Newspaper pitches Covid-19 ‘internment camps’

A Scottish paper asked readers whether the nation should follow Australia’s lead in locking up people who may be infected with the virus

Scotland’s largest newspaper has floated the idea of creating internment camps to forcibly detain residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 or who are “suspected” of being infected.

The Daily Record tabloid queried its Facebook followers about the policy on Tuesday, noting that “Australians are being detained in Covid internment camps for 14 days if they test positive or are suspected positive.” The outlet then asked“Should we follow their lead?”

The newspaper didn’t specify how “suspected” internments might be adjudicated, and whether it would mean locking up those who are spotted sniffling excessively, for example, or citizens who refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Last month, the same tabloid reported that 35% of UK residents believe the unimmunized should be forced into lockdown “until the pandemic has passed,” citing recent polling. It suggested the survey showed strong public support for “harsher measures” on unvaccinated Scots.

The idea was met with pushback on social media. Anti-extremism activist Maajid Nawaz said the paper was, in effect, proposing “crimes against humanity,” while others noted that until recently, the notion of Covid-19 internment camps had been portrayed as a deranged conspiracy theory in corporate media coverage.

Scotland has tightened its Covid-19 restrictions amid the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, imposing lower capacity limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, shutting down night clubs and discouraging holiday get-togethers. As the Daily Record reported on Wednesday, Scotland has 42 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in intensive-care units.

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Covid-19 quarantine escapees arrested after manhunt

Emulating Australia would take the mitigation program to a prison-like level. When three people last month escaped a Covid-19 quarantine camp near Darwin, police responded with a manhunt to apprehend the internees, even though all three had tested negative for the virus the previous day. Police also set up checkpoints around the internment facility, which used to be a mining camp.

Though the policy has come under fire, Australia appears set to continue it, and is now building even more Covid-19 camps. Last October, Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles told Australia’s ABC News that there will be a “continuing need” for quarantine compounds, partly to accommodate visitors who haven’t had access to vaccines. He added that “more secure” facilities will be needed for returning Australians who don’t meet the strict criteria to qualify for home isolation.

Trump explains cancelation of January 6 event

The cancelation announcement followed vows by President Joe Biden to focus on Donald Trump and his allies in an anniversary speech

Former President Donald Trump said he has canceled a planned January 6 speech after numerous Republicans expressed concern about holding an event on the anniversary of the Capitol riot.

The press conference was set to take place at Florida’s Mar-a-Lago, where Trump has spent the majority of his time since leaving the White House.

In a statement, Trump blamed the “bias and dishonesty” of the media, as well as the House committee still investigating January 6 and the former president’s alleged role in instigating the riot, for his decision.

“In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday,” he said.

Republican lawmakers have been fairly split on Trump’s now-canceled rally, with some publicly stating there were better things to focus on than the news conference. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has been among the GOP critics, telling Axios he warned Trump the conference would be a misstep. Fox News host Laura Ingraham also questioned on her show this week whether it was a “good idea” for Trump to mark the anniversary of the Capitol riot.

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Twitter to hunt for ‘harmful content’ on Jan 6

The ex-president reportedly planned on focusing his talk on the House committee’s investigation into the Capitol riot, but said he will now address the same topics at a rally in Arizona on January 15.

Had Trump gone through with his plan, his talk would have competed for airwaves as numerous January 6 tributes are planned, including speeches from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Biden’s speech will focus on Trump’s “singular responsibility” for the events at the Capitol, as well as Republicans who continue “perpetuating the Big Lie,” referring to Trump’s continued claims that the 2020 presidential election was marred by widespread fraud. The administration also vowed to punish those who took part in the Capitol riot “at any level,” threatening stiff legal penalties.

North Korea unveils missile fired in latest test

Pyongyang says it test-fired a hypersonic missile in its first major launch of the year

North Korea said it successfully launched a hypersonic munition in a recent test, claiming the projectile struck a target hundreds of miles away after Washington denounced the move as “destabilizing.”

The missile “precisely hit a set target” some 700 kilometers (435 miles) off North Korea’s east coast during the test launch, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said on Thursday, adding that leader Kim Jong-un did not attend the firing.

South Korea’s military first reported on the launch early on Wednesday, the first of its kind since last October, and Seoul has since urged the North to “sincerely respond to our efforts to make peace and cooperation through dialogue.” Just hours after the test, South Korean President Moon Jae-in was present for a groundbreaking event for a rail line through the border town of Goseong – part of efforts to re-connect transit between the two neighbors.

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North Korea fires unidentified missile

The US State Department condemned the missile test as a “violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions” and a “threat to the DPRK’s neighbors and the international community.” Washington’s Indo-Pacific Command, however, earlier acknowledged that “this event does not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to our allies,” though still slammed the launch for having “destabilizing impact” in the region.

Pyongyang first claimed to possess a hypersonic weapon – the Hwasong-8 missile – following another test last September, however military officials in Seoul said the munition appeared to be in an early stage of development at the time. Though the North has refrained from long-range missile and nuclear weapons testing since 2017, its short- and medium-range munitions tests have frequently come under fire by the US, which maintains a presence of some 30,000 soldiers in South Korea.

NASCAR rejects ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ sponsorship

Stock car circuit blocks LGB cryptocurrency firm from sponsoring driver whose interview with NBC gave rise to anti-Biden chant

Racing driver Brandon Brown may again face a funding crisis after NASCAR reportedly shot down his deal with cryptocurrency company LGBcoin to sponsor a “Let’s Go Brandon”-themed car.

After initially approving the new car design and later placing it under review, NASCAR officials have made a final decision to ban the LGBcoin sponsorship, Fox Sports journalist Bob Pockrass reported on Tuesday night. The ruling means Brown will need to find a new lead sponsor with only about six weeks remaining before the NASCAR Xfinity Series season begins in Daytona Beach, Florida.

LGBcoin HODLer and investor advocate James Koutoulas has vowed to sue NASCAR after the decision wiped out much of the firm’s market value, saying, “Now it’s war.” He claimed that the racing circuit had approved the sponsorship with only some design modifications and argued that the reversal likely came from an outside entity, such as President Joe Biden’s administration.

NASCAR denies “Let’s Go Brandon” car; Sponsor threatens lawsuit – Sports

“Now it’s war.”

— James Koutoulas (@jameskoutoulas) January 5, 2022

Brown inadvertently inspired the LGB phenomenon when he was being interviewed by NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast after winning a race in September at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. Fans in the background were heard chanting “F*ck Joe Biden,” but the reporter claimed that they were saying “Let’s Go Brandon.”

The latter phrase was quickly popularized as a profanity-free euphemism for “F*ck Joe Biden,” giving conservatives a way to simultaneously mock both the president and the mainstream press. Media outlets have tried to demonize the anti-Biden meme, such as when CNN political analyst likened it to rhetoric from ISIS or Nazi Germany.

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NASCAR star breaks silence on ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ chant

For his part, Brown tried to distance himself from the controversy, saying in an interview last month that he had “no interest in leading some political fight.” He said he wouldn’t wade into telling people how to vote, adding, “No one knew how my sponsors would react, and in my world, there is no car to drive without the sponsors.”

Unfortunately for Brown, the reaction was negative. Despite being a rising NASCAR star, he said it became “extremely difficult” to attract sponsors because major corporations saw his unintentional association with the LGB meme to be divisive. Last week, his Brandonbilt Motorsports racing team announced its deal with LGBcoin.

Critics of NASCAR’s decision to kill the deal pointed out that the racing circuit hasn’t shied away from politically charged advertising in the past. Bubba Wallace, the black NASCAR star who was the subject of a fake “noose” scandal in 2020, has driven a Black Lives Matter-themed car.

Makes sense I guess.

— Jeff Cronk (@JeffCronk14) January 5, 2022

Culprit behind enormous California fire named

Utility company fingered in second-largest fire in California history

The Dixie Fire, which raged for over three months last year, wiping out 1,300 structures, began when state utility PG&E’s electrical distribution lines sparked after contact with a tree, the state fire agency has confirmed.

Cal Fire’s investigation, completed on Tuesday, confirmed PG&E was responsible for the second-largest fire in California history. In addition to burning 963,309 acres of land, the blaze torched a total of 1,329 buildings, damaged 95 more, and all but leveled the town of Greenville, a historic community dating from the Gold Rush. A US Forest Service firefighter died while assigned to the blaze. The fire began when PG&E electrical distribution lines west of Cresta Dam came in contact with a tree, according to the report. 

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The agency’s findings confirmed facts that PG&E already knew, as the state utility was aware of the details surrounding its role in starting the fire nearly a week before letting the public and state regulators in on the matter. The same day the flames erupted, an internal PG&E outage report included incriminating phrases like “tree in the line,” “grass fire,” and “fuses blown,” none of which would become public knowledge until the deadly inferno had been burning for a week. State utilities are required to report such incidents to state regulators within two to four hours; when asked, PG&E acknowledged it waited five days. 

PG&E was also found responsible for the largest fire in California history, 2018’s Camp Fire, which all but destroyed the town of Paradise, killed 85 people, and wiped out 18,800 structures. The utility company pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully causing a fire after it was taken to court by Butte County and subsequently filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

Its problems didn’t stop there – some California residents have argued matters have only gotten worse as PG&E began implementing “preemptive” power-cuts during hot and dry conditions, supposedly to prevent another killer spark, but its power lines have continued to trigger wildfires unabated. PG&E currently faces a charge of manslaughter for its alleged role in the Zogg Fire, which killed four people in September 2020, and has been blamed for the Bader Fire, a smaller fire which took place the same month as the Dixie Fire.

US District Court Judge William Alsup, who has been responsible for enforcing the legal penalties leveled against PG&E, has called the utility a “terror: T-E-R-R-O-R to the people of the state of California.” He questioned why a worker for the utility did not shut off power to the area while investigating the incident that ultimately became the Dixie Fire, and hundreds of Californians who lost property in the blaze have since filed suit against the utility.

PG&E power lines have been blamed for over 130 deaths in various fires in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. After admitting to its part in the Dixie Fire, PG&E pledged to bury 10,000 miles of power lines, though it’s unclear how they would afford such a massive construction project or whether it would even be possible, given that the power lines responsible for both the Dixie and Camp Fires were located in a rocky canyon.

Twitter to hunt for ‘harmful content’ on Jan 6

The announcement comes on heels of reports of 700,000 new users joining the right-leaning alternative Gettr in less than a week

Twitter has created a team dedicated to following content posted on the site related to the January 6 Capitol riot, just ahead of the one year anniversary.

The team will monitor any posts related to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, the company told Reuters in a report published Wednesday, one day ahead of the riot’s one-year anniversary. 

Twitter employees who are part of this new team will watch for tweets or videos that present “harmful content” or “incite violence,” according to the report. The size of the monitoring team is not known. 

“Our approach both before and after January 6 has been to take strong enforcement action against accounts and Tweets that incite violence or have the potential to lead to offline harm,” a Twitter spokesperson said. 

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GOP reacts to White House saying Biden hasn’t got ‘any time to think’

Twitter has long faced accusations of bias and censorship, but that criticism has grown significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, with numerous high profile figures being suspended from the platform recently, for spreading what the company deems to be misinformation. 

Twitter responded quickly after the riot, suspending the account of former President Donald Trump at the time. Trump gave a speech to supporters in DC shortly before the events at the Capitol, where he continued to claim the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. Though he told supporters to “go home” during the riot, critics have claimed he partly instigated it, something a House committee is continuing to investigate nearly a year later. 

Numerous conservatives have promoted alternatives to Big Tech companies, including a social media app called Gettr, which functions similar to Twitter, but promises no political bias or censorship. Podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan announced this week that he was opening a Gettr account in light of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and vaccine critic Dr. Robert Malone, whom Rogan interviewed recently on his podcast only to find YouTube and Twitter taking down clips, bringing thousands of followers with him. The app has already been labeled “pro-Trump” in the mainstream media.

On the same day Twitter’s new monitoring team was announced, Gettr revealed over 700,000 new users have joined their platform since Rogan’s announcement, something the company has referred to as a “great awakening” and a “Joe Rogan wave.”