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there — and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law," the letter stated, according to the news outlet. "I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border."
National guardsmen deployed under state orders are legally allowed to conduct law enforcement.

Abbott has repeatedly slammed President Biden for his handling of increased border crossings, with Tuesday's move marking his latest attempt to counteract it. Officials at the border have reportedly apprehended thousands of migrants attempting to enter the United States.
See also: Biden's border crisis gets worse; surge of illegal juveniles, fentanyl and migrant deaths


Canada border officers vote to strike, warn of supply chain disruption

Canada port
© Canada Border Services Agency
A strike by CBSA officers could impact operations at Canadian ports
Thousands of Canada Border Services Agency personnel have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike - something that could throw a wrench into port, cross-border trucking, airfreight and international parcel operations.

The strike could happen as early as Aug. 6, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union said on Tuesday. The union represents some 8,500 CBSA employees, including officers serving at ports of entry across the country.

The threat of a strike comes as Canada prepares to reopen its land border to nonessential travel for the first time since March 2020. The timing wasn't lost on the union, which warned that a strike could lead to "significant disruption to the flow of goods."

The impacts could bring delays to commercial vehicle traffic and impact parcel deliveries and duties collection, the union said.


St. Louis County Council votes 5-2 to rescind mask mandate, throwing rule into limbo

Public meeting
© Laurie Skrivan/lskrivan@post-dispatch.com
Public reaction to 5-2 council vote to repeal mask mandate.
The St. Louis County Council moved to end the county's new mask mandate Tuesday, throwing the order into legal limbo.

After hearing dozens of people rail against the mandate and County Executive Sam Page, council members voted 5-2 to end the order and rebuke Page for failing to consult them before issuing it, which they say was required under a new state law. Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-6th District, said:
"Too many American men and women have given the last full measure of devotion for us to be cavalier with the very liberty they fought and died to provide. I will not abide any measures that seek to compromise or erode our liberty and freedom."
Trakas was joined by council members Tim Fitch, R-3rd District, Mark Harder, R-7th District, Rita Heard Days, D-1st District, and Shalonda Webb, D-4th District. Councilwomen Kelli Dunaway, D-2nd District, and Lisa Clancy, D-5th District, dissented.

Page dismissed the vote as meaningless and continued to tout the mandate's benefits in remarks after the vote.
"We as elected officials cannot stand by and let the delta variant rack up more and more victims each and every day. Masks will help slow the spread of the virus while we continue to vaccinate as many people as we can."
Whether those masks will be mandatory is likely now a question for the courts. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican, has filed suit challenging the order. In the meantime, county residents will have to choose which of their leaders they want to believe as the highly infectious delta variant continues to spread.


Trans scholar writes essay threatening violence against women, gets featured by prominent university

Matt Thompson
© London School of Economics
A paper presented by a student at the London School of Economics in the gender studies department calls for direct and sustained violence against women, specifically those who hold gender critical views. The paper was presented first in April 2021 and then again in June at a conference in the Department of Gender Studies, which is organized by doctoral students.

Author of the paper Matt A. Thompson read from his work:
"We go unnoticed, right up until the moment they scream for mercy. Am I a threat to you? Do I send chills down your spine? Picture this, I hold a knife to your throat and spit my transness into your ear. Does that turn you on? Are you scared? I sure fucking hope so

The work was done as part of a course called Transnational Sexual Politics, taught by Dr. Jacob Breslow and Professor Clare Hemmings. The session, called "No Time, No TERFs, No Norms," featured four papers:
  • "Trans* Endemics: Embodying Viral and Monstrous Threat in Times of Pandemic,"
  • "Nationalism's Cannon Fodder: the Birth of Transpatriots,"
  • "Is Letting Trans Children Die "Common Sense"?, and
  • "Vomit and Time"


Moscow police raid apartment of The Insider's editor, Bellingcat & British intel-linked outlet is subject of MH17 defamation case

© Sputnik
FILE PHOTO. Roman Dobrokhotov, leader of the "We" movement, takes part in opposition protest in the mini park on Kudrinskaya Square, Moscow.
Police in Moscow have raided the home of Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of Russian investigative outlet The Insider, in connection to a defamation case. His publication has been accused of lying about a Dutch researcher.

The search comes less than a week after the website he founded was labeled a 'foreign agent' by the authorities.

Comment: Lest we forget it was the US that began this whole business of defining government funded news outlets as 'foreign agents': 'Smeared, shut out & shadow-banned': The inside story of how RT was branded a 'foreign agent' by free press-loving US officials

Dobrokhotov revealed on social media early on Wednesday morning that police officers had come to his flat.

Comment: Bellingcat is accused of having ties to British intelligence, and any Russian agency in the UK would be subject to similar, and likely worse, treatment. Taken together with other incidents, it seems that Russia's tolerance for those who appear to be working towards destabalizing peace in the country, and abroad, is waning:


UK watchdog slaps Advanz pharma company with massive fine over 6,000% price hike on essential thyroid drug

liothyronine tablets
© AFP / Loic Venance
The competition watchdog has fined a pharmaceutical company and its private equity backers more than £100m for inflating the price of crucial NHS medication, marking the second crackdown on a drug maker in less than a month.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it wanted to send a "clear message to the pharma sector that breaking the law will not be tolerated" as it fined Advanz for increasing the price of tablets used to treat thyroid hormone deficiency by 1,110pc over eight years.

Packs of generic liothryonine pills increased from £20 in 2009 to £248 in 2017. The CMA said the prices were "excessive and unfair".

Liothyronine tablets are off patent and should, in theory, be cheaper than branded drugs. Advanz was able to increase the price of the pills because there was no competition from rival suppliers in the UK market.


Black Lives Matter-backing mayor of Washington, DC now wants to FUND the police, citing spike in murders

capitol police
© Reuters / Mike Theiler
Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who had 'Black Lives Matter' painted on the street that leads to the White House, now wants to hire more police officers and reopen the courts, citing an increase in homicides in the US capital.

Slashing the police budget for 2021 by $15 million hurt recruitment, resulting in only 42 new hires as opposed to 250 in a normal year, Bowser said on Wednesday. She called for another $11 million to hire and train 20 more officers in the current fiscal year, and 150 in 2022. The proposal is unlikely to be approved by the city council, however.

Bowser and Chief Robert Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department also complained that federal prosecutors - who have jurisdiction in the capital - still haven't pressed charges in more than 2,000 cases, and the courts, closed due to the pandemic, still haven't fully reopened.

"No matter how you look at it, the system is not working at full capacity, and that means justice is delayed," she said.

Snakes in Suits

Threat of domestic vaccine passports will help 'cajole' young people into getting jabbed, UK Foreign Secretary Raab admits

nhs app covid
The plan to require digital vaccine certificates for entry to clubs and other venues will help pressure young people into getting the shot, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has acknowledged.

With more than 70% of adults in the country fully vaccinated, uptake among the young is still lacking, Raab said on Thursday, hinting that the health pass rollout could be abandoned if enthusiasm for the jab increases.

Reversing its position on the use of domestic vaccine IDs, the government announced last week that, starting from the end of September, proof of vaccination will be needed in order to go to nightclubs and attend events with large groups of people.

The foreign secretary told BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme that the yet-to-be-implemented policy is designed to keep large venues in operation.


Charles Murray's 'Facing Reality' — A Review

charles murray bell curve facing reality
© American Enterprise Institute
Charles Murray also authored "The Bell Curve"
A review of Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America by Charles Murray. Encounter Books, 168 pages. (June, 2021)

I've known about Charles Murray since 1994, when I was a voracious and unsupervised teen reader in rural Oregon grabbing the library's latest issue of the New Republic the instant it was shelved. It was here that I stumbled upon the shocking views Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein expressed in The Bell Curve about race, class, and inequality in America. I didn't give those views much deep thought at the time, and so my perception of Murray and his ideas hewed more or less to the dismissive conventional wisdom. It wasn't until I read a 1998 essay in Commentary magazine by Christopher Chabris that I began to reconsider. Chabris argued that the media furor around The Bell Curve obscured more than it illuminated, and that the consensus among psychologists on the importance of intelligence to life outcomes was indeed close to what Murray and Herrnstein had asserted. To my surprise, in the 21st century, my relationship with Murray and his ideas took a different turn, as I had the pleasure and honor of becoming his friend. And rather like Murray, I am now the sort of public figure that certain types of people feel they have to publicly denounce in order to establish their own group bona fides.

Star of David

Ben & Jerry's co-founders say nothing 'anti-Semitic' about ice cream embargo of illegal Israeli settlements: 'We're proud Jews

Ben & Jerry's Ben Cohen Jerry Greenfield
© REUTERS/Lou Dematteis
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream co-founders Ben Cohen (C) and Jerry Greenfield serve the first scoop of the resurrected Ben & Jerry's flavor "Wavy Gravy" at an event in downtown San Francisco August 24, 2005.
Ben & Jerry's co-founders have pushed back against claims of anti-Semitism following the company's decision to stop offering its ice cream products in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, noting that they themselves are Jews.

Writing in the New York Times, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield said they were "proud Jews" who view Israel's occupation of the West Bank as a barrier to peace.

"It's possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we've opposed policies of the US government. As such, we unequivocally support the decision of the company to end business in the occupied territories, which a majority of the international community, including the United Nations, has deemed an illegal occupation," they argued, in an op-ed published on Wednesday. The move to pull Ben & Jerry's from shelves in Israeli-occupied territories was in keeping with the firm's "progressive values."