Georgia governor sues to stop Atlanta mask mandate

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sued Thursday to stop Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from mandating masks be worn in the city to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The legal actions comes after prominent Democratic mayors in the state pledged to challenge an executive order by Kemp barring local mask mandates. Bottoms defiantly declared, “I am not afraid of the city being sued.”

Kemp made that a reality, writing on Twitter that his lawsuit “is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times.”

“We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics,” Kemp wrote.

On Wednesday, Kemp banned localities from ordering people to wear masks in public to stop the spread of coronavirus. Mayors across the state hit back at Kemp and accused him of playing politics during a pandemic.

From the coastal city of Savannah to the county that holds the University of Georgia to the state capital, local officials have ordered Georgia residents to mask up while in public as cases continue to rise.

“It’s my belief that the city of Atlanta still has the appropriate standing to mandate masks,” Bottoms said at a news conference on Thursday. “Especially as it relates to buildings and places that we own and operate.”

Mayor Van Johnson of Savannah told MSNBC on Thursday that he was “flabbergasted” by Kemp’s Wednesday order.

“On one hand we’re fighting Covid. On the other hand we’re fighting our governor,” Johnson said. “Our hands should be totally and unequivocally working to fight this virus, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, our governor has chosen and continuously chosen to make a public health emergency into some type of political issue.”

Johnson vowed to continue to provide masks in his city and wrote on Twitter that Kemp “does not give a damn” about his constituents. Savannah’s mask mandate went into effect on July 1.

In Athens-Clarke County, Mayor Kelly Girtz also blasted the governor’s executive order, which voided the county’s ordinance that required masks to be worn in public.

“We wanted science to lead us,” Girtz told CNN, adding that he had been in contact with other mayors and that he believed the local mask orders would stand.

“In Texas, in Alabama, you’ve got Republican governors understanding that the science has got to lead the way,” Girtz said. “Even if there were some reluctance earlier in this bizarre national environment that we’ve been in, at the end of the day we need to protect the health of the people who live here.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it was the role of local governments to dictate mask policies and said the president was not considering a nationwide mandate.

“We leave it to localities to make the decisions with regard to face coverings,“ McEnany said at a Thursday press briefing.

Republicans across the South are challenging mask mandates and claiming they infringe on personal freedoms.

Louisiana’s attorney general, Jeff Landry, released an official statement this week arguing that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ statewide mask mandate was unconstitutional. In Florida, a Republican state legislator is suing localities on the grounds that their mask mandates violate the state’s constitution.

A similar conflict surrounding Kemp flared up in the spring, when he drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for trying to reopen the state’s economy. While Kemp opposes mask mandates, he is publicly urging Georgians to wear masks voluntarily.

Anthony Fauci, a public face of the Trump administration’s coronavirus efforts, dismissed Thursday the narrative that enforcing measures to promote public health — including mask wearing and social distancing — were antithetical to shoring up the economy.

Speaking during a discussion with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Fauci said there was a widening disparity in the number of cases between parts of the Northeast and several Southern states, where lockdowns have been more lax.

“There has been this unusual and unfortunate mindset of there is public health measures and there is getting the economy back and these are opposing measures,” Fauci said. “We should be looking at public health measures as a vehicle or a gateway to opening the country again, to getting the economy back.”

Georgia has recorded 3,091 coronavirus deaths and 127,834 cases as of Thursday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

“It has nothing to do with politics,“ Johnson, the mayor of Savannah, told CNN on Thursday afternoon. “It‘s about protecting our folks.“

Matthew Choi contributed reporting.



Source: Politico, Georgia governor sues to stop Atlanta mask mandate

Judicial Watch Obtains Pentagon Anti-Bias Training Materials

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained 1,483 pages of teaching materials and 26 pages of budget records from the Department of Defense (DOD) produced by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) that are used by DOD’s “equal opportunity advisors” to train service members on diversity topics. The documents were obtained in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The teaching materials include “Student Study Guides” written for “Equal Opportunity Advisor Courses,” that are critical of persons who “believe that human similarities are more important than differences;” advise people to acknowledge their privilege when “it is pointed out to them;” claim that heterosexuals have “sexual orientation privilege;” and that “religious privilege” exists.

According to DEOMI’s website, the organization was “Propelled by the civil rights movement of the 1960s.” The DEOMI operating budget between 2012-2017 totaled $19.66 million dollars.

According the Defense Dept Comptroller’s office, DEOMI and WRP (Workforce Recruitment Program) now jointly make up an entity called the Defense Management Operations Center (DMOC) and that entity was budgeted $13,366,000 for FY2020.

The newly released records include a chapter entitled “Power and Privilege,” in which students are taught that “Privilege can also be linked to various forms of identity such as … sexual orientation privilege” and “religious privilege.”

Students are also taught that there is “sexual orientation privilege” associated with the “marginalization of non-heterosexual lifestyles and the view that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation.”

The guide advises that “some dominant group members” may claim “personal achievement mostly depends on personal ability.”

The study guide also teaches that people who raise religious objections to homosexual marriage are engaged in a form of discrimination called “principium,” which is “avoiding exploration based on a religious or personal principle:”

In order to “become personally aware of privilege,” the study guide advises people to “decode your social identity.”

In a chapter on diversity, the guide is critical of those who engage in “minimization,” which it defines as those who believe that “human similarities are more important than differences.”

The guide notes that “Statistics show Whites are the majority in senior leadership positions (i.e., flag officers, general officers, and Senior Executive Service) and lend itself [sic] to the perpetuation of racism.”

An example of “modern racism” is saying things like “Discrimination is a thing of the past … tactics and demands of activists are unfair … racism is bad.”

The document also states that another form of racism is “aversive racism.” Aversive racists, say the authors, “put high value on egalitarian beliefs.”

In a chart labeled “Racist Behavior” the authors break racism into “traditional,” “symbolic,” “modern” and “aversive” categories, in which modern racists believe minorities are “undeserving of special efforts to redress past inequities.” The chart also indicates that people who oppose “policies designed to address racial equality” or feel that those policies are violations of “norms and fairness” are modern racists.

After cautioning against using stereotypes in previous study sections, the study section on Asian Americans says, “Self-control, discipline, competitiveness, and education are important elements in Japanese-American culture.”

A warning footer at the bottom of the trainer’s guides, repeated throughout the document advises “FOR TRAINING PURPOSES ONLY – DO NOT USE ON THE JOB.” [Emphasis in original]

Students are encouraged to: “Talk to others about your recognized inferior socialized behavior.”

In a learning bloc on “Perceptions” equal opportunity advisors are told that “stereotypes are bad if they lead to discrimination of protected categories.”

A section addressing “Cross-Cultural Communication” states: “Gender includes the social construction of masculinity and femininity within a culture and incorporates his or her biological, psychological, and sociological characteristics. Sex refers to a person’s biological or physical self. Although sex determines who will bear children, gender accounts for our roles in life and how these life roles affect our communication.”

The section also claims that in childhood gender communication: “Girls are told to use their manners, play quietly, and be ladylike,” it is “okay for boys to use rough language, play loudly, and be rambunctious. Girls are allowed to show feelings.”

After warning readers about the dangers of stereotypes, the manual then says women communicate “stereotypically … using a passive/assertive style,” whereas men communicate “stereotypically” by “using an assertive/aggressive style in efforts to accomplish tasks, achieve status, and dominate the conversation.” 

The guide breaks Americans down into four generational types: “Traditionalists,” “Baby Boomers,” “Generation X” and “Millennials” and characterizes their personalities by group. It says “Xers” born between 1960-1980 “need positive feedback to let them know they’re on the right track,” and Millennials born between 1980-2000 “are used to praise and may mistake silence for disapproval. They need to know what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Feedback whenever I want it at the push of a button.” 

A section on “Sexual orientation privilege” includes the view that this group believes “heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation,” and that “sexual and marital relations are normal only when between people of different sexes.”

The guide notes that transsexual, transgender and sometimes homosexual populations are denied “freedom enjoyed by heterosexual couples.”

The guide advises Equal Opportunity Advisors to: “Acknowledge your privilege when it is pointed out to you.” They are also told that, “Privilege will never go away until the systems in our society that cause discrimination go away,” and suggests that the equal opportunity advisors “work to make those inequitable systems visible.”

In a 15-page study guide on “Extremism,” the guide mentions Nazis, white supremacism, criminal gangs, skinhead groups, the Confederate flag, national anarchists, eco-terrorism, environmental activists, and right-wing extremists. Three pages discuss “skinhead culture.”

According to a study guide on sexism, killing one’s spouse is an example of sexist behavior (falling under the “extermination” category).

In a discussion of the history of sexism in the military, the guide claims that “many women masqueraded as men in order to serve their country” (presumably referring to the United States).

In a study guide on “Diversity Management,” the authors advise that affirmative action “focuses on prevention and/or correcting discriminatory practices concerned with numbers of minorities and women. It is an attempt to rectify past discrimination against certain groups of people.” In the next paragraph, the authors write: “Service members shall be evaluated only on merit, fitness, and capability. Unlawful discrimination against individuals or groups based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is contrary to good order and discipline and … shall not be condoned.”

The study guides contain some negative lines against Americans such as, “Many U.S. Americans have widely divergent views on whether a problem even exists.”

In a study section on “stereotyping,” the authors say that “Stereotypes may or may not originate in a kennel [sic] of truth …”

In a study guide section on “White Americans,” the authors say that “The majority, 35.7 percent, of White Americans are located in the South (U.S Census Bureau, 2010).”

In a study guide section on Hispanic Americans, the authors describe illegal aliens from Mexico as “undocumented Mexican immigrants.”

“These documents show that the Department of Defense has been indoctrinating our troops with anti-American and racially inflammatory ‘training,’” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We must protect our military service members from being brainwashed by the divisive, anti-American propaganda fueling the leftist insurrectionists who are right now trying to destroy our country.”

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The post Judicial Watch Obtains Pentagon Anti-Bias Training Materials appeared first on Judicial Watch.



Source: Judicial Watch, Judicial Watch Obtains Pentagon Anti-Bias Training Materials

Trump Task Force to Dismantle MS-13 Takes Down Gang’s Key Leaders

Some good news for a change. A special task force launched by President Donald Trump to gut the nation’s deadliest street gang has taken down key leaders in less than a year and for the first time charged a gang banger with terrorism-related offenses. The feared street gang of mostly Central American illegal immigrants, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), has spread throughout the U.S. and is renowned for drug distribution, murder, rape, robbery, home invasions, kidnappings, vandalism and other violent crimes. The Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) says criminal street gangs like MS-13 are responsible for the majority of violent crimes in the U.S. and are the primary distributors of most illicit drugs.

Thanks to Barack Obama’s open border policies, MS-13 was energized with new recruits provided by a steady flow of illegal immigrant minors. When the Obama administration started welcoming a barrage of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) in 2014, Homeland Security sources told Judicial Watch that the nation’s most violent street gangs—including MS-13 and the 18th Street gang—were actively recruiting new members at U.S. shelters housing the minors. The Texas  Department of Public Safety subsequently confirmed that the MS-13 is a top tier gang thanks to the influx of illegal alien gang members that crossed into the state under Obama’s disastrous program, which saw over 60,000 illegal immigrants—many with criminal histories—storm into the U.S. in a matter of months. Tens of thousands more have entered since then.

President Trump vowed to crush the famously savage MS-13 and shortly after taking office issued an Executive Order directing several agencies, including the departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security, to coordinate an effort to restore safety for the American people by extinguishing transitional criminal organizations such as MS-13. The order states that the criminal groups have spread throughout the nation, threatening the safety of the United States and its citizens. “These organizations derive revenue through widespread illegal conduct, including acts of violence and abuse that exhibit a wanton disregard for human life,” the order says. “They, for example, have been known to commit brutal murders, rapes, and other barbaric acts. These groups are drivers of crime, corruption, violence, and misery.” The president gives federal agencies 120 days to report progress in combating the criminal organizations as well as recommended actions for dismantling them.

In August 2019 Attorney General William Barr launched an initiative known as Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV) to address MS-13 with a coordinated force of federal law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice (DOJ). JTFV has increased collaboration with foreign law enforcement partners, including in El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala; designated priority MS-13 programs, cliques and leaders, who have the most impact on the U.S., for targeted prosecutions, and; coordinated significant MS-13 indictments in U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, such as New York, Virginia and Nevada. Less than a year after its formation, the task force has recorded big successes. This week the DOJ announced a number of significant JTFV cases, including for the first time an MS-13 member being charged with terrorism-related offenses, the take down of the MS-13 Hollywood leadership and the Attorney General’s decision to seek the death penalty against an MS-13 operative. JTFV Director John Durham calls it the result of tremendous teamwork between prosecutors and law enforcement officers across the United States and Central America.

The cases announced this week include an indictment against a high-ranking MS-13 operative, Melgar Diaz, in Virginia. Diaz is charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to kill or maim persons overseas, conspiring to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiring to finance terrorism, and; conspiring to engage in narco-terrorism, in addition to racketeering conspiracy and drug trafficking. In another case eight MS-13 members were indicted in New York for committing six murders, two attempted murders, kidnapping, narcotics felonies and related firearms offenses. In Nevada 13 MS-13 gang bangers, including leaders of the “Hollywood Locos” clique and “Los Angeles Program” were charged with multiple counts of narcotics distribution and weapons crimes. The task force is also responsible for the indictment in New York of Alexi Saenz, an MS-13 leader accused of committing seven murders, including two high school students with a machete and baseball bat. “MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization, whose criminal activities respect no boundaries,” said Durham, the JTFV director. “The only way to defeat MS-13 is by targeting the organization as a whole, focusing on the leadership structure, and deploying a whole-of-government approach against a common enemy.”

The post Trump Task Force to Dismantle MS-13 Takes Down Gang’s Key Leaders appeared first on Judicial Watch.



Source: Judicial Watch, Trump Task Force to Dismantle MS-13 Takes Down Gang’s Key Leaders

Why COVID-19 Statistics Aren’t Credible

July 16, 2020

Why COVID-19 Statistics Aren’t Credible

Fullsized image

by Anon

The entire lockdown/mask narrative hinges on a daily rising case count—a hammer to bludgeon the entire population. If we understand how this statistic is produced, we can decide for ourselves if the numbers are believable. I’ll call the novel Chinese coronavirus discovered in 2019 “COVID-19”. [9]

Garbage in—Garbage Out

The CDC’s April 5, 2020 Interim Case Definition combines confirmed and probable cases. [3] [4] A case is “probable” if it meets a range of subjective criteria without confirmatory lab testing. E.g.:

—You had a cough and had contact with someone else who tested positive (including on an antibody test).

—You had a headache and felt feverish without taking your temperature, in a community with “sustained ongoing community transmission.”

—You might be counted twice if you later got a positive test result.

—You got a positive antibody test in a community deemed to be infected (more on test accuracy coming up).

—A doctor wrote COVID-19 on your death certificate but you were not tested.

This is poor science. The CDC should break out two categories—confirmed and probable—and state the criteria for each. If someone is counted as probable and later receives a positive test, they should not be counted twice. Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, and Vermont blend their data the same way. Virginia and Maine were too, but began separating their data. Combining PCR and antibody tests into a single heap vastly inflates the number of cases.[2] The old computing axiom—garbage in, garbage out—applies here. Statistics based on bad data are inherently faulty.

[Image: Discrepancies_In_Data_Reporting]

False positives

Pathologists haven’t identified any antibodies specific to the hypothesized pathogen, SARS-CoV-2. Without monoclonal antibodies, no one really knows what caused the illnesses attributed to it, or whether a pathogen was even present. No one has proven there is an infectious agent “SARS-CoV-2” that causes the same discrete disease in all the victims. Nor has a virus been isolated, reproduced and then shown to cause this discrete illness. [1]

Thus, the tests themselves are suspect: what exactly are they testing? The PCR tests do amplify a specific RNA fragment, but no one has shown whether that RNA fragment causes illness or is present in healthy people.

Anecdotes of test kit anomalies and false positives abound. A testing lab employee, baffled by an uptick in positives, bought 200 test kits. He made the kits appear tested without actually testing anyone, and submitted them to a competing lab. Over 50% of these unused kits turned up positive. [6] President John Magufuli of Tanzania, desiring to sanity-check the accuracy of tests, had a pawpaw fruit, a goat, and a quail tested; all tested positive. [7]

Financial motivations

Doctors and hospitals stand to gain by diagnosing inpatients with COVID-19. Medicare pays for inpatient hospital care using a diagnosis-related group (DRG) system. Hospitals classify patients based on the main diagnosis and treatment given. Medicare reimburses a flat amount per DRG code. For comparable respiratory conditions, Kaiser estimated that Medicare payments average $13,297 for a less severe hospitalization, versus $40,218 for a hospitalization involving ventilator treatment for 96+ hours. Moreover, the March 27, 2020 CARES stimulus package adds 20% to the Medicare reimbursement for COVID-19. [8]

Political motivations

Many incumbent governors continue to resist Donald Trump’s presidency. Anything supporting fraud-laden vote-by-mail is pushed. Anything to prolong draconian social control is pushed. Is there a possible third motive? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s February 8, 2020 speech informed us that China’s wooing of American elected officials has not gone unnoticed. Is it possible that some governors are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party, perhaps subject to bribe or blackmail? [5]

At first people wondered if China tried to slam us with a ferocious bioweapon. The virus alone turned out to be a dud. The true weapon was not merely a virus, but a binary weapon that became far more lethal when employed to justify ruthless, unconstitutional social controls. Draconian social measures issued by CDC and elaborated by certain governors continue. Americans are still facing social distancing, mandatory masks, and brutal closure guidelines that have caused many business failures. Governors pushing COVID patients into nursing homes against CDC guidelines, while refraining from using hospital ships and field hospitals that were provided at great expense, resulted in unconscionable—and avoidable—death rates among the elderly. Contrast state measures prohibiting church attendance and singing, mandating mask wearing in public with drastic fines, and requiring school closures, with these same governors taking no action to prevent large uncontrolled public gatherings when the crowds’ purpose was to protest, riot, and demonstrate.

Light at the end of the tunnel

President Trump has just ordered hospitals to bypass the CDC and report COVID-19 data directly to the White House. This courageous action, bypassing compromised CDC bureaucrats, should facilitate reopening America and rebuilding our economy to surpass prior levels. [10]

SOURCES

[1] Global Research, “No One Has Died from the Coronavirus: Important revelations from Dr Stoian Alexov, President of the Bulgarian Pathology Association,” https://www.globalresearch.ca/no-one-has-died-coronavirus/5717668

[2] No More Fake News Blog, “Huge COVID case-counting deception at the CDC,” https://blog.nomorefakenews.com/2020/07/02/huge-covid-case-counting-deception-at-the-cdc/

[3] Center for Disease Control, “2020 Interim Case Definition,” https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/case-definition/2020/

[4] Center for Disease Control, “Cases in the U.S.,” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

[5] U.S. State Department, “U.S. States and the China Competition,” https://www.state.gov/u-s-states-and-the-china-competition/

[6] https://twitter.com/RebeccaBarr214/status/1280284540490051584

[7] N.Y. Post, “Faulty coronavirus kits suspected as goat and fruit test positive in Tanzania,” https://nypost.com/2020/05/06/faulty-coronavirus-kits-suspected-as-goat-and-fruit-test-positive-in-tanzania/

[8] Politifact, “Fact-check: Do hospitals get paid more to list patients as having coronavirus?” https://www.statesman.com/news/20200422/fact-check-do-hospitals-get-paid-more-to-list-patients-as-having-coronavirus

[9] “SARS-CoV-2 And COVID-19: What’s The Difference?,” https://www.cleanlink.com/news/article/SARS-CoV-2-and-COVID-19-Whats-The-Difference–25264

[10] CBS News, “Trump administration orders hospitals to bypass CDC in reporting COVID data,” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-data-cdc-hospitals-trump-administration/

How masks became a fault line in Britain’s culture war

LONDON — These days Britain never misses an opportunity for a new culture war.

The announcement Tuesday that masks will be compulsory in shops in England from later this month to help stem the spread of the coronavirus — with threats of £100 fines for rule-breakers — has prompted an eruption of angry social media exchanges and disagreements among conservatives.

Some believe forcing people to wear face coverings by law is an overreach of state power and people should be free to make their own choices. Others argue the need to protect people is the more pertinent libertarian view.

“You can present this in terms of an ideological tension within conservatism, and that definitely exists,” said Jeremy Black, emeritus professor of history and an expert on conservatism. But, he said, there was also a “sheer bloody-mindedness” at being told what to do.

Masks appear to have sparked more outrage in Britain and the U.S. than around continental Europe, where nations told to wear them have quietly gotten on with it or quietly ignored the rules, without such ferocious debate. Black put that down to “a different tradition of political action and independence” in those countries. “In Britain, the adversarial notion of politics is one that may well make the British ungovernable,” he said. “It reflects a different form of political culture.”

The one thing most Brits agree on is that the decision to make face masks mandatory in shops came late in the course of the pandemic. The U.K. government had been insisting for months that there is little evidence the mass-wearing of masks slows the spread of the virus, only to change its mind.

“There is no evidence that general wearing of the face masks by the public who are well affects the spread of the disease,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van Tam said at the start of April. But slowly things began to change. A month later, the government said face masks would be compulsory on public transport.

As Scotland and nations around the world piled pressure on Westminster by mandating the use of masks in shops, the British Cabinet was clearly wrestling with itself.

Just two days before Downing Street announced the change in approach, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove was peddling a different line. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr he did not think masks should be mandatory, adding, “It’s always best to trust people’s common sense.”

Ministerial dithering over the issue no doubt speaks to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s caution when it comes to treading on civil liberties.

As Britain edged into lockdown earlier in the pandemic, he was almost apologetic about the curbs on freedom. One of his old quotes, about the shark movie “Jaws,” appeared to fit well with his sentiment. “The real hero of ‘Jaws’ is the mayor,” he said in 2006. “A gigantic fish is eating all your constituents and he decides to keep the beaches open.”

As he made the decision on masks, Johnson will have had an eye on his more libertarian MPs on the Conservative benches. And with good reason.

Conservative MP Desmond Swayne branded the move a “monstrous imposition” in the House of Commons. “Nothing would make me less likely to go shopping than the thought of having to mask up,” he told Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Photos began to emerge online of Conservative members cutting up their membership cards. “This is not only the most incompetent government of my lifetime, it is the most authoritarian. It is not remotely conservative,” said Conservative-supporting barrister Francis Hoar on Twitter.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, seen by many as an outlier for conservative thinking on the libertarian wing of the movement, was equally outraged.

The Brexit Party leader backed encouraging mask use to build confidence among the public after lockdown, but said being ordered to wear them by “prefect Hancock” and threatened with a £100 fine made him want to “stick two fingers up and shout abusive language at the television.”

“The way they have done it is more likely to put people’s backs up and cause mass disobedience,” he told POLITICO. “I don’t think we have a Conservative Party. We have a government which wants to threaten us and which has increased the power of the state in the most astonishing way during this crisis.”

He added that the Conservative base in rural England was “looking at much of this and shaking their heads.”

But Conservative officials insisted there had been no mass outpouring of anger from the party faithful. “I wouldn’t say it’s exercised the party very much at this point,” one said.

Other conservatives took a different view on the issue.

Former minister Steve Baker, a guiding light in the libertarian wing of the party and a leading Brexiteer, said the outraged arguments around the masks debate were “not worthy of being labeled libertarian.”

He explained it was “not legitimate to argue that you can’t be forced to wear a mask when the mask is for the protection of other people, not yourself.”

“One of the fundamental principles of liberty is the harm principle,” Baker said. “You are free to swing your fists around up to the point that you hit somebody else.” He added, “If the mask was for the protection of the individual wearing it then it would be wrong to force them to be worn.”

Robert Colvile, boss of the conservative-leaning Centre for Policy Studies think tank, agreed. “[I] Find it hard to buy the personal liberty argument [about] refusing to wear a face mask given that the liberty being infringed is your liberty to infect other people with a potentially fatal disease, which surely has an impact on their own liberty, and indeed mortality,” he tweeted.

The increasing reach of the state as the pandemic has unfolded has been difficult for some Conservative members, with masks being the latest concern.

But Black, the emeritus professor of history, said it was a minor issue compared to longer-term concerns of how to pay for the coronavirus crisis and how to deal with China. “I wouldn’t see it as a cause of a permanent breakdown in the Conservative Party, which has much bigger tensions to cope with,” he said.



Source: Politico, How masks became a fault line in Britain’s culture war