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Amy coney barrett Catholic christian Intelwars Mazie Hirono SCOTUS Supreme Court

Democratic senator indicates Amy Coney Barrett’s Christian faith could be an issue during potential SCOTUS confirmation hearing

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hold the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, said religion will not be off limits in the hearing if Judge Amy Coney Barrett is the nominee, CNN reported.

Barrett, a federal judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a Catholic, and is considered the front-runner to be Trump’s nominee to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett was also considered in 2018 when Brett Kavanaugh was ultimately nominated and confirmed.

“Look, it wasn’t her religious views — it’s anybody’s views that they bring to their decision-making,” Hirono elaborated after saying religious views shouldn’t be off-limits during confirmation hearings. “So they keep telling us that none of the things they wrote or said yesterday should infringe on their decision, but how can we be assured that they can be objective? … Why should we say you get a lifetime appointment so that you can reflect your ideological agenda in your decision-making?”

During Barrett’s 2017 hearing for the 7th Circuit, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) infamously expressed suspicion over how Barrett’s religion might impact her performance as a judge.

“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things, and I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma,” Feinstein told Barrett during the 2017 hearing. “The law is totally different. And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”

Barrett answered at the time that she respected Roe v. Wade as established precedent, and that she did not let her religious views hinder her legal judgments.

“There would be no opportunity for me to be a no vote on Roe,” Barrett replied to the committee. “And I would faithfully apply all Supreme Court precedent.”

Media reports earlier this week attempted to frame Barrett in an unfavorable manner by comparing a Catholic organization she’s a member of to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a show about women who are oppressed under a fundamentalist religious dictatorship.

In 2018, Hirono and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took issue with a judicial nominee who was a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization. They were critical of the group’s positions on same-sex marriage and abortion. From the Associated Press:

“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” said Ms. Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, citing the group’s opposition to same-sex marriage. “If confirmed, do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?”

Ms. Harris asked Mr. Buescher, who became a member 25 years ago as a teenager, “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

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Breonna taylor Brett hankison Intelwars Jonathan mattingly Louisville Louisville metropolitan police department Myles cosgrove

BREAKING: One officer charged in Breonna Taylor’s death, mayor implements 72-hour curfew to limit potential riots

One former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officer was charged Wednesday in the death of Breonna Taylor, with the two other involved officers avoiding charges altogether, USA Today reported.

Former LMPD Sgt. Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for allegedly firing his gun recklessly into Taylor’s apartment on March 13 during an overnight no-knock drug raid. Hankison was fired from the department for his actions that night.

The other two officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, had been placed on administrative leave, but were still with the department.

First degree wanton endangerment is defined as follows:

A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.

The charge is a class D felony that carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

When the three officers charged into Taylor’s apartment around 1 a.m. March 13, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot at them. The officers were not in uniform, and Walker said he thought it was a home invasion. Walker shot Mattingly in the leg. The three officers returned fire with more than 20 shots. Taylor was shot five times.

The city of Louisville paid a settlement of $12 million to Taylor’s family as part of a civil lawsuit.

Louisville officials had been preparing for unrest after this announcement, as protesters have been calling for the firing and arrest of all three officers involved in the shooting since May. The mayor established a 72 hour curfew of from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. each day. The LMPD declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, canceling officers’ time off requests and extending their hours.

There is already some indication of dissatisfaction with the charge. From the Associated Press:

Immediately after the announcement, people were expressing frustration that the grand jury did not do more.

“Justice has NOT been served,” tweeted Linda Sarsour of Until Freedom, a group that has pushed for charges in the case. “Rise UP. All across this country. Everywhere. Rise up for #BreonnaTaylor.”

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Black Lives Matter Intelwars LeBron James NBA Police Racism

LeBron James denies responsibility for violent attacks on police: ‘Not one time have I ever said let’s act violent toward cops’

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James denied that his criticisms of police treatment of minorities have contributed to or motivated violent attacks against police officers, USA Today reported.

James said he is just calling for accountability for police officers, but is not condoning or inciting violence against law enforcement officers.

“Not one time have I ever said let’s act violent toward cops,” James told reporters after a game Tuesday. “I just said what’s going on in our community is not okay. And we fear for that, and we fear for our lives. It’s something that we go through every single day as a black man, a black woman, and a black kid and a black girl, we fear that moment where we’re pulled over.”

James said he doesn’t believe all police should be demonized, but he’s seen and heard of numerous instances of racism by cops.

“I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence,” James also said Tuesday. “I never have. But I also know what right is right and what wrong is wrong. I grew up in the inner city and the black community in what we call ‘the hood’ or ‘the ghetto,’ however you want to picture it. I’ve seen a lot of accounts first-hand of black people being racially profiled because of our color. I’ve seen it throughout my whole life. I’m not saying that all cops are bad. Throughout high school and things of that nature, and I’m around them all the time, and they’re not all bad.

“But when you see the videos of what’s going on, and you see them not only in my hometown, but all over America, you continue to see the acts of violence toward my kind, I can’t do nothing but speak about it and see the common denominator,” James said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said James should match a $100,000 reward for the person who shot two sheriff’s deputies. The two deputies were shot by a person who walked up to their car and opened fire before fleeing, in what appeared to be a targeted ambush of the deputies.

The shooter fled, and police do not yet have a suspect in the shooting. The reward has since been increased to $675,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. James dismissed Villanueva’s comments.

“I have zero response on the sheriff,” James said.

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Fletcher high school Florida Intelwars Neptune beach Police Thin blue line flag

High school football team banned from honoring player’s late father, a police officer, with Thin Blue Line flag after accusation of racism

Football players at a Florida high school were banned from running onto the field before games carrying a pro-police Thin Blue Line flag after complaints that the flag was racist and fears from school administrators that it was viewed as a political statement, WJXT-TV reported.

Players at Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach carried the flag onto the field all last season to honor the memory of late Jacksonville Beach Police Department Cpl. Andy Lavender, who was the father of Fletcher High School junior offensive lineman Caelen Lavender. Cpl. Lavender died unexpectedly in August 2019.

Although the flag didn’t cause problems last year, the elevated anti-police sentiment that exists in 2020 caused the flag to draw more attention. Online commenters reportedly called the display racist, and complaints led school officials to ban the tribute.

“The flag, known as the Thin Blue Line flag, has different meaning for different people, and rather than representing the young man’s personal feelings, it was being interpreted as a political statement of the team and of the school,” Principal Dean Ledford said in a statement. “In consultation with the coaches, I determined that the act of using this flag in this personal way, while in the context of the football game opening ceremony, could easily be construed as representing a political position of our school and not just the personal feelings of the student and his teammates. Therefore, I have determined that it is no longer appropriate to continue. I am in conversation with the student and his teammates about ways they can appropriately express their personal views.”

Lorie Lavender, Caelen’s mother, told WJXT there was nothing political about the use of the flag.

“It was all about my son’s love for his dad and his memory,” Lavender said.

Steve Zona, president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police, criticized the ban.

“This is a prime example where it was as innocent as can be, there is no politics involved, no us versus them, simply to honor a great man and allow his kids on the football team to honor him, and they have taken those, hijacked it, and called it racism,” Zona told WJXT. And now the son and these kids are suffering because of it.”

Two high school students in Ohio were suspended from the team for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line (for firefighters) flags onto the field before a Sept. 11 game to honor their fathers and other first responders. They had been told by the district not to bring the flags on the field.

(H/T: New York Post)

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Breonna taylor Intelwars Jonathan mattingly Lmpd Louisville Louisville metropolitan police department

Officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s death sends message to fellow officers slamming protesters, FBI: ‘Don’t put up with their s**t’

A Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officer sent an email to approximately 1,000 fellow officers at 2 a.m. Tuesday criticizing protesters, city officials, department leadership, and the FBI as he awaits a decision on whether he will be charged in Breonna Taylor’s death, Vice News reported.

The email, written by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and obtained by Vice News’ Roberto Aram Ferdman, foreshadowed a “rough” period to come as the city braces for potential unrest if Mattingly, Officer Myles Cosgrove, and Sgt. Brett Hankison are not charged in Taylor’s death this week.

“No matter the ineptitude in upper command or the mayor’s office, this is one of the greatest jobs on earth,” Mattingly wrote. “With that being said, these next few days are going to be tough. They are going to be long, they are going to be frustrating. They will put a tremendous amount of stress on your families.”

The Louisville Metro PD declared a state of emergency Monday in advance of an expected grand jury decision on whether to charge the three officers who executed the no-knock search warrant on Taylor’s home the night they shot and killed her. Hankison was fired, but Mattingly and Cosgrove are still with the department on administrative leave.

Mattingly told the other officers in the email that they didn’t deserve the abuse they will potentially face from protesters in coming days.

“You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position,” Mattingly wrote. “The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse, and degrade you. Throw bricks, bottles, and urine on you and expect you to do nothing. It goes against EVERYTHING we were all taught in the academy. The position that if you make a mistake, during one of the most stressful times in your career, the department and FBI (who aren’t cops and would piss their pants if they had to hold the line) go after you for civil rights violations. Your civil rights mean nothing, but the criminal has total autonomy.”

Mattingly defended the officers’ actions the night Taylor was killed. After the officers broke in the door of Taylor’s apartment, Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them, saying he believed it was a home invasion, and they returned fire with approximately 20 shots. Five of them hit Taylor, killing her.

“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral, and ethical thing that night,” Mattingly wrote. “It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized. Put that aside for a while, keep your focus and do your jobs that you are trained and capable of doing. Don’t put up with their s**t, and go home to those lovely families and relationships.”

The officers had a warrant for Taylor because she was believed to be connected to her ex-boyfriend’s drug trafficking operation. No drugs or money were found at her home.

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Amen coney barrett Catholic Intelwars Newsweek SCOTUS supreme court nominee

Newsweek attacks potential Trump SCOTUS nominee for her Christian faith, has to issue a major correction

President Donald Trump will announce his Supreme Court nomination this weekend, and Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is believed to be a top candidate.

So media outlets have begun digging into her background, many of them with the intent of finding unfavorable information about the woman who could become President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment of his first term. Barrett’s Catholic faith has been a primary focus.

Newsweek published an article that claimed in the headline that a Catholic group Barrett is a member of was the inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a novel by Margaret Atwood that was recently made into a television show. This is not true, and Newsweek had to issue a correction.

“Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work,” the correction read. “A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is described on IMDb as follows: “A religion based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished.”

The article described some of the aspects of People of Praise, such as opposition to premarital or extramarital sex, opposition to abortion, and opposition to homosexuality and quoted a professor who questioned whether Barrett would be able to make individual decisions as a member of such a group.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised that Barrett’s ties to the group as would influence her decisions on the Supreme Court.

“These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,” Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, previously told The Times.

And while the People of Praise group was never brought up in Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing for her current post, Senator Dianne Feinstein told Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly within you.” Barrett told the senators that her faith would not affect her decisions as a judge.

President Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee on Saturday, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral. In addition to Barrett, the shortlist reportedly includes Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit.

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Amen coney barrett Catholic Intelwars Newsweek SCOTUS supreme court nominee

Newsweek attacks potential Trump SCOTUS nominee for her Christian faith, has to issue a major correction

President Donald Trump will announce his Supreme Court nomination this weekend, and Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is believed to be a top candidate.

So media outlets have begun digging into her background, many of them with the intent of finding unfavorable information about the woman who could become President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment of his first term. Barrett’s Catholic faith has been a primary focus.

Newsweek published an article that claimed in the headline that a Catholic group Barrett is a member of was the inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a novel by Margaret Atwood that was recently made into a television show. This is not true, and Newsweek had to issue a correction.

“Correction: This article’s headline originally stated that People of Praise inspired ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The book’s author, Margaret Atwood, has never specifically mentioned the group as being the inspiration for her work,” the correction read. “A New Yorker profile of the author from 2017 mentions a newspaper clipping as part of her research for the book of a different charismatic Catholic group, People of Hope. Newsweek regrets the error.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is described on IMDb as follows: “A religion based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished.”

The article described some of the aspects of People of Praise, such as opposition to premarital or extramarital sex, opposition to abortion, and opposition to homosexuality and quoted a professor who questioned whether Barrett would be able to make individual decisions as a member of such a group.

Nevertheless, concerns have been raised that Barrett’s ties to the group as would influence her decisions on the Supreme Court.

“These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,” Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania, previously told The Times.

And while the People of Praise group was never brought up in Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing for her current post, Senator Dianne Feinstein told Barrett: “The dogma lives loudly within you.” Barrett told the senators that her faith would not affect her decisions as a judge.

President Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee on Saturday, after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral. In addition to Barrett, the shortlist reportedly includes Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit.

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Black Lives Matter Cisgender privilege Intelwars Nuclear family Queer-affirming What we believe

Black Lives Matter removes anti-nuclear family, ‘cisgender privilege’ content from statement of beliefs

The “What We Believe” page on the Black Lives Matter website, which contained content many viewed as radical or unrelated to the fight against police brutality, was deleted from the site and later restored with a significantly scaled-down “About” section, according to the Washington Examiner.

Black Lives Matter, which was founded in 2013 in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida, previously had a detailed list of policy stances on the page, some of which drew attention for their controversial nature.

What was on the page?

Some of the content was to be expected, such as statements saying the organization would “work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people” and “We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.

Other content on the page may have been more than many supporters understood they were aligning with when they joined marches and demonstrations.

“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable,” one sentence read.

Another line read, “We foster a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”

“We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence,” another portion reads.

The edited page eliminates much of the information about restructuring family and gender norms and focuses more heavily on justice and liberation for black people.

What does the public think of BLM?

Support for Black Lives Matter as an organization has dropped over the past three months. In June, 38% of all adults polled by Pew strongly supported the organization; that number dropped to 29% in September. Only 17% of adults strongly opposed the group in June; 30% of adults strongly opposed them in September.

Even among black adults, strong support for Black Lives Matter dropped from 71% in June to 62% in September, although the percentage of black adults who strongly oppose the organization dropped from 6% to 5%.

(H/T Hot Air)

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Black Lives Matter Breonna taylor Intelwars Louisville Louisville metropolitan police department Protests Riots state of emergency

Louisville police declare state of emergency due to fear of riots that could follow Breonna Taylor decision

The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department declared a state of emergency for the city Monday in anticipation of the unrest that could follow a grand jury decision on whether or not to charge the three officers involved in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor in March, NBC News reported.

“In anticipation of Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement in the Breonna Taylor case, I am declaring a state of emergency for the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD),” a memo from Chief Robert J. Schroeder to officers read.

What do we know?

The emergency declaration went into effect immediately Monday, and all officer time-off requests that had not already been approved were canceled. Under the emergency guidelines, officers will work 12-hour shifts.

Windows of federal buildings in the city, including the courthouse, have been boarded up. Hearings scheduled for this week have been changed to video conferences.

Attorney General Cameron is expected to announce this week whether charges will be filed against Sgt. Brett Hankison, Officer Myles Cosgrove, and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in Taylor’s death. Hankison was fired from the department for “an extreme indifference to the value of human life,” while the other two have been placed on administrative leave.

The city of Louisville paid Taylor’s family $12 million last week to settle a civil lawsuit.

What do we not know?

It is currently unknown whether grand jury deliberations have begun or not, so it is also unknown exactly when an announcement will be made on the fate of the three LMPD officers.

Background

Taylor was a 26-year-old emergency medical technician. She was in her apartment with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when police officers in plain clothes burst in after midnight March 13. Officers had a warrant due to her connection with her ex-boyfriend, who is a convicted drug dealer.

Walker, allegedly believing a home invasion was taking place, shot one of the officers in the leg. The officers returned fire, shooting more than 20 bullets into the home, hitting Taylor five times. She died at the scene.

The incident was not widely publicized until about two months after it occurred, after which it gained national media attention. Along with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, which also made national news in May, and later the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the killings of black individuals sparked nationwide protests and riots that have persisted in the four months since.

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1619 project Intelwars New York Times Nikole hannah-jones

New York Times stealth-edits a highly criticized claim of the 1619 Project about America’s founding

The New York Times’ 1619 Project has quietly gotten a significant edit that changes a foundational perspective of the project — and the thing it has been most criticized for, Quillette reported.

The 1619 Project, primarily created by reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, was an ambitious set of historical essays that sought to frame the founding of America from a different perspective. Instead of viewing 1776 as the beginning of the nation’s history, the project operated on a perspective that put 1619, the year the first African slaves were brought to North America.

Here’s how this idea was presented in the project initially:

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

This aspect of the project was heavily criticized. Hannah-Jones has repeatedly been attacked for attempting to essentially rewrite history to fit her preferred narrative about America as a fundamentally racist nation. Hannah-Jones herself has repeatedly reinforced this intention, and branding around the project has emphasized it.

“I argue that 1619 is our true founding,” Hannah-Jones wrote in an August 2019 tweet. “Also, look at the banner pic in my profile.”

At the time of that tweet, Hannah-Jones’ banner picture showed “July 4, 1776” crossed out and “August 20, 1619” written below it. The thread in the below tweets references numerous times Hannah-Jones has referenced 1619 as the true founding of America, as well as her attempts to deny having done so.

As of Sept. 18, Quillette found that the Times statement introducing the 1619 Project had been edited in a small but significant way. Now it states:

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.

President Donald Trump and numerous other conservatives have been critical of the 1619 Project, and aggressively opposed it being taught in schools. Trump signed an executive order last week to establish the 1776 Commission, which is an effort to ensure “patriotic education” is emphasized in public schools.

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Anarchist jurisdictions Antifa Intelwars Justice Department New York City portland Seattle William Barr

Justice Dept. labels NYC, Portland, and Seattle as ‘anarchist jurisdictions,’ will seek to withdraw federal funds

The Department of Justice has labeled New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, as “anarchist jurisdictions,” a designation that could lead to a withdrawal of federal funding from those cities, according to the New York Post.

The three cities earned the designation for efforts to reduce police funding, or for their response to the race riots that started in late May after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. White House budget director Russ Vought will reportedly issue guidance about cutting funding to the cities in the coming weeks.

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.

“It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens,” the statement continued.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump issued a memo expressing a desire for Seattle, Portland, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to have federal funding reviewed in light of their response to unrest.

“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump’s memo read. “To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property, it is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities.”

New York City has seen a spike in crime as Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to cut funding to the NYPD and disbanded a significant plainclothes crime unit.

Seattle surrendered a police precinct and nine blocks of the city to protesters who established a continuous protest area first referred to as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, later renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest. That area of Seattle was occupied for roughly a month, and for much of that time the protesters had the support of Mayor Jenny Durkan.

Portland has had more than 100 straight days of protests, some of which have devolved into riots, including vandalism and deadly violence. President Trump sent federal law enforcement to the city to help protect property and quell the violence, but that effort was met with resistance from Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also Portland’s police commissioner.

Additionally, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced a policy in August that said many riot-related crimes would not be prosecuted.

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black vote Intelwars LeBron James More than a vote voter suppression

LeBron James implies black votes have been voided by ‘recounts’: ‘Black people … don’t believe that their vote matters’

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said black people don’t believe their votes count and that he’s seen black votes invalidated by “recounts,” according to USA Today.

James, who has been vocal on social justice issues and helped start an organization to combat voter suppression, made the comments during the NBA playoffs in Orlando, Florida. He said he didn’t consider voting to be important when he became eligible at age 18 — not just because he was distracted with basketball, but because he didn’t think his vote mattered.

“Black people in the community don’t believe that their vote matters,” James said. “We grow up and don’t think that our vote actually matters. It doesn’t. We’ve seen recounts before. We’ve seen our voices be muted our whole lives.”

James did not provide detailed evidence for his assertion.

As a politically active star athlete, James has used his influence and resources to push several voting initiatives leading up to the 2020 election. His organization, More Than a Vote, has raised money to pay off court fees for convicted felons so they can regain the right to vote and has helped push an effort to make NBA arenas into voting sites.

“A lot of people, including when you get to the NBA, still have those same things that haunted you when you were younger,” James said of NBA players’ perceptions of voting and political activism, according to USA Today. “My goal is to change that and to educate not only my peers, but their communities as well to let them know that our voice is being heard. Our vote is being counted.”

James has been particularly active on social justice matters in the wake of killings of black Americans in recent months, having made a some of strident statements about racism in America.

After Ahmaud Arbery was killed by citizens in Georgia after being suspected of burglary, James stated that black people are “literally hunted every day.”

“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can’t even go for a damn jog man! Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!?” James wrote on Twitter.

After Jacob Blake was shot by Kenosha police in Wisconsin last month, James said guns in America are an issue because they cause black people to feel hunted.

“I think firearms are a huge issue in America,” James said. “They’re not just used for hunting. For Black people right now, we think you’re hunting us.”

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Alexandria ocasio-cortez AOC Intelwars Joe Biden

AOC says even a Biden win won’t be enough: ‘No president is the answer … mass movements are the answer’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Democrats can’t be satisfied and complacent even if Joe Biden wins the presidency, because simply winning the election won’t accomplish all they desire, according to the New York Post.

Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary, supports Biden as the nominee, but urged Democrats not to think a Biden presidency would be enough to return things to politics as usual.

From the Post:

“After we work to command victory in November, I need folks to realize that there’s no going back to brunch,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram video marking the death of liberal US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday — and referring to the need for Democratic Party stalwarts not to get complacent over any potential White House win.

“We have a whole new world to build. We cannot accept going back to the way things were, and that includes the Dem Party,” AOC said.

“Voting for Joe Biden, it’s not about whether you like him or not, it’s a vote to let democracy live another day,” said the socialist Bronx congresswoman, who has been famously tepid in her backing of Biden.

“No president is the answer. You are the answer. Mass movements are the answer,” the pol said.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg led to an immediate escalation of the political stakes on the Democratic side, as they deal with the reality that President Donald Trump plans to nominate the third Supreme Court justice of his first term, and Democrats are powerless to stop the confirmation without Republican assistance.

Ginsburg’s death caused a resurgence in consideration from Democrats to expand the Supreme Court in order to appoint more liberal justices. The idea was discussed among Democratic presidential primary candidates, although Biden is not in favor of the radical idea. NPR reported:

“I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day,” he told Iowa Starting Line early in the primary race last year. A few months later, during a Democratic primary debate, Biden once again rejected the idea. “I would not get into court packing,” Biden said. “We add three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to rule out any options for resisting or retaliating against Republicans if they nominate and attempt to confirm a justice before the election. That includes impeaching President Donald Trump or Attorney General William Barr, or packing the court.

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Breonna taylor grand jury Intelwars kentucky Louisville Louisville metropolitan police department

Louisville federal buildings boarded up as city braces for decision on whether cops will face charges for Breonna Taylor’s death

With a decision on whether or not to charge the police officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing anticipated this week, some federal buildings have been boarded up and in-person hearings have gone remote in Louisville, Fox News reported.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron will present the findings from the Taylor investigation to a grand jury this week and after that is expected to make an announcement about the fate of the three officers who executed a no-knock warrant on Taylor’s home in March and fatally shot her.

The federal courthouse downtown and the offices attached to the courthouse have had the windows boarded up. The courthouse will be closed to the public Monday through Friday, and scheduled in-person hearings will be conducted as video conferences.

Fox News reported that there was not an official reason given for the changes, but an unnamed official shed some light on the situation:

The order did not give a reason for the temporary closure but said it came at the request of the General Services Administration, which manages the buildings. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office in Louisville will be closed Sept. 21-25 “due to a court order,” according to the agency’s website.

An unnamed courthouse official told the Louisville Courier-Journal that the buildings would be closed this week in anticipation of a major announcement, but did not elaborate.

City and federal properties have been targeted by rioters in various cities over the past several months in response to police violence against minorities, including Taylor. A federal courthouse in Portland, for example, has been repeatedly vandalized by protesters during a streak of more than 100 straight days of protests.

The city of Louisville paid a $12 million settlement to Taylor’s family last week as part of a civil lawsuit over her killing.

Taylor was killed March 13 when officers broke into her home on a warrant that was part of a drug investigation after midnight. After Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the plainclothes officers upon entry, officers returned fire, hitting Taylor five times.

Walker, a legal gun owner, said he didn’t know the officers were law enforcement when he shot at them. He was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer after hitting one of them in the leg, but the charges were later dropped. Walker has sued the city of Louisville for compensatory damages and to protect himself from being arrested again in connection with the incident.

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Coronavirus vaccine Covid-19 vaccine Donald Trump Intelwars Operation warp speed Scott atlas Vaccine

Trump admin says COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory, will be distributed within 24 hours of FDA approval

President Donald Trump announced Friday that a COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed within 24 hours of completion of phase 3 trials and FDA approval, with all Americans having access to the vaccine by April, according to the Daily Caller.

Speed has been the priority in the pursuit of a vaccine to provide relief to the country from the pandemic, as evidenced by the name of the initiative: Operation Warp Speed. From the Daily Caller:

“Since January, America’s brilliant doctors and scientists have been working been working around the clock, the best medical minds in the world by far and the vaccines are going through the gold standard of clinical trials, very heavy emphasis placed on safety,” Trump told reporters at the top of his Friday afternoon press conference. “Three vaccines are already in the final stage.”

The president further stated that “as part of Operation Warp Speed, my administration has manufactured one of the most promising vaccines in advance, and it will be fairly long in advance, as soon as a vaccine is approved, the administration will deliver it to the American people immediately. Distribution will begin within 24 hours.”

Trump said there should be enough doses by April for every American to have access to the vaccine.

Concerns about how safe the vaccine will be, combined with new perspective on just how heavily governments may impose requirements on citizens in an emergency, have led some to be skeptical about taking a vaccine for COVID-19.

Dr. Scott Atlas, a member of the White House coronavirus response task force, assured the public that they will have a choice in the matter.

“By April, every single American who wants to be vaccinated will have the ability to be vaccinated,” Atlas said. “It’s not a forced vaccination.”

Nearly half of surveyed Americans have said they will either definitely or probably not get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Pew Research Center. Of that group, 76% of them cite fear of side effects as a major concern, and 72% of them say they want to know more about how well it works.

From Pew Research:

There are widespread public concerns about aspects of the vaccine development process. On the heels of a pledge from nine pharmaceutical companies to ensure that a potential vaccine would meet rigorous standards, the Center survey finds three-quarters of Americans (77%) think it’s very or somewhat likely a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved in the United States before its safety and effectiveness are fully understood. And when asked about the pace of the vaccine approval process, 78% say their greater concern is that it will move too fast, without fully establishing safety and effectiveness, compared with just 20% who are more concerned approval will move too slowly, creating unnecessary delays.

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Baltimore blackface Coronavirus COVID-19 Intelwars Joy Behar Kimberly klacik Maryland The View

‘The View’ segment descends into chaos after GOP House candidate Kim Klacik calls out Joy Behar for blackface

An interview on “The View” with Kimberly Klacik, a Republican running for Congress in Maryland, ended badly after Klacik called out host Joy Behar for her blackface scandal.

Klacik is running in the 7th Congressional District in Maryland, a heavily Democratic district formerly served by the late Elijah Cummings, and has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.

When discussing President Trump’s COVID-19 response, Behar asked Klacik to answer for Trump’s admission to reporter Bob Woodward that he downplayed the virus early on.

“Excuse me, I have to say something to you,” Behar began. “He told Bob Woodward that it was a very serious issue. That it was airborne, and that it was terrible. Then he went out and told the American people, ‘Don’t wear masks, it’s all gonna go away. You have to put some blame on your president, I’m sorry. You’re putting it on something extraneous here. Talk to the point, please.”

“Is this Joy speaking?” Klacik responded. “The same Joy that paraded around in blackface not too long ago? Come on, Joy, I don’t think you should be asking these questions.”

Behar responded angrily to Klacik’s topic shift.

“Excuse me,” Behar interjected angrily. “The black community had my back. They know that that was not blackface, that was an homage. Oh, please. Just answer the question.”

As Behar was talking, Klacik responded that the black community had her back as well, leading host Sunny Hostin to jump in.

“The black community has your back?” Hostin interjected, incredulously. “The black community has your back? The black community did not vote for you. What planet are you living on? What planet are you living on? Wow.”

As Klacik attempted to explain the circumstances around the special election that she lost in February to Democrat Kweisi Mfume, who she is challenging again, Hostin turns around in her chair and Behar dismissively ends the interview.

“Listen, Kim, good luck to you,” Behar said as she ended the interview.

A photo of Behar wearing darkening makeup and dressing as a “beautiful African woman” in the 1970s was released by The Wrap in 2019.

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Intelwars looting Nancy Pelosi Protests Riots social justice

Nancy Pelosi condemns rioting as public sentiment turns against unrest: ‘They should be prosecuted’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke forcefully Thursday against the riots that have been occurring with regularity for nearly four months in cities all over the country, as polling continues to show public sentiment souring on the unrest.

Pelosi and other Democrats have spent much of the last few months criticizing President Donald Trump’s use of federal law enforcement to stop violence in places like Chicago and Portland, Oregon.

“We support peaceful demonstrations, we participate in them, they are part of the essence of our democracy,” Pelosi said. “That does not include looting, starting fires, or rioting. They should be prosecuted. That is lawlessness. I’m very proud that Joe Biden has presented the clarity that, making a distinction that I don’t think our colleagues quite understand but the American people do and a poll released today said that the American people support congressional Democrats over President Trump in terms of dealing with the issue of crime in our country for all of their misrepresentations.”

Pelosi also claimed that voters support congressional Democrats to handle crime more than they trust President Trump.

Protests began in late May after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police Department officers while resisting them after they attempted to arrest him for allegedly using counterfeit money at a local store.

Anti-police protests sprung up all over the country, often devolving into dangerous riots at night time. Protesters in Seattle took over blocks of the city and occupied a police precinct. Further police violence incidents, such as the shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked renewed protests and violence.

Portland, which has long dealt with general unrest often inflamed by Antifa, has seen some form of protests in the streets for more than 100 days in a row. Former GOP congressman Trey Gowdy criticized Pelosi for her late condemnation of the ongoing violence.

“You can be 100% behind law and order and law enforcement, or you can be, in her case, 100 days behind them,” Gowdy said on Fox News. “It’s been about 100 days. In that time, she had time to compare cops to stormtroopers. She had time to call [House Minority Leadaer] Kevin McCarthy the ‘enemy of the state.’ She had time to get her hair done … but she had no time to defend law enforcement until the polls started tightening.”

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Anderson Cooper Cnn town hall Coronavirus COVID-19 Intelwars Joe Biden

Joe Biden blames every single COVID-19 death on Trump, says ‘all the people’ would be alive if Trump had done his job

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden said during a CNN town hall Thursday that “all the people” who have died of COVID-19 would still be alive if President Donald Trump had responded properly to the pandemic.

In Biden’s view, President Trump is directly responsible for every single person who died from the novel coronavirus that originated in China late last year and spread around the world.

“If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive,” Biden said. “All the people — I’m not making this up. Just look at the data. Look at the data.”

Biden did not specify what data he was referring to, which is likely because no such data exists to prove that every one of the nearly 200,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths was preventable by some presidential action. Even nations that implemented earlier and more severe lockdowns and travel restrictions than the U.S. have suffered COVID-19 deaths.

It becomes particularly difficult to blame the deaths in a place like New York City on the president’s response, although New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly tried to do so. Cuomo has taken to calling COVID-19 the “European virus,” blaming Trump for not banning travel from Europe sooner than he did, and ducking responsibility for the deaths caused by his policy of sending people infected with COVID-19 into nursing homes.

Even media outlets with a tendency to be critical of the president could not allow Biden’s outrageous claim to stand unchecked. The Washington Post, in a fact-check article titled, “Biden’s CNN town hall: An occasional whopper,” accused Biden of “making this up.”

“There is no data to support this, even if the president had moved rapidly in January to deal with the coronavirus and been able to persuade the Chinese leadership to be more forthcoming about the situation,” the article states.

Biden’s claim that Trump could have prevented all COVID-19 deaths is an escalation of a previous claim the former VP has made, that if Trump had called for a lockdown a month earlier than he did then he could’ve saved up to 60,000 lives.

President Trump restricted travel from China at the end of January. Biden, who at the time was in the midst of the Democratic primary, continued holding campaign events well into March even as it became clear COVID-19 would have a significant impact on the U.S.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta made a similar claim against the president on CNN, as the panel was discussing a report that the White House scrapped a plan to send masks to every household via U.S. Postal Service in the spring. Gupta cited an anonymous source who told him Trump could have saved 80% to 90% of lives by following the right guidance on COVID-19 dating back to February.

CNN published a Q&A post in late February telling people not to wear masks unless they were sick or interacting with sick people.

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Colin Kaepernick Intelwars National anthem kneeling National Anthem Protest nike

Nike cashes in on Kaepernick and anthem kneeling with jersey celebrating the anniversary of the protests

Nike continued its efforts to commercialize and profit from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s social justice activism, commemorating the four-year anniversary of his national anthem kneeling protest with a special jersey.

The jersey is all black, featuring Kaepernick’s number, 7, and the words “True to 7” on the collar.

“Four years ago, I took a knee to protest against systemic racism and social injustice,” Kaepernick wrote on social media. “It was that day that the number on my jersey would come to represent something greater than football, something greater than me. Since then, the number 7 jersey has been a symbol for advancing the liberation and well-being of Black & Brown communities. Thank you for staying True.”

The jersey, priced at $150, sold out within minutes after being released. Previous special releases of jerseys, shoes, and T-shirts featuring Kaepernick have also quickly sold out. From Yahoo Sports:

It’s the second time a Kaepernick jersey launch with Nike has sold out shortly after opening period. The company released an all-black “Icon Jersey” with a white No. 7 on the front in February 2019. In that instance, Kaepernick took to social media about 10 hours later to say they had sold out.

It’s unclear how many jerseys and T-shirts Nike had available for any of the launches. And in October 2018, a “Kaepernick icon tee” sold out in a couple of hours. It’s unclear how many jerseys and T-shirts Nike had available for any of the launches.

“The Colin Kaepernick Icon Jersey 2.0 marks Nike’s continued product collaboration with Colin and celebrates those making a positive impact in their community through sport and education,” Nike said in a statement. “This celebration is represented in the meaning behind the line, True to 7”

Years after Kaepernick played his last NFL game, the same protests that he claims got him blackballed from the league have now been fully embraced by the league, which implemented numerous social justice-themed aspects to game days. Many players on multiple teams kneel or stay in the locker room during the national anthem,

Kaepernick, however, has attacked the league for the social justice emphasis, calling it “propaganda.”

“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”

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Attorney General Civil Liberties Coronavirus lockdown Intelwars William Barr

COVID-19 lockdowns are the ‘greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history’ besides slavery, AG Barr says

Attorney General William Barr was heavily critical of the COVID-19 lockdown measures that have been implemented across the world this year, saying they represent an almost unprecedented “intrusion on civil liberties,” CNN reported.

Barr was speaking at a Constitution Day celebration put on by Hillsdale College in Michigan, when he was asked about the legal ramifications of orders that restrict people from going to church.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest,” Barr said. “Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history.”

State and local government leaders in March implemented various levels of stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. Many of those orders were put in place after March 13, when President Donald Trump called for them for 15, and later 30 days.

The president has since claimed that the lockdown measures saved “millions of lives,” although the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is now heading toward the 240,000 death projection from the White House that seemed extreme to many at the time. Also, there is evidence of a significant death toll directly resulting from the lockdowns themselves in the form of suicides and overdoses.

What else did Barr say?

Barr spoke on a wide variety of topics at the event, including Black Lives Matter, which he accused of not having real interest in black lives at all. From The Federalist:

“They’re interested in props, a small number of blacks who are killed by police during conflicts with police—usually less than a dozen a year—who they can use as props to achieve a much broader political agenda,” he said. Barr instead views the priorities for black American lives as “not only keeping people alive, but also having prosperity and flourishing their communities.”

“Most deaths in the inner city of young black males below the age of 44…is being shot by another black person,” he noted. The left likes to talk about “root causes,” Barr said, hinting at claims of systemic racism. But all the political changes the BLM movement demands “depend on peaceful streets at the end of the day.”

Barr also addressed criticism from Justice Department employees who feel he has been overly partisan in the way he does his job.

“Name one successful organization or institution where the lowest level employees’ decisions are deemed sacrosanct, there aren’t. There aren’t any letting the most junior members set the agenda,” Barr said. “It might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency.”

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Bail fund Child sexual assault Intelwars Kamala Harris Minnesota freedom fund Sex Offender

Man suspected of raping an 8-year-old girl released with help of bail fund supported by Kamala Harris

The Minnesota Freedom Fund, a bail fund that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) continues to fundraise for, contributed to the release of a man who is accused of raping an 8-year-old girl, the Daily Caller reported.

Harris began promoting the fund, which has existed since 2016, during the unrest in Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25. Harris tweeted that she wanted people to donate in order to help bail out people arrested during the protests.

The fund, which was promoted by other public figures, raised more than $35 million in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, but has used only a small percentage of that money. A Sept. 4 statement on the MFF website said the group has spent about $3.4 million bailing people out, with only $210,000 of that being related to protests.

The Daily Caller found that some of those who have benefitted from the bail fund are accused of horrifying violent crimes and could present a threat to public safety.

Timothy Wayne Columbus is a 36-year-old man who was bailed out of Minneapolis jail in July. He is accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl in 2015 and faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Court records show he signed a document saying that any refunded bail money should be returned to the MFF.

Court records reviewed by the Daily Caller reveal the appalling details of the accusation:

“Victim stated ‘Tim’ laid her on the couch and held her down as he unbuckled his pants and pulled down her pants. Victim stated he then ‘put his thing inside me,'” the statement of probable cause read.

“Victim stated ‘Tim’ told her not to tell anyone and continued to penetrate her,” the statement added.

Columbus was considered a friend of the victim’s family but had abruptly stopped visiting the family around the time of the alleged assault, the statement said. The girl did not tell anyone about what happened until years later, according to the statement.

Columbus was already a registered sex offender for a separate incident before he was arrested for allegedly assaulting the 8-year-old.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund says they “do not make determinations of bail support based on the crimes that individuals are alleged to have committed.”

“We are, however, taking steps to strengthen our internal procedures for ensuring that those we bail out receive support, especially if they are in need of housing or medical treatment,” an MFF statement reads. “Those processes involve renewing our commitment to listen to the communities directly impacted by our efforts, and ensuring those we bail out have the necessary support to safely return to their families and their community.”

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Bars Coronavirus COVID-19 Intelwars nashville Nashville health department Nashville mayor Restaurants

Leaked emails indicate Nashville officials concealed bar and restaurant COVID data because there were so few cases

Leaked emails between an adviser in the Nashville mayor’s office and the city health department indicate that officials were interested in concealing the number of COVID-19 cases that were traced to bars and restaurants because the number was so low, according to WZTV-TV.

As of June 30, contact tracing efforts had found only 22 cases tied to bars and restaurants. Meanwhile, more than a thousand cases each were traced to construction and nursing homes. Health department official Leslie Waller emailed Benjamin Eagles, a senior adviser in the mayor’s office, to confirm that the information would not be publicly released. From WZTV:

Leslie Waller from the health department asks, “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?”

“Correct, not for public consumption,” writes senior advisor Benjamin Eagles.

By July 30, only about 80 cases had been traced to bars and restaurants, continuing to affirm that restaurants and bars were not significant sources of COVID-19 transmission in the city.

A reporter named Nate Rau spoke to the health department about this, asking, “If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn’t that mean restaurants and bars aren’t a very big problem?”

This question prompted Brian Todd in the health department to email five others in the department to ask how he should respond to the question. One of the responses he received, from an official whose name is cut off from the top of the email, walks through how they could answer without revealing the specific details.

“My two cents: We have certainly refused to give counts per bar (i.e. # of cases per bar cluster) because those numbers are low per site, and there are data release standards prohibiting the release of a total count that is less than 10 per small geographic area,” an official responded to Todd. “We do have 2 bars now where the counts are over 10, but then that would single out those two and not the others. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be ‘because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number.'”

WZTV said the health department and the mayor’s office would not confirm whether the emails were authentic.

Nashville city Councilman Steve Glover had a staff attorney check into the authenticity of the emails, and the attorney told WZTV they were real. Glover accused city officials of a cover-up.

“They are fabricating information,” Glover told WZTV reporter Dennis Ferrier. “They’ve blown their entire credibility, Dennis. It’s gone; I don’t trust a thing they say going forward. Nothing.”

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Nashville’s restaurants and bars are still severely limited in how many people they can serve at one time. The city is in Phase 2 of reopening, which means restaurants can serve patrons indoors at 50% capacity, bars can only have 25 customers indoors and 25 outdoors at one time, and all restaurants and bars must close at 10:30 p.m.

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CDC centers for disease control and prevention COVID-19 face masks Intelwars Mask mandate Robert redfield

CDC director says masks are more effective against COVID-19 than a vaccine. Months earlier, he said the opposite.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that masks are the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — even more effective than a vaccine.

Director Robert Redfield, testifying before a Senate committee, urged everyone in America to wear masks in public, saying the pandemic could be controlled in six to 12 weeks if everyone complied.

“These face masks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have,” Redfield said. “And I will continue to appeal to all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings. I’ve said it, if we did it for six, eight, 10, 12 weeks, we’d bring this pandemic under control. These, actually — we have clear scientific evidence that they work, and they are our best defense.

“I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine, because immunogenicity may be 70% and if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will,” Redfield continued.

The messaging from the federal government about face masks has been — and continues to be — all over the map. In February, Redfield testified before Congress and was specifically asked if healthy people should wear masks.

Redfield answered, “no.”

Redfield and other top public health officials have repeatedly stressed to the public that the purpose of masks is not self-protection, but rather preventing a person from spreading the virus to others. His Wednesday comments directly contradict that and could further undermine public confidence in a pending vaccine that people are already wary of.

“Most face masks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales.” Redfield wrote on Aug. 25. “The role of face masks is for patient source control, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes.”

Adding to the confusion, President Donald Trump defended the fact that he doesn’t often wear masks during a televised town hall event Tuesday night.

“A lot of people don’t want to wear masks,” Trump said. “A lot of people think that masks are not good.”

Immediately before he said that, the president criticized Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has no governmental role or authority, for not instituting a national mask mandate.

“Well, I do wear them when I have to, and when I’m in hospitals and other locations,” Trump said. “But I will say this: They said at the Democrat convention they’re going to do a national mandate. They never did it, because they’ve checked out and they didn’t do it. And a good question is, you ask why Joe Biden–they said we’re going to do a national mandate on masks.”

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Business closure Coronavirus lockdown COVID-19 economic recovery economic shutdown Intelwars small business

A majority of COVID-19 lockdown business closures are permanent, according to Yelp data

Six months into the economic disruption of COVID-19 in the United States, Yelp has found that more than 60% of business closures that have occurred since March 1 have become permanent, CNBC reported.

Breaking down the numbers

From March 1 through Aug. 31, 163,735 businesses have changed their status to reflect closures on Yelp, one of the world’s most popular online business directories. That represents a 23% increase in closures since mid-July, indicating that while the health impact of the virus may be lessening in some places, the business impact is still severe.

Of those 163,735 businesses, 97,966 of them have been marked as permanently closed — nearly 60%. That number of permanent closures is a 34% increase since mid-July.

The peak number of closures Yelp tracked was early in the pandemic when the total number was about 180,000.

Hardest-hit industries

The restaurant industry has been the hardest-hit during the pandemic. As of Aug. 31, 32,109 restaurants had closed, according to Yelp data. Of those closures, 61% have become permanent. Many places, even New York City, are now allowing for indoor dining services, but capacity limitations can make it difficult for some restaurants to make ends meet.

The retail industry has seen 30,374 closures, with 58% of those being permanent. That’s a 10% increase in permanent closures since July.

Some places have gone through multiple rounds of lockdown restrictions, and the burden caused by those lockdowns led many business owners to determine that it was not worth trying to continue business under the new conditions.

“We did everything we were supposed to do,” said Mick Larkin, owner of a karaoke club in Wichita Falls, Texas. “When [Texas Gov. Greg Abbott] shut us down again, and after I put out all that money to meet their rules, I just said, ‘I can’t keep doing this.'”

Impact in different locations

States that rely heavily on tourism, such as Hawaii and California, have suffered the most during the pandemic. In terms of closures per capita, Hawaii and California have been hurt the most, followed by Nevada, Arizona, and Washington state.

Large cities saw higher rates of closure than small cities and towns. Los Angeles and New York City led the way with 15,000 and 11,000 closures, respectively. Half of Los Angeles’ closures are permanent, as are 63% of New York City’s.

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