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Sat, 15 May 2021
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Hugging lesson? BBC gets pilloried for giving tips on how to 'safely' embrace one another

covid hugging
© REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt
The BBC has exposed itself to a wave of internet scorn after lecturing Britons on how to correctly embrace one another, in response to reports that the government would soon "allow" hugging.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to push forward with plans to ease lockdown restrictions, including guidance on hugging. The government is "hopeful" that hugs will soon be permitted, but people should act "cautiously" when engaging in amicable touching, Health Minister Nadine Dorries said. Her remarks were echoed by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, who said Downing Street wanted to fully restore "friendly contact" between people.

The government's somewhat presumptuous belief that it could "allow" Britons to hug each other seemed to delight the BBC, which scrambled to assemble experts to weigh in on how to responsibly go about putting your arms around someone.

Comment: See also: Does the Handling of the Coronavirus by Our Government Amount to Torture?


CIA recruitment ad featuring gay agency librarian prompts backlash over more woke-washing

CIA woke inclusive recruitment ads
© YouTube / Central Intelligence Agency
For the second time in two weeks, a Central Intelligence Agency recruitment ad with a feel-good story about "inclusion" and "identity" has been criticized for virtue-signaling 'wokeness' to paint over its less wholesome actions.

The ad, released on the agency's official YouTube account in April as part of its ongoing 'Humans of CIA' series, features an unnamed employee who describes himself as an "agency librarian" during a voiceover monologue accompanying a sequence of videos showing him at work.

A previous point-of-view video in the series - from a "cisgender millenial" Latina intelligence officer with "generalized anxiety disorder" - elicited a widespread backlash after it went viral last week.

Comment: Another victory for the long-range project of destroying the US?

Other comments:

Star of David

Israel kills 20 Palestinians in Gaza, injures hundreds in Jerusalem as Al-Aqsa tensions flare

burning tire
© Ashraf Amra/APA Images
Palestinian protesters burn tires along the Israel-Gaza border.
Israeli forces killed 20 Palestinians, including nine children in an airstrike on the northern Gaza Strip on Monday evening, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported, as tensions escalated over Israeli aggression at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.

Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza on Monday evening, following rocket fire from Gaza that caused damage to one Israeli vehicle, and "lightly injured" one Israeli civilian, according to an Israeli army statement.

Some Palestinian media outlets reported that the Palestinian casualties were from the same family, though the Ministry of Health has yet to confirm the identities of those who were killed. The Israeli army said that "three Hamas operatives" were killed in a "targeted attack," but made no mention of the other reported casualties, including the children.

Comment: There are no winners here as tensions and actions ratchet out of control.

10/5/2021 Guess the response from the Biden administration in its State Department press briefing:
State Department spokesperson Ned Price began his Monday press conference by condemning Hamas for launching rockets at Israel.

"This is an unacceptable escalation. While we urge deescalation on all sides, we also recognize Israel's legitimate right to defend its people and its territory."

Said Arikat, Washington Bureau Chief for al-Quds, had a very direct follow-up question: "Do Palestinians have a right to self-defense?"

"Broadly speaking Said, we believe in the concept of self-defense. We believe it applies to any state," responded Price.

The AP's Matt Lee took note of this assertion and had an inquiry later in the press conference. Price had said that any state has a right to self-defense. Does the Biden administration view Palestine as a state? If they do not, was Price saying Palestinians don't have a right to self-defense?

When pressed on this, Price suggested it was complicated. "I'm not in the position to debate the legalities from up here. Our message is one of deescalation."

Later in the press conference Price was asked about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) referring to the situation in Sheikh Jarrah as ethnic cleansing. "That's not [terminology] we've used before," he said. "That's not something that our analysis supports."
10/5/2021 06:52 "Closed." Jewish visitors banned from Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day giving rise to angry Israelis:
In light of the tension and violence, Israeli security officials have chosen to restrict access to the Temple Mount for Jews on Monday, with a statement saying that "the Israel Police will continue to allow freedom of worship but will not allow riots."

The decision has sparked an angry reaction from Israeli right-wingers, with Otzma Yehudit party chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir lamenting that "violence and bullying have won," and even blaming the authorities and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for policies representing "harm to the Jews."

Complicating things further are the right-wingers' plans to hold the customary Flag Parade celebrating the "reunification" of the city - a mass event that usually proceeds into the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

10/5/2021 06:10 Numbers of injured keep rising as Israeli security personnel storm the holy site, several are in critical condition while nine officers sustained injuries:
At least 305 people have been injured, according to the Palestine Red Crescent, with as skirmishes continue - including tear gas attacks.

Authorities say that order has now been restored at the Temple Mount. According to reports, Israeli forces withdrew from the compound in the afternoon, allowing Palestinians who were sheltered inside the mosque to leave. Some worshippers were photographed cleaning up debris following the skirmish.

Those who stayed behind to help clean up in the aftermath of the violence collected piles of stun grenades, tear gas canisters, rocks, chairs, and other items that were used during the battle.

A spokesman for Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the "brutal storming" of the mosque, claiming it undermined peace efforts and presented a "new challenge to the international community."

The European Union's delegation to the Palestinians released a statement saying the bloc was "extremely concerned" by ongoing clashes in the Old City and urged all sides to refrain from violence.
10/5/2021 09:46 To make matters worse, an aggressive Israeli driver intent on rampage, comes under attack:
An Israeli motorist plowed into a Palestinian youth near Lion's Gate in East Jerusalem, reportedly after his car was attacked by a mob amid ongoing unrest in the city. CCTV footage shows a group of people chasing after a white automobile.

10/5/2021 17:15 The current situation also tallies deaths and injuries from Israeli air strikes:
Ambulance Gaza
© AFP/Mahmud Hams
Twenty Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes, including nine children, Gaza's Ministry of Health has said, after rockets fired from the territory towards Jerusalem were reportedly met with Israeli counterstrikes. Some of the scores injured were also treated at the Beit Hanoun Hospital in the north of Gaza, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
10/5/2021 17:51: Not bad enough yet? Fire erupts outside Al Aqsa mosque:
Blaze/western wall
© Reuters/Reuters TV
Israelis gather at the Western Wall, blaze in the background
Smoke rose above Jerusalem's Temple Mount as a tree outside the Al Aqsa Mosque went up in flames on Monday. Police said the fire at Al Aqsa was the result of "fireworks being fired at the Temple Mount plaza."

The mosque has not sustained any damage from the blaze, according to eyewitnesses.

See also:


Censored! Who needs a totalitarian state when zealous, woke workers ensure that books with 'invalid opinions' never get an airing?

© Unsplash / Alfons Morales
The publishing industry is encouraging grass roots censorship and increasingly giving in to employees who demand that certain views should never be able to be expressed - especially those involving trans issues.

It looks like publishing is fast becoming a career choice for ambitious would-be censors. The most aspiring and aggressive wing of the grass-roots censorship movement is the lobby policing publications dealing with trans-related issues. Recently a group of individuals from across the publishing industry associated with this lobby wrote a letter to The Bookseller demanding the censoring of books that it deems unfavourable to its cause.

The main point of the letter is to claim that trans culture cannot be a subject of debate and that publishers should prevent opinions that run counter to it from being published. It states:
"Transphobia is still perfectly acceptable in the British book industry. Our industry excuses it, says that to view transgender individuals as having less than full human rights is OK and an opinion as valid as others. Our industry is still very comfortable about giving this form of prejudice a powerful platform. We need to step away from the paradigm that all opinions are equally valid."
The demand to reject the paradigm that all opinions are valid is a roundabout way of saying that 'invalid' opinions can be legitimately censored and authors who hold such views should be cancelled and silenced.

Comment: See also:


Hong Kong pulls more democracy books from library shelves citing security law concerns

HK library
© GovHK
Hong Kong Central Library
Nine books written by Hong Kong pro-democracy figures and critics of Beijing have been removed from local public libraries for review, after the authorities cited potential national security law violations.

According to Apple Daily's report on Friday, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) ordered library staff to remove copies of nine books by six authors from the shelves as the titles had to undergo a review by the government. The LCSD confirmed with HKFP on Sunday that they have suspended services relating to the nine books, saying the move was to "avoid breaking the law."

Among the authors whose books are being vetted are former Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho, ex-Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan, political commentator Bruce Lam and Chinese-American writer and activist Yu Jie and Chinese dissident writer Liao Yiwu. Hong Kong Nationalism written by Undergrad - an editorial board of the Hong Kong University Students' Union, was also among the titles that are no longer available.
Chinese books
© Goodreads.com/Chinese University of Hong Kong Press
Some of the titles put under review by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.


Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit

Katie Hobbs
© Scott Kirby
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) is receiving security protection from the Arizona Department of Public Safety after she received several death threats during a controversial election audit in Maricopa County.

Hobbs's office confirmed to The Hill that she requested the protection Thursday "in light of recent death threats she has been receiving and after she was chased by a man she did not recognize yesterday."

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's (R) office also confirmed to The Hill that it had approved of the protection from the Department of Public Safety.

Hobbs has been a consistent critic of the election audit, which is being pushed by Republicans in the state Senate to call into questions the results from the 2020 presidential race in Arizona's largest county, which went for President Biden. The company conducting the audit has minimal experience in election tallying, and its chief executive has expressed support for former President Trump.

Comment: See also:


'Disappearance' of Navalny doctor sends Russia-bashers into overdrive... until he's found alive and well

FILE PHOTO. Alexander Murakhovsky, chief doctor at Omsk Emergency Hospital No. 1, Russia.
When Dr Alexander Murakhovksy set out for a long weekend of hunting in a Siberian forest, he had no idea he would soon be at the center of a massive local manhunt - as well as vivid conspiracy theories and a worldwide media storm.

On Sunday, as Russia celebrated Victory Day with a national holiday, the Interior Ministry in Omsk put out an alert for a man in his fifties who had become separated from his companions. He had reportedly not been heard-of since heading off into the woods on an all-terrain vehicle. To make matters worse, local residents claimed to have spotted bears in the area.

Comment: See also: Pro-western liberal, anti-migrant nationalist, or political opportunist: Who exactly is Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny?

Eye 2

UMass Amherst honor students suspended for not wearing masks off-campus while outside, parents will sue: 'It's been devastating'

UMass Amhurst students suspended masks off campus
© Twitter @davidwade screenshot
Three UMass Amherst honor students have been kicked out of school because they were seen in a photo without masks when they were off-campus and outside. The freshmen students will reportedly lose their course credits and tuition over the maskless photo that was posted on social media. The students' parents are ready to fight the university's decision.

The three female students posed for a photo while at an off-campus party that was held outside in March. The photo posted to Instagram were reportedly sent to UMass Amherst officials, who then suspended the three students.

"There was a photo sent to the administration of these girls outside off-campus on a Saturday," Kristin, a mother of one of the suspended students, said. "This is why they lost a whole semester of their schooling."

Comment: Amherst has fallen prey to the hysteria surrounding covid, and wokeness in general. This is not the first time Amherst has punished students. In February the university suspended 354 students, and in March nearly 200 students who attended an off-campus party. But somehow this case seems particularly vindictive.

Homonationalism? Amherst College's leftist Common Language Guide sparks free speech debate

Alarm Clock

Arizona citizens' group drops nuke: Sues state for 2018, 2019, and 2020 elections that were not in compliance with Arizona law

election maricopa county arizona audit
View of the floor of Maricopa County's election audit
How does Arizona get out of this? If this happened in Arizona what other states does this apply to?

This all leads back to our investigation of the outfits that certified the Arizona elections and were called back after the election by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBOS) to perform audits earlier after the 2020 election a few months ago.

We reported that the MCBOS would not allow the Arizona Senate to perform an audit of the county's 2020 Election results. The MCBOS sued to Senate to prevent the audit. Then when the Senate updated laws to clarify their right to audit and the courts found that the Senate has every right to audit the county's results, the MCBOS said ok you can do an audit but we want to select the auditors. They then said the only firms they would allow to perform their audit were those certified by the EAS.

Comment: Gateway Pundit also reports on the obstacles being placed in the way of a proper audit such as lack of access due to Dominion retaining crucial passwords. The brass of the Democrat machine is breathtaking:
Back on November 30, 2020, Maricopa County elections witness Jan Bryant testified before the Arizona legislature.

Jan has a strong project management background. She could not believe what she witnessed during the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Jan said back on November 30, 2020, that Maricopa County officials DID NOT RUN THE ELECTION! Dominion employees John and Bruce did.

Jan's testimony might explain why Maricopa County officials do not have Admin passwords or access to the Dominion voting machines.

They never had them!

Jan also testified under oath that county staff, not even IT staff were allowed access to the voting machines and that she witnessed Dominon employees with a laptop computer in the counting room.

Jan worked 6 days at MCTEC, has an MBA, and project management background in technology.

Transcribed Witness Text: Janice (Jan) Bryant
From Video Testimony here:
Captured 06:39:30 to 06:42:25
Nov. 30th 2020 - AZ Legislature's Election Fraud Hearing (Hyatt Hotel)

Jan Bryant: ....and back to my opening, I wanted to tell you that I do have a pretty strong project management technology background. This is not, I would say, everybody, raves about how we'll run and how tight this room is that we were working in. I was in the (MCTEC) tabulation center. You know the glass (wall) and the servers in a glass room. All the computers are on a single cable that you can see. None of that matters because of two things. One, the Dominion employees were the only ones that were running any of that equipment.

So I'm, I was in the tabulation center six different days. Day and night shifts. And no county employees, no IT people, no one else was touching any of the software. They (Dominion) did all the training for the adjudicators, they ran all the reports. And so I brought this up on my very first day in the room. I said this doesn't seem right, as a person with my background. Never in a million years would I turn my company's most important things over to someone else. And there's only two guys (Dominion's Bruce & John) and they had whole control of everything.

I also participated in the (2%) random ballot selection for hand audit. Picking the ballots, you know, determining which bins we were going to select. And even with that, Dominion ran the report for it (which bins to pull). So no one, I mean, they (Dominion) knew exactly what was in the hand audit boxes. That made me nervous also. And they also knew when we pulled the last box, which was probably eight days before they quit counting ballots. As a senior manager over big projects, never in a million years would I have allowed some of the stuff that I saw going on there.

RECAP: The exact bins to be pulled for the mandated 2% hand audit were decided by Dominion staff, using their EMS software, not randomly.

The other thing that I wanted to make sure. The final week that they were counting ballots, I came in on I think a Tuesday. When I had left the Friday before I did NOT notice there was a laptop in the room behind the (glass) wall, that "John" the Dominion employee was working on. When I came in on Tuesday and walked around where they were doing the hand entry of ballots, I noticed that laptop sitting there and John was working on it. It's not a secure room if you're bringing a laptop in and out of a room. Who knows what happened there. Every one of the 50 desktops that were in there had a row of USB ports on the side of it. So I get very angry when I hear some of our leader here saying "Oh, it's secure, nothing can get in or out.". That's not true. I will tell you that is probably the biggest issue that I had.
As so may have said, if Biden's win was legit, why keep throwing up issues? The Democrats should be falling all over themselves to have the audit vindicate their victory.


Victory Day belongs to the Russian people: Westerners must realize it celebrates destroying the Nazis, NOT honoring Stalin's USSR

Russia victory day 2021 stalin USSR
© REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov
Russian service members drive BMD-4M infantry fighting vehicles during a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 76th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2021
With tanks rolling through Red Square and jets screaming overhead, Russians are marking Victory Day on Sunday with a colossal parade, 76 years on from the surrender of the Third Reich and the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops.

These celebrations are often portrayed in the West as an effort to rehabilitate the USSR and its wartime leader, Joseph Stalin. In reality though, Moscow is far from eager to rewrite history, and most Russians are more than capable of commemorating the Soviet victory without endorsing Stalinism.

However, as preparations for the anniversary got underway, the Georgian strongman has again been making news. Just a week ago, in the Caucasian town of Dagestanskiye Ogni, a bust in honor of Stalin was erected. Unlike much of his legacy, it was short lived, and local authorities ordered its removal only four days after it was unveiled.