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Tue, 07 Apr 2020
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Dystopia: UK police using drones to shame people for going on 'non-essential' walks

Comment: Welcome to the Glorious Future...

drone uk
Derbyshire Police have tweeted a menacing video warning the public to stay away from the Peak District during the coronavirus lockdown.

The video shows police drone footage of unsuspecting members of the public hiking, walking their dogs and watching the sunset. All totally harmless behaviour, which is now deemed 'non-essential' - and by implication illegal - by the authorities.

The footage gives us a glimpse into the dystopia unfolding before our eyes. In the name of fighting coronavirus, in a matter of days Britain has become something of a police state. Millions of people are effectively under house arrest.

Comment: Further to the dystopia comparison, a worrying number of people in the UK aren't even interested in the facts surrounding the coronavirus and instead are rabidly denouncing any who would dare to question the mainstream narrative while also calling for an even harsher lock down.

See also:

Star of David

'Dumped him like trash!' Palestinian with suspected coronavirus symptoms thrown out of Israel

man, mask, coronavirus
© Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
It was like a scene straight out of a horror film.

That's how 25-year-old Ibrahim Abu Safiya described the moment he saw someone lying on the ground near an Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of Beit Sira village, west of Ramallah.

"We approached the man lying on the ground, and he looked terribly ill," Abu Safiya told Middle East Eye. "He had an extremely high fever. He could barely move his body and he was struggling to breathe," Abu Safiya said.

The man lying on the ground was a Palestinian labourer who works in Israel. He told Abu Safiya that he had been showing signs of the coronavirus over the past four days, and was recently tested for the virus. That test later came back negative.

But before the man, allegedly a resident of Nablus, could receive his test results, his Israeli employer reportedly called the authorities, who picked him up and dropped him on the other side of the Beit Sira checkpoint, which connects central Israel and the occupied West Bank.

"He told us that they just threw him here on the ground and left him," Abu Safiya recounted. "How could they do this to someone?" he asked. "It shouldn't matter if he's Palestinian, Israeli, or whatever. He's a human being."

Comment: Meanwhile, in the Negev Desert...Israel displays more of its old tricks
Israeli authorities destroyed hundreds of hectares of agricultural land in two Bedouin communities in the Negev desert this week while most other government activities were curtailed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

As Israelis were banned from meeting in groups of more than 10 and those flying in from abroad were quarantined, departments overseeing land use in the Negev continued to order evictions and clear land, a move that activists say violated the government's own ban against large gatherings.

On Monday morning, Israeli police officers and members of the Green Patrol, a paramilitary force within the Israel Land Authority focused on enforcement issues in the Negev, showed up at the outskirts of Wadi al-Na'am with tractors. Officials systematically destroyed a large swath of crops, leaving a massive expanse of upturned soil where there had been stocks of wheat and barley, used to feed their sheep and cows.

On Wednesday, authorities went to a second Bedouin village, Tel Arad, and destroyed crops there. Multiple large tractors drove over the land as residents looked on, recording with their phones.
Palestinian-Israeli presenter fired for taking part in rally against Netanyahu
Rivlin and Aharish
© Wikimedia
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin • Palestinian-Israeli news presenter Lucy Aharish
Prominent Palestinian-Israeli news presenter Lucy Aharish was fired from Israel's state-owned KAN 11 TV channel yesterday after taking part in an online protest sponsored by Israel's largest civil society organisation, the Darkenu movement, against Netanyahu and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Those who bothered to hear [Aharish's] words last night at the demonstration witnessed a speech that was a call for unity and statehood and against incitement and racism and in favour of respectful discourse," said Darkenu's director. "Lucy is a symbol of a common life between all parts of Israeli society and [her firing] is difficult to digest."

Aharish wrote on facebook: "These are not easy days, and those who love this country cannot stay on the sidelines... I cannot sit on the side, even if it costs me money and my living. Thank you so much, loved ones, for the endless support and love you sent yesterday. For years now, every time I make a criticism, voices speak out telling me to say thank you and shut up... So I'm asking you for the next few minutes to try to disconnect from my identity. Forget for a moment that a Muslim Arab woman is talking to you, but a human, flesh and blood woman, a citizen of the State of Israel, a country we all care about."


Medical kidnapping: Children taken from parents against their will

Katie Spencer, daughters
© Facebook
Katie Spencer and her daughters
With the amount of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. rising every day, the majority of states have issued mandatory social isolation, but does this include isolation from your own children?

Two mothers have recently spoken out about how the Coronavirus pandemic has been used to take away their children against their will, and some judges are ordering the removal of children due to potential exposure to the Coronavirus with their parents.

Healthcare workers at risk of losing their children due to possible COVID-19 exposure

A mother in Oklahoma shared a post on Facebook on March 21, stating,
"The police showed up on my doorstep at 10 PM and took my kids from me because I WORK IN A CLINIC."
According to the mother, and court documents shared on the social media site, a judge signed off on an ex parte hearing, approving the Emergency Motion to Modify Custody and for Pick-Up Order Due to Respondent Exposure to Coronavirus.


Moscow bans all regular & charter flights starting March 27, except those bringing Russians home - and other Covid-19 news

jet airliner plane
© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov
As part of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Russian government is shutting down all regular and charter international flights from Friday. The only exception will be for those repatriating its citizens.

No resumption date has been published, so far, and the suspension will not apply to cargo routes.

The cabinet also requested that the Foreign Ministry assist Russian citizens abroad until their return home. Russian embassies around the world will receive additional funds to provide support.

So far, 652 Covid-19 cases have been registered in Russia, with more than half of those infected in Moscow.

Comment: The city of Moscow has shut down all non-essential shops and restaurants. The new total of Russian cases is 840. One Russian government employee has been quarantined after possibly contracting the virus. Russian experts are warning that self-isolation may lead to more domestic violence and crime. Putin has recommended 'green corridors' of sanctions-free trade to the G20, and warned that the key risk currently is unemployment. The WHO agrees with the Kremlin that it's too early to introduce strict quarantine measures in Russia. Russia's military/medical convoy is currently making their 600km trek through Italy to Bergamo - their primary mission is decontamination.

Johns Hopkins says confirmed cases of Covid-19 have passed 500,000. (Germany: 4,954 new cases, 49 deaths; Iran: 157 new deaths, total 2,234; Spain: 4,000 total deaths alleged to be Covid-related; U.S.: 1,000 deaths; France: almost 4,000 new cases in one day, 365 deaths.) China - despite recording no new locally-contracted cases - has drastically reduced international flights to prevent imported cases, and barred foreigners from entering the country. Iran banned all internal travel between cities. The U.S. military confirmed their first case within the Pentagon after a Marine tested positive. The U.S. Senate finally passed the $2 trillion relief bill, which is now headed to the House.

See also:

Bizarro Earth

New York Times promotes face-veiling Indonesian Muslim 'Niqab Squad' as totally-not-extremist answer to Western feminism

Niqab Squad
© Global Look / Claus Bonnerup
The New York Times is singing the praises of Indonesia's born-again Muslim sects, profiling a group who mix Islamic doctrine with girl-power platitudes beneath their niqabs and hailing the garments as the answer to harassment.

The woker-than-thou outlet wants readers to know that these Indonesian ladies, who - unlike the vast majority of their countrywomen - sport the full-face veil known as the niqab, are anything but oppressed. They're photographed hitting bullseyes with bow and arrow from horseback, a feat made all the more impressive by the billowing folds of fabric that envelop their bodies, hiding all but their eyes.

The women profiled in the piece, many of whom are members of various traditionalist 'born again' Islamic sects, are depicted as eager to distance themselves from the extremism the veil tends to connote, even in majority-Muslim Indonesia, and the misogyny considered part and parcel of hardline Islamic regimes. But Indonesia is a secular country, and the Times sings the praises of the "thousands of mainly urban, middle-class women" who "have made [the choice to wear the niqab] for themselves," renouncing modern dress and "practicing sports that the Prophet Muhammad is thought to have enjoyed" at events around the country.

Arrow Up

Chicago Amazon employees win fight for paid time off as company condemned for 'reckless' labor practices

Amazon workers with DCH1 Amazonians
© DHC1 Amazonians United/Medium
DCH1 Amazonians United Members pose together with Amazon workers from around the world.
Amazon warehouse workers in Chicago on Monday were credited with forcing the company to finally guarantee the paid time off policy clearly stated in Amazon's employee handbook, following a months-long campaign.

Amid condemnation over Amazon's treatment of its employees during the global coronavirus pandemic, the company released a memo to its 800,000-strong workforce stating that starting Monday, all part-time and seasonal employees will be permitted to submit paid time off (PTO) requests, just as full-time workers can.

The new policy is simply a confirmation of what's stated in the company's employee manual, wrote a group of warehouse workers in Chicago known as DCH1 Amazonians United.

"Amazon did not 'give' us PTO — we took our PTO from Amazon's greedy hands," wrote the workers in a Medium post Sunday. "We went up against the wealthiest man in the world and we won."

Comment: Bezos' continued inhumanity toward his employees in a time of global crisis underscores his true nature:

Arrow Up

A record 3.3 million Americans just filed for unemployment benefits

The pace at which Americans are losing their jobs is absolutely breathtaking. According to the Wall Street Journal, the largest number of new claims for unemployment benefits ever recorded in a single week prior to this year was 695,000 during the week that ended October 2nd, 1982.

So that means that what we are now witnessing is completely unprecedented, as The US Department of Labor reports a stunning increase of 3.3 million people sought initial jobless claims last week amid the virus lockdowns (expectation was +1.7mm)

jobless claims
As Bloomberg wrote earlier, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard made a shocking prediction the other day that U.S. unemployment may hit a 30% in Q2. St. Louis Fed economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro published a blog post today explaining the back-of-the-envelope methodology used to arrive at a 30% unemployment rate. He noted that about 67 million people work in jobs with high risks of layoffs, including sales, production and food preparation. In addition, 27 million people work in businesses that require close physical contact, such as barbers and restaurant wait staff.

Considering the overlap between those two groups, Faria-e-Castro averaged them and concluded that 47 million people could lose their jobs. Add the current 5.7 million unemployed workers and divide by the 165 million people in the labor force, and he got 32% unemployment.

Comment: See: Massive social difficulties loom as worldwide job losses from coronavirus lockdown and economic downturn expected to reach 25 million


Coronavirus fear mongering: MIT Biologist doubles down his attack on "Deep State"

Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai
On Thursday, we wrote a piece about Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, an MIT scientist with 4 PHD degrees, after he said in his famous tweet that "fear mongering on coronavirus will go down as the biggest fraud to manipulate economies." He also accused the "Deep State" of scaring people and not telling the real truth about the deadly coronovirus.

Dr. Shiva went on to say that the media and the "Deep State" are doing the world a disservice by exaggerating the impact of the virus. The story has received over two million views since the article was published over a week ago. In the meantime, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a board-certified family practioner in New York, treated 350 coronavirus patients with 100% success using Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate.

Comment: See also:

Stock Down

The global economy won't bounce back soon

world economy
In February, the general consensus between large investment banks and supranational entities was that there would be a one-time hit to GDP in the first quarter due to the impact of the coronavirus, followed by a stronger, V-shaped recovery. The IMF expected a modest correction of global GDP of 0.1 percent, and the largest cut on estimates for 2020 growth was 0.4 percent.

Those days are gone.

The latest round of global growth revisions includes a slash of growth estimates for the first and second quarters and a very modest recovery in the third and fourth. Average GDP estimates are now down 0.7 percent, and JP Morgan expects the eurozone to enter a deep recession in the next two quarters (-1.8 percent and -3.3 percent in the first and second quarters), followed by a very poor recovery that would still leave the full-year 2020 estimate in contraction. The investment bank also assumes US slumps of 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, but a modest full-year growth. Capital Economics estimates a hit to the US economy for the full year that would cut 0.8 percent off previous estimates though still predicting growth, but a larger impact on the eurozone, with full-year 2020 growth at an avergae of -1.2 percent, led by a -2 percent prediction for Italy. This, unfortunately, looks like just the beginning of a downgrade cycle that adds to the issue of an economy that was already slowing in 2019.

Comment: As noted above, the economic situation was dire prior to the coronavirus hysteria:

People 2

Britain's middle class are about to discover the cruelty of its benefits system

universal credit
© Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
'People confronting universal credit's obstacles may join the half who find themselves propelled to local food banks.'
Millions of people are about to discover something they didn't know about British life. There is no longer a safety net. People who have paid tax and national insurance for years and never been near the social security system will be turning to it in their hour of need; yet far too late, like trapeze artists falling through the air, they will find that the net beneath them has been lowered dangerously close to the ground and is badly torn.

If these people once believed relentlessly misleading tabloid tales of benefit scroungers, they will have a rude awakening. They will find that when Iain Duncan Smith turned the screw on social security in 2012, he was right to warn claimants: "This is not an easy life any more, chum." As if it ever was.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has done well to honour 80% of wages for those "furloughed" from shut-down businesses - up to £2,500 a month. No one knows how many that covers and at what cost, but it was a macroeconomic necessity. One worry is the incapacity of the HMRC workforce, with 15,600 staff cut and 157 local offices with local knowledge closed: can they pay the wage subsidy to companies in time to save them? Many firms could still close, sending millions into unemployment.

Comment: Like the crash of 2008, the (near) collapse of 2020 may serve as a revelation to a significant proportion of those who, despite all the signs, were unwilling to face facts about the sorry state of the society they were living in: