Are face masks effective in combating COVID-19?

Are face masks effective in combating COVID-19?

by G

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As the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to change, governments all around the world create their own policies regarding the prevention of the novel coronavirus, such as social distancing and the controversial mask wearing. In some cases, you [1] or your business [2] can be fined for not obeying the law or even arrested [2], but what do government guides and the mainstream media have to say about this?

The guidance published by the U.K. government claims that only ‘symptomatic individuals’ should weak masks in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and that ‘the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct and close contact with any potentially infected person’ [3]. Additionally, the official U.K. ‘working safely during coronavirus’ guidance states that ‘the evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms’ and that ‘it is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing’ [4].

Moreover, the situation is not any different in the U.S. either. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) says that it ‘does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19)’ [6] and therefore ‘the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus’. This, however, is supported by numerous sources, such as the California Department of Industrial Relations (Division of Occupational Safety & Health Publications Unit): ”Cloth face coverings do not protect against COVID -19” [8], the California Department of Health: “There is limited evidence to suggest that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission.” [9], the Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock: ”There is no scientific evidence that masks are effective. If you are not sick, you should not wear a face mask.” [10], US Surgeon General Jerome Adams: ”Masks are not effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus.” [11] and even Dr. Anthony Fauci: “People should not be walking around wearing masks. Masks do not provide the protection people think they do.” [12]

Other sources that backed up the ineffectiveness of masks are the World Health Organization: ‘face masks do not stop healthy people from catching coronavirus and should only be worn by healthcare workers and patients’ [5] and the New England Journal of Medicine: “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.” [7].

On the other hand, covering your face comes with certain drawbacks, including reducing the ‘intake of oxygen, leading to carbon dioxide toxicity’ [13], an increased risk ‘if users reduce their use of strong defenses’ [9], taking away information ‘that makes it especially difficult for children to recognize others and read emotional signals’ [14], having an opposite effect ‘in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly’ [15] and oxygen deficiency caused by a rise in carbon dioxide [16].

Taking everything into account, scientific evidence suggests that masks are not very effective in combating COVID-19, so imposing strict rules is an exaggerated move from governments and punishments for not complying could be considered tyrannical.


















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St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home Must Now Defend Themselves Against A Political Prosecutor

St. Louis Couple

Malcolm X once observed, “I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self-defense; I call it intelligence.”

A St. Louis couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who chose to arm themselves in defense of a mob who broke on to their property and allegedly threatened their lives insist they were acting justifiably and…yes…intelligently.

They were also acting lawfully –as long as they were in fear and reasonably believed that the force of weapons they displayed were necessary to defend themselves from an imminent threat of harm.  That is the law.

As a logical extension of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, Missouri embraces a well-known common-law principle called the Castle Doctrine.  The state’s expansive interpretation permitted the McCloskeys to use physical force to defend themselves and their home while on their own property without requiring them to first retreat.

There is some case law in Missouri that suggests that the couple would not have been permitted to shoot solely in defense of their land surrounding their structured home.  However, the McCloskeys neither shot their weapons nor claim they were protecting merely their land.  Indeed, they say that several members of the mob were armed and vowed to set their home ablaze and murder them.  If true, the couple was completely entitled under the law to brandish (and, potentially, use) physical force in self-defense.

The couple was completely entitled under the law to brandish (and, potentially, use) physical force in self-defense.

On Fox News, Patricia McCloskey told Sean Hannity: “(They said) they were going to kill us. They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead…”  The McCloskeys explained that they first called 911 but no police arrived.  They were left to defend themselves.  Mark McCloskey told KSDK-TV, “the only thing that stopped the crowd was my rifle.”

How is it possible, then, that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner is investigating the McCloskeys but not the mob who allegedly knocked down a wrought-iron gate and knowingly trespassed (signs were posted) on their property?  This is backwards. Repeated threats of physical harm uttered by the mob would constitute an assault under the law.

Yet, Gardner appears to be poised to charge the homeowners with assault over their right to defend against an alleged assault.  Legally, this is not just senseless, but insane.  It is well established that a person is allowed to threaten force if he or she is threatened. The perpetrators do not suddenly become helpless victims when they are averted by a display of force.

The idiocy of Gardner’s reasoning was explained to Fox News by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt who stated that Gardner “has a record of making politically-motivated decisions not based on the law.” No kidding.  Schmitt called her record in prosecuting violent crime “abysmal.”  As chief prosecutor, Gardner cares more about defending criminals than helping victims.  To her, justice is an antiquated bromide.

Gardner’s ethics are indefensible because they are non-existent.  She is under criminal investigation by a special prosecutor for allegedly concealing exculpatory evidence and suborning perjury when she wrongfully indicted the sitting Republican Governor Eric Greitens in 2018 over photographs of a woman with whom he had an affair.  Gardner was later forced to dismiss the case when her devious machinations came to light.  It was too late for Greitens who had already resigned from office.  His lawyer blasted Gardner in court saying, “There is nothing more dangerous than a dishonest prosecutor.”

None of this should come as a surprise since Gardner’s 2016 election was funded, in part, by considerable cash funneled through a super PAC backed financially by far-left billionaire George Soros. Her tenure has been notable only for the slew of lawsuits against her for allegedly ignoring public records requests.  (Gardner appears to believe that the public is not allowed to read public records.)  Her conviction rate in prosecutions has brought solace and smiles to the criminal face.

In a statement, Gardner called the mob “peaceful protestors who were met by guns and a violent assault.”  There are two inconvenient problems with her remarks.  First, Gardner has completely ignored or dismissed the evidence of the trespass and the McCloskeys’ chilling account of the mob’s threats of arson and murder.  Second, by publicly declaring the couple guilty of assault, she has demolished any presumption of innocence owing to the accused.

The Constitution protects free speech, assembly, and peaceful protests.  These are cherished rights.  But the First Amendment does not give license to demonstrators to transform themselves into criminals who engage in acts of threatened violence or other lawless conduct.  The riots, looting, assaults, and murders that have escalated out of control in many cities across America in the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy are not an excuse under the law to victimize innocent people and destroy property.

Late last week, authorities armed with a search warrant seized the rifle that Mark McCloskey was shown holding the night of June 28th.  His wife’s pistol was already in the possession of their attorney. The seizure, together with Gardner’s statement, leave little doubt that the McCloskeys will soon be facing criminal charges by an elected prosecutor who seems determined to abuse her power by capitulating to the demands of the mob.

Gardner can’t possibly prevail if charges are brought. But I suspect that is not her objective.  Prosecution of the McCloskeys serves a political nostrum.  It would conform perfectly to the prevailing orthodoxy of liberal outrage that no one is now permitted to question without being condemned and/or canceled. We must all recognize and affirm that disagreement, however well reasoned, is no longer tolerated. Ideological purity must be elevated, as dissent is suffocated.  So we are told.

The civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was a legendary proponent of non-violence.  But he was not an absolutist.  King well understood the moral and legal necessity of self-defense in a society that is not always civilized.  He made this clear when he wrote, “The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi.”

Kimberly Gardner is not condemning self-defense, as much as she is canceling it for purely political reasons driven by self-interest and self-promotion. She has no business being a government prosecutor if she harbors such contempt for the law.

The post St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home Must Now Defend Themselves Against A Political Prosecutor appeared first on Gregg Jarrett.

Source: Gregg Jarrett, St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home Must Now Defend Themselves Against A Political Prosecutor

'It's not enough': Activists say Black Lives Matter murals are empty gesture

Since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in late May, Black Lives Matter activists have taken to the streets demanding radical changes to police departments and other parts of government. So far, the political class is offering little more than words painted on streets.

That, at least, is the emerging sentiment toward the Black Lives Matters street murals popping up in cities around the country. These efforts, meant to represent a commitment to social justice in local communities, have received praise from community members and some public figures. But they’ve also garnered criticism from activists who are pushing their mayors and governors to move past symbolism and institute immediate policy changes.

Rather than ordering the words painted on streets, activists argue, lawmakers should take action to protect Black lives in real time — by enacting the policies that Black organizers have been calling for since before the Floyd protests began. So far, few of those in power are getting the message.

“It’s not enough. What we’re asking for is not, like, a symbolic recognition of how Black lives matter,” said Delilah Pierre, an organizer with the Tallahassee Community Action Committee. The Florida state capital is one of the latest cities to paint the now-familiar yellow-and-black mural across a major intersection. “We’re asking for that to be something that’s in practice. We’re asking for real systemic change to the system that oppresses and marginalizes Black people.”

The Black Lives Matter street art, meanwhile, originated more as a way to troll President Donald Trump, who has called Black Lives Matter a “hate group.”

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser commissioned the first BLM mural in early June, in response to Trump’s militarization of the city’s downtown and use of chemicals to clear protesters in front of the White House. She renamed the intersection across from the White House Black Lives Matter plaza and had the words painted across the asphalt in bold yellow lettering.

Duct tape covers the 16th Street NW street sign, renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza NW, near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

More than a dozen other cities have since adopted the practice. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was one of the first to follow suit, ordering Black Lives Matter to be painted on Fifth Avenue, directly across from Trump Tower. The Rev. Al Sharpton and members of the Central Park Five participated in its unveiling.

Still, activists say that in most places, political leaders have not matched those expressions of support with the kinds of policy changes that would tangibly improve people’s lives. As coronavirus cases continue to spike, Black and Latino patients comprise the majority of cases and deaths. Since Floyd’s killing in late May, more African Americans have been killed by police officers, only further injecting energy into the protest movement against police violence.

State and national legislative leaders, meanwhile, have not responded with the kind of urgency the colliding crises demand. Congress has not passed a relief package since May while more than 30 million Americans could be without any income if unemployment relief is not renewed by the end of July. A rent crisis remains on the horizon as more than one-third of Americans missed rent and mortgage payments at the beginning of the month. Black and Latino populations stand to bear the brunt of these calamities, as unemployment remains disproportionately high in both communities.

Those realities prompted D.C. activists to immediately paint a counter-message on the street next to Mayor Bowser’s Black Lives Matter mural: “Defund the police.” Black Lives Matter D.C. has also since released a statement condemning the mural and calling it “performative.”

“The folks who painted that … they know very well that that wasn’t a genuine thing by Muriel Bowser,” said Sean Blackmon, an organizer with the D.C.-based Stop Police Terror Project, which organizes nationwide against police violence. “And so what that really says is, ‘if you think that Black Lives Matter, Muriel Bowser, then you must defund the police.’”

“They paint the letters of your movement on a street and are hailed across the country but they’re not willing to look you in the eye and talk about solutions,” said Jessica Byrd, co-founder of Three Point Strategies and an organizer with the Movement for Black Lives. “I mean, it takes an incredible amount of cognitive dissonance to believe that a mural is enough and that it could replace a conversation about structural change in the city.”

In some municipalities, leaders have answered the protesters’ calls for change. Minneapolis, the catalyst for the wave of anti-racism protests happening around the world, advanced a ballot measure that would disband the city’s police department and establish a new security and violence prevention force. So far, it is the only city to pass legislation disbanding police since Floyd’s death.

But with pressure rising from local organizers and the national outcry, a growing number of state and local leaders have announced plans to decrease police budgets for the upcoming fiscal year and redirect the funds to communities of color. Los Angeles’ city council cut $150 million from its police budget. San Francisco has enacted similar measures, pledging to cut from the city’s police budget and reallocate the funds to programs benefiting the local Black community.

Defenders of the murals say that art still has a special place in social movements, and the murals are not intended to be a substitute for policy changes. Some protesters have, themselves, erected Black Lives Matter art of their own. It’s a different dynamic, however, Pierre explained, because there is a unique understanding behind the work.

“I think when activists go out, and they create those symbols, and they’ve been doing the work of really trying to uplift Black people in their communities, it’s way different. Because they’re coming from the perspective of love. And it’s kind of a sign of what’s to come,” she said. “We can’t stop at paintings. We have to really change the system, especially the way that Black people and the police interact.”

Source: Politico, ‘It’s not enough’: Activists say Black Lives Matter murals are empty gesture

Biased anti-Flynn rogue judge exceeds authority by refusing to dismiss wrongful charges

Michael Flynn


egendary criminal defense attorney Clarence Darrow once observed: “There is no such thing as justice — in or out of court.” U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan has proved Darrow correct.

Sullivan, who presides over what the Justice Department now admits was the wrongful prosecution of President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, refuses to dismiss the case despite an outstanding order from a higher court to do so.

Sullivan seems determined to send an innocent man to prison — evidence and the law be damned. Judges like Sullivan led Darrow to conclude that the illusive pursuit of justice in an American courtroom is a “horrible business.”

Exhibit A in support of Darrow’s thesis is the latest lawless action by Sullivan. Having been directed last month by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to dismiss the false statements charge against Flynn — a retired Army three-star general — Sullivan continues to defy the higher court.

Flynn has been the victim of a shameful injustice

On Thursday, through his attorney Beth Wilkinson, Sullivan filed a petition demanding that the entire appeals court rehear the matter in what is known as an “en banc” review.

Sullivan has no legal right to make such a request. Under the law, he has no standing to protest the original order and seek a rehearing.

In our system of justice, the right of review extends only to the litigants themselves — defendants, plaintiffs, and in certain circumstances prosecutors. This is well established.

Judges, who are supposed to be neutral arbiters, can contest nothing from a higher court. But Sullivan has proven to be anything but neutral. His biased conduct and demonstrated animosity toward Flynn is a disgrace to the bench.

Federal courts have consistently held that “it is procedurally improper for a district judge to enter an appearance in an appeal … whether as a party, intervenor, or amicus.” (Ligon v. City of New York, 736, F.3d 166, 2013). This is so because “a district judge has no legal interest in a case or its outcome, and, consequently suffers no legal injury.”

In other words, it is the role of a judge to dispense due process, not receive it. A judge serves as a disinterested adjudicator, not a self-interested party.

The only time a judge can enter an appearance during an appeal is if the higher court invites or orders the judge to do so. The full circuit court has not done this.

Sullivan is now insinuating himself further into the appellate process, which only underscores his conspicuous lack of impartiality. He has abdicated his ethical responsibilities to follow the law and to decide cases fairly, without favor or prejudice.

Sullivan’s new challenge of a higher court order is an audacious affront to judicial authority. As the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals explained in another case: “In the scheme of the federal judicial system, the district court is required to follow and implement our decisions just as we are oath- and duty-bound to follow the decisions and mandates of the United States Supreme Court.” (Real v. Yagman, 484 U.S. 963, 108 S.Ct.450, 98 L.Ed.2d 390, 1987).

With no legal right to contest the existing order from the D.C. Circuit Court, Sullivan must abide by it.

The case against Michael Flynn should never have been brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of partisan prosecutors. Flynn committed no crimes.

The FBI under then-Director James Comey had no legal or legitimate reason to even interview Flynn.

Recently revealed exculpatory documents — deliberately concealed by unscrupulous prosecutors — show that Flynn was set-up and framed with false accusations. Then, under a torrent of threats and duress (as well as bad advice from his prior conflicted counsel), Flynn was coerced into a guilty plea. The record is replete with proof.

None of this appears to matter to Sullivan. Instead of punishing the unconscionable government actors who fabricated the case against Flynn, Sullivan has proposed that he might manufacture a new charge of perjury contempt against the defendant.

Why? Because Flynn had the temerity to proclaim his innocence and seek to withdraw his plea.

Sullivan represents the antithesis of an objective and honorable jurist. He is a rogue judge with an agenda.

By unilaterally pursuing a case that prosecutors decided to drop, Sullivan has usurped the power of the executive branch of government and blatantly violated the separation of powers. Sullivan now wants a “do-over” on the hearing he previously lost.

On Friday the circuit court gave Flynn’s lawyers 10 days to respond to Sullivan’s petition for a rehearing and also granted the Justice Department the right to file a brief if it so chooses. Both will argue that Sullivan has exceeded his authority and that his petition lacks a procedural basis recognized by law.

In the end, The D.C. Circuit Court should reject Sullivan’s bid for a new hearing, if for no other reason than he had no right to request it. It should then issue a supplemental order giving Sullivan five days to comply with its initial directive to dismiss the case.

If the judge continues to obstruct the appellate court, he should be held in contempt and/or face proceedings for his own removal.

Flynn has been the victim of a shameful injustice at the hands of Comey’s confederates and Mueller’s ensemble of unprincipled prosecutors. The harm has been compounded by Sullivan’s contumacy.

Whereas judges are impelled to respect the law, Sullivan seems to hold it in contempt. His continued presence on the bench only serves to undermine confidence in our system of justice and fidelity to the rule of law.

The post Biased anti-Flynn rogue judge exceeds authority by refusing to dismiss wrongful charges appeared first on Gregg Jarrett.

Source: Gregg Jarrett, Biased anti-Flynn rogue judge exceeds authority by refusing to dismiss wrongful charges

Replace the Alexander Hamilton Stephens Statue With One of John Lewis

This past week, more than a century and a half after the end of the Civil War, the United States military got around to effectively banning the flag of the Confederacy, a short-lived nation built explicitly on the idea of white supremacy. At roughly the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court was voting to uphold a law in Florida that would require those who had been convicted of felonies and served their time to still pay a fine before they can vote—a fee that would disproportionately burden Black people. And Americans were finding out that Breonna Taylor, a Black EMT in Kentucky, received no medical help for at least 20 minutes after three plainclothes officers killed her during a no-knock raid on the wrong apartment. The officers haven’t been charged with a crime.

Then John Lewis died. With his death, the country lost a civil rights icon, a man whose skull was cracked during a beating on the Edmund Pettus Bridge at the hands of a state trooper and went on to become the second Black person to represent Georgia in Congress since Reconstruction.

Amid the news of these past few weeks, it’s easy to feel like Lewis’ legacy might also be dying. That’s why the United States should make a symbolic commitment to the values Lewis nearly died for. First, Alabama should rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named after a lead member of the Ku Klux Klan, for Lewis instead. But more important, Americans should also look to the heart of the U.S. government, the Capitol, where a statue to Alexander Hamilton Stephens, the vice president of the Confederate States of America, still stands. The United States cannot be a country that honors both Stephens and Lewis; after this summer, after the death of Lewis, Americans have to make a choice. And it should begin with replacing the Stephens statue with one honoring Lewis.

Like Lewis, Stephens was also a Georgia legislator. Elected in 1843 as a Whig, he gradually began voting with Democrats in the following decades. He was elected as a delegate to the Georgia Secession Convention, established as a response to the election of Abraham Lincoln, in 1861. That same year, he was chosen by the Congress of the Confederacy to be the vice president of the provisional government.

Stephens delivered a speech that remains maybe the clearest distillation of white supremacy ever uttered not long before the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1861. He argued in the now-infamous “Cornerstone” speech that the founders had it wrong; that there was no real tension between liberty and race-based chattel slavery if science and God’s purpose were properly understood. “Many governments have been founded upon the principle of the subordination and serfdom of certain classes of the same race; such were and are in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature’s laws. With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system,” Stephens thundered during the speech.

He said the “cornerstone” of the Confederate States of America, whose Constitution established permanent Black enslavement, rested “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. … It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted.”

He was making explicit what Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and others had made implicit about eight decades earlier in the U.S. Constitution, which had a number of clauses that protected the interests of slave owners.

No matter. The Architect of the Capitol, the agency in charge of landmark buildings in Washington describes Stephens as “a dedicated statesman, an effective leader, and a powerful orator, always seeking moderation and peace,” a white-washed story of an overt racist that is all too typical in American history. This denial is what made it possible for a man like Donald Trump to become president despite his numerous faults and lack of political experience and unlikely for a man like Lewis to make it to the White House despite his outsize role in helping perfect this nation.

It took Americans like Lewis—and Rev. C.T. Vivian, another civil rights icon who died this past week—to undo the damage caused by men like Stephens. It was Americans like Lewis who made the words Thomas Jefferson wrote real. It was Americans like Lewis who lived a life of self-sacrifice in a way many previous leaders failed to. Lewis loved the white people who repeatedly jailed him and beat him and nearly killed him. George Washington couldn’t be bothered to free the Black men and women toiling in bondage on his estate. The bankruptcy of the ideas of men like Stephens and Pettus was made clearer because of the presence of Americans like Lewis.

That’s why he’s the kind of American we long should have been building monuments and memorials to. And we wouldn’t even have had to downplay or ignore his participation in great evils by saying he was just “a man of his time”—because he was too busy building a new era. He fought for racial equality for Black people and Native Americans and those in the LBGTQ community and everyone else he found on the wrong side of disparities and discrimination.

Though I met him only once, I suspect Lewis would be telling us that instead of replacing the Stephens statue with one to him, he’d rather see the Voting Rights Act restored; that he’d want us to not forget about the injustice inflicted upon Breonna Taylor, her family and community and the importance of making a reality significant, long-lasting policing reforms; that while symbols are powerful and must be grappled with, he wouldn’t want us to settle for such gestures. (He supported removal of the Stephens bust but not in favor of renaming the Pettus bridge, saying that such a change would “compromise the historical integrity of the voting rights movement.”) He’d warn us to never forget what his friend Martin Luther King Jr. said, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

This country has seldom deserved the kindness, courage and compassion of men like Lewis, who never allowed their righteous anger to become a burning bitterness. Replacing a statue, compared to the sacrifices Lewis made, is easy work, but it shows a commitment to finishing his work and leaving our old idols behind. It’s the least we owe him.

Source: Politico, Replace the Alexander Hamilton Stephens Statue With One of John Lewis