Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Deadly Biden-Harris Assault on Cops


Having graduated from a state police academy at age 19, having served as a uniformed police officer for three years while in college, and having carried various law enforcement commissions since then, I’ve always maintained a fraternal relationship with the men and women in blue.

Whenever the Democrat Party seeks to politicize a police-involved shooting — meaning only those rare occasions when a white police officer kills a black suspect — I step into our analysis of those incidents with a very different perspective than virtually all news and policy analysts. My perspective has been shaped not only by actually having walked in the shoes of a law enforcement officer (LEO), but by my involvement with federal, state, and local LEOs in the years since.

Barack Obama’s disgraceful eight-year war on cops had deadly consequences for police officers — and for citizens of our nation’s most crime-infested urban centers. But his utter disdain for everyone in uniform — police and military — pales in comparison to the assault on LEOs being waged by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and the consequences it will have for all Americans.

In the middle of the CV19 pandemic shutdown, Harris, Biden, and their enemy-of-the-people cadre used the death of a black Minneapolis man, George Floyd, as political fodder for a race-bait hustle to light up their Democrat constituents — and urban centers. The result: Uncontrolled burning, looting, and murder — and the billions of dollars in damages — compliments of the Demos’ Marxist Black Lives Matter radicals and their so-called “antifa movement” of self-styled “anti-fascist” fascists.

Biden and Harris claim that our nation is saturated at every level with “systemic racism,” and they thus stepped over the epidemic of black-on-black murders and their epic urban policy failures to foment racial unrest and blame it on law enforcement.

Biden and Harris calculated their blame-shifting charade would rally legions of suburban “white privilege” Democrats nationwide — those emotionally incontinent adolescents of all ages with their virtue-signaling Biden-Harris yard signs. They especially depend on white women voters, who cast the majority of votes for Democrat presidential candidates.

But of course, the crisis in urban centers is not a “police problem.”

The real “systemic” problem in Minneapolis and other urban centers that have been run into the ground by generations of Democrat “leadership” is that inner-city black families have been systematically oppressed by Democrats. As a result, the Democrat-controlled city of Minneapolis is now a wreck.

To propagate this cruel charade, these same Democrats don’t dare “say the names” of all the victims of their failed social policies.

As Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley notes: “Police shootings have fallen precipitously since the 1970s. … Empirical studies have found no racial bias in police use of deadly force, and that the racial disparities that do exist stem from racial differences in criminal behavior. The problem isn’t a shortage of data but a race-based narrative that is immune to any data that challenge it.”

So, whose narrative?

After a lifetime observing how the Left has manipulated black constituents, Walter E. Williams notes, “The true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called ‘systemic racism.’” Instead, he says, “We need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities.”

No sooner had the Minneapolis epicenter of nationwide urban riots cooled down than Biden and Harris jumped on the justifiable shooting of a black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by a white officer.

On the Kenosha incident, celebrity LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers declared, “It’s amazing to me why we [black Americans] keep loving this country and this country does not love us back.”

I couldn’t care less about Rivers’s opinion, but Biden and Harris embraced his position. Biden asserted yesterday to an ever-shrinking audience, “Think about what it takes for a black person to love America.”

And when the Kenosha story started to fade, the Demo-duo then stirred the race-bait pot by claiming injustice in Louisville.

They were thus among the strongest advocates of all those “peaceful protesters” across the nation.

In Portland this week, the Biden-Harris mobs of “peaceful protesters” sponsored a “Day of Rage” ahead of Columbus Day — or as the Biden campaign promoted it, “Indigenous People’s Day.” With no resistance from that city or state’s Democrat leaders, rampaging rioters, including a former Democrat candidate, tore down statues of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and then ransacked the Oregon Historical Society building.

All of those arrested by Portland PD were white-privileged leftists.

In Seattle, where the Democrat politicos are no longer objecting to police intervention, this week police arrested 16 leftists after they threw explosives at officers while yelling “KILL COPS.”

“KILL COPS” could be a centerpiece of the Biden-Harris platform.

There was a time when big-city police unions backed Democrats in a quid pro quo with the elected Demos in those jurisdictions. They did so even though most rank-and-file police supported Republicans. But no more. Recall that in the first presidential debate, Biden couldn’t name a single major police organization backing his ticket. He later admitted, “I have had overwhelming support from police my whole career up until this year.”

In fact, the nation’s largest police organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, endorsed President Donald Trump in September. That followed the endorsement of the New York City Police Benevolent Association, which hasn’t endorsed a candidate in 36 years.

Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, declared that Biden has “shifted 180 degrees.” The head of the National Association of Police Organizations, Bill Johnson, said Biden “kept moving left and fell off the deep end.” The NAPO had endorsed Biden in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Biden has said that “absolutely” some police funding should be redirected. His campaign team has been on the frontlines of those supporting the “defund the police” movement, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans believe funding for police should stay the same or increase.

Recall that Harris told The New York Times, “It is status quo thinking to believe that putting more police on the streets creates more safety,” and that perspective is “just wrong.” But the fact is, black Americans appreciate police presence in their communities as much or more than anyone.

In state campaigns, the visceral attack on police is much worse. For example in Arizona, Demo Mark Kelly’s Senate campaign spokesman, T.J. L'Heureux, recently publicly referred to police in Chicago as “worthless f—ing pigs.”

Amid all the violence that is the direct result of their politicization of police-involved shootings, Biden and Harris pretend to oppose all the violence committed by their Demo constituents. But the net result is that they are leaving a long list of victims in the wake of their condemnation of LEOs.

As a result, there’s now an exodus of police, including the top cops in 18 of the nation’s 70 largest cities. There are fewer police officers per capita than any year of the last quarter century – a 9 percent drop since 2007.

If elected, their reckless assault on police officers will have dire results and will, inevitably, find its way into your neighborhood. Make no mistake: The most formidable political wall of defense against that havoc is Donald Trump.

UK: We have to get out of this spiral of authoritarianism

Lockdowns are having a devastating impact on people’s lives. It’s time for some serious dissent.

We voted to take back control, and yet it’s hard to remember a time when people were less in control of their lives than they are right now. This is the tragedy, and the failure, of the Boris Johnson government. It was swept to power on a wave of democratic yearning, on a people’s tiredness of life under the diktats and decrees of bureaucrats and self-styled experts. And where have we ended up? In a situation where every facet of our existences – from where we’re allowed to go to which loved ones we may hug – is governed in minute detail by long, dry decrees drawn up by the powerful and well-educated. Take back control? I’ve never felt more controlled in my life.

Something has to be done about the terrible Covid spiral the government has pushed this country into, about our dizzying descent into more and more local lockdowns and reams of life-denying rules and regulations. For me, the worst thing about yesterday’s unveiling of the three-tier lockdown approach was not the announcement itself, not the actual traffic-light system drawn up by officials to dictate to the populace whether they’re allowed to travel, visit family, work, live. No, it was the waiting for the announcement. It was that utterly disempowering sense of trepidation as I and millions of others – mere citizens, after all – waited to hear what our fate would be. Whether you would still have a job, whether your business will survive, whether you may get married, whether you may visit your dying grandmother, whether you’re allowed to leave your hometown: we waited, impotently, like serfs rather than voters, to discover what the powers-that-be had in store for us.

And for some people, what the government had in store was devastation. No one could fail to be moved by the sight of Liverpudlian hospitality employees on BBC News in floods of tears because the latest government decree effectively means the end of their jobs, and possibly of their businesses. The Liverpool city region has been put into the most severe tier of lockdown, which means pubs and leisure centres must close, households are forbidden from mixing indoors or in gardens, and travel is restricted. Just like that, with the swipe of an official’s pen, more than a million people’s lives are put on ice and their livelihoods are put in grave danger. It’s a sacrifice we must all make, say government officials and the lockdown zealots in the broadsheet press and the knowledge economy. That’s easy for them to say. Their jobs are mostly secure. As of yesterday, that is not the case for many in Liverpool and elsewhere in the north. Their lives will become more precarious, poorer, more full of despair.

It is time officials and other influential people who have been so blasé in calling for lockdowns and laws to stem the spread of Covid-19 considered the impact of what they are doing. Losing one’s livelihood is about so much more than losing income, which is why those who think everything will be fine so long as we drag out the furlough scheme for longer are so wrong and clueless. Work gives people a sense of purpose and of control over their lives. It allows them to plan and to save. It gives them some command over their family’s destiny – saving for your daughter’s college education, keeping something in store for future weddings, planning one’s retirement. All of this, this stuff of life, is thrown into utter disarray when people’s livelihoods are wrecked. There are many, many people whose ability to govern their own lives has just been laid to waste.

It was striking that yesterday there was a huge controversy over a government-backed advert encouraging people in the arts to retrain for other forms of work. ‘Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet)’, the witless, insulting ad says next to a photo of a ballerina tying her shoes. And yet where was the outrage when tens of thousands of retail workers lost their jobs as a result of lockdown? And bar workers? And hotel cleaners? Those people’s jobs were important, too. And yet as these jobs fell apart and people were forced, in what threatens to be the worst recession on record, to seek out the meagre assistance of Universal Credit, some of the same people who fumed over the government’s crass ballerina advert shrugged and said: ‘Well, we have to lock down. It’s the only way.’

This disparity of concern captures one of the core problems with the cult of lockdown: the moral, political and economic gap between the people making the decisions and the people who must live with the consequences of those decisions. When SAGE scientists call for another national lockdown (an idea Boris Johnson rejected), you get the impression that the job security and economic comfort enjoyed by these experts makes them blind, at least partially, to the devastation lockdown has wreaked on other people’s livelihoods and their mental and spiritual health. When middle-class commentators and academics bark at Boris for failing to lock down sooner and harder, what I hear are the entitled voices of people who are largely bubble-wrapped from the worst consequences of the manmade recession of the Covid era. Still working at home, Zooming their colleagues, having meals delivered by underpaid Deliveroo workers, making their sourdough bread – there is a whiff of Marie Antoinette to the lack of concern for other people’s lives implied in their lockdown fanaticism.

What we urgently need is to democratise the discussion of Covid and what we should do about it. This doesn’t mean carrying out yet more opinion polls, in which a government-terrorised, fractured populace is essentially tested by pollsters to see if they are still scared. (Answer, every time: yes.) Polling, especially in an era in which parliamentary life was temporarily put on hold and public gatherings and protests have been banned, is not true democratic engagement. No, we need the inclusion of vastly more voices and concerns in this debate. Workers’ voices, stay-at-home mums’ voices, pub owners’ voices, ordinary people’s voices – the people impacted by lockdown should become the driving force in the discussion about future Covid policy.

That is what ‘taking back control’ should mean. It is what democracy should mean. We must have the right to consent, and, importantly, to not consent, to the laws we are expected to live under. Drawing the masses into the Covid discussion is the only solution going forwards. As long as this issue remains the property of experts (usually experts of a pretty samey outlook), and of politicians who have disavowed their responsibility to govern in the broadest interests of society in favour of ‘following the evidence’, and of talking heads and academic voices who are relatively immune to the devastations of lockdown, we will remain in this authoritarian spiral. The common sense and the interests of the rest of the society, of the majority, must now be activated and taken seriously. They should be the guiding force.

There would be huge hostility to this, of course. Anyone who doubts the reluctance of the lockdown lobby to democratise the discussion only needs to look at what has happened to the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD). This initiative, set up and supported by medical and scientific experts opposed to lockdowns as a means of dealing with Covid, has been subjected to the most extraordinary smear campaign. Google has ‘shadow-banned’ the GBD, pushing it down its list of search results. The Guardian and Observer have gone into typical dissent-crushing mode, even contacting one of the founders of the GBD – Martin Kulldorff – to ask him why he agreed to be interviewed on a podcast that has previously interviewed anti-Semites. Smear by association.

The censorious hysteria over the Great Barrington Declaration confirms how determined some people are to exclude dissenting voices from the Covid debate. And if they don’t want to hear from questioning scientists, they are even less likely to want to hear from pub owners or retail workers or builders. This needs to change, radically. As spiked argued at the very start of all this, on 23 March, dissent doesn’t become a luxury we can live without during a time of crisis – on the contrary, it becomes essential. We need to hear dissenting voices ‘because they can help to hold at bay the desire for unflinching certainty and dogmatic responses to Covid-19, both of which could end up causing as much harm to our society and our wellbeing as the disease itself’, we argued.

People who want a more democratic, dissenting approach to the Covid crisis are often written off as cranks and conspiracy theorists. We’re told that we are failing to take this virus seriously, that we want it to ‘rip’ through the population. This is untrue. We know Covid poses a serious health challenge. And we know that some measures must be taken. What we are calling for is a more rational, reasoned response which emphasises shielding the vulnerable and offering shielding to the elderly, while allowing everyone else to determine their own risk levels and to carry on working and living as normal. It is perfectly possible to protect vulnerable people from disease and to protect our economy and our society from the manmade devastation of the dogmatically controlling response to the virus we have seen thus far.

We need democracy. We need to engage communities in Covid decision-making and trust individuals to decide for themselves what risks they are prepared to take. Trust, engagement, reason and openness – these are the tools that will get us through this crisis in one piece and allow us to start living again, rather than merely existing.

The tech oligarchs are a menace to democracy

The censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden exposé is a frightening intervention in the election.

Silicon Valley crossed a line last night. The powerful tech platforms made their most explicit and brazen intervention into democratic politics yet. The New York Post has produced allegations of corruption against one of the presidential candidates. But Facebook and Twitter have used their powers to stop people from reading the exposé.

The Post alleges that Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, took cash from a Ukrainian oil company in exchange for granting access to his father. It has published emails from Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, who allegedly thanked Hunter for ‘inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father’ (sic). Biden has always vociferously denied having ever spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings.

Facebook and Twitter quickly mobilised to stop the spread of the story. Facebook’s communications director, Andy Stone, announced that ‘we are reducing its distribution on our platform’ as part of ‘our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation’. Twitter, meanwhile, blocked users from linking to the story and from posting photos from the report. Users who clicked links that had already been posted were told that, ‘This link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful’. This message was later updated to say, ‘The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially spammy or unsafe’. The New York Post’s Twitter account was also blocked on the grounds that the story violated rules against the ‘distribution of hacked material’. Then, when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted the story from her personal account, she was locked out of her account.

Journalists from other outlets have raised concerns about the strength of the Biden story. The email that forms the basis of the exposé came from a trove of data recovered from a laptop, which allegedly belonged to Hunter, and was dropped off at a repair shop in 2019. The Post was tipped off by former Trump aide Steve Bannon and was provided with the hard drive by Rudy Guiliani, the former NYC mayor who is a Trump ally. Neither of them are particularly trustworthy characters. Journalists and social-media users are right to ask questions about how the hard drive ended up in those hands.

But for the tech platforms to block the story on the grounds that it is ‘unsafe’ or unethically sourced is an act of censorship, pure and simple. It is not only an astonishing and unprecedented intervention into the free press (Facebook and Twitter have never rebuked a mainstream publication in this way before), but it is also an astonishing and unprecedented intervention into democracy. In the middle of a highly fractious election, Silicon Valley has deliberately tried to suppress information that could damage one candidate and benefit another.

Just imagine the outcry if this were done on behalf of the ‘fascist’ Donald Trump. But instead, you have self-proclaimed liberals cheering on the Silicon Valley censors, celebrating the unaccountable power of tech companies to decide what information members of the public can access.

Facebook and Twitter’s intervention didn’t come out of nowhere, of course. Social-media censorship has been growing for some time now. It started with fringe figures, as bans were handed out to conspiracy theorists, racists and trolls. But it now extends to the president’s press secretary and one of America’s most popular newspapers.

Social-media platforms constitute the new public square. It is nigh-on impossible to participate fully in democratic life without an online presence, and information that is excluded and suppressed from the online space is unlikely to travel very far. We cannot allow tech oligarchs to police democratic politics.

Minor Australian bank BANS customers from using credit cards on any gambling services including Sportsbet and pokies - sparking backlash as critics ask whether McDonald's will be next

A bank has banned its customers from using credit cards on any gaming or gambling services, sparking backlash from customers who claim McDonald's will be next for selling unhealthy food.

Bank Australia has informed its customers they will not be allowed to make any gaming transactions on their credit cards from December 1.

'Effective from 1 December 2020 we are blocking all gambling and gaming transactions on credit cards,' the 'responsible' bank wrote to customers.

Chief executive of the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores, Jeff Rogut, told the Courier Mail the bank should not be controlling how customer's behave.

'I don't think the ­companies that are offering the service should decide where consumers are spending their money,' Mr Rogut said.

He said the bank could 'take it to another extreme' by not processing payments for alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets.

Director at The Centre for Independent Studies, Peter Kurti, said it was 'odd' that a bank would dictate these 'moral decisions'.

'What's next? If you go to Dan Murphys or McDonalds and make four trips in a week is the bank going to say "no it's bad for you"?' Mr Kurti said.

Mr Kurti said if his bank 'did this to him' he would be frustrated and immediately cancel his credit card.

Bank Australia is customer-owned, meaning there are no external shareholders.

'We return our profits to our customers through pursuing our purpose of doing good for people and the planet as well as offering competitive and fair rates, fees and services,' the website reads.

A Bank Australia spokesperson said any money loaned from savings and deposits by customers needs to be used responsibly.

'As part of our commitment to responsible banking we want to make sure that the money we lend is used in ways that minimise potential harm to our customers and others,' he said.

The spokesperson said the bank does not think gambling with funds that are borrowed from other customers is responsible.

He said a 'majority' of the bank's' 165,000 customers supported the new changes.

Customers are still allowed to make gaming and gambling payments on their debit cards.




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