July 3, 2020

Today’s News: June 26, 2020

World News

World Leaders Insist ‘Economic Lockdowns Ravage the Very Fabric of Societies’

Breitbart – An impressive array of more than 500 prominent world leaders, academics, and Nobel Laureates have written “A Call to Defend Democracy” in the face of a worldwide rise in government authoritarianism during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

The June 25 text declares that beyond health concerns the COVID-19 pandemic is “a political crisis that threatens the future of liberal democracy.”

“The COVID-19 crisis is an alarming wake-up call, an urgent warning that the freedoms we cherish are at risk and that we must not take them for granted,” the document asserts.

“Authoritarian regimes, not surprisingly, are using the crisis to silence critics and tighten their political grip,” the authors note. “But even some democratically elected governments are fighting the pandemic by amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance without regard to legal constraints, parliamentary oversight, or timeframes for the restoration of constitutional order.”

“Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere,” the document proclaims.

Among the many noteworthy signatories of the text are 13 Nobel prize winners, 34 former national presidents, 7 former vice presidents, 20 former prime ministers, along with the former secretary-general of NATO, the Secretary-General Organization of American States, a former U.S. Secretary of State, and numerous governors, congresspersons, members of parliament, and government ministers.

“Repression will not help to control the pandemic,” the document states. “Silencing free speech, jailing peaceful dissenters, suppressing legislative oversight, and indefinitely canceling elections all do nothing to protect public health.”

“On the contrary, these assaults on freedom, transparency, and democracy will make it more difficult for societies to respond quickly and effectively to the crisis through both government and civic action,” the authors add.

Perhaps surprisingly, the leaders are not shy about pointing to the origins of the coronavirus and to call out China for its grievous mishandling of the disease.

“It is not a coincidence that the current pandemic began in a country where the free flow of information is stifled and where the government punished those warning about the dangers of the virus — warnings that were seen as spreading rumors harmful to the prestige of the state,” the text declares. “When voices of responsible citizens are suppressed, the results can be deadly, not for just one country but for the entire world.”

The text asserts that Democracy is not just a cherished ideal but also “the system of government best suited to addressing a crisis of the magnitude and complexity of COVID-19.”

140 Police Officers Injured During UK ‘Street Parties’ & Protests While Government Cracks Down on Beachgoers

Infowars – Around 140 police officers have been injured as a result of breaking up illegal ‘street parties’ and Black Lives Matter protests in the UK over the past 3 weeks, although the government and the media appears to be more concerned about too many people visiting the beach.

Police were attacked and pelted with objects for a second night running as they tried to break up a gathering in Notting Hill, London. This followed a similar incident in Brixton, during which 22 officers were hurt as they were chased away by street mobs who smashed up cars.

The Brixton riot occurred after a Black Lives Matter music event that had been taking place the same evening. The media has repeatedly characterized BLM protests as “largely peaceful” no matter how many police officers are attacked.

Decision to Reduce Troops in Germany Aims to Tackle Chinese Threat to India, East Asia – Pompeo

Sputnik – While addressing the Brussels Forum in a virtual format, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that “China’s expansionist policies” are the real challenge in the contemporary world.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

House Passes Policing Overhaul Plan as Partisan Impasse Deepens

Bloomberg – The House passed a sweeping overhaul of policing rules Thursday on a near party-line vote with little expectation it will break a partisan stalemate that’s put any Senate plans to act on hold.

The legislation, named the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act after the African American man who died a month ago at the hands of Minneapolis police, passed 236-181. Three Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for the measure.

Bill author Karen Bass, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the legislation would “transform policing in America.”

“We are supposed to be the beacon of hope for human rights in other countries, and the Justice in Policing Act is a bill for human rights in our country,” Bass, a California Democrat, said before the vote.

The Democratic bill, H.R.7120, was opposed by the White House. President Donald Trump accused Democrats of wanting to “weaken the police” in part because it would make it easier for police officers to be sued in brutality cases. GOP leaders in the House had urged members to vote against it.

The House action came a day after a less stringent policing plan proposed by Senate Republicans was blocked by Democrats who said it was inadequate to address police brutality in response to massive demonstrations across the U.S.

While Democrats held out hope that the passage by the House would force negotiations, some key Republicans said it’s likely a dead issue in the Senate.

“It seems to be,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. “It’s a shame but we are where we are.”

South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who authored the GOP plan, said the momentum behind the legislation ”is dissipating as we speak.”

Democrats “are playing a dangerous game of politics that they can afford to wait until November or next year,” said Scott, the only Black Republican in the chamber. “They may be right, but it’s a dangerous game.”

Democrats are banking on continued street protests and a surge of public support for the Black Lives Matter movement to put pressure on Senate Republicans.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released Wednesday found that by a margin to 59% to 30%, those surveyed think Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month is part of a pattern of police violence, and that 57% support the protests. The survey was conducted June 17-22 by telephone calls in English and Spanish to 1,337 registered voters, with an error margin of +/- 3.0 percentage points.

Gun Violence Is Up 358% In NYC Amid Calls To Defund Police

Infowars – Gun violence is up 358% in New York City since June 2019 as police are being stripped of resources in Democrat run cities nationwide.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that “It has been nearly a quarter century since New York City experienced as much gun violence in the month of June as it has seen this year.”

The report states that the city “logged 125 shootings in the first three weeks of the month, more than double the number recorded over the same period last year,” according to police data.

Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri noted that one would have to scour the records “back to 1996 to have a worse start of June.”

The explosion in gun violence dovetails with the disbanding of NYPD anti-crime units, a decision that means around 600 plainclothes officers will be taken off targeted raids and reassigned.

In addition, Democrat imposed “reforms” have meant that around 40% of people arrested on gun possession charges were released without bail in the past year.

“Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have decided that proactive policing isn’t a priority anymore,” noted Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association.

Trump administration asks SCOTUS to end Obamacare amid pandemic

Al Jazeera – President Donald Trump’s administration petitioned the United States Supreme Court to invalidate the Obamacare law introduced by his predecessor that added millions to the healthcare safety net, seeking to scrap coverage during the novel coronavirus crisis.

Solicitor General Noel Francisco, in a filing late on Thursday night, argued for the administration that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – one of former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature achievements – became invalid after the previous, Republican-led Congress axed parts of it.

“No further analysis is necessary; once the individual mandate and the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions are invalidated, the remainder of the ACA cannot survive,” Francisco wrote, adding that lawmakers in 2017 did not show that they intended for the ACA to continue “in the absence of these three integral provisions”.

The move is sure to ignite further political controversy and elevate healthcare as a major election issue. Trump is seeking re-election in November against Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, who has promised to protect health insurance coverage for Americans under the law.

Bill to give Washington, DC statehood gets historic US vote

Al Jazeera – For the first time in US history, a chamber of the United States Congress is expected to vote on Friday to give Washington, DC statehood – a move towards fuller voting rights for the city’s majority Black population.

“Across the United States today, Americans are taking down the remnants of the Confederacy as symbols of inequality, just as the House of Representatives is raising up in our nation’s capital to ensure equality for its citizens,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is Washington’s non-voting delegate to the Congress.

Norton, 83, has represented the District of Columbia in the US Congress since 1991. Norton cannot vote on legislation in the House but otherwise enjoys the privileges of a member of Congress. DC has no US senators.

“My life as a third generation Washingtonian has marched toward this milestone,” Norton said at a news conference at the US Capitol on Thursday.

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU: WHITES UNDER THE AGE OF 16 NOW A MINORITY IN AMERICA

“This is going to be a diversified century for the United States.”

Infowars – New data from the U.S. Census Bureau has found that whites under the age of 16 are now a minority in America for the first time since records began.

Asians had the biggest demographic growth rate at 30% over the last ten years – two thirds of that driven by international migration, while the Hispanic population grew by 20% since 2010. The black population grew by 12% over the decade.

Whites grew by just 4.3%, a deficit explained by declining white fertility and a decrease in births. Whites also have a median age of 43.7, which is by far the highest of any demographic group.

Non-Hispanic whites are expected to be an overall minority in America within 25 years.

“We are browning from bottom up in our age structure,” William Frey, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, told the Associated Press. “This is going to be a diversified century for the United States, and it’s beginning with this youngest generation.”

The media has framed anyone who discusses the demographic decline of white people in anything other than gushingly positive terms as a racist who is promoting the “conspiracy theory” of “white genocide”.

Debating what kind of impact less white people in society will have on a country is completely off-limits, unless it’s being celebrated.

“If these numbers hold for the 2020 census being conducted right now, it will be the first time since the first decennial census in 1790 that there has been a national decline of whites,” explained Frey.

American Soccer Team Replaces National Anthem With Song by ‘Antifa’ Musician 

Team says ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ does not represent their diverse players, fans and community

Newswars – An American soccer club says they will no longer play The Star-Spangled Banner before home games and will replace it with a song interpreted by many as having Marxist undertones.

The Tulsa Athletic, a semi-professional team based in Oklahoma, announced the decision to nix the National Anthem in order to “create an inclusive community.”

Instead, Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” will be performed by local musicians during pregame formalities.

The club cited the Anthem’s third verse, which includes the lines, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” as a driving factor behind the move.

“While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community,” the Athletic said in a press release.

Team co-owner Sonny Dalesandro said his organization has endeavored to develop “a culture of inclusion and acceptance.”

“We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voice,” Dalesandro asserted. “We utilize this right as a club to continually try and improve our team and community. We believe ‘This Land Is Your Land’ not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way.”

“The song speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.”

Guthrie, who wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in the early 1940s, was well-known for his Marxist politics, having penned columns for a communist newspaper and being loosely tied to communist groups.

He also famously emblazoned the phrase “This machine kills fascists” across many of his guitars.

“Guthrie, who loved the writings of Karl Marx, was reflecting Marx’s primary goal written in his infamous book the Communist Manifesto, where Marx declared that all private property should be abolished,” Dr. Jake Jacobs wrote in a 2018 article about Guthrie’s most popular song.

“While many have attempted to revise and reinterpret Guthrie’s controversial communist legacy since his death, Guthrie himself was never afraid to let his true communist colors shine.”

Fox News Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump; Republicans enthusiastic, but fear motivates Dems

Fox – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump in the race for the White House, as majorities say racism, unemployment, and coronavirus pose a major threat to the stability of the country, according to the latest Fox News Poll.

Biden supporters are far more likely to say fear that Trump might win is behind their vote choice (63 percent) than to say it is enthusiasm for Biden (31 percent).  The opposite is true among those backing Trump, as almost twice as many of his supporters say enthusiasm is the motivation (62 percent) rather than fear Biden could win (33 percent).

Fear is a big factor when it comes to turnout, and that could help Biden.  In 2016, more of those backing Trump (61 percent) than Hillary Clinton (54 percent) said fear motivated them.

“Negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and anger, can be powerful motivators for political participation,” says Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “The lack of enthusiasm for Biden, however, does create an opening for Trump to define him as out of touch and not up to the task.”

In the head-to-head matchup, the poll finds Biden leads Trump by a 50-38 percent margin.  That 12-point advantage is statistically significant, and up from Biden’s 8-point lead last month (48-40 percent).

Biden opens 13-point lead over Trump in Kaiser Family Foundation poll

The Hill- Former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a 13-point lead over President Trump in the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll released on Friday. 

The poll shows the presumptive Democratic nominee garnering about 51 percent of the vote in the general election, while Trump trails with 38 percent. Among those who preferred Biden, 37 percent said they would “definitely” vote for him in November, while another 14 percent said that they “probably” would.

For Trump, 30 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” cast their ballot for him in the general election, while about 8 percent said they “probably” would. 

The tracking poll suggests that support for Biden among has begun to harden among voters who were previously less sure of their choice for president. In a similar tracking poll from KFF conducted last month, about 28 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” vote for Biden, while 15 percent said they “probably” would. 

That same poll showed 11 percent of  voters undecided, compared to only 7 percent this month.

Meanwhile, Trump’s support among his most committed voters is showing signs of stagnating. In last month’s tracking poll, 30 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” vote for him in November. That number remained unchanged in the June survey.

Overall, Biden leads Trump by 13 points in the June tracking poll, up from a scant 2-point lead in the May survey. 

The KFF poll is only one of a growing number of surveys showing the gap between Biden and Trump widening. A New York Times/Siena College poll released this week found the former vice president ahead by 14 points nationally. And on Thursday, a CNBC/All America Economic Survey showed Biden leading Trump by 9 points nationally.

NYT Staff Writer and Pulitzer Prize Winner Calls White Race ‘Barbaric Devils’ and ‘Bloodsuckers’

National File – The founder of the New York Times’ 1619 Project and Pulitzer Prize winner wrote a letter as a sophomore, colorfully condemning all white people in a barnstorming screed to the editor in Notre Dame’s The Observer.

A common theme in recent weeks has been anti-white racism, following the Black Lives Matter-led backlash that ensued after the in-custody killing of George Floyd. Several opinion pieces promoted fallacious notions of so-called “white privilege” – which is now widely accepted as gospel to many.

Nicole Hannah-Jones wrote a piece titled “Modern Savagery” in 1995 where she accused the “savage” white race of being “the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world,” in a letter exercising questionable historical understanding.

She claims that white people have “committed genocide against cultures that have never offended them in their greed and insatiable desire to control and dominate every non-white culture,” bolstering the claims within her letter.

“Christopher Columbus and those like him were no different then [sic] Hitler,” she goes onto add, before suggesting that Native American and Africans traded technological and harbored a mutual respect. Aztec pyramids and Olmec heads were allegedly a testament to their long-standing friendship.

Whereas the white race’s “lasting monument was the destruction and enslavement of the two people,” she writes, in stark contrast to Native Americans.

Hannah-Jones later goes onto accuse “savage” white people of causing the ailments within the black community. She claims: “the descendants of these savage people pump drugs and guns into the Black community, pack Black people into the squalor of segregated urban ghettos and continue to be bloodsuckers in our community.”

The recent Black Lives Matter protests and riots have made race relations appear fragile a few months out from the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections.

Some have called for restlessness and disturbances until certain unspecified demands are met. The topic of reparations has gained increasing attention in the run up to the Democratic primaries.

The lead essayist for NYT’s 1619 starts wrapping up by writing, “but after everything that those barbaric devils did, I do not hate them. I understand that because of some lacking, they needed to [sic] constantly prove their superiority,” she explains.

STUDENTS ARE DEMANDING A PROFESSOR BE FIRED FOR OPPOSING SLAVERY

He doesn’t have exactly the same opinions as they do, so they want him gone

Infowars – Students are petitioning to have a professor at Loyola University New Orleans fired over his opinions on slavery, even though he vehemently opposes it.

Economics professor Walter Block says his opposes slavery because he is a libertarian, but that reasoning isn’t good enough for some students, who wish to see the professor removed because he doesn’t have exactly the same opinions as they do.

A petition, signed by over 600 students, alleges that Block has ‘racist and sexist beliefs’.

The petition claims that Block “has publicly stated that he believes slavery to be wrong because it goes against Libertarianism, not because it is morally wrong.”

“If Loyola is really wanting to remove racism, they should remove racists from teaching,” it adds.

“While it is important to have professors with different views and opinions and beliefs, racist and sexist beliefs should not be a part of this,” it continues, adding “It is harmful to any non-men and any Black people to be taught that slavery isn’t morally wrong, to be taught that women don’t deserve to be paid and treated equally.”

Green Bay mayor warns Trump before visit that hospitality ‘has its limits’

Fox – The mayor of Green Bay, Wis., penned a letter to President Trump ahead of his visit to the battleground state, warning him that his city won’t tolerate “ignorance” and won’t endorse “divisive and bigoted rhetoric.”

Mayor Eric Genrich, a Democrat, released the letter Wednesday and posted it to social media.

“We are an increasingly diverse city with a vibrant immigrant heritage and culture and strong connections to the indigenous people who call our region home,” he wrote. “Our instinct toward hospitality, of course, extends to our president, but I want you to know that it has its limitations. We don’t tolerate intolerance or willful ignorance, and we won’t endorse or ignore divisive and bigoted rhetoric.”

Trump arrived in Wisconsin on Thursday where he toured the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Marinette, Wis., which recently won a contract to build up to 10 Navy frigates. He also delivered remarks to workers before sitting down at a Green Bay town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that will air at 9 p.m. ET.

His visit comes as new polls have him trailing Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a state Trump carried four years ago. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Thursday indicates Biden is leading Trump 49-38 in Wisconsin.

In his letter, Genrich said Americans need a president who can speak directly about the coronavirus and its dangers and combat systemic racism.

“The challenges we face as a community, state, and country are immense, and they have grown only more immediate with the spread of the coronavirus, the tragic deaths of nearly 125,000 Americans and the incredibly harmful impacts this virus has had on our economy,” he wrote.

“This moment calls for honest, empathic, and courageous leadership, and I ask you to exemplify these qualities tomorrow and in the days ahead,” he continued. “If you have the inclination to do any of these things, please know I will support your efforts, regardless of our very real political differences.”

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY DEFENDS ACADEMIC WHO SAID “WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER”

Despite dismissing another academic who made far less controversial statements.

Infowars – Cambridge University has defended one its academics after she tweeted “white lives don’t matter,” despite the institution previously dismissing another academic who made far less controversial statements.

The controversy began when Dr Priyamvada Gopal, English academic and Churchill fellow, tweeted, “abolish whiteness” and “I’ll say it again. White Lives Don’t matter.”

Cambridge University swiftly issued a statement defending Gopal’s racist remark.

“The University defends the right of its academics to express their own lawful opinions which others might find controversial and deplores in the strongest terms abuse and personal attacks. These attacks are totally unacceptable and must cease,” said the statement.

Media reporting on the incident has centered around alleged “abuse” Gopal has received off the back of a petition being launched to get her fired.

Apparently, the backlash to Gopal’s remark is more contentious than the racist nature of the remark itself.

Highlighting Cambridge University’s hypocrisy, the same institution previously investigated and dismissed sociologist and intelligence researcher Noah Carl after 500 academics signed a letter challenging Carl’s research on race and intelligence.

An editorial in The London Times commenting on Carl’s termination asserted that his “main offence seems to have been to challenge the “woke” left-wing orthodoxy.”

Cambridge University also previously rescinded its offer of a visiting fellowship to Jordan Peterson after a woke mob complained about his stance on political correctness and after he appeared in a photograph with a man wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m a proud Islamophobe.”

Supreme Court turns down cases on ‘qualified immunity’ for police

The legal doctrine immunizing many law enforcement excesses from suits is facing fresh criticism amid anti-racism protests.

Politico – The Supreme Court passed up at least seven cases Monday that would have allowed it to reconsider aspects of a legal doctrine that torpedoes many lawsuits in which citizens allege abuse by the police.

The theory of “qualified immunity” has come under increasing criticism by voices on the left and the right in recent months, but those calls proved insufficient to interest the justices in any of the cases turned down Monday.

Under “qualified immunity,” police and other officials are immune from federal civil lawsuits unless their actions violated clearly established legal precedents at the time. Some courts have required an extraordinarily precise match between the misconduct alleged in one case and in a prior one in order to find a violation of someone’s constitutional rights.

The court rarely explains why it is not taking cases and it did not do so Monday, but Justice Clarence Thomas recorded his dissent in connection with the decision to pass up one case stemming from a 2014 incident involving a police dog’s bite of a homeless man, Alexander Baxter. Nashville police caught Baxter in the process of carrying out a burglary. He claimed had already surrendered when the dog attacked.

When Baxter sued, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out his case. It held that while it was well established that a police dog couldn’t be unleashed on a suspect who was lying down, there was no case addressing someone sitting down with their hands up, as Baxter said he was doing.

“There likely is no basis for the objective inquiry into clearly established law that our modern cases prescribe,” Thomas wrote as he dissented from the court’s refusal to hear Baxter’s case.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Cases Challenging Qualified Immunity

Ruling leaves in place system that has allowed rampant violations of the Constitution 

Institute for Justice – The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear eight separate cases that had presented opportunities to reconsider its doctrine of “qualified immunity.” That doctrine, created by the Supreme Court in 1982, holds that government officials can be held accountable for violating the Constitution only if they violate a “clearly established” constitutional rule. In practice, that means that government officials can only be held liable if a federal court of appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court has already held that someone violated the Constitution by engaging in precisely the same conduct under precisely the same circumstances.

“Qualified immunity means that government officials can get away with violating your rights as long as they violated them in a way nobody thought of before,” explained Institute for Justice (IJ) Attorney Anya Bidwell. “And that means that the most egregious abuses are frequently the ones for which no one can be held to account.”

Qualified immunity has come in for harsh criticism from the left and the right alike. And the outrageous facts of the cases rejected today help illustrate why: In them, lower courts had granted immunity to a group of officers who took an Idaho mom’s consent to “get inside” her home as consent to stand outside, bombarding it with tear-gas grenades; to Texas medical regulators who showed up at a doctor’s office and, without warning or a warrant, rifled through confidential patient files; and to a deputy sheriff who (while in pursuit of an unrelated, unarmed suspect) held a group of young children at gunpoint and then shot a ten-year-old in the leg while firing at a non-threatening family pet.

“Qualified immunity is a failure as a matter of policy, as a matter of law, and as a matter of basic morality,” said IJ Senior Attorney Robert McNamara, who was counsel of record in West v. Winfield, one of the cases denied review today. “It is past time for the Supreme Court to admit as much and start expecting government officials to follow the Constitution.”

The Court’s rejection of the petitions was not unanimous. Justice Clarence Thomas issued a dissent in the longest-pending petition, Baxter v. Bracey, calling for the Court to reevaluate the doctrine entirely: “I continue to have strong doubts about our §1983 qualified immunity doctrine,” Justice Thomas’s dissent concludes. “Given the importance of this question, I would grant the petition for certiorari.”

The drumbeat of voices calling for an end to qualified immunity and a return to basic government accountability has only grown louder in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Articles in outlets ranging from USA Today to Fox News Channel to the New York Times editorial page all pointed to the slaying as a symptom of a broader culture of official impunity and called upon the Supreme Court to rethink its qualified immunity rules. Today’s decision means those cries will, at least for now, go unanswered.

“There is no shortage of outrageous qualified immunity cases for the Supreme Court to take,” said IJ Attorney Patrick Jaicomo. “It has refused to hear a case this year, but it can only avoid the issue for so long. The skewed incentives of qualified immunity guarantee that lower courts will continue to generate more examples of injustice, and we will keep bringing those examples back to the courthouse steps until we break through.”

The Institute for Justice, through its Project on Immunity and Accountability, actively litigates to remove barriers to meaningful enforcement of constitutional rights. Today’s decision denied review in one of IJ’s Immunity and Accountability cases, but a second, Brownback v. King, has already been granted review and will be heard by the justices next term. A third case, brought on behalf of a Colorado family whose home was destroyed by police in pursuit of a suspect who had no connection to them, will be considered later this month.

“The principle at stake is simple: If citizens must obey the law, then government officials must obey the Constitution,” concluded IJ President and General Counsel Scott Bullock. “The Constitution’s promises of freedom and individual rights are important only to the extent that they are actually enforced—and the Institute for Justice will work tirelessly to ensure that they are.”

Joe Biden: I Will Force Americans to Wear Masks in Public

Breitbart – Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he would compel Americans to wear masks in public if elected president.

In an interview with Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, Biden said that he would use federal power to “mandate” masks.

Biden fumbled with his mask throughout the interview, and has struggled with his own mask at previous events.

Biden went on to say that he would take off his mask when taking the oath of office if he won the election.

Trump Admin Suspiciously Fires Top US Attorney Investigating Billionaire Child Sex Trafficking

Free Thought Project – Geoffrey Berman, the powerful US attorney for the Southern District of New York has been the lead investigator into the Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking case since before the billionaire’s suspicious suicide. However, this friend of President Donald Trump who contributed to his campaign, was surreptitiously removed from his post by Attorney General William Barr — who falsely claimed Berman “resigned.”

Now, the lawyer for several of Epstein’s victims, Spencer Kuvin, is speaking out about the “highly suspect” removal of the top attorney. He is speculating that Trump or one of his staff may have asked Berman to stop investigating Prince Andrew over his ties to the billionaire pedophile and then fired him when he refused.

As the Guardian points out, Berman and the Duke of York have become embroiled in a series of public rows over what the US prosecutor alleges is his refusal to answer questions in their investigation into allegations of sex trafficking and other crimes against Epstein.

This has put a target on Berman’s back by the ones who continue to protect those involved in the elite child trafficking scandal.

In a scathing interview, Kuvin told The Sun Berman’s firing was a massive step backward in the progress they’ve made for obtaining justice for the victims.

“The timing of this is highly suspect for an internal favor having been requested by the President,” Kuvin told The Sun.

“Because we know that the investigation and requests for repeated interviews with Prince Andrew ramped up in just the past month.

BILL GATES: USA ‘not even close’ to doing enough.

CNN – Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Thursday that the current coronavirus picture, both globally and in the US, is “more bleak” than he would have expected.

Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta in a Coronavirus Town Hall, Gates said the fact that people are still dying in the US today shows that the country is “not even close” to doing enough to fight the pandemic.

“It’s possible to ramp up testing for a new pathogen very, very fast,” he said.

“In fact a number of countries did that extremely well in this case and the technology keeps getting better there. The US in particular hasn’t had the leadership messages or coordination that you would have expected.”

Economy & Business

Gov. Greg Abbott orders Texas bars to close again and restaurants to reduce to 50% occupancy as coronavirus spreads

Texas Tribune – Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday took his most drastic action yet to respond to the post-reopening coronavirus surge in Texas, shutting bars back down and scaling back restaurant capacity to 50%.

He also shut down river-rafting trips, which have been blamed for a swift rise in cases in Hays County, and banned outdoor gatherings of over 100 people unless local officials approve.

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a news release. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”

US airline CEOs to hold White House meeting

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways execs expected to be at meeting

Fox – The future of air travel and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be discussed at a White House meeting on Friday featuring the CEOs of the major carriers.

The chief executive of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways are expected to be at the meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and other senior U.S. officials.

The economic impact of the pandemic will be among the topics discussed along with how the industry will operate and keep passengers and employees safe as states continue to reopen.

Safety issues will center on face coverings as well as temperature checks. Contact tracing and privacy concerns may also enter the conversation.

Some airlines have had to remove passengers and even ban them for not wearing face coverings.

Airlines: Passengers Must Wear Masks or Stay Off Planes

Newsmax – Air travelers who refuse to wear face masks on planes to protect passengers and crews from COVID-19 are not only being stopped from flying now, but may also be banned from flying commercially in the future, U.S. airlines are warning. 

“We take the requirement to wear a mask very seriously,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in a staff note Thursday, reports CNBC. “Customers who choose not to comply with this or any other safety requirement risk losing their future flight privileges with Delta. So far, there have thankfully only been a handful of cases, but we have already banned some passengers from future travel on Delta for refusing to wear masks on board.”

Last week, American Airlines blocked a traveler from flying in New York after he refused to wear a mask, and Southwest Airlines says it won’t let travelers board planes if they’re not wearing a face mask to “ensure anyone uncomfortable with wearing a face covering or mask does not board a Southwest aircraft.”

Why Every Person In America Needs To Become A Prepper During The Second Half Of 2020

Michael Snyder – It has been on my heart to write this article for a few days, but I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to write.  2020 has already been one of the worst years in modern U.S. history, and it looks like the next six months are going to be extremely challenging as well.  But even though most Americans are expecting that things will return to “normal” in 2021 and beyond, the truth is that the “perfect storm” that we are witnessing is only in the very early stages.  All of the old cycles are ending, all of the bubbles are bursting, and we are starting to experience the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  So even though the remaining months of 2020 will be chaotic, the truth is that things are going to get progressively worse as the years move along.  That means that you should use this period of time to prepare for what is ahead of us, because at some point the window of opportunity to prepare will be closed for good.
COVID-19 should have been a wake up call for all of us.  Lockdowns were implemented very suddenly once the virus started to spread in the U.S., and shortages of key items began to happen.  To this day, many retailers are still limiting the number of items that you can buy in certain categories.  Hopefully this has helped people to understand that if you have not stocked up in advance, you may not be able to go out and get what you need when a major crisis strikes.

During the initial stages of this pandemic, a lot of people ended up being stuck at home without enough supplies.  In the event of a truly historic emergency, you can certainly survive without toilet paper, but if you run out of food you could find yourself in big trouble quite quickly.

The good news is that COVID-19 is not going to kill us all.  About half a million people around the world have died so far, and the final death toll will be a lot lower than the tens of millions that died during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 to 1920.

But if our society was extremely ill-prepared for a pandemic of this nature, what is going to happen when a pandemic that is much more severe hits us?

Scientists assure us that it is just a matter of time before a killer plague sweeps across the planet, and the Bible tells us that there will be “pestilences” in the last days.  If you find yourself isolated at home for an extended period of time as millions of others are dying from a virus, will you be able to survive on what you have already stored up?

If not, you need to get to work.

Big economic problems are ahead as well.  So far in 2020, more than 47 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed their doors, and it is being projected that U.S. GDP will decline by 46.6 percent on an annualized bases during the second quarter.  Those are absolutely disastrous numbers, but so far trillions of dollars of emergency government spending has helped to ease the pain.

But those emergency measures were only meant to get us through a few months, and it is now becoming clear that this new economic depression will be with us for a very long time to come.

Of course deteriorating economic conditions will fuel even more civil unrest.  We have seen rioting, looting, arson and violence in city after city, and much more civil unrest is on the horizon.

If you live in one of our major urban areas, you may want to move while you still can.  Due to a huge surge in demand, property prices in the most desirable small towns and rural areas are already starting to go through the roof.

On top of everything else, food shortages are starting to occur all over the globe.  According to the head of the UN, we are on the verge of seeing “unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world”

India blocks imports of US products made in China following deadly border clash

RT – Customs officials at major Indian ports are holding back imports coming from China, which include US goods manufactured in China by companies like Apple, Dell, Cisco, and Ford Motor Company.

According to Reuters, a lobby group representing US firms, known as the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, has addressed the curbing of imports in a letter to India’s commerce ministry.

“Authorities have abruptly halted the clearance of industry consignments coming in from China (and perhaps other destinations) at most major ports and airports,” the group said.

On Wednesday, the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) revealed its members were recently told that airports in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai would have a “new examination procedure for all consignments coming from China.”

New Delhi is reportedly working on a list of alternative countries that could be suppliers of critical components that cannot currently be manufactured domestically.

The need for import substitution has come to the fore in India after disruptions to raw-material supplies from China in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Calls for the process to be expedited have increased, following a deadly border clash this month between soldiers from both countries along a disputed border in the Himalayas.

The Bureau of Indian Standards is expected to roll out tougher norms on at least 370 Chinese products, to ensure items that can be locally produced aren’t imported.

China Reportedly Warns US That Trade Deal Will Be at Risk if Washington Crosses ‘Red Lines’

Sputnik – After reaching a milestone “Phase One” agreement on trade, which was intended to serve as a stepping stone to a comprehensive trade deal between Washington and Beijing, relations between the two started to spiral downwards. The US accused China of starting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely damaged American economy.

Beijing has started to “quietly” warn Washington that the country’s purchases under the “Phase One” trade deal, which include American agricultural products, could cease if the US crosses “red lines” – that is, meddles in issues that the Chinese government deems “off limits”, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Among the issues that are sensitive for Beijing are US meddling in the situation in Hong Kong and its ties with Taiwan. The US has namely condemned China’s initiative to introduce a bill prohibiting activities directed at dividing the country on the territory of the island, which enjoys broad autonomy and separate laws. American lawmakers have passed a bill to impose sanctions on people or companies somehow aiding Beijing in its alleged efforts to limit Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Washington also maintains relatively close ties to Taiwan – an island that China considers part of its own territory, but which it is currently not controlling. The US has been discussing a weapons sale with the island and has been pressuring China to allow Taiwan to be represented in the WHO as a separate state. This line of behaviour directly contradicts the “One-China policy”, adopted by the US and the majority of the international community in the past, Beijing argues.

Fed Orders Banks To Stop Buybacks, Cap Dividends & to Prepare for Commercial Real Estate Bust?

Silver Doctors – On Thursday, June 25th, 2020 the Fed released the results of a bank stress test.

The Fed claims that US banks are in good shape, but ordered share buybacks stopped, a cap on bank dividends and to focus on building up more reserves.

But if the banks are in such good shape based solely on their large amount of reserves at the Fed then why were reserve requirement ratios (RRR) lowered down to zero by the Fed months ago? This is normally not done with healthy banks. This is normally done to try to save banks from collapsing like in 2008.

Science & Technology

Exclusive: Massive spying on users of Google’s Chrome shows new security weakness

Reuters – A newly discovered spyware effort attacked users through 32 million downloads of extensions to Google’s market-leading Chrome web browser, researchers at Awake Security told Reuters, highlighting the tech industry’s failure to protect browsers as they are used more for email, payroll and other sensitive functions.

Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said it removed more than 70 of the malicious add-ons from its official Chrome Web Store after being alerted by the researchers last month.

“When we are alerted of extensions in the Web Store that violate our policies, we take action and use those incidents as training material to improve our automated and manual analyses,” Google spokesman Scott Westover told Reuters.

Most of the free extensions purported to warn users about questionable websites or convert files from one format to another. Instead, they siphoned off browsing history and data that provided credentials for access to internal business tools.

Based on the number of downloads, it was the most far-reaching malicious Chrome store campaign to date, according to Awake co-founder and chief scientist Gary Golomb.

Google declined to discuss how the latest spyware compared with prior campaigns, the breadth of the damage, or why it did not detect and remove the bad extensions on its own despite past promises to supervise offerings more closely.

Virus Tracking Tech Raises Privacy Concerns at Work

Newsmax – Privacy experts are growing worried at coronavirus tracking software and devices for businesses to use, saying they could lead to a surveillance state in the office.

Politico reported that as more companies start to reopen their offices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to keep track of workers’ health and their interactions with others are important in the fight against the virus. But high-tech tools used in that effort could be used for things beyond health reasons.

“The risk is that [tracking technologies] become an avenue for more extensive data collection that’s really unconnected with the public health emergency and they will continue on after the public health emergency is over,” Pauline Kim, an employment law expert at Washington University in St. Louis, told Politico.

Amazon, for example, is testing a technology that monitors how far apart workers are from each other. Other tools monitor employees’ health and flag anyone who has symptoms that could indicate a COVID-19 infection.

Some tools, Politico noted, could be used to keep tabs on workers and whether they are at their desk or if they’ve stepped out of the office during the workday.

“Routine tracking of people’s movements [even] on premises is not something we’ve historically ever needed, outside of these circumstances,” Alan Butler, interim head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told Politico.

Newsmax reported in April about the privacy concerns posed by things like thermal cameras in the workplace.

Health

1 in 10 Americans Use Prescription Painkillers

Newsmax – Americans continue to look to the medicine cabinet for pain relief, with 1 in 10 using some type of prescription painkiller, a new U.S. government report says. 

But use of prescription opioid painkillers leveled off from 2015 to 2018, while prescriptions for nonopioid pain meds rose, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

This survey and other research is showing that pain management is becoming safer, said Dr. Ajay Wasan, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

“It is becoming less reliant on opioids, and physicians are prescribing much more responsibly,” said Wasan, who is co-director of the Center for Innovation in Pain Care at the University of Pittsburgh.

Between 2015 and 2018, nearly 11% of American adults aged 20 and over used at least one prescription opioid like oxycodone or a nonopioid like Celebrex, investigators found. 

Breaking that down, they found that nearly 6% of American adults used one or more prescription opioid painkillers, while 5% used a nonopioid prescription pain medication to quell their aches and pains.

“Physicians should look first at nonopioid drugs to manage pain and then if nonopioid medications don’t work, think about opioids,” said researcher Dr. Qiuping Gu, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 

For the study, Gu and colleagues used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 

Other findings: 

  • More women than men used prescription opioids in the past 30 days, and use increased with age. 
  • Use of any prescription pain medication was highest among whites (nearly 12%), compared to Blacks (about 10%) and Hispanics (8.5%). Use was lowest among Asians (4.5%).
  • Between 2009 and 2010 and between 2017 and 2018, there was no significant change in the use of prescription opioids, while the use of prescription nonopioids rose. 

Despite a leveling off of prescription opioids, which is good news given the nation’s addiction epidemic, their use remains a concern.

Dried Fruit: The pros and cons to packaged sweetness

NaturalNews – Part of a healthy, balanced diet includes the consumption of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. Dried fruit might seem like a handy snack to meet this dietary recommendation. This snack consists of fruit in which the water has been removed by a dehydrator or naturally from the sun. Apricots, cranberries, raisons, dates…. are just a few on the list. Sometimes they’re coated in a spice or sugar for added taste, such as dried mangoes with chili pepper. There are pros and cons to this selection. You be the judge whether you decide to reach for fresh or dried next time you have some.

Pros

Fans of dried fruit love its sweet taste, the no mess, how convenient for on-the-go it is, and the long shelf life. Dried fruit outlives and fresh type. We find these snack packs in vending machines, at the airport, while we are checking out at the grocery store, and at gas stations. Seems like a good alternative to a candy bar when the options are limited. Dried fruit is nutritious in the sense that it is just compacted fruit. It actually contains close to 3 ½ times the amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber compared to fresh fruit. It is a great source of antioxidants.

Cons

Sugar, sugar, sugar. Dried fruit can contain up to three times the amount of sugar compared to fresh fruit. No wonder it is so tasty. Ever heard the word “fructose”?? Well that is the very sugar hiding in dried fruit. When we have extra fructose in the body, the liver converts it to VLDL. This is the bad cholesterol that is high in triglycerides. The health consequences of high triglycerides include heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. For example, let’s take a look at popular dried cranberries. Topped on a salad or part of your trail mix, it seems like an added healthy bonus. Wrong. One cup of fresh cranberries has 4 grams of sugar. One cup of dried cranberries has 70 grams. That equates to one bag of M&Ms. This raises the calorie content as well. In general, dried fruit has twice the calories and carbohydrates as fresh fruit. While all these no-no’s are added, calcium is subtracted as a result of the drying process.

More than honey: Propolis from Brazilian bees harbors potent anti-inflammatory properties

NaturalNews – Inflammation is an important part of the body’s immune response to foreign substances or invaders. It is commonly associated with pain, swelling, redness or a hot feeling in the affected or injured area.

During inflammation, immune cells release chemicals called inflammatory mediators that cause small blood vessels to widen. This allows more blood and specialized immune cells to reach the site of injury so they can initiate the healing process.

While acute inflammation is necessary to put the body into rights, prolonged inflammation does more harm than good. For instance, inflammation is believed to play a role in the conditions that lead to heart attack and stroke.

According to experts, when cholesterol builds up in blood vessels, the immune system perceives this as foreign, so it sends immune cells to deal with this and wall off the plaque from the flowing blood. This response is made possible via the inflammatory process.

However, there are times when a walled off section of plaque raptures, spilling its contents into the blood. This results in the formation of blood clots that can block the flow of blood to the heart or the brain, causing a heart attack or a stroke.

Other times, diseases cause the immune system to attack the body’s own cells by mistake, triggering harmful inflammation. Called chronic inflammatory diseases, these diseases can last for a lifetime. Some common examples include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis.

Because of the harmful effects of long-term inflammation, scientists have realized the need for therapeutic agents with anti-inflammatory properties. One example of an effective, natural anti-inflammatory agent is propolis.

In a recent study, researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan looked at the mechanisms underlying the reported anti-inflammatory activity of Brazilian propolis. They focused specifically on its active components, which they believe have the ability to modulate immune response.

The researchers reported their findings in an article published in the journal Nutrition Research.