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HSanders

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True freedom DEMANDS personal responsibility. Choices have consequences, good a AND bad.
The left 's biggest project since time immemorial has been brokering the divorce of personal rights from personal responsibilities thereby shielding the bad decision makers from consequences of their actions while burdening the good decision makers with a "my brother's keeper" paradigm for those people.
It makes sense when you think about it. They DO have most of the lawyers!
 

johnlocke

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A set of videos, not an Op-ed. But it really is the greatest op-ed of all time. Covers everything. :)

This is something special that I just found.

It is the visualization of John Galt's Speech from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, the greatest speech ever written, hands down. It identifies the cause and solution to the destruction in the world around us (not just this virus and the response to it). It is about the whole of humanity in a very accessible way with interspersed video and photo evidence of it's truth.

This puts it all in context.

Absolutely phenomenal 16 part series of 10 minute videos.

Please, for all that is sacred, watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00xStn_jXKo&list=PL27E8CCCFEBA1C59B&index=1
 

Baron Samedi

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‘A slow and botched response’: My eight weeks on the Covid-19 frontline have taught me how the NHS made this crisis worse

By Malcolm Kendrick, doctor and author who works as a GP in the National Health Service in England. His blog can be read here and his book, 'Doctoring Data – How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense,' is available here.

No PPE, no tests, no support. I work as a GP in care homes and a hospital setting, and watched in horror over the past few weeks as the approach we took to tackling the virus caused my elderly patients to die.

As with most people, Covid-19 seemed a long way away to me in January. I was working as a GP in out-of-hours cover, and in Intermediate Care. This means rehabilitating elderly people following accidents or illness, who need support and medical attention before going home.

All was calm at the start of the year. Yes, China was going into lockdown, a few people had become trapped on cruise liners, posting interminable online videos. Would Covid come here, to the UK? The NHS was untroubled, slumbering.

I went skiing in France, the Grand Massif, in the first week in March, when Covid still seemed a distant thing, unlikely to change my work, or my life. I suppose it was like sitting on a mountain, being told that a bank of snow was forming that might eventually form an avalanche and head my way. But when I looked out of the window, the sun was shining, the sky was blue. Nothing to see.

No-one I knew had Covid, nothing much was going on. I had seen no patients with the disease, but in early March the avalanche was striking Italy, and the sky above was darkening. Was it really coming here? I watched Liverpool getting knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid. Then Spain locked down. Then…

Then the cases in the UK started to rise. Suddenly, this was getting serious. What exactly was this disease? Was it like the flu, was it something else? As the avalanche began to rumble, hospital managers began charging about at high speed, bumping into each other and bellowing instructions – often directly contradictory. We had bronze meetings, then silver and gold meetings. The clipboards were all out.

Almost instantly, things had gone from placid to panic, panic, panic. On the TV news, we could see that hospitals were getting overwhelmed in Italy. The elderly were lying, dying, in corridors. Ventilators, we need ventilators. We need more capacity in the hospitals, we need beds. Like a slumbering beast, the NHS had awoken. More than a bit late.

Money started to get thrown around – as if money could suddenly make more beds, or more staff, or create new nursing homes – or open those that had been shut. The bullying began. Of course, it wasn’t called bullying, but hospitals needed to be cleared out and nothing and no-one was going to get in the way. Edicts were handed down, orders barked.

In our little world, we were commanded to discharge our hospital patients as quickly as possible, to send them back to their families or their care homes. The two nursing homes where I look after patients started to fill up with new patients from hospital, often Covid-19 positive. Staff had no PPE; barrier nursing was impossible. Early warning signs. I made my concerns about this clear.

Essentially, there was a single objective for the NHS. Get the hospitals clear of patients. We absolutely had to have capacity. Social workers were told to find beds for patients in the community, no objections were allowed. Then lockdown happened, staff were going off sick all over the place, because someone in their household had symptoms of Covid-19.

However, if a member of staff developed symptoms – everyone else had to stay at work. Because… a virus at home was obviously completely different to a virus at work. At this time there was no swabbing, no testing, so no-one knew who was infected, and who was not.

This was when we all became aware that expediency, and targets, were clearly overwhelming any safety concerns. Staff had little, or no, protection. The PPE that was deemed to be necessary – was whatever PPE was actually available. The guidance could change three times a day.

All of a sudden, in early April, the elderly patients I was looking after started to die. One day, here were no cases, then, 24-hours later, we had many. The deaths were strange, quick. One nurse watched four patients develop exactly the same symptoms. A fall, then strange lapses of consciousness, then their breathing rate going up and their oxygen levels falling. The patients were remarkably calm, not distressed. Then they died. Two before ambulances could even get there.

More staff started to get symptoms, patients were getting symptoms, still no-one could get a test. The only people being tested were those, very ill, arriving at hospital. Why? What did it matter if they had Covid or not? They were ill, they needed the correct treatment for their symptoms.

What difference would it make if they had a diagnosis of Covid-19? It was the managers that needed to know. It seemed that research statistics were more important than protecting the staff. We really needed to know.

Early April and the local hospital was now, virtually empty, wards lying silent, elective surgery halted, cancer treatment stopped. By mid-April, the emergency Nightingale hospitals were also empty. Well, the primary objective had certainly been met. The hospitals were clear.

All this time, our care home beds were being filled up with Covid-positive patients (many having been discharged or turned away from hospitals), and patients who had not been tested, but could be infected. Here we were, with the elderly vulnerable, in our care. The absolutely most at-risk population. Piling them in. Every time I coughed, I wondered, have I got it? I started popping an oxygen monitor onto my finger on a regular basis. Was it dropping? What’s my temperature? What’s my pulse rate… luckily, nothing changed.

In out-of-hours care at the hospital, things had become very strange. Across the corridor, A&E staff were twiddling their thumbs. The number of patients arriving to see a doctor had fallen through the floor. Pods were created to see those patients who did arrive. Pod being a fancy name for a portacabin with a non-closing door. What was our PPE? A surgical mask, non-fitted, gloves that split, and an almost immediately disintegrating plastic pinny.

But yes, this was all that was required, according to Public Health England. Until better PPE arrived, then suddenly that was what we required instead. Then it ran out, and we didn’t need better PPE anymore. Back to the disintegrating pinnies.

In the nursing homes and in Intermediate Care, my objections to filling up beds with Covid-positive patients was beginning to have some effect. Rather too late. Our rehab unit has beds for thirty patients; ten were Covid-positive. Eight died, and seven staff were tested positive. On the plus side, moves were being made to clear the unit, to turn it green, free from Covid-19.

Then came the problem of death certification. What should I write? Covid, or not Covid? Who knew, because still no-one was being tested in nursing homes. Not patients, not staff. Pure guesswork. By this point, even the national news was recognising that Care Homes were the new front line of Covid. Further edicts rained down, four or five new protocols a day.

Where are we now? Things are calming down, becoming clearer. The world of panic is rotating more slowly. What went wrong? We all know that, in a crisis, things can go haywire. Things that, in retrospect, look idiotic. Idiotic decisions.

The main thing that went wrong, I believe, was a failure to understand that hospitals would become the vectors for Covid, the epicentres for the infection. We - the hospitals, the decisions taken by the NHS managers with their clipboards - spread the disease, especially among the elderly vulnerable in care homes. A disease that we were trying to stop... killing the elderly and vulnerable.

I believe it is a terrible indictment of our system that it became obsessed by a target. One that ran roughshod over our duty of care for those in our care. The primary rule of medicine is Primum non nocere. Not primum nocere.


https://www.rt.com/op-ed/488075-nhs-made-covid-19-crisis-worse/
 
OP
tehmackdaddy

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Reckoning
"Reckoning."
Larry O'Connor
May 08, 2020 11:16 AM


reck·on·ing (noun) - the avenging or punishing of past mistakes or misdeeds.

When one writes a regular opinion column, one is often faced with multiple major stories in the news that deserve further analysis and context that inspire thought and even passion from one's readers. Today, those of us in this noble trade are faced with a serious quandary: Where to begin?

- Do we celebrate the partial justice delivered to American patriot Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as the Justice Department properly withdrew criminal charges against him?

- Do we focus on the nefarious actions of the Comey FBI and Lynch Justice Department under Barack Obama that led to the vengeful vendetta against the general?

- Do we discuss the duplicity and corruption of the Mueller investigators in using the FBI's dirty work to threaten Flynn's family and basically coerce a false guilty plea from him?

- Do we pivot to the other major news item of the day and delve into the voluminous House Intel testimony that was finally released thanks to the herculean efforts of Acting ODNI Richard Grenell?

- Do we explain how Rep. Adam Schiff has been fully exposed as the lying, defamatory charlatan that he truly is as the testimony proves that he never saw the direct evidence proving Trump/Russia collusion as he has claimed for the past several years?

You see the challenge.

If one is to take the proverbial 35,000-foot view of all these stories and focuses one's eyes as if they are trying to discover the 3-D picture in one of those tacky 90s "magic eye" pictures, one image clearly appears.

President Barack Obama is at the center of all of this. Indeed, Obama oversaw it all, from the start.

The investigation of Flynn. The surveillance of Carter Page and George Papadopolous. The Steele Dossier infection of the FISA courts. The Kangaroo Court hearings. The Special Counsel investigation built on known fictions.

None of it happens without Obama.

Over the past few years, most of the enterprising journalists and commentators who have strayed from the lockstep march of establishment media and politicians by challenging the lazy Trump/Russia collusion hoax have been asking a basic question related to the enormous political scandal:

What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

It's political scandal journalism 101, yet the Pulitzer-prize winning elites at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post are not in any way interested. Curious.

For now, let's just focus on the Flynn portion. Here's what we now know about Obama's involvement in the Flynn episode:

Sally Yates, as Acting Attorney General, authorized FBI agents (including disgraced Peter Strzok) to interview then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the early days of the Trump Administration. It was that interview that led to the persecution of Flynn at the hands of the Mueller investigators. The predicate for this questioning was concern over violations of the archaic Logan Act that alleged to happen in a phone call between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

It was that Logan Act predicate that triggered the Justice Department to withdraw charges against Flynn yesterday because, as Attorney General William Barr explained to CBS News, "they initially tried some theories of how they could open an investigation which didn't fly and then they found out they had technically not closed the earlier investigation and they kept it open for the express purpose of trying to catch, lay a perjury trap for General Flynn. They didn't warn him the way we would usually be required by the Department. They bi-passed the Justice Department. They bi-passed the protocols at the White House and so-forth."

In the trove of documents released yesterday, a stunning revelation was discovered.

"Yates first learned of the December 2016 calls between [LTG Michael] Flynn and [Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey] Kislyak on January 5, 2017, while in the Oval Office. Yates, along with then FBI-Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, were at the White House to brief members of the Obama Administration on the classified Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian Activities in Recent U.S Elections. President Obama was joined by his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, and others from the National Security Council," the document states.

"After the briefing, Obama dismissed the group but asked Yates and Comey to stay behind. Obama started by saying he had 'learned of the information about Flynn' and his conversation with Kislyak about sanctions. Obama specified he did not want any additional information on the matter, but was seeking information on whether the White House should be treating Flynn any differently, given the information. At that point, Yates had no idea what the President was talking about, but figured it out based on the conversation. Yates recalled Comey mentioning the Logan Act, but can't recall if he specified there was an 'investigation,'" it continues.

Yates learned of the Flynn/Kislyak phone call from the president himself. Clearly, the president informing the top official at the Justice Department about this information triggered a criminal investigation. A criminal investigation that we now know, for certain, was inappropriate at best, criminal and corrupt at worst (and more likely.)

This appears to be the first major and direct link we have between the improper behavior of the Justice Department and President Obama. The first real crack in the dam. In a normal journalistic and political environment, the dam would now break.

Reporters would be demanding to know more about Obama's involvement. What did he discuss with Comey about the investigation into the Trump campaign and transition team? What did he learn from CIA Director John Brennan or DNI James Clapper as these events unfolded?

Now that we know he was in the middle of the amped-up investigation of General Flynn, let's find out what else he was in the middle of?

Are we meant to believe that Lynch, Comey, Yates, Clapper and Brennan all went rogue and conducted this historic, unprecedented and obviously improper investigation without any authorization from the Oval Office?

If Obama knew about these matters, we deserve to know to what extent he was directly involved and whether he authorized and even directed this corrupt operation. If he didn't know about it, we deserve to challenge the lack of competence and accountability inherent to the Obama Administration where individuals felt empowered and protected to wield the power of the surveillance and investigative tools designed to protect our nation against terrorists for the purpose of harassing and criminalizing domestic political behavior.

Either way, Obama has some explaining to do.

Let the reckoning, finally, begin.

Link
 

Baron Samedi

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Old white male plutocrat: Dems & media have no shame backing Joe Biden, who personifies exactly what they bash Trump for

Do the Democratic Party’s leadership and its many allied mainstream media outlets have no shame? They are determined to run Joe Biden, a presidential candidate who embodies many of the evils for which they condemn Donald Trump.

Corporate Joe

Democrats rightly charge the reputed billionaire Donald Trump with serving the wealthy few. Yes, but what about Joe? His corporatist and pro-Wall Street record in Congress included votes to rollback bankruptcy protections for college graduates (1978) and vocational school graduates (1984) with federal student loans.

He worked with Republicans to pass the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which put “clean slate” Chapter-7 bankruptcy out of reach for millions of ordinary Americans (2005).

Biden voted against a bill that would have compelled credit card companies to warn customers of the costs of only making minimum payments. He honored campaign cash from Coca-Cola by cosponsoring a bill that permitted soft-drink producers to skirt antitrust laws (1979).

He joined just one other Congressional Democrat to vote against a Judiciary Committee measure to increase consumers’ rights to sue corporations for price-fixing (1979).

He strongly backed the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which permitted the re-merging of investment and commercial banking by repealing the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act. (This helped create the 2007-8 financial crisis and subsequent recession, which led to a massive taxpayer bailout of the rich combined with little for the rest of the population – a policy that Biden backed as vice presidential candidate and as Vice President).

During his time as a US Senator, “lunch bucket Joe” Biden supported the globalist investor rights North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which cost millions of US manufacturing workers their jobs.

Adding neoliberal insult to neoliberal injury, presidential candidate Biden has criticized those who advocate a universal basic income (a fundamental need, in the wake of the current Covid-19 crash) of “selling American workers short” and undermining the “dignity” of work.

Biden opposes calls for supposedly “too expensive” universal Single Payer health insurance, going so far as to say he would veto a Medicare for All bill as president! He defends Big Business and the rich from popular criticism, mocking those who “want to single out big corporations for all the blame” and proclaiming “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.”

Biden even says he has “no empathy” for Millennials’ struggle to get by in the savagely unequal precariat economy he helped create over his many years of service to the Lords of Capital. “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are—give me a break,” said Biden, while speaking to Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times two years ago. “No, no, I have no empathy for it, give me a break.”

Biden has not spoken one critical word about Trump and Congress’s taxpayer-funded bailout for the American capitalist “elite” and its top corporations and financial institutions in the wake of Covid-19 – a massive and largely unaccountable giveaway that puts no caps on executive compensation and elite profits while offering little more than a pittance to the nation’s working-class majority.

Lyin’ Joe

The Democrats and their media rightly accuse Trump of serial deception, misstatement, and lying. Okay, but what about Joe? In a lie told twice, in 2001 and 2007, Biden falsely and viciously claimed that his first wife and baby boy were killed by a drunk truck driver in 1972.

On the campaign trail last year, Biden told a ridiculous tale (a longstanding recurrent Biden fib) about his supposed heroic role in honoring a medal-winning US soldier in a war zone as vice president.

Last February, at a campaign event in South Carolina, Biden tried to win Black votes by falsely claiming to have been arrested while trying to visit Nelson Mandela in jail during the apartheid era in South Africa.

Last January, during a debate, Biden claimed that he argued against George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq immediately after it began. In fact, it took Biden two years to admit that Bush’s war and Biden’s own Senate vote to authorize it were “mistakes” (try ‘crimes’).

Sleepy Joe

The Democrats and their media raise legitimate questions about Trump’s mental health and fitness. Fine, but what about Joe? Earlier this year, he strangely invaded centrist MSNBC host Joy Reid’s physical space to accuse her of being a radical who wants “a physical revolution.”

As a presidential candidate in the current cycle, Biden has forgotten what state he’s in, confused his wife with his sister, and claimed that he would have “beaten the hell out of Trump” in high school. Last September, he tried to woo Black voters with a bizarre and rambling story about an alleged past adolescent swimming pool confrontation with a young Black tough named “Corn Pop.”

On the campaign trail in Iowa, an unhinged Biden said this to an older white male Elizabeth Warren supporter who dared to ask about the corruption involved in Hunter Biden’s lucrative presence on the board of a gas company in Ukraine: “You’re a damn liar….Look, fat…you’re too old to vote for me.”

Speaking in Texas last March, Biden made audience members cringe when he called Super Tuesday “Super Thursday” and tried to quote from the American Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” Biden gaffed: “All men um, are created by the, um, co, …oh, YOU KNOW THE THING!”

Biden responded to a debate question about racial inequality, segregation, and the legacy of slavery last September by smirkng and then awkwardly telling Black parents to “put on the television, I mean the record player” for their children.

Last February, he called a young female voter in New Hampshire “a lying dog-faced pony soldier.” He also said that “150 million” Americans – almost half of the US population – “have been killed” due to gun violence.

In debates and interviews, the 77-year old Biden routinely loses his train of thought in mid-sentence, mis-pronounces his words, forgets basic facts, and generally looks confused while seeming to rave and be on the verge of punching someone.

Bodyguards have had to stand between Biden and voters because he lacks the impulse control to stop himself from touching, sniffing, and massaging women in his vicinity.

It’s not for nothing that the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign are keeping “Sleepy Joe” as much out of the public eye – almost literally locked in his basement – as possible.

But just as FOX News looks the other way when it comes to Trump’s mental illness and difficulties, the liberal mainstream media is shockingly silent on Biden’s clearly fading cognitive health.

In 2020 as in previous US elections, Democrats are telling American progressives yet again that they must vote for an inadequate, duplicitous, imperial, and corporate-captive presidential candidate as “the lesser evil.” In reality, however, Lesser Evil-ism is a self-fulfilling prophecy that helps move the narrow American major-party spectrum further to the right while channeling popular political energies into an electoral system that does not represent the nation’s working- and middle-class majority.

Aptly described by the late left political scientist Sheldon Wolin as “the Inauthentic Opposition,” the neoliberal Democratic Party offers no serious resistance, electoral or otherwise, to the corporate and financial class rule advanced by the rightmost of the only two viable political organizations. The mentally declining liar and corporatist Joe Biden is graphic and depressing evidence for Wolin’s thesis.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/488206-democrats-biden-media-evil/
 

Baron Samedi

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Just a quick show of appreciation...what a great thread this is. It's practically timeless rather than current events, but relevant to current events. You can always go back and read stuff anywhere on this thread and it is just as relevant as when it was posted.

Thanks to all the contributors and T-Mack for the awesome idea...

The Coronavirus Shines a Spotlight on Britain’s NHS Worship.

Forget the Church of England – the United Kingdom’s real state religion is the mythology of their health service.

The coronavirus crisis has spawned a host of new hashtags that tell us how to behave. There’s #StayingHomeSavesLives, #SafeHands, and #FlattenTheCurve. In the United Kingdom, they have an extra one: #ProtectTheNHS.

For British people, the battle against coronavirus is all about protecting their beloved National Health Service (NHS), a taxpayer-funded healthcare system that offers treatment to all UK residents. This is just as important as saving lives.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson articulated as much in a video message after he was released from an NHS hospital following his own near-fatal bout with the virus: “We are making progress in this national battle because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset: our National Health Service,” Johnson said, “We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.”

The Royal family has also gotten involved. In April, Prince Charles released a video to praise “our remarkable NHS.” In another video, Prince William and Kate Middleton and their three children applauded NHS workers, with every member of the family dressed in the same shade of blue as the NHS logo.

Of course, many leaders around the world have paid tribute to their countries’ healthcare workers during coronavirus—and rightfully so. But there is something different about what is going on in the UK. The rhetoric about the heroic doctors and nurses of the NHS battling a crisis is a standard part of their national discourse—even when there is no pandemic.

PUBLIC HEALTH CARE AS A WAY OF LIFE

The NHS is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world. Its budget for 2019/2020 is GBP 140.4 billion (about $174 billion), making it the single largest item of public expenditure. Nearly everyone in the UK relies on it for their healthcare. Only around 10% of the population has private insurance, and even these people typically still use an NHS GP as their first point of contact.

I lived in the UK between 2013 and 2015, while my husband was a student there. We also relied on the NHS for healthcare; I gave birth to my first child in an NHS hospital. It is difficult to describe the dominant, central role the NHS plays in British life to people who have not experienced it first-hand. British people talk about it constantly. And, since everyone has personal experience using the NHS, everyone has an opinion.

Discussions of the NHS often reference politician Nigel Lawson’s famous quotation from 1992, “The National Health Service is the closest thing the English have to a religion.”

Although that analogy has never made much sense to me, I think, if the NHS were similar to any religion, then it might be in the way the people of North Korea worship their Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un. Kenneth Bae is an American missionary who was detained in North Korea between 2012 and 2014. In his book, Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea, Bae describes the endless propaganda films he was forced to watch: “This is the consistent message North Korean people hear from the moment they come into the world: The Leader is all you will ever need. He loves you. He cares for you. He will provide you with whatever you need.”

Similar to North Koreans, British people are indoctrinated into the NHS from birth. Literally. The vast majority of them are born in NHS hospitals. Their childhoods are steeped in NHS propaganda. They will regularly hear how wonderful the NHS is and how lucky they are to have it. During coronavirus, children across the UK have been drawing rainbows to show their support for the NHS.

When they grow up, they work for the NHS; in a country of 66 million, the NHS employs 1.5 million people. When I lived in the UK, I rarely met a family who didn’t have at least one member employed by the NHS in some capacity. The average British person will rarely, if ever, experience any other type of healthcare over the course of their life.

Support for the NHS also crosses all political affiliations. I had a friend who described herself as a libertarian, but she said to me, “We have something so precious in the NHS. We have to defend it.” I wanted to explain to her that you cannot call yourself a libertarian and also support a $174 billion government healthcare program, but it would’ve been a waste of time. Her belief was firm.

The sacred, founding principle of the NHS, is that care should be “free at the point of use.” In other words, you don’t pay for your treatment directly. However, as my husband and I frequently commented to one another during our time there, “It’s free, but you do pay for it.” The British pay for their healthcare system through high taxes and a high cost of living—the consequence of a 20% vat.

They also pay with their time. My prenatal ultrasounds at the local hospital often ran two hours or longer behind schedule. At my doctor’s office, I usually had to wait four weeks to schedule a routine blood test. The NHS lags behind the health care systems of other developed countries on many significant metrics. This is the inevitable result of having a one-size-fits-all, centrally planned health care system that is shielded from market dynamics.

The British are certainly less brainwashed than North Koreans in that they have access to information about the rest of the world. Plenty of people I spoke to were aware, on some level, that their healthcare is subpar, but they simply did not seem to care. I told a friend who worked for the NHS that, while I still lived in the United States, I had been diagnosed with a non-life-threatening condition on a Friday and underwent surgery the following Wednesday. She gave a nonchalant shrug and said, “Yeah, that would never happen here.”

To the British, the shortcomings of the NHS are somehow never the fault of the NHS. They always blame the government. I can’t tell you how often I heard a British person say something like, “If only the politicians would keep their hands off the NHS. It should be run by doctors.” They believe politicians are the reason the NHS exists in a perpetual state of crisis.

The truth is, however, that many of the failures of the NHS are due to its own non-elected managers.

Christopher Snowdon, the Head of Lifestyle Economics at the Institute for Economic Affairs, a think tank in the UK, recently wrote that NHS leadership made decisions in March that resulted in a lack of personal protective equipment for many frontline healthcare workers. It was the government, however, that took the blame. According to Snowdon, a recent BBC news report alleged that the government:

“[T]ook COVID-19 off the list of High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) in March 2020, thereby allowing ‘the government’ to weaken the guidelines on PPE use. This, it suggested, was because ‘the government’ had failed to buy enough PPE to go round. But the decision to take COVID-19 off the HCID list was not made by politicians. It was made by Public Health England and their equivalents in the rest of the UK, [NHS leadership] with the Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens in agreement.”

The issue is also politicized in the UK. In the British political narrative, the Conservative Party is regarded as “anti-NHS” while the Labour Party is “pro-NHS.” In 2014, a British friend told me, “If the Conservatives are reelected, the NHS will be privatized. That’s their goal.”

Conservatives have been reelected three times since then, but the NHS has yet to be privatized. However, the fact that my friend’s view is widely shared has given rise to a bizarre dynamic that has Conservative Prime Ministers constantly insisting how much they love the NHS—Johnson’s recent Coronavirus video message is a good example of this. Only Labour Prime Ministers, like Tony Blair, could occasionally get away with enacting meaningful reforms.

COVID-19 is unlikely to bring about significant change for the NHS. If anything, the pandemic has reinforced their devotion to the institution. That’s why figures like Captain Tom Moore have emerged as national heroes during the coronavirus crisis. The 100-year-old veteran raised £33 million ($41 million) for the NHS by completing laps around his garden using his walker. Apparently, British taxpayers don’t believe the $174 billion they already contribute each year is enough.

Even after the pandemic has passed, the British people will continue to believe the NHS exists in a state of crisis, and they must do all they can to support it. They accept, as an article of faith, that the NHS is perpetually underfunded, and that public health requires their allegiance.

Their lifelong indoctrination in the NHS ensures they cannot conceive of any alternative. In the UK, #ProtectTheNHS isn’t just a hashtag. It’s a way of life.

https://humanevents.com/2020/05/11/the-coronavirus-shines-a-spotlight-on-britains-nhs-worship/
 

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Especially the Lindsay "John McCain" Graham War Monger (LJMGWM) part.

Forget About Seeing Any Justice For Obamagate
Kurt SchlichterKurt Schlichter|Posted: May 18, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Forget About Seeing Any Justice For Obamagate
Source: AP Photo/Files




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Wayne Allyn Root
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Allow me to disabuse you of your naïve delusion that we still live in a country with a justice system and break it to you that no one is going to jail for what was done to Flynn, or for the unmasking business, or for the Russia hoax or, for that matter, for any of the corrupt Dem/foreigner collaborations exemplified by the payoffs received by stripperphile and Bolivian folk medicine enthusiast Hoover Biden.

No one.

Well, maybe Mike Flynn himself will. Since his judge is now making up the law as he goes along – in law school they taught us that the judicial branch didn’t prosecute, but that was before the Trump Exception™ to existing principles – I actually expect that the next time the General shows up in court the judge will sentence him on his coerced plea to a “crime” that never happened and order the marshals to immediately take him into custody. And, as we have seen far too often since the advent of the bat biter blues, too many LEOs simply obey, apparently never having got the 411 on how the Nuremburg defense of “just following orders” is unsat. Flynn will get pardoned instead of exonerated, so he’ll get sprung from stir, but he will have no civil recourse for resurrecting his reputation or savings, which is the plan.

We have two justice systems, one for them and one for us, meaning we have no justice system at all.

Sorry to have to break this to you. I know it makes you sad, but how do you think I feel? I spent 27 years helping defend this country and voilà – here we are, a flippin’ banana republic. Turns out our elite is perfectly cool with treating our Constitution like Charmin.


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You do understand that to the establishment, this dual track system where they ignore the law and we get the law dropped on us – including through active framing, as with LTG Flynn, to keep us in line – is how they want it, right? This is not an unintended consequence. They are for this.

They are actively for the abuse of the legal system to persecute their political enemies. You adorable naïfs come to me thinking that I, as a lawyer, will assuage your gnawing fear that something is rotten in the state of America. “Kurt, but this…this isn’t right? How can some people be prosecuted but other people with connections get away with crimes?” Well, the answer is simple: that is how many of the people with their grubby paws on the levers of power want it.

They want to use the government to stifle dissent, as the IRS did to Tea Party groups.

They want to make people afraid to oppose them by threatening them with crushing legal fees and maybe jail if they dare join the opposition – look at the trail of bankrupt Trumpworld folks after Obamagate.

They want to frame people working for their enemies and ruin them and put them in prison, a la LTG Flynn.

This permeates liberal culture. Did you know that the ACLU – the Alleged Civil Liberties Union – just sued Betsy De Vos because she ordered reforms to campus man-witch trials that gave men such radical due process rights as the right to know the charges, to have time to respond to them, to not be judged by the same person who is prosecuting them, and to confront their accuser? The ACLU came out against these things – at least in cases where ole Grandpa Badfinger’s not the accused. And speaking of that handsy old weirdo, how about all those lib luminaries leveling with us that even if he did what Tara Reade said he did, eh, no biggie. They’ll vote for him anyway, and that whiny broad should stop crying all over their beautiful progressive narrative.


“Where’s the media?” Silly rabbit! The media is with the establishment 100%. It’s not that the media is failing to do its job and negligently not digging into what is the biggest scandal in American history, a scandal that makes Watergate seem, in comparison, as small and insignificant as the manhood of a Bulwark staffer. Not digging into liberal malfeasance is the media’s job. Eventually, those of you who are constantly surprised that the mainstream media is not the collection of dogged, objective truthtellers it pretends to be are going to get tired of being shocked – shocked, I say! – every single day as the media reaffirms its fealty to the liberal elite narrative every single day.

“Where are the prosecutors?” Oh, now you really are amusing me. The DoJ has a few solid folks at the top apparently trying to salvage some credibility out of this debacle, but it takes time to tame a bureaucracy and thanks to that befuddled dork Jeff Sessions that process got delayed for over two years while he tried to play it straight and got taken to the cleaners by the cheats all around him.


You need to prepare yourself. No one of any significance is going to jail for any of this. Ever.

What Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit did with classified info would have put you and me in striped PJs for a decade. She walked. So did her whole clique.

Andrew McCabe lied again and again and … nope, they won’t charge him.

Looming Doofus Comey will walk. Every Democrat donor in the Mueller gang will walk. Samantha Power will walk. And Obama? Sheesh, chatty perpetual Hannity guest and occasional senator Lindsey Graham may get around to holding his long-promised Obamagate hearings on about the 5th of Never. Big Talkin’ LG won’t even dare to call BHO to testify and you think the Grand Marshal of the Supreme Court is gonna be frog-marching The One out of his new beach mansion to prison? Come on.

I’d love to be wrong. Maybe I am. Maybe the unbroken track record of injustice we’ve seen over the last decade will suddenly break. And maybe my pet unicorn Chet will be the foreman of the jury when one of these slugs somehow gets called to account.


“Then I guess we should just give up and resign ourselves to tyranny?” Oh no. Oh, not at all. My short-term assessment is grave, but my long-term assessment is bright. Tyranny tends to fail over time. Remember, the establishment’s embrace of tactical tyranny is an admission of weakness. When they weren’t threatened they could afford to hide their true nature. All this is their last-ditch effort to resist the popular uprising against their inept rule.

We need to stay on the offensive.


Recommended
Why the Lockdown Lost
Kevin McCullough
Keep your eye on the prize. The prize is not seeing these scumbags behind bars, though that would satisfy our righteous yearning for justice. The prize is the power to not merely defend our rights and prosperity but to enhance them.

So we keep pushing.

But how do we win?

The Constitution is defiled but it’s not dead, and it contains all the answers. We fight on, electing people who will carry the flag forward. We just got one in California – Los Angeles even! – when Navy vet and conservative Mike Garcia shot down the Democrats’ heir to the seat that the hotel room chair-defiling wierdoess Katie Hill lost. We are building up our team, going seat by seat, filling them with conservatives and purging the spineless likes of Jeff Flake.

It will take time. Everything hard takes time. But that’s how we win. Look at DC today. When Donald Trump took office, he had no insiders on his side. He was surrounded by Bushie traitors and Obama holdovers, all looking to take him down. But fast forward to today. The moles are gone, replaced by all-in conservatives with three years of experience inside the Beltway. Ric Grenell’s masterful bureaucratic battering of Adam Schiffforbrains was a perfect example of how we can play this game too. Think of what our side can do with seven years of experience.

Oh, and buy guns and ammunition. Liberty always needs that backstop of an armed citizenry in case the electoral and judicial systems completely collapse. And it totally gives the libs and the Fredocon sissies fits.

So, stop focusing on putting a few putzes in the pokey. That ain’t happening – by the time we have the power to actually do justice the statute of limitations will have long expired. Instead, focus on the real goal. We need to keep and grow our power by taking the House, keeping the Senate, re-electing the President and helping the Murder Turtle pack the courts with patriots.

Join me in a modified serenity prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to own the libs, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
 

Baron Samedi

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Why Those COVID-19 Models Aren't Real Science

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Americans have been told countless times that public policy was based on Science (with a capital S) and that the public should just obey the scientists.

But the accuracy of their predictions and the consequent appropriateness of policies seems to have been little better than Ask Dr. Science and the 0 percent accuracy rate of its answers.

In fact, the massive errors in measurement that have been part and parcel of the scientific COVID Kops show should bring us back to what Lord Kelvin said about science and measurement: “If you cannot measure it, then it is not science” and “your theory is apt to be based more upon imagination than upon knowledge.”

To get an idea of how serious the COVID measurement problems are, one need only look to the two medical experts most commonly appearing on our TV screens. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently testified his belief that its death toll is “almost certainly higher” than reported, because “there may have been people who died at home who did have COVID, who were not counted as COVID because they never really got to the hospital.” In contrast, the Washington Post recently reported that Deborah Birx believes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) accounting system is double counting some cases, boosting case and mortality measurements “by as much as 25 percent.” And what could be a clearer statement of the measurement problems than Birx’s assertion that “there is nothing from the CDC that I can trust”?

The mangled measurements have been with us from the beginning of the COVID crisis.

Mild cases were (and still are) frequently undetected. That means that we have undercounted how many people have (or have had) the disease. It also means that we have overestimated the risk of contagion, which is perhaps the most crucial determinant of COVID’s risk to others.

Early on, there were a very limited number of tests and many of the first ones were faulty. So, as increasing numbers are being tested, especially systematically, rather than just targeting those who are already suspected of having COVID, we must disentangle the portion of the uptick of reported cases, and the implied downward adjustment of the odds of death and the risk of spread, caused by testing more of the population to determine whether there is an increasing incidence of the disease. When tests for COVID antibodies started to be done, it also suggested that more had already been exposed, changing the critical numbers again. And then there are questions about herd immunity, including whether sheltering at home actually undermines its development. Similarly, the constantly updated numbers of COVID cases in particular areas overstated the risk to others, since those who have gotten better and are not a potential source of contagion are still included in those counts.

This continuing evolution of what Science tells us reveals that what we are being told at any given time is highly likely to be revised, if not reversed, soon, and perhaps repeatedly. That should make us leery of all claims, including forecasts, premised on the truth of current Science. And if that weren’t bad enough, even the accuracy of the basic data has been compromised.

In some places, reported COVID deaths have included everyone who has it when they die, overstating (to a degree that we can’t know without more detailed information than we now have, and may ever have, for many cases) COVID risks. The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, illustrated the problem when she said, “if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death….[E]ven if you died of clear alternative cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death.” Further, the miscounting is often not due to judgments about shades of gray. For instance, Colorado counted a man who died of acute alcohol poisoning (his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.55, when 0.30 is considered lethal) as a COVID death. And when the state recounted to include only deaths caused by COVID, its total fell from 1,150 to only 878.

New York has also counted as COVID deaths cases involving flulike symptoms, even when postmortem COVID tests have been negative. CDC guidance explicitly advises that “suspected” cases, even in the absence of test evidence, can be reported as COVID deaths. That is why the New York Times could report that on April 21 the city death toll was augmented by “3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive.”

Then there is also lots of evidence that bears on appropriate COVID policy. For instance, Charles Murray has demonstrated that “The relationship of population density to the spread of the coronavirus creates sets of policy options that are radically different in high-density and low-density areas,” so that “too many people in high places, in government and the media, have been acting as if there is a right and moral policy toward the pandemic that applies throughout America. That’s wrong.”

Randal O’Toole has also cited studies finding that “mass transportation systems offer an effective way of accelerating the spread of infectious diseases,” that “people who use mass transit were nearly six times more likely to have acute respiratory infections than those who don’t,” that New York City subways were “a major disseminator—if not the principal transmission vehicle—of coronavirus infection,” and that there is “a strong state‐​by‐​state correlation between transit and coronavirus,” to ask why mass transit systems were not shuttered to stop the harm. Elsewhere, he noted that “The head of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority was infected by the virus and the head of New Jersey Transit actually died from it.”

All this evidence reveals that the COVID Science and conclusions Americans were supposed to follow unquestioningly have been incredibly incomplete or wrong, with the stability of quicksand. Such Science is too frail a reed to depend on in making policies with multitrillion dollar price tags. What it does support is much more humility, reflecting Kelvin’s recognition that:

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science.

https://mises.org/wire/why-those-covid-19-models-arent-real-science

You know, you can almost draw a direct correlation between the Covid-19 "science", and "Climate Change science", can't you?
 

HSanders

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Then there is also lots of evidence that bears on appropriate COVID policy. For instance, Charles Murray has demonstrated that “The relationship of population density to the spread of the coronavirus creates sets of policy options that are radically different in high-density and low-density areas,” so that “too many people in high places, in government and the media, have been acting as if there is a right and moral policy toward the pandemic that applies throughout America. That’s wrong.”
So nice to read this! I live in a more country type area where almost no one has fewer than 2 acres of land. But I work in a city where houses are barely a car width apart. The city people are fully freaked out, and in the area I live, not so much. I have been talking to people about the different reactions of city people vs us and I've half jokingly explained it as its being no wonder city people are panicking so, if I could be in my bathroom and look to my left and my neighbor was in his bathroom 2 feet away and I could hear and see him taking a leak, and hear his every cough, no wonder they are so freaked out. They could practically catch it from their neighbor without leaving their house, if the windows were open, and their yard if they were both walking to their cars at the same time since their tiny lots necessitate outdoor parking or detached garages.
 

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From Mother Jones no less


COMMENTARY
MAY 23, 2020
Today’s Unpopular Opinion: Rand Paul Might Be Right About School Closures
Kevin Drum
KEVIN DRUM
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Senator Rand Paul has some advice for how we should be fighting COVID-19 as we move forward:



Is Rand Paul an idiot? Or does he have a point? It’s a hard question to answer. Schoolkids may not usually show many symptoms of COVID-19, but they can get infected and they can transmit their infections to others. On the other hand, closing schools and forcing parents to stay home can also cause an indirect increase in COVID-19 deaths. The question is, how does this net out?

The ideal way to find out would be a natural experiment. Find two counties that are similar but that closed their schools at different times and see how this affected things. Unfortunately, school closures are done on a statewide basis, and virtually every state closed their schools within about a week of each other around March 18. So that’s out. This leaves us with the dreaded models. But since that’s all we have, let’s do a quick scan of what our modelers think. First off, here’s the conclusion of a study of Wuhan and Shanghai in Science:

While proactive school closures cannot interrupt transmission on their own, they can reduce peak incidence by 40-60% and delay the epidemic.

I’m not super thrilled about modeling studies that use Wuhan as their data source, but the authors did find that the incidence of new infections went down during school vacation periods. Next up is a note published in JAMA:

Although no official data are available, to our knowledge, on the effectiveness of school closure during the COVID-19 epidemic, the poor relevance of this restrictive measure seems confirmed by the evidence that in Taiwan, the spread of COVID-19 was minimized without widespread planned school closures….The poor effect of school closure during coronavirus epidemics has already been evidenced in some studies carried out during the SARS epidemic. In China, it was found that school closure for 2 months was not significantly effective for disease prevention mainly because of the very low incidence of symptomatic disease among school-aged children.

Here’s another published in the Lancet:

Our model estimates that if the infection mortality rate of COVID-19 increases from 2.00% to 2.35% when the health-care workforce declines by 15.0%, school closures could lead to a greater number of deaths than they prevent.

And a study published in Health Affairs suggests that school closures are not only ineffective, but might be associated with more COVID-19 deaths:


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Finally, here’s a “rapid systematic review” of studies that have investigated the effect of school closure:

Recent modelling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2-4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions. Policy makers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence when considering school closures for COVID-19, and that combinations of social distancing measures should be considered

None of this is conclusive proof. But at the moment, there is no conclusive proof. That said, the best evidence we have seems to suggest that school closures have a fairly minimal effect taken on their own, and a zero or maybe even negative effect when you net out the increase in COVID-19 deaths that they cause indirectly.

When you take this into account and then add two things . . .

Schools know a lot more about effective social distancing practices than they did in March.
By September the infection rate of COVID-19 should be lower than it is today.
. . . the case for reopening gets even stronger. Obviously things might change between now and September, and new studies might provide better insight into the real-world effect of school closures on a disease like COVID-19. For the moment, though, I’d say the evidence suggests that school closures have (a) little effect and (b) are probably nowhere near worth the tremendous impact they have on both parents and kids.
 

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Minneapolis Riots Are a Reminder That Police Don't Protect You or Your Property

05/29/2020 Ryan McMaken

Looting and arson have followed what began as peaceful protests in response to the apparent killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a now former member of the Minneapolis Police Department.

But whatever was the spark that set off the current round of rioting in the Twin Cities area, it is clear that most property owners and residents will have to fend for themselves where riots have taken place. In other words, any unfortunate shopkeeper or resident who finds himself in the path of the rioters ought to just assume that police won't be around to provide any protection from the mob.

For example, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports:

The police station on E. Lake Street has been the epicenter of protests this week….Nearby, Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits, the target of looters the night before, also was set ablaze.…On Wednesday night, a man was fatally shot and crowds looted and burned buildings on E. Lake Street late into the night.

Earlier in the day, in St. Paul, looters broke windows, stormed through battered-down doors and snatched clothes, phones, shoes and other merchandise from shops along University Avenue near the intersection of Pascal Street. Officers formed a barricade in front of Target. But police were absent a block away at T.J. Maxx, where looters smashed down the door and fled with heaps of clothing piled on shopping carts.


Many business owners who now face destruction at the hands of rioters can scarcely afford it:

Many of the shops destroyed along this stretch of E. Lake Street are immigrant-owned businesses—many of which were already struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. “Now it’s worse,” said Roberto Hernandez, who stood guard outside his nutrition store for five hours to fend off looters. (emphasis added)

Another man who was working to open a sports bar in the area later this year, saw his bar destroyed. Needless to say, with only a few exceptions, the police weren't around to "protect and serve."

Admittedly, in cases like this week's riots, the police are heavily outnumbered and unable to provide any sort of general protection from rioters. Even if individual officers were engaging in heroic behavior to turn rioters away from potential victims, there would be little they could do to confront all offenders.

But heroics or not, the outcome for victims is the same: they must rely on self-defense, formal private security, or private armed volunteers likely to be labeled as "vigilantes."

A failure to protect taxpaying citizens from violence and crime in a wide variety of situations is standard operating procedure for police departments that are under no legal obligation to protect anyone, and where "officer safety" is the number one priority. The lesson to be learned here is that the alleged "social contract" between citizens and the state is a one-way street: you pay taxes for police "services," and the police may or may not give you anything in return.

Police Are Not Obligated to Provide Protection

It is now a well-established legal principle ( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/...ing-police.html?smid=tw-nytnational&smtyp=cur ) in the United States that police officers and police departments are not legally responsible for refusing to intervene in cases where private citizens are in imminent danger or even in the process of being victimized. The US Supreme Court has made it clear that law enforcement agencies are not required to provide protection to the citizens who are forced to pay for police services year in and year out.

In cases of civil unrest, of course, be prepared to receive approximately nothing from police in terms of protecting property, life, or limb.

During the 2014 riots that followed the police killing of Michael Brown, for example, shopkeepers were forced to hire private security, and many had to rely on armed volunteers for protection from looters. "There's no police," one Ferguson shopkeeper told Fox News at the time. "We trusted the police to keep it peaceful; they didn't do their job."

More famously, shopkeepers during the Los Angeles riots defended their shops with private firearms:

"Where are the police? Where are the police?" [shopkeeper Chang] Lee whispered over and over from his rooftop perch. Lee would not see law enforcement for three days—only fellow Korean-Americans, who would be photographed by news agencies looking like armed militia.

Officer Safety Comes First

During the Columbine school shootings in Colorado in 1999, the sheriff department's "first responders" formed a perimeter outside the building and refused to enter, because the situation was deemed too risky for law enforcement. Meanwhile, children were being slaughtered inside.

Nearly twenty years later, law enforcement officers at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, cowered behind vehicles while students were murdered inside the school.

But even in cases where police are willing to enter the premises and attempt to subdue violent criminals, the victim may find law enforcement officers to be of little help. According to 2008 data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, police response times to violent crime–related calls exceeded eleven minutes one-third of the time. Things were no better twelve years earlier in 1996, when a similar survey was conducted. Now, twelve years after 2008, there's no reason to assume anything has improved.

Eleven minutes is a long time to wait when dealing with a violent criminal.

Moreover, when police do arrive, don't expect a competent response. The cases of Atatiana Jefferson and Botham Jean provide some helpful reminders.

According to multiple accounts of the Jefferson case, one of Jefferson’s neighbors called police to "check up" on Jefferson, fearing that she might be in danger. Jefferson was soon shot dead in her own living room by law enforcement. The shooter—a now former cop named Aaron Dean—entered Jefferson's private property unannounced in the middle of the night. He peered into Jefferson's windows, and within seconds the officer had shot Jefferson dead. Jefferson had been playing videogames with her nephew.

A year earlier, former police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison for unlawfully shooting Botham Jean in his own apartment. At the time, Guyger was a police officer returning home from work. She illegally entered the wrong apartment and promptly shot Jean—the unit's lawful resident—dead.

And, of course, there is the case of Justine Damond, who called the Minneapolis Police Department to report a possible sexual assault near her home. When police arrived, they shot Damond dead, for no known reason other than hysterical fear on their part.

Those who proactively attempt to defend themselves fare little better. In 2018, Colorado resident Richard Black used a firearm to defend his grandson against an intruder. Unfortunately, someone called the police. When officers arrived, they opened fire on Black, even though he was only a threat to the criminal intruder.

The lesson to be learned from all this is that it is foolhardy, to say the least, to rely on law enforcement officers to intervene to provide "safety" when troubles arise.

After all, experience has shown that police are thoroughly unmotivated when it comes to preventing, or even investigating true violent crime. Confronting violent criminals is dangerous and costly. Thus, police departments are geared much more around harassment of petty offenders (such as George Floyd) and going after small-time drug offenders while confiscating property under asset forfeiture laws.

This provides revenue to pad agency budgets while prioritizing the targeting of easy marks, rather than violent offenders. In the United States, more than half of serious crimes are never solved.

And yet, through it all, we hear again and again the myth that law enforcement agencies will provide protection, retrieve stolen property, and keep the peace. Many people in Minneapolis are now experiencing the reality.

https://mises.org/wire/minneapolis-riots-are-reminder-police-dont-protect-you-or-your-property
 

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Hong Kong is no longer British, never really was, and it’s time to let go of all our hypocritical, nostalgic colonial nonsense

The UK’s offer of residency to three million residents of “Honkers” is guilt-driven meddling in affairs that are no longer British. Strangely, there is no international outcry at this display of diplomatic double standards.

Having left Hong Kong in the lurch once already, when it handed the colony over to China following the expiration of its 99-year lease, Britain is seeking to make matters worse with an offer of not-quite citizenship to three million of its people.

These folks are the Hong Kong Chinese who qualified for the booby prize of British national (overseas) status allowing them to… well, nothing really. The status has no tangible benefit.

But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in an ostentatious show of generosity, has offered those citizens of Hong Kong who might choose now as a good time to leave their homeland the opportunity of coming to live in the UK visa-free for 12-months and then, maybe, follow that up with full citizenship, no promises mind you.

This seems as enticing as those adverts for three pairs of elastic-waisted trousers for £29.99 that are often seen in the back pages of the Sunday newspapers.

Others – touched by some strange nostalgia about “Honkers,” as we colonials used to call this distant part of the Empire – want to go even further, and give them all full citizenship immediately.

Let’s get this straight. We’re offering the industrious, entrepreneurial people of Hong Kong the chance to flee their lifelong home for a new start in post-pandemic Britain where the economy is in tatters and unemployment sky high. Don’t even ask about the weather.

Er, why didn’t we do that back in 1997 as the Union Jack was being folded up by Governor Chris Patten and the island handed back to the Chinese?

But no, instead we simply honoured the deal, handed over the local population like cattle, and walked away. Prince Charles and Governor Patten sailed off in the royal yacht Britannia after the handover ceremony convinced they’d done the right thing.

It was clear all along that China would give scant regard to the "one nation, two systems" arrangement that Britain believed it had left in place. And, really, why should it? Where else on earth does this sort of agreement work?

China was initially happy to let Hong Kong function as a financial centre and entrepreneurial hotbed, but when things began to get out of hand and reform became an issue, then of course the authorities would crack down and crack down hard. It is, after all, their country, their people.

Now, as Beijing moves to impose a supposedly more authoritarian system (aka bringing seven million people under the same system as 1.3 billion fellow citizens), Britain feels new guilt at leaving HK and decides the visa offer will make amends, while at the same time sending a message to the Chinese government that shifting away from the "one nation, two systems" model is not acceptable.

It is totally understandable that China might be puzzled. It’s not as if they haven’t made it quite plain since July 1, 1997 that “Honkers” is theirs and – duh! – exists under their rule and nothing has been said. More like one rule, two systems.

And where is the rest of the world piling in on Britain for attempting to meddle in another nation’s regional affairs? Isn’t this exactly the sort of issue which stirs diplomats to high dudgeon and prompts them to issue lofty opinions and veiled threats?

Imagine if it were Russia! Ha, that would be fun! Look at the way the USA launched into them over its offer of Russian citizenship to the people of eastern Ukraine in 2019.

“Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” was how the US State Department's statement saw things back then.

Can you imagine Washington saying something similar over Hong Kong in 2020? “Britain, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the State Department doesn’t say in a statement.

For years, Hong Kong has maintained a reputation as a place for new business and entrepreneurs driven by a dynamic population. The market is vast and active, things happen quickly and it’s an exciting place to be.

Then you have Britain, which has, well, none of those attributes.

Frankly, if it’s a new start they’re after they’d be far better off heading to Australia or Canada, where the Hong Kong diaspora already exists in large communities rather than take up the offer of maybe having their own low-regulation “city” here somewhere nice up north as suggested by one free-thinker, or down on the south coast, as suggested by another.

This is the sort of bonkers thinking that the government here comes up with following a rash reaction to a situation emerging in a place far away of which there is no real grasp of exactly what is going on.

But it’s an event that is made for soundbites. And therefore perfect for big, arms-flung-wide gestures of promises of fellowship and eternal friendship. In fact, it’s made for the showman that is Boris Johnson.

While many people in the UK will already know this, those in Hong Kong who have not yet got the measure of our PM will catch on soon. There’s a particularly apposite English phrase for it, and for him, especially given his philandering ways: he’s all talk and no trousers.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/490827-hong-kong-british-colonial-nonsense-citizenship/

I don't necessarily agree with everything in the above, but I find it a point of view worth posting, and I do agree with a lot of it.
 
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