Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Replacing table salt with substitute reduces rates of stroke, heart attack, death, study finds

Here were go again: The old certainty that salt (NaCl) is bad for you. All the evidence that we simply excrete any excess is simply ignored.

The study below was mainly of elderly existing stroke victims and even there the effects were only of borderline significance. There are no lessons in it for people in general

The study, which was led by researchers from Sydney's George Institute for Global Health, has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"I think this study has something for everyone, and I mean literally everyone, in the world," George Institute executive director and study co-author Bruce Neal told ABC RN's Health Report.

"Almost everyone in the world eats salt, and almost everyone in the world eats more salt than they should.

"If salt was switched for salt substitute worldwide, there would be several million premature deaths prevented every year."

So what's the problem with salt?
The recommended amount of salt for adults is about one teaspoon a day — equivalent to 2,000 milligrams of sodium.

High salt intake is linked to raised blood pressure, kidney damage, strokes and heart attacks.

It may even raise the risk of Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, by increasing tissue damage through oxidative stress and inflammation.

The director of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Tom Marwick, says there is "no doubt" that consuming too much salt is associated with cardiovascular disease.

"We know that salt is a major driver of disease," he said.

"Getting community salt intake down has been an ongoing issue for decades."

Shouldering part of our salt intake is something Professor Neal terms "discretionary salt" — salt added for seasoning when you're cooking and eating, or when you're preserving foods.

The salt substitute he and colleagues developed comprised 75 per cent sodium chloride — so 75 per cent regular salt — and 25 per cent potassium chloride.

"It's the sodium that's the bad bit in salt," Professor Neal said.

"So the particular combination, the 25/75 mix, we chose in large part because we knew it gave a blood pressure lowering effect, but we also knew it tasted very similar to regular salt."

What happened when salt was switched

Between April 2014 and January 2015, 21,000 adults from 600 rural villages in five provinces across China were recruited for the study.

Participants all had a history of stroke, or poorly controlled blood pressure.

"We went to rural China, because it's relatively easy to replace the salt in a rural Chinese diet," Professor Neal said.

"We gave half of the people a salt substitute [and] the others continued to use 100 per cent sodium chloride, so just regular salt."

Study recruits were followed for five years. Strokes, heart attacks and deaths in each of the two groups were recorded and compared.

"We wanted to try and answer the question once and for all: if we reduce the amount of [table] salt that people ate, could we reduce clinical events?" Professor Neal said.

For those using the salt substitute, researchers found their stroke risk was reduced by 14 per cent; total cardiovascular events — that's strokes and heart attacks combined — reduced by 13 per cent; and premature death by 12 per cent.

The salt substitute group also ended up with lower blood pressure than the table salt group, Professor Neal added.

"It's not that far off what you get with a drug, and the effects [on reducing cardiovascular events and death] are perhaps not that far off what you get with the drug as well."

Professor Marwick said while the research was "a very significant achievement", it was conducted among a high-risk group.

"Stroke is a particular problem in China, but nonetheless, [the researchers] have shown a benefit," he said.

"The relative risk reduction of stroke was 14 per cent, and the absolute reduction was five per thousand – it's not nothing, but it's not huge.

"But what they have shown is that a relatively small reduction of salt intake does have an impact."

Are salt substitutes safe?

Salt substitutes may not be suitable for everyone due to the use of potassium.

Professor Neal said that high levels of potassium in your blood, known as hyperkalemia, could make you prone to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death, particularly in people with chronic kidney disease.

As a result, people with serious kidney diseases were excluded from the trial, as were people using medicines that already raised their potassium.

"We saw no evidence of any increased risk of events caused by hyperkalemia. And we saw no evidence of any increased risk of sudden death either," Professor Neal said.

And while salt substitutes are a "pretty cheap" change to make, they are still more expensive than salt — about $2.20 per kilogram in China, compared to $1.48 per kilogram.

Professor Neal said he was concerned this price difference might put people off using salt substitutes.

"I think we're going to need to consider subsidising the cost of salt substitutes to the cost of regular salt in lower income settings if we're going to get the benefits," he said.

Professor Marwick said salt substitution was "a significant step, but not the only solution to a community-wide problem with salt".

"We can look at changing food intake, rather than substitution alone," he said.


Withdrawal of planned guidance on chronic fatigue syndrome upsets patients

I once contracted this but thanks to my good immune system, I recovered after a month

It was years in the making, involving thousands of scientists, medics, patients and campaigners all with a vested interest in the first landmark guidance on ME of its kind for 14 years.

After much wrangling, the contentious document about myalgic encephalomyelitis (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) had finally been seen by all stakeholders – but it was not to be.

Earlier this month, hours before publication, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) withdrew the planned guidance and pressed pause on changes that could have affected up to a quarter of a million sufferers and those who treat them, saying: “It has become apparent that a number of professional groups are unwilling to support the guidelines.”

The move has not only left patients distraught but has worsened the already sharp discord within the scientific community over approaches to the poorly understood condition.

On the surface, the delay appeared to pit vulnerable patients – who for decades have suffered prejudice, disbelief and stigma surrounding their illness – against what critics consider to be bad doctors and faulty science.

But a closer look at the controversy points to distinct differences of opinion about the nature of evidence underpinning contested behavioural approaches to ME, and how it has been assimilated and interpreted.

ME is thought to affect up to 250,000 people in the UK. Characterised by debilitating pain and fatigue, it hits one in four sufferers so severely that they are housebound. A constellation of other symptoms, from gastrointestinal issues to nervous-system disorders and sleep problems, can accompany the fatigue.

But what causes the disease remains unclear and consequently no specific treatment exists, although graded exercise therapy (Get) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) have been used in an attempt to manage symptoms.

Nice last issued recommendations on ME in 2007. The new final guidance, seen by the Guardian and broadly in line with a draft published last November, would have abandoned the recommendation to use Get, which involves incremental increases in physical activity to gradually build up tolerance. It also advised that CBT, a talking therapy commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, is not curative for ME.

Charities and patient groups fighting for greater recognition of ME as a medical illness rather than a psychological problem had welcomed these changes. But a number of professional medical groups did not.

At the heart of the dispute is the Pace trial, which evaluated the effectiveness of interventions for ME, including Get and CBT. The results, published in 2011, suggested that both approaches were moderately beneficial for some ME patients, based on patient reports.

Critics, however, say the trial, the biggest of a range of similar studies, was riddled with shortcomings. Trial design concerns included the symptom criteria used to recruit patients in the trial, which critics say was too broad and could have led to people with milder disorders being included.

Another cited drawback is the lack of objective measures to measure outcomes – an activity tracker should have been used to cement subjective measures such as patient reports, said Jonathan Edwards, emeritus professor of connective tissue medicine at University College London and an expert witness for Nice.


If We Soak the Rich, Will Everyone Get Wet?

President Joe Biden describes his $3.5 trillion spending scheme as a way to improve the economy and "build back better."

The intention is a good one, but at its core, this plan isn't so much about growing people's wealth as it is redistributing it. The goal is to make the economy not more prosperous but more equitable -- fairer.

The multi-trillion dollar spending plan offers lower-income and even middle-income people truckloads of free things: health care, dental care, food, pre-K, child care, rental assistance, student loan forgiveness and free community college. And we know that Americans love freebies.

But nothing the government doles out, including the proverbial "free lunch," is ever really "free." So to pay for the giveaways, the rich will pay more taxes under the Biden plan -- a lot more. Tax rates would rise to 50% or more, and death taxes would increase by a record amount. As one liberal commentator recently put it, "It's time to divide the spoils of the American economy."

But our tax code already is highly progressive, and far more than most people have been told.

If you believe the media, you would think there are country clubs full of millionaires and billionaires who pay little or no taxes. Some invest a lot of money in tax accountants and tax avoidance, but that isn't because tax rates are not high enough. If someone has a zero tax liability, raising the tax rate to 50% still means paying 50% of zero, which is zero. Tax avoidance happens because Congress has affixed so many special interest loopholes onto the tax code, like barnacles on the hull of a ship.

But as a group, the top 1% carry a surprisingly hefty portion of the income tax burden on their backs, much more so than in the past. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, the top 1% in income paid a little less than 20% of all federal income taxes. Amazingly, back then, tax rates were a lot higher than now.

Today, according to IRS data collected by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the top 1% pay roughly 40% of income taxes. The Tax Foundation has found that this is close to a record share of taxes paid by the rich, and far higher than in most other nations. Even in the more socialist European nations, the rich don't pay that large a share.

Here's another way to think about it. The wealthiest 1% now pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 90%. But as rich as Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z and Bill Gates are, they don't make anywhere near the combined income of the tens of millions of people with incomes below $100,000 a year.

The Biden plan seeks to force the top 1% to pay almost half of all income taxes. But, even if that were possible, is that a good thing for a democracy? Is it good that one out of 100 people bear the burden of half of all the taxes? These are highly successful people for sure, and most are small-business owners and investors. Still, since when in America do we have an explicit policy of punishing success?

The other troubling trend in federal tax policy is that since the coronavirus hit, the share of people who pay no taxes at all has skyrocketed. The Tax Policy Center shows that six of 10 households paid no federal income taxes during pandemic-stricken 2020. That's right. Zero.

Suppose the Biden plan, which dramatically expands tax credits for children and offers other loopholes, is passed. In that case, this percentage could rise to two-thirds of households avoiding income taxes altogether.

It is a dangerous trend. Do we really want nearly 200 million people receiving free government services but not paying any income tax to support the government? If the government becomes essentially free for most people, then these citizens will tend to vote continuously for more free goods and services. It is an outcome for which our forefathers issued warnings. They worried that if voters come to believe they can vote for spending policies that line their own pockets and make other people pay, our democracy will perish.

The temptation to plunder the wealth of the rich legally is called "the tyranny of the majority." It is why every worker and voter should have skin in the game in how our government spends money. One way to ensure this is to have a tax system that requires everyone to contribute, even if it is only a few hundred dollars of taxes a year.

A simple flat tax rate of 19% without all the loopholes would force almost everyone to pay some tax each year. Moreover, it would preclude the millionaire and billionaire crowd from sheltering the bulk of their income in loopholes and exotic deductions.

The Democrats love to talk about how "we are all in this together," and they are right. This is why we must not tolerate an income tax system with more than half of the public paying nothing. If only the rich pay the taxes, then a common lesson of history is that there are fewer and fewer rich people to soak over time.


The Prince of Prussia's Nazi problem

Perched on a mountain top overlooking the Swabian Alps, Hohenzollern Castle, with its picturesque towers, seems like something out of a fairytale. It is a relic from a bygone era. When the proud owner is at home, his flag waves defiantly in the wind, but it bears the colours of a kingdom that no longer exists: the black-and-white of Prussia.

Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, is the current head of the House of Hohenzollern. It is strange to look at the smiling businessman in the tailored suits and think of him as a Kaiser. But the 45-year-old father of four would be exactly that had the German monarchy not fallen.

His dynasty can trace its roots back to the 11th century. They became the first, last and only royal family to rule over a unified German nation state, but were forced to relinquish their power after the last German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, was held responsible for the calamity of the first world war. Germans have since found it difficult to find a place for the Hohenzollerns in the national narrative.

While Georg Friedrich has always maintained that he has no ambition to carve out a political role for himself, he has been keen to restore his family’s estate, much of which was confiscated in the wake of the second world war. According to the prince, this affects around 10,000 pieces of art as well as usage rights for palaces. In total, the disputed property amounts to hundreds of millions of euros.

Since reunification in 1990, the German state has generally been sympathetic towards those whose property was nationalised or seized after the second world war. While this happened in West Germany too, in the East land redistribution became an official policy. The former ‘elites’ were seen as fair game as they were unanimously regarded as Nazi sympathisers. Property above 100 hectares was confiscated and redistributed, which affected the Hohenzollerns particularly badly as their power base lay in the north east of Germany.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Georg Friedrich’s grandfather, Louis Ferdinand, began proceedings to claim the Hohenzollern estate back — but he quickly ran into problems. The first was public outrage. Many German commentators saw the prince’s efforts as sheer greed, especially as many of the objects were on public display and most of the palaces used as museums.

A separate (if related) issue is a legal hurdle designed to prevent families from claiming compensation for property that was confiscated because their ancestors had been been ‘substantially involved in furthering the Nazi system’. The key figure here is Georg Friedrich’s great grandfather, son of the Kaiser: Crown Prince Wilhelm. He publicly declared his support for the Nazis and Adolf Hitler in the early 1930s. But whether this amounted to ‘substantial’ support — whether this had a direct effect on the takeover — remains the question to be decided.

Crown Prince Wilhelm was a complex character. He could be charming and funny, loved parties and was a successful competitive showjumper. A particular passion of his was football long before it became a popular spectator sport. He sponsored his own cup in 1908, the first of its kind and still ongoing as the Länderpokal today. But he took his role as heir to the throne seriously. Wilhelm was a loyal son to his father Kaiser Wilhelm II and commanded troops at the Battle of Verdun, both in the full expectation that he would be Kaiser one day. But he was also the darkest character in the Hohenzollern family — a Nazi sympathiser who pledged his support to Adolf Hitler vociferously both before and after the latter became chancellor of Germany in 1933.

The nature of Wilhelm’s exact role in Hitler’s rise to power is more than family history to his great-grandson Georg Friedrich. It has a bearing on the dynasty’s presence and future, morally and financially. He has therefore commissioned the renowned historian Lothar Machtan, professor of modern history at the University of Bremen, to look into the matter — aided by a five-figure sum and full access to the family archives. Machtan’s findings have now been published in a comprehensive biography, The Crown Prince and the Nazis: The Hohenzollern’s Blind Spot.

In an interview with the Weltnewspaper last week, both men, historian and prince, showed themselves to be pleased with the results of the research. Machtan has concluded that there is no denying that ‘there was a phase during which one can speak of a collaboration with the rising Nazis’. But he is also certain that ‘the Hohenzollerns were not involved in the transition of power in the winter of 1932/1933, neither directly nor indirectly’. He characterised Wilhelm as a misguided and ‘erratic’ man who was dispensable in the eyes of the Nazis. The ‘terrible proclamations of loyalty’ he offered Hitler were neither demanded nor particularly useful to the future dictator, Machtan argues.

What the German courts will make of this new analysis remains to be seen. The Prince of Prussia is also still engaged in direct negotiations with cultural organisations in the hope that he might reach compromise solutions outside the courtroom.

But the wounds in German collective memory are still deep, as evidenced by the heated tone of the public debate. The Hohenzollerns have been called a ‘family clan which has haunted central Europe for over 1,000 years with its wars, nepotism and catastrophes’ by one commentator; others have called the claims ‘an insult to the republic’, ‘greedy’ and even an ‘erosion of democracy itself’. Georg Friedrich is clearly trying to rationalise the debate by employing the services of a respected expert in the field but he is fighting an uphill battle.

It is unlikely that press appearances, no matter how sleek and professionally conducted, will allay the collective historical anxiety that still holds sway in many areas of German public life. Even the professional research of a well-respected historian is unlikely to make a difference. Whether Crown Prince Wilhelm helped the Nazis to power or not may be the legal question. But the moral question for many Germans is still whether the Hohenzollerns deserve the return of their riches.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


Monday, August 30, 2021

Journalist Alex Berenson is permanently suspended by Twitter over anti-vax COVID-19 tweets

I have myself had a vaccination against Covid so I clearly think it is a good idea. I have in fact had vaccinations against everything available. But I cannot agree with a Fascist suppression of other views

Former New York Times journalist and writer Alex Berenson has been permanently banned from Twitter after posting an anti-vaccination COVID-19 related tweet.

'The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules,' a Twitter spokesperson told Fox News.

Berenson, who has long been a skeptic over the exact risks of the coronavirus, has previously called the pandemic an excuse for the government to overstep its boundaries in terms of rules and authority.

The 48-year-old posted a screenshot of the tweet to his Substack, in a post he titled 'Goodbye Twitter' shortly after tweeting it on Saturday.

'This was the tweet that did it,' Berenson wrote alongside a the screenshot of the tweet that got him permanently banned from the social media platform.

'Entirely accurate. I can’t wait to hear what a jury will make of this.'

The tweet itself appears to fall in line with Berenson's past remarks when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more specifically, government mask and vaccine mandates.

'It doesn't stop infection. Or transmission,' the tweet read, in reference to the coronavirus vaccine.

'Don’t think of it as a vaccine.' 'Think of it – at best – as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS.'

Meanwhile, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention report that said COVID-19 vaccines are 'safe and effective,' backed by results from thousands of clinical trials.

Berenson began his anti-mask and vaccine mandate crusade last year, when an Op-Ed he penned for the Wall Street Journal claimed the pandemic had caused 'a new age of censorship and suppression.'

'Information has never been more plentiful or easier to distribute. Yet we are sliding into a new age of censorship and suppression, encouraged by technology giants and traditional media companies,' Berenson told the outlet.

'As someone who’s been falsely characterized as a coronavirus ‘denier,' he wrote at the time. 'I have seen this crisis firsthand.'

The controversial journalist and writer also revealed an ongoing dispute of his with Amazon, who Berenson alleges tried to suppress his self-published books on the subject of COVID-19 and the ensuing response.

'Since June, Amazon has twice tried to suppress self-published booklets I have written about Covid-19 and the response to it,' he continued.

'These booklets don’t contain conspiracy theories. Like the scientists who wrote the Great Barrington Declaration, I simply believe many measures to control the coronavirus have been damaging, counterproductive and unsupported by science.'

Berenson began writing for the New York Times in 1999 before leaving the newspaper in 2010 to pursue a career as a full-time author and novelist.

The Yale-educated novelist was dubbed 'the pandemic's wrongest man' by The Atlantic over his predictions about the virus. He had originally predicted that the US would not surpass 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19. The country was at 637,000 deaths as of today.

Berenson had previously enjoyed a large social media following, with over 200,000 followers prior to his permanent Twitter ban


'I pledge allegiance to the queers': California teacher sparks outrage by getting students to pledge allegiance to gay pride flag

A California high school teacher is being investigated by the school board after she revealed she'd got her students to pledge allegiance to the gay pride flag instead of the American one.

Kristin Pitzen, of Newport Mesa School District in Orange County, posted a video to TikTok, where she admitted she'd removed the American flag because it made her 'uncomfortable'.

When one of her English class students pointed out it was missing during the Pledge of Allegiance, she told them to recite the pledge to the only flag she did have hanging in her classroom - the gay pride flag.

The TikTok has since gone viral, sparking a backlash from many parents who were angry she was teaching children to 'disrespect' the American flag.

'How can the words "for liberty and justice for all" bring such hate in people? How can anyone have (an) issue with those words?' one user replied.

Some even questioned why she lives in America, calling on the school to fire her and parents to homeschool their kids.

While others praised her, even going as far to say they wished she taught their own children.

In the controversial TikTok, Pitzen reveals that the Pledge of Allegiance is read during third-period announcements.

She said she always tells her class: 'Stand if you feel like it, don't stand if you feel like it. Say the words if you want, don't have to say the words.' 'So my class decided to stand but not say the words - totally fine,' she said.

'Except for the fact that my room does not have a flag,' Pitzen added. 'It used to be there,' she said in the video as she pivots the camera and points to the wall in the front of the classroom.

'But I took it down during Covid,' she said, whispering that she did it 'because it made me uncomfortable'.

She said she 'packed it away' but doesn't know where, laughing in a way that implied otherwise, prompting the school district to open an investigation. 'And I haven't found it yet,' Pitzen added, as she put her hand over her mouth to stifle a laugh.

When a student asks her where the flag is, saying it's 'kinda weird that we stand and then we say it (the Pledge of Allegiance) to nothing,' the teacher shrugged it off and told them: 'I'm working on it, I got you.'

The TikTok then cuts to Pitzen then silently mouthing 'no' while shaking her head.

In the meantime, she told the student: 'We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to.'

'And he goes: "Oh, that one"?' she added as she shows the gay pride flag hung in the classroom.

The original TikTok has since been taken down - along with all of Pitzen's social media accounts - but has been viewed on Twitter more than 1.2million times.

An earlier video she posted on her account, where she goes by @MrsGillingsworth, the teacher celebrated Pride Month on June 1 and showed off how she is celebrating by hanging a variety of pride flags in her classroom.

'I pledge allegiance to the queers,' she said in the video while wearing rainbow glasses, earrings and suspenders.


‘He’s a liar’: Sarah Palin lowers boom on Biden, calls him a ‘marionette,’ VP Harris a ‘giggly lightweight’

Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin lowered the boom on President Joe Biden for his historic failures in Afghanistan that led to the tragic deaths of 13 American military members who were murdered by terrorist suicide bombers on Thursday.

Palin appeared on the Fox News program “Watters’ World,” where she blasted the nation’s 46th president as a liar, a failure, and a “marionette” as well as a career blunderer who only serves as the “mouthpiece” for those who are really running the country.

She also had unkind words for Vice President Kamala Harris who could replace the doddering wax dummy in the Oval Office, dismissing the veep as “a giggly, girly lightweight.”

The former governor of Alaska captivated conservatives when she was unexpectedly tabbed as the running mate for Senator John McCain in the 2008 election that in retrospect, dramatically and perhaps permanently, altered the future of America by handing the keys the country over to the devious and destructive Barack Obama, a man who after two terms, still exerts a tremendous amount of influence over the White House.

Fox News host Jesse Watters asked, “Did you foresee this coming at all? I mean we know Biden’s track record’s atrocious, but this is in his honeymoon period and we’ve got a border crisis, a hostage crisis, a humiliating defeat on the battlefield, dead marines, it’s barely not even September.”

Palin replied, “Well we should have seen it coming, based on Biden’s track record, nearly fifty years in government, blunder after blunder,” she said, “people in his own party, his quote, unquote, supporters, letting Americans know, letting voters know before the vote was taken against Trump, that he gets everything wrong.”

She continued, “You know Jesse, I looked the other night for the first time ever at debate clips where I was debating Biden back in 08 and I’m sitting there listening to this going man, the more things change the more they stay the same,” referring to the vice presidential debate when the career politician was Barack Obama’s running mate.

“He was a liar back then, he is a liar today.” Palin said, “His track record should have allowed all of us to anticipate nothing but negative, nothing but bad, nothing but tragedy would happen under this man’s watch.”

Watters said “the media wanted him because he wasn’t Trump,” pointing out the extremely slanted coverage that gaslighted a large portion of the American public into believing that Biden was fit to run the country despite ample evidence to the contrary, before posing the question “How do you see Joe’s presidency going forward? His credibility shot on pretty much everything.”

Palin responded, “Those of us kind of in that arena at least at one time or another, knew that he didn’t have any credibility back then so you can’t just have some kind of credibility transplant overnight,” she said. “He isn’t a credible human being, he lies, he plagiarizes, I mean all the things we already know and you’re right, the media did want him to win and the media clobbered anybody who was challenging him.”

She should know a thing or two about being “clobbered” by the corrupt and dishonest media; few other than Trump have undergone the type of cruelty and ridicule that Palin was subjected to when she was Sen. McCain’s running mate against Obama, a man who the majority of liberals viewed as the messiah, especially those in the press.

She also threw shade at congressional Republicans who are calling for Biden’s impeachment.

“I think Republicans in Congress are wasting their time with their rhetoric about impeaching him because they will never do it, because most politicians, as you notice I’m sure, they’re a bunch of windbags and they’ll talk about it but they won’t do it,” said the outsider who captured the hearts of conservatives in 2008.

Turning her focus to the proverbial elephant in the living room, Palin asked “I wish that I knew, and I’m sure you say the same thing, I wish that we knew who was really in charge, it’s not the marionette Joe Biden, who is the mouthpiece for whatever the heck is going on down there.”

When asked by Watters about the potential of a palace coup by Harris, Palin replied, “She’s probably all giddy thinking oh goody, here’s my chance but really, she is a giggly, girly lightweight.” She added that Harris “doesn’t have a whole lot of support, even within her own party” other than inside that “inner circle of the real movers and shakers in the Democrat party” who have always viewed the inexperienced former senator as a female Obama.

It’s possible that Palin may be reentering the political arena, she has teased a possible Senate run against the embattled anti-Trump incumbent Lisa Murkowski and would surely have the support of the former POTUS, as well as millions of patriotic Americans, were she to choose to do so.


The Metropolitan Police - Britain's biggest force - is considering plans to introduce gender-neutral uniforms, it has been reported

Cops in skirts?

The force is consulting its 30,000 officers on the current uniform and what changes should be made in future.

Sources claim the force could be in breach of the 2010 Equality Act by not providing separate uniforms for non-binary and gender-fluid officers, the Sun reports.

The newspaper states that an officer, who goes by Alex Blue, believes not providing separate uniforms could be indirect discrimination.

The officer suggested that the Met should provide uniform items that are neither male nor female.

Meanwhile, equality campaigner Peter Tatchell suggested there should be one uniform for all, telling the newspaper: 'Separate uniforms for officers is a legacy of the sexist past.'

The current uniform features helmets, flat caps and ties for men while women are expected to wear cravats and bowler hats.

The Met said the contract with its current uniform supplier is due to expire in 2023 and that they are reviewing what changes needed to be made when a new contract is signed.

The decision could have wider implications on other organisations including the armed forces and other public bodies.

Last year, a gender-fluid engineer who was branded 'IT' by colleagues at Jaguar Land Rover was awarded £180,000 after winning a landmark discrimination case.

Rose Taylor, 43, was teased and harassed at the car manufacturer after she began identifying as gender fluid/non-binary in 2017.

An employment tribunal heard how she suffered insults and abusive jokes at the hands of co-workers after she started wearing women's clothes.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


Sunday, August 29, 2021

They Are About To Make It ILLEGAL To Protest Against Vaccinations!

We live in a world that is totally upside down and it is terrifying to be a part of it. We were once a country that applauded individualism and being our own person, but now that is shunned for the good of the collective. We once were a country that protected peaceful protests and speaking out against tyranny, but now that is called insurrection and must be punished.

So much for the land of the free.

Now, in one state they are going one step further to ensure that there is any dissent as they push the new world order upon us all.

In fact, in this state, they are proposing a bill that would make it a jailable crime to protest a vaccine site and you know that once this passes in one state, it will sweep across our nation popping up in more.

It should not be a huge surprise to know that the state that is proposing this particular draconian bill is in California.

Senate Bill 742 threatens to jail anti-vaccine protesters for up to six months, as well as stick them with fines, for making their voices heard about the dangers and ineffectiveness of Big Pharma injections, including those for the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19).

Here is more from Natural News:

Freedom protesters have been seen as of late gathering outside of clinics and other facilities where the jabs are being administered. These gatherings are peaceful, but they are apparently “triggering” pro-vaccine fanatics who believe that all vaccines are “safe and effective.”

On August 19, SB 742 was placed in the California legislature’s “Suspense File,” meaning it will be considered at a later date “in a rapid-fire process” alongside other bills that have also been lumped into this category.

The purpose of the Suspense File, it would seem is to hide controversial legislation under the radar until it can be sprung up and resurrected suddenly in order to be quickly passed without too many people knowing what happened.

Included in the bill: “(a) It is unlawful to knowingly approach within 30 feet of any person while a person is making the approach within 100 feet of the entrance of a vaccination site and is seeking to enter or exit a vaccination site, or any occupied motor vehicle seeking entry or exit, for the purpose of obstructing, injuring, harassing, intimidating, or interfering with that person or vehicle occupant in connection with any vaccination services,” Section 594.39 of Section 1 of the bill would add to California’s Penal Code.

“(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

“Intimidation,” as defined by the bill, includes making “a true threat” towards a person or group of people that put that person or group “in fear of bodily harm or death.”

Since some deranged vaccine lovers actually believe that not getting vaccinated, or not allowing a child to get vaccinated, is a form of “violence,” this section of the bill could be applied in such a way as to criminalize merely publicly voicing opposition to vaccines.

The bill goes on to define a “true threat” as “a statement where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular person or group of persons regardless of whether the person actually intends to act on the threat.”

This, too, could easily be redefined to include free speech that calls into question the safety and efficacy of an injection. As you may recall, this has long been the excuse as to why vaccine studies never include a true control group: because to deprive one group of the experimental injection would be “inhumane,” we are told.

The real kicker in the bill is the “obstructing” section, which is defined as “rendering ingress to or egress from a vaccination site, or rendering passage to or from a vaccination site, unreasonably difficult or hazardous.”

So much for free speech my friends.

The country that we once were so blessed to live in is spiraling out of control and I am not entirely sure it will ever be back.


Too many Americans are dependent on government

In 2012, then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was pilloried by the press for his comment that 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes.

That was then. This is now.

According to a new report from the Urban Institute & Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, “The COVID-19 pandemic and the policy response to it led to an extraordinary increase in the number of American households that owed no federal individual income tax in 2020.”

Specifically, in 2020, “nearly 107 million households, or about 61 percent, owed no income tax or even received tax credits from the government,” the report states.

What’s more, the percentage of Americans who did not pay a single penny in federal income taxes “increased by roughly 40 percent from the pre-pandemic year of 2019, due to a combination of a poor economy and multiple rounds of tax-based assistance to hard-pressed households,” the authors note.

To date, the federal government has allocated $4.6 trillion in COVID-19 relief funds.

This gargantuan amount of spending includes multiple rounds of stimulus checks, generous unemployment compensation, increased food stamp benefits, child tax credits and many more assistance programs.

Since 2020, the federal government has also suspended student loan repayments and instituted an eviction moratorium.

In other words, since 2020, the federal government has made it easier than ever for Americans to not have to work, let alone pay their debt and rent.

No wonder so many Americans didn’t owe a dime in federal income taxes last year. They were paid not to work.

But, back to Romney.

When he correctly observed that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, he also correctly noted that many are “dependent upon government,” “believe that they are victims,” “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them” and “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

Romney’s observation was prescient in light of the surge in government dependence since the pandemic.

Interestingly, the surge in Americans’ not paying federal income taxes and taking more benefits coincides with a surge in support for socialism throughout the country.

Just a few weeks ago, Fox News released a poll showing that 59 percent of Democratic voters favor socialism over capitalism.

Yet, much more telling, one year ago – before the COVID-19 pandemic and the federal government’s $4.6 trillion COVID-19 relief spending spree – only 40 percent of Democratic voters said they had a favorable opinion of socialism.

Obviously, correlation does not necessarily imply causation. But it stands to reason that as the federal government (and many state governments) has expanded the welfare state in response to the pandemic, more Americans are growing comfortable with a political philosophy based on government control of the economy.

History shows that once entitlement programs are in place, it is almost impossible to curtail, let alone eliminate, them. History also shows that entitlement programs typically beget more entitlement programs.

We cannot afford this, especially when fewer Americans than ever are paying federal income taxes.


Big Tech Censorship Is an Assault on Individual Liberty

Most state legislatures are actively considering laws to protect their constituents’ online free speech from Big Tech censorship. In response, Big Tech increasingly advances an argument designed to appeal to libertarians and other supporters of limited government. Big Tech claims state policymakers should not safeguard their constituents’ free-speech rights because doing so would be an assault on free markets and Big Tech’s property rights. Big Tech’s reasoning is seriously flawed and undermines, rather than promotes, individual liberty.

Big Tech’s Ideological Hypocrisy

Before addressing the serious flaws in Big Tech’s arguments, it is worth noting the hypocrisy of Big Tech’s decision to assert libertarian, free-market principles in defense of censoring Americans’ speech. Big Tech often claims it has property rights and free-market rights that should be immune from government intervention. In particular, these businesses claim the government has no right to meddle in the choices private companies make regarding their businesses, including decisions about the kinds of material permitted on social media platforms.

Less than a decade ago, however, Big Tech threw a major public relations temper tantrum when state legislators refused to force other businesses to do what Big Tech wanted. Specifically, Google, Facebook, and other tech companies publicly berated the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and pulled their funding from ALEC after the group passed model legislation opposing renewable power mandates on electricity providers and consumers. (See, for example, “Google cites climate change as tech titans quit ALEC.”)

Big Tech had no qualms then about using government to force other businesses to engage in specific practices that it found politically favorable and other companies opposed or found cumbersome. Yet Big Tech is now claiming that it has inviolable “free-market property rights” to avoid government safeguarding free speech on its platforms. This is the very definition of hypocrisy, and it serves as proof that Big Tech does not truly care about free-market principles—except, of course, when those principles may be twisted in ways that benefit large technology companies

The Primary Purpose of Limited Government

To assess whether state governments may rightfully protect online free speech from tech censorship, it is imperative to look at first principles. The founders mapped out the central purpose and role of government in a free society: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men . . . ”

The Declaration of Independence makes it clear that we have unalienable rights preceding the existence of government, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Freedom of speech is certainly among those rights. The founders emphasized that no entity may justly take away those rights, as they have been provided by God or nature.

To be sure, the founders were deeply concerned about unchecked government, which often poses significant threats to people’s rights. That is why the founders created the First Amendment, which explicitly safeguards free speech from government suppression.

But the Declaration also acknowledges and clearly implies that non-government entities may threaten the rights of the people as well. To secure our unalienable rights from private-actor threats is the primary reason why governments are instituted among men. That is why the founders insisted “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men . . .”

Government exists to protect the people’s rights from all abuses, not just those posed by authoritarian governments and threats from foreign countries.

Big Tech Embodies the Threat the Founders Feared

Big Tech censorship is precisely the kind of infringement on our unalienable rights that the founders feared and desired to prevent.

Free speech is one of Americans’ most vital and sacred rights. Social media is the primary means by which Americans today engage in free speech and share political, cultural, and religious views with one another. Social media has replaced the physical town square, neighborhood pubs, and even the telephone for this purpose.

Over the past decade, a few large entities have gained monopoly control over social media platforms. As of July 2021, Facebook and its popular subsidiary Instagram control 80 percent of social media traffic in the United States. The top three social media companies control 97 percent of social media traffic in the United States.

Being a large and market-dominant entity does not necessarily equate to being a bad actor, of course. Indeed, a primary reason companies become large and market-dominant is because they are better than their competitors at providing a product or service that consumers value. Companies marked by this kind of success typically offer a net societal benefit, not a net societal harm. A very serious problem emerges, however, when a market-dominant company, or cartel of companies, wields its power in a manner and with the purpose and impact of suppressing Americans’ unalienable rights.

It is incontrovertible that Big Tech is wielding its power with the purpose of suppressing open sharing of political, cultural, and religious views of citizens with whom it does not agree. Nor is it possible to question whether Big Tech companies have been successful in that endeavor. Big Tech has censored and blocked scientists from presenting evidence that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory, medical doctors from discussing the medical benefits of hydroxychloroquine, pastors from presenting online church services, climate scientists from making the scientific case against an asserted climate crisis, media outlets from sharing their reporting about well-documented scandals involving Hunter and Joe Biden, and everyday Americans from sharing their own views or forwarding the views of others to their friends, family, and acquaintances.

The Enforcement Arm of Government Narratives

Big Tech has become the enforcement arm of government-sanctioned and government-disfavored speech. Big Tech eagerly restricts free speech on behalf of the government, often following calls by politicians to engage in such activities.

Big Tech suppression of speech questioning government policy is no accident. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted in a July 15 press briefing that the Biden Administration “is in regular touch with the social media platforms” and is “flagging posts for Facebook.” Psaki added that Big Tech should coordinate censorship efforts so that when a person is censored and banned by one social media platform, all social media platforms censor and ban that person.

Similarly, when Big Tech censors online speech and bans a person from posting speech in the future, it often justifies this censorship and banishment based on the user posting material questioning or contradicting a government narrative. Big Tech has explicitly justified censorship decisions based on the speech in question contradicting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, etc. Facebook, for example, acknowledges removing more than 18 million posts that contradict government narratives regarding COVID-19.


U.S. Supreme Court Puts An End to Biden's Unconstitutional Eviction Moratorium

It's been a particularly bad day for President Joe Biden. On Thursday night, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Biden's unconstitutional eviction moratorium. Justice Stephen Breyer was joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in his dissent.

The challenge was led by the Alabama Association of Realtors, which had also won a victory from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The ruling noted that the District Court stayed its judgment, which the Supreme Court on Thursday vacated, making the judgment enforceable. "The District Court produced a comprehensive opinion concluding that the statute on which the CDC relies does not grant it the authority it claims," the ruling wrote. "The applicants not only have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits—it is difficult to imagine them losing," it later noted.

The ruling went on to critique the authority the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claimed to have:

The case has been thoroughly briefed before us— twice. And careful review of that record makes clear that the applicants are virtually certain to succeed on the merits of their argument that the CDC has exceeded its authority. It would be one thing if Congress had specifically authorized the action that the CDC has taken. But that has not happened. Instead, the CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.

There were also words about the harm faced by landlord:
The equities do not justify depriving the applicants of the District Court’s judgment in their favor. The moratorium has put the applicants, along with millions of landlords across the country, at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recov- ery. Despite the CDC’s determination that landlords should bear a significant financial cost of the pandemic, many landlords have modest means. And preventing them from evicting tenants who breach their leases intrudes on one of the most fundamental elements of property owner- ship—the right to exclude.

The ruling also emphasized that it is the role of Congress to act, pointing out that "Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration."

"It is indisputable that the public has a strong interest in combating the spread of the COVID–19 Delta variant. But our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends," the ruling reminded in closing. "It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here."


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Size DOES matter! Study into sexual pleasure reveals that an extra inch can make all the difference

I am reasonably well endowed and I have had grateful reactions to that from women over the years so I am glad that reality is at last being acknowledged

Men are often told it's not how big their sexual organ is that's important, but where they put it.

But unfortunately for guys with a small penis, a new study suggests that size really does matter.

Researchers at King's College London recruited willing couples to find out more about how length affects sexual pleasure for the lady.

The experts artificially reduced the depth of penetration by providing different sized silicone rings to put around the base of each man's erect penis during intercourse.

According to the results, just an extra inch made all the difference in terms of sexual pleasure for the women.

This might be due to the greater ability of a longer penis to stimulate the entire length of the vagina and the cervix for the female.

Researchers wanted to explore whether artificially reducing the depth of penetration during intercourse matters to women.

They said men can worry or be ashamed about the length or girth of their penis, and that many also wish it was longer.

'We started with the premise that depth of penetration would not matter to most women,' the experts say in their paper, published in BJU International.

For each ring worn, there were either three, four or five episodes of intercourse.

Reducing the depth of penetration by an inch led to a statistically meaningful drop in the amount of pleasure experienced.

'The longer the erect penis, the less likely the rings had an impact on sexual pleasure,' they write.

Lead study author Professor David Veale has stressed the results 'should not be misinterpreted as meaning that increasing penile length in a normal man will increase sexual pleasure in women'.

'That would be a completely different study,' he said.

Rather, decreasing the length of the penis available for vaginal penetration during sex decreases sexual pleasure in women – a subtle difference.

To learn whether size does matter, they recruited 12 sexually active heterosexual couples with no problems in the bedroom.

There were four rings in total – 0.2-inch, one inch, 1.5-inch and two-inch – that the guy had to separately place at the base of his penis during sex to reduce the depth of penetration.

Couples were told to have sex either three, four or five times for each ring the guy was wearing on his penis.

Female partners, who didn't know which ring was being used throughout any of the sessions, had to rate, from one to 100, her levels of sexual pleasure and 'emotional connection to the male partner'.

On average, reducing the depth of penetration led to a 'statistically significant' 18 per reduction of overall sexual pleasure with each average 15 per cent reduction in length of the penis, the researchers found.

'There was a range of individual responses, however, with a minority of women reporting that reducing the depth of penetration was more pleasurable on some occasions, the study authors say in their paper.

According to the authors, the average (mean) penis length when erect is 5.1 inches (13.1cm), with an average girth of 4.59 inches (11.66 cm).

But for the sample size in this study, the average (median) self-reported erect penis length of the male partners was 6.6 inches (17cm).

'Participants did measure themselves – but we don’t know if they were but bigger than normal or actually over-egging it,' Professor Veale told MailOnline.

Experts concluded that further replication of the study to confirm its results will need a more diverse range of penile length.

'We did not ask about the effect on sexual pleasure in the men in reducing their depth of penetration and how this altered their self-confidence and behaviour, and this may be important in replication of the study,' they said.


Scientists plan to change the common names of plant, insect and animal species like the gypsy moth and Scott's oriole due to their 'racist history'

Many common names for species of plants, animals and insects, including the gypsy moth and Scott's oriole, have been dubbed 'racist' by scientists who want a change.

In July the Entomological Society of America (ESA) removed the term 'gypsy' from the names of a moth and ant due to the fact it is seen as a slur for Romani people.

The association have since launched a public call for alternative common names for the moth Lymantria dispar and ant Aphenogaster araneoides.

Many species were named by early naturalists and explores for the things around them, people making a mark at the time and using terms acceptable to them.

'We can choose language that reflects our shared values,' Jessica Ware, president-elect of ESA told ScienceNews, speaking of the Better Common Names Project.

It already prohibits new names that 'perpetuate negative stereotypes' and is asking for public input on which existing names should be changed in the future.

So far over 80 'insensitive names' have been noted by the Better Common Names Project.

Ware says the goal is to have 'everybody included' in the new naming system and remove offensive names from the list.

In the case of the 'Gypsy moth', says it is encouraging people to refer to the insect by its Latin name, Lymantria dispar, until it can review the more than 100 proposals for a new moniker.

Species have a given scientific name, stylised in Latin, but from the early 20th Century scientists started giving plants, insects and animals a common name.

This was done to bridge the communications gap with people who don't study the species, to bring more attention to them.

However, according to ESA 'not all common names accepted over the past 120 years align with the goal of better communication,' due to racist connections.

Some of the names given to species have already been changed, like the jewfish, renamed to the Goliath grouper in 2001 after a petition citing its offensiveness.

ESA says their library includes names that contain derogative terms, names for invasive species with inappropriate geographic references and names that 'inappropriately disregard what the insect might be called by native communities.'

'These problematic names perpetuate harm against people of various ethnicities and races,' a spokesperson for the association said.

Adding that they 'create an entomological and cultural environment that is unwelcoming and non-inclusive, disrupt communication and outreach, and counteract the very purpose of common names.'

For example, a number of scorpion, fish, birds and flowers have the label Hottentot, which is a term of abuse for the Khoikhoi people of southern Africa.

Other names venerate people who, by modern standards wouldn't be considered viable candidates to give their name to a common species.

Bachman's sparrow, endemic to the southeastern US, is named after Lutheran minister and naturalist John Bachman.

McCown's longspur - named for Confederate general John P McCown was changed to thick-billed longspur in 2021, named for its thick bill.

The jewfish - was renamed in 2001 to the Goliath grouper after a petition drew attention to its offensiveness.

Squawfish - was once the name given to four species that are now known as Pikeminnow, changed in 1998 as squaw is an offensive term given to Native American women.

However, despite ministering to slaves as a clergyman and declaring black and white people are the same species, he was a slave owner who defended the practice.

'Blacks and Native Americans would have always been opposed to these names,' Hampton told ScienceNews.

In fact, bird names in general seem to be among the most problematic with a specific campaign called 'Bird Names for Birds' launching in 2020 to switch to more descriptive common names.

'It's not a be-all-end-all solution,' Robert Driver from East Carolina University told ScienceNews, but said that beyond removing difficult names, would be a useful 'consideration for everyone who's out there with binoculars.'

The killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests, seems to have spurred change, with the American Ornithological Society now considering someone's role in 'reprehensible events' a valid reason to revise the name of a bird.

One example of this change already happening is in the form of the McCown's longspur, named for Confederate general John P McCown originally, and now simply known as the thick-billed longspur, after its thick bill.

Hampton says the Scott's oriole should be next, suggesting it should instead be known as the yucca oriole as they are the plants it is most associated with.

But the process of changing bird names is on hold while the ornithological society considers a new name-changing process.

Mike Webster, Cornell University ornithologist and president of the society said they were 'committed to changing these harmful and exclusionary names.'

Ware says it is important to get it right, adding it 'uncomfortable now,' but doing it correctly ensures it 'only happens once' and names are built to last.

Details about the Better Common Names project are available from the Entomological Society of America.


GOP Rep on Religious Minorities in Afghanistan: Christians Are Being ‘Hunted’ by the Taliban

On Tuesday, Georgia Rep. Jody Hice (R) appeared on EWTN News Nightly to discuss the treatment of religious minorities in Afghanistan, particularly Christians, now that the Taliban has recaptured the country and will implement Sharia law.

Speaking to host Tracy Sabol, Hice explained how the Biden administration has let down the American people and our allies, how Christians are being targeted by the Taliban, and how American leadership should not be negotiating with terrorist organizations – all as a result of President Biden’s hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“This administration is letting down the American people, letting down our allies, letting down those who have helped America for the last 20 years. This could not, absolutely, could not be a worst-case scenario than what we are witnessing right now,” Hice said in the segment. “This is absolutely a numbskull kind of decision that has been made by this administration and now we’re watching the consequences of it.”

Since the Taliban takeover, a spokesman for the terrorist group stated that women and girls in Afghanistan will have rights “within the framework of Islam,” or Sharia, under their rule. Lawmakers in the United States voiced concern over this, as they predict women will lose the years of progress made when the United States had a presence in Afghanistan.

Another group at risk under Taliban rule is religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs – all of which have a history of persecution under the Taliban. Sabol inquired what dangers Christians in Afghanistan are facing while waiting to be evacuated from the country.

“The environment, obviously, under Sharia law, creates an extremely dangerous situation for anyone who is of any other faith, probably, the top of which, is Christians. And of course, not only us but many offices have been in contact with many Christians who are being literally hunted by the Taliban right now. Every effort possible is underway to try to evacuate those individuals and I’m sure those efforts will continue with unceasing resolve until we get those people to safety,” Hice said to Sabol. “[T]heir lives are our biggest concern.”

Hice then slammed the Biden administration’s negotiations with the Taliban and believes the withdrawal would have unfolded differently under our previous presidential administration.

“It is Americans and American leadership – not terrorists – who ought to be setting the standards as to how we are going to evacuate our citizens and others from the country. It is not something that we should be taking orders from terrorists, they should be hearing from us what we’re going to do,” Hice argued. “And it is concerning that this administration continues to go to a terrorist organization for instructions as to what we can and cannot do. It certainly should be the other way around. And I’m very much confident that had we – at this point – had different leadership, such as what we had under President Trump, none of this would be taking place.”

Sabol wrapped up the interview by asking Hice how he predicts our withdrawal from Afghanistan is going to conclude.

“We’re in a very serious fight for the clock right now. The clock is ticking. We are being told the doors are going to be closing in a matter of days. There are threats emerging, it seems, by the hour as we go through this,” Hice said. “I don’t know how it’s going to end, but we’re not going to quit until it’s over.”


Ashli Babbitt’s Shooter ‘Defends’ Himself

Another impulsive black

The first impression one gets from listening to Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd, the man who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt in the Capitol building on January 6, is that he isn’t too bright. During his interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Byrd comes across more like an unimpressive mall cop than the sort of professional we’d entrust to protect Nancy Pelosi and all those other important lawmakers.

On second thought, maybe we’re being unfair to mall cops. What kind of law enforcement professional, after all, shoots an unarmed woman in the chest? And what kind of officer says of himself, during a national TV interview, “I believe I showed the, uh, utmost courage on January 6th”?

Michael Byrd is a hero, he’ll have you know. And he has no doubt he did the right thing when he stepped toward that window, aimed for “center mass,” and boldly blew away 110-pound Ashli Babbitt. “I know that day I saved countless lives,” Byrd said. “I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.”

His lawyer, Mark Schamel, is even more nauseatingly effusive. “The bravery shown by the lieutenant in organizing and coordinating the defense of the House and its members and staff was nothing short of heroic,” he said. “The lieutenant’s conduct saved lives and helped to end the violent insurrection.”

“There should be a training video on how he handled that situation,” added Schamel, as if he hadn’t already said enough. “What he did was unbelievable heroism.”

It should be noted that in February 2019, Byrd was investigated “for leaving his department-issued Glock-22 firearm unattended in a restroom on the House side of the Capitol, even though the potent weapon, which fires .40-caliber rounds, has no manual safety to prevent unintended firing. The abandoned gun was discovered by another officer during a routine security sweep.”

We wonder: Is there a training video for that deeply embarrassing incident?

Byrd said he shot Babbitt as “a last resort,” but if he and the people he was protecting were in such mortal danger, why didn’t one of the numerous armed law enforcement officers directly behind Ashli Babbitt simply grab her and stop her from going through that window? Perhaps they sized up the tiny, unarmed Babbitt and didn’t think she was the sort of threat that calls for deadly force.

Indeed, as one veteran Capitol officer put it, “I’m not sure how he was justified shooting her when there was a SWAT team right behind her,” referring to the three heavily armed USCP officers who’d positioned themselves between the doors and the mob. “They saw no immediate threat.”

As for the shot Byrd fired, the footage of which begins at around 2:20 of the video, we can see that he has his weapon trained toward the middle of the doors, then, in a single movement, he shifts his aim up and leftward and fires a single shot. It’s hard to believe that he even processed his target during that split-second between whirling and firing.

“She was posing a threat to the United States House of Representatives,” Byrd said. Uh-huh. This was reportedly the first time during his 29 years on the force that Byrd had ever fired his weapon, and so perhaps he simply choked. Perhaps he’s simply never sighted down a real threat before. And, to be fair to Byrd, he’s certainly never found himself in a surreal situation like that before.

Further, when interviewer Holt asked him whether he could tell if Babbitt was armed, and whether it would’ve made any difference in his decision to shoot her, Byrd said, “It did not.”

Perhaps Holt’s best moment came when he asked Byrd, “What should we make of the fact that there were other officers in other potentially life-threatening situations who didn’t use their service weapons that day?” Byrd’s answer was less than convincing.

As for Holt’s most disgraceful moment, that would be when he described Babbitt as “35 years old, an Air Force veteran, Trump supporter, and QAnon follower,” as if the 14-year veteran’s affinity for a fringe political group somehow makes Byrd’s actions more justifiable.

The Babbitt family’s attorney has described the incident as an “ambush,” claiming that Byrd gave no warning before he pulled the trigger. Here, the two sides utterly disagree. Byrd, in fact, told Holt “he felt pain in his throat for days afterward from yelling at the protesters to stop and step back as they pounded on the glass doors.”

As our Mark Alexander, himself a former cop, has pointed out: “What’s clear from the videos is that there were four uniformed officers within feet of Babbitt, at least four additional heavily armed riot police, and one or more plain-clothed officers — none of whom made an effort to prevent her attempt to climb through the broken window of the door where she was shot. There is no apparent justification for [Byrd’s] actions.”

Ashli Babbitt’s family clearly agrees, and they’ve signaled their intention to file a $10 million wrongful death civil suit against the Capitol Police. Their attorney, Terry Roberts, didn’t respond to NBC’s request for comment.

In the end, what we have here is the exoneration of a black male Capitol cop for the killing of an unarmed white female Trump supporter. Had these demographics been reversed, we can’t help but believe the outcome would’ve been different. As it stands, this seems like the embodiment of two-tiered justice.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


Friday, August 27, 2021

YouTube Yanks Over 1 Million COVID-19 Videos It Deems ‘Dangerous’

The Google-owned company announced the figure in a blog post Wednesday, “Perspective: Tackling Misinformation on YouTube,” written by Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer.

“Since last February, we’ve removed over 1 million videos related to dangerous coronavirus information, like false cures or claims of a hoax,” he said. The company focuses on removing content that can directly lead to “egregious real world harm,” according to Mohan.

YouTube also said it was addressing misinformation by optimizing search results to prioritize “quality” news and information from “trusted sources.” For information related to COVID-19, the company relied on “expert consensus” from health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

“In the midst of a global pandemic, everyone should be armed with absolutely the best information available to keep themselves and their families safe,” Mohan said.

YouTube received criticism for its enforcement of its COVID-19 misinformation policies after it suspended Sen. Rand Paul’s account, and removed several of the Kentucky Republican’s videos, over claims that cloth masks were not effective at stopping the spread of the virus. The tech company also removed Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’ video of a press conference announcing her lawsuit against New York City over vaccine mandates.

YouTube’s announcement comes amid pressure from the Biden administration on tech companies to more aggressively police content for alleged COVID-19 misinformation. The White House announced it was flagging posts for Facebook to remove last month and said that spreaders of misinformation should be banned from all social media platforms.


YouTube Bans Forced-Vaccination, Big Tech Critic Naomi Wolf

Liberal author Naomi Wolf’s DailyClout channel was abruptly deleted by YouTube after she posted an interview with a prominent critic of mandatory masking policies in schools.

“This censorship highlights the extreme clampdown on free speech and public discourse prevailing in the United States,” Wolf said in an Aug. 24 statement after the channel was eliminated.

Wolf, a co-founder of the DailyClout website, is a widely published journalist and bestselling author of books such as “The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women” (1990) and “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” (2007). She was an adviser to then-President Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign and to then-Vice President Al Gore, both Democrats.

Twitter banned Wolf, who has been critical of vaccine passports and media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, earlier this summer, as The Epoch Times reported at the time. Twitter said Wolf had disseminated vaccine misinformation in violation of the microblogging website’s policies, a claim she denies.

Wolf said she can’t state with certainty why YouTube suppressed the DailyClout channel.

“I can’t possibly know what YouTube’s motives are. There’s no appeal, as with Twitter, there’s no appeal process. There’s no one I can call,” she told The Epoch Times in a follow-up interview.

The DailyClout website’s mission “couldn’t be more pure and altruistic—to explain democracy,” Wolf said.

“We’re not partisan. We don’t support one side or the other. We literally exist to explain legislation and the legislative process and what’s in a bill. We read the stimulus bill and point out what’s in it. We read the health care bill and bullet point what’s in it,” Wolf said.

“We do the hard work of making civic engagement easy and accessible for everybody.”

YouTube sent DailyClout an email that advised that a video titled “Dr Naomi Wolf and Leslie Manookian speak about her award-winning documentary ‘The Greater Good,’” had been removed for violating YouTube’s “medical misinformation policy.”


FBI finally admits lack of evidence that capitol attack was coordinated

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that there is "scant evidence" that the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 was coordinated. And it only took the corrupted government organization seven months to determine that fact.

Federal officers and officials have arrested over 570 alleged participants since then, but they have recently released reports that the attacks were not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of President Donald Trump.

Four current and former officials have stepped forward to note that it was not an organized plot to overturn the loss of President Trump's results in the 2020 election.

A former senior law enforcement officer noted that "there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones." Despite all of the major news outlets and mainstream media reporting that, that was the case for months, the FBI has now confirmed that the attack was not coordinated. Now, all we have to wait for is those who have been arrested and charged to be released from jail and have their records cleared. After all, if there was no planned attack, what is there to charge them with?

Reuters reported,

The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials.

Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations.

“Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”

Stone, a veteran Republican operative and self-described “dirty trickster”, and Jones, founder of a conspiracy-driven radio show and webcast, are both allies of Trump and had been involved in pro-Trump events in Washington on Jan. 5, the day before the riot.


Fury as Australian health bosses erase the word 'women' from official Covid vaccine guide - using the 'inclusive' phrase 'pregnant people' instead

Federal health chiefs have rewritten a Covid-19 vaccination pregnancy guide that bizarrely erases all mention of 'women' and replaces it with 'pregnant people'.

The guide was originally published in February as 'COVID-19 vaccination – Shared decision making guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy'.

But it was republished last week under its new subtly-tweaked title: 'COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy'.

Some campaigning groups say using 'women' excludes non-binary or transgender people who may not identify as a woman but can still be pregnant or a mother.

The word 'women' has been replaced by 'pregnant people' in the new version of the official health guide. Federal health chiefs have rewritten a Covid-19 vaccination pregnancy guide that bizarrely erases all mention of 'women' and replaces it with 'pregnant people'.

The document does not mention woman or women anywhere except in links to other websites or in the title of footnote references to other publications.

The word 'mother' is used just twice in the entire eight page booklet.

In all, more than 50 different mentions of women have been deleted from the original version and replaced by 'people' or 'those who are pregnant', sparking fury among some women.

Included in the changes are non-specific sentences like: 'Pregnant people are a priority group for Covid-19 vaccination' and 'Those who are pregnant have a higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19'.

Sky News commentator Rita Panahi blasted the rewrite as nonsense and added: ‘We cannot allow this craziness to be normalised. 'Women get pregnant - that shouldn't be a controversial statement.'

She accused the federal health department of 'buying into radical gender theory' with the rewrite. 'It's seeping in everywhere,' she added. 'It started in academia but now it's the Department of Health.'

Commercial litigator Caroline di Russo added: 'If you asked the everyday person in the street they would be pretty sure that only women could get pregnant.

'This here frankly is silliness, except that there's an undercurrent to it. It's dressed up like inclusivity and caring and whatever. 'But actually, it just has the effect of cancelling women.'


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Judge Rules Against Christopher Columbus Statue Removal in Philadelphia

A Philadelphia, PA judge ruled that a Christopher Columbus statue may remain in place after city officials pushed to have it removed. Judge Paula Patrick said that the push to remove the statue had no legal basis and lacked sufficient evidence.

According to reports from The Washington Examiner:

“It is baffling to this court as to how the City of Philadelphia wants to remove the Statue without any legal basis,” she wrote in her decision. “The city’s entire argument and case is devoid of any legal foundation.”

The city’s Board of License and Inspection Review had initially upheld a July 2020 decision by the Philadelphia Historical Commission to remove the statue.

However, the city did not provide an adequate opportunity for the public to weigh in on the statue’s future, Patrick said.

“While we are very disappointed with the ruling, we’re reviewing it now and exploring all potential options — including a possible appeal,” said a spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney. “The statue remains in Marconi Plaza and will continue to be secured in its existing box.”


In Shift, Israel Quietly Allows Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount
Jewish activists say they are exercising their right to free worship at a site holy to Jews and Muslims

But the change upsets a longstanding compromise aimed at staving off conflict.

The Israeli government has long forbidden Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims, yet Rabbi Yehudah Glick made little effort to hide his prayers. In fact, he was livestreaming them.

“Oh Lord!” prayed Rabbi Glick, as he filmed himself on his phone on a recent morning. “Save my soul from false lips and deceitful tongues!”

Since Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, it has maintained a fragile religious balance at the Temple Mount, the most divisive site in Jerusalem: Only Muslims can worship there, while Jews can pray at the Western Wall below.

But recently the government has quietly allowed increasing numbers of Jews to pray there, a shift that could aggravate the instability in East Jerusalem and potentially lead to religious conflict.

“It’s a sensitive place,” said Ehud Olmert, a former Israeli prime minister. “And sensitive places such as this, which have an enormous potential for explosion, need to be treated with care.”

Rabbi Glick, an American-born, right-wing former lawmaker, has been leading efforts to change the status quo for decades. He characterizes his effort as a matter of religious freedom: If Muslims can pray there, why not Jews?

“God is the master of all humanity,” he said. “And he wants every one of us to be here to worship, every one in his own style.”

But the prohibition of Jewish prayer on the 37-acre plateau that once held two ancient Jewish temples was part of a longstanding compromise to avoid conflict at a site that has been a frequent flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Under the arrangement, the Jordanian government has retained administrative oversight of the Temple Mount, known to Arabs as the Noble Sanctuary or the Aqsa compound. The Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock, a shrine that Muslim tradition considers to be the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, are situated on its limestone plaza.

Israel has overall security authority and maintains a small police station there.

The government officially allows non-Muslims to visit the site for several hours each morning on the condition that they not pray there. Though no Israeli law explicitly bars Jewish prayer there, Jewish visitors who attempt to pray there have historically been removed or reprimanded by the police.

When this balance of power has appeared to teeter, it has often led to violence.


Eviction Moratorium Likely To Create More Homelessness
Hint: It’s about incentives

In September of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they would implement an eviction moratorium that would last through the end of the year. It is now almost a full year since the start of this “temporary” program, and it has recently been renewed, scheduled to expire at the start of October.

After making the decision, the CDC wrote, “The eviction moratorium allows additional time for rent relief to reach renters and to further increase vaccination rates. In the context of a pandemic, eviction moratoria—like quarantine, isolation, and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure utilized to prevent the spread of communicable disease.”

The Self-Defeating Economics Of The Eviction Moratorium
Aside from the shaky (and possibly non-existent) legal basis for the eviction moratorium, it may also have the opposite of its intended effects in the long run. In fact, it could easily lead to more homelessness than there was before it was put in place due to the incentives it creates in the housing market.

According to Pew Research, “more U.S. households are headed by renters than at any point since at least 1965.” Young people and low-income families are the most likely to rent.

For these groups to be housed, there must be adequate supply. To keep up with demand, new housing must continually be put on the market—either through new units being built or existing units being transitioned into rental properties.

But goods generally—and specifically housing in this case—do not simply appear on the market out of nowhere. Individuals or businesses must conclude that it is in their financial self-interest prior to adding units to the market.

In an unhampered market, a landlord and a tenant would make an agreement as to the rent the tenant would pay in exchange for the landlord allowing them to use their private property. If the tenant does not live up to his end of the bargain—by, for example, not paying the agreed-upon rent—then the landlord can evict him. If the landlord does not live up to his end of the bargain—by, for example, failing to perform agreed-upon maintenance—then the tenant can end the lease without an obligation to pay for its remaining duration.

But the eviction moratorium is a sharp move away from this market characterized by a mutually agreed-upon contract that both sides have an obligation to uphold. Under this policy, the tenant has no obligation to live up to his end of the bargain. He can fail to pay rent—meaning he is using and occupying someone else’s private property without paying for that right—and the landlord cannot do anything about it.

As a result, the eviction moratorium sets a dangerous precedent. The policy requires that landlords pay for other people to occupy and use their privately owned land, thus precluding them from earning any money. Even though this is a supposedly “temporary” measure, the incentive to build new housing is diminished when the prospect of the government voiding a voluntary agreement between two people with no real warning becomes a reality. One of the determinants of supply is producer expectations. If there is complete uncertainty—and producers know that government can simply take away their ability to earn money one day—that will clearly inhibit supply growth. People may opt to sell their unit rather than putting it on the rental market, for example.

Sticking it to landlords for the sake of renters is as short-sighted as the fool in the fable who killed the goose that laid the golden eggs to get at the gold inside.

This becomes doubly true when one takes into account the fact that there are over 22.5 million rental units owned by individuals—not businesses. These people are not rich or greedy. They are mostly middle class and just trying to make a little more income. Among single-property landlords, more than half of them did not even originally buy the property in order to rent it out and make money, but rather just to use it as their residence.

For some of these people, the eviction moratorium has put them in financial ruins. As a result, the future incentive for individuals to put housing units on the market has shrunk dramatically—and that, in the end, will cause one of two things to happen. One: it may result in a housing shortage, in which case there are more people who want housing than there are units on the market. This results in homelessness. Or, two: there is no shortage because prices rise to a level that precludes a sizable number of people from renting. This, too, results in homelessness.

Mises’s Lesson: A Tragic Cycle

Other interventionist housing policies have the same flaw of disincentivizing new housing from being put on the market. Rent control, for example, does the same thing through a price ceiling.

Such policies engender a self-perpetuating cycle that leaves ordinary people—especially low-income people—far worse off while awarding the politicians who push the policy with far more clout.

The cycle goes like this: There is first a small population either homeless or at risk of being evicted. As a result, politicians campaign to make housing more “affordable” through price controls, eviction moratoria, and other such policies. But, the policy stifles the profit motive, and therefore the incentive to build new housing. In consequence, there is either a shortage of housing, the price of housing goes up, or both. The result of that is a greater homelessness problem. And the cycle then restarts, with politicians using the bitter fruits of the previous intervention as a justification for further intervention.

The people living on the streets in big cities that have implemented bold rent-control policies such as New York are often seen as the victims of capitalism. But, in truth, they are actually the victims of government intervention into the housing market.

In Ludwig von Mises’s book, Middle-of-the-road Policy Leads to Socialism, he points out that this cycle is endemic to interventionism. And if pursued to the bitter end, the cycle culminates in outright nationalization of the regulated industries and ultimately in a total command economy. As he wrote:

[The policy] produce[s] effects which from the point of view of the government are even worse than the previous state of affairs which the government wanted to alter. If the government, in order to eliminate these inevitable but unwelcome consequences, pursues its course further and further, it finally transforms the system of capitalism and free enterprise into socialism.

As massive government economic interventions—and their disastrous consequences—continue to mount under the cover of COVID-19, this cycle is spinning out of control: not only in housing, but throughout the whole economy. If we are to avoid a totalitarian future, we must break the cycle before it is too late.


'Profound abuse': Judge disciplines pro-Trump lawyers over election lawsuit

A U.S. judge on Wednesday sanctioned Sidney Powell and other lawyers who sued in Michigan to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory over Donald Trump, and suggested they might deserve to lose their law licenses.

In a highly anticipated written ruling, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit said the pro-Trump lawyers, including Powell and prominent litigator Lin Wood, should have investigated the Republican former president's voter fraud claims more carefully before filing what Parker called a "frivolous" lawsuit.

Parker, who dismissed the Michigan suit last December, formally requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the pro-Trump lawyers should have their law licenses revoked. The judge also ordered the lawyers to attend classes on the ethical and legal requirements for filing legal claims.

"This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process," Parker said in her decision, adding that the case "was never about fraud - it was about undermining the People's faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so."

The judge said Powell, Wood, and other lawyers who worked with them "have scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way."

Powell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Wood said on the social media platform Telegram that he "had nothing to do with" the lawsuit and would appeal.

Powell represented Trump's campaign when he tried to overturn last Nov. 3's presidential election in the courts. His campaign distanced itself from Powell after she claimed without evidence at a Nov. 19 news conference that electronic voting systems had switched millions of ballots to Biden.

In a written decision last December, Parker said Powell's voter fraud claims were "nothing but speculation and conjecture" and that, in any event, the Texas lawyer waited too long to file her lawsuit.

Powell asserted in a court hearing last month that she had carefully vetted her election fraud claims before suing, and that the only way to test them would have been at trial or a hearing on evidence gathered. Her co-counsel repeatedly called for such an evidentiary hearing.

Starting in January, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and other government lawyers asked the judge to discipline the pro-Trump lawyers, saying they had filed a frivolous lawsuit full of typos and factual errors and should be held accountable.

"I'm pleased to see that the Court has ensured there is accountability for the attorneys who perpetuated meritless arguments in court," Nessel said in a statement on Wednesday.

"I appreciate the unmistakable message (the judge) sends with this ruling - those who vow to uphold the Constitution must answer for abandoning that oath."

Parker on Thursday also ordered the pro-Trump lawyers to reimburse election officials for the cost of defending the lawsuit. The amount will be determined by the judge in the coming months, said David Fink, a lawyer for the City of Detroit who requested sanctions, in an interview.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)